Countdown: Draft day names, free-agent contenders to watch
The 2007 draft example of
And yet I'm going to insist that the teams picking up high -- led by the 76ers with the No. 2 pick -- are going to regret passing on Cousins. First of all, he has the potential to step out and make jump shots as well as pass out of double teams or from the high post to cutters. Second, and more important, big men remain crucial to the title contenders. Their value may be lost upon the majority of teams that lack the structure to make proper use of them, but ever since
How do you stop wing penetrators like
The Kings clearly saw the value in that strategy when they invested the No. 5 pick in Cousins and No. 33 pick in 7-foot shot-blocker
Johnson, on the other hand, fills a couple of needs. He has the potential to lead Minnesota in scoring as a rookie with the talent to not only finish in a variety of ways but also to make plays for others. He carries himself with the sense of maturity that Cousins lacks at this time, and the Timberwolves will lean on Johnson's soothing presence. No doubt this is going to be a bad team next season, but Johnson has a chance to become Rookie of the Year by posting big numbers and providing some promise as a foundational star.
No. 1 pick
In the meantime, they've landed George, who will share the small forward role with former All-Star
There is no sense for a rebuilding team like the Pacers to draft for need. They need as much talent as they can acquire, and in the meantime this summer they can deal for or sign an NBA-ready point guard to see them through the next couple of seasons.
Does that assessment jibe with the facts? No one knows because the Blazers have presented no facts to explain the dismissals of Pritchard and his former assistant
This was such a promising franchise. But now the front office is shattered and
On his way out the door, Pritchard cut payroll for the Blazers by sending
My opinion is that Russell is the greatest player ever. The league was smaller and, therefore, there were great players on every team and he dominated all of them while setting standards for team play and defense that survive to this era.
But I'm in the minority. Most people tend to rate Jordan ahead of Russell. I think it's shortsighted, and I also think it is no criticism of Jordan to rate him behind Russell.
The central question about Artest was whether he could contribute to a championship team. No one knew the answer until he broke through with strong performances in Games 6 and 7 while demonstrating that he was indispensable to the Lakers' latest title.
The central question about Bryant was whether he had it in his personality to inspire and lead his teammates -- to raise them to a higher level, as people like to say. Over the last two years, he has proved he can do those things. He definitely poses in public settings, and he pretended he didn't care about the Celtics-Lakers rivalry when everyone knew otherwise. But none of that really matters -- to me, at least -- now that he is doing the things he's done over the last couple of years. The same standard applies to Artest.
I don't think anything so trifling as a couple of million dollars will prevent Jackson from coming back. But if he chooses to retire, for however long that retirement lasts, I don't imagine his leaving Los Angeles to work in Cleveland. If he wants to coach a championship team, I would think he'll stay with Bryant, while maintaining his relationships with
I don't foresee that happening, Robert. When healthy, Bynum created a formidable defensive alongside
The draft provided opportunities for cap-space teams to drop more financial weight -- which in turn they hope to gain back instantly and brilliantly next month when the long-awaited class of free agents can be signed.
I keep hearing that Riley is networked into the free-agent landscape more thoroughly than any other executive in the league; only
The Heat don't have enough space to sign two max guys along with Wade, but I'm not so sure they should want that much room. If they can land
If James is looking to leave Cleveland, then the Bulls became more attractive now that he can recruit another star to join him. But will it be Bosh? He can earn an additional $30 million by negotiating a sign-and-trade -- something the Raptors would prefer if they are going to lose him -- and the Bulls (along with Miami and New York) have slashed so much payroll that they can't participate in that kind of deal.
The Bulls are going to have a strong summer. But if they can't sign James, then I wonder if they'll be able to land two of the big names. There now threatens to be more cap space on offer this summer than there are stars available to be recruited. And don't forget the likes of Dallas and Houston, which could seek to negotiate sign-and-trade deals for Bosh or another of the stars.
I find myself wondering which franchise James is likely to visit first: the Knicks or the Nets? How will the fans and press in New York handle the day or two of waiting as James meets with Thorn, owner
The opening week of July is going to be reality-TV theater and its headquarters will be New York. If James signs with the Knicks, the rest of the league will anticipate the building of a dynasty. But it will take a huge leap of faith by James as the Knicks will need at least a couple of years to fill out their roster around him.
"The workouts are all a little different, but for the most part they all the same stuff -- one-on-one drills, two-on-two, shooting drills, ball-handling drills, some conditioning stuff. The main thing is they want to see you competing and that you've improved since the season.
"Nothing was too weird. The one at San Antonio, there was no dribbling and you had to score three-on-three. But if you can play basketball, you can do well in the drills.
"Going to all of these different facilities and meeting the GMs, the coaches who are a lot of times NBA greats -- Pat Riley, all these guys -- that's a lot of fun. It can be stressful, it can be tiring. But if you really think about it, it's a great honor to be able to do it."
While speaking with her by phone last week I asked for her maiden name, and then mentioned that I had my high school yearbook nearby to view her class picture.
"You had better not look at that," she warned.
"OK, OK," I said.
But as we spoke I couldn't help myself. At the end of the conversation I promised to introduce myself at the draft in New York.
"You'll see that DeMarcus and I share a resemblance," she said.
"I know you do," I said. "I looked at your picture in the yearbook."
"No, you didn't."
"I cannot tell a lie," I said. "I did look, and let me say DeMarcus is very fortunate to share a resemblance with you. Let me also say that I am very fortunate you don't have your own yearbook with you to look me up too."