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All Your Base Are Belong To Gordon Hayward - The Downbeat - #570

Most players this lockout-stricken offseason have been playing in all manner of leagues. There's the Goodman League, the Drew League, and the Impact League that will be starting up here in a bit. Gordon Hayward though has been training for a different league. He's been training for IGN's Professional Video Game League (IPL) that started up in April of this year. From the press release:

During this unique time in the NBA, in addition to his daily basketball training, Hayward is pursuing his passion outside of basketball - video games - and will compete in his first eSports event, IPL 3: Origins, taking place October 6-9th at Caesars Atlantic City. In his debut as professional basketball player-turned-video game player, Hayward will join top StarCraft II players from around the world to compete in the Atlantic City tournament.

In between his usual training for the NBA, Hayward is being prepared by the IGN Pro League coaches, some of the world's top StarCraft players. Hayward will be one of the primary participants at IPL 3: Origins and will challenge global StarCraft II stars, including IdrA, Select and WhiteRa.

Players and fans who attend the Caesars Atlantic City event will witness Hayward playing alongside 256 other qualifying players to compete for a $100,000 prize pool.

If you follow Hayward on twitter, you'll know that he's a big video game fanatic, tweeting about his conquests in Star Craft, Halo, and FIFA. He has also streamed his Star Craft matches online.

So this news, while unexpected, shouldn't be too much of a surprise then. He's earning a lot of geek street (or should I say basement? - kidding) cred.

Basketball hasn't been put on the back burner of course (#improveeveryday). He will likely be playing on the Indy Pro-am team when the Goodman League comes to town for an exhibition game.

Memo won't be playing with Deron Williams, but he will be playing in Turkey until the lockout is over. From Jody Genessy,

The Utah Jazz center signed a contract today to play for Turk Telekom Ankara and will begin participating with the team from his country immediately, Okur's agent Marc Fleisher told the Deseret News.

Okur's contract includes a provision that will allow him to leave the Turkish team to return to the Jazz when and if the NBA lockout ends this season.

Now that Eurobasket is over for Fesenko, we could hear some news on him as well. Once Enes Kanter and AK are finished, they could have deals coming as well.

Chris Sheridan is reporting that the owners have proposed adding a third round to the draft as part of their current negotiations, has learned that NBA owners have proposed adding a third round to the annual draft, a proposal that the players' union has countered by offering an array of changes to the draft that would help address the owners' desire for more competitive balance.

The changes that the players countered with included giving lottery teams more picks in the first round by giving teams 1-15 their normal lotto picks but then also giving them picks 16-30 as well, thus eliminating the top 15 teams from receiving a first-round pick.

I have to say that I don't see the reason behind adding the third round unless the teams are committing to signing the players to some sort of guaranteed deal and developing them. There is in effect a third round already where those players that aren't drafted are immediately contacted by teams with an invite to summer league and training camp. With the second-round picks and other free-agent invitees, there are no guaranteed deals. As a result, a lot of players head overseas to play where they're guaranteed more playing time in addition to more pay than what they can get staying in the D-League. So unless the league is serious about developing a farm system, I don't see how a third-round helps any.

That is in effect what Scott Schroeder states as well,

NBA teams have slowly but surely been buying into the D-League -- nine teams will control at least the basketball operations of their Development League affiliates this coming season -- in order to get more out of it. If they're able to stash a player they think might eventually be productive in the minor leagues, it makes sense that the NBA will take advantage of it (as the Thunder have already done with their second round picks).

The difficult part will be convincing the players drafted in the third round to take what might be a substantial pay cut in order to play in the D-League. That onus is lessened, however, if the team is able to convince the player that playing in its system with its coaches will put him a couple steps closer to his NBA dream -- especially considering that the player would likely earn a call-up if injuries occur, something that couldn't happen if the player was in Latvia.

Drastic changes are coming.

Tom Ziller, Michael Prada, and Andrew Sharp of SBN are ranking the top players of 2015 (that's right, 2015) right now. And it just so happens that they repeat one of our favorite topics here with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (Al is ranked higher)

PRADA: At what point do we start to accept that a team with Jefferson starting at one of the power positions is destined to be bad? The one area Ziller didn't mention in his write-up -- defense -- is the one reason why this is way too high for Jefferson. One-dimensional offensive players who have to be spoon-fed the ball on the left block to succeed and don't defend aren't my cup of tea.

ZILLER: You're conflating circumstance with causation. The Celtics, Wolves and Jazz were not bad because Jefferson was a starting big man. He was the best or second-best player on every one of those teams. Those teams also happened to be completely shallow. (And let's not forget that Al was a starter for a Jazz team last year that was a pretty sure bet for a playoff spot before Jerry Sloan retired and Williams was traded. Those moves surely weren't Al's fault.)

Make sure to click through for the rest and to read Millsap's entry.

I really, really didn't want to buy this game (despite no Jazz highlights). Resistance is futile now.

NBA 2K12 - Momentus Trailer (via 2KSports)