You paying any attention to the NBA? The KC Star is running some stories but still no box scores. How interested are the sports guys there?
Management wants you to log in to the website to pick up the box scores. I have a better idea. Why not get the good stuff from a site like Vegas Insider. You will get the full background on the games, plus get an insight on the point spread. Of course, those who bet no doubt have their favorite sites.
So how is the betting going? If you have been betting the home favorite during the playoffs, you are taking it in the shorts. The HFs are 23-30.
Here are my matchups for the semifinals.
Legend: PR–Power Rating, PPR–Playoff Power Rating, HF–Home Favorite, HD–Home Dog, RD–Road Dog, PF–Points For, PA–Points Against.
Cleveland’s regular season power rating is more skewed than the others because of various injuries and the availability of LaBron James.
When the NBA gets down to the playoffs, I get more interested. During the regular season, teams have a tendency to glide.
The season should be over sometime in June. Then you can get ready for next season with the NBA draft. Here’s Sports Illustrated’s take on the draft. I picked and chose to use their elaboration on certain players.
- Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, 6-11, 250. Polished post player who also thrives at the free-throw line. The chance to send Towns to Kevin Garnett College for a year has to be appealing to the Timberwolves, too.
- Los Angeles Lakers. Jahil Okafor, Duke, 6-11, 270. Somewhere, Kobe Bryant is smiling. In Okafor, the Lakers get an NBA-ready center who can score in the post and should be a strong complement to returning power forward Julius Randle. Okafor won’t transform the Lakers into title contenders, but Randle coupled with a free agent signing could help the Lakers compete for a playoff spot next year.
- Philadelphia. Emmanuel Mudiay, China, 6-5, 190.
- New York. D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State, 6-5, 180.
- Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia, 6-11, 209.
- Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, 7-0, 234. Too high for Kaminsky? First you have to identify what his major flaws are. Kaminsky is a smooth shooting big who can score off the dribble and from beyond the three-point line. The Kings have a gaping hole at power forward, and Kaminsky could complement DeMarcus Cousins. There are issues defensively, but few better scoring options for George Karl’s offense.
- Justise Winslow, Duke, 6-6, 225.
- Stanley Johnson, Arizona, 6-7, 245.
- Devin Booker, Kentucky, 6-6, 206.
- Myles Turner, Texas, 6-11, 240. Tantalizing talent. He’s long, blocks shots and has three-point potential. He’s a stretch-five prospect. He’s also a superior defender with excellent timing, scouts say. His agent attempted to quell fears about his awkward gait at the combine by putting Turner through a battery of tests beforehand. If sold, teams might jump at the chance to grab a player with such high potential.
- Mario Hezonja, Croatia, 6-8, 201.
- Trey Lyles, Kentucky, 6-10, 235.
- Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7-0, 240. The Suns would love an offensive-oriented big to fall to them here. Cauley-Stein is limited offensively, but he is a versatile defender who can help solve the Suns’ rebounding problems. And he is the most NBA-ready big man in the draft.
- Oklahoma City. Cameron Payne, Murray State, 6-2, 180. There was a measurable buzz around Payne at the draft combine in Chicago, with executives seeing a natural playmaker who blends scoring and distributing well. Payne is a little undersized, but the Thunder can patiently develop what could be a quality backup to Russell Westbrook.
- Bobby Portis, Arkansas, 6-11, 240.
- Sam Dekker, Wisconsin, 6-9, 220. Some intriguing freshmen are on the board here—Kevon Looney and Kelly Oubre—that could appeal to Celtics GM Danny Ainge. For now, pencil in Dekker, who tested extremely well athletically at the combine and, more important, shot well from three-point range. Dekker has an NBA body that executives love.
- R.J. Hunter, Georgia State, 6-6, 190. A postseason appearance accelerated Milwaukee’s youth movement, but there are still holes. The Bucks need a pivot, though drafting a five here would be a stretch. Expect Milwaukee to grab a swingman like Hunter, one of the draft’s best shooters, a nice fit to develop behind Khris Middleton.
- Kelly Oubre, Kansas, 6-7, 200. Raw and struggled last season in the role as Andrew Wiggins’ replacement. But he has tremendous physical tools and a shooting stroke scouts like a lot. In time, Oubre could develop into an elite defender. Oubre is likely destined for the D-League next season, but the Rockets have enough depth to wait for him to develop.
- Kevin Looney, UCLA, 6-9, 220.
- Tyus Jones, Duke, 6-1, 190. Among the most impressive players in interviews at the combine, showing uncanny polish, a demeanor that mirrors his play on the floor. the Raptors targeted a point guard in the first round last season—Phoenix grabbed Tyler Ennis before they could—and will target the same this year.
- Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, 6-8, 240.
- Christian Wood, UNLV, 6-11, 220.
- Rashad Vaughn, UNLV, 6-6, 210.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona, 6-6, 220.
- Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, 6-5, 202.
- San Antonio. Justin Anderson, Virginia, 6-6, 227.
- Lakers (via Houston). Delon Wright, Utah, 6-5, 190.
- Aleksandar Vezenkov, Bulgaria, 6-9, 225.
- Chris McCullough, Syracuse, 6-10, 220.
- Golden State. Jarell Martin, LSU, 6-10, 236.