Wizards

David Lee looks to end Warriors' All-Star drought

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David Lee looks to end Warriors' All-Star drought

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) When he worked as a broadcaster, Mark Jackson was adamant that David Lee didn't deserve to be an All-Star with the New York Knicks in 2010. No matter how eye-popping Lee's statistics looked, Jackson said, the power forward played on a bad Knicks team.

Now Jackson is coaching Lee on the Golden State Warriors, and he has changed his tune - but not his reasoning. The Warriors are winning, he said, and Lee is a big reason why.

``So I've got to be one of the guys now that he's on a good team putting up numbers,'' Jackson said, ``shouting to everybody that he deserves it.''

Whether Jackson's fellow coaches heed his call is another matter.

Voting by fans for the All-Star starters ended Monday night, and neither Lee nor point guard Stephen Curry - Golden State's other hopeful to play in Houston on Feb. 17 - are expected to earn that honor, with both far behind in the most recent results released by the league. Starters will be announced Thursday while the reserves, voted on by coaches, will be released next week.

With the Warriors (23-13) off to their best start in 20 years, Lee might be the leading candidate to end the NBA's longest All-Star drought. Golden State, which hosts the defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night, has not had a player make the team since Latrell Sprewell in 1997.

In the past, Lee's label around the league for being a player that puts up gaudy numbers on losing teams might have cost him a spot.

Lee's lone All-Star selection came after Allen Iverson dropped out because of a family illness. NBA Commissioner David Stern chose Lee as a replacement.

Lee remembers Jackson, a former Knicks point guard, and ESPN/ABC broadcast partner Jeff Van Gundy, a former Knicks coach, leading the charge against his selection. Lee insists he has never actually discussed the matter with Jackson, though he said he doesn't disagree with the argument.

``I think that's the biggest mark of an All-Star is guys that can make their teams better and try to win,'' Lee said. ``They didn't sign me here to put up numbers or to have fancy dunks. They signed me to win ballgames.''

Until now, that hadn't happened.

All five years Lee, drafted 30th overall out of Florida in 2005, played with the Knicks they had a losing record. Since signing an $80 million, six-year deal with Golden State, Lee has endured two losing seasons in the Bay Area. New York had a winning record each of the last two years and made the playoffs a season ago in Lee's absence.

Even Curry believes Lee's reputation has often kept his teammate from earning accolades. He remembers when Lee had ``the craziest triple-double I've ever seen'' in a game with the Knicks at Golden State on April 2, 2010.

Lee had 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in New York's 128-117 loss to the Warriors. He became the first player to have at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 35, 20 and 12 against the Warriors on March 5, 1976.

``But we won, so it was like a little blurb in the notes,'' Curry said.

Lee entered Monday ranking 10th in the NBA in points (19.9) and tied for fifth in rebounds (10.9) per game. He also leads the league with 16 games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The difference? The Warriors, with one playoff appearance since 1994, are fifth in the Western Conference and among the most talked-about teams.

``He's earned his numbers in the past as well, but his record didn't allow anybody to talk about it,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ``He had great numbers in New York, he's had great numbers (with Golden State), now he's doing it on a winning team. And he's proving it, showing people just how smart he is. I think as good as he is as far as his shot and the fact that he rebounds and plays hard, I think his IQ to me is what stands out the most. And he shows that.''

Lee does not appear overly athletic and never has been.

He hustles, communicates constantly with teammates and encourages the crowd. As a lefty, he also can be a bit unorthodox, and his elongated strides and shooting angles make him difficult to defend. And unlike in years past, Lee's defense has started to earn praise, in large part because of Golden State's upgraded talent around him.

Rivers compared Lee to how NFL scouts often salivate over 40-yard dash times, even though the fastest players don't always pan out in games.

``A lot of people go to those stupid combines and look at the time in the 40 instead of looking at the film and see who gets there first,'' Rivers said. ``The guy that gets there first has the slower time than the guy in the 40. That probably means the guy that gets there first is smarter. He's a step ahead in thought, that makes him a step ahead in quickness and I think that's David Lee.''

Lee said a second All-Star selection might mean more than his first.

Not so much for him as for what it would mean for the Warriors, who have had a blank spot on the practice facility wall next to Sprewell's name for 16 years. Any individual recognition that comes the Warriors' way this season, Lee said, will be built on the basis of the team's success - and that's all he's ever really wanted.

