2015 NBA draft tiebreakers broken

2015 NBA draft tiebreakers broken

Four ties among teams that finished the 2014-15 NBA regular season with identical records were broken today through random drawings to help determine the order of selection for the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, which will be held on Thursday, June 25.

The drawings were conducted live on NBA TV earlier today in New York City by Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations. The tiebreak process was overseen by Denise Pelli, a representative from the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.

The results of the drawings:

· Indiana (38-44) won a tiebreaker with Utah.
· Dallas (50-32) won a tiebreaker with Chicago.
· Memphis (55-27) won a tiebreaker with San Antonio.
· Houston (56-26) won a tiebreaker with the LA Clippers.

Mirza Teletovic cleared to resume basketball-related activities

Mirza Teletovic cleared to resume basketball-related activities

The following statement has been issued by Nets General Manager Billy King regarding the status of forward Mirza Teletovic:

“Mirza has been cleared to resume basketball-related activities. Mirza will be listed as OUT for games, and if his status changes, we will update at the appropriate time.”

Statement from Brooklyn Nets team physician Dr. Michael Farber:

“Over the last three months, Mirza has been closely monitored on blood thinners and follow-up testing has met our expectations. The most recent bloodwork was normal and Mirza has been cleared to resume all basketball-related activities.

Teletovic last appeared in a game on January 22 at the Los Angeles Clippers. In 40 games (four starts) this season, Teletovic averaged 8.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 22.3 minutes per game.

Lance Stephenson says he lost confidence in his jumpshot this season

The Charlotte Hornets finished this season with a 33-49 record, failing to make the playoffs in a forgiving Eastern conference. It was a disappointing season. Lance Stephenson was considered a positive addition to the squad last offseason, and while he averaged a solid 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in just 25.8 minutes per game, the swingman only scored 8.2 points per outing on subpar 37.6% FG. And from three-point range it was nothing but bricks. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Lance Stephenson says he lost confidence in his jumpshot this season

Hornets swingman Lance Stephenson had a rough first year in Charlotte, but said he plans on coming back better and with more confidence next season.

Stephenson, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Hornets last offseason, shot 17.3 percent from 3-point range this season. That mark was the worst in NBA history among players who have attempted at least 100 3-pointers, according to basketball-reference.com.

“That is terrible,” Stephenson said of his shooting Thursday as the team addressed the media for the final time this season.

Stephenson said he lost confidence in his jump shot early in the season and never regained it.

Keeping Brandon Knight is priority for Suns

Keeping Brandon Knight is priority for Suns

The Phoenix Suns’ season is over. They finished 39-43 and failed to make the playoffs in a very tough Western conference. Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on their roster situation:

Keeping Brandon Knight is priority for Suns

The Suns’ changes will start with those already at the end, or potential end, of contracts.

Of the seven current roster players in that situation, the only three with a good chance of returning are Brandon Knight, Brandan Wright and Danny Granger.

Gerald Green, Marcus Thornton and Earl Barron will be unrestricted free agents on July 1, and Jerel McNeal will have to prove enough in NBA Summer League to convince the Suns to allow a late July contract guarantee kick-in.

The Suns’ desire to retain Knight is an obvious priority, given that they cashed in two big chips (the Lakers’ first-round pick and Tyler Ennis) to acquire him.

Because Knight is a restricted free agent, the Suns can control that situation by either matching an offer sheet to retain him or negotiating a long-term deal directly.

2015 NBA playoffs begin Saturday

The 2015 NBA playoffs begin Saturday, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Once again, the West is loaded with talent, while the East, well, they have some good players. And a few strong teams. They matter too.

Here are the series-by-series schedules for the first round: NBA playoffs schedule

Deron Williams faces additional criticism

Deron Williams faces additional criticism

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on Nets point guard Deron Williams. The team is currently in a tight game with the Magic on the final day of the regular season:

Deron Williams faces additional criticism

The crosshairs are back on Deron Williams as another disappointing season nears its end, thanks to back-to-back disappearing acts in critical games and a harsh critique from former teammate Paul Pierce.

With the Nets set to play their season finale Wednesday against the Magic - a game they have to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive - another Hall of Famer jumped on the Williams’ blame train.

“I can’t argue with what Paul Pierce said. I have to agree with him,” Reggie Miller told WFAN. “I don’t really like to kill guys but you have to call a spade a spade. I think he’s right on.

“The most important position in the game today is the point guard position,” he added. “And if you can’t get that out of your point guard - because that’s the coach on the floor. That’s the guy that has to get everyone rallying in the right position. So if your point guard is not demanding and is not accountable and is holding everyone else accountable, your team is going to struggle.”

Isaiah Thomas hates coming off the bench

Isaiah Thomas hates coming off the bench

Here’s NESN reporting on a key Boston Celtic:

Isaiah Thomas hates coming off the bench

Isaiah Thomas won’t sugarcoat it: He hates coming off the bench. Hates it. If given the chance to start, Thomas would take it in a second.

That’s not going to happen anytime soon, though. The Celtics point guard has been too valuable to his team in a reserve role, and the team itself has enjoyed too much success for coach Brad Stevens to mess with a good thing this late in the season.

So, for now, Thomas is stuck. But as the Celtics prepare to begin postseason play, he’s not going to be one to complain.

“Nobody’s sold me on no sixth man role,” Thomas said before Tuesday’s 95-93 win over the Toronto Raptors. “I’ve only had a few talks with (president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge), a few talks with Brad. This is the role for the team right now, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Justise Winslow will enter 2015 NBA Draft

Justise Winslow will enter 2015 NBA Draft

Duke freshman Justise Winslow will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Tuesday.

“We’re very happy for Justise and his family,” said Krzyzewski. “He had a sensational year, both on and off the court. He was an amazing factor for our success in winning the national championship. From everything we have found out, Justise is projected to be a high lottery pick and we believe that to be true. This is a great time to take advantage of this opportunity. We’re behind him all the way and love him and his family.”

Winslow, an All-Final Four team selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014) and teammate Jahlil Okafor (2015) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball.

Winslow, the third-highest freshman scorer in the ACC this season, averaged 12.5 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting from the field. In 31 of his 39 appearances, Winslow scored 10-or-more points, the second most double-digit scoring games by a freshman in the ACC this year, behind only Okafor (35). Winslow’s 31 double-digit scoring games ranks tied for third on Duke’s freshman list, while his 492 total points tied with Jason Williams for eighth on the Duke rookie chart.

Winslow also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game, second most by a freshman in the conference. He became just the second player 6-6 or under for Krzyzewski to average at least 6.0 rebounds per game, joining Chris Carrawell (6.1 rpg. In 1999-00). Winslow posted seven double-doubles during the 2014-15 season, including three-straight double-doubles in games against Virginia, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Winslow was recognized for his athletic prowess by being named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District III Team.

– Duke Sports Information

 

Thabo Sefolosha statement on NYC police incident and his injuries

Thabo Sefolosha statement on NYC police incident

“I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to my family and friends, the Hawks organization and my teammates. This has been a difficult time for me and I truly appreciate the support I have received from everyone. I am extremely disappointed that I will not be able to join my teammates on the court during the playoffs and apologize to them for any distraction this incident has caused. I will be cheering for them every step of the way and will be diligent in my rehabilitation.

On advice of counsel, I hope you can appreciate that I cannot discuss the facts of the case. Those questions will be answered by my attorney in a court of law. I will simply say that I am in great pain, have experienced a significant injury and that the injury was caused by the police.”

Lakers will finish this season with 4th worst record in league

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on the Lakers, who in case you forgot were in the NBA this season:

The Lakers have plenty of question marks, but their 59th loss of the season, a 120-106 defeat Sunday at Staples Center at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, gave them some measure of certainty about the near future.

With that, the Lakers clinched the league’s fourth-worst record, meaning fans no longer have to cheer for losses this season to improve the team’s position heading into the May 19 draft lottery.

“It feels great,” coach Byron Scott said after Sunday’s game. “I understand a lot of the fans with where they were getting at [with losing games]. But I don’t agree with it.”

The Lakers will have an 82.8 percent chance of retaining their 2015 first-round pick, which they would convey to the Philadelphia 76ers if the pick falls out of the first five this year.

In hugely important game for Brooklyn, Nets gets blown out by Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are already headed to the 2015 NBA playoffs. The Brooklyn Nets hoped to join them. But a two-game losing streak now has Brooklyn’s postseason dream turning into a nightmare.

Behind 26 points off the bench from Nikola Mirotic, 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks from Pau Gasol, and 50% team shooting, the Chicago Bulls beat the Nets in Brooklyn 113-86.

The Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter. And with plenty of Bulls fans in the crowd, the visiting team got plenty of cheers on a number of plays — especially when D-Rose unleashed some quickness, several times leaving D-Will and other Nets defenders flat-footed behind him.

For Chicago, Jimmy Butler shot 7-of-10 for 17 points, Taj Gibson was 5-of-6 for 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Derrick Rose only shot 5-of-13 as he works his way back but still looked good, showing explosiveness at times and finishing with 13 points and seven assists.

