A year ago, there were plenty of storylines to follow related to the 2012 NBA draft, but the question of who would be picked first overall wasn't one of them -- Anthony Davis had been considered a lock to go No. 1 for most of the college season, and once New Orleans won the lottery, there was never a doubt that the team would select Davis.
That's not the case this year, however. While Nerlens Noel looked like the odds-on favorite to follow in Davis' footsteps and became the second straight Kentucky big man to go first overall, his stock has slipped due to an ACL injury. With many teams at the top of the draft, including the Cavaliers, hoping to add a player who can make an immediate impact, Noel's hold on the top spot has "never been more tenuous," as ESPN.com's Chad Ford wrote in his most recent big board.
According to various reports, the Cavs have considered Noel, Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, and Victor Oladipo at No. 1, and it also remains possible that the team will end up trading the pick. This year's draft class has been said to be lacking in high-end talent, but that weakness may ultimately make for better drama on draft night. With the draft just two weeks away, there are several contenders in play for that first overall pick.
So what do you think? Which player will ultimately be drafted first overall later this month, either by the Cavs or another club?
With the future between Doc Rivers and the Celtics up in the air right now, we ask which team you believe Rivers will lead next season.
It's only been eight days since Jason Kidd announced his retirement as an NBA player, but already he has emerged as one of the leading candidates for perhaps the most high-profile head coaching job still available. According to multiple reports, there's mutual interest between Kidd and the Nets, with the two sides meeting yesterday to discuss the team's open coaching position.
The Nets are also said to be seriously considering highly-coveted assistant Brian Shaw, and have more established head coaches like Lionel Hollins on their radar as well, so Kidd is hardly the most qualified candidate on their list. Still, players and coaches alike rave about the longtime point guard's basketball IQ, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Kidd convinced the Nets that he was serious about committing the necessary time and energy to the job.
What do you think? Would hiring Kidd as their head coach be the best move for the Nets, or should the team opt for someone with more coaching experience, such as Shaw or Hollins?
We're a little over 24 hours away from Game One of this year's NBA Finals, which means there's only one appropriate question to ask in today's poll: Who will 2013's champion be? The Heat or the Spurs?
The Heat finished the regular season on a 37-2 run for a 66-16 overall record, giving them home-court advantage in the Finals. They're the defending champs and they have the world's best player in LeBron James, but they're coming off a couple grueling series against the Bulls and Pacers, inculding a seven-game Eastern Finals.
The Spurs, meanwhile, only had the second-best record in the West, but blew through the postseason, going 12-2 against the Lakers, Warriors, and Grizzlies, with a pair of sweeps. They've had plenty of time to get ready for the Finals, but there's always a concern that the extra rest will turn into rust by the time the next series begins.
Who do you like? Weigh in with your selection in the poll and feel free to specify a number of games and/or explain your reasoning in the comments section. Having picked the Heat over the Spurs before the season got underway, I'll stick with my pick, and take Miami in seven games.
As we saw earlier today, Paul George is extension-eligible this offseason and sees himself as max contract type of player. After this postseason, George has catapulted himself into the discussion with the game's elite players. If his breakout regular season didn't ensure him of eventually landing a max deal, his playoff performance almost certainly did. At only 23-years-old, George is young enough and good enough on both ends of the floor to carry only a small amount of risk over the course of a big-dollar, long-term pact.
At this point, whether or not George deserves a max deal probably isn't the question. It is what he does once he gets it that will dictate how George compares to the NBA's best players. If his teammates' confidence in him is any indication, the former Fresno State Bulldog might be destined for huge things.
"He's the future. He has a chance to be MVP of this league next year," Roy Hibbert said last night before Game 7. A confident George agreed with him. "The more and more I get comfortable in this league and the more and more I find myself, I think I am capable of achieving that award," he said, eventually adding, "In my career, I wouldn’t be satisfied if I don't win the award."
Those are big words, especially considering that George scored only seven points last night in a game where he was primarily covered by the current MVP of the league, LeBron James. So what do you think... is Paul George good enough to win an MVP? Will he do it over the course of his career?
Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida, spoke to Hill a few years ago about the possibility of Hall of Fame enshrinement. Here's what Hill told Tomasson at the time (Sulia link):
"You kind of leave that to the media and the barber shops. It's a matter of opinion."
"I don't know (if he's a Hall of Famer). Certainly my injuries took away maybe a good chance of it happening. You could argue against it and say that I wasn't healthy for a long period of time. But I did have six or seven years of health, with All-Star Games, and the college stuff.
"Certainly, if it would happen, it would be great. If it doesn't happen, I'm certainly more proud of getting back (from injuries) and playing than making the Hall of Fame. I don't mean to say anything negative about the Hall of Fame and minimize its importance, but opportunities are a little different after (a career) is almost taken from you.''
Hill made seven All-Star teams during his 19-year NBA career and shared the 1994/95 Rookie of the Year award with Jason Kidd. He also made four All-NBA 2nd Team's and one All-NBA 1st Team before ankle injuries destroyed his quickness going to the basket.
During the 1996/97 season with Detroit when Hill made his only All-NBA 1st team, he also finished third in MVP voting. It's easy to forget how explosive he was before his ankles started giving out shortly after signing with the Magic in the summer of 2000.
But Hill's on-court accolades pre- and post-injury don't adequately sum up how gracious an athlete he was over the course of his career. David Stern said of Hill, via Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press (Twitter link), that he "embodied the ideals of dedication and perseverance in overcoming injury and adversity." That's something voters will keep in mind when they cast their ballot for the Hall of Fame.
So we put it to you: Should Grant Hill be elected into the Hall of Fame?
Since the Clippers parted ways with Vinny Del Negro earlier this month, rumors have swirled about who will replace Del Negro on L.A.'s bench next season. At least one report has suggested that, after opting for inexpensive hires in recent years, the team is eyeing big-name candidates. Of those big names, Jeff Van Gundy and Brian Shaw may be at or near the top of the club's wish list, according to the latest report.
Lionel Hollins is also drawing interest from a number of clubs, and the Clippers, who were eliminated by Hollins' Grizzlies in round one, are among them. Alvin Gentry, Nate McMillan, and Byron Scott are other candidates believed to be favored by Chris Paul, which figures to be a significant factor as the point guard's free agency approches.
So what do you think? Will one of those aforementioned candidates end up on the Clippers' bench next season, or could it end up being a name that hasn't been a major part of the discussion so far? Weigh in below with your vote and your thoughts on who will become the next Clippers' head coach.
With Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy seemingly uninterested in head coaching positions, perhaps the most coveted name on the market is Lionel Hollins, who is coming off leading the Grizzlies to the Western Finals.
As we heard this morning, Hollins is expected to receive interest from the Clippers, Nets, and Bucks, with the Grizzlies hoping to bring him back as well. Hollins has said he'd like to return to Memphis, but with so many potential suitors in play, the Grizzlies may not be able to compete with the deep-pocketed Nets or other teams in a bidding war.
So do you expect to see Hollins back on the Grizzlies' bench next season, or do you think he'll be coaching elsewhere? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments after making your vote below.
Coming into the Conference Finals, the Grizzlies were viewed by many pundits and observers as a decent bet to knock off the Spurs. Memphis had won eight of its last nine games against two top-five teams in the Western Conference - the Clippers and Thunder - and the Grizzlies' 2011 upset of the Spurs was still fresh in most fans' minds.
On the other hand, not many of us gave the Pacers much chance against the defending champion Heat. The presence of LeBron James and Indiana's lack of depth had most prognosticators taking Miami in five or six games.
So far, neither the Grizzlies or Pacers have managed to win a game in their respective Conference Finals, but there's reason to believe there's still hope for a comeback on each team's part. The Grizzlies are heading back home coming off a tight overtime loss, while the Pacers were a buzzer-beating LeBron layup away from stealing Game One in Miami.
With the Grizzlies down 2-0 and the Pacers down 1-0, there's a good chance neither team will complete a comeback. But if you had to bet on one of the two, which underdog do you feel has the better chance to pull off the upset?
The Cavaliers won last night's lottery, their second time doing so in three years. Who will they take with the first pick?