JR Smith Kills Competition At Secret Pick Up Game

Some Knicks players got in on some off season fun at Terminal 23 Monday in New York.

A group of NBA players got together for a quick pick up game at Terminal 23 and it seems as if JR Smith showed up and showed out. JR was dunk city and even threw a smooth two handed reverse for the competition.
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Can Knicks fans expect more of this play this upcoming season?
The post JR Smith Kills Competition At Secret Pick Up Game appeared first on Geeks & Cleats.

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Grizzlies sign draft pick Jarnell Stokes to deal (Yahoo Sports)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed their second-round draft pick Jarnell Stokes to a multi-year contract.

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NBA Draft Expert’s Notebook: Can Karl Towns Jr. Blossom into No. 1 2015 Pick?

The day will come when Karl Towns Jr. emerges as a topic to discuss on every national sports talk show. It”s going to happen sometime early next season, when he inevitably goes off during one of Kentucky’s nationally televised games.

I could see it now—a stretch that includes a hook shot followed by a three-pointer capped off by a dunk on a break he led himself. You can already hear the announcers highlighting his extraordinary versatility and potential as an NBA prospect. 

Towns, a consensus top-10 recruit and Kentucky’s prized freshman center, has an unusually high skill level and natural feel for the game. He turned heads in Portland at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit and followed Andrew Wiggins in 2014 by winning the Gatorade National Player of the Year award.

His talent has been well documented by scouts over the past 18 months or so. And now Towns will be looking to make his case for the top spot on 2015 draft boards.

I wouldn’t call him the favorite at this point three months prior to the season. Based on buzz from scouts and personal opinion, I’d give that honor to Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor, whose 6’11″, 272-pound body, dominant inside game and basketball IQ help create a sense of certainty and assurance you don’t get from any other prospect. 

Okafor is your more traditional center. Towns is not, and that could ultimately work for or against him. Towns has to ultimately convince the NBA guys his loose but diverse offensive game is more attractive than the concentrated one Okafor masters as an inside force. 

And Towns’ margin for error might not be very big. Given the ridiculous depth of Kentucky’s current squad—ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman (subscription required) called it the ”deepest I’ve seen in the past decade”—his scoring and playmaking chances won’t exactly be unlimited. 

Towns will be competing for minutes and touches with junior Willie Cauley-Stein and sophomore Dakari Johnson—two older 7-footers expected to play significant veteran roles. And don’t forget junior Alex Poythress, sophomore Marcus Lee and fellow top-shelf recruit Trey Lyles are all expected to log minutes at the 4. 

Coah John Calipari will find minutes for Towns—he’s just too talented and useful, even as a teenager, to keep on the bench for long. But there’s no question he’ll have to find a way to stand out on an insanely crowded stage. 

There are going to be games where Towns ends up with duds in the box scores. It just comes with the territory of playing alongside All-American teammates. 

Lack of opportunity to dominate, coupled by his specific weaknesses as a prospect could lead to inconsistency next season—inconsistency we’re unlikely to see from Okafor as Duke’s top gun. 

Towns’ weaknesses center around his on-and-off interior presence. Despite possessing a 7’0″, 248-pound frame, he doesn’t always use all of it. 

I wouldn’t consider it a major concern—we’ve seen Towns do his fair share of bullying around the rim.

The question is whether or not Towns’ draft stock can handle the wavering production likely to result from a reduced role and an interest in proving he’s a threat on the perimeter. 

Meanwhile, Okafor might as well set up a La-Z-Boy couch in the lane, because that’s where the Duke guards will be feeding him all day long. There’s no question as to where he’s most effective on the floor. 

Okafor is going to be putting up double-doubles on off-games. He’s just got too much size, skill and opportunity. The points and boards will be there for him regardless—like they were for Jabari Parker last year.

On the other hand, Towns won’t be featured the way Okafor projects to be in Duke’s offense. 

Kentucky is currently playing exhibition games in the Bahamas against legitimate international competition, and though it’s obviously early, we’ve gotten a sense at how Calipari will be using each player.

Towns has played 18 minutes, 21 minutes and 21 minutes through three games, respectively. 

The offense didn’t quite feature Towns, but when in the game, the ball did find him for the most part. Still, with so much sharing going on, it’s easy to see how Towns could go quiet from time to time. 