The Nets struggled in just about every way possible. Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench to lead them in scoring with 17. Jarrett Jack scored 15 in 25 minutes off the bench, but needed 14 shots to do it. Brook Lopez had a quiet night with 13 points, eight rebounds, no assists and one block. Deron Williams shot 3-of-13 for just nine points, seven rebound and five assists. Joe Johnson scored 12. Thaddeus Young shot 3-of-11 for eight points, 11 rebounds.

The Bulls had 26 assists, the Nets 12. And the Bulls hit 12-of-30 three-pointers, the Nets 3-of-12.

It was a mess in Brooklyn.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins: “Stats say it all. They shot better from the three than we did from two, they outscored us 56-36 (in the second half). We had 12 assists, five in the first half, and I told the coaches that if we go out there and can’t get more than five assists in the second half and only have 10, we can’t win. We got two more for 12 assists. We have to give up the ball, we have to make shots, we have to make layups, we have to defend with second and third efforts. It was a disappointing loss, but the way I look at it is that we have one more game left and we have to win it.”

For the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah, a bonus in addition to the win was very solid from Derrick Rose, who isn’t anything close to his superstar self of the past, but looks like a player that can help his squad in the postseason, which is the most Chicago can expect from him right now.

“The big thing is obviously getting Derrick Rose back,” said Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“He’s got the power, quickness and speed; it’s very unusual. I don’t know if anyone else is like him in the league,” said Thibodeau about Rose.

The Bulls go on to prepare for the playoffs. The Boston Celtics clinched a playoff spot tonight, so the Nets must hope that the Pacers and Heat — other East squads hoping to reach the postseason — don’t remember how to play basketball for the next 48 hours.

Lakers sign Vander Blue

Lakers sign Vander Blue for a few days

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Vander Blue for the remainder of the season (which ends Wednesday), it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Blue joins the Lakers from the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, where he finished second in the NBADL in scoring at 23.3 points per game on 47.3% shooting (41.6% from beyond-the-arc), in addition to 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in 49 appearances (47 starts). The 22-year-old was selected as an NBADL All-Star this season, and held the distinction of being the only player to average at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 2014-15. Blue becomes the third D-Fender to receive a GATORADE Call-Up this season, joining Jabari Brown (Lakers) and Jamaal Franklin (Nuggets).

The 6’4’’ guard has previous NBA experience with the Boston Celtics, appearing in three games last season.

Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle

Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle

Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced guard Ricky Rubio underwent diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. The surgery was performed this morning by Dr. Richard Ferkel of Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys, California.

Rubio is expected to make a full recovery this summer.

The point guard is a flashy, exciting player — when actually on the court. Which sadly was rare this season. Rubio played just 22 games, scoring a mere 10.8 ppg on 35.6% shooting, along with 8.8 apg and 1.7 spg. As nice a playmaker that he is, Rubio’s value in the league has a ceiling on it as long as his shooting remains a problem.

Howard happily gets to focus on the upcoming playoffs

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets center Dwight Howard, who will fortunately get to focus on the upcoming NBA playoffs instead of off-court issues:

Atlanta (Ga.) Police will not press charges of child abuse against Rockets center Dwight Howard, according to Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon.

“We have investigated this case and are not moving forward with charges,” Lyon said via email.

The mother of one of Howard’s children had alleged that Howard had caused bruises on their then six-year-old son. The case was originally investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, but no charges were brought.

Mike Budenholzer gives credit to Danny Ferry

Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, whose success has been one of the top stories of the 2015-16 NBA season:

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer credited general manager Danny Ferry as the person most responsible for assembling the current roster.

With Ferry on an indefinite leave of absence, Budenholzer was the Hawks nomination for the NBA’s Executive of the Year award the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday. Budenholzer was named head of basketball operations in September.

“Anyone who has followed the Hawks for the last two or three years knows that Danny Ferry is the executive who is most responsible for the makeup of our team,” Budenholzer said Sunday before the Hawks played the Wizards. “Danny is responsible for me being here. Our team is in a good place. I’m very grateful to work with such good players and with such a great staff.”

Isaiah Thomas, Tim Duncan named NBA Players of Week

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, April 6, through Sunday, April 12.

Thomas led the Celtics to a 3-0 week, which included a pair of wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and one win over the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 22.7 points (fourth in the conference), 5.7 assists (10th in the conference), and 2.7 rebounds. Thomas poured in a season-high 34 points on 10-of-17 shooting, and added six assists during a 113-103 win over the Pistons on April 8.

Duncan helped the streaking Spurs to a 4-0 week, extending their winning streak to 11 games. He averaged 17.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.5 steals. Duncan tallied three rejections on April 10, including a block on Houston Rockets guard James Harden with 2.9 seconds remaining that sealed a 104-103 victory for San Antonio.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s C.J. Miles, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams.

