We didn’t get to see Nerlens Noel in the NCAA Tournament because: 1) Kentucky sucked this year and didn’t make it (they were bounced in the first round of the NIT); 2) He had already blown out his ACL and was done for the season.
Yet he shows enough potential, and this is a down enough draft year, he could still go No. 1 overall. DraftExpress and other draft watchers currently have him there.
So it’s no shock that he announced Monday he would declare for the NBA draft.
“I have loved my time at Kentucky, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Noel said in a released statement. “I’ve learned so much here at UK and am thankful for Coach (John) Calipari, the staff and my teammates for all of their support. I especially appreciate the Big Blue Nation and all of the support, prayers and well-wishes I’ve received from them during my rehab and decision-making process.”
Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, plus he led the SEC in blocked shots. Why he goes No. 1 is that he is a physical specimen with a lot of potential — he measured 6’10” without shoes, has a 7’4” wing span and runs the floor like a gazelle. He can be an impact defender early on in his career.
The drawback is he needs to get a lot stronger and needs to get a lot more polished on offense. His footwork is not going to remind you of Tim Duncan. He’s okay near the basket but has no midrange game.
Then there is the knee surgery in February — he tore his ACL on a chase-down block. He’s still going to be on the comeback trail as the season starts.
But you don’t draft a guy for what he can do his rookie year, you draft him for what he can do three years from now.
In a draft where there is not believed to be a franchise player, no lock No. 1, a draft where you gamble a little with the top pick, wouldn’t you gamble on a very athletic big man? Most likely a team will in the top spot.
The 76ers offered Jimmy Butler a five-year max contract, according to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports. However, Adrian Wojnarowski reported Philadelphia wasn’t offering Butler a five- or even four-year max deal.
What explains the discrepancy?
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
But on June 30, there was no five-year maximum offer for Butler, multiple sources say.
That doesn’t explicitly say the 76ers offered Butler a five-year max earlier, but it intentionally leaves the possibility wide open. After all, when Philadelphia traded for Butler in the final year of his contract, everyone knew he expected a max contract. He said so himself. After early tension, the 76ers still expressed desire to re-sign Butler. As free agency neared, they kept sending those signals.
Maybe Philadelphia had second thoughts about paying Butler so much. There are reasonable concerns. But it’d be odd if the 76ers went so far down the road toward re-signing Butler only to reverse course at the last moment because of internal evaluations. That assessment could have been made earlier.
Al Horford unexpectedly became available, and Philadelphia used Butler’s vacated cap space to sign him. With Butler and the capped-out Heat wanting him in Miami, the 76ers also leveraged another good player – Josh Richardson – in a sign-and-trade. Perhaps, once realizing it was an option, Philadelphia just preferred Horford and Richardson to Butler (and retaining J.J. Redick‘s Bird Rights). That’d be simple enough.
Whatever happened, I bet it’s the crux of the secret story Butler recently alluded to.
Nets forward Kevin Durant said, “The cool thing now is not the Knicks.”
Brooklyn is cool.
So, the Nets are getting more overt about connecting to the image of their borough. After wearing Notorious B.I.G.-inspired uniforms with Coogi-sweater-style trim, Brooklyn is slapping “Bed-Stuy” – the neighborhood brought to mass popularity by Biggie, Jay-Z and others – onto its jerseys.
I can’t decide whether these jerseys are actually cool or trying too hard to be cool.
Also, the Nets apparently aren’t daunted by a Coogi lawsuit.
SALT LAKE CITY — Wataru “Wat” Misaka, the first non-white player to play in the league that was the predecessor to the NBA, has died. He was 95.
Misaka played three games for the New York Knicks during the 1947-48 season in the Basketball Association of America. He was the league’s first player of of Japanese descent.
A 2008 documentary called “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story” told the story of what Misaka went through as a trailblazing athlete.
Misaka attended a 2013 Utah Jazz game to watch Jeremy Lin play.
The University of Utah athletic department said in a news release Thursday that Misaka died Wednesday in Salt Lake City. He grew up in Ogden, Utah.
Mikasa was the point guard on the Utah team that won the NCAA Tournament in 1944 and the NIT in 1947.
If you missed this because Reggie Miller’s color commentary makes you reach for the mute button, nobody would blame you. It’s something we all feel the need to do.
However, doing it Thursday night during the Pelicans’ win over the Suns would have caused you to miss Miller doing some actual reporting on the return of Zion Williamson, saying sources tell him the rookie is on track to return in “mid-December.”
If your first reaction is “I trust Reggie Miller’s reporting as much as the Weekly World News” you would generally be correct.
But in this case we may want to listen. First, Miller does talk to GMs, coaches, and front office types. Second, what he says fits the already established timeline for Williamson’s return from knee surgery, which was “around or before Christmas.” This is not breaking news so much as a confirmation of what we already know.
Williamson certainly makes the Pelicans more dynamic, more athletic, plus much more entertaining and watchable. The sooner we get him back on the court, the better for all of us.