The fabulous Mina Kimes of ESPN wrote the definitive Luka Doncic profile just in time for all the fans of tanking teams to switch from scoreboard watching to NBA Draft lottery praying. You have to read this thing to understand the essence of a future NBA star, maybe a future NBA all-timer. I hate to sign checks before they even come close to being cashed, but I haven’t believed in a prospect like I believe in Doncic since Kevin Durant.
So go read Mina. (Read Mina every time she writes!) Here are my three favorite bit from the profile.
1. Kristaps Porzingis gushes about Doncic’s talent, and claims to have been jealous of how consistent he is at a young age. If Kristaps is gushing about you ... you’re doing something right.
2. Doncic’s favorite restaurant in Madrid is Hard Rock Cafe, where he orders fajitas and nachos con doble queso. Man, do we have some chain-loving NBA cities for you.
3. Doncic’s mother’s cousin tells Kimes that Doncic is “the most famous person in Slovenia -— after Dragic, Melania Trump, and ‘the woman who taped money to her body in The Wolf of Wall Street.’” Slovenia is amazing, y’all.
The NBA Draft Lottery is Tuesday, May 15.
Playoff Picture Update
We have a super official unofficial play-in tournament on Wednesday ... starring the Timberwolves and Nuggets! They are lots of seeds and thus playoff bracket structures still at play, too.
Scores Galore ...
TOR 108, DET 98
CHI 105, BKN 114
OKC 115, MIA 93
CLE 123, NYK 109
ORL 86, MIL 102
MEM 94, MIN 113
SAC 85, SAS 98
POR 82, DEN 88
NOP 113, LAC 100
... And So Much More
Russell Westbrook had a shot at averaging a triple-double again this season if only he could get a ridiculous number of rebounds in the Thunder’s final two games. He got 18 on Monday and needs 16 more on Wednesday to clinch it. Incredible.
Paul Flannery on how the Celtics find themselves a year away once again.
Ben Simmons will clearly win Rookie of the Year, so it’s pretty hilarious that he’s openly playing with a hornets’ nest as voters fill out their ballots by saying not a single rival rookie has caught his attention. Not even that kid in Utah. Donovan Mitchell, of course, responded. ROOKIE BEEF!
Behold the surprise evolution of Jonas Valanciunas.
Remember that weird franchise ownership situation in Memphis, where minority partners could either buy out majority partner Robert Pera or force him to pay current market rate for their shares? That is now resolved: Pera has elected to buy the others out at market rate, which hasn’t been revealed. (The total valuation of the franchise in this transaction will be interesting to learn since the Grizzlies aren’t perceived to be as valuable as other recently sold teams.) More importantly, Pera signaled a continued commitment to Memphis. Relocation is off the table for the Grizzlies. It could have potentially been on the table had Pera sold.
How NBA players routines change for the playoffs.
This Marc Spears list of 10 black assistant coaches ready for a shot at running a team is extra cool because of David Fizdale’s comments on each of them ... especially considering they’d be competing against Fizdale for jobs! I didn’t realize how bad I wanted Stackhouse, Cassell, and Van Exel to all simultaneously get head coaching jobs until just now.
Tired: announcing your free agent decision on The Players’ Tribune. Wired: announcing your free agent decision by freestyling on the “Money Bag” beat. Who will be the player brave enough to pull this off?
Michael Lee on the, ahem, unmatched brilliance of LeBron James.
And finally: Boban playing keep-away from Anthony Davis.
Be excellent to each other.