Michael Porter Jr. is the mystery in this draft. A year ago he was considered a likely top two pick for this draft class — a 6’10” athlete who can score around the basket and knock down threes — but then he missed most of the season at Missouri due to a back injury that forced a microdiscectomy surgery. The questions about his health remain, as do questions about how much he loves the game and how much work he would put in to reach his full potential.
Yet every year at the draft teams (and fans) fall in love with the potential of the unknown. We have a better sense of who DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson Jr. are and could be (even though any draft is always a risk), but Porter Jr. is the unknown. His cancellation of a workout for teams Friday in Chicago adds to that mystery. He’s high risk but high reward.
The Kings may be willing to take that gamble at No. 2, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.
Amick is a former Kings beat writer who lives in the area still and is well connected in Sacramento. With a week to go before the NBA Draft, take every report and rumor you hear with a grain of salt. In some cases, the whole box of Morton’s Kosher salt. But this one deserves to be given some weight, and the Kings are nothing if not unpredictable.
We know the Suns are expected to take DeAndre Ayton No. 1. After that, it’s the Sacramento Kings and it’s wide open. Luka Doncic is probably the safest pick here — he’s a ball-handling forward who understands how to run a pick-and-roll and is a gifted passer who has already been putting up numbers against men in Europe’s top league — but the ceiling for Bagley is considered by many scouts to be higher. Same with Porter, although he comes with higher risks.
The Kings have drafted a lot of bigs in recent years — Skal Labissiere, Harry Giles, Willie Cauley-Stein — but they are at a point in the latest rebuild that they just need to get more talent. Take the best player available regardless of position, develop that talent, and figure out how to fit all the pieces together later. Watch the NBA’s elite (like that team just a 90-minute drive from Sacramento down the 80) and you see talent wins out in this league. The Kings need a lot more of it. And they need to hit on this pick because they don’t have their first rounder next year.
NBA players like to talk a big game about getting into fights with one another. It rarely actually happens, and when things get a little too heated sometimes we get a little extracurricular activity that helps us weave the tapestry that is the story of the NBA.
As the Minnesota Timberwolves took on the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, Gorgui Dieng and Devin Booker decided to have a little chat with one another. The two got into a jawing match after a play in the third quarter when Dieng elbowed Booker in the face.
Booker took exception to that and decided to start flapping his gums at Dieng. Both were ejected after official review, and as they exited to opposite sides of the floor, Booker appeared to make eye contact with Dieng and accept an offer to meet him in the concourse under the stands that lead to the locker rooms.
The Suns guard then had to be restrained from running at full speed to meet Dieng.
Devin Booker vs. Gorgui Dieng is the bitter rivalry you didn’t know you needed.
New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis hurt his hand against the Portland Trail Blazers earlier last week. Initial reports had Davis missing 1-2 weeks with a sprained finger.
Now it appears things could be much worse.
Reports surfaced on Tuesday night that Davis could be facing a potential fracture in his left index finger. If that’s the case, Davis could miss anywhere from 2-4 weeks with a more serious injury.
The Pelicans cannot afford to have Davis out for that amount of time. The team has not met expectations this season, and are struggling to stay in playoff contention as we near the All-Star break.
If Davis is going to miss significant time, now is probably the best place in the NBA calendar. The real problem is that the Pelicans won’t be able to stay afloat without him. Even with Davis on the floor, New Orleans has struggled to win recent games against top Western Conference opponents like the Blazers and Golden State Warriors.
It’s probably too much to extrapolate this into what this could mean for Davis staying with the Pelicans, but it’s natural to wonder whether a missed postseason could push Davis to ask for a trade out of Louisiana.
If he’s not on the floor, the Pelicans probably aren’t winning games without Davis. That could spell disaster for their playoff hopes, and in turn, alter the future of the franchise.
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has often let his emotions get the better of him. Green famously missed Game 5 of the NBA finals in 2016 after he repeatedly kicked LeBron James in the crotch.
Meanwhile, things have been heated in the Golden State locker room like never before. It’s bubbled over to the public sphere, with Kevin Durant and Green seemingly at odds at different times during this year.
Things seem to have studied in the meantime, particularly after Stephen Curry returned to the lineup At the beginning of December. But Durant and Green are still trying to find a way to work together to win another championship in the Bay Area.
According to a story from The Athletic, that meant a challenge from Durant to Green to maintain his emotions and to keep himself in check.
Via The Athletic:
Durant told Green he wasn’t accepting the emotional excuse. Green’s fire is what makes him great even if it also makes him volatile. But Durant wasn’t buying that it’s uncontrollable. He’s seen Green control it. He’s seen him keep his composure in the crucible of championship stakes. He’s seen him locked in and focused, forcing his emotions to submit to his will.
So Durant challenged him to be better. Green accepted.
Green has had a down year and it’s not clear Why that is. Is he simply aging? Or is this more due to the internal strife in the Warriors locker room?
No matter what, Golden State will need a semblance of the old Draymond Green to win NBA title this year. This agreeent between the two stars should be helpful both in healing their wounds and moving toward their shared goal.
These guys might not ever fully reconcile, but another championship ring could act as a salve.
There’s not much to cheer about at Madison Square Garden these days. Kristaps Porzingis is still not playing for the New York Knicks, and it’s not clear whether the team will land a big free agent like Kevin Durant this summer or strike out and continue their run of dismal play.
As such, it makes sense that New York fans are trying to keep themselves entertained, and that includes during Knicks games.
When the Oklahoma City Thunder came to town on Monday night, fans in Manhattan found themselves cheering for a former Knicks player on the Thunder bench. With the game out of reach, it only seemed appropriate.
In the fourth quarter, MSG started a chant for Raymond Felton, who played for the Knicks for three seasons over two stays. As cheers rained down from the stands, even Paul George got involved in the action.
George scored 31 points as the Thunder rolled New York, 127-109.