Over the past few seasons, the NBA has built a burgeoning crop of talented centers. At the same time talented future stars joined the league, many NBA teams moved away from giving all 48 minutes to traditional centers, so the increase in supply met a decrease in demand.
For example, the Raptors ended up starting and finishing a few games with Serge Ibaka at center in their first-round series against the Bucks. While Toronto needs to have someone capable of logging minutes at the position, the two seasons and $32 million plus a $17.6 million player option owed to Jonas Valanciunas may be a little rich considering their prodigious luxury tax bill should both Kyle Lowry and Ibaka choose to return.
His versatility on offense and defense would be a welcome addition to the Trail Blazers roster. George can score at the rim, from midrange and behind the 3-point line, and he would make an immediate impact. Putting him in a lineup that already includes McCollum (23.0 points per game) and Lillard (27.0 points, 5.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game) would give Portland a 1-2-3 combination that all shoots close to better than 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
For the Trail Blazers, the eight seed in the Western Conference playoffs this past season, the triumvirate would put them in position to avoid another brutal first-round matchup like they had this year against the Warriors. It’d be a significant upgrade at the wing position over former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner (9.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.8 apg), whom the Blazers inexplicably signed to a four-year, $70-million deal this past offseason, only to see him lose his starting gig to Mo Harkless (10.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg).
THIS PAST SEASON: Lowry, 31, enjoyed career-best season with 3.2 3-pointers per game, 41.2 percent from beyond the arc in 37.4 minutes per game. The 6-1 guard averaged 22.4 points, 7.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Raptors. He sat out with an ankle injury Sunday as the Cavs swept the Raptors and missed 21 games during the regular season after undergoing wrist surgery.
After the Raptors were swept, Lowry made it clear he wants to play for a championship contender and despite improvements to their roster, the Sixers aren’t the answer. Could a max contract change is mind? It might make him think about making a return to Philadelphia but he’ll be 32-years-old by the time the playoffs roll around next season.
In short: when Westbrook is on the floor doing his thing, the Thunder will succeed. His performances haven’t led to victories yet, but it’s hard to win on the road against a team like the Rockets. He at least kept the game close in Game 2, and that’s all you can ask for: a chance to win.
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Elite Womens Kyle Emanuel Jersey We’ve been playing that way all year, Thunder guard Victor Oladipo said Thursday. We’ve been in that situation all year and Russ has made shots. We’d all be sitting here talking differently if he was making shots in the first place and we would have won.
Westbrook likely won’t be putting up 18 shots in a single quarter again, but he should have the green light to do it if that’s what he feels is the right decision.
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Elite Jourdan Lewis Jersey It may not have mattered — and the Celtics probably don’t want to hear it — but Boston should have had another second to get a potential series-winning shot off in Game 6 against the Wizards on Friday night, the NBA acknowledged in its Last Two Minute Report (via the Boston Globe).
After John Wall hit a 3-pointer to put Washington up 92-91 with 3.5 seconds left in the game, the Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. fouled Boston’s Kelly Olynyk with 2.7 seconds remaining — but the clock was stopped with 1.7 seconds left. The Wizards had a foul to give, so the Celtics had to inbound the ball rather than go to the free-throw line.
After receiving the inbound pass from Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas missed on off-balance 3-point attempt. One second can be huge late in a basketball game, and had they had 2.7 seconds instead of 1.7 seconds, the Celtics may have gotten a significantly better look on their last shot.
It’s great any time you can hear his voice, see his face, Stephen Curry said, via mercurynews.com. He’s obviously been doing his homework in between his down times helping us get prepared for this series and you know he misses being around for the day-to-day routine and the atmosphere, practice, locker room and games and all that. His ability to be here means a lot. I hope he’s feeling better.
Brown was impressed with Kerr’s demeanor and commitment the last couple days.
He looks good, Brown said. We started meeting here at 9:30 (a.m.) and he was here at 9:30, was here throughout the coaches meeting and was here throughout practice. We came in at 8:30 (Friday), a little bit earlier, and he was here for that, too.
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When you think metabolism, everybody will think fast or slow, Goglia told ESPN.com. And it’s not. Metabolism is ultimately hot or cold. The definition of a calorie is a heat-energy unit. So if calories are heat and metabolism is a function of heat, and if fat is a lipid and only converts to energy in a hot environment, it just makes sense that you have to eat a certain amount of calories to generate enough heat to burn fat. And that’s counter-intuitive to every civilian out there.
Every fat guy will say, ‘Food makes you fat. I eat one can of tuna and an apple a day.’ And that’s why they’re fat. Not enough caloric heat. Especially in athletes. Athletic temperatures are huge metabolically. They have a big metabolic load. The more muscle you have, the more food you need. That’s the baseline concept.
Jack Crawford Youth Jersey Wilson’s limited mobility last season began in Week 1 when he suffered a high ankle sprain. He then sprained his knee in Week 3 against the 49ers. Wilson’s injuries were part of the reason the Seahawks slipped to 25th in the league in rushing yards per game (99.4). Wilson thinks his new meal plan will help him perform at a higher level in 2017.
Just trying to really focus on trying to eat really, really well and have great nutrition, Wilson told ESPN.com. I think it’s critical. It allows you to wake up feeling good, feeling strong. It allows you to excel throughout the day and have tons of strength and energy.
Instead of being released, Martin will enter training camp back on top of the depth chart. He looks and feels good to the point they expect him to be rejuvenated for his return in Week 4. Behind him, Jacquizz Rodgers, a Koetter favorite, remains the versatile No. 2 and certainty can lead the committee when Martin can’t play.
McNichols is a speedy third-down pass-catching type, so that puts a cloud on the near-future role of one-time preferred change of pace Charles Sims. All signs point to Martin, 28, getting a familiar workload with a chance to produce like he did in 2012 and 2015.
After 935 career major league games at first base, Freddie Freeman is set to make his debut on the opposite side of the infield.
The Braves activated Freeman from the disabled list Tuesday and said he would start at third base against the Astros later in the day.
Pagan’s attorney told the court his client lost his job and suffered public ridicule after the incident. Assistant Crown Attorney Rebecca Edward argued Pagan’s behavior was “unsportmanslike and definitely non-Canadian.”
Pagan also wrote an apology letter to Kim, who acknowledged Pagan before Wednesday’s game.
“People make mistakes, so I’m sure it’s not going to happen again. I appreciate it,” Kim said, via The Baltimore Sun. “Just the fact that he got punished for what he did, I think that was enough.”
But there were several accomplishments missing from Miami’s big season. The Dolphins continued an 8-21 skid against the Patriots, losing both their games against New England by a combined 28 points. Their postseason run featured fewer than three minutes in which they weren’t losing. Most glaringly, only one of the team’s wins came against an opponent with a winning record.
When the team won, it wasn’t exactly convincing, either. The Dolphins needed overtime to defeat the one-win Browns. Two wins over the 7-9 Bills came by a combined six points. Victories over the Jets, Rams, 49ers, and Chargers were all by seven points or fewer.
Minutes after his Cleveland Cavaliers lost the 2017 NBA Finals to a juggernaut Golden State Warriors squad, LeBron James was still playing hard-nosed defense.
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When asked for his take, given his role in forming two famous superteams, James pushed back: I don’t believe I’ve played for a superteam. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we’re a superteam here. So, no, I don’t really, I don’t.
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This is a superteam that embraces the name. Remember, they hosted a Super Villains party back in November with a customized Snapchat filter and a fancy balloon arrangement to boot.
Even dominating this points system probably understates their superteam standing. The Warriors are in the discussion for the best team ever despite not having a single player voted first-team All-NBA. If Curry and Durant were voted first-team All-NBA this season, they’d be bumped up to 40 SuperPoints. Even still, the Warriors have drawn the ire of the rest of the league by compiling four stars and are 14 points higher than the next-best team. Oh, and that’s not including the 2015 Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala.
How they move up: They don’t, really. The best chance for a fifth star is probably Patrick McCaw, but he’s a second-rounder who averaged just 4.0 points this season. Then again, Green averaged 2.9 points during his rookie campaign and he’s now accepting NBA awards in tuxedo shorts.
Limited Kids Randall Cobb Jersey One of the coolest and most emotional moments from the inaugural NBA Awards Show was when former NBA player and coach Monty Williams received the Craig Sager Strong Award, presented by TNT’s Ernie Johnson.
The award’s namesake, the beloved NBA sideline reporter Sager, died in December 2016 after his battle with leukemia — Johnson said he saw similar courage in Monty Williams, when Williams’ wife died in a car crash in February 2016.
According to Fox News, the NFL delegation presented Pope Francis with a Hall of Fame helmet and a jersey bearing his name and the No. 1.
The Pope noted he is a big football fan, even if football has a very different meaning in Europe.
As many of you know, I am an avid follower of ‘football,’ but where I come from, the game is played very differently, he said.
