Tag Archives: David Stern

THREE FOR BART: Airplanes, Braxton, Solomon

  1. Why Airlines Want to Make you Suffer This is a devastating one. It all makes sense because it’s making cents and there’s nothing to be done about it. Or is there? I’m not even sure. I thought about driving to more places but then realized the immediacy and convenience – promptness only – of flying. It’s our fastest means. The world around us is becoming increasingly customized and personalized. Simplification and customer service are ubiquitous. The phrase “there’s an app for that” suggests everyone is trying to help us, the consumer. Why aren’t the airlines?
  2. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller Predicts Oregon to Win National Championship – This is kind of hilarious and probably not worth a complete #34b link, but it does ignite a grad transfer debate for the injured star. Isn’t UCLA losing a dual threat quarterback? Or wait, isn’t Oregon? Thinkaboutit.
  3. Solomon Hill’s Development a Silver Lining for Struggling Pacers – My man! Here’s the guy who once told me he’d never gone to Tucson’s most famous late night burrito joints because – well – because he was aiming to be a first round draft pick. And then he was. And now he’s playing (almost) like one. Hill was one of my favorite players to play in Tucson because he seemed to embody the program from the day he arrived. I don’t mean that Solomon Hill played “the Arizona way” or whatever corporate saying you might include. No. Hill arrived an overweight, perhaps overrated, freshman into a program that was out of players and overrated. Together, they worked their asses off. And one day, in June of 2013, David Stern announced Solomon, a first round pick.

Grant Jerrett Left Arizona, Now Considered for Cash

The first things Rece Davis had to say about the 40th pick and the Portland  Trailblazers’ selection of Jerrett were surrounding his choice to declare and his lack of a neck. Bill Simmons remained distraught over his Celtics’ recent trade and dismissed the selection all together.

Grant Jerrett’s NBA career was off to a glowing start.

And then late – while I was researching Andre Roberson’s prospects as a member of the Thunder – I discovered the Arizona dropout was acquired by Roberson’s guaranteed team for “cash considerations.” Whether Jerrett feels he needed quick rationale to validate leaving Tucson is beyond me. I’d hope such validation comes in the form of on-court production. “Cash considerations,” however, won’t soon help his cause.

But maybe the Thunder – who even bothered to yield dollar bills for the kid – see something we don’t. After all, this is the franchise that has traded away the likes of James Harden and Jeff Green and remains a perennial power. They recognized Serge Ibaka at the back of the draft and took heat for selecting Russell Westbrook and Harden as high as they did (how’d that work out?).

So Jerrett joins – or at least has a fighting chance to – the Thunder. Jay Bilas spent much of the draft lead-up referencing wingspan and length and between their two new Pac-12ers, OKC has found such. Roberson measures in at 6’7″ with 6’11” wings while Jerrett touts 6’9″ and 7’2″. Effing condors.

[Insert something about hand size here]

Of course those are the facts on Grant. He’s tall, he’s long, he has advanced footwork and a nice touch. He can shoot a lick. Or at least he can do all of this in an empty gym. He’s perhaps unique to this draft in that he really hasn’t played a ton of basketball. And what “high level” basketball he has played, he’s produced just 5ppg and 3rpg. I compared that to the projected draft upon his declaration to find the average draft pick was putting up 16/6.

But this is why Sam Presti is paid for his job.

The Oklahoma City Thunder made their futures bet with whatever wealth of knowledge they held on Grant Jerrett and the confidence of previously successful evaluations. They also don’t have to give Jerrett a single thing. They’re only on the financial hook to the Trailblazers. Or at least they’re considering it.

It’s game time for Grant.

Shabazz Muhammad Late to Draft, Still Makes Lottery

There’s been significant “year ago” dialogue surrounding Shabazz Muhammad over the past few weeks. After all, it was just a year ago that Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins were being vaunted for signing the “future #1 draft pick.” He was lauded as a physical specimen. A man amongst boys who could score from beyond and above the rim.

And then the Las Vegas native – with a season in Westwood under his belt – was deemed “overrated.” He fell on draft boards and was considered to be a disappointment at draft combines.