He did look awfully good against older, more experienced frontcourts in the Bahamas. Though Towns will run into a few college and plenty of NBA centers that can match up with him physically, few can do as many things as he can with the ball.

Offensively, his skill set is just so well-rounded. 

Towns has excellent touch in the post, with a good idea of what he’s doing in terms of creating his own shots. He’s shown the ability to turn over his shoulder for jump hooks and the agility to slip off his man and separate with jukes or spin moves.

When he’s able to get position and there’s space for him to operate, Towns can serve as a viable go-to option for offense with his back to the rim. 

He also finished a number of pick-and-rolls as the roll man in traffic. Towns has good body control on the move—he’s able to catch, duck and weave for buckets while improvising on the fly. And if there’s a lane, he’s shown he can put it on the deck and attack the rim off a dribble or two. 

Towns also showcased his vision and passing instincts on a number of different occasions. His ability to see the floor and facilitate from the elbows will certainly play to his appeal over the course of next season. 

Athletically, Towns is nothing to drool over, but for a guy his size, he moves pretty effortlessly out there, both as a leaper and runner.

And it certainly didn’t look like he’ll have much difficulty taking contact inside, though it’s something he’s been dogged for in the past. He ripped down a couple of tough offensive boards by outworking and outmuscling opposing big men in the paint. 

On the downside, Towns missed all of his three-point attempts, as it looks like it could be a while before he’s regularly stretching the floor or pick-and-popping like a pro. 

He’s also not the most explosive—he came up short around the hoop or failed to separate a couple of times from his defender. 

And he hasn’t blocked a shot through three games despite his size, mobility and 7’3.5″ wingspan. Defense and rim protection don’t come as naturally to Towns as they do to guys like Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiid—two high-profile centers from the past two drafts. 

The good news is that Okafor isn’t overly dominant defensively, either. And though I hate to compare the two, you kind of have to when debating who the top pick will be. 

I’ll throw in Kansas freshman Cliff Alexlander’s name as well, though despite his towering upside powered by elite-level athleticism, I’m not sure he’s polished enough to take the cake over Okafor and Towns. 

Relative to the field, Towns has the all-around package to trigger No. 1 overall interest. He might not be the favorite to start, but he’s certainly established himself as a candidate. 

“He’s very skilled and has a very good feel for playing the game of basketball,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears. “He’s strong. He plays his position well. There are not a lot of basketball players with his feel for the game. He can face up and make jump shots. He’s special.”

For Towns to leapfrog the field and take over the No. 1 spot, he’ll have to silence the critics who’ve questioned his toughness on the interior. He’s going to have to match Okafor’s and Alexander’s presence in the paint and then move the needle with his versatility as a passer and shooter. 

It’s not an unrealistic goal by any means for Towns, who I’d vote today as Okafor’s biggest draft-day challenger amongst Division I NBA prospects. 

We’re going to have to see frequent enough flashes of greatness to make up for what could be an up-and-down season in the box scores, given the number of mouths Calipari will have to feed. 

But there’s no question Towns has the skills and upside to pull it off. 

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Fellow rookies pick Jabari Parker to win ROY

The vote wasn’t even close.



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Why Jahlil Okafor Is Early Favorite for No. 1 Pick in 2015 NBA Draft

It clicked early for Jahlil Okafor. You can just tell that he gets it. He understands his overwhelming strengths and recognizes how to exploit them.

And chances are he’ll be exploiting them at Duke against helpless ACC frontcourts on his journey toward becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. 

With Okafor, it’s not necessarily all about upside the way it was for the top pick in 2014. Andrew Wiggins’ appeal stemmed from the potential his spectacular athleticism drives in the long run. With a guy like Wiggins, you’re hoping the skills eventually catch up to the hops, quickness and explosiveness. You’re hoping one day it finally clicks. 

And there’s always some uncertainty attached to guys whose allure is tied mostly to potential. Who knows whether or not a prospect’s shooting stroke will improve, his handle will tighten or his in-between game will develop? 

Okafor is a little different in that the fundamentals and feel for the game are already there. Of course, he’s an absolute monster physically, but Okafor hasn’t just leaned on his physical tools to dominate at the high school and international levels.  

However, there’s no hiding his minimal bounce and burst. He’s just not as light on his feet, and without the athleticism that powers so many of today’s All-Stars, his ceiling isn’t perceived as limitless. 

