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Markelle Fultz: “I believe I’m going to be the No. 1 pick”

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Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is on the top of just about every team’s draft board. There are rumored to be a few Lonzo Ball supporters, but the consensus is Fultz is the safer bet — he’s 6’4″ with a 6’10” wingspan, he’s strong and quick, he can get his own shot, has a great change of pace that gets him to the line, amazing body control, he knows how to set up teammates, and he has the tools to be a good defender.

Fultz was at the Sixers game Tuesday night (an ugly loss to the Nets) to check Philly, a team that could potentially draft him (right now Philly has an 8.8 percent chance of the top slot in the lottery). When asked by CSNPhilly.com, Fultz said exactly what you’d expect him to say, that he should be the top pick.

“No doubt, no doubt,” Fultz said. “I believe I’m going to be the No. 1 pick, I think I’ve put enough work in to do that.”

Again, that’s what you’d expect. Lonzo Ball said he should be the No. 1 pick, too. You’d wonder about a guy going into the draft saying “that guy is just way better than me, you should take him first.”

Fultz watched a Sixers team without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, or Robert Covington, yet said he could see himself there because he liked the style of play.

“Oh, man, I can see it happening,” he said in an interview with CSNPhilly’s John Clark. “I think it would be a great atmosphere, so it would be cool…

“Just show some support,” he said. “I might have a chance to go here, so I just wanted to come out and see how the play, stuff like that, the atmosphere.  I think they play well together, they’ve got good chemistry and they’re young.”

If the Sixers landed the top pick it would make things interesting — they have already said they want Ben Simmons to be the point guard of the future (really, a point forward). The Sixers could draft Fultz and see if they all can play together, draft a wing like Josh Jackson of Kansas that is in theory a better fit, or trade the pick to the highest bidder. They would have options.

Draymond Green thought Warriors might trade him after fight with Steve Kerr

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Draymond Green is the backbone of the Golden State Warriors, not just because he was the 2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Green sort of does it all, including passing, scoring, rebounding, and myriad other scrap work that doesn’t show up on regular box scores.

But there was some doubt in Green’s mind in 2016 that he would stay with the team. Green was involved in an argument during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after things settled down the Warriors big man was concerned the team might trade him.

The thought of doing so is sort of ridiculous, but apparently that was something that flashed into Green’s mind given the tenseness of the situation between he and Kerr.

Via Bleacher Report:

But Green’s mood was still foul, and he left the arena that day believing his days as a Warrior were numbered. He feared the relationship had been fractured, that the Warriors would choose Kerr over him. That he’d be traded.

“One hundred percent,” Green tells B/R. “Especially with the success that he was having as a coach. Like, you just don’t get rid of that.”

The thing that makes Golden State great isn’t just the players, or the system, or Kerr. It’s the human resources management aspect of their organization that allows them to compete on the court in the way they do.

It’s not crazy to think that a player could be shipped out of town thanks to a disagreement with a coach, although the leverage players have these days likely has put a stop to that realistically happening. But that Kerr, Green, and management were able to get things back under control that season was to the benefit of everyone involved.

Rockets wear jersey patch to honor Santa Fe High School vs. Warriors

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The Houston Rockets have been supportive of the Texas community after a gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Rockets point guard Chris Paul called NBA basketball “minor” compared to what those in Santa Fe are having to endure, and on Thursday the team took things a step further and donned special jerseys for their playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

As Houston prepared to take on the reigning champs in Game 5 back in Texas, the team tweeted out a photo of the jerseys — complete with a special patch on the left shoulder — to honor the victims of the shooting.

Via Twitter:

The NBA has a lot of advocates for social and political change, not just individually but organizationally. How the Rockets responded is good to see in the face of yet another school shooting.

Andre Iguodala out for Warriors again in Game 5; Klay Thompson available

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The Warriors missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 against Houston. They don’t have a Death/Hamptons 5 lineup without him. Without his depth, the Warriors had to lean more on players such as Kevon Looney (who started), Nick Young, and others who are can be a liability at the high level of play in this series. Not having Iguodala to keep minutes down, play fierce defense, move the ball on offense, and be a stabilizing force was one of the issues that led to the Warriors fourth-quarter issues in Game 4.

Now they are without him for Game 5, too.

Having Klay Thompson on the court is huge for Golden State, although it will be worth monitoring to see how he moves.

The Warriors have gotten sucked into the switching/isolation game the Rockets want to play, if they are going to take Game 5 on the road they need to get back to “the beautiful game” they want to play. That would have been easier with Iguodala.

Two years after NBA retirement, Amar’e Stoudemire talking comeback

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NBA teams seemed to have moved on from Amar’e Stoudemire. After an impressive NBA career — five-time All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star — he wasn’t physically the explosive player that dazzled with the Suns. Teams were interested in getting younger and more athletic, and Stoudemire was doing neither. He retired from the NBA and played for a season in Israel where he won a league title. This summer he’s signed up to play with the Big3.

After that he’,d like another crack at the NBA. When asked about an NBA comeback, here’s what Stoudemire told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter on ‘Reiter’s Block’:

“I am. I am. I’m definitely planning on (coming back). I’ve been training like you wouldn’t believe, my body feels great. I had an amazing year last year playing overseas and so I’m gonna definitely continue to work my way back to top shape and see if there’s a team that needs my talents.”

I’m not sure there’s going to be much demand. Maybe a team does an old friend a favor and brings him in for some workouts. However, his knees and body struggled with the physical grind of the NBA the final few seasons of his career, and it’s unlikely with age that got better. No doubt he’s worked on his conditioning and strength, but Father Time always wins the race and it already felt like this chase was over.

That said, good on Stoudemire for not giving up on the dream. His agent should be making calls, maybe he can become the second player to make the Big3 to NBA leap.