NBA Board of Governors votes against NBA draft lottery reform

TweetPer a report from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, a plan to reform the NBA’s current draft lottery system has been rejected:
The NBA Draft lottery reform has been voted down at Board of Governors meeting, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. System stays. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 22, 2014
Thirteen teams voted against the reform, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 22, 2014
Reforming the system would have given the league’s four-worst teams an equal 12% chance at winning the lottery, 5th worst would have an 11.5% chance, 6th a 10% chance, and down. The proposed change would have potentially created a scenario where tanking grants a team no greater chance at winning the lottery than three other teams, thus in theory creating a more competitive league. 23 out of 30 votes were needed to pass the reform proposal. The current system awards the team with the league’s worst record a 25% chance of winning the top overall pick, which can pr

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Milwaukee Bucks: The future is now with Parker and Antetokounmpo on board

Milwaukee Bucks fans should not just be excited that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are on the team now, but that they could stay on the team for a long time.
Milwaukee is not the most desirable city to play basketball, but Antetokounmpo and Parker have both expressed their feelings in sticking with the Bucks.
I’ll never leave the team and the city of Milwaukee till we build the team to a championship level team..
— GiannisAntetokounmpo (@G_ante34) July 17, 2014

In the world of sports today, it is common to see players of all caliber switching teams over the course of their careers. Antetokounmpo said that he will commit himself to improving the Bucks, which could certainly be a long and stressful process. This kind of commitment is not seen often in today’s sports, so having one of the Bucks’ young potential stars say this is a great thing for Bucks fans.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks had the 1st and 2nd picks respectively of the 2014 NBA draft. With the injury to Joel E

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NCAA Board approves Division I autonomy proposal

Division I’s five power conferences are granted unprecedented legislative flexibility.

      
 

 

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NCAA board hands 5 biggest conferences more power (Yahoo Sports)

NCAA President Mark Emmert gestures while speaking at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The NCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a package of historic reforms Thursday that will give the nation's five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally change some of the basic rules governing college sports. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The NCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a package of historic reforms Thursday that will give the nation’s five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally change some of the basic rules governing college sports. ”I am immensely proud of the work done by the membership,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. The five other Football Bowl Subdivision leagues would account for 18.5 percent while the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision and non-football playing schools would split up another 37.5 percent of the vote. Commissioners and school leaders from the power conferences have until Oct. 1 to create a wish list of issues they want to handle on their own.


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Milwaukee Bucks’ 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Ranking Top Targets

With the 2014 NBA free-agency period underway, the Milwaukee Bucks will seek to add more pieces to their core of young talent. And while they’re not in a position to lure the marquee names to town, some players a tier or two down could help fill out the roster.

The most notable gap for the Bucks is at shooting guard, where O.J. Mayo is the only player who naturally fits at that position.

Outside of that, the team could use depth point guard and power forward, especially if Ersan Ilyasova is traded this summer.

Earlier this week, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweeted that the team would be “conservative” in its approach to free agency.

That’s not a surprise.

Still, it’s important to take a look at some possibilities.

The rankings were determined mainly by positional needs and limited to players whom the Bucks realistically might have a shot at signing—both from a salary and notoriety.

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Atlanta Hawks 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Ranking Top Targets Post-Draft

The Atlanta Hawks are in a good position to be a major player in the 2014 free-agency period, but there might not be a rush to overpay for talent.

As we saw last season, the Hawks are pretty good at finding values during this time of year. General manager Danny Ferry pulled off one of the biggest steals of recent memory by signing Paul Millsap to a two-year deal worth $19 million last year, and there’s a chance he finds a way to get a great value again.

The Hawks have already been fairly busy this offseason, trading Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira for John Salmons, who only has $1 million guaranteed on this year’s deal. That moved helped clear up some cap space, and the Hawks filled a need on the wing with some of the savings.

Here’s Sam Amick of USA Today with Atlanta’s first signing:

Thabo Sefolosha, a 5½-year starting shooting guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, will sign a three-year contract worth $12 million with the Atlanta Hawks, a person with knowledge of the agreement told USA TODAY Sports.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the contract, which cannot be signed until July 10 because of the NBA‘s free agency moratorium.

While the signing of Sefolosha might take Atlanta out of the race for some of the bigger max guys like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, there are still some nice talents out there for them to target.

Here’s the free-agency big board for the Atlanta Hawks for the 2014 offseason.

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Wizards 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Ranking Top Targets Post-Draft

Heading into next season, the Eastern Conference is wide open. Barring some solid signings in the coming week, the Miami Heat will take a step back with Dwyane Wade aging, it’s unlikely that the Indiana Pacers will take a step forward with the questions surrounding Lance Stephenson’s return and Chicago‘s success relies a lot on Derrick Rose‘s health with its current roster. 

