NBAers at Olympics — Luka! — NBA Draft FAQs

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

  The Opening Tip

  • A breakdown of current and former NBA players in the Olypmics.
  • It took Luka Doncic one game to become an Olympic legend. 
  • Jalens have taken over the NBA Draft.

Tonight/tomorrow's must-watch game

1. Every Olympic men’s team, graphed by No. of current and former NBA players

Team USA’s loss to France over the weekend -- its first at the Olympics since 2004 -- is a little more understandable when you look at it in terms of No. of NBA players vs. No. of NBA players. 

  • A team with Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, Nic Batum, Frank Ntilikina and Vincent Poirier beat a team with Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and so on. 

  • If you played 10 times, the latter might win seven or eight times, but it’s conceivable that the former wins a few times, and that’s what happened on Sunday. 

If you take that logic and apply it to USA’s game this morning against Iran, which has one former NBA player who was a seldom-used bench guy eight years ago, it makes sense that the Americans won, 120-66, and covered a 40.5-point spread by 13 points.

Two more things:

  1. Nigeria, which beat America in an exhibition and burst on the scene with an impeccable Twitter presence, is 0-2 after blowing a double-digit lead to Germany last night. 

  2. For a neutral observer, Slovenia, which beat Argentina in its first game, is the best story. They have one NBA player (you may have heard of him) who could wreck the rest of the field and earn his country’s first Olympic basketball medal.

2. Daily GIFOlympic Luka Doncic is good, too

Luka Doncic played his first Olympic game on Sunday as a member of Team Slovenia.

His country won, 118-100, against traditional power Argentina.

His line: 

  • 48 points (31 in the first half), 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 18-of-29 shooting

(FIBA games are only 40 minutes long.)

And, now, here is the all-time single-game Olympic scoring list: 

  1. Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt, 55
  2. Australia's Ed Palubinskas, 48
  3. Luka Doncic, 48

Again … he’s played one Olympic game.

3. Trivia time

Only one person has three gold medals in men’s Olympic basketball. Who is it?

Answer at the bottom.

4. FAQs from the NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is tomorrow at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Here are some answers to questions you might have.
 

Who are the top guys?

There seems to be a somewhat consensus top-three of Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, Jalen Greene, who played for the G-League’s Ignite team instead of going to college, and USC’s Evan Mobley, who has casually been comped to a mix of Chris Bosh and Anthony Davis.

(We’d probably take that guy.)

Cunningham is a big passing guard and Green looks like he could get 20 in his sleep.


What’s the lottery order?

(You know you can just google this stuff ...)

The top 14: Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Toronto, Orlando, OKC, Golden State, Orlando, Sacramento, New Orleans, Charlotte, San Antonio, Indiana, Golden State.

Orlando has two lottery picks because of the Nikola Vucevic trade, and the Warriors have two because of the Andrew Wiggins-D’Angelo Russell swap.


Why are there so many Jalens?

OK, this is actually our question to ourselves.

  • The Ringer’s mock draft has three Jalens going in the first round (Green, Suggs and Johnson). 

  • Those trio of Jalens will join 11 Jalens (and Jaylens) who have played at least one NBA game in the last two years. 

This is, inarguably, the golden age for Ja(y)lens in the NBA.


What gives? Who started the boom?

Jalen Rose thinks he is the first Jalen ever. Here he is explaining his claim on ESPN’s ESPN Daily podcast.
 

What’s one moment/phrase I can point to/use to make it sound like I watched a bunch of college basketball this season?


This is an easy one. If people are talking about the first few picks, just elbow your way in and say something like this:
 
“Listen, when (Gonzaga’s) Jalen Suggs hit that crazy running buzzer-beater (in the Final Four) against UCLA, I thought he clinched the No. 1 pick. I’d still be happy with him at No. 4, though.” 

(Don’t actually say the parts in parentheses, or you’ll sound like a robot.)


Whose stock is rising?

A few weeks ago, UConn’s James Bouknight was a projected early 20s pick. A few empty gym workouts and a ton of whispers later, he’s shot all the way up to a projected top-10 pick. He’s a 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 18.7 PPG for the Huskies this past season.


Whose stock is falling?

Jonathan Kuminga, the G-League Ignite prospect who was initially part of the Cunningham-Green-Mobley cluster, has fallen in recent weeks to a projected mid-to-low lottery pick.
 

“He’s a six-eight guy who takes a lot of bad shots who has a lot of moments you're excited about, but he’s not the basketball player the other four or five guys at the top are,” said Ryen Russillo on his latest podcast. 

Do you guys do mock drafts?

No! But we can direct you to many of the industry’s best: The Ringer | The Athletic | Bleacher Report | ESPN

[READ: There’s no prospect like Evan Mobley]

5.  Quick Hits

  • Brian Windhorst, the world’s lamest person, thinks Rui Hachimura is Chinese.
  • Netflix is releasing a Malice at the Palace documentary.
  • The NBA is going to try to crack down on “unnatural” moves to draw shooting fouls next season.
  • Random thought: With Giannis’ brother Alex trying out for the Pacers, the Bucks could round up every Antetokounmpo, Lopez and Holiday brother and trot out a pretty good NBA-ready nine-man roster.  
  • Here are some key dates over the next year in the NBA.
  • Chuck on the COVID-19 vaccine: “The only people who are not vaccinated are just assholes”
  • Andre Drummond’s foray into NFTs isn’t going so well.

6.  Reads

  • Is history repeating itself in New Orleans? [The Ringer]
  • Steve Novak got very pissy about a local library sign that acknowledged racism exists [Defector]

Trivia answer: Carmelo Anthony


That's the buzzer.
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