Only Okafor’s most attractive feature isn’t quite his towering ceiling—it’s his high basement floor. There’s really not much risk at all attached to Okafor. 

ESPN recruiting analyst Adam Finklestein nailed it (subscription required) with his take following this year’s showcase period featuring the McDonald’s All-American game, the Nike Hoop Summit and the Jordan Brand Classic:

“From an NBA perspective, he’s starting to look more and more like a ‘safe pick’ in that you pretty much know what you’re going to get, even if his ultimate upside may not be quite as high as top-ranked prospects in other classes.”

This isn’t the typical reputation of a No. 1 overall favorite. “Safe pick” and “franchise centerpiece,” something lottery winners are usually looking for, don’t normally go hand in hand. 

But the fact that Okafor doesn’t have that visible superstar ceiling may not matter too much next June. Safe could go a long way in 2015, as the projected field looks to be a bit short of obvious No. 1 overall candidates. 

Emmanuel Mudiay is likely Okafor’s biggest challenger at the top of the board, but his decision to play in China could make him tougher to evaluate and ultimately justify as the No. 1 prospect. 

And though safe isn’t overly exciting, the potential reward Okafor offers is still worthy of a top pick in the draft. We could be talking about a go-to option in the frontcourt and a double-team magnet who pounds the glass and clogs the lane.

When you take into account his particular style of play, video-game athleticism isn’t quite a must-have attribute. Okafor fits the mold of a Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson or LaMarcus Aldridge type of big man—someone whose precise moves, high IQ and touch help compensate for their athletic limitations.

These guys didn’t have trouble reaching All-Star levels without above-the-rim springs or blow-by speed. 

At 6’11″ with a massive 7’5″ wingspan and an enormous 272-pound frame, Okafor has the body to carve out space along with the footwork to separate and deliver. His blend of imposing strength, nimble feet and soft hands is just too much. 

From spin moves into jump hooks to face-ups into flip shots, he’s been unstoppable at times with the ability to create high-percentage looks for himself in the paint: 

After being named MVP of the 2012 Under-17 FIBA World Championships, he made the 2013 All-FIBA Under-19 World Championship Team, having averaged 10.8 points and 4.8 boards on a whopping 77.2 percent shooting in just 14.2 minutes. In nine games, only once did he miss more than two shots.

It’s as if the rim looks bigger to Okafor, whose touch and instincts help expand it. 

His basketball IQ is also right on point. He’s got this level of awareness that allows him to pinpoint the best route to take and where the defense is most vulnerable. 

Okafor always seems to have a good feel for where his defender is leaning and when to take advantage. It could be something as simple as kicking it out of the post to re-post for better position closer to the rim:

Down low, Okafor really uses his mass, strength and length, whether it’s during a back-to-the-basket bully session or on the offensive glass. 

He’s tough to move inside—contact appears to just bounce off his enormous body.

Take a look at how easily he pushes around incoming freshman Karl Towns, a potential top-five pick and true 7-footer at Kentucky:

He’ll end up making a few respectable college big men look completely inferior as a 19-year-old freshman. Okafor was probably ready for Division I as a junior in high school.

But over the past year, Okafor, who’s built on the heavier side, has drawn rave reviews for his improved conditioning and mobility.

“His body is shaping up into where he can run the floor in consecutive trips like never before,” said (subscription required) ESPN’s Paul Biancardi following the Jordan Brand Classic. “Okafor is strong and physical and in the best shape I have seen him, and his motor is hitting on all cylinders,” added (subscription required) ESPN’s Reggie Rankin.

Okafor told Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy:

Right now, I’m in the best shape that I’ve ever been in – in my entire life. It all has to do with changing my diet. … It’s really helping me. I’m already seeing the improvement on the floor when I’m playing, working out or playing with some of my friends. I think I’m definitely far and away better from where I was last year.

Defense will be a point of emphasis for Okafor and scouts next season. While he’s got the tools to evolve into an effective rim protector, he hasn’t earned that reputation as a routine defensive game-changer.

And there will always be the skeptics who’ll tell you his underwhelming athletic ability will prevent him from dominating in the pros. 

Okafor isn’t a lock to go No. 1, but between a lack of standout competition, his expected immediate impact at Duke and the favorable risk-to-reward odds he offers as an NBA prospect, he’ll enter the 2014-15 season as the favorite.

