There was nothing going on in the NBA on Monday so we’ll take a look at a few tidbits floating around as Game 1 in the West between the Rockets and Warriors approaches on Tuesday.
First of all, the NBA Draft Lottery is happening on Tuesday night, so we’ll know the draft order in certainty in a few hours. And once that’s settled, I’m going to write up a mock draft and post it on Rotoworld.
Atlanta radio was buzzing on Monday with conspiracy theory stuff, with folks wondering why the Hawks and Cavs don’t play until Wednesday, when their series’ were settled on Friday night. The Western matchup wasn’t set until Sunday night when the Clippers were ousted by Houston, so it would make some sense for the East to kick off on Tuesday and the West to play on Wednesday.
The folks I was listening to on the radio then suggested that maybe the NBA wanted to give Kyrie Irving extra time to get his knee right. I seriously doubt the NBA was using that rationale when they set up the schedule. In fact, while I don’t know the specific reasons why the schedule is set up the way it is, something tells me it’s money related. TNT has the East and ESPN has the West, as the lottery will happen at 8:30 ET Tuesday night, just before the Warriors and Rockets tip at 9 p.m.
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In any case, Irving practiced in full on Monday and says that he should be good to go for Wednesday’s game, and it would be shocking to see him in street clothes. I think Jeff Teague is going to be the key player for the Hawks in this series and I expect him to have some big games against a gimpy Irving. DeMarre Carroll’s defense on LeBron James will also be a major story to keep an eye on, and the Hawks are wishing the cops didn’t injure Thabo Sefolosha right now.
Four of the five top 3-point shooting teams in the league are in the Conference Finals, which is all the evidence you need to know that having a key big man is no longer a must in today's NBA.
The West will give us Stephen Curry vs. James Harden, which should be a blast to watch. Additionally, the Dubs swept the Rockets in the regular season, which will be a story line you’ll probably grow tired of hearing about until the Rockets win a game against them. Or should I say ‘if?’
Other news and notes around the league from Monday include the fact LeBron James is dealing with a minor back issue. It will take him losing a limb or digit to keep him out of any of these games, so don’t read too much into it. Everyone is banged up this late in the season.
John Wall is going to see a specialist about his wrist and depending on how that goes, he may or may not need surgery. Either way, he should be ready for the start of the season, I’d guess.
DeAndre Jordan wants five years and $100 million out of free agency this season and Adrian Wojnarowski suggests the Mavericks are going to be near the front of the line to try to sign him. The Lakers are also interested, while the Clippers will do whatever they can to retain his services. There is some thought that DJ wants to go to a team where he’s not a third wheel, but if I had to guess, him playing for the Clippers again next year makes sense to me.
The Bulls don’t sound like they want coach Tom Thibodeau back and Fred Hoiberg looks like their top choice to replace him, according to CBS Sports. And once Thibs is out in Chicago, it sounds like the Magic are ready to make him a serious offer.
Patrick Beverley isn’t likely to play in the Western Finals due to his wrist injury, but it’s still possible he could play in the NBA Finals if the Rockets somehow upset the Warriors. His defense would be a key if Houston were to make it past the Dubs.
Enjoy the Conference Finals!