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SMU’s Shake Milton, Wichita State’s Landry Shamet both declare for NBA draft

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Two potential combo guards — both of whom would like to climb into the first round of the draft but may go early second — have declared for the NBA Draft.

SMU’s Shake Milton and Wichita State’s Landry Shamet both have made their intentions known.

Shamet made his intentions known on Instagram.

I was 4 when I knew I wanted to play in the NBA someday… This ball and this goal ten feet off of the ground have brought me places I wouldn’t have ever imagined I’d go; who would’ve thought I’d be a Division 1 basketball player at Wichita State? This game has created friendships and unbreakable brotherhoods, has allowed me to meet and learn from interesting people from all over and, through hard work, has lead to me having an opportunity to fulfill that dream I’d envisioned at 4 years old. With that being said, I am declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft and foregoing my junior and senior seasons at Wichita State. I want to thank the city of Wichita and all of the thousands of people I’ve gotten to meet and interact with over the years. This community has truly touched my heart in more ways than one could imagine. Every single person I’ve crossed paths with has impacted me and left a mark on me and I truly felt an obligation to give you all absolutely everything I had every time I put on that jersey. I want to thank you all, the greatest fans in the world, for the unwavering support and love through all of the ups and all of the downs and everything in between. I want to thank my family and those that have been in my close circle throughout my career for allowing me to lean on you during any and all of my trials and tribulations. You know who you are. I want to thank my coaches for putting me in a position to have the opportunity to go fulfill my one and only lifelong dream. Without this platform and without Coach Marshall giving me the opportunities he’s given me, none of this is possible. And all of the coaches who have grown me on and off the court over my years playing. And lastly, I want to thank my brothers who I went to war with night-in and night-out. My teammates put me in a position to be who I am today and they’re guys that I’m proud to call my brothers for life. I’m following my intuition and I believe in life when an opportunity that you’ve dreamed of presents itself, you’ve got to go take it. And that’s what I am doing. I hope I’ve made you all proud and I hope that I’ll continue to do so. Nothing but Love -11

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Shamet could get a team’s attention because he can shoot the rock — 44.2 percent from three on 5.9 attempts per game, and with opposing defenses focused on him. He has good NBA size and length, plays a very high IQ game, and he can knock down shots off the bounce or on catch-and-shoots. The concern, what could keep him out of the first round, is a lack of athleticism for the NBA level. An example of the concerns: In the NCAA Tournament this year against Marshall he had 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting overall and 0-of-7 from three. Can he defend well enough and create the needed space for his shot at the next level?

Big guards with playmaking skills and who can shoot will get the attention of NBA teams. Enter Shake Milton, who was SMU’s Mr. Everything this season averaging 18 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. He made it official on Twitter, he is on his way to the NBA.

How important was Milton to the Mustangs? A broken hand forced him to miss the final 11 games of the season and SMU won just two of those.

He shot 43.3 percent from three and looks like someone who can play either guard spot at the next level (and teams love versatility). He was good on the pick-and-roll in college and showed impressive passing and floor vision. The only concern is his athleticism, he’s not explosive and the guys he is going up against will be. While he has a floater he wasn’t a great finisher inside, and there are questions about how well he can defend on one end, or on the other turn the corner on the pick-and-roll at the other.

Rumor: Timberwolves bypassed Stephen Curry in draft because Minnesota is too cold for year-round golf

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Timberwolves general manager David Kahn infamously drafted two point guards – Ricky Rubio No. 5 and Jonny Flynn No. 6 – before the Warriors took Stephen Curry No. 7 in the 2009 draft.

Curry, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“My guy David Kahn. I don’t know where he’s at right now,” Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “I don’t know if that ever came out — there’s a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf — play it in my spare time and what not.

“I think the word on the street was that he didn’t draft me because in Minnesota it’s cold and I wouldn’t be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable.”

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: “Is that true?”

“I hope it’s true because that’s hilarious (laughter),” Curry said. “That’s hilarious.”

If this is why Minnesota passed on Curry, it was a huge mistake. Better to take the best prospect available and hope for the best. Curry probably would have learned to appreciate Minnesota. There’s plenty of room to golf elsewhere in the offseason. Remember, Golden State was seen as a low-rung destination just a few years ago. Curry helped transform the franchise’s perception.

Mostly, though, I’m with Curry. This would be a hilarious story if true.

But that doesn’t mean we should just assume it’s accurate. Plenty of teams underestimated Curry, who looked like an undersized score-first guard when he entered the NBA. He just beat the odds and made everyone who passed on him look silly.

Orlando not getting 2023 All-Star game

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The next three NBA All-Star hosts are set:

  • 2019: Charlotte Hornets
  • 2020: Chicago Bulls
  • 2021: Indiana Pacers

Beyond that? The Orlando Magic want an All-Star game, but they apparently struck out with upcoming selections.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said Sunday the Magic put in a bid to host the 2023 All-Star Weekend and have been informed by league officials that another location will be selected for that year.

The league asked for bids for the 2022 and 2023 All-Star Weekends, but Martins said the Magic couldn’t bid for the 2022 game because a major convention will be held in Orlando that same weekend, leaving the city with too few hotel rooms to also host All-Star Weekend.

Orlando hosted All-Star games in 2012 and 1992. I bet one will return there soon enough. It’s a warm-weather city with the infrastructure to host.

It just won’t be within the next half decade.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer: ‘I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in’

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The Clippers will probably miss the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference. But they’re also even further from landing a high draft pick. They’re in that middling position some teams find perilous.

But not Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times:

Ballmer also vowed that the Clippers won’t tank to get a better draft pick. “That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” he said. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”

The 76ers missed the playoffs five straight seasons, but they emerged from that self-inflicted drought with two franchise cornerstones – Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – and multiple other helpful pieces. The Process worked as intended.

But this is also why the NBA needn’t freak out about other teams replicating Sam Hinkie’s plan. Few have the stomach for it.

Ballmer doesn’t. The Clippers are trying to attract free agents. The better they are in the interim, the more credibility they’ll build.

Jordan Clarkson, Yao Ming keen observers at Asian Games basketball

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson watched from the bench, not quite able to make it to the Asian Games in time to play in the opening game for the Philippines.

Yao Ming was there, too, also keeping a close eye on the Philippines’ opening 96-59 win over Kazakhstan.

After getting a special exemption from the NBA to play for the Philippines in Jakarta, the US-born Clarkson should be ready to suit up for the next game against China. And that has the attention of ex-Houston Rockets and Chinese all-star center Yao.

Clarkson, one of three NBA players given an exemption by the league to play in Jakarta, said he had a frustrating time while his status for the tournament was being considered. The NBA also granted exemptions to Houston Rockets 7-foot-1 (2.17-meter) center Zhou Qi and Dallas Mavericks forward Ding Yanyuhang to play for China.

“We went back and forth so many times, saying I was going to play, then I wasn’t going to play,” the 6-5 (1.96-meter) Clarkson told Philippines’ reporters after Thursday’s game. “Now, being able to participate is awesome.

“I’m very excited to know that I’m finally getting to do this, being able to play … for the country. It’s definitely something that I’ve been looking forward to.”

Clarkson, who qualifies to play for the Philippines through his maternal grandmother, has four days to get familiar with “fun style of play.”

“I feel the support, the love all the time,” he said. “My grandma is real proud I’m able to do this now.”

The Philippines is playing a tournament for the first time since 10 players and two coaches were suspended following a wild brawl in a World Cup qualifier against Australia on July 2. Three Australian players were also suspended.

Video of the brawl was widely played around the world, with punches thrown, chairs tossed at players, and security needed to restore order.