Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 11:00am
When Anthony Davis demanded a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers immediately jumped out as a frontrunner to land the former Wildcat.
At the time, the connections made sense. Davis has reportedly been friends with Lakers star LeBron James for several years now, both parties share the same agent, and each team has trade pieces that the other would likely be interested in. For the Lakers, they can pair Davis and James together to give the franchise two of the top five players in the league. For the Pelicans, a mix of young talent in Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and draft picks, giving them a solid jump to their rebuild.
While it seemed to be a solid trade match, the Pelicans refused to entertain any trade offers from Los Angeles throughout the season and at the deadline. The strong-arm tactics used by former team president Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka, and Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, reportedly rubbed the team the wrong way and they had no interest in giving the Lakers the superstar they were looking for.
When the Lakers received the No. 4 pick at the NBA Draft Lottery this past week, however, most assumed that prized piece added to the team’s assets would give the Pelicans no choice but to reevaluate their stance on Los Angeles as a potential trade partner. Under newly-hired general manager David Griffin, they’d have to accept the trade offer they felt was best overall, regardless of franchise, right?
Well, not exactly.
According to veteran journalist Jackie MacMullen, New Orleans won’t be backing off from their stance on the issue. In fact, she says there is “scuttlebutt” that owner Gayle Benson will only trade Davis to the Lakers “over [her] dead body.”
“We have been told, I think, through channels — most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt,” MacMullen said on the Hoop Collective podcast with NBA insider Brian Windhorst, “that Gayle Benson has basically told [Anthony Davis], ‘To the Lakers, over my dead body.’”
WDSU reporter Fletcher Mackel talked to Benson, who refuted the phrasing of the report, saying it was “completely untrue” and “absurd” that she wouldn’t look at the best available option for her franchise.
That being said, MacMullen is known as one of the most well-connected reporters in the NBA and is not known for discussing rumors and speculation unless she is certain there is at least some bit of truth to them. With all of the tension during trade discussions – or lack thereof – this season, it’d be silly to think the New Orleans front office is ecstatic about the opportunity to speak with the Lakers again.
While the ultimate goal for David Griffin is to convince Davis to rethink his trade request and play with Zion Williamson in New Orleans moving forward, Shams Charania of The Athletic has already reported that the former Wildcat isn’t backing down.
The New Orleans Pelicans are now set up to be Zion Williamson’s franchise to lift, and No. 1 pick could ease potential trade of Anthony Davis. His stance on a trade has not changed, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 15, 2019
According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, if the Pelicans can’t convince Davis to return, they will reach out to the Celtics about a potential deal. With trade assets such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier (via sign and trade), and a plethora of draft picks, there is likely something in Boston’s treasure chest of pieces that is appealing to the Pelicans and their upcoming rebuild.
There have been reports that Davis hasn’t moved from that stance, and if such is the case, sources here told the Herald the Pelicans will reach out to the Celtics as the most obvious trade partner. The Celts may still not be sure about a deal because it’s not known yet what the Pels will want in return for the All-Star, but there seems to be a belief that they’d be able to work things out.
A trade is going to happen in the coming months, but where?
By Zack Geoghegan on ©May 17th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
Good afternoon, folks. Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins could both be out until Game 5 of the WCF. Let’s talk NBA Playoffs.
(3) Trail Blazers – 111 @ (1) Warriors – 114 (GSW leads 2-0)
- Depending on how the rest of this series goes, we might not see Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins suit up for the Warriors until the NBA Finals. Both players are scheduled to be reevaluated in one week and could be cleared by then. However, their team might not even need them. After Golden State overcame a 15-point halftime deficit in Game 2 without those two All-Stars – one of them being a former MVP – it’s hard to imagine this series going the distance. As of April 19, according to Oddshark, only 20 NBA teams have come back to win a series after losing the first two games. Out of a possible 282 examples, that’s a little over seven percent of the time. Factoring in that the Warriors are the Warriors and my hope for Portland wanes. They had to steal Game 2 on the road, and they damn near did it.
- Because as I said, the Blazers held a 15-point lead at halftime. Damian Lillard didn’t even score a point through the first 20 minutes of the game and the Portland bench was in a rhythm. Everyone from Al-Farouq Aminu (nine points, six rebounds) to Seth Curry (16 points, four made triples) to Mo Harkless (12 points, four rebounds) made an impact in this game, most of it coming in the first half. CJ McCollum dropped 16 points through the first two quarters and the team as a whole couldn’t miss from deep.
