Marc J. Spears
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago
From LSU's Ben Simmons (Australia) to Kentucky's Skal Labissiere (Haiti) and guard Jamal Murray (Canada) to Kansas' Cheick Diallo (Mali) – assuming he's eligible – college basketball is awash in international talent this season. That's also why the top of the 2016 NBA draft could feature fewer American-born players than usual.
"The top three picks might not be from the United States next year," one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. "Blame AAU basketball in America for that."
With help from three long-time NBA scouts, here's 10 of the leading NBA prospects to watch in college basketball this season:
1. Ben Simmons (Louisiana State, SF/PF, Fr., 6-foot-10, 239 pounds) Scout's view: "He's the type of player that comes along only once every 20 years. He can play multiple positions and he plays to win. He does it all. He's special."
2. Skal Labissiere (Kentucky, PF/C, Fr., 7-0, 216) Scout's view: "Very athletic and can rebound well. He is more of a power forward than center now. Needs to improve his shooting, range on shot and strength."
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago
OAKLAND, Calif. – NBA scorekeepers have already had to work hard to keep track of Andre Drummond's rebounds on their courtside computers this season. And if one of those computers malfunctioned, the Detroit Pistons center just might be able to fix it, too.
"I've been a tech guy since I was a kid," Drummond told Yahoo Sports. "The older I got, the more interested I got in it. I know a lot about parts and stuff like that. If something was to mess up in a computer, tech kind of stuff, like the motorized stuff, I know a lot about the software stuff.
"I learned from trial and error. It started off with my computer at home. It used to freeze a lot. I used to find out why and I would fix it."
Said former Pistons president Joe Dumars, who drafted Drummond: "His ability to fix computers spoke to how he had the mind to analyze things and figure them out quickly."
"It's just a will," Drummond said. "The will … to get the ball most people won't jump for. I just put myself out there knowing it gives my team the opportunity to either score offensively or even get a chance to start the break."
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and coach George Karl agreed on at least one thing Wednesday night: The Kings' 101-92 victory over the Detroit Pistons was desperately needed.
The victory ended a six-game losing streak for the Kings and came two days after Cousins blistered Karl in a postgame rant that led players, coaches and front-office staff to air their grievances in a series of meetings Tuesday that swept more turmoil through the franchise.
"I don't care what type of team you're on, a new team, a veteran team, a losing streak is heavy," Karl said. "My analogy – I don't know whether I stole it from somebody – there is a weight. I call it, 'Kill the monkey.' There is like a monkey hanging on your back."
Asked if he agreed with Karl's monkey analogy, Cousins said: "Nah, I don't refer to it as a monkey. We got some extra weight off our back."
Cousins apologized for the incident in a statement given to Yahoo before Wednesday's game against the Pistons.
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Dwight Howard wore a not-so-subtle lavender plaid suit as he sat on the Houston Rockets' bench during Friday's game against the Sacramento Kings. Eager to seize upon the significance of Howard not being in uniform like the rest of his teammates, one Kings fan within earshot posed a question for the Rockets center:
"Hey Superman, why are you always hurt?"
Howard appeared a little irritated but stayed quiet.
"I don't take it a negative way," Howard told Yahoo Sports. "I think it's all positive. If I wasn't doing anything right or wasn't playing basketball the way I was in the past, nobody would ever talk about me.
"Good, bad or indifferent I am going to remain the same person no matter how many times I get talked about or beat up or hit. I'm never going to change."
"I realize now it's a lot bigger than basketball. I'm not going to allow no one or nobody to stop me from accomplishing what I want to accomplish on and off the floor."
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins told Yahoo Sports he plans to play on Monday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Cousins is expected to miss four straight games with a right Achilles tendon strain, including Friday's game against the Houston Rockets and Saturday's against the Golden State Warriors. The All-Star center suffered the injury on Oct. 31 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Sacramento was 0-2 without Cousins this season entering the Rockets game.
"I feel good. If it were up to me I would be playing tonight," Cousins told Yahoo Sports prior to the Rockets game.
Cousins averaged 26.5 points and 12 rebounds the first two games before injuring his right Achilles tendon in 15 minutes of play against the Clippers on Oct. 31. Kings general manager Vlade Divac told Yahoo Sports there was a "50-50 chance" Cousins would play on Monday and said he would return no later than Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons. Cousins shot prior to the Rockets game.
