Archive for June 29th, 2012

Brooklyn Nets acquire 3 in draft

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired the draft rights to Tyshawn Taylor, the 41st selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, from the Portland Trail Blazers and Tornike Shengelia, the 54th pick, from the Philadelphia 76ers, both in exchange for cash, Nets General Manager Billy King announced tonight.  In addition, the Nets selected Ilkan Karaman with the 57th overall pick.

Taylor (6’3”/185) was a four-year starter at Kansas scoring 1,580 career points, 14th most in KU history.  The Hoboken, New Jersey native averaged a career-best 16.6 points, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a senior.  He was a 2011-12 AP Third Team All America selection and an All Big 12 First Team pick.

Shengelia (6’10”/230) has been a member of the Republic of Georgia’s National Team since 2008.  He played the 2011-12 season for Belgacom Spirou where he averaged 8.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 18.4 minutes in 20 Belgium League games.  He helped his team qualify for Euroleague play, and posted 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds during nine games over the season. Shengelia represented the Republic of Georgia at 2011 Eurobasket, averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 boards for the Senior National Team.

Karaman (6’10”/236) is from Istanbul, Turkey and played for Galatasaray of the Turkish League.  In 2011-12, he averaged 10.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in 23 minutes per game.

The Boston Celtics selected Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph with their picks in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Sullinger, a 6’9” forward, was taken with the 21st pick in the first round. The native of Columbus, OH was a consensus First Team All-American, Wooden Award finalist and First Team All-Big 10 Selection in each of his two seasons at Ohio State.  He also was named the 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.  Sullinger posted the third-most points (1,282) over his first two seasons at Ohio State behind Jerry Lucas (1,381) and Michael Redd (1,361). Sullinger also earned National Freshman of the Year honors from the Sporting News and the Wayman Tisdale Award from the USBWA. He averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds this past season in helping the Buckeyes get to the Final Four.

Melo, a 7’0” center, was taken with the 22nd pick in the first round. The native of Juiz de Forz, Brazil was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. He is the Syracuse record holder for most blocks in a single game with 10 against Seton Hall this past season. He also was named Preseason Big East Rookie of the Year as a freshman. This past season he ranked first for Syracuse in rebounds (5.8 rpg) and blocks (2.9 bpg).

Joseph, a 6’7” forward, was taken with the 51st pick in the second round. The native of Montreal, Quebec, earned First Team All-Big East during his senior season and is one of 55 players in Syracuse University history to record 1,000 points in his career. During his senior season he ranked first on the Orange in points (13.4 ppg) and third in rebounds (4.7 rpg). During his junior season, he also was ranked first on the Orange in points (14.3 ppg) and second in rebounds (5.2 rpg).

Tom Thibodeau

With the draft completed, the Bulls will shift their focus to the next big issues on their docket.

Free agency opens Sunday. And while Tom Thibodeau’s contract extension talks have been ongoing for awhile, significant work remains, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions.

While one source warned the lack of a deal is typical for this stage of negotiations, it’s impossible not to see parallels with the Scott Skiles’ situation from June 2005. Thibodeau’s option for 2012-13 has been picked up. However, after progress on an extension preceding last season, the two sides lately have stalled on contract length and value.

Currently hurting Thibodeau is the fact the big-money era for NBA coaches has calmed a bit and the Bulls remain feeling a bit burned after signing Skiles to a three-year, $13.25 million extension, which came on top of his option being exercised.

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

The New Orleans Hornets announced Thursday that the team has extended a qualifying offer to guard Eric Gordon for the 2012-13 season, making him a restricted free agent.

Gordon averaged a team-leading 20.6 points in addition to 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in nine games (all starts) while shooting 45.0% from the field.  The Hornets were 6-3 when Gordon played this season and he led the team in scoring in all but one of those contests.

Damian Lillard

Lillard’s workout wowed the Blazers’ officials, cementing the Weber State product’s spot at the top of their wish-list for the No. 6 pick, which Portland used to draft him Thursday. Even with North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes — a player many ranked higher in the draft pecking order — still available when Portland’s spot came up, general manager Neil Olshey said there was not strong sentiment in the draft room to shift the pick to Barnes.

“Not as much as you’d think,” Olshey said.

The Blazers were that focused on Lillard as their top choice for the No. 6 spot. In fact, Portland’s second choice for the No. 6 pick was gone by the time the Blazers turn came (Olshey declined to identify the player, but did confirm he was drafted ahead of Lillard).

Although the Blazers performed a lot of advance work in getting down to Lillard, the June 15 visit was the tipping point. Buchanan said the Blazers put Lillard through a variety of situations that tested his footwork and his ability to get his shot off – coming off screens, on the run, off the catch, and so on.

– Reported by Mike Tokito of the Oregonian

No one-and-done for Kentucky’s kids in the NBA draft. The Wildcats instead became the first school to go 1-2.

After the Hornets selected forward Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick Thursday night in Newark, the Bobcats followed by taking fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The Wildcats are the first school to have the top two picks, part of what they hoped would be perhaps five or even six players selected in the first round. The number ended up being four — Terrence Jones, 18th to the Rockets, and Marquis Teague, 29th to the Bulls.

Coach John Calipari has been criticized for recruiting ‘‘one-and-done’’ players — they stay the required one year and leave — but he looked thrilled hugging his two lottery picks.

UCLA had the first and third picks in 1969, when the Bucks took Lew Alcindor and Lucius Allen went to the SuperSonics.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

The Charlotte Bobcats could have invested the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft on a shooter such as Florida guard Bradley Beal or North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes. They could have drafted a rebounder such as Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson. They could have drafted a scorer such as Syracuse guard Dion Waiters.

Instead, the Bobcats invested the No. 2 pick on a player whose jump shot would not distinguish him in a pickup game at suburban Charlotte’s Morrison YMCA.

The absence of a jump shot is the reason drafting Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a gamble.

This is why the Bobcats had to gamble. Kidd-Gilchrist played as hard last season as any player in college basketball. He tried to impose himself every time the Wildcats had the ball, and every time their opponents did.

– Reported by Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer

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