Who will be drafted by whom next month? It's impossible to say before Tuesday, when the annual lottery spells out the order of teams at the top of the draft. But here is an early look at five of the top picks and the franchise where each might have the biggest impact. Keep in mind this is a fantasy exercise, because who knows whether any of these teams will be positioned to draft the player it needs most?
Hill averaged 18.3 points and 11.0 rebounds for Arizona last season. "I think he's a guy who will be solid, but he won't be great," the scout said. "I've heard him compared to
Pairing him at center with Jefferson at power forward would give the Timberwolves a pair of shot-blockers and rebounders, though they would need to figure out how to make Thabeet relevant offensively without crowding Jefferson out of the low post.
"It may be a little rich for him to go as high as 3, 4 or 5," the scout said, "but it's not a great draft, and if you're picking No. 3 or 4, you have to take somebody. I don't know if he loves the game, if he knows how to compete night in, night out. He'll either learn that and become really good or he won't, but none of us can know that right now."
Harden is one of those players who could vanish if he goes to the wrong team. He's a blend player who won't necessarily put up huge numbers but will know how to help teammates. He might also fit nicely in the backcourt of the Raptors or the Knicks, who favor the fluid European style.
"I think he fits the best with Sacramento," the scout said. "He can replace
While Rubio is an up-tempo creator of a style approved by Kings GM
Griffin would make an even bigger impression in Oklahoma City, where he would become an instant local star and make the fans feel it was their team (as opposed to one that had moved from Seattle). But the Thunder would have to move Green either to sixth man or to another team.
So consider this thought. "He's a great fit for Washington," the personnel man said. "Because then they can trade
By essentially trading out Jamison to make room for Griffin, the Wizards would relaunch with three stars -- Arenas,
I don't see Yao walking -- or in his case limping -- away from his national team. At the same time, I can't imagine him being available to play for China this summer. An anticipated recuperation of 8-to-12 weeks from the hairline fracture of his left foot should sideline him into August, leaving Yao little more than a month before the start of training camp. It makes nothing but sense to give him a summer of complete rest in hopes of breaking his streak of four seasons blighted by injury.
It has always been this way. The cries of preferential treatment didn't begin with LeBron; they date back to
For every one fan like you who may stop watching the NBA because of perceived star bias, a number of fans will tune in to see an NBA Finals of Kobe vs. LeBron, if it comes to that. Remember when
The answer to your question is Houston's
You're asking a good question, Sean, but I think an even better question is: Which team can play the high level of five-man defense needed against LeBron? Because a five-man approach was applied by the Spurs and Celtics to limit him over the last two postseasons, and that's what it's going to take now. The answer is that I don't think any team is playing the lockdown defense that will be needed in the Finals. Again, Houston would appear to have the best chance defensively, but LeBron's improved perimeter shooting combined with the cast of shooters around him makes him the Cavs more difficult to stop than they were a year or two ago.
Hope? Hope is without end for the Warriors. Hope is all you ever have. Every few years your team drafts well, puts out an intriguing group of young future stars, then something happens, the players go away, a new administration comes in and the cycle renews with new young players and on and on it goes. Hope is what this franchise is all about, and little else but hope.
Ask the Orlando Magic coach a cliched question and he'll knock it out of the park like
"They did not look like in the last 16 minutes like there was much fatigue on their part," answered Van Gundy, who watched the Celtics make a big second-half comeback. "You wouldn't get less fatigued as the game went on. At least I don't understand how you would: I'm tired, but after I've played 30 minutes I'm not tired anymore? I don't think that would happen."
"Not that you don't think about what they might do, but it's not a matter of anticipating what they might do. It's being prepared hopefully for whatever may come. You don't want to be in a guessing game and say, 'Oh, well, we guessed wrong' -- and then lose. You've got to be prepared for anything that will come.
"The adjustment thing is a little overplayed. There [are] minor adjustments from game to game. But we pretty much know
"I don't know about the whole toughness thing. When I watch the NBA or any sport, it generally comes down to who is better, who is going to be good enough. Did we win [Game 3] because we were tougher than the Celtics, or did we win because we shot 59 percent? Did they win in Boston in Game 2 because they were tougher, or because they were draining shots? Does it take a lot of toughness for
"Everybody in sports -- I don't know what it is, fans, media -- wants to bring it down to who wanted it more. Well, they could have wanted it, but if Eddie House had gone 4-for-14, we would have been in the damn ball game. It usually comes down to who's better."
"It certainly got heightened, and then it became the trend for a while --
"I'm not sure that's what got it done, either. You can talk about all those teams, you can talk about the Bad Boys all you want and
This is not to mention the first-round absence of San Antonio's
Before the playoffs last month, I asked commissioner
Their fitness and athleticism could be adding stress to the joints and muscles. In addition, MRIs and other high-tech tools are enabling doctors to diagnose injuries that never would have been detected a generation or two ago; in the past, players were compelled to play through undiagnosed pain or soreness.
But it's interesting that most players from the 2008 U.S. Olympic team have escaped injury this season. It's also ironic that the NBA has grown less violent with fewer hard fouls and fights, and yet the number of injuries appears to be rising.
The statement was a good-faith effort to increase transparency post-
As his club was blowing a 23-point lead in the championship game of the Euroleague Final Four last week in Berlin, the co-owner of the Greek club Panathinaikos of Athens created quite a scene. From his seat in the stands near the court, in full view of reporters covering the event,
He then turned to heckle Euroleague CEO
After the game, the enraged Giannakopoulos grabbed a referee so strongly as to leave bruises on his arm. He did this even as his team was celebrating its victory -- Panathinaikos having held on to win 73-71 to conclude one of the great Finals Fours in European history.
Reports say Giannakopoulos is expected to receive an enormous fine by Euroleague standards, perhaps $136,000 or more. This is nowhere near the $1 million penalty issued by the NBA a few years ago to
Team officials like Giannakopoulos fail to realize the damage they do to the larger business of basketball in Europe.
On the other hand, the NBA could use some of his passion. For all of the outrage over suspensions and officiating in the NBA playoffs, the post-Donaghy world thus far has been much-ado-about-little and, compared to the goings-on in other parts of the world, rather dull.