That leaves the door open for the Washington Wizards to be contenders for years to come. With John Wall and Bradley Beal growing together, and the recent re-signing of Marin Gortat, the Wizards have a core in place to be a solid team for the next few years. 

That makes this free agency so much more important for the Wizards. With Gortat locked down, the Wizards still have some maneuverability. The exact terms of Gortat’s deals still haven’t been released, but if he was to get exactly $12 million this year, it leaves the Wizards about $10 million still (excluding the mid-level exemption, and assuming that they don’t re-sign any of their current free agents) to sign other players. 

With the cap set to increase this season, the Wizards aren’t in great shape, but they at least have the opportunity to make some improvements. After looking at their success last year but seeing how much the bench struggled (Washington’s bench finished second to last in points and assists per game, via HoopStats.com), the Wizards should be looking to bring back some players from last year, but also add new assets on the bench.

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Philadelphia 76ers 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Top Targets Post-Draft

Sam Hinkie is a patient man.

On June 26, the Philadelphia 76ers general manager turned the third- and tenth-overall selections in the NBA Draft into Joel Embiid and—after a bit of transactional jujitsu—Dario Saric.

The two young men have very different skill sets, but one very consequential thing in common: It’s almost certain that neither will play in the NBA in 2014-15.

Embiid is likely to miss the season with a fractured navicular bone in his right foot while Saric is contractually obligated to play his pro ball in Croatia for at least the next two years. For the 2014-15 Sixers, help is not on the way.

This considered, it seems unlikely Philadelphia will make much noise on the market this summer.

What’s the point?

For a team so wholly committed to building through the draft—through the lottery—there isn’t much utility in adding immediately helpful players in free agency. Not yet, anyway.

For, say, the Chicago Bulls, improving by six or seven wins could mean the difference between an Eastern Conference title and another lost season. For the Sixers, it just means a lower draft pick.

So the tank is on for Philadelphia. Again.

That said, the Sixers will have to do something in free agency. There are games to be played—and lost—and a group of young men will have to be in uniform to do the playing and the losing.

Here are a few of the young men the Sixers may consider.

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Howard Beck’s Los Angeles Lakers Free Agency Big Board

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to speed up their rebuilding process by making a splash in free agency this year, hoping to make the most of Kobe Bryant‘s final seasons. Who will the Lakers look to target?

Howard Beck joins Adam Lefkoe to break down who could be lured to the Staples Center in the video above.

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San Antonio Spurs’ 2014 NBA Draft Big Board

The San Antonio Spurs are surely still celebrating their convincing five-game victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Ditto the city itself, which now boasts more banners than all but three NBA franchises.

But that doesn’t mean San Antonio’s front office—led by general manager R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich—hasn’t been busy burning some extra midnight oil in the service of next season’s first true test: the NBA draft.

As things stand, the Spurs will have three picks Thursday night: No. 30, No. 58 and No. 60.

Think the defending champs are destined to walk away with little more than doomed training-camp flotsam? You certainly wouldn’t be alone.

Then again, you don’t have to go back very far—the No. 57 pick in 1999, in fact—to appreciate how second-round savvy these Spurs can be.

That was Manu Ginobili, in case you were wondering.

In a 2013 interview with the San Antonio Express-NewsJeff McDonald, Ginobili admitted even he was taken aback a bit when he heard whod drafted him:

Someone woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me. I said, ‘They’re the defending NBA champions? Are you sure?’ I had no idea they were even looking at me. … I was excited, for sure. But then again, at 57th, I knew the chances of playing were not that good.

Counterintuitive though it may sound, San Antonio’s status as a bona fide league elite actually gives it tremendous draft-day flexibility: Either it can play it safe and take players with the best chance of thriving in its famously pass-happy system, or it can swing for the fences on long-term upside.

Should San Antonio whiff, there’s scant chance Thursday’s decisions comes back to haunt it. But with one of the deepest drafts in recent memory at their feet, the Spurs stand as good a chance as anyone of finding that basketball diamond in the rough.

So who, exactly, should be on San Antonio’s radar?

 

Round 1

While the No. 30 slot hasn’t exactly yielded a murderers row of talent in recent years, there have been some notable exceptions, including Jimmy Butler (2011), David Lee (2005) and Gilbert Arenas (2001).

Of course, any Spurs fan worth her salt knows what happened when San Antonio had the No. 28 pick back in 2001. We’ll give you a hint: He’s French and plays point guard.

There’s bound to be a handful of steals late in the first round. The question is whether its San Antonio’s dice roll that comes up seven.

