Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it appears the Boston Celtics have emerged as the next team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
“It sure looks like Boston is the team of the future in the East, with the assets that they still have and their young talent and their coaching, and Kyrie [Irving] is amazing,” Kerr said after practice Tuesday. “That looks like a team that is going to be at the top of the East for a long time to come. Whether their time is now or the future, that’s to be determined, but they sure look like they want it to be right now.”
The Celtics extended their winning streak to 13 straight games with Tuesday’s 109-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. In a potential NBA Finals preview, they will try to make it 14 straight when they take on the Warriors for the first time this season Thursday at TD Garden. Boston (13-2) and Golden State (11-3) have the two best records in the NBA.
Kerr raved about how well the Celtics have incorporated new players and young players while not missing a beat on their development curve.
“They’re really sound, and they’re motivated,” he said. “It’s a team that’s been on the rise the last couple of years. They lost in the conference finals. They want to win a championship, and it looks like it. Even without Gordon Hayward and that awful injury, Boston is just crushing people. So, it’s going to be really fun to go against them on Thursday. We know how tough it’s going to be.”
Source: Chris Haynes of ESPN
Sources: NBA, NCAA Meet to Discuss Changing One-and-Done Draft Rule
With momentum gathering to reshape the one-and-done draft entry rule, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts met with the new Commission on College Basketball in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, league sources told ESPN.
Silver and Roberts delivered the league and union perspectives on issues facing the basketball industry, including ways that changing the dynamics of the NBA draft could impact the pro and college games. The meeting was described as informational in nature, although the NCAA ultimately has no formal say in rules governing the league’s early-entry rules.
Draft eligibility rules must be collectively bargained between the NBA and the Players Association, and that conversation has been ongoing between the league and union, sources tell ESPN.
Nevertheless, there’s a growing belief within the league that Silver’s desire to end the one-and-done — the ability of college basketball players to enter the NBA draft after playing one year in college — could be pushing the sport closer to high school players having the opportunity to directly enter the league again. For that change to happen, though, the union would probably need to cede the one-and-done rule and agree to a mandate that players entering college must stay two years before declaring for the draft.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Luke Walton: ‘No talks of moving Lonzo to the bench’
Coach Luke Walton says rookie Lonzo Ball remains the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard and that there is no talk of moving the No. 2 overall draft pick to the bench.
Struggling with his shot, Ball has not played in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ past two games — a win against the Phoenix Suns and a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Walton instead rode with the strong play of sixth man Jordan Clarkson.
“He’s our starting point guard,” Walton said of Ball after practice Thursday. “So there’s no discussion, no talks as of now of moving Lonzo to the bench. Nah. He’s our starting point guard.”
Walton said he was told Ball came to the practice facility late Wednesday night and worked on his shot after going 1-for-9 from the field, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range, in the 115-109 loss to the Sixers at Staples Center.
Source: Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN
Okaro White Out Indefinitely with Fractured Left Foot
The Miami Heat is down another man.
Okaro White, who started four games at power forward, but hasn’t played since Nov. 6 at Golden State, will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone his left foot, the Heat announced shortly before Wednesday’s home game against the Washington Wizards.
White (6-8, 215) said he felt his foot “pop” as he went up for a reverse layup in practice Tuesday. He has been ruled out indefinitely, a Heat spokesman said.
White, a second-year forward out Florida State, averaged 3.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 13.3 minutes and shooting 43.8 percent from the field in six games this season.