- But if you’ve watched the Warriors over the past few years, you’d know how much they adore third-quarter runs where they suck the heart and soul out of its opponents with a barrage of triples and Draymond Green alley-oops. Golden State posted 39 points in the third compared to only 24 from Portland. 13 of Klay Thompson’s 24 points came in that period. Steph Curry finished with 37 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Despite his brother, Seth, knocking down a massive three-pointer to give Portland a one-point lead with only a minute left, the elder Curry got the best of his sibling at the final buzzer. Andre Iguodala stripped Lillard on a would-be game-tying triple and immediately sprinted to the locker room in disbelief of his own greatness.
Iggy with the game winning steal ? ? pic.twitter.com/bjZkKYArBv
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 17, 2019
Andre Iguodala looking at his hands as he runs back ‘AY, THESE MOTHA F*CKAS IS CRAZY’ ??? pic.twitter.com/ThBVBPtrK0
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 17, 2019
- Enes Kanter played only 19 minutes and was the only Blazer who didn’t look comfortable. Whether or not he’s just going through a rough period, struggling with playing while fasting, or just not a good matchup against the Warriors, Kanter has not played up to expectations through two games. The former Kentucky big posted four points and five rebounds, missing a good chunk of the second half. ESPN’s Doris Burke said that Kanter couldn’t even take a sip of water until the sun had officially gone down, which didn’t happen until around 8:20 P.M. on the West Coast. But Portland still needs everything it can get from Kanter (especially since backup center Zach Collins registered five fouls in only eight minutes) no matter what his production level is. He’s a big body that has shown his competitiveness can allow him to at least survive on defense and he’s been a reliable safety valve for Lillard/McCollum under the basket. I don’t know how he’s going to be able to do it without water/food/energy, but it only makes me want to root harder for him whenever he does step on the court. I respect the hell out of Kanter for what he’s doing both on and off the court during the most important playoff run of his career. There’s a lot to be said about a man who is that committed to what he believes in. It’s admirable.
- Game 3 will head to Portland and tip-off on Saturday night at 9:00 P.M. EST on ESPN.
|Enes Kanter (POR)||111-114 L @ GSW||4||2-3 (0-0)||5||0||1||1||2||+4||19|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||114-111 W vs. POR||DNP-Quad||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||111-114 L @ GSW||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
8:30 (TNT): Raptors (Meeks) @ Bucks (Bledsoe) (MIL leads 1-0)
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 16th, 2019 @ 9:30pm
Back on April 15, former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins fell to the floor with a non-contact left quad injury in Golden State’s opening-round Playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers.
At the time, initial reports claimed that the injury was “serious” and there was “significant concern” that he tore it.
A little less than a month later, new reports surfaced that while the former Wildcat did indeed tear his quad, he was making incredible progress and that there was a chance he could return to action in the Western Conference Finals.
“DeMarcus Cousins — if he maintains his recent progress from a torn quad — is on course to make a return to the Warriors’ active roster during the Western Conference Finals,” Marc Stein of the New York Times reported.
While that was certainly a positive report for a player whose injury luck has been tough over the last year and a half, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr slowed down the hype of Boogie’s return this evening.
“DeMarcus is coming along, he’s starting to do some work on the floor” Kerr said. “He’s not exactly close to playing in a game, but he’s making good strides with his rehab.”
Here was the entire clip:
"He's not exactly close to playing in a game."
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 17, 2019
The Warriors PR department then released an official injury update on Cousins, saying that the former Wildcat has “progressed to on-court work, but is still not ready for live action.”
He will be re-evaluated again in one week.
Depending on what happens in Golden State’s current Western Conference Finals matchup with the Portland Trailblazers, it’s looking like Cousins will be returning to action for the NBA Finals.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 16th, 2019 @ 5:30pm
Keldon Johnson spent several minutes on ESPN’s NBA Combine set Thursday evening as part of the network’s four-hour coverage of the combine. He joined host Maria Taylor and analysts Jay Bilas and Mike Schmitz to talk about all things Keldon Johnson. I do not have the video, but I can tell you a little bit about what he said.
