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|Early Draft Candidates And More...|
Apr. 28, 2011, 1:49 PM
Just under two hours ago, the NBA announced the names of 89 players that have filed to the league as “early entry candidates” for the 2011 NBA Draft.
Sixty-nine players from U.S. colleges and 20 International players had until April 24 to submit their letter of intent to the NBA.
Keep in mind … these players ARE able to return to their collegiate teams if they decide to pull out of the NBA Draft and they have not signed with an agent. Players that want to withdraw their name must do so by 5pm on June 13.
Here is a full list of the early entry candidates:
Olu Ashaolu - Louisiana Tech
Keion Bell - Pepperdine
Jacob Blankenship - Southeastern (FL)
Laurence Bowers - Missouri
Alec Burks - Colorado
DeAngelo Casto - Washington State
Roscoe Davis - Midland JC (TX)
Mamadou Diarra - Chaminade (HI)
TyShwan Edmondson - Austin Peay
Kim English - Missouri
Ashton Gibbs - Pittsburgh
Troy Gillenwater - New Mexico State
Jeremy Green - Stanford
Jordan Hamilton - Texas
Tobias Harris - Tennessee
Desmond Holloway - Coastal Carolina
Terrell Holloway - Xavier
Tyler Honeycutt - UCLA
Scotty Hopson - Tennessee
Kyrie Irving - Duke
Reggie Jackson - Boston College
Terrence Jennings - Louisville
Orlando Johnson - UC-Santa Barbara
Reggie Johnson - Miami
Tiondre Johnson - Coastal Bend JC (TX)
Kevin Jones - West Virginia
Terrence Jones - Kentucky
Cory Joseph - Texas
Enes Kanter - Kentucky
Ryan Kelley - Colorado
Dan Kelm - Viterbo (WI)
Brandon Knight - Kentucky
Malcolm Lee - UCLA
Kawhi Leonard - San Diego State
Travis Leslie - Georgia
DeAndre Liggins - Kentucky
David Loubeau - Texas A&M
Shelvin Mack - Butler
Greg Mangano - Yale
Keishawn Mayes - Campbell
Cameron Moore - Alabama-Birmingham
Darius Morris - Michigan
Marcus Morris - Kansas
Markieff Morris - Kansas
Darrion Pellum - Hampton
J.P. Primm - North Carolina-Asheville
Willie Reed - St. Louis
Jereme Richmond - Illinois
Ralph Sampson III - Minnesota
Carleton Scott - Notre Dame
Josh Selby - Kansas
Iman Shumpert - Georgia Tech
John Shurna - Northwestern
Chris Singleton - Florida State
Greg Smith - Fresno State
Tony Taylor - George Washington
Isaiah Thomas - Washington
Trey Thompkins - Georgia
Hollis Thompson - Georgetown
Klay Thompson - Washington State
Tristan Thompson - Texas
Thomas Tibbs Jr. - Staten Island
Nikola Vucevic - Southern California
Kemba Walker - Connecticut
Antoine Watson - Florida International
Charlie Westbrook - South Dakota
Derrick Williams - Arizona
Jordan Williams - Maryland
Brandon Wood - Valparaiso
Andrew Albicy - Paris-Levallois (France)
Furkan Aldemir - Karsiyaka (Turkey)
Davis Bertans - Union Olimpija (Slovenia)
Bismack Biyombo - Fuenlabrada (Spain)
Nihad Djedovic - Lottomatica Roma (Italy)
Emmanouil Koukoulas - Ilysiakos (Greece)
Joffrey Lauvergne - Chalon (France)
Abdoulaye Loum - Le Havre (France)
Nikola Mirotic - Real Madrid (Spain)
Donatas Motiejunas - Benetton Treviso (Italy)
Lucas Riva Nogueira - Estudiantes II (Spain)
Femi Oladipo - Crailsheim (Germany)
Leon Radosevic - Cibona (Croatia)
Negueba Samake - Rouen (France)
Tornike Shengelia - Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium)
Abdel Kader Sylla - Nancy (France)
Jonas Valanciunas - Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Jan Vesely - Partizan (Serbia)
Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann - Telekom (Germany)
Tomislav Zubcic - Cibona (Croatia)
The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday June 23 in New Jersey (at the Prudential Center). And the NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 17.
Trying to keep up with the NBA playoff schedule and wondering when the next set of series’ will start? I think I can help you out:
Chicago is home and chilling … waiting for the winner of the Orlando/Atlanta match-up. That second round series will start with Game 1 on Monday, May 2nd.
The rest of the series will go as follows:
|Game 2||Wed May 4||Orl/OR/Atl at Chicago||Time TBD|
|Game 3||Fri May 6||Chicago at Orl/OR/Atl||Time TBD|
|Game 4||Sun May 8||Chicago at Orl/OR/Atl||Time TBD|
|Game 5||Tue May 10||Orl/OR/Atl at Chicago||Time TBD *|
|Game 6||Thu May 12||Chicago at Orl/OR/Atl||Time TBD *|
|Game 7||Sun May 15||Orl/OR/Atl at Chicago||Time TBD *|
* if necessary
Meanwhile … things are all set for the big showdown between Boston and Miami as well:
|Game 1||Sun May 1||Boston at Miami||3:30PM|
|Game 2||Tue May 3||Boston at Miami||Time TBD|
|Game 3||Sat May 7||Miami at Boston||8:00PM|
|Game 4||Mon May 9||Miami at Boston||Time TBD|
|Game 5||Wed May 11||Boston at Miami||Time TBD *|
|Game 6||Fri May 13||Miami at Boston||Time TBD *|
|Game 7||Mon May 16||Boston at Miami||8:00PM *|
* if necessary
There is no concrete information available yet on the Western Conference semifinals because the Lakers/Hornets, Mavericks/Blazers, and Spurs/Grizzlies are all still playing. Oklahoma City is the only team to get a ‘rest’ right now following their series-clinching Game 5 win over the Nuggets last night.
This is a stat that my broadcast partner, Paul Jones (“The Rainman”), would be proud of …
I stumbled upon it in an email from the league earlier today:
“The Lakers have closed out an opponent on the first try 21 times in their last 24 opportunities dating back to 2001. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have closed out their opponent on the first attempt 21 times in 28 overall opportunities. Overall under Jackson, the Lakers are 27-11 in close-out games. The Lakers have won 32 of their last 33 series when holding the opportunity to close out at any point. Their last series loss when having a close-out game came in 2006 when the Lakers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns.”
LA can close out the Hornets with a victory tonight in New Orleans. The Lakers lead the series 3-2.
Speaking of New Orleans, Chris Paul is the only player in NBA playoff history to average 20+ points and 10+ assists. He is averaging 22.5 points and 11.1 assists in his post-season career.
Don’t forget, Jonesy and I will have the HOOPS show on Sportsnet Radio the FAN 590 at 7 p.m., tonight. Tune in or listen online at www.fan590.com
Thanks … have a good one!
Raptors Radio Analyst
|Latest Random Playoff Thoughts|
Apr. 26, 2011, 11:30 PM
I hope everyone (that celebrates) had a great Easter weekend. The holiday brought a ton of great basketball as well, with the Grizzlies continuing to stun the NBA world and the Celtics making it look easy against the Knicks.
To kick-off the unofficial work week (I know it started for some of you YESTERDAY), I figured it was time to check in with some Random Thoughts from the 2011 post-season!
Chicago vs Indiana
If games were 40 minutes long –- like in college ball –- it might be the Pacers (not the Bulls) who are up 3-1 at this point. Indy has had some serious issues in closing out games … especially in games one, two and three.
Credit Danny Granger and Co. for getting a big Game 4 win but I don’t see this club having a chance and taking four in a row and coming back to beat the Bulls. Remember, no team in NBA history has trailed 3-0 and come back to win the series. We’ve seen it in the NHL and MLB but not in the NBA!
San Antonio vs Memphis
The OTHER one versus eight series and … WOW … what a wild one it has been!
Admittedly, there were a few ‘experts’, analysts and fans that predicted the Grizzlies would give the Spurs all they could handle, but I’m not sure if even THOSE folks guessed Memphis would have such an ‘easy’ time with the West’s top club.
