The NBA has released its list of participants for this year’s Draft Combine, which will be held in Chicago from May 12-17.
While there are plenty of interesting lottery-pick level prospects expected to attend, the guys near the tops of most teams’ draft boards are noticeably absent from the list.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the names frequently discussed as the top two overall picks, and neither will attend. Same goes for international prospects like Emanuel Mudiay, Mario Hezonja and Kristaps Porzingis, all of whom project as lottery picks in more than one of the respected mock drafts that exist.
The combine consists of drills, measurements and interviews, and while this year will also feature a five-on-five scrimmage format which could make for some competitive games, most of the top prospects (i.e., anyone there who is expected to be a first-round selection) will be sitting that portion out.
Once again Zach LaVine has huge game against Cavaliers, scores 44 in win (VIDEO)
CLEVELAND (AP) —Zach LaVine scored 44 points for another dominating performance against Cleveland and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cavaliers 118-106 on Saturday night.
LaVine made 16 of 30 shots and had 27 points at halftime. The 6-foot-5 guard also finished with 10 rebounds and eight assists, falling just short of his first career triple-double.
It was LaVine’s second big game against Cleveland in eight days. He scored 42 points on Jan. 20, including 21 in the fourth quarter when the Bulls rallied from a 15-point deficit to win.
Cleveland, which has lost seven straight and 12 of 14, had no better success stopping LaVine this time. He drove past his defender for clear looks at the basket, scored when he was double teamed in the lane, hit five 3-pointers and was 7 of 8 from the line.
LaVine was held to 16 points when the Cavaliers beat the Bulls in Cleveland on Oct. 30. The teams play for the fourth and final time this season in Chicago on March 10.
Tomas Satoransky had 19 points for the Bulls, who were coming off a home loss to Sacramento on Friday and arrived in around 1:30 a.m.
The game was tied at 69 midway through the third quarter before the Bulls went on a 30-7 run to go ahead 99-76. Chicago outscored Cleveland 40-19 in the period.
Cleveland cut a 24-point deficit to 112-103 with two minutes to play, but got no closer. The Cavaliers had lopsided home losses to New York and Washington this week.
Chicago didn’t play like a team that’s been plagued by injuries. Forward Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, will miss four to six weeks because of an injured right hip. The 7-footer had an MRI on Thursday after experiencing soreness in the hip for about a week.
Watch Kyrie Irving drop 45 points, lead Nets past Pistons in OT
DETROIT (AP) —Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 45 points in the third quarter to overcome a double-digit deficit and the Brooklyn Nets went on to beat the Detroit Pistons 121-111 in overtime Saturday night.
The franchises are among many sub-.500 teams in the Eastern Conference, likely vying for the last two spots in the playoffs.
Irving made free throws early in the extra period to put Brooklyn ahead and end a five-game losing streak.
The Nets went ahead 106-104 with 38.4 seconds left in regulation when Andre Drummond was called for goaltending. Derrick Rose had an unforced turnover on the ensuing possession, then made up for it with a tying layup with 1.9 seconds left.
Irving missed a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, sending it to overtime.
Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Rose had 27 points for Detroit, scoring more than 20 for the 12th straight game to extend his career high.
Drummond had a double-double in the first quarter and finished with 20 points and 21 rebounds. He has an NBA-high eight games with 20 or more points and rebounds and 40 in his career, tying Bob Lanier’s franchise record.
Drummond had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter, which ended with the Nets ahead 26-25.
Irving took over in the third quarter, scoring eight consecutive points in the game and a total of 12 points in 2:02. His scoring surge helped the Nets go into the fourth quarter with an 80-77 lead.
Watch LeBron James pass Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time scoring list
Kobe Bryant may be No. 1 in the hearts of Lakers fans, but he is now No. 4 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list after LeBron James passed him with a layup with 7:23 left in the third quarter. The basket gave LeBron 33,644 points.
LeBron now has Karl Malone (second) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ahead of him on the scoring list, and LeBron is 4,733 points back of Kareem, a number he could reasonably get to in a couple of seasons. Kareem was on SiriusXM NBA Radio this past week with Frank Isola and Brendan Haywood and said LeBron could pass him if he’s focused.
🔊 @KingJames is about to become the 3rd All-Time leading scorer in NBA history
“I think it is up to LeBron. If he wants to do it, he’ll do it. He has the talent. He has the opportunity. So it’s just up to him as to how he wants to end his career. I certainly cannot be upset about it. The reason that they keep these records is so that we learn how we are improving. And we learn how to teach the game, taking note of the accomplishments of the great players. So, hey, it’s a natural progression. I don’t have any problem with it.”
Another report Wizards shooting down all trade talk around Davis Bertans
Instead, the plan is to re-sign the sharpshooting 6’10” power forward this summer. Bertans — who averages 15.3 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 42.6 percent from three on 8.7 attempts per game — would fit well as a floor spacer on a John Wall/Bradley Beal team looking to make noise in the playoffs next season.
Inquiries to Washington have gone nowhere; several executives tell SI.com that the Wizards wouldn’t even discuss a deal. Some teams, though, are holding out hope Washington will make Bertans available before the trade deadline.
Shepard and Washington are making a bet Bertans wants to stay in Washington, he is an unrestricted free agent this summer. If Washington gets the sense Bertans wants out this summer, they need to trade him now and get something in return. If they believe he wants to return, then they need to get owner Ted Leonsis to open up the checkbook. After this breakout season, and at a position of need for a lot of teams around the league, Bertans likely will get offers at or above $17 million a season, and Washington might need to overpay a little to keep him.
Washington’s plan — as evidenced by words and actions — is not to rebuild but to get healthy and make a run up the East standings next season. They have Beal (playing at an All-NBA level this season), they get Wall back (he has looked good in practice of late), and from there they re-sign Bertans, count on growth from rookie Rui Hachimura, and put together a roster of role players who can win games in the East.
Debate amongst yourselves if that is the smart direction to go, it’s clearly the one the Wizards have chosen.