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Boston Celtics Win The NBA Lottery; Lakers and Sixers Also Big Winners

Eastern Conference Finalists, The Boston Celtics, land the No.1 overall pick as Lakers & Sixers also win big on NBA Lottery night:

Via The Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Celtics have won the NBA draft lottery, capitalizing on a trade they made with the Brooklyn Nets four years ago.

The Los Angeles Lakers were other big winners, moving up one spot to second to hold onto their pick. They would have had to trade it to Philadelphia if it fell outside the top three.

The Celtics will go from No. 1 seed to No. 1 pick after their 25 percent chance of winning came through Tuesday night. They beat Washington in Game 7 of the second round on Monday and open the Eastern Conference finals at home on Wednesday against Cleveland.

“It’s two completely different situations: One is a lot about the future, and one is in the present,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said. “This team is a lot of fun to be around this year.”

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Recapping The 1st Round Of The NBA Draft, Team By Team, Pick By Pick

2015 NBA Draft: Yahoo Sports recaps the NBA Draft’s 1st round, offering team grades for each player selected from No. 1-30:

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1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns (PF/C, Kentucky, Fr., 19, 7-0, 248): The Towns vs. Okafor debate faded recently as NBA personnel fell in love with the versatile ex-Kentucky big man. Towns shined in the paint for the Wildcats, protecting the rim with his ability to alter shots at one end and bullying big men for low-post baskets at the other. He will never be as brilliant a back-to-the-basket scorer as Okafor, but he runs the floor well, moves more fluidly defending the perimeter and is capable of knocking down mid-range jumpers. Marc J. Spears’ grade: A+

2. Los Angeles Lakers – D’Angelo Russell PG/SG, Ohio State, Fr., 19, 6-5, 193): Once considered a tick or two below some of the elite players in his class, Russell ascended draft boards this winter thanks to a brilliant freshman season. He has the quickness and vision to run the point in the NBA yet also possesses the shooting ability and scoring instincts to thrive off ball too. By going with Russell instead of Jahlil Okafor, the Lakers keep alive the possibility of adding a free-agent big man this summer in a year when a handful of frontcourt standouts will be available. Marc J. Spears’ grade: A

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NBA Draft Recap: Team By Team Picks, Grades, Trades and Top Storylines

Wiggins goes No.1 to Cavs, Jabari No.2 to Bucks, Embiid No.3 to Sixers; NBA Draft grades after a busy and entertaining NBA Draft:

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Via Yahoo Sports:

Readers will notice a fair amount of very good grades in our take on the 2014 NBA draft. This is because the league’s front offices are getting smarter, scouting is becoming more advanced and this is one of the deeper drafts in NBA history. It’s early, but we think these marks were earned.

Onto the grades …

Atlanta Hawks

The haul: Adreian Payne, Walter Tavares, Lamar Patterson

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has yet to put together a championship contender in Atlanta, but he’s done well to secure low-cost talent while avoiding some (or, all, really) of the financial mistakes made by his predecessors. The loss of Al Horford to injury in 2013-14 turned Atlanta’s season on its ear, and while Payne is nowhere near the sort of contributor the former All-Star is, his ability to spread the floor while playing competently on the other end will fit in with a team that likes to do its damage from the perimeter. Finding a go-to backup and spot starter at No. 15 was good news. Read the rest of this entry

NBA Draft Is June 26th, Cleveland Cavs Land No.1 Overall Pick Again; NBA Pre-Draft Combine Highlights From Chicago

Video highlights of some of the notable NBA Draft Prospects who participated at the recent NBA Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago:

2014 NBA Draft Lottery Top 10 Picks: 1) Cavs, 2) Bucks, 3) Sixers, 4) Magic, 5) Jazz, 6) Celtics, 7) Lakers, 8) Kings, 9) Hornets, 10) Sixers

Combine video courtesy of the NBA

Kansas Freshman Joel Embiid Outshining Top NBA Prospect; Teammate Andrew Wiggins

CBS Sports Garry Parrish on the impact of Kansas freshman Joel Embiid who is emerging as the top 2014 NBA draft prospect:  

LAWRENCE, Kan. — It was clear in the preseason, if you spoke with anybody on the Kansas staff, that Bill Self and his assistants believed they had something special in Joel Embiid.