San Antonio has looked slow and old against the high-energy youngsters from Tennessee. In fact, unless the Spurs can spin some magic and win three in a row and bounce back from the 3-1 hole they’re in, this match-up could be the first sign of ‘change’ coming to the Alamo City. Tim Duncan just turned 35 and he’s looking it.
Miami vs Philadelphia
Much like the Pacers did in Game 4 against the Bulls, the Sixers battled hard on Easter Sunday and got a big win over the Heat. Spencer Hawes even got a bit of a ‘shot’ in on LeBron James as well -- sending the message (rightly) that there will be no ‘freebies’ at the 76ers hoop.
However, the Cinderella story won’t be played out here. Philadelphia just doesn’t have what it takes to win three in a row over the Heat and their Big Three. But like I’ve said many times (and Doug Smith wrote about it today in the Toronto Star as well), this will still prove to be valuable experience for the young Sixers. Those that say losing in four or five does nothing to ‘improve’ your club clearly don’t see the value in gaining post-season experience or the value in ridding the ‘losing culture’ that can be created in a locker room (and in a younger player’s mind) following losing season after losing season.
LA Lakers vs New Orleans
You could have convinced me that the Grizzlies would give the Spurs a battle (though I still thought San Antonio would win) but I would not have believed ANYONE that said New Orleans had a shot at upsetting the two-time defending Champs in the first round.
With David West sidelined and little to get excited about in the Hornets front court, I didn’t think NOLA stood a chance in this series.
But Pau Gasol has been absent and guys like Carl Landry and Aaron Gray are playing their backsides off!
Plus, now you add the Kobe Bryant ‘injury’ factor (he has refused an MRI even though the Lakers want him to have one) and who knows what to expect!
Boston vs New York
What a letdown that was!
Many folks expected this to be THE match-up of the first round and it fizzled out in a hurry.
Though the Knicks battled hard in Games 1 and 2 (and I know they lost Billups and Amare was banged-up), Games 3 and 4 were ‘teasers’ at best as Boston held control and swept the one-two punch of 'Melo and Stoudemire.
For all of the talk about how the Celtics were going to miss Perkins and not having Shaq would be an issue too, the front court ‘depth’ (or lack of it) wasn’t a problem. Jermaine O’Neal was solid for Boston and the veteran Celts now get the luxury of having some time to rest before having to battle again!
Dallas vs Portland
After a major collapse in Game 4, Dallas bounced back last night with a huge win over the Blazers ... putting Portland on the brink of elimination.
What a strange series this has been –- highlighted by the Jekyll and Hyde performances from both teams in Game 4 and Game 5.
Ironically, if Portland loses I’d expect some change in Oregon. Question marks linger (for age or for injury) with Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby, Greg Oden, and even Andre Miller to name a few. But the same questions exist in Dallas. Is this their last kick at the can? How much does Jason Kidd have left in the tank? Can you still build around Dirk and Jason Terry and is the wing position something that needs to be addressed with Marion not getting any younger and Caron Butler trying to battle back from injury (again)?
Orlando vs Atlanta
If you’ve heard me on the radio or TV over the last number of years (or read this space as well) you know how much I hate the ‘rumor mill’. I’m not a big fan of speculation and innuendo.
However, from time-to-time I break my rules of 'not going there' and I’m doing that now.
Orlando being down 3-1 could be the worst possible news for the Magic organization and their fans. Why? Dwight Howard has already –- through his ‘people’ and the dreaded ‘rumor mill’ –- floated the idea that he may not be staying in Florida for the long haul. Rumblings about New Jersey or LA (the Lakers) have come out. And facing the prospect of losing this first-round series to the Hawks won’t help quiet Dwight’s rumblings.
Howard has done everything humanly possible to pull his weight –- on both ends –- in this series and though the Magic spent a ton of money to TRY and build a winner around him (adding Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, etc), it clearly hasn’t worked out. The only consistent help Howard has is his long-time PG, Jameer Nelson.
Credit the Hawks for grabbing control of this series and proving many (like me) wrong; people who thought they were/are just a good regular season team that can’t get it done when it’s all on the line in the post-season.
Oklahoma City vs Denver
Game 2 was over before it really started, as OKC was up by what seemed to be 60 points in the first quarter. But Games 1, 3, and 4 have been OUTSTANDING back-and-forth battles; a truly entertaining series in every sense of the word.
George Karl has got his Nuggets playing some inspired ball –- something they’ve been doing in Denver since the Carmelo Anthony-to-New York deal went down. The Nugs have been the epitome of a TEAM and it’s showing in the way they’re battling Thunder.
However, in the end, there’s been too much Kevin Durant. Time and time again the youngster shines -- hitting every big shot that comes his way. In fact, Russell Westbrook should be giving KD the ball even more, but the young PG (for all of his GREAT qualities) tends to get ‘sticky fingers’ sometimes and forces himself into some ill-advised shots late in the shot clock. But that’s a minor blip.
If LA continues to struggle against the Hornets, could we be witnessing an earlier rise to the top than many of us anticipated for the Thunder? Time will tell.
All the best folks … Continue to enjoy these playoffs!
Raptors Radio Analyst
|An All-Raptors Tweet Spot|
Apr. 21, 2011, 12:23 PM
It has been just under a week since I last checked in at Raptors.com … but I do plan on doing so throughout the NBA Playoffs and leading up to the NBA Draft as well. Though Toronto isn’t in the post-season … there’s still a lot to talk about in Raptorland!
A shout-out on Twitter prompted more questions about the Raptors than the 16 teams that are currently battling in the ‘Second Season’
Enjoy this All-Raptor TWEET SPOT:
@Ronny006 - If the Raptors get a legit C in the off-season, do you see Bargnani's rebounding and defense improving?
@Eric__Smith – Certain aspects of his D aren’t as bad as some people perceive. But guarding forwards and not centres? Sure. Rebounding may not change though
@DaddyDrex3 – Do you think the Raps should make a run at getting as many picks as possible in this year’s draft (via trades, etc)?
@Eric__Smith – In short, no. I don’t believe this is a very deep draft (outside of the top 5-7). Plus, you already have a young core. Time to build around it / compliment it
@Ryan_A79 - Do we have an update as to the overall contributions for Japan? Also, what would you like to see DeMar improve on this summer?
@Eric__Smith – DeRozan needs to improve his overall defence and his range. He’s gotta add the 3-point shot to his arsenal
NOTE: As for the HOPE For Japan t-shirts, sales are close to $4000 now! Thanks to all of you who ordered one! For those that haven’t made a purchase yet, the t-shirts are still available for $20 at www.entripy.com/japan
Here’s a picture of the Hope For Japan t-shirt (sent in by Justin) outside the Stock Exchange in Brussels, Belgium!
Now … back to the Tweet Spot …
@Darkstar_Inc - Who do you think we will be going after in the free agency? And what draft picks would be the best for our team?
@Eric__Smith – Until the GM situation is resolved, it’s impossible to know who free agent targets may be. The Draft? As of today I’d say Irving, Williams and Walker are best.
@Daoud_S - If Colangelo is to be let go, wouldn't that bring another era of coaching/front office uncertainty?
@Eric__Smith – In theory, yes, it could. Even BC has admitted his time here has not been a complete success. But for stability & image around the league (if nothing else) I’d keep him
@asif9t9 - Do you think the Raptors need to make a decision on Andrea Bargnani vs Ed Davis this off-season?
@Eric__Smith – Not at all. They’re totally different players. There MAY be SOME duplication with Davis/Johnson. Assets are good though. A true “C” is still needed
Thanks for all of the questions folks.
You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Eric__Smith
I’ll be back again soon ... and if I don’t check in tomorrow ... Happy Easter!
Raptors Radio Analyst
|Updated Lottery Odds...|
Apr. 15, 2011, 5:10 PM
Stu Jackson (Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations for the NBA) was a busy man earlier today at the Board of Governors meeting in New York City.
Random drawings were held – by Jackson – to break the three ties that existed among teams that finished the 2010-11 season with the same record:
- Sacramento (24-58) won the tiebreaker over New Jersey
- New Orleans (46-36) won the tiebreaker over Memphis
- Dallas (57-25) won the tiebreaker over the LA Lakers
The NBA Draft will be held on June 23 at The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
- - - - - - - - - -
As for the Draft LOTTERY … now that the tiebreakers have been set, here’s how things are shaping up for May 17:
LOTTERY CHANCES (out of 1,000)
Minnesota (17-65) 250
Cleveland (19-63) 199
Toronto (22-60) 156
Washington (23-59) 119
Sacramento (24-58) 76
New Jersey (24-58) to UTH 75
Detroit (30-52) 43
LA Clippers (32-50) to CLE 28
Charlotte (34-48) 17
Milwaukee (35-47) 11
Golden State (36-46) 8
Utah (39-43) 7
Phoenix (40-42) 6
Houston (43-39) 5
The Draft order for the rest of the FIRST Round picks will be:
15. Indiana (37-45)
16. Philadelphia (41-41)
17. New York (42-40)
18. Atlanta (44-38) to WAS
19. New Orleans (46-36) to CHA via POR
20. Memphis (46-36) to MIN via UTH
21. Portland (48-34)
22. Denver (50-32)
23. Orlando (52-30) to HOU via PHX
24. Oklahoma City (55-27)
25. Boston (56-26)
26. Dallas (57-25)
27. LA Lakers (57-25) to NJ
28. Miami (58-24) to CHI via TOR
29. San Antonio (61-21)
30. Chicago (62-20)
And here’s how things are going to go down for the SECOND Round:
31. Minnesota (to MIA)
33. Toronto (to DET)
35. New Jersey
37. Detroit (to LAC)
38. LA Clippers (to HOU)
41. Golden State (to LAL via NJ)
43. Utah (to CHI or to GS via CHI)
44. Phoenix (to CHI or to GS via CHI)
45. Philadelphia (to N.O.)
46. New York (to LAL)
47. Houston (to LAC)
50. New Orleans (to PHI)
54. Oklahoma City (to CLE via MIA)
56. LA Lakers
58. Miami (to LAL)
59. San Antonio
60. Chicago (to SAC via MIL)
Thanks folks. Enjoy the playoff games this weekend!
Have a good one!
Raptors Radio Analyst
|Final Game Day Update Of The 2010-11 Season|
Apr. 13, 2011, 2:42 PM
The Raptors are entering their final game of the regular season tonight and they're walking wounded … big time.
Missing in action versus the Heat tonight:
Miami has yet to make any roster 'announcements' for tonight's tilt. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has refused to show his hand. However, with the Heat locked into the #2 seed – and their first round series against the Sixers starting on Saturday – I'd think that it's fair to assume that Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh could all be held out of action. We'll see!
For Toronto … the absence of guys like Evans, Johnson and Bargnani means opportunity is knocking yet again for Joey Dorsey and Ed Davis.
Dorsey is coming off a career-high 20 rebounds (in Monday's loss at Milwaukee) … a feat that put him into the Raptors' record books:
MOST REBOUNDS FRANCHISE HISTORY:
|Donyell Marshall||24||Feb 17, 2004 @ Chi|
|Reggie Evans||22||Nov 24, 2010 vs Phi|
|Chris Bosh||22||Nov 14, 2006 @ GS|
|Chris Bosh||22||Mar 25, 2005 @ Phi|
|Popeye Jones||21||Dec 11, 1996 @ Bos|
|Joey Dorsey||20||Monday @ Mil|
Jerome Williams and Hakeem Olajuwon also grabbed 20 boards in a game for T.O.
Even though the Raptors have gone 2-4 over their last 6 games, rebounding has been a big advantage for T.O. and many hope it's a trend that can carry-over into next season (build on the 'hot' end to this year – in terms of the glass):
@ Milwaukee +5 rebounds
vs. New Jersey +14 rebounds
@ Philadelphia +11 rebounds
vs. Cleveland +2 rebounds
@ New York +12 rebounds
vs. Orlando +18 rebounds
The Raptors and Heat will be on Sportsnet Radio the FAN 590 at 730 p.m., tonight (pregame) ... with the tip off coming just after 8 p.m.
And FYI … though today marks the final game on the regular season for the Raptors, I'll still be checking in at this space –- regularly –- through the NBA Playoffs, leading up to the NBA Draft, and throughout the entire summer as well.