``Whatever it may be, it's going to be because we've turned this thing around,'' Lee said. ``We've turned the culture around. We've turned the wins and losses around and we just need to keep it that way.''

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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Blazers' C.J. McCollum has a theory on DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Wizards to reunite with John Wall

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Blazers' C.J. McCollum has a theory on DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Wizards to reunite with John Wall

Blazers guard C.J. McCollum has a theory that may sound familiar to Wizards fans. The star shooting guard now hosts a podcast and said on his most recent episode that he could see DeMarcus Cousins teaming up with John Wall in Washington.

McCollum's Blazers happened to lose in the first round to Cousins' Pelicans, though Cousins did not play in the series due to injury. Now, McCollum has offered thoughts on his future.

Here is what McCollum said about Cousins potentially going to Washington on his Pull Up podcast, as transcribed by SLAM Magazine:

"No slight against the homie. I think he’s a very, very good player. But you just have to look at the team roster and try to figure out what’s best for that roster moving forward...

“I think team success, playoff success, factors in to decision-making with personnel moving forward. Obviously, Jrue Holiday, Rondo, AD will have input on what they decide to do going forward. So that’s something to keep an eye out on in the free agency.

“And if that is the case, Boogie would jump out in to the market as a free agent and be a very hot commodity, and could potentially team up with the Washington Wizards.

“You heard it here first. You heard that here first. You know that Kentucky connection, man. I could see that happening. That’s just something to think about going forward.”

The funny part of those quotes is that McCollum said "you heard it here first." Wizards fans, of course, have been banging that drum since, oh, 2010 when the two were drafted.

As it has often been throughout the last eight years, a reunion of Wall and Cousins is unlikely. Yes, Cousins is expected to hit free agency, but the Wizards currently do not have the money to sign him. They are in the luxury tax and would have to move some big contracts to make room.

Cousins is also coming off a torn Achilles injury. That creates major questions about his future and how much money teams will offer him. 

If healthy, Cousins would fit nicely with the Wizards who will need to get younger at the center position at some point. It just doesn't seem like a good bet given all the factors in play. 

You can listen to McCollum's full podcast here.

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NFL Draft 2018 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

NFL Draft 2018 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

The 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. It's time to file away the mock drafts and frame your big boards for memory.

Tonight, Thursday April 26, the best college football players in the country will learn which franchise they will begin their professional football careers with.

The NFL Draft is the biggest non-sporting event on the sporting calendar, and the 2018 edition is no different. Taking place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, the 2018 NFL Draft is sure to be bigger than ever, with four quarterbacks and a freakish running back all vying for the top pick.

The Cleveland Browns are on the clock, and will make the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft around 8:30 p.m. tonight.

The Washington Redskins have the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and won't make their draft pick until around 9:45 p.m. ET.

But we are keeping you up to date on all things NFL Draft with our life blog and draft tracker.

NFL Draft 2018 Redskins First-Round Tracker and Live Updates:

PreDraft Coverage:

5:05 PM - We did a  bracket challenge for Redskins fans, giving you the chance to vote on who the Redskins should take at No. 13. If it were up to Redskins fans, Georgia LB Roquan Smith would be the choice.

4:45 PM - Since we are on the subject of the Edmunds brothers, let's ask and answer this question: When and where will both Tremaine and Terrell go?

4:30 PM - One option for the Redskins at No. 13 is Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds. He just so happens to be the focus of an exclusive NBC Sports Washington webseries. "E-Boyz" takes a look at draft prospects Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds, as well as their brother Trey, a running back for the Saints and their father, Ferrell, and former two-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Dolphins.

E-Boyz — Ep. 1: The Players
E-Boyz — Ep. 2: Ferrell
E-Boyz — Ep. 3: Danville
E-Boyz — Ep. 4: Celebration

4:10 PM - The first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft won't be announced for another four hours. But we have a lot to prep. Let's get started with draft music. Players in the green room get to select their walkup music. Josh Jackson deserves to be the No. 1 overall pick. 

4:00 PM - Welcome to our live update tracker of the 2018 NFL Draft. The draft doesn't get started until 8:00 p.m. But there is a lot to go over until then.

Here is a good place to start. 

- Draft Day Primer: JP Finlay goes over all the Redskins' options
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick