I love how crazy things are in Utah Jazz land right now. The most unlikely star, in terms of previous exposure, ends up being the one whose stock rose the most in the Rising Stars challenge:
Player A: #3 in ROY voting, Rookie of the Month (3x), All NBA Rookie 1st Team, NBA Skills Challenge Champion, NCAA Division I Player of the Year (NCAA, AP, Sports Illustrated, NABC, USBWA, Big 10 Conf), All American 1st Team (Consensus, AP, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, Sporting News, NABC, USBWA, Big 10 Conference, State Farm, Lute Olson), Naismith Award winner, John R. Wooden Award winner, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Bob Cousy Award winner, Big 10 Freshman of the year, Ohio Mr. Basketball, Four star recruit out of high school, team traded up for him with two 1st round picks
- Player B: Teen aged national team member, selected #5 right out of high school, various National TV ads for big companies like Adidas and Footlocker even BEFORE being drafted, lots of pre-draft hype, did not have to play at the NBA Draft combine, just take questions
- Player C: Late 1st round pick, from a 2nd tier International league, draft team traded him away for table scraps
Player A is obviously Trey Burke, and B is Dante Exum. The two lotto picks do well in front of the camera, and by now must be getting used to all the attention. Player C is the guy who many felt should have been MVP of the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge . . . . Rudy Gobert. Ideally all three will turn into stars, and help Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors do their thing. This season has been so topsy-turvy that it only makes sense that Gobert wowed everyone. He has been playing great all season long, and is on a really long hot streak. He finished last season (when he could get on the court) with confidence, and that confidence only rose and rose with his great play in Las Vegas and then in the FIBA World Cup. Right now Gobzilla (a name which he likes, and apparently gave himself years ago) can one day become the best two-way center in franchise history.
Our two starry point guards? Time will tell. All in all, two of these guys are 22, and one is 19. If they are going to turn into stars they still have a long time to burn.
And Jazz fans, check out Moni's excellent site Jazzfanatical.wordpress.com for even more awesome All-Star Weekend pictures, videos, and quotes!
You may or may not care, but the Celebrity game was also last night, and it finished with a 57-51 win for the West. Kevin Hart was the MVP, and he kinda got schooled at times by little league star Mo'Ne Davis, a 15 year old girl. NBA.com 's Lang Whitaker writes:
Early on, Hart and Little League star Mo'Ne Davis battled one-on-one, in a matchup that appeared to pit equals -- well, at least their heights -- against each other. Hart managed to get to the basket often, and finished with 15 points in 29 minutes. Hart's signature play may have happened halfway through the third quarter, when he battled Arcade Fire lead singer Win Butler for a rebound and nearly flipped the much taller Butler. Atlanta Dream guard Shoni Schimmel added 17 for the East.
The West presented a balanced attack, with 13 apiece from Diggins and Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, as well as 8 each from Butler, Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, and actor Jesse Williams, who left the game early after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury. Pera was the game's leading scorer at the half, with 8 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Pera, 36 years old, has never been shy of promoting his love for the game, once publicly challenging Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one.
Following the game, Hart announced his retirement. "It's my fourth MVP," he said. "I can't do no more."
This game is usually horrible, but somehow it was played at Madison Square Garden. And well, I guess that's fitting as New York Knicks fans are used to watching bad basketball, and paying a lot of money to see it live. In the other side show of this event, the Indian dude, an Actor from Bollywood who has never -- to me -- displayed any hint that he even plays the game, did not play well. That is not a surprise. I do know that he is a huge Kobe Bryant fan, and has a lot of fans all over the world.
One thing is clear, he (#34) plays defense just as well as Al Jefferson used to play defense for the Jazz. So I guess he has an NBA ready skill. Anyway, II'm sure if there was a synchronized dance aspect of All-Star weekend he would have excelled. He was so entirely forgettable that Ethan Sherwood Strauss, writing for ESPN, forgot to even mention him when going down the rosters and giving a grade. Ben Robinson, of Deadspin, did have this to bring to the discussion:
Some Guy From Bollywood I Never Heard Of (Bollywood)
From Bollywood. Plus beard.
Perfect. I couldn't have said it any better myself.
George Karl has reached an agreement in principle to become the next coach of the Sacramento Kings, general manager Pete D'Alessandro announced Thursday.
Terms have not been released, but Karl, an ESPN analyst, will get a four-year deal worth an estimated $15 million, sources said. The Kings will hold a formal news conference when the deal is finalized after All-Star Weekend.
Karl, who is attending a private funeral service for former North Carolina coach Dean Smith on Thursday, will take over as Tyrone Corbin's successor and Sacramento's third coach of the season starting next week.
Corbin was relieved of his duties Thursday, but will remain with the Kings in an advisory role, D'Alessandro said in a statement. Corbin had a 7-21 record since taking over after the Kings abruptly fired Mike Malone in mid-December.
The Sacramento Kings announced this morning that Tyrone Corbin has been relieved of his coaching duties, thus learning the valuable lesson of maybe not saying things like "he's our coach for the rest of the season" or "we're going to make the playoffs with Tyrone".
This news was expected, and as the common parlance places it; yes, Ty Corbin was fired from another coaching job. I love how the Kings made such sweeping statements when they announced that he would succeed Mike Malone; but it reminds me of the whole "Stand on Jerry Sloan 's shoulders" song and dance number we all bought a ticket for.
Corbin is an NBA-Lifer, and will stay on his feet, even if his position changes make him wobble at times. For those keeping score at home he has now been a part of the coaching staffs of an NBA-DL team, the New York Knicks, the Utah Jazz (assistant and head), and Sacramento Kings (assistant and head). Verily, his coaching career mirrors his playing career.
The Class of 2015 Basketball Hall of Fame Finalists were announced today as well. They are:
- NBA Players: Dikembe Mutombo, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Jo Jo White, Spencer Haywood
- NBA Coach: Bill Fitch
- NBA Referee: Dick Bavetta
- NCAA Coaches: John Calipari, Bo Ryan,
- WNBA Player: Lisa Leslie
- High School Coaches: Robert Hughes, Leta Andrews
The Hall of Fame also announced Saturday that ABA star Louie Dampier, Australian national team coach Lindsay Gaze, former Boston Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn [already elected as a player], former New York Rens player John Isaacs and former college coach and current Nike executive George Raveling have already been elected for induction and will be part of an enshrinement ceremony in August.
In addition to the nominees, the Hall of Fame announced that NBA executive Rod Thorn will receive the John W. Bunn lifetime achievement award. Photographer Rich Clarkson and University of North Carolina broadcaster Woody Durham were named as recipients of the Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award.
Great, Bavetta in the HOF? Yuck. I don't know how the voting process goes for the finalists, and I do know that some or many of these guys may not make the Hall. Which of the finalists do you think SHOULD be a lock for the Hall?