Johnson kicked things off by describing his lone year in Lexington. He said, “It was amazing, to be honest. I think that I learned a lot playing for Coach Cal and from Coach Kenny Payne. I think they really groomed me into a great player and I can’t thank them enough for having me that one year and they really made it the best year I can think of.”
In that one year at Kentucky, Johnson thinks his consistent shooting stood out and put him in position to be a first-round pick this summer.
“Coming in, everybody considered me as a slasher,” Johnson said. “I really showed I can shoot the ball. Now I just have to continue to hit shots and stay locked in and keep working on my handle.”
He also considers his ability to guard multiple positions and rebound as two positive aspects of his game. The willingness to go inside and rebound comes from getting pick on by two older brothers, he said, “but I’m the big one now.”
As for what he will bring to an NBA franchise, Johnson said, “I bring a high energy. I play hard on both ends of the court. I think I give it all I got when I get there.”
I turned off the TV when they started breaking down film of Johnson from the Duke game. Too soon, ESPN.
If video of the interview emerges, I’ll put it right here (minus the Duke game part).
Good afternoon, folks. Apologies for the BBNBA hiatus, I’ve been away for a few days but now I’m back and I’m never going away. Time to recap what we missed during the first two games of the Conference Finals. Let’s talk NBA Playoffs.
(3) Trail Blazers – 94 @ (1) Warriors – 116 (GSW leads 1-0)
- Game 1 of this game took place on Tuesday night, but since I didn’t cover it, I’m going to do so now just so we’re all caught up.
- Starting with some DeMarcus Cousins talk. There’s been scuttlebutt spreading that Cousins might be returning for the Western Conference Finals (along with injured superstar Kevin Durant) but Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has since dispelled that.
- “I think everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff,” Kerr said Monday afternoon, according to Yahoo! Sports. “He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet … DeMarcus is probably similar. He hasn’t had any live stuff on the court yet. He’s not that close either. Hopefully, another week goes by and he’ll get better and now we have a better prognosis but at this point, we’re getting ready for this series without both of them.”
- But nevermind the fact that neither Cousins or Durant might play in this series. The Warriors still dominated the Blazers in Game 1 behind a magical 36-point performance from the two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry. Klay Thompson wasn’t far behind him with 26 points of his own. Curry finished with nine triples and a 22-point Warriors win at Oracle Arena.
- Enes Kanter finished with only 10 points (to go along with 16 rebounds) in 29 minutes. Kanter is currently fasting while observing Ramadan.
- The duo of Curry and Thompson thoroughly outplayed the Blazers backcourt pairing of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined to shoot only 11-31 from the field. It’s only the first game – and if the Milwaukee-Boston series taught us anything it’s that Game 1s can be misleading – but it was easy to tell who the better team was. Even without two All-Stars, Golden State is a superpower. Without Durant splitting ballhandling responsibilities with Curry, the team once again runs through the 6-foot-3 point guard. The Warriors are almost more fun to watch, too, in a weird way. Curry is a spectacle while Durant is reliable. No one cares (or hardly notices) Durant when he’s putting up 10 points every quarter without breaking a sweat. It’s the tantalizing way that Curry seemingly warps entire defenses into his airspace that makes his brilliance that much more fun to watch. Even if Portland gets blown out again in Game 2 (although they’ll surely get a better outing from Lillard), this game will still be exciting. If the Warriors win by 20, that means Curry was on another level. And if he plays poorly and the Blazers steal a win? Well, then this series will get 100 times more interesting.
(2) Raptors – 100 @ (1) Bucks – 108 (MIL leads 1-0)
- A 10-0 run to close the game by Milwaukee resulted in an 8-point win for the Bucks over the Raptors in Game 1.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a modest 24 points and 14 rebounds while Brook Lopez surprised everyone after a poor series against the Celtics. Lopez added 29 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks for Milwaukee as they outscored Toronto by 15 in the fourth quarter.
- Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry both dropped at least 30 points, but it was Lowry – the man typically associated with a lack of playoff production – that shot 5-7 from the field in the final period. His teammates, including Leonard, shot 0-15 in those last 12 minutes.
- Milwaukee trailed for over three-quarters worth of game time, yet came up with enough stops in the fourth to pull out the Game 1 victory. Toronto is now 3-15 all-time in Game 1s as a franchise.
