LeBron James may not be suiting up for Team USA at the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball but that didn’t stop him from accepting the ALS ice bucket challenge from the American team. Of course, being the King, he had to do it in style.
Rock chalk Mykhailiuk may not have a ring to it but it seems apt especially as the local press around KU are cooling on Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk already. One look at the really early 2015 odds for the NCAA Basketball title and it’s clear the Jayhawks are there or thereabouts but the wunderkind has yet to be truly accounted for by oddsmakers. Kansas at +1400 looks a great bet for hedging in the early going. Only a fool ordains a champion in the off-season but you have to think the Jayhawks are a 1 or 2 seed come March, at worst at 3, based on Bill Self’s body of work. That makes them a good team to carry all the way to the middle weekend of the big dance before you start laying them.
The team to steer clear off, and then some, right now is arguably the most talented team in the sport. The Kentucky Wildcats are loaded and John Calipari is a brilliant coach but you just can’t bet on anybody at +275 in August. It’s beyond foolish. That number will come out and the smart bettor will hang on until it does. Right now, that’s just too stingy a price.
Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mitterand, Gerard Depardieu, you call all feel this right? This was nascent anger from the Greek Freak tonight. Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks, did this for the Greek national team against France tonight in a FIBA World Cup warm-up game.
The Rockets locked down Papanikolaou on a two-year $9.4 million contract, a big step up from the $4m dollar deal over the same period he was initially offered. With a $1.5 million buyout to pay to Barcelona, $900,000 of which would come out of his own pocket, Pap was always going to need a bigger offer to cross the Atlantic. Not that he is so-so about going to the NBA. The Greek forward has previously said he’d sacrifice money for playing time to get to the association. The need for a new deal was pretty much about value.
What Rockets fans should see in Pap is potential. The past three seasons have seen great development in the maturity of his game. The Greek announced his presence to Europe with an outstanding display in the Euroleague final in 2012. A year later he was named the league’s rising star, before leaving Olympiacos to join Barcelona.
Despite a whole lot of genuinely interesting things happening in the world of basketball right now, it’s a tough time to manage a NBA social media account. Most free agents are signed, the summer league is long over, and there’s still a good chunk of time until pre-season. Throw all that together and NBA Twitter accounts start getting silly. On Wednesday the theme was #NBASweets and Euro ballers in the association didn’t get left out of the nonsense.
Here are the highlights:
This is a great find by the crew over at Project Spurs, a 14 minute video of Ettore Messina explaining his philosophy on coaching basketball
Yeah, when he opens with comparisons to an orchestra you just know this is going to be good. Then when he gets on to discipline a clearly rights free version of The Godfather theme starts playing. Within four minutes it gets unnerving because anyone familiar with Messina gets shocked by just how chilled he is…this was filmed during his CSKA days and he seems content, how does that happen?
The FIFA World Cup is over, the FIBA World Cup is seven weeks away. Whereas the former near guaranteed shocks and surprises, Basketball fans can only hope we avoid a predictable tournament in Spain.
The FIBA World Cup of Basketball has tremendous potential but it’s hard not to be a little worried. Player drop outs keep leaking out as the off-season staggers along. Save for Spain and Lithuania, because it’s Lithuania, and a handful of others it’s hard to guarantee teams will bring their strongest possible rosters. International hoops, while adored by fans, simply doesn’t get the commitment of its soccer counterpart.
Team USA’s provisional roster is a good indicator of how much of an opt-in event this is for stars. Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA MVP, is there, so too are Derrick Rose and James Harden but after that the top names have opted out without much consternation. A NBA contract, the NBA season, is just that much further ahead in the order of priorities. Part of Rose’s motivation for playing indeed is to get some real game-time to get his career back on track next season. This is far from a NBA problem. It’s not the NBA’s fault that it is, by a considerable distance, the top priority for players. That’s on FIBA and the national federations.
Lee Jenkins broke the story of LeBron’s return but what happens now? The madness might just be starting.
David Blatt’s been on one hell of a run. A triple crown with Maccabi, he lands a NBA job (seriously good hustle once again), the team he lands with wins the lottery and lands Andrew Wiggins, wins a bunch of coach of the year awards for work with his old team, and now…now he’s got the best player in the game on his new team.
Yeah, yeah it’s really good to be David Blatt right now.
The East is so open that it’s hardly implausible, even with a team that was pure factory of sadness last year, that Blatt takes the conference in his first season. Outside of the Pacers, is there any team in that conference you feel truly confident about taking Cleveland (and I almost wrote Miami there) in a series with a healthy LeBron James plus friends? There are plenty of options in the West, the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets are teams I’d flat out favour against them right now. That’s ignoring a handful of other teams who are better than any other opponent out East, bar Indiana, that could take down the Cavs roster over seven games. You don’t need me to tell you that only one of these teams from the West could potentially end LeBron’s season.
Draft Express Rank: 61
Draft Express Projection: Undrafted
Club: Olimpia Milano
Season: Quarter finals of Euroleague, currently in Italian league finals with Milano.
Notable personal honours: 2011 Italian league best player under 22
Bear in mind: Gentile logged heavy minutes in Euroleague this year for a Milano team that over-achieved. Psychologically he’s ready for the NBA, whether his game is up to it is another question.
So how good is he? Well he was plenty impressive at EuroBasket: