This happens every year. A player everyone expects to bolt for the NBA has a bad NCAA Tournament get, his team gets upset much earlier than expected, and because he’s a competitor he’s frustrated. So when a reporter asks him minutes after the game if he is going pro he says something that gives the hometown fans hope.
Then a few weeks later, no matter what was said before, he looks at the millions of dollars on the table and reaching his NBA dream, and he goes pro.
This year, meet Jabari Parker of Duke.
Wait a few weeks. Wait for his emotions to calm down. He will forever feel bad about how his college career ended but make no mistake — this will be the end. He will go pro.
And his rough performance is not going to drop him down draft boards.
Much of America discovered Friday what NBA scouts already knew — Parker is a defensive liability right now. Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com wrote about it at PBT Friday morning, before Duke took the court. Yes, Mike Krzyzewski benched him for his defense and scouts ripped him for his effort on that end Friday, but this is not new information.
It does not change the fact he already has a game that can score a variety of ways at the NBA level — in the post, from three, in transition, off the bounce, catch-and-shoot — and NBA teams believe they can mold his defense. They think they can mold it more quickly and efficiently than another year in college would.
So he will come out, as will Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid and Julius Randall and a host of others.
No matter what they say in the minutes after a loss.
Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)
So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.
Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.
The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.
But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.
Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.
He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.
Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.
But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.
The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.
It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.
Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.
After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.
Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.