The freshman big was getting a fraction of the attention reserved for Andrew Wiggins.

But his so-called ceiling, they quietly insisted, was just as high.

Perhaps even higher.

I realized this for the first time in late September when I attended a KU practice while in town. I returned home still intrigued by Wiggins, of course, for all of the obvious reasons. But the lasting image from that trip was one of Embiid — alone on the court, perfecting post moves, smiling when his coaches instructed him to show me his Dream Shake.

Everything Embiid did seemed so natural.

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Winners & Losers: Recapping a Very Unpredictable, Exciting NBA Draft

Via Sports Illustrated’s Point Forward:

Winners:

Canadian basketball. Any time history is made, that’s a good place to start. When the Cavaliers shocked the basketball world by drafting UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, our neighbors to the north registered their first No. 1 pick. Canada’s program has been on the rise for a number of years, highlighted by the first-round selections of Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph in 2011. Joining Bennett in the lottery was Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk, who was born in Toronto and raised in Kamloops.

This growing youth movement could well pay off in full if Andrew Wiggins, arguably the best wing prospect since Kevin Durant, is selected first in the 2014 draft, as expected. Imagine if someone had told you as recently as 2010 that Canadians would go No. 1 back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. Kaboom — mind blown.

The only disappointment for Canada? Texas’ Myck Kabongo, a high school teammate of Thompson’s, went undrafted.

Anthony Bennett. There will be plenty of time for the pressure and expectations to sink in and the doubters to crow at full volume. In this moment, it surely must be an amazing feeling to have shocked the world.

“I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett admitted.

It’s not yet clear how he will function in the same frontcourt as Thompson or if the roster will get a freshening up now that Mike Brown is back in the saddle. Before worrying about those questions, Bennett need only concern himself with savoring the most pleasant of surprises before getting himself 100 percent healthy.

Kings fans. It’s hard to imagine a greater joy than the one Sacramento’s diehards felt when the Kings were saved from relocation, seemingly at the last possible moment. Getting a top-three talent and a possible future All-Star in Ben McLemore at No. 7 should rank right up there, too.

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Recapping The 2012 NBA Draft: Hornets, Rockets, Kings, Thunder and Univ. of Kentucky Impress

Sports Illustrated recapping an exciting NBA Draft with few trades but plenty of drama and surprises:

NBA basketball draftees stand on stage before the draft on Thursday, June, 28, 2012, in Newark, N.J.

No. 1)  New Orleans  Hornets:  Anthony Davis PF (Kentucky) The Hornets get their man, a dominant defensive presence and team-first talent who will now attempt to meet incredible expectations. The comparisons, to review, have been made to the likes of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. The exciting part for Hornets fans is that Davis is likely a long ways from reaching his potential. He sprouted to his current height midway through high school and will be fun to watch develop. New Orleans hopes to re-sign free-agent shooting guard Eric Gordon and have him form a promising inside-outside duo with Davis.

No. 2)  Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF (Kentucky) The Bobcats had everyone believing that Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson was their man. But in Kidd-Gilchrist, they’ve opted for a tenacious defender whose character, motor and ability to get to the rim are widely respected. He’ll have to improve his perimeter shooting to round out his offensive game.

