Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs, who claimed the NBA Championship last night in yet another dismantling of the Miami Heat. This was some of the prettiest basketball you are ever likely to witness. Congratulations to the Spurs, Tim Duncan, and their connections.
Tweet of the Morning
NBA: Happy to congratulate the Spurs and @gabefarkas on accomplishing what is so hard. In such an unselfish way.— Dean Oliver (@DeanO_ESPN) June 16, 2014
This is the guy whose book, Basketball On Paper, gave us the advanced basketball stats we know today.
Darius Fullwood (4-star 2015 DE) visited UK again on Wednesday [subscription] and plans to decided between UK, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), Ohio St. and Virginia Tech. Land Grant Holy Land says that Fullwood could really get tOSU's attention by good camp performances this week.
I think it's going to be tough for either us or OSU to drag him away from Maryland, but we can always hope. Playing in the SEC carries a lot of panache, and as far as I can tell, UK is the only SEC school seriously recruiting him.
UK is in the mix for Jalen Whitlow's cousin Quandeski Whitlow. He's a defensive end out of Alabama, a Rivals 3-star, and has offers from South Carolina, Mississippi St., and Miami (FL) as well as UK.
Kentucky has offered 2016's Thon Maker. He's considering reclassifying into 2015, and is supposed to make that decision sometime early next year.
2016 point guard Tyus Battle is headed to Kentucky for a visit later today and tomorrow. He'll be visiting the Cardianals just before UK. Hat tip: Aaron's blog.
Kentucky has told Derryk Tornton, a 6'2" point guard from Findlay Prep, that they plan to offer him a scholarship. Calipari reportedly told Thornton he wants to offer him "face to face."
I've heard a lot of hype about Tyler Ulis, and here we have some more. I think Ulis is going to be a nice player at Kentucky, and he'll give us a lot of things we currently lack. But I've seen him play several times, and while I'm happy to have him, I don't believe he's going to be in the starting rotation or finishing a lot of games.
If we learned nothing else last year, it is to be skeptical of hype. Everyone wants Ulis to be the kind of point guard that Andrew Harrison isn't, and to some extent, he will be. But I seriously doubt if he's going to be taking Andrew's job and moving him off the ball. Having said that, you never know. Stranger things have happened.
The Hoop Doctors are speculating that Randle will "slide" down the draft. I think he might as well, and it could be good news for him. High draft picks rarely land on good teams.
Julius Randle once again reiterates that his foot is fine, and he is in zero pain.
Other Kentucky sports
Scottie Wilbiken doubts that Billy Donovan leaves Florida. I think he's right. Perhaps he will someday, but not yet.
John Solomon of CBS Sports thinks that the NCAA is playing the long game, preserving a bunch of issues for appeal. I think this is right. The judge in the case has shown definite hostility to the NCAA in my view, and there's not much you can do about that other than rack up as many points as possible for appeal.
Very often, adverse rulings in complex cases like this wind up getting reversed to a large extent on appeal. This seems to be the strategy that the NCAA is employing, and I think it is the right one.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs are trying to play the short game, hoping a win at the district level will drive public opinion and carry them through the appellate process. This is another one of those. As with the Donald Sterling case, somebody please pass the popcorn. I love legal dramas.
Jamal Jones' decision to leave Texas A&M was apparently an acrimonious one, and he took to Twitter this weekend to voice his frustrations.
Other sports news
Former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin cheers on his old school in the College World Series.
Martin Kaymer wins the U.S. Open convincingly. There is nothing like a rock-solid putter to make golf appear as easy as pie, and Kaymer did make it look easy.
3rd year man Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs to a dominating NBA Championship series victory over Miami, and wins the MVP.
Miami simply doesn't have enough shot blocking, shooting, point guard play or offensive options. They looked so bad in this series to me that Pat Riley could be forgiven for chucking the whole thing and starting over, but I don't think he will.
The question is, has Lebron James given up on this team, and will he just put himself up for bid again this summer as an unrestricted free agent, or will he use his financial strength and flexibility to force Pat Riley to mold the Heat into the team he wants?
Three things seem clear to me — Mario Chalmers is not good enough to start at point guard for this team, Chris Bosh lacks sufficient assertiveness to be worth his salary, and Dwyane Wade is aging really fast now, and his injuries just won't heal. I think Ray Allen will most likely retire and Shane Battier already has, so a lot of thought needs to be put into the construction of a roster that can not only get to the final, but win it. San Antonio looks like a lock to be back again next year if Duncan and Genobli are still able to go, and both looked fit enough.
You have to love the Spurs. They just play the game the very best way it can be played in the modern era, and their 3-point shooting is something remarkable. There has been no more worthy champion in my memory. They played beautiful basketball in this series, and made the heat look like a conference also-ran rather than the defending champ.
The Bright Side of the Sun ponders whom they might draft to replace Archie Goodwin. Both Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris can shoot the ball, but neither of them have Goodwin's athleticism. Nor does P.J. Hairston, who also comes with an attitude.
I think they're better off standing pat and hoping Goodwin can develop a jump shot.
John Clay celebrates the nonconformist San Antonio Spurs, and quotes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN's True Hoop:
But very, very few institutions actually function like the Spurs because it’s insanely hard to get dozens of people to buy into the same vision. Those that do, such as the Spurs, are the true, honest-to-goodness nonconformists. All that well-timed stuff they run and the fundamentals and pounding the rock and never getting too high or too low and coming back unfazed after losing a lead 5.2 seconds from a banner and reclamation projects such as Boris Diaw and rodeo road trips that build character and Pop’s wizardry and knowing which mid-first-round pick would grow into the Wing-You-Need-In-Today’s-NBA and last-possession plays that actually resemble real basketball sets and almost never making bonehead personnel decisions and generally treating everyone in the office like an adult and having incredible command of the NBA’s bargain bin — none of that is normal.
Neither is that sentence, Kevin. I thought I could run one on, but wow.
- Bow to the Spurs. Indeed.
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