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NBA Notes: Grizzlies' Ben McLemore fractures foot during pickup game

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NBA Notes: Grizzlies' Ben McLemore fractures foot during pickup game

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Grizzlies guard Ben McLemore has fractured his right foot in a pickup game and likely won't be ready for the start of the season.

The Grizzlies announced Tuesday that McLemore underwent surgery and would be out "an estimated 12 weeks."

The Grizzlies said McLemore got injured when he landed on another player's foot after driving to the basket during a pickup game in Los Angeles. He was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

McLemore, 24, signed with the Grizzlies last month after averaging 9.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 25.5 minutes in four seasons with the Sacramento Kings.

The 6-foot-5 guard had 8.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 19.3 minutes per game last season.

Knicks: Team hires Obama’s brother-in-law for front-office job
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have hired former President Barack Obama's brother-in-law to a front-office position.

Craig Robinson was named vice president of player development Tuesday in a series of restructuring moves that followed the promotion of Steve Mills to president and the hiring of Scott Perry as general manager.

Robinson spent last season as Milwaukee's vice president of player and organizational development after serving as head coach at Oregon State (2008-14) and Brown University (2006-08).

The Knicks also hired Gerald Madkins as assistant general manager, Harold Ellis as director of player personnel, Michael Arcieri as director of basketball strategy and Fred Cofield as scout.

Perry says "We are adding a host of highly-regarded and respected basketball people to work with the Knicks to fortify the franchise for years to come."

Madkins returns to the Knicks, where he spent four seasons (2003-07) as a scout. Since then, he has serves in roles with Seattle/Oklahoma City (2007-08), Houston (2008-10), New Orleans (2010-12) and the Los Angeles Clippers (2013-17).

Ellis joins the organization after five seasons with Orlando as director of pro scouting. Arcieri also spent the past five seasons with Orlando, most recently serving as director of basketball operations last season.

Cofield was originally selected by New York in the fourth round of the 1985 NBA draft.

Report: Sixers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers for 2019 2nd-rounder, cash

Report: Sixers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers for 2019 2nd-rounder, cash

The Sixers didn’t wait until draft night to start their wheeling and dealing.

According to a report Wednesday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have traded the No. 39 pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2019 second-round pick (via the Chicago Bulls) and cash.

With the Sixers previously holding six total selections in Thursday’s 2018 NBA draft and 11 players already under contract for next season, the team was never going to be able to use all of its picks.

The Sixers now enter the draft with picks Nos. 10 and 26 in the first round and Nos. 38, 56 and 60 in the second round.

NBA draft profile: Villanova G Jalen Brunson

NBA draft profile: Villanova G Jalen Brunson

Jalen Brunson

Position: Guard

Height: 6-2

Weight: 198

School: Villanova

As Mikal Bridges cements his status as a consensus lottery pick and Donte DiVincenzo’s name becomes hot enough to reportedly receive an invite to the green room of the draft, their Villanova teammate who was the consensus national player of the year has seen his stock remain static.

Jalen Brunson was the leading scorer on Villanova’s national title team last season, pouring in 18.9 points per game while dishing out 4.6 assists. Bunson, a three-year starter and two-time national champ, was also highly-efficient, shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, 40.8 percent from deep and 80.2 percent from the free throw line. And as a result of his remarkable junior season, the Villanova point guard took home a ton of hardware in sweeping the major national player of the year awards.

But, Brunson isn’t considered a surefire first-round pick.

Two of the main reasons for this? His position and age. The point guard position has the greatest depth in the NBA so lead guards don’t tend be high draft picks unless they have All-Star upside. If Bridges was five inches shorter, he wouldn’t have the same kind of value. Teams are starving for rotation three-and-D wings and not so much for high-floor/low-ceiling point guards. 

With Brunson set to turn 22 years old in August, he doesn’t possess the tantalizing upside of the top point guards in this draft like Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Even so, there's still a place for Brunson in the NBA.

Strengths
As a three-level scorer, Brunson can fill it up in a variety of ways. He has a smooth jumper that extends beyond the three-point line. In the mid-range area, he makes up for his lack of quickness with crafty moves to create separation for pull-ups. On drives, Brunson can initiate contact to draw fouls, contort his body to avoid contests and has good touch around the rim. And believe it or not, the 6-2 guard utilizes his craftiness to be an effective post player as well. 

When Brunson has the ball in his hands, he carries a calming force with him. He plays at his own pace and just always seems in control, rarely committing egregious turnovers or taking bad shots. He's also a willing, talented passer who will make the unselfish extra pass and can also fit the ball into a tight window to a cutter/roller.

Weaknesses
Brunson’s weaknesses have less to do with his skills and more with his physical traits and tools. He’s not an explosive athlete with crazy bounce and doesn’t possess game-changing speed or quickness. So will he be able to create enough space against more athletic wing defenders to penetrate to the rim or get off his pull-up jumper? 

Defensively, Brunson works hard and isn't way undersized as a point guard. But he doesn't have the size to switch across multiple positions and the one position he will defend is deep with high-level talent. He can survive against backups, but how will he fare against quality starters and stars?

NBA comparison
Lefties tend to get compared to other lefties, but I'm passing on the Derek Fisher comp and going with fellow Big 5 alum Jameer Nelson. The St. Joe’s product is shorter and had a little more quickness during his prime, but was a solid starter capable of scoring at all three levels despite some physical limitations. Brunson projects more as a backup but has the ceiling of a player like Nelson.

How’d he fit with the Sixers
Let’s look at the Sixers’ current guards beyond Ben Simmons. Markelle Fultz is an unknown. T.J. McConnell is set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer. And the only others under contract are Jerryd Bayless, Timothe Luwawu-Caborrot and Furkan Korkmaz.

This team needs guard depth, specifically ball handlers and shot creators/makers. While it may not come at an elite level, Brunson could fill both of those needs. And because of his shooting ability, he could also play off the ball as a spot-up shooter and secondary creator alongside Simmons and Fultz.

Draft projection 
A fringe first-rounder, Brunson's range will start right around the Sixers’ second pick at No. 26. If they pass on him there, they shouldn’t count on him still being on the board at their next pick at 38.

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