Limited Kids Nolan Cromwell Jersey Pope Francis said the values needed for success in the NFL — teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence — are what the world needs.
They are the values that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family, Pope Francis said. How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!
Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Royals to a 6-4 win against the Red Sox. Perez finished the game 3 for 3 with the home run, four RBIs and a walk. He is now batting .292 this season.
Tommy Pham and Jedd Gyorko led the Cardinals to their second straight extra-inngs win against the Phillies. This time, St. Louis won 7-6 in 10 innings thanks, in part, to Pham’s two home runs. Gyorko also went 3 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and a walk.
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If the plan was to build through the farm system to a certain point and then supplement from the outside — rather than, say, outfox rivals by unearthing hidden gem after hidden gem — well, that’s not really revolutionary. That’s traditional roster management, and Luhnow and Co. have been good at it. The high math is the main difference.
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Luhnow has acquired 34 of the players on the team’s current 40-man roster (McHugh is on the 60-day disabled list and thus off the 40-man). Ten are draft picks, and none are July international signings. The overall homegrown-to-outside split is 16-24. For perspective, the Cardinals are at 24-16 and the Dodgers are at 12-28. As the veteran imports help carry the load in Houston, Derek Fisher, Tony Kemp, A.J. Reed, Preston Tucker and Tyler White — drafted college hitters, all — wait at Triple-A Fresno for another shot with the big club.
In Year 6 of Project Spreadsheet, the club is poised to be good for an extended period, but the formula used to get it to that point has looked a lot simpler — and more familiar — than observers may have expected it to be.
Baalke’s strained relationship with former coach Jim Harbaugh led to Harbaugh’s departure following the 2014 season. Harbaugh took the Niners to the playoffs in his first three seasons, but the 49ers went 8-8 in his final year.
The 49ers’ search for Harbaugh’s replacement wasn’t exactly aggressive as the team promoted defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to the head coaching position. Tomsula was fired after going 5-11 in his only season as the team turned to Kelly.
The 49ers hired the former Eagles and Oregon coach, passing on current Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who has his team in the playoffs in his first year at the helm.
But San Francisco’s roster is a mess through poor draft choices and an passive approach with free agency.
As everyone expects, Roethlisberger will play through his latest lower-body injury, which will have an adverse affect on the great mobility he has for his size. Dropping back often on a bad foot and trying to fit balls into tight windows downfield isn’t the best away to attack the Chiefs, anyway.
Roethlisberger always has been a little off when he makes his expedited return from injury. It has happened in multiple playoff games, and the latest case in point was the rough performance he had in Baltimore in Week 8, after his injured left knee kept him out vs. New England in Week 7.
That was a small sampling of Roethlisberger’s road woes throughout the 2016 season.
In his eight combined games away from Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger rated only 78.4 and completed only 59.4 percent of his passes. He averaged 238 yards passing per game and only 6.7 per attempt. He had 9 TDs to go with 8 INTs.
This remains the best-case scenario for Ball, and has been since the Lakers managed to hold on to their pick in last month’s lottery. The Lakers have interest and have met with Ball’s team multiple times. But LA has not locked into Ball just yet, keeping its options open for a player like Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox or Jayson Tatum.
GM: I understand that they don’t want to commit to anything, but I think it winds up being Ball. I would expect them to look at point guards because of all the Paul George stuff. They’re still a long way from being a contender. If they can come out of this week with Ball and George, you would have to put them within a couple of years of contending.
Nice segue, because one thing that Wall’s Wizards, Riley’s Heat and Harden’s Rockets have in common is this: They’re all done. None made it past the second round of the postseason. Miami didn’t even reach the playoffs. Wall was 8 of 23 from the field and 1 of 8 from the 3-point line in Washington’s Game 7 finale in Boston. Harden was, famously and bizarrely, 2 of 11 from the field for a measly 10 points in his finale on his home floor against the Spurs.
Authentic Kids Dalvin Cook Jersey Maybe they could have used some in-season rest, after all.
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The two teams that were among the biggest proponents of rest this year are, it turns out, the only ones left playing. The Cavaliers and Warriors took heat from all sides, not just players and executives — media, crotchety former players and even, to an extent, commissioner Adam Silver. But June is nigh and the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism were easily endured, now that it is the Cavs and Warriors back in the NBA Finals.
Over the past five drafts, there have been 25 players from international clubs drafted in the first round. Of the 19 who played the subsequent season in the NBA, only two averaged double-figure scoring as rookies. And one of them, Emmanuel Mudiay, was a product of the American high school/AAU system who spent a single season playing professionally in China.