NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Report: Rose would welcome Anthony in Chicago — Former MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is hoping to be back at 100 percent for the start of the 2014-15 season. He’s also hoping to lift Chicago back to its elite status with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and the rest of his Bulls teammates by his side. Would he welcome Carmelo Anthony into that core? According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the answer is a decided “yes”:
In December 2011, shortly after the lockout ended, Derrick Rose uttered a character-defining statement.
“I’m rolling with Keith,” said Rose, the league’s reigning most valuable player.
Keith was Keith Bogans, the oft-maligned, then-starting shooting guard whom management waived later that month.
This is how Rose views teammates, which is instructional at a time when free agent recruiting has been spotlighted. He’ll never publicly recruit players because he won’t disparage current teammates.
But this stance doesn’t mean Rose wouldn’t love adding high-profile talent. In fact, sources close to Rose said Carmelo Anthony’s camp is aware that Rose would welcome the addition of the elite scorer.
The same sources said a recent report that Rose preferred Kevin Love over Anthony is “fiction.” Rose is in support of any improvements.
No. 2: Jackson: Chandler, Felton trade addresses chemistry issues — Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton are members of the Dallas Mavericks now (or, in the case of Chandler, again), but why the Knicks were so willing to deal them may surprise you. According to Ian Bagley of ESPNNewYork.com, new Knicks president and GM Phil Jackson said part of the reason he traded that duo to Dallas for a deal headlined by Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and others was to address chemistry issues within the team:
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said one of the reasons he wanted to ship Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks was to “change some of the chemistry” of his team.”To do that we felt (it was) important to bring in some new personnel and start with some character guys that we feel can carry this forward,” Jackson said on Thursday evening.
Calderon is a strong outside shooter and is seen as a strong fit in the Knicks’ triangle offense.
“Jose is a thoughtful guard. He’s got great control of the ball. He pushes the ball up, accelerates it up the court,” Jackson said. “He’s a very good 3-point shooter. He organizes a team quite well and we anticipate he’ll fit in to what we’re trying to do.”
Jackson sees Dalembert as a strong rebounder and interior defender.
“He can replace Tyson’s defensive ability — maybe not be the defensive player of the year like Tyson was, but he’s going to be a quality defender,” he said.
Jackson, who took over as team president in March, said he could see chemistry issues between Knicks players last season. The team finished with just 37 wins and missed the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
“Watching them play I saw guys that looked at each other like, ‘You didn’t back me up, you weren’t here when I needed help,’ ” Jackson said. “There just wasn’t the right combination or feel (where) it felt like everybody was in synch all the time.”
Jackson hoped that the rest of the Knicks’ players were paying attention to the trade.
“Well, we want to send a message to all of our players that we are on the move and we are making changes and we are making changes to move forward in the direction that we want to go,” Jackson said. “We want to be more aggressive defensively, we want to have a certain sense of offensive alacrity, getting up and down the court and challenging defenses to get back and protect the basket.”
No. 3: Wiggins, Parker will share a life-long bond — The debate leading up to the 2014 Draft was all about who would go No. 1 overall: Kansas standout Andrew Wiggins or Duke star Jabari Parker. The answer came swiftly on Thursday night as the Cavs took Wiggins No. 1 overall (with Parker going next to the Bucks), but one fact remains for all-time in the NBA — Wiggins and Parker will be linked to each other. Our Scott Howard-Cooper has more:
Andrew Wiggins, the Jayhawk bound for Cleveland, and Jabari Parker, the Dukie headed to Milwaukee, can deny the connection all they want, and they did. It’s done, though. A compare-contrast that will last for years, through Central Division winters and two teams trying to build into playoff regulars, the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and the son of former NBA player Sonny Parker, one similarity on top of another.
“Good players will always be compared to each other, but I never think of anything as a rivalry,” Andrew Wiggins said after becoming the second Canadian in a row to be picked first, following Anthony Bennett to the same Cavaliers in 2013. “I think that’s what the media portrays it to be. On the court, [it] doesn’t matter who I’m going against, I’m going to go hard. I’m going to go to win and kill. Off the court, we can be friends, but on the court, it’s a different story. I’ll never treat one person differently on the court. Whoever is guarding me, whoever I’m guarding, I’m just going to win.”
No, no rivalry. But it became a storyline destined to be tracked once the 76ers made their decision of Wiggins at No. 1 and the Bucks followed by taking Parker, keeping the two best healthy prospects in the Draft, with Joel Embiid needing to come back from two serious injuries, grouped.
Wiggins, described by one executive as having “all the athletic ability of some of the great names that ever played the game”; Parker perhaps headed to power forward in Milwaukee amid questions whether he has the athleticism to play small forward and because the Bucks already have Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Parker as the most NBA-ready of the top prospects, the safer pick; Wiggins with the higher ceiling — the limitless ceiling — but not as polished.
The face-to-face contrasts, the way the strength of one is a weakness of the other, makes the link even more compelling moving forward. Plus there is the other similarity both would prefer to leave in college: executives and scouts wondered often in 2013-14 why Wiggins did not seem to play hard all the time and why Parker was not in great shape, both when it was understood they were probably auditioning for pro jobs as a one-and-done, both while at demanding programs that face the scrutiny of some NBA markets.