Kings sign David Stockton through 2015-16 season

The Sacramento Kings announced today that the team has signed David Stockton through the 2015-16 season. The Kings had previously signed Stockton to a 10-day contract on February 20.

A day later, Stockton made his NBA debut at the STAPLES Center against the Los Angeles Clippers. He recorded one point (0-2 FG, 1-1 FT), two rebounds and one assist in seven minutes off the bench in his lone appearance with the Kings.

Stockton, a 5-11, 165-pound guard, averaged 20.1 points (.461 FG%, .398 3pt%, .824 FT%), 4.2 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 30.5 minutes per game in 43 contests of which he started 38 for the Sacramento Kings NBA D-League affiliate Reno Bighorns in 2014-15. Stockton recorded two triple-doubles, a 36-point, 10-rebound, 14-assist performance against Idaho on March 22 and a 26-point, 10-rebound, 15-assist effort vs. Bakersfield on March 31. Eight times he scored 30 or more points, including a career-high 44 points on March 4 vs. Rio Grande. He had 21 point-assist double-doubles, including a 37-point, 22-assist game against Texas on March 6. Among D-League leaders, he ranked 11th in scoring, third in assists and second in steals per game. Undrafted, Stockton was selected by the Maine Red Claws in the third round of the 2014 NBA Development League Draft on November 1, 2014. He was later traded to the Reno Bighorns on draft night.

Like his father, Hall of Fame guard John Stockton, he played collegiately at Gonzaga (2010-11 – 2013-14).

Suns sign Jerel McNeal through 2015-16 season

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Jerel McNeal through the 2015-16 season. The Suns had previously signed McNeal to a 10-day contract on April 1.

McNeal, whose first name is pronounced Jah-rell, made his NBA debut with the Suns on April 2 and has appeared in four games with the team since initially signing.

In 27 games with the Bakersfield Jam this season, McNeal averaged 18.5 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals. The 6-3 guard scored a season-high 40 points on 16-of-23 shooting for the Suns’ NBA Development League affiliate on March 7 at Austin.

A two-time NBA D-League All-Star, McNeal had previously signed with an NBA team during the regular season on two occasions though he made his debut with the Suns earlier this month. The 27-year-old spent 10 days with the New Orleans Hornets from March 9-19, 2011, and ended the season with the Utah Jazz from March 27-April 17, 2013. This was McNeal’s fourth career D-League season with Bakersfield (2012-15) and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2010-11) as he holds career averages of 18.7 points, 5.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 135 games.

Undrafted out of Marquette University in 2009, McNeal has participated in NBA training camps with the Los Angeles Clippers (2009), Houston Rockets (2010) and Toronto Raptors (2012) and has also played professionally in Belgium, Italy and China. McNeal played four seasons at Marquette (2005-09) where he remains the Golden Eagles’ all-time leading scorer (1,985 career points) and earned Associated Press All-America Second Team honors as a senior in 2008-09.

Budenholzer, Hawks enjoying amazing success

Budenholzer, Hawks enjoying amazing success

Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, whose success has been a terrific season-long story:

With general manager Danny Ferry on a leave of absence the entire season, the Hawks submitted head coach Mike Budenholzer for consideration in voting for the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award, a person familiar with the situation told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Budenholzer has been serving as the head of basketball operations since September when Ferry took the leave following the discovery of racially insensitive remarks about free-agent target Luol Deng during a June conference call with team ownership and management. At that time, CEO Steve Koonin elevated Budenholzer to lead the basketball operations and make final decisions.

The Hawks clinched the Southeast Division title and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last month as part of a record-breaking season. The team extended its franchise record for wins in a season with its 60th victory Friday night. The Hawks have also had a franchise record 19-game win streak, which included an NBA record 17-0 mark in January. The win streak is the longest in Atlanta professional sports history.

Crucial game for Miami Heat tonight

Crucial game for Miami Heat tonight

Here’s the Miami Herald blog with some insight on the Heat, whose time is running out if they hope to grab a spot in the postseason:

With three games left in the regular season, the Heat desperately needs a victory on Saturday night. The Heat has three games left in the regular season and now trails the Nets and Celtics by two games in the loss column after both teams won in convincing fashion on Friday night. The Pacers are earned an important victory, which further complicated the Eastern Conference playoff race. It’s not a true must-win scenario for the Heat, but another loss could doom the Heat’s playoff chances all the same.

While the Nets and Celtics enjoyed games on Friday against teams resting players or preparing for the playoffs, the Heat has no such luck on Saturday against the Raptors. Toronto can secure home-court advantage in the playoffs with a victory against the Heat.

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