NBA teams are increasingly using three, even four, versatile wings at once. Such lineups can spread the floor, play fast and switch.
But teams haven’t quite caught up to emphasizing wings in the draft. The top seven picks in our mock draft are bigs and point guards.
There are plenty of wings available lower in the draft, though. Is a team particularly intrigued by Boise State senior Chandler Hutchinson?
Jonathan Givony of ESPN:
Hutchinson is a 22-year-old who didn’t really excel until he became older than most of his mid-major-conference competition. I’m skeptical of any prospects of that rough mold.
Hutchinson impresses as a driver – particularly against closeouts or in transition. His strides are long, and he adeptly changes speeds and direction. He finishes well at the rim and even passes well while attacking.
But those opportunities to drive against closeouts won’t exist if his outside shot isn’t a threat. Though he’s significantly improved, his 3-pointer is not reliable. He’s far better on catch-and-shoots than hoisting off the dribble from deep, and he’ll likely eliminate those low-efficiency pull-up attempts while in a smaller role in the pros. So, that should help.
At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hutchinson has the physical to defend well in the NBA. But he’ll have a lot to learn after playing in Boise State’s zone.
Hutchinson has a projectable skill set for a league that increasingly desires players of his style. That ought to get him strong consideration. But becoming convinced he’s worth a first-round investment? That’s a tougher case.
Apparently, at least one team is sold, though.
Jimmy Butler is a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. For now.
The team confirmed on Sunday that Butler had practiced with the squad and is expected to play in Wednesday night’s opener against the San Antonio Spurs. However, according to a report from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, the team will continue to search for a trade partner for Butler moving forward.
This came as a revelation of a Sunday meeting between Butler and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.
Via The Athletic:
Three days before the start of the regular season, Taylor met with his disgruntled All-Star before practice, searching for some sort of understanding to calm the noise that has drowned out any sense of excitement for the upcoming season. In the meeting, Taylor and Butler came to an agreement, sources said: Taylor will continue to work diligently to find a trade as soon as possible. Until that happens, Butler will be a good teammate and play as hard as he always does.
With trade talks whisper-quiet at this point, neither side has much of a choice.
“They want me to go out here and hoop to the best of my abilities,” Butler said after practice on Sunday, his second workout with the team since he returned from an absence created by his trade request. “Make sure I’m healthy. Compete, ‘cause that’s what I love to do. Go up against the best, ‘cause that’s what I love to do. And do it for the guys that’s in the same jerseys as me.”
It’s not clear where Butler is most likely to go at this juncture. The reported deal with the Miami Heat seemed to be best deal available, but there has been mixed reporting about why things fell apart between the two teams.
It’s also not certain, at least from a distance, that the Wolves will try their hardest to move Butler. When Taylor decided to take over the trade negotiations and have teams bypass Tom Thibodeau, that seemed like the decisive move. However, Thibodeau is still involved in talks around Butler and he appears reticent to let his star go.
The Timberwolves were always going to be in trouble this season, and the drama surrounding Butler has only added to speculation about where Minnesota could end up this year. The team finally broke their playoff drought, but I would be hard-pressed to bet on them to make the postseason in 2018-19.
Kevin Hart and Dwyane Wade are friends, although the two have hammed it up for cameras over the years as purported enemies from time-to-time. The relationship between the two has always been jocular, and the recent joke Wade played on Hart was no different.
As Hart saw his way to Miami this past week to play a show in American Airlines Arena, Wade showed up to his team’s home building to give Hart a special gift.
Hart tried to play it off like the jersey was a gift for his son, Kenzo, who will turn 1 in November.
Looks like Kevin is the comedian but Dwyane’s the one who got jokes.
Ben Wallace was a four-time All-Star, four-time Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA champion with the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons. Wallace’s final season in the NBA was in 2011-12 during his second stint with Detroit, and since then he’s not been in the eye of the general public.
Wallace made nearly $90 million during his time in the NBA, and his retirement at age 37 should have set him up to find new challenges and enjoy the rest of his life. But according to Wallace, life without basketball was extremely difficult in the two years following his final NBA game.
In a recent article in The Undefeated, Wallace detailed his trip into depression in the years following his retirement. Wallace said that he lost weight, and felt as though he had no purpose.
Via The Undefeated:
“Basketball is sort of mind-controlling,” said Wallace. “It takes you on a journey of extreme highs and extreme lows. It almost makes you need it. One day I can go out and get 20 rebounds and tomorrow I can come out and get seven or eight. Now, you’re sort of waiting for the next time to prove yourself. When you retire, you start feeling left out, no one’s really checking on you, you ain’t getting no phone calls that you used to get. Then you start to get low, but there’s no game tomorrow to lift you up, so you just keep sinking and sinking.”
Wallace has since rebounded from his darkest days, seeking out help through friends and re-involving himself with basketball. Wallace reached out to the likes of Rick Carlisle, Mike Woodson, and Doc Rivers, all of whom helped him dip his toes back into organized basketball.
Wallace is now part-owner and chairman of a G-League team, the Grand Rapids Drive, and stays busy as the owner of an RC car company.
The stigma around mental health discussions in the NBA has slowly started to fade with the help of several current stars. It’s great to see Wallace speak about his problems openly, and that he’s been able to find new purpose in his life.
Lance Stephenson is already mixing things up in Los Angeles. The Lakers wing got into an altercation with Golden State Warriors backup Quinn Cook during a preseason game this week, and was ejected after throwing a punch at Cook’s head.
Meanwhile, the NBA reviewed the tape and determined that no other discipline would be necessary, including any toward Stephen Curry or DeMarcus Cousins.
Ever vigilant, a league is particularly sensitive to players leaving the bench area during an altercation ever since Game 4 of the 2007 playoff series between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs in which Robert Horry hip check Steve Nash into the scores table.
The league review the tape and found that both Curry and Cousins took steps off their bench. However, neither will be suspended thanks to how the league views the actual dust-up between Stephenson and Cook.
The two stars will not be reprimanded because the league did not deem the activity of Lakers guard Lance Stephenson and Warriors guard Quinn Cook as being an “altercation,” sources said.
Had Curry been disciplined, he would have been forced to sit out Tuesday’s anticipated season-opener at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Cousins would have served his suspension once he returned from an Achilles injury.
What this appears to mean is that the league saw the ejection as a one-sided swing from Stephenson and nothing more.
Plus, it would be hard to imagine the season starting without Curry on the floor for the Warriors.