"Our doctors are worrying about Cousins over the long haul," Divac told Yahoo Sports.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago
Injured All-Star guard Kyrie Irving said the Cleveland Cavaliers would have defeated Golden State in the NBA Finals if they were fully healthy. Charles Barkley seconded those words. The NBA’s general managers picked LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win the NBA title this season, and the Warriors aren’t Las Vegas favorites to repeat either.
But of all the disses, the one that seems to have burned the Warriors the most came from Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
“You need luck in the West,” Rivers told Grantland in early October. “Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs.”
As you can imagine, that didn’t sit well with the Warriors.
“That word pisses me and people in this locker room off because there was a lot of hard work that went into winning this championship,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry told Yahoo Sports after Wednesday night’s 112-108 win over the Clippers, Golden State’s 18th win in the series’ last 20 regular-season games. “While you were celebrating, you never want to hear somebody degrade what you did or what you accomplished.”
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago
Taking a page from his mom, Harrison Barnes is betting on himself once again, turning down a lucrative extension offer from the Warriors in hopes of landing a bigger deal next summer as a restricted free agent.
“At a young age she was like, ‘Do you want to do this basketball thing seriously?’ I was like, ‘Yes,’ ” Barnes told Yahoo Sports after the Warriors’ 119-69 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. “We put all of our resources into basketball, AAU tournaments and doing all this stuff. My sister and mom didn’t have any summers off. It was all predicated on me trying to make sure I had the best opportunities in basketball and to get exposure to go to college.
“Had I not been able to get a scholarship, we used all the money for AAU, and college would not have been an option for me. It’s a blessing, obviously, to be in the NBA and to be able to provide for them. Whenever another deal gets done, that will be another blessing as well.”
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Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 22 days ago
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Kings coach George Karl sought out his new point guard Rajon Rondo after a recent game to offer some congratulatory words.
"I'm happy for you," Karl told Rondo after he led the Kings to a blowout victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Karl's words were received by Rondo and meant all the more given the veteran point guard's turbulent last season. Once considered one of the NBA's elite point guards, Rondo has spent recent seasons either injured, suspended or, yes, arguing with his coach.
"People that know me, know me," Rondo told Yahoo Sports. "I am the way I am. … They know my character. It is what it is. The perception the media gave me, the character of the person they made me, whoever they made me out to be, that's their prerogative. It doesn't affect me at all."
Given a fresh start in Sacramento, Rondo has so far made a positive impact on the games. He had 21 points and eight assists in two of Sacramento's first three games and has connected with All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.
"I like being the underdog," Rondo said.
"Things just didn't work out," Rondo said.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago
LOS ANGELES – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn't waste much time Thursday letting everyone know what he thinks about the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I just don't give a [expletive] about the Clippers," Cuban said prior to Dallas' game against the Clippers.
For all of the Clippers' success with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, for all the optimism under new owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers, Cuban still doesn't have much respect for the franchise.
"You can change the owner, you can change the players, but the Clippers are who they've been for the past 30 years," Cuban said.
"Your job as a player – one job as a player – get it right," Rivers said.
Jordan appeared to make the right decision during the Clippers' 104-88 blowout over the injury-plagued Mavericks. He had six points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter as the Clippers cruised to a 2-0 start. He also declined to talk about why he spurned the Mavs.
Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago
LOS ANGELES – Trailing by a single point in the closing seconds of their season opener, desperate for some late-game heroics from their longtime savior, the Los Angeles Lakers put the ball in the hands of Kobe Bryant just like they had on so many other magical nights across the past two decades.
Only this time he was standing out of bounds.
The final shot of the opening game of what could be the final season of Bryant's legendary career went not to Bryant, but instead to Lou Williams, whose runner bounced harmlessly off the back of the rim. As the buzzer sounded on the season-opening loss for the Lakers against the young Minnesota Timberwolves, Bryant – who had been asked to inbound the ball on the decisive possession – dropped his head then walked off the floor.
So much for a poetic ending to the start of Bryant's 20th season. Should he have been given the last shot? That's probably what Jack Nicholson, all those Hollywood types and Lakers fans wanted after watching their team blow a 16-point lead.
"We got a good shot," Bryant said. "That's Lou's shot. That's a great runner for him. It hit the back heel. It's a great look for him."