Have a good one!
Raptors Radio Analyst
|DeRozan Putting Finishing Touch On Super Sophomore Season|
Apr. 11, 2011, 2:30 PM
As the Raptors enter game #81 tonight, I figured it was time to highlight the incredible season that sophomore shooting guard DeMar DeRozan had had.
Take a look at some of his accomplishments this year:
Hopefully we don't put the "Jones Jinx" on DD by talking about this ... but if he can stay healthy tonight and Wednesday (against the Heat), DeRozan will become only the fourth player in franchise history to play in all 82 games of the regular season.
Vince Carter: 1999-00
Alvin Williams: 2001-02
Anthony Parker: 2007-08
That ability to stay healthy has been just as impressive as his scoring production as well.
DeRozan tops the list of sophomores who have seen the biggest leap in points per game from 2009-10 to 2010-11:
Wesley Matthews (POR): +6.5
Jrue Holiday (PHI): +5.9
Jodie Meeks (PHI): +5.9
Serge Ibaka (OKC): +3.5
DeRozan's scoring prowess is not just contained to his fellow second-year players …
The product of USC has been on a bit of a tear over the first 10 days of April.
With injuries to Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, and Leandro Barbosa, DeRozan has HAD to shoulder a bulk of the scoring load for Toronto and he has stepped up to the challenge. The proof can be seen in the NBA scoring numbers for April (this was heading into last night's game):
Monta Ellis (GS): 29.3
LeBron James (MIA): 27.5
Kevin Durant (OKC): 27.4
Kevin Martin (HOU): 27.0
To give you the most up-to-date numbers though, through SIX games in April (thus, including last night's game vs PHI), DeRozan is averaging 25.0 PPG … chipping in 5.2 rebounds as well … and averaging 40.0 minutes per game.
Paul Jones and I will be on Sportsnet Radio The FAN 590 at 8 p.m., tonight, bringing you all of the action between the Bucks and Raptors.
Have a good one!
Raptors Radio Analyst
(Thanks to Jumpin' Johnny Rusin for his help with some of these stats)
|Game Day From NYC...|
Apr. 5, 2011, 2:30 PM
The Raptors are in New York tonight to fact the Knicks and it'll be Toronto's first chance to see Carmelo Anthony in the Blue and Orange.
The are still rumblings all over NYC that Mike D'Antoni could be let go at the end of the season / playoffs because of how 'average' the Knicks have been since acquiring 'Melo but clearly that's just rumor and speculation at this point.
What is a fact though … is that New York has had its issues since making that monster deal with the Denver Nuggets:
|Before Trade||Since Record|
Meanwhile … the Nuggets are 15-4 since making the trade.
What kind of an impact has the deal had on Amare Stoudemire? Check it out:
- - - - - - - - - -
Andrea Bargnani (ankle), Jose Calderon (hamstring), and Leandro Barbosa (finger) are all listed as game-time decisions for tonight's tilt in NYC.
The Raptors have played the last two (vs CHI and ORL) with Calderon and Bargnani and the absence of those two players has given more time and opportunity to guys like Jerryd Bayless and Ed Davis.
I caught up with Amir Johnson for a quick chat to find out what he thinks about the one-two punch that he and Davis can supply in the Raptors' front court in spite of the similarities in their games.
CLICK HERE to listen.
- - - - - - - - - -
Finally, I can't take credit for this photo … but for those that aren't on Twitter … I figured you'd want to see it.
Reggie Evans (@ReggieEvans30 on Twitter) had assistant coach Micah Nori snap this picture before shoot-around in New York this morning. (NOTE: Andrea Bargnani was getting treatment on his ankle when this impromptu photo was taken – so the conspiracy theorists can rest easy).
- - - - - - - - - -
Paul Jones and I will have the call of tonight's game – Raptors @ Knicks – on AM 1150 CKOC.
We're moving up the dial a bit to make way for the Blue Jays and A's on Sportsnet Radio The FAN 590. So remember to tune in and 7:30pm for the Raps and Knicks on AM 1150 CKOC.
Thanks. Have a good one!
Raptors Radio Analyst