 

1. Nikola Jokic, PF, Serbia

San Antonio’s fondness for European players is no secret. Not only do they often arrive stateside with NBA-ready games; even if they’re rough and raw, stashing them away for a few years—just like the Spurs did with Ginobili—can sometimes yield big dividends.

Jokic is a Spur in spirit through and through: a good shooter with excellent basketball smarts and a guard’s passing vision. At just 19 years old, Jokic may not be NBA ready…and that’s just fine by San Antonio.

 

2. Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State

Let’s be clear about one thing: This is going to be Kawhi Leonard’s team before long. As such, nobody this side of the next Larry Bird or LeBron James will be uprooting him from his small forward post.

But Early doesn’t need to be the heir apparent. If anything, his most notable NBA skill—scoring—is something any team can use, even if it’s off the bench.

There’s a decent chance Early falls this far in the first round, if for no other reason than there remains plenty who believe his stats at Wichita State were somehow inflated by virtue of the school’s mid-major status. What better team on which to prove the doubters wrong than San Antonio?

 

3. Walter Tavares, C, Spain

Here’s what ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote about Tavares for his most recent mock draft (subscription required):

Tavares is getting a lot of buzz right now. Hes huge. He has amazing hands and is a defensive force as both a shot-blocker and rebounder. The Mavs need that sort of help on the front line right now, though Tavares might be more useful as a draft-and-stash pick.

That last line is the most important. With Tim Duncan having officially opted into the final year of his current deal, per Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs don’t necessarily need another big for at least a year.

Playing another year (or two) abroad would give Tavares some much-needed development time to assure he has the best chance of his skills catching up with his no-doubt imposing physical presence—something Tiago Splitter knows a little something about.

 

Round 2

Because San Antonio’s picks are (a) so far down the docket and (b) so close together, we’re lumping the top three prospects for each in one six-point list. When it’s this late in the draft, no mock draft in the world is good enough to predict how the dominoes will fall.

 

1. Damian Inglis, SF, France

We’ve already named two possible pick-and-stash candidates the Spurs could target in the first round. Get ready for a few more, starting with hyper-athletic Frenchman Damian Inglis.

He’s just 19 years old, but with a few more years of big-time ball overseas, Inglis could emerge as the next great second-round steal.

While it’s unlikely that Inglis falls this far, Round 2 often sees mock-draft darlings plummet unexpectedly. If he’s there this late—or if some team might be willing to take San Antonio’s two later picks in exchange for moving up—the Spurs absolutely have to pounce.

 

2. Bryce Cotton, PG, Providence

Sooner or later, the Spurs are going to need to think about a long-term replacement for Tony Parker, who, let’s not forget, has been logging Association miles since he was 19 years old.

That’s not to say Cotton is that guy, of course—hardly. But his scoring prowess and ability to penetrate warrant him a good hard look late in the second round. Besides, what better way to improve your skills as a playmaker than spending a few seasons backing up one of the NBA’s absolute best?

 

3. Artem Klimenko, C, Russia

Klimenko, a 7’1” Russian center, is a prime pick-and-stash candidate.

At just 20 years old, Klimenko probably won’t be called to NBA duty any time soon. But with a few more years playing against Europe’s top competition, he could be well worth a roster-spot flier whenever Tim Duncan decides to hang them up.

 

4. Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

On paper, you’d be hard-pressed to find a starker Tony Parker photo negative than the hyper-athletic Christon. Both point guards top out at around 6’3”; that’s where the similarities end.

Like Cotton, Christon could stand to benefit from a few years under Parker’s wings—to learn the nuances of ball control and how to run a professional offense. With the return of Patty Mills still uncertain, it’s worth a second-rounder for Popovich to have some semblance of point guard insurance and depth.

 

5. Nemanja Dangubic, SF, Serbia

Unlike other possible stash prospects the Spurs could be targeting, Dangubic’s skill set lies less in savvy and intelligence than it does sheer athleticism and fearlessness. In this way, the Serbian small forward is a bit akin to Kawhi Leonard, although not quite the physical specimen.

We can almost guarantee that one of the Spurs’ picks—be it their first-rounder or one of their seconds—winds up getting stashed. As far as long-term upside goes, they don’t get much better than Dangubic.

 

6. Sean Kilpatrick, SG, Cincinnati

Outside of Parker and Leonard, San Antonio has a history of emphasizing experience and maturity over youth and upside. Which is why Kilpatrick, the 24-year-old, high-usage scoring machine out of Cincinnati, could play well as the last pick in the draft.

Kilpatrick’s defense could use some work, but if there’s any environment where bad habits can be weeded out and new ones can sprout in their place, it’s San Antonio.

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