Game 7 of the NBA Finals ended late in the night June 20 when the Miami Heat got to spill a lot of champagne.
Seven days later, June 27, was the NBA Draft.
That’s a tight turnaround. Part of the fun of the draft is the rumors, speculation, the break downs, the guess work as to who goes where in the run up to the day teams have to make picks. The NFL is the master of making this almost a second season. In the NBA this year there wasn’t time for much of any of that stuff — the post Finals coverage went on for days then suddenly the draft arrived. The process was condensed.
Which has the NBA talking with its television partners about pushing the draft back a week, reports Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today.
The NBA believes it can turn the draft into a bigger event and showcase its new players and generate more interest in the draft by creating more distance between the conclusion of the Finals and the draft. The hangover from the Finals lingers into draft week, suppressing some of the drama, excitement and coverage leading up to the event.
NBA and ABC/ESPN and Turner executives began preliminary discussions during the playoffs about the next TV deal – the current deal expires after the 2015-16 season – and moving the draft back was part of the talks.
The problem is the NBA calendar is already pretty long. If you push back the draft a week, then you have to push back the start of free agency a week, and now you risk dragging that out into August (something the league doesn’t want). This move also would likely push the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (and Orlando) back a week as well.
The NBA is going to spend this summer trying to strike while the pro sports rights iron is hot and get a new television deal in place. This would be part of that.
One way the NBA could solve this would be to tighten up the playoff schedule… oh, who am I kidding, that’s not happening. We’ll see if they can work the dates out.
Steven Adams is one of the NBA’s toughest players.
But that didn’t stop a Nuggets fan from heckling the Thunder center during Denver’s win Friday.
Adams stepped toward the fan and yelled, to the point a referee restrained him. Russell Westbrook – who lost his temper later in the game – also yelled at the fan.
It’s hard to hear exactly what Adams and Westbrook said. But it sounds profane enough both players could get fined.
No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley has been solid for the Kings.
No. 3 pick Luka Doncic has been even better for the Mavericks.
Doncic had 28 points and nine assists against Sacramento yesterday. Though the Kings won, questions have still swirled about why they didn’t just draft Doncic. Sacramento coach Dave Joerger even weighed in on the rookie.
Joerger, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:
“Perhaps there was an idea that there was a ceiling on him – I don’t see it, unfortunately for us,” Joerger said. “He’s great for them and he’s great for our league.”
Coaches commonly praise a young opponent then add a variation of “unfortunately for us” – as in, unfortunately we’ll have to play against him for many years.
But it’s easy to infer deeper significance here.
The Kings seemingly drafted Bagley for bad reasons – i.e., his desire to go to Sacramento. Doncic looked like the better prospect. But Kings assistant general manager Brandon Williams helped steer the team toward Bagley. When Joerger played veteran Nemanja Bjelica over Williams-preferred Bagley, that caused drama earlier this season. The Williams-Joerger rift apparently continued, too.
So, Joerger’s remarks could have been a thinly veiled shot at Sacramento’s front office. Maybe the coach didn’t intended it that way, but it wouldn’t be a huge leap.
Knicks owner James Dolan is widely regarded as one of the worst owners in sports.
He’s also defiantly himself.
That came through in a lengthy profile by Ian O’Connor of ESPN. Dolan is still defending his organization after losing a sexual-harassment lawsuit. Dolan is still blaming Charles Oakley for an ejection from Madison Square Garden last year. Dolan is still trying to contextualize his relationship with Harvey Weinstein.
But Dolan won’t concede one eye-opening claim.
Jim is the owner who years ago, on occasion, would play his guitar on the Knicks’ team plane — even after losses, according to several witnesses. “It was the last thing the players and coaches wanted to hear,” says one regular on those flights. “I just remember the looks on their faces.” (Dolan denies this claim and calls it “somebody’s fantasy.”)
Dolan has made a lot of enemies over the years. It wouldn’t be shocking if one made up a story to make him look bad and others corroborated it for the same reason.
Because it’s quite believable.
Dolan is more passionate about his music than owning the Knicks. This also wouldn’t be the first time he subjected players to his musical interest.
Occam’s razor suggests Dolan did this rather than a conspiracy existing to frame him. Besides, believing he did it is way more fun.
With D’Angelo Harris to his left, Rondae Hollins-Jefferson to his right, Joe Harris trailing and only Hawks in front of him, Nets rookie Rodions Kurucs passed ahead. Confidently. That was a bullet.
But to nobody – except maybe the referee. It looked high for the ref, though maybe an NBA player would have snagged the throw.
At Brooklyn still beat Atlanta, 144-127.