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Former top pick Oden released after battery arrest (Yahoo Sports)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 5: Greg Oden #20 of the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Police arrested former NBA No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden on battery charges early Thursday, alleging that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face during a fight. The free agent center, who played for the Miami Heat last season, was arrested early Thursday at his mother’s suburban home in Lawrence on two preliminary counts of misdemeanor battery.

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Former top pick Oden arrested on battery charges (Yahoo Sports)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 5: Greg Oden #20 of the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Police arrested former NBA No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden on battery charges early Thursday, alleging that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face during a fight at his mother’s suburban Indianapolis home. The free agent center, who played for the Miami Heat last season, was taken into custody at the home in Lawrence on two preliminary counts of misdemeanor battery.

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2007 top NBA pick Oden arrested in Indianapolis (Yahoo Sports)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 5: Greg Oden #20 of the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Former No. 1 NBA draft pick Greg Oden has been arrested in Indianapolis on battery charges alleging that he punched a woman in the face. Police in the suburban community of Lawrence say the 26-year-old was arrested early Thursday on two preliminary counts of misdemeanor battery and remains jailed. Oden allegedly told officers ”things got out of control” during an argument with his ex-girlfriend and he punched her in the face as others tried to hold him back.

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Inside the Green Room and NBA Draft Week with Lottery Pick Zach LaVine

There was arguably no more intriguing prospect outside of the top NBA draft picks than hyper-athletic combo guard Zach LaVine.

LaVine caused quite a stir in the weeks leading up to the draft with his ridiculous 46-inch vertical leap during a workout with the Los Angeles Lakers. Charlotte Hornets general manager Rich Cho told LaVine’s agent, Nima Namakian, after the 6’6″ guard worked out for them, “He’s the biggest freak I’ve ever seen.”

Prior to his selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 13th overall pick in the draft, LaVine granted Bleacher Report exclusive access to follow him in New York City as he prepared for the next chapter of his basketball life. LaVine’s story—through a conversation with B/R’s Jared Zwerling—is presented here from his perspective. It has been edited for clarity and length.


The day before the draft

Wednesday, June 25 at 11:45 a.m. ET.: Zach and his BDA Sports Management business team sit down for lunch at Chevys Fresh Mex inside the Westin hotel, before his media-day appearance.

Leading up to the draft, I’ve been asking Nima questions about my workouts, what teams are thinking—stuff like that. He’s told me there’s interest from a number of teams, but that there are so many moving parts it’s unpredictable. My range is No. 9 to 14, but we’re not going for the highest situation, but the best situation. Maybe it will be the Hornets who have the ninth pick.

I feel like it’s going to work out for me either way. Even if I’m the last pick in the draft, I’m going to be just as happy because it’s been my lifelong dream. I think, what, 0.02 percent of the world gets to do this job and you’re one in a million, so it’s definitely something that you can cherish.

I remember when I was in third grade, I was in a classroom and the teacher said, “What do you want to do when you get older?” We were going around the room. I said, “I want to be a professional basketball player.” She’s like, “That’s not realistic.” I thought to myself, OK, watch. I want to go back to hear and say, “What do you have to say now?”

For now I’m just waiting for my family to get here. I owe a lot to them. My dad, Paul, is like my best friend. He used to be a professional football player, so he’s been through it. He gets on my butt a lot, but he pushes me. My mom, Cheryl, worked two jobs to support me. She really helped the family stay together. And my little sister, Camryn, had to take a backseat at times, traveling to all my AAU games and watching me for hours at a time.

In the meantime, I’ve been checking Twitter on my phone. Every fan from each city probably has said something at least once. They say that I’m a sleeper. A lot of people also want me in the NBA dunk contest, and I’m going to be in one. I’ve got so many dunks I can win it.

People say, “Hey Zach, jump from here and try this.” I’m like, “Alright.” If I get close, I can do it. I also feel I’m one of the fastest players, so I definitely like the open space. In the NBA it’s get it and go, so it definitely fits my game perfectly.

Because there’s a lot of intrigue over my athleticism and potential, a lot of sneaker brands are contacting Nima. What’s most important is the sneaker’s look and comfort. It will be definitely bold, confident—a loud shoe. For a commercial, I’d want to be dunking with my favorite rapper Chief Keef.