- Eric Bledsoe did not have a great shooting night, converting on only three of his 12 shot attempts and missing all six of his three-pointers. He did not commit a turnover, however, and recorded five rebounds to go along with two assists.
|Enes Kanter (POR)||94-116 L @ GSW||10||4-9 (0-0)||16||3||1||0||4||-11||29|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||108-100 W vs. TOR||9||3-12 (0-6)||5||2||1||0||0||+1||29|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||116-94 W vs. POR||DNP-Quad||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||94-116 L @ GSW||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
9:00 (ESPN): Trail Blazers (Labissiere, Kanter) @ Warriors (Cousins-out) (GSW leads 1-0)
By Drew Franklin on ©May 16th, 2019 @ 2:53pm
We now know the official measurements of the three former Kentucky Wildcats at the NBA Combine in Chicago.
The numbers include body fat percentage, weight, hand size, height, reach and wingspan. At a quick glance at the complete list it appears Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson are among the shortest hand lengths, while PJ Washington has the fourth-highest body fat percentage. Herro also won the award for worst wingspan with a negative 1.25 differential in his height and wingspan.
Here are the numbers:
|TYLER HERRO||KELDON JOHNSON||PJ WASHINGTON|
|BODY FAT %||7.10%||5.60%||8.60%|
|HAND LENGTH (INCHES)||8.00||8.00||9.00|
|HAND WIDTH (INCHES)||8.75||9.25||10.25|
|HEIGHT W/O SHOES||6′ 4.5”||6′ 4.75”||6′ 6.5”|
|HEIGHT W/ SHOES||6′ 6”||6′ 6”||6′ 8”|
|STANDING REACH||8′, 4.5”||8′, 8”||8′, 10.5”|
|WINGSPAN||6′ 3.25”||6′ 9.25”||7′ 2.25”|
The entire list can be found here.
The combine will be televised today on ESPN 2 from 3-7 pm and Mrs. Tyler will be by soon with a more in-depth look at UK’s combine numbers.
Mychal Mulder put on a show at the NBA G League Elite Camp earlier this week and it earned him a couple of job interviews with NBA teams.
The former Wildcat will work out for the Clippers and the Timberwolves, per the Montreal Gazette. He will fly to LA on Sunday for the Clippers’ mini-camp, followed by Minnesota’s mini-camp sometime next week. The hope is he will earn a spot on a summer league roster so he can further prove he is worthy of a roster spot in the league.
Outside of his NBA hopes, Mulder will also have a shot at representing Canada at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifier. Fellow former UK players Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Trey Lyles are also expected to represent Canada once the roster is set in time for qualifying.
Good luck to Mychal in all of his upcoming tryouts.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
This summer, Josh Harrellson will return to Kentucky to compete with The Bluegrass Boys for the TBT $2 million grand prize. He’ll bring Japan’s B-League rebounding title with him.
Last night, Jorts won Rebounder of the Year at the B-League Awards Show after averaging a league-high 12.3 boards along with 15.2 points per game for Osaka Evessa. Contrary to the name, the B-League is the top pro league in Japan, and from the looks of it, they throw one heck of an awards show. Here’s Jorts on the red carpet:
— ??????? (@osakaevessa) May 15, 2019
…accepting the award:
B.LEAGUE AWARD SHOW 2018-19?
— B.LEAGUE?B???? (@B_LEAGUE) May 15, 2019
…and talking about it afterwards:
— ??????? (@osakaevessa) May 15, 2019
Those final seconds are classic Jorts.
If you’re curious, the Chiba Jets mascot won Mascot of the Year:
B.LEAGUE AWARD SHOW 2018-19?
