LAS VEGAS — There’s very little everyone seems to agree on at the NBA’s annual convention in the summer heat, disguised as Summer League. For example, as a combination of 15 executives, scouts or media members about what is up with Kawhi Leonard and you will get 15 different answers. To a lesser extent, the same is true of opinions on rookies here such as Trae Young or Deandre Ayton.
But there is one thing everyone seems to agree on:
Carmelo Anthony is going to be a Houston Rocket.
Everyone I have spoken to in Vegas sees this as bordering on inevitable. This note from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin added to that.
With the Bulls matching the offer on Zach LaVine, there is no reasonable trade destination for Anthony, so it’s only a question of what combination of buyout and stretch the Thunder and Anthony agree to. Once that happens, Anthony will start negotiating. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer put it this way.
Any other team I’ve heard mentioned usually came after something like “if things fell apart with Houston…”
There’s also a lot of questions about fit.
Anthony can still get buckets, and in that sense Houston can use him. He hit 35.7 percent from three last season, he can space the floor as a shooter, and the Rockets are am isolation heavy team, and isolations/post-ups accounted for 32.5 percent of Anthony’s possessions last season. He’s still reasonably efficient on those.
But Anthony still stops the ball on offense (Chris Paul and James Harden like isolation but pass out of it), and ‘Melo can’t defend well enough to just be plugged in for the Phoenix-bound Trevor Ariza or Clippers-bound Luc Mbah-a-Moute. Anthony will get targeted on switches and played off the floor at the end of games (as well as the playoffs).
Houston’s margin for error against the Warriors was already small, and it just got smaller.
The NBA is determined to salvage what they can of the 2019-20 season. That includes drastically adjusting the playoff schedule per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Among proposals being considered are best-of-three playoff series. The NBA has all but rejected a single-game elimination tournament. That would only be considered as a last resort per Berman.
One of the proposals on the table is gathering the entire league in one site to conclude the season. This proposal would involve playing games without fans present, but televising the contests. That would involve a 5-to-7 game regular season, followed by the playoffs.
Sites rumored to be under consideration are Las Vegas, Orlando, Hawaii, Atlantic City, Louisville and the Bahamas. Any site would have to have basketball facilities, as well as well as plenty of room to house the teams in a closed environment.
One league official was quoted by Berman as saying “Nothing is off the table.” Another told Berman “They’re very determined to have a champion.”
These days, the Milwaukee Bucks are the beneficiaries of Kyle Korver’s three-point shooting prowess.
But back on March 30, 2015, Korver was wearing an Atlanta Hawks Jersey when he destroyed the Bucks. Korver exploded for 11 points in one minute during the third quarter. The only reason it wasn’t 12 points is his foot was on the line on one shot.
This video is a reminder of why Korver is so dangerous to this day (even if he has lost half a step). He runs the floor hard and gets to his spots, he’s constantly moving to get open, and once open his quick release means he doesn’t need much room to get a shot off. Defenders always have to always account for him — in transition, on the weakside, wherever he is you can’t leave him.
If you do, he can rack up points fast.
NBA owners and players are reportedly united on finishing the season or, as Adrian Wojnarowski put it, “finding a way to be able to crown a champion this season.”
Where does that leave the Warriors, the only team eliminated from the playoff race before coronavirus forced a league-wide stoppage?
Golden State coach Steve Kerr on “The Full 48,” via Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“Look, for us, our season is basically over,” Kerr said. “If the league was somehow to start up again, it’s very unlikely we would be playing regular-season games given that they’d be in such a time crunch. Who knows?
“But I’m feeling for all the teams in the fight, in the thick of it for a championship, that are in the playoff race, teams that have put so much into this, and this was obviously a year for us where we were trying to get healthy, trying to develop some young guys. So I’m not concerned about our guys, our team. I feel sorry for the teams that are kind of in limbo right now.”
There’s chatter about resuming play with a play-in tournament and postseason in Las Vegas. The league could be sharing plans internally. Kerr could be proven right. It’s certainly possible Kerr was even already told the Warriors are finished with the regular season.
But I don’t share his prediction.
There’s a lot of money to be made by holding more regular-season games, especially for high-revenue teams like Golden State.
This was a gap year for the Warriors. They’re clearly ready to move on.
But Stephen Curry is healthy again. By the time the hiatus ends, Klay Thompson might be cleared. With other stars on the court, Draymond Green could be more engaged. Though there would be limits on Golden State’s competitiveness, that team would be a draw that could help stuff the league’s coffers.
As Kerr said, there are unprecedented timing issues. Yet, every game is a revenue opportunity. That matters, too.
Devin Vassell declared for the NBA draft from Florida State.
Now, Patrick Williams is following.
Evan Daniels of 247Sports:
Florida State freshman Patrick Williams is declaring for the NBA Draft and plans to forgo his remaining eligibility, he tells 247Sports.
“I decided to do it because I think my game isn’t NBA ready, but I have the potential to be NBA ready,” Williams explained. “I think with development and support and everything else on that level, I can eventually can be a really good NBA player.”
That’s an interesting self-assessment – one more players should take. Williams has the tools to project as a mid-first-round pick. As he said, he needs to develop. But he can do that while earning an NBA salary rather than being stuck in the NCAA’s cartel system. There’s no good case that college teams develop young players better than NBA teams, anyway.
It’s unclear whether Williams (6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan) will settle in as more for a small forward or power forward. Probably power forward. But if his ball skills develop, he has potential as a small forward, a position in higher demand around the league.
As the NBA has embraced smaller lineups, rim protection – once more of a shared frontcourt responsibility – has increasingly fallen onto centers. Williams would help from either forward spot. He’s an energetic and athletic defender with good timing for blocking shots.
He needs work as a shooter. Williams has shown some ability running pick-and-rolls and creating mid-rangers for himself off the dribble. But he’s not consistent enough, and he’s far too poor of a distributor to have the ball much. His best offense comes when opportunistically taking advantage of his athleticism with cuts and alley-oop finishes.
Still, Williams shows enough flashes of more offensively to be intrigued. His defense is already more developed.
That combination is why he can feel confident about getting drafted high enough to enjoy the spoils of NBA life.