Draft day

Thursday, June 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET: While Zach is blasting Chief Keef in hotel room 2338, with a few orders of chicken fingers and pot stickers having just arrived for him and his business team, his stylist Courtney Perucho fits him for his suit.

I couldn’t sleep until 4 a.m. last night, but I’m pretty relaxed right now. It’s been surreal getting dressed up and everything, watching different NBA clips knowing that you’re going to be drafted.

Nima told me he’s been in contact with the teams that like me, but that no decisions are made until a team is actually on the clock. I’m just trying to live this moment out right now, and I’m having a great time. I went to a players-only meeting with Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston yesterday and they said, “Enjoy it. Be in the moment. It’s only going to happen one time.”

Putting on my custom-made forest green suit made by the stylists for many of the green room invites, Jhoanna Alba and Courtney Perucho, has been real fun. Green is my favorite color. I like the professional look now; it’s swaggy. I just have to work on putting on a tie.

Every green room invite has his own special design inside his sports jacket. Mine is a quote: “I never told you it was going to be easy. I said it would be worth it.” That’s something my dad always told me.

I feel like everyone is excited. My UCLA teammate Kyle Anderson texted me, “You ready?” I said, “We’re all getting nervous.” He said, “We are, too. We’re going to be watching tonight. I wish you the best of luck.” I said, “The same back to you.” It’s a brotherhood.


Inside the green room

Thursday, June 26 at 10:45 p.m.: After posing for photos with his family and friends, Zach recaps draft night before leaving the Barclays Center to an awaiting car that will take them to Carmine’s in Times Square for a celebration dinner.

Once the draft started I was asking Nima where I was finally going to land, but he didn’t know exactly where I’d go. Even Bobcats GM Rich Cho, a pretty reserved guy from what Nima told me, didn’t share a lot of information. While Nima was calling and texting different GMs the whole time, he also kept me in high spirits throughout.

You’re also watching the ESPN camera and Chrysa Chin, the “NBA hat lady,” the whole night, because they move throughout the green room in the direction of the table for the next pick, like 30 seconds before it’s called. Right before each pick happened, my heart would drop when Adam Silver said, “The team selects…” You think you’re going everywhere until your name is called, so after the 12th pick, I was just like, “OK, this might be me.”

When I was available at No. 13, Nima had a number of teams calling him saying they would take me. It was crazy. At that time, because we knew Timberwolves coach and president Flip Saunders was a big fan of me, Nima called him directly. That’s when Flip told Nima, “Yeah, I’m going to take him.” Nima turned to me and said, “Zach, I’m proud of you. Are you ready to go? We’re about to go to Minnesota.” Nima wanted to tell me a little bit in advance so I was prepared for it before the ESPN camera came to our table. So when Adam Silver said, “Zach LaVine,” I just lost it.

I remember I had a really good workout and interview with the Timberwolves, and I knew they liked my playing style. Flip told Nima after the workout, “Zach can be a very special player and we can bring out some big potential in him. We’re still putting together our identity, so Zach can step in and be a part of the core, and eventually become a franchise-changing player.”

The Timberwolves workout was the toughest one I did. Flip is known for really challenging players in workouts to see who’s mentally strong, tough and can fight through. Even the warm-up was hard; stretching out got me tired. They made the gym hotter, so we had to work even harder. Flip put us all through these drills—3-on-3, 2-on-2, 1-on-1, running a lot of different sets, getting up and down to show your athleticism—and we only had one quick water break.

I went at it as hard as I could. I knew I was going to be tired, so I said to myself, ’You might as well be tired. Just sleep on the plane afterwards.’ I felt I had a really good workout, so I’m glad everything happened the way it was planned.


After the pick

Thursday, June 26 at 11 p.m.: Zach continues to recap draft night while signing autographs and taking pictures with fans outside of the arena.

When Nima told me I had been picked, I was in shock. I said, “Are you for real?” He said, “Yeah, man.” And then Adam Silver called my name, and I just put my head down and thanked God. When I got up to put the Timberwolves hat on, I said “F—, man.” I didn’t say, “F— me,” as everyone thought I did; people and social media took it the wrong way.

I’m so grateful and happy to be a Timberwolves player. After all the hours, and the blood, sweat and tears, no one could know about the emotions going through me at that time. I was in disbelief. It might not have been the best reaction, but it’s what happened. I’m still happy.