— B.LEAGUE?B???? (@B_LEAGUE) May 15, 2019
Well deserved, in my opinion.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2019 @ 11:00am
With the lottery over, the order is set for next month’s NBA Draft. Here’s where PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson stand in the major mock drafts:
|ESPN Top 100||15||17||20|
|ESPN (Updated 5/14)||12. Charlotte||16. Orlando||22. Boston|
|The Athletic (Updated 5/14)||13. Miami||16. Orlando||20. Boston|
|Sports Illustrated (Updated 5/14)||14. Boston||18. Indiana||23. Utah|
|Sporting News (Updated 5/15)||14. Boston||19. San Antonio||22. Boston|
|Gary Parrish (Updated 5/15)||12. Charlotte||15. Detroit||19. San Antonio|
|Bleacher Report (Updated 5/14)||15. Detroit||20. Boston||18. Indiana|
And a sampling of comments on each player:
The Celtics have prized versatility in recent seasons, and Washington fits the bill from that perspective. At 6-7 with a 7-3 wingspan, he has the potential to defend multiple positions and even play some small-ball center in certain lineups deep in the playoffs. Washington also made some strides as a shooter at least in terms of 3-point percentage as a sophomore. His value, though, will mostly be felt on the defensive side of the ball.
For Miami, they’re about as good as any team in the league at getting guys into optimal shape and putting guys into position for success. Washington is a player that got into terrific shape last season, and experienced a legitimate jump in his game and the way he enforces his athleticism on the game because of it. He could use a team that helps him to stay in such shape. This isn’t exactly what I’d call a sexy, high-upside pick for an organization in desperate need of such swings, but this part of the draft is not really loaded with those type of players and Washington is a player that would fit on their roster and give them some added size, toughness, and perimeter shooting. His length could also help them in the smaller lineups that they enjoy employing.
Indiana can go a variety of directions with this pick, with a good chunk of their roster set to hit free agency. Trying to find help on the wing makes the most sense, and Herro’s ability to shoot from distance and surprisingly well-rounded skill set will make him an appealing fit to a lot of teams. While there are still some physical limitations he’ll face at the next level, he’s proven he’s more than just a specialist and added value in other ways for Kentucky. If he can refine his on-the-move shooting into an elite skill, Herro should be able to hang around the NBA for a long while.
Herro did a nice job this season proving he’s way more than “just a shooter” — which is what many labeled him coming out of high school, perhaps because of little more than stereotypes. At Kentucky, the 6-5 guard averaged 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32.6 minutes per game while shooting 46.2%from the field, 35.5% from 3-point range and 93.5% from the free-throw line. So he’s a guard with size who can put the ball on the floor and consistently knock down shots. And that’s what makes Herro a real candidate to be selected either late in the lottery or just outside of it.
Johnson will be able to put pressure on defenses by attacking downhill and scoring around the key with his signature runner. He’s also proved to be capable of finding a rhythm as a spot shooter when set, though he offers little as a shot creator or playmaker. He’ll want to shoot well during workouts to ease concerns from his drop-off in accuracy and volume during conference play.
The Jazz can get younger and add depth on the wing with this pick. Johnson’s stock has dropped a bit as his limitations became evident at Kentucky, but he does enough offensively and brings strong enough intangibles to appeal to a playoff team as a future contributor. His competitive approach is easy to appreciate, and he should be able to shoot and defend enough to find a niche. Johnson has always been wired as a scorer, and may have to rein in some old habits to make it work.
Neither EJ Montgomery nor Nick Richards were listed in any of the major mocks. They have until May 29 to decide whether or not to return to Kentucky for another season.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 14th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Zion Williamson isn’t enough to keep Anthony Davis in New Orleans.
Soon after New Orleans landed the No. 1 overall pick (Williamson), Shams Charania reported Davis is standing by his February trade request. The addition of one Zion Williamson won’t make Davis’ relationship with the Pelicans any better.
And it shouldn’t. The Pelicans had Davis for seven years and couldn’t put together a winning formula around him. What would Zion Williamson do for Davis and the Pelicans? Williamson is Julius Randle with zero-gravity shoes and no jump shot. Left-handed and all. Williamson is obviously good at basketball, but how much better is a Davis/Williamson duo than a Davis/Randle duo? And why should Davis trust the Pelicans to make it work? Again, New Orleans had seven years with one of the NBA’s best players and couldn’t find a way to win. Landing Williamson is big for fan excitement in New Orleans; for Davis, it should change nothing. He needs a big market and a fresh start, far away from that franchise.
New York, Los Angeles and Boston will all make a run at Davis. The Lakers lack the pieces to put together an attractive offer, so New York and Boston have the early edge. The Knicks will now try to use the third pick in a deal with New Orleans, which might actually work if Williamson has a say in things. His old Duke teammate and best friend, RJ Barrett, is expected to go third, and a trade would pair the two of them together with the Pelicans. It would take several other players from New York in the mix to complete a deal, including Kevin Knox, but it isn’t a crazy idea. Boston probably has the most to offer, but it has its own superstar to deal with first.