A friendly rivalry, Parker conceded.
“Yeah,” he said. “When we’re off the court, we’re good friends. But when it’s on the court, it’s up to us to keep that business going.”
No. 4: Parker happy to be with Bucks … and feeling is mutual — Former Chicago-area prep basketball star and Duke standout Jabari Parker was pretty confident he’d end up as the No. 2 overall pick in last night’s Draft, and he ended up being right. He’s now property of the Milwaukee Bucks and seems plenty pleased about it, which is a rare thing as our own Steve Aschburner points out. Now begins what both Parker and the Bucks hope will be a long, happy marriage:
That feeling was palpable at the Bucks’ draft headquarters in the moments after general manager John Hammond grabbed Parker with the No. 2 pick overall. And given how thick with emotion Hammond’s voice sounded as he talked about the pick, the player and the person, it was a feeling Milwaukee desperately wants to last.
Parker likes the Bucks. He likes Milwaukee. He really, really likes them.
“We’re really excited about the fact that he wants to be here,” Hammond said of the Duke forward, a 1-2, flip-a-coin certainty to wind up with the Cavaliers or the Bucks according to most draft projections. “I talked to him a couple moments ago and he’s thanking us for the opportunity. That’s something you really appreciate.
“I think he has a chance to be a great long-term fit for us.”
Lots of teams say that about lots of guys on Draft night, but it resonates a little more with Milwaukee. This is a team that spends most of the year, particularly during free agency, hearing all the snide stuff about Podunkville.
Everyone knows about Parker the player, the NBA-ready scorer who can bookend with last year’s precocious prospect, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks are thrilled to have that guy, regardless of his preferred ZIP or area code.
“You hate to go with ‘comps,’ but we do that,” Hammond said. “We talk about a Paul Pierce comparison and a Carmelo [Anthony] comparison.”
The Bucks GM said he caught some SportsCenter the other day when the topic was Anthony’s opt-out from New York, and the stock footage they ran of Melo had Hammond thinking about Parker.
“The way he moved with the ball, the kinds of things he was doing, the way he was scoring,” he said. “We had a chance to spend part of the time with Jabari and watch him work out individually, and I’ve got to say there were some real similarities there as far as how he looked on the floor and the kind of things Melo was doing.”
No. 5: Sixers ready for more rebuilding — In the 2013 Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a trade that night that got them the rights to big man Nerlens Noel. He never played a minute for the Sixers last season as he recovered from injury, but is expected to suit up this season. Last night, the Sixers picked injured Kansas big man Joel Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick. He is expected to play at least some games in 2014-15, but the trend remains the same in Philly — more looking to the future. Our John Schuhmann has more:
For the second straight season, the Sixers used a Lottery pick on a guy that can’t help them right away. But this time, they doubled-down, using both of their Lottery picks on guys that can’t help them right away.
A year after drafting the injured Nerlens Noel with the No. 6 pick (acquired from New Orleans), the Sixers selected the injured Joel Embiid with the No. 3 pick. And then, after swapping picks with the Orlando Magic (getting two future picks for moving down), they used the No. 12 pick to select Croatian Dario Saric, who just just agreed to a deal in Turkey that will keep him from playing in the NBA until 2016 at the earliest.
So Sixers fans, who endured a rough 2013-14 season after general manager Sam Hinkie broke down the roster, will have to have some more patience, because Hinkie isn’t ready for his team to be good – or even mediocre – yet.
The Sixers might not have been dramatically better with Noel and two Lottery picks who could actually participate in a game this fall. The rest of their roster is still thin on both talent and experience. But Hinkie is clearly looking well beyond next season. And he hopes to have increased his team’s chances of getting dramatically better down the line.
Noel was considered by many to be the best talent in last year’s draft and fell to No. 6 because he was coming off ACL surgery. This year, Embiid was the consensus No. 1 pick. Saric may have gone a few picks higher had he been willing to play in the NBA next season. Together, they might make one heck of a frontline someday.
It’s easy to forget, but the Sixers were a game away from the conference finals just two years ago. Then they swung and missed on a trade for Andrew Bynum that summer and, after he was hired last May, Hinkie continued driving the bus toward 60-Loss Land, trading Jrue Holiday for the picks that became Noel and Saric.
Unless he change direction in the next 12 months (don’t bet on it), Hinkie will be back in this same position again at the 2015 Draft, where he’ll have another chance to pick someone who’s not ready to play. But this all could pay off in a big way a few years down the line.
SOME RANDOM NEWS: Winners and losers in the Draft? Here’s the viewpoint from Basketball Insiders, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Sports, to name a few … The Rockets reportedly have a deal in place to ship out Jeremy Lin … It turns out that Philadelphia may have never made a serious run at acquiring Cleveland’s No. 1 overall pick last night … Even though he didn’t work out for the Jazz, Dante Exum sounds excited to be playing in Salt Lake City …