No.3 ) Washington Wizards:  Bradley Beal SG (Florida) The Wizards were excited about this pick all along, hoping that no one would get in their way of adding the dynamic sharpshooter to point guard John Wall in the backcourt. Shooting was a major priority for Washington, and the athletic Beal comes with the added benefit of being able to defend, get to the rim and rebound. He has been compared to a young Ray Allen as well as Eric Gordon. Many executives believe he’ll be a future All-Star.
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Risers and Fallers From Chicago’s NBA Draft Combine as NBA Draft Nears

CBS Sports Jeff Goodman takes a look at the winners and losers from the NBA Draft Combine:

CHICAGO – Just about every NBA executive converged on the campus of Illinois-Chicago for the past two days to watch most of the top prospects eligible for this year’s NBA Draft in the Combine.

It was fairly uneventful — with 11 of the elite players choosing to bail on the on-court portion — and the NBA dummying down the event to what was primarily a series of shooting drills.

However, there were still clearly those that improved their stock — and those that didn’t do themselves any favors. Here are a dozen winner and a dozen more than came up short:

WINNERS

1) Damian Lillard – Already regarded as arguably the top point guard in what is a weak floor leader crop, the Weber State star likely solidified his spot. He showed swagger — and the best pure perimeter shot in the entire camp (yes, better than John Jenkins). He also displayed a high IQ — which should enable him to be able to effectively run a team at the next level.

2) Dion Waiters – Unless this is one hell of a bluff from agent Rob Pelinka, the Syracuse guard has a promise from someone in the lottery. Maybe it’s Houston, Portland, maybe Phoenix. Whatever the case, Waiters was told to leave Chicago on Thursday — so he’s a clear winner just for being able to avoid another day full of prodding interviews.

3) Royce White – The NBA teams have asked me about White’s mental makeup all season. He’s had some issues, but White is engaging and takes accountability for his past actions. No one, according to several NBA guys, was more impressive in the interview process than the Iowa State point forward.

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UK’s Michael Kidd Gilchrist Training Hard at NBA Pre-Draft Workouts, Checks In with Sports Media World

SLAM Online & Sports Media World’s Brendan Bowers with lottery pick MKG as he prepares for June’s NBA Draft:

Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist cuts down the net after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against Kansas Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans. Kentucky won 67-59.

Repetitive thuds of bouncing basketballs met Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last Wednesday, as he entered a Cleveland-area gym to continue his training for the NBA Draft. Wearing a grey Nike sweat suit and sandals, with a backpack slung over his right shoulder, his wide smile quickly engaged the many youthful eyes that welcomed him.

The player known throughout the basketball universe as MKG was once a McDonald’s All-American from New Jersey, then a National Champion from Kentucky, and now the strongest candidate for the team picking second overall in next month’s NBA Draft. He walked into his second workout of three for the day with the purpose of a 10-year pro, yet grounded enough to share a gym with basketball players of all ages.

As his backpack slid down over his shoulder, and a pair of Nikes he’d soon change into flopped onto the floor beside him, I walked over to say hello. I had previously assumed a player preparing for the NBA Draft would request and require a closed practice facility as he trained. In the case of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist however, I was wrong.

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Evaluating The NBA Draft Decisions Of 2012’s Underclassmen

CBS Sports examines the decisions to enter the NBA draft or remain in school by this year’s underclassmen:

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07:  Jeremy Lamb #3 of the Connecticut Huskies controls the ball against Darryl Bryant #25 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during their second round game of the 2012 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 7, 2012 in New York City.

“We now know, barring any late-month surprises, which underclassmen are staying and which are headed to the pros. Those decisions have been made.

But who was wise? And who was not? Which school benefitted? And which program got burned?

These are the questions worth addressing as we start to turn our attention to the NBA Draft and 2012-13 season. So my colleague Jeff Goodman and I try to address most of them, and here’s what we came up with.

Player sure to be a star

Anthony Davis (Kentucky) — He’s the clear-cut No. 1 pick in June’s NBA Draft and should be, barring a set of Greg Oden-like injuries, a franchise player and perennial All-Star. He can impact the game on both ends of the court, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s a dominant player in the NBA.

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