This is all uninformed speculation at this point with plenty of time ahead for it all to play out this summer. For right now, we know via Tuesday night’s lottery that Zion Williamson is going to New Orleans to replace Anthony Davis as the face of the Pelicans. In the months ahead we’ll see how the drawing of the Pelicans envelope will affect the futures of Davis, Julius Randle, Darius Miller and Kevin Knox. Randle is a free agent, so he will be on the move unless New Orleans wants two of him. Knox will be thrown into the Knicks’ attempt to get Davis out of New Orleans. And Darius Miller is an unrestricted free agent who is well liked in New Orleans, but that entire roster may get turned upside down before training camp.
One more post-lottery thought… How mad is the NBA right now? Zion Williamson to the Pelicans and Ja Morant to the Grizzlies? That’s a worst case scenario for the league.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 14th, 2019 @ 9:03pm
The No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft belongs to the New Orleans Pelicans.
New Orleans won the Zion Sweepstakes by moving up six places to take the draft’s top pick after holding only a six percent chance going into the night. The Grizzlies, Knicks and Lakers were also in the hunt after the commercial break and finished in that order behind the Pelicans. (Sorry, Knicks fans.)
1. New Orleans Pelicans
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. New York Knicks
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Phoenix Suns
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Atlanta Hawks
9. Washington Wizards
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Charlotte Hornets
13. Miami Heat
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings)
What does this mean for Anthony Davis’ future? After a tumultuous season in New Orleans, it looked like Davis had worn a Pelicans uniform for the final time. There was even talk of the Knicks trading Zion Williamson for Davis if the Knicks had won the lottery Tuesday night. But with Williamson heading to New Orleans by way of the draft, could Davis have a change of heart? Or is the relationship broken beyond repair (That’s all, folks!)?
It is going to be a wild offseason in the Association.
At least the Pelicans front office seems happy:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) May 15, 2019
By Drew Franklin on ©May 14th, 2019 @ 8:06pm
We are moments away from the NBA Draft Lottery and the New York Knicks are one of the three favorites to land the No. 1 overall pick, along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns, all three with a 14 percent shot. New York is hoping for another frozen envelope situation as the starved fan base craves a superstar like Zion Williamson to save the dying franchise. It is the storyline the NBA needs and the reason tonight’s lottery is probably rigged.
But if the ping-pong balls bounce New York’s way and the coldest envelope is pulled for the top overall pick, the Knicks may turn to another superstar for the much-needed rebuild: Anthony Davis. According to Shams Charania, the Knicks will use Zion Williamson as part of a trade package to get Anthony Davis out of New Orleans.
“I’m told if the Knicks do get that No. 1 overall pick that they will shift their focus toward a potential deal for Anthony Davis,” Charania said.
Kevin Knox, another former Wildcat, will likely be part of the deal too. The Pelicans already looked into Knox recently, knowing he will be offered up in trade talks for Davis, with or without Williamson.
So when you’re watching the lottery here in a few minutes, watch it knowing it could have a major impact on the NBA futures of Anthony Davis and Kevin Knox, should the Knicks win out.
**** PLOT TWIST! ****
New Orleans doesn’t need to trade Anthony Davis to get Zion Williamson. The Pelicans just won the top pick in the draft. The drama!
By Maggie Davis on ©May 12th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
It came down to the very end, but the Portland Trail Blazers found a way to win over the Denver Nuggets, 100-96. It didn’t come easily – the Nuggets were up by 12 at the end of the first quarter, and extended that lead to 17 points in the second. But the Trail Blazers just wouldn’t go away, and a momentum-changing run at the end of the half brought the deficit back to single digits.
CJ McCollum was the star of the show for the Blazers, scoring a game-high 37 points while adding nine rebounds. Enes Kanter finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Remember, Kanter is currently fasting for Ramadan, which means he can’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. To get ready for the matchup, he woke up at 3:25 a.m. to get a meal in before game 7. He refrained from drinking any water, even during timeouts.
