Jordan Clarkson talked with the media in Toronto about being a combo guard, NBA teams playing with a small and big point guard, what he’s learned from his pre-draft workout so far and how he’s improving his point guard skills.
Nick Johnson joked about having a busy pre-draft workout schedule, how these workouts have helped him grow as a player, knowing a lot about Toronto due to former teammates, sharing an agent with DeMar DeRozan, he raved about the fans in Toronto during the playoffs and working on his point guard and shooting guard skills this summer.
I joined Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” to chat about the Conference Finals. I proclaimed the Indiana Pacers season over, advised Lance Stephenson to stop yapping so much, and praised Scott Brooks for tweaking his starting five in Game 3.
As an added bonus, we talked about the 2014 NBA Draft and I explained why I would stay away from Joel Embiid if I were an NBA general manager.
I joined Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” to talk about the Conference Finals starting this weekend. We talked about Paul George’s struggles off the court impacting him on the court, how Serge Ibaka’s injury will hurt the Oklahoma City Thunder and there were some Mike Tyson and Billy Madison sound bites to make you laugh.
After four short months after being appointed NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver has already made a name for himself. His uncompromising approach to the Donald Sterling controversy has earned him praise and respect among many, promising an interesting tenure to follow.
Now, Silver is offering up the chance for two fans to ask him their burning questions about the debacle through an online auction at global charity auction site Charitybuzz – and the price is getting steep. Fourteen people have already placed a bid on the chance to break bread with the Commissioner and other senior executives at the NBA offices in New York City, raising the price of this power lunch to $12,500 in just six days. With over two weeks to go, that number certainly won’t stick for long.
Fans can get in on the action at Charity Buzz through May 22. The auction is part of an effort to raise funds for the Advertising Council, a nonprofit organization that works on public service campaigns for nonprofits and government agencies.
Charitybuzz raises funds for nonprofits by auctioning thousands of incredible experiences spanning the best of sports, celebrity and pop culture. Since launching, the company has raised over $100 million for charity by giving bidders the chance to live their dreams and make a difference.
I chatted with Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” about the first round of the NBA Playoffs. We debated if this was the best first round of the NBA Playoffs we’ve ever seen, I lamented about Toronto’s tough loss in Game 7 and he forced me to pick the one must-watch series in the second round.
Jason Kidd, Dwane Casey, Joe Johnson and Kyle Lowry chatted with the media after Brooklyn’s heartbreaking Game 7 win.
Dwane Casey had some great stuff during his pre-game media scrum about exceeding expectations, the team being embarrassed in Game 6, his now infamous TTC ride to the arena this morning, and how Toronto can battle Brooklyn’s experience.
“I got stuck in traffic. I was sitting there in traffic for like 30 minutes and I wasn’t moving. I did a u-turn in the middle of the street and went back home. I jumped on the subway. Good ole reliable subway. I don’t think anyone expected us to be playing today when they planned to have a marathon and a Game 7 on the same day. I got stuck. Believe me, you don’t want to be on a subway going to a Game 7. You saw the pictures and everything. I didn’t think anybody would recognize me but you saw the pictures (on twitter) and everything. I think the shirt gave me away.”
Photo courtesy of Arvin Mednoza on twitter.
Here’s audio from DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Joe Johnson, Dwane Casey and Jason Kidd after Toronto held on to beat Brooklyn 115-113 in Game 5 of their first round series.
Dwane Casey chatted with the media about if he or his players are feeling any pressure tonight, nursing Kyle Lowry through injury issues, and he shared some areas of growth he has seen from his players so far in the playoffs.
Over one year ago, Jabari Parker put on a Duke uniform and started his college basketball career. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior in high school, and he led his high school basketball team to four consecutive state championships. Parker had a great season at Duke, despite the team’s disappointing loss first round NCAA tournament loss.
In fact, Parker’s season bore a strong similarity to the one that Kevin Durant had at the University of Texas in 2006-2007: great numbers, disappointing tournament.
Parker, along with other members of 2013’s outstanding freshman class including Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Julius Randle (Kentucky), have officially joined the ranks of the “one-and-done.” Because of the NBA’s minimum age rule, outstanding high school athletes must play at least one year of college basketball before they’re allowed to join the draft.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he wants to raise the minimum age to 20. To those who love to bet on NBA basketball, Silver’s stance might look like another chance for the players’ union and NBA officials to have a giant confrontation.
For now, the minimum age is still 19, and most of 2013’s notable freshmen have already made their choices.
Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)
If Jabri Parker has conjured up images of Durant, then Andrew Wiggins has caused basketball fans to reminisce about a younger LeBron James in the pre-season. Looking back, Wiggins ended up with good stats in Kansas, although his results weren’t as godlike as people anticipated: 17.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and a third-round NCAA tournament loss in which Wiggins went 1-for-6. Wiggins still makes a solid No. 2 or No. 3 draft pick behind Parker, although as an introvert, he might not be the out-of-the-box leader that NBA coaches want.
Julius Randle (Kentucky)
Kentucky didn’t need Julius Randle to step up as much as Duke needed Jabari Parker, but Randle had a good season, averaging 15.4 points per game, 10.4 rebounds and 27 double-doubles. His physically imposing play in the NCAA tournament propelled the Wildcats to the final, where they lost to Connecticut. No doubt, Randle will end up in the top three NBA draft slots, and John Calipari’s 2014–2015 team will have to figure out how to play without him.
Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)
A few NCAA coaches still complain about one-and-dones wanting to make millions in the NBA; however they themselves make millions coaching college basketball because of the excitement that the one-and-dones provide.
One of those coaches is Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who publicly implied that Tyler Ennis could use another year of development before heading to the NBA.
Ennis will be a first-round pick, and although Boeheim suggested that being in the middle of the first round is “nothing.” Ennis averaged 12.9 points per game, 3.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists during his one-and-done season with the Orange.
Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
It’s hard to imagine a height of 6 feet 8.5 inches tall could be “too small” for the NBA, but Aaron Gordon is pretty small compared to many other power forwards. However, what he lacks in heft he makes up for in speed, explosiveness and outstanding athleticism.
Gordon may not be a top five pick, but he could go around No. 7 or No. 8. As Gordon improves his ball handling, he’s earning more and more comparisons to L.A. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin.
Gordon, like Griffin, struggles with the two-point jumper, but once he improves his fluidity, he’ll be a formidable force.
Is Anyone Staying in School?
Pretty much everyone from 2013’s “Year of the Freshman” class who has a first-round shot is headed for the NBA draft. Others might be staying in school. Players like the Harrison twins in Kentucky aren’t in first-round contention. Dakari Johnson would go in the second round, or he could sneak into the first round if he’s lucky. Joel Embiid had a great freshman season for Kansas, but he sat out the NCAA tournament with a back injury, which might affect his NBA hopes.
As much as NCAA coaches complain about one-and-done, having these talented freshmen, even if just for a year, greatly increases the excitement and the visibility of their programs. Time will tell whether Jabari Parker does become the next Kevin Durant or whether he gets lost in a very talented pack.
Here’s audio from Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, Deron Williams and Dwane Casey after Toronto won Game 2 of their first round series against Brooklyn.
Dwane Casey was in rare form tonight talking about getting five votes for Coach of the Year, Rob Ford and Jimmy Goldstein attending the game tonight and making adjustments for Game 2.
I joined Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” this afternoon to chat about the opening weekend of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
We reminisced about the NBA on NBC, talked about the high amount of home teams losing Game 1, debated what teams could pull off an upset in the first round, analyzed what has gone wrong for the Indiana Pacers and talked about the Milwaukee Bucks having new owners.