With his stock bottoming out, he was not invited to the coveted green room.

And then he showed up late. An odd incident I missed while two doors down throwing my laundry into the dryer.

So while I suppose I too was late to the Bazz party, none of this will soon matter. Not his age or his Gucci bags or his plane tickets or whether he’s stoked on Larry Drew’s buckets. On Thursday night, Shabazz Muhammad was drafted 14th overall by the Utah Jazz…and promptly traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Some loved it:

While others were simply disappointed in the nomenclature:

Of course no matter the narrative surrounding his controversial Bruin career and the subsequent fall from NBA general manager grace, Muhammad was always considered a one-year Pac-participant. What he leaves behind in Westwood is a blossoming situation.

The significant scoring void can be filled by sophomore, Jordan Adams, who proved himself a capable scorer, if not star, in Muhammad’s shadow last season. Also returning is the Wear family – formidable lookalikes who Bruin faithful hope can conjure up seasons that don’t quite look like their previous outputs. Kyle Anderson is perhaps the most intriguing returner in that he can do a little bit of everything, capable of creating gross mismatches all over the floor. But he is slow which can be excused if he shaves.

They also bring in some impactful newcomers in wings Zach LaVine and – COACH’S KID ALERT!!! – Bryce Alford.

Speaking of coach, the one tasked with shaping Muhammad’s UCLA career, Ben Howland, no longer holds that role. That task now belongs to Steve Alford, the twelfth lead man in Bruins history.

While it wasn’t the most glamorous hire, met to the moderate-to-mighty chagrin of UCLA faithful, it is a solid hire. He won significantly at his previous stop (New Mexico) and has experience leading a high major program (Head Coach at Iowa) and understands the pressures of being part of a legendary program (played at Indiana for Bob Knight). He was ultimately change for the sake of it but that’s not going to stop him from trying to win with the lineup he’s inherited and the lottery pick he’s lost.

As the previous year would seem to have been a trying one for both the newly drafted Muhammad and the UCLA basketball program each now find themselves in a budding situation, an opportunity to set sail on the seas of change and adventure to discover their new identities in new lands.

(Come on, it’s a UCLA piece, had to go Walton).

A Pick Short of a Guarantee, Allen Crabbe isn’t Worried

Allen Crabbe’s name wasn’t called by David Stern. It was perhaps disappointing that Adam Silver announced the former Cal forward’s name following the Cleveland Cavalier’s third time on the clock. Crabbe was the first pick of the second round in Thursday’s draft and the Cavs promptly traded the lengthy shooter to the Trailblazers.

Draft day – and this one in particular – can be a wild, unpredictable day. But the Blazers find themselves with a player who is anything but wild and unpredictable. With a marvelous shooting stroke and a tall frame by which to shoot over people, Crabbe seems to have NBA written all over him. The Blazers have now acquired a commodity that will be sorely missed in Berkeley.

But don’t soon feel bad for Mike Montgomery and his Golden Bears. First of all, they have a sweet new floor and will welcome McDonald’s All-American, Jabari Bird. The local – Salesian High, Richmond, CA – will help to replace the scoring Crabbe takes with him to the NBA.

But the most intriguing piece on this forthcoming Cal Bears roster is sophomore Ty Wallace. The dynamic athlete has the ability to guard up and down the lineup and showed a propensity to score from all over the court. Or at least a fearlessness to shoot from anywhere on it. A refined offensive game from Wallace could prove a lethal weapon for the reloaded Cal Bears who finished fourth in 2012-13 season.

Of course that sort of dependence on youth in the wake of a Pac-12 Player of the Year can be daunting. Crabbe scored 18.4 points and grabbed 6.1 boards per game this past season. In layman’s terms: that’s a lot of production. According to many, it was NBA first round-type production. Alas, for reasons only the player-pickers could give us (and they won’t), Crabbe dropped into the latter round in which he will not be guaranteed a contract.

That disappointment, however, didn’t deter from the love and support showered on the newest member of the Portland Trailblazers:

The timing of the pick may not have been to Crabbe’s exact fancy, but he’s league bound.

No bother, right? Time to get to work.