With the NBA Draft going on, here are some basketball-related thoughts……..
— My friend Joe Gill pointed this out to me yesterday— how much the NBA has changed.
The 3-point shot came into the NBA in the 1979-80 season, Magic/Bird’s rookie season. Here are the Lakers’ TEAM TOTALS FOR THE SEASON on 3-point shooting in their first six years the 3-point shot was in the NBA:
1979-80: 20-100, 20%
1980-81: 17-94, 18.1%
1981-82: 13-94, 13.8%
1982-83: 10-96, 10.4%
1983-84: 58-226, 25.7%
1984-85: 90-295, 30.5%
This past season, 2016-17, Lakers were 730-2110 (34.0%) on 3-pointers for the season; Golden State was 982-2563 (38.3%).
The game has changed in 37 years. A lot.
— Magic Johnson’s first six years in the NBA, he was 29-164 (17.7%) behind the arc; in his last seven NBA seasons, he improved to 32.5% on 3-pointers.
— Wednesday, CBS SportsNet ran an hour special on the draft; their four experts all picked who they thought the best player in the draft was- they gave four different answers, which sums this draft up well. There is no one player who is head and shoulders above the rest.
— 76ers have sold out over 14,000 season tickets for next year, a franchise record; their corps of talented young players have to prove they have the durability to play an 82-game season.
— Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the 7th pick, who wound up being Lauri Markkanen from Arizona.
— Little odd that the last two #1 picks in the draft (Fultz, Ben Simmons) had a combined record of 29-36 in their one season of college basketball and both coaches got fired within a year of coaching that player.
— Four quick non-basketball notes:
a) Weird Al Yankovic is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
b) Jose Abreu is the first major leaguer since 1966 whose first 13 home runs have all been on the road.
c) I graduated high school 40 years ago tonight.
d) I just realized a Saskatchewan-Montreal CFL game is on ESPNews.
— First seven picks in the draft were all college freshmen; Knicks broke the trend by taking Frank Ntilikina, an 18-year old point guard from Europe— he is 6-5.
— Jay Bilas’ comment on NC State’s Dennis Smith, #9 pick by the Mavericks: “He is not always a focused defender.” A nice way of saying, “He sucks on defense.”
— Sacramento traded the #10 pick to Portland for picks #15 and #20; Gonzaga’s Zach Collins was the #10 pick.
— December of 2013, just 3.5 years ago, I sat in the gym at Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas with my friend Mike and we watched some high school basketball. Bishop Gorman’s 3rd-string center was a 10th grader who played pretty well when he got into the game- that was Zach Collins.
Last night, Collins was the 10th pick in the NBA Draft, by Portland. Not bad for a kid who was a 3rd-string center on his high school team three years ago, behind Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter. Zimmerman is in the D-League with Orlando, Jeter just transferred from Duke to Arizona. Collins has a shot to be the best of the three.
— NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a tall, bald man who wears glasses, which obviously makes him very handsome— ha!!! Oh, Charlotte just took Malik Monk, best shooter in the draft who apparently is also adept at hunting squirrels.
— Detroit took Duke’s Luke Kennard with the #12 pick; he plays basketball lefty, but when he was a high school QB, he threw the ball righty. Go figure.
— Utah traded Trey Lyles and the #24 pick to Denver for the #13 pick- Jazz took Donovan Mitchell from Louisville.
— Halftime: Saskatchewan 10, Montreal 7. Season opener for both clubs. We’ll have write-ups on all the CFL games, starting next week.
— ESPN’s guy with the touchscreen who is a salary cap guru predicts the Bulls will buy out Dwyane Wade’s contract as they totally rebuild. Thats an expensive deal right there.
— John Calipari was in Colorado Springs Thursday morning coaching the U19 team, then was in Brooklyn for the draft; I’m assuming he is headed back to Colorado as soon as all of his guys get drafted. I’m assuming Calipari has a really nice house, but is he ever home?
Calipari is now holding court on ESPN; in eight years at Kentucky, he’s coached 64 players. Half of those 64 players have been drafted by the NBA.
— I’ll say this: Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans is really good. He’ll be a very good NBA player, but he hasn’t been taken yet.
— In his next contract, Paul George will either get $177M for five years or $132M for four years, depending on if he switches teams or not.
— Sacramento took Harry Giles, who has already torn the ACL in both knees and wasn’t good at Duke last year— there is very little chance this ends well. Giles scored 3.9 pts/game while playing in 20% of Duke’s possessions last year. Can he recover enough to withstand an 82-game schedule? Wish the young man well, but this figures to be another Sacramento disaster.
— My point here: Taking Giles over Jawun Evans is basketball malpractice.
— Oklahoma City took Terrance Ferguson with the #21 pick; he skipped college (Arizona) and shot 30% in an Australian pro league LY. They say he needs to get stronger- if he such a great shooter, why did he shoot 30% in an Australian league? He is a developmental project.
— Host Brooklyn Nets took Jarrett Allen, a big kid from Texas. He scored 13.4 pts/game with 8.4 reb/game LY. This young man built his own computer, which is very impressive.
Nets are 41-123 the last two years; three short years ago, they were 44-38 and in Eastern Conference semis. It is easier to get worse than it is to get better. They need a lot of players.