Anthony Edwards goes No. 1 over LaMelo Ball in Rising Stars draft

Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball at Charlotte Hornets v Minnesota Timberwolves
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Remember when the NBA didn’t televise the All-Star draft, defeating the best purpose of an All-Star draft?

The league committed a similar own goal with the new Rising Stars draft.

Even with the star power of NBA legends Isiah Thomas, Rick Barry, Gary Payton and James Worthy selecting from the 28-player pool, the Rising Stars draft wasn’t televised. Initially, the league announced only the four rosters in alphabetical order.

But, unlike that first All-Star draft, at least the NBA eventually revealed the full draft results. Here are all 28 picks with where each player was selected in our Rising Stars mock draft in brackets:

Round 1

1 [2]. Isiah Thomas: Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves)

2 [4]. Ricky Barry: Evan Mobley (Cavaliers)

3 [1]. Gary Payton: LaMelo Ball (Hornets)

4. [12] James Worthy: Cole Anthony (Magic)

Round 2

5 [10]. James Worthy: Josh Giddey (Thunder)

6 [7]. Gary Payton: Scottie Barnes (Raptors)

7 [6]. Ricky Barry: Cade Cunningham (Pistons)

8 [14]. Isiah Thomas: Saddiq Bey (Pistons)

Round 3

9 [3]. Isiah Thomas: Desmond Bane (Grizzlies)

10 [8]. Ricky Barry: Franz Wagner (Magic)

11 [19]. Gary Payton: Jaden McDaniels (Timberwolves)

12 [15]. James Worthy: Jalen Green (Rockets)

Round 4

13 [16]. James Worthy: Herbert Jones (Pelicans)

14 [21]. Gary Payton: Ayo Dosunmu (Bulls)

15 [11]. Ricky Barry: Jae'Sean Tate (Rockets)

16. [23] Isiah Thomas: Isaiah Stewart (Pistons)

Round 5

17 [5]. Isiah Thomas: Tyrese Haliburton (Kings)

18 [17]. Ricky Barry: Isaac Okoro (Cleveland Cavaliers)

19 [13]. Gary Payton: Chris Duarte (Pacers)

20 [20]. James Worthy: Jalen Suggs (Magic)

Round 6

21 [9]. James Worthy: Tyrese Maxey (76ers)

22 [22]. Gary Payton: Davion Mitchell (Kings)

23 [18]. Ricky Barry: Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

24 [24]. Isiah Thomas: Precious Achiuwa (Raptors)

Round 7

25 [25]. Isiah Thomas: Jaden Hardy (Ignite)

26 [27]. Ricky Barry: Dyson Daniels (Ignite)

27 [26]. Gary Payton: Scoot Henderson (Ignite)

28 [28]. James Worthy: MarJon Beauchamp (Ignite)

Thoughts and observations:

  • I thought LaMelo Ball was a near-automatic No. 1 pick. His lead-guard skills, flashiness and overall level of play make him a great choice for Rising Stars. If anyone could challenge him for top pick, it was Anthony Edwards, whom Isiah Thomas did take No. 1. But Ball falling to No. 3 is surprising.
  • Cole Anthony going No. 4 would have made sense two months ago. But he has struggled since an ankle injury, shooting 38% on 2-pointers and 25% on 3-pointers in his last 15 games. Still, Anthony has the talent and mentality to justify this pick in the bright lights of All-Star Weekend.
  • How did Desmond Bane fall to No. 9? He, Edwards and Ball were the only Rising Stars getting serious All-Star consideration this year. Plus, Bane’s 3-point shooting and newfound driving ability make him a good fit for this event.
  • Another good NBA player who shoots well from the perimeter, Tyrese Haliburton lasted all the way to No. 17. He would’ve been a great fit on any roster and also should’ve gone much higher.
  • Isiah Thomas cleaned up on both Bane and Haliburton. Tom Haberstroh once rated Thomas the NBA’s best-drafting general manager for his time with the Raptors and Knicks.
  • Tyrese Maxey is a solid starting NBA point guard. That goes a long way in an exhibition of rookies and sophomores. A bonus: Maxey can create his own shot pretty well. Yet, he fell to No. 21.
  • Precious Achiuwa went last among NBA players in both our mock and the actual draft.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.