The crew at Raptors Republic has built a great-looking, Raptocentric draft board. Toronto will most likely pick 13th, and Raptors Republic has its eyes on big men Ekpe Udoh and Hassan Whiteside. Butler small forward Gordon Hayward also makes the list. Pretty incredible that fewer than 10 months after Toronto signed Hedo Turkoglu, "SF is the Raptors' greatest need."
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers took the D-League crown on Tuesday night, sweeping their best-of-three series over the Tulsa 66ers. The Vipers are the Rockets' D-League affiliate, which might be evident from this description of their offense by Steve Weinman of D-League Digest: "I noted on a couple of occasions this year that RGV was the D-League’s most watchable team because they shared the ball so well. The Vipers didn’t spend a lot of time pounding the ball atop the circles waiting for teammates to clear out for isolation sets. The ball always seemed to be hopping off the hands of the guys in the red and white, finding a big sealing his man on the low block or a wing player spotting up for a good look at a jump shot at just the right times."
As of publishing, the cheapest pair of tickets in the Ford Center for Game 6 between the Thunder and Lakers will run you $238 on StubHub-- and that's jut to get into the building. If you want two seat together in the lower bowl, then you'll have to cough up in excess of $800 for the pair.
For those scratching their heads at Atlanta's lackluster performance against Milwaukee, there's a plausible explanation. As challenged as the Bucks may be offensively without Andrew Bogut, the Hawks are a mediocre defensive squad. Bret LaGree of Hoopinion: "The Hawks have but two good (two very good) defensive players, the Bucks have figured out how to neutralize the impact of those two players (at least as long as the Bucks make almost 60% of their shots), the Hawks may be over-compensating for their (admittedly numerous) poor defenders, and, underpinning all of these specific reasons: It is hard to play good team defense without good defensive players."
At Jazz shootaround in Denver on Wednesday, Andrei Kirilenko said that even though he's experienced no setbacks in the rehab of his strained left calf, his return for a potential Game 6 in Salt Lake City is "highly unlikely."
Chris Webber tells Petros & Money that Jerry Sloan is not the guy to ask, "You want some?!" (Hat Tip: Trey Kirby)
How do you turn the tables in a series that's slipping away? Switch up your game, as Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Rick Carlisle did last night for the Mavs.
The issue of rest vs. rust is one of those longstanding debates in sports that's rarely been answered to anyone's satisfaction. The Magic made quick work of the Bobcats and will now wait for the winner of the Hawks-Bucks series, which could extend into the weekend. At Magic Basketball, Eddy Rivera takes a stab at figuring out whether Orlando will benefit from a long wait.
Is controlling the pace all that important? A peek at the Phoenix-Portland series, being played at a pokey 89.8 possessions per game, suggests that the slow pace isn't bothering the Suns much.
The Lakers' blowout of the Thunder prompts Dan Filowitz to get a head start on recording The Disciples of Clyde podcast. Among other topics for debate: Can the Mavs really prosper by riding the successes and failures of Caron Butler?