As I was walking up to the stage, I couldn’t really breathe. My hands were cold and I was nervous. I was so stunned, like I was out of it. I even told the commissioner, “I can’t believe this is happening.” He said, “You’re alright, Zach. Good job.” I thought I was going to lose it and have some sniffles.

When I went backstage after the pick, Andrew Wiggins and I caught eyes. We’re cool with each other from training together at P3 in Santa Barbara, and he gave me a great big hug. It was just the best thing in the world for me, so I was very happy.

I also talked to Flip over the phone and he said, “We drafted you for a reason. We love your game and your personality.” I was really relieved after I talked to him. I was completely happy. All I could say was, “Thank you. I can’t wait to work my butt off and try to help you guys win.”


Destination: Minneapolis

Sunday, June 29 at 3 p.m. ET: Zach reflects, from his hometown near Seattle, on arriving in his new city.

The morning after the draft, a car service picked us up at 5 a.m. and took us to JFK airport, where we hopped on a Delta flight to Minneapolis, where we were greeted by the team. It’s a really cool city. There are a lot of different buildings that are connected. They’ve got this crazy walkway, so when it gets icy and cold outside, you can just stay in the buildings and walk around. You don’t even have to get your car sometimes.

At the Target Center, I met with the media, had a photo and autograph session and received my jersey, No. 8, for the first time. My new teammate Nikola Pekovic has No. 14, my longtime number, but that dude is like the biggest dude in the NBA. So I’m not trying to ask him for my jersey. I’ve always liked No. 8. Kobe Bryant has always been my favorite player, and he was drafted No. 13, too, in 1996.

After all that, I went to lunch with Nima, Flip and the team’s GM Milt Newton. They stressed their excitement about working with me because of my unique athletic ability and gym-rat mentality. Flip also talked about two former star players he coached, Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett, and how he developed them when they entered the NBA at a young age like me. He said he saw two similarities in me: confidence and competitiveness.

I didn’t watch the Timberwolves a lot last season, but I know they get up and down. Flip said I’ll be playing a little bit of the 1 and 2. I’ll be playing a lot at the 1 in summer league. With me and Glenn Robinson III coming in, we’re really athletic and we’re versatile. And if Kevin Love stays, there are going to be four UCLA Bruins on the team.

Flip and Milt also recommended places to live. They told me you never know if it’s going to snow, so they really want everybody to be close to the arena, within a seven-to-10-mile radius so you can get there on time. I’m from Seattle and it gets cold, but it’s not Minnesota cold. But I’ll get used to it. I’ll put a big winter jacket on and get to work.

While Nima and my business team will help me find an apartment and personal chef—I’ve already got a car—I’m focused on training. When I got back home on Saturday, near Seattle, I already started to work out again. I was up until 2 o’clock early Sunday morning. I think I took 500 shots, and I lifted and ran.

I’ve also got to get mentally prepared, just like I did getting ready for college—it’s just on a bigger scale. I’m just going to work my butt off, try to get better and better before the season, and then go at it full steam once the season starts.

I’ve got to get mentally prepared, just like I did getting ready for collegeit’s just on a bigger scale. I have no fear. I’m just going to work my butt off, try to get better and better before the season, and get stronger in the weight room. Then I’m going to go at it full steam once the season starts, and just try to be my best.


Jared Zwerling covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Report: Bucks would trade 2nd round pick for Jason Kidd

After an up-and-down season with the Brooklyn Nets, Jason Kidd will become the Milwaukee Bucks head coach for the 2014-15 season and beyond if the team relinquishes its 2015 second-round draft pick, according to an ESPN.com report. A source told ESPN.com that the Nets are looking for a first-round pick, and the Bucks are offering a second-rounder. So if the two parties can agree, the deal will likely happen. “If the Nets agree then there will be a deal, if they don’t then (the Bucks) are comfortable moving on and there will be nothing further to talk about,” said the source. “The only thing (the Bucks) would give them is a second-round pick. They want a first. In the next 24 hours, there will either be a deal or there won’t be a deal.” The report states that Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens met with Kidd Friday in New York City, and that Lasry had a previous relationship with him. The possibility of having Kidd coach a young Bucks team is promising. The team is rebuilding, and Kidd’s coa

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