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John Calipari against adding third round to NBA draft: ‘You’re trying to ruin college basketball’

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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he could see the NBA adding a third round to its draft.

Kentucky coach John Calipari loathes that idea.

Calipari, via Alex Scarborough of ESPN:

“If anybody supports more rounds in the draft, those more rounds are to get kids to go to the G League, you do not care about college basketball or you’re trying to ruin college basketball,” Calipari said.

“After two years they don’t perform, what? The NBA is going to take care of them and hire them? No. It’s entertainment. You’re done,” Calipari said.

“If they’re not going to the NBA, if we’re really about young people, we should encourage them to go to college,” he said. “And the reason is their way out is through education. Their way to break through to the American dream is education.”

The most overlooked and most important aspect of this debate: The draft is an anti-labor mechanism.

Sure, players get dressed up and celebrate getting picked. They treat it as an honor.

But the draft serves to limit players and give power to teams.

Drafted players can negotiate a contract with only one NBA team. They can’t use other NBA teams for leverage. First-rounders must follow a strict salary scale, which caps wages well below market value.

I estimate about 90% of first-round picks would receive better contracts as undrafted free agents. The proof is in NBA teams’ repeated willingness to pay the rookie scale.

It’s a myth that first-round picks receive guaranteed salaries. If signed, they get two years of guaranteed salary. But the drafting team doesn’t have to offer a contract at all.

Yet, nearly every team is eager to pay a first-rounder what the scale dictates. In the rare times a team isn’t, it’s easy enough to find another team that is and trade the pick.

Only once has a team ever renounced a first-rounder rather than trying to sign him. The Bulls did with No. 29 pick Travis Knight in 1996.

If teams could pay more to secure to secure a first-round-caliber player, it stands to reason they often would. But they don’t have to bid against each other.

The anti-player effects of exclusive rights also extend the second round. It’s a cloudier picture there, because so many teams draft someone in the second round contingent on him agreeing to contract terms beforehand. So, second-round-grade players do get more power over the process. However, the threat always looms of getting drafted by an undesirable team and being forced to negotiate with only that team. That presses some second-round prospects into less-than-ideal, but not-worst-case-scenario, arrangements.

There’s always more flexibility with going undrafted. Beyond an anchoring effect of teams favoring players they drafted, there’s also more favorable contracts with going undrafted.

So, a third round would get treated as more opportunities. Players love getting drafted, and 30 more players would get drafted. But there aren’t more opportunities. NBA regular-season rosters are still limited to 15 standard contracts and two two-way contracts.

There’d just be more players facing the limitation of exclusive bargaining rights.

The players union shouldn’t agree to more draft rounds… without getting concessions in return.

As the NBA’s minor league expands to each team having its own affiliate, I envision NBA teams holding the NBA rights of its minor leaguers. Currently, players signed to minor-league contracts are NBA free agents. The only way to get players to agree to relinquish their freedom in that way is with higher minor-league salaries, which I believe are coming.

The best way to stock those minor-league affiliates might be through a longer NBA draft.

At that point, teams could decide how long to invest in those fringe players. Maybe it’ll be two years. Maybe it’ll be longer. I doubt there’d be a hard-and-fast rule.

College-basketball eligibility comes with a four-year limit.

We shouldn’t treat college basketball as sacrosanct. The NCAA is a cartel that caps players’ compensation. Maybe that will change. But until it does, major college sports are ruining themselves while coaches and administrators hoard money for themselves.

If the NBA develops a minor-league and longer-draft system that appeals to players, that’d be great. Elite prospects deserve better options.

The onus should be on college basketball to keep up – not complain about competition.

Mike Conley sinks backcourt shot… in middle of first quarter (video)

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The Jazz got off to a rough start offensively this season. They still haven’t figured out everything.

But when this shot is falling, it feels a lot better.

During its win over the Warriors last night, Utah had a pass deflected into the backcourt. That left Mike Conley only a couple seconds to make something happen, and he delivered by sinking a 50-footer.

Best I can tell (shot-distance data is unreliable), this was the first made backcourt shot that wasn’t an end-of-quarter heave since Kyrie Irving in 2015:

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry touches live ball (video)

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This hasn’t been a great year for NBA coaches staying out of the way.

First, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra – mistakenly believing a timeout had been called – went onto the court during play. He tried to run off, but he wasn’t quick enough to avoid a technical foul.

Then, last night, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker threw an off-target pass past James Harden. The ball rolled all the way to the backcourt and was headed out of bounds… when Pelicans coach Gentry stepped onto the court to scoop it up.

AT&T SportsNet Southwest:

Gentry was just trying to save time. But, of course, that was a technical foul.

After 1-of-11 shooting, Kristaps Porzingis not mad he was benched to end game

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With 9:04 left in the game Monday night in Boston, Kristaps Porzingis picked up his fifth personal foul. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle subbed him out.

Porzingis never saw the floor again.

After a 1-of-11 shooting night when Porzingis had more fouls (five) than points (four), Carlisle went with what was working better against the Celtics and gave his team a chance to win. After the game, Porzingis was asked about being benched for crunch time and he was not blaming his coach. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“Of course I want to be out there, but can’t blame him,” Porzingis said. “I wasn’t having a great game. I’m all-in for whatever’s best for the team. If the coach thinks he’d rather have me out and have someone else in that’s having a better game, let’s do it if we can win a basketball game. That’s the most important thing, but going forward, I want to make sure I’m out there.”

Porzingis has struggled to find his form to start the season — something that shouldn’t be a surprise for a guy who went 19 months without playing competitive basketball following his torn ACL. He’s averaging 18.3 points per game but is shooting just 40.1 percent overall (but 37.5 percent from three).

The issue has been consistency — he’s had nights like the 32 against Portland, but in games where Luka Doncic is dominating the ball, Porzingis has faded away rather than asserted himself into the contest. When he’s had smaller players switched onto him, he has not been an overpowering force, but rather has settled for jumpers over them (and he can shoot a jumper over almost anyone). He’s being a bit passive.

It’s far too early to have serious concerns about Porzingis — again, he just missed 19 months of competitive basketball. And development. Of course this was going to take time. However, if things don’t improve as the season moves along then Mavericks fans should start to worry a little. The Mavericks have gone all-in on the Doncic/Porzingis combo and need it to work.

 

Stephen Curry says he will play this season, hopes to play “in early spring”

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry “definitely” plans to return this season from his broken left hand and is hoping to be back on the court at “some point in early spring.”

When exactly the two-time NBA MVP will be able to play again remains uncertain, but he expects to be back out there.

Curry addressed the media Monday night for the first time since getting injured Oct. 30 and said he needs a second surgery on his non-shooting hand, probably in early December, to remove pins that were inserted during the first procedure Nov. 1 that involved his hand and index finger.

“(Managing the) swelling is something that’s going to be of the utmost priority early in the rehab process,” Curry said, “to get me a chance to come back and get my range of motion back pretty quickly.”

The Warriors initially said Curry would be re-evaluated three months after the surgery, which would be early February.

Curry referred to himself and injured teammate Klay Thompson as “caged animals right now, wanting to be unleashed.”

Thompson, the other part of Golden State’s Splash Brothers combo, is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The team hopes he can return in the second half of the season.

Curry said he experienced some minor nerve irritation shortly after he underwent his first hand surgery, a common byproduct of the procedure. That’s one thing doctors will continue to monitor throughout his rehab process, and it will impact when he can return.

For now, Curry is working out his lower body and doing whatever training is permitted by the team’s medical staff, saying he’s using this three-month period without basketball as a “mini offseason” to fine-tune his body.

The Warriors’ longest-tenured player had praise for his teammates, who took the court Monday night against Utah with a 2-8 record that was tied with the New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans for the worst in the NBA.

Curry described rookie Eric Paschall‘s energy as contagious and said the play of new guard D'Angelo Russell has been “unreal.” Asked what the benefits would be for he and Thompson to return to the court this season if it was only for the final few weeks, Curry had an answer.

“Just to understand the chemistry with the young guys,” he said. “We can play around with rotations and just get a vibe of what the following season, when we’re all healthy, looks like.”