Talked to Enes Kanter about not drinking any water during the game and he said he was really feeling it in the fourth quarter. The fact the game was in Denver didn’t make it any easier either.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 12, 2019
Denver’s Nikola Jokic closed out his sensational first postseason with 29 points and 13 rebounds, while Jamal Murray added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Fellow Cats Skal Labissiere (Trail Blazers), Jarred Vanderbilt and Trey Lyles (Nuggets) did not enter the game.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 12, 2019
After posting an emotional Mother’s Day message this morning, Kanter switched gears just in time for some trash talk following the end of the game.
Refund please!!!!! pic.twitter.com/8HKoNTUCeU
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 12, 2019
The No. 3 Trail Blazers will now face the No. 1 Golden State Warriors in the conference finals. It’ll be Portland’s first trip to the conference finals since 2000.
By Maggie Davis on ©May 12th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Jamal Murray has emerged as one of the NBA’s brightest young stars. Consequently, he’s the subject of a new feature on ESPN.com – this one, about his pick-and-roll skills with the Denver Nuggets’ center, Nikola Jokic.
The story, written by Jackie MacMullan, details both players’ skill set and background, including their unique qualities. Jokic grew up in Sombor, Serbia, crying on his way to basketball practice as a young boy. He idolized Tim Duncan because “he wasn’t flashy,” and grew impressed by the ease of his pick-and-roll talents, alongside teammate Manu Ginobili.
Halfway around the world, in Ontario, Jamal Murray was watching history unfold between Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Years later, Murray and Jokic are now competing on the same roster, impersonating their childhood idols while making the pick-and-roll their own in an ever-evolving league. The article describes the new-age NBA as a place where “double-teams are scarce and switching is the norm, where 3-point shots are rampant and midrange jumpers are decried.” And yet, Murray and Jokic, a point guard and a big man, make the pick-and-roll work in their favor.
During the regular season, the Nuggets ran 171 plays with Murray as the screener and Jokic as the ball handler. That combination averaged 1.30 points per direct pick, per ESPN Stats & Information, tied for the best in the NBA. Last year, the Nuggets averaged 15 turnovers per game (23rd in the league), while giving their opponents 18.7 points per game off those turnovers (placing them at the bottom of the league). This season, Denver drastically improved those numbers: 13.7 turnovers per game, while only allowing their opponents 15 points off those mistakes. That’s good for sixth-best in the league.
Individually, they’ve earned plenty of praise along the way. Nuggets head coach Mike Malone compliments Murray in the article, mentioning “the underrated fact that Jamal Murray is our best screener.” They’ve also earned comparisons to some of the best pick-and-roll duos in the history of the game. But, don’t feel the need to force the similarities.
“What we’re doing is nothing like we’ve seen before. Of course, there will always be Stockton and Malone, and Nash and Stoudemire, but what we’re doing is different – unique,” Murray told ESPN. “Maybe they’ll be talking about Murray and the Joker someday.”
The Nuggets are currently playing against the Portland Trail Blazers in game seven of the second-round NBA playoffs. The game can be seen on ABC.
By Sam Gormley on ©May 12th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
With the NBA Draft just over a month away, the mock drafts are beginning to become more and more active and possibly even somewhat accurate. Kentucky is expected to have three players drafted anywhere from the lower lottery to the back end of the first round. A dark horse candidate would be on the outside chance that EJ Montgomery would stay in the draft and a late second round team would take him surely on potential.
The common thread that I see when going through Mock Drafts this year is that there really is no common thread for where the former Cats will go. It is pretty much set in stone that the top three picks will be Zion, Barrett and Morant with the remainder of the first round having a lot of fluidity.
|PJ Washington||Tyler Herro||Keldon Johnson|
|CBS Sports||15. Detroit||16. Orlando||22. Boston|
|NBADraft.net||27. Brooklyn||21. Oklahoma City||14. Boston|
|Yahoo Sports||11. LA Lakers||28. Golden State||23. Utah|
|ESPN||12. Charlotte||16. Orlando||22. Boston|
As you can see, Johnson is tied to the Celtics three times and Herro is tied to Orlando twice, but other than that, you can see a lot of differences in these drafts.
The most notable question mark for me is why NBADraft.net has Washington following all the way to the #27 pick while the other three have him in the Lottery? I don’t like to guarantee anything, but I can almost guarantee that, barring something happening between today and the draft, PJ Washington will not be available come pick #27.