Posts Tagged ‘First Round Selection’

Gordon Hayward is among the names the Charlotte Hornets are shopping with one of their two first-round picks in this year’s draft, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports.

The one-time All-Star is set to make a team-high $30.1 million next season, and the Hornets offloading the remaining two years on his contract would clear cap space to re-sign Miles Bridges, adds Windhorst.

Charlotte acquired Hayward two years ago in a sign-and-trade deal with the Boston Celtics. The Butler product has averaged 17.6 points, 5.2 boards, 3.8 assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 40.2% from beyond the arc during his Hornets tenure. However, various injuries have limited him to just 93 appearances for the club.

Meanwhile, Bridges is coming off a breakout 2021-22 campaign. He registered career bests in points (20.2 per game), rebounds (7.0), and assists (3.8) en route to a seventh-place finish in last season’s Most Improved Player award voting.

Charlotte owns the 13th and 15th selections in Thursday’s draft.

On a night when their usually potent offense was searching for answers, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks had to rely on their defense in their playoff opener.

Fortunately for the Bucks, that’s the one part of their game that was at a championship level.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 16 rebounds, and the third-seeded Bucks recovered after blowing a 16-point lead to beat the sixth-seeded Chicago Bulls 93-86 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Sunday.

“We’ve got to win the ugly games,” said Jrue Holiday, whose 3-pointer with 5:03 left put the Bucks ahead for good. “I feel like today was ugly. It was a battle and it was tough, but it was an ugly one.”

Holiday’s 3-pointer was part of an 8-0 run that gave the Bucks an 85-78 edge. The Bulls got the margin down to one but could never regain the lead, as Zach LaVine missed a potential tying 3-pointer from nearly 30 feet away with 29 seconds left.

“I thought it was a good shot,” LaVine said. “We were down three. I got a really clean look.”

Milwaukee overcame its struggles on offense by holding the Bulls to the lowest single-game point total of any Bucks opponent all season. The Bulls shot a season-low 32.3% from the floor in their first playoff appearance in five years. They were 7 of 37 on 3-point attempts.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulls were 6 of 28 and 1 of 12 from 3-point range.

“Every shot I took tonight felt good,” said DeMar DeRozan, who scored 18 points but shot 6 of 25. “I guarantee you that me, Zach and Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) aren’t going to miss that many shots again.”

The Bucks, who have won 17 of their last 18 meetings with the Bulls, grabbed an early 32-16 lead and threatened to put this game out of reach early. But they struggled to score the rest of the way.

After shooting 53.8% (14 of 26) in the first quarter, the Bucks made just 34.5% of their attempts (20 of 58) the rest of the way. They had an equal number of turnovers and baskets – 14 – in the second half.

They finished with 21 turnovers. They scored just three points in the first 6 minutes, 57 seconds of the fourth quarter.

“The whole team was kind of out of rhythm,” said Antetokounmpo, who didn’t score in the fourth quarter while dealing with foul trouble. “We weren’t able to find one another as easy as we usually find one another and make shots. We missed a bunch of open shots today. Usually we make those and we get energy.”

Brook Lopez scored 18 points, Holiday had 15, Khris Middleton had 11 and Bobby Portis added 10. Portis also had 12 rebounds.

Vucevic had 24 points and 17 rebounds but shot 9 of 27. LaVine had 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 6 of 19.

The Bulls didn’t take their first lead until late in the third quarter. They took their last lead at 78-77 on Vucevic’s inside basket with 5:56 left before the Bucks scored eight straight points.

Alex Caruso’s layup with 1:36 left cut Milwaukee’s advantage to 87-86, but the Bulls wouldn’t score again.

“We showed resiliency tonight,” Lopez said. “Things didn’t go our way offensively for a lot of the game, and we fought through it and did a good job defensively.”

GOING BACK TO CHICAGO

With the two cities separated by only about 90 miles, the Bulls are heading back to Chicago after Game 1 before returning to Milwaukee for Wednesday’s Game 2.

“If we would have had to play Sunday-Tuesday, I think we would have definitely stayed here,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said before the game. “But I think because we have two days, we have a chance to get home at a decent time, those guys can sleep in their own bed, practice tomorrow, practice Tuesday and then come back up.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: Caruso was in the starting lineup. Caruso had started just 18 of the 41 regular-season games he played. … The Bulls were missing assistant coaches Chris Fleming and Damian Cotter, who had tested positive for COVID-19. “They’re still in protocols right now with the league,” Donovan said before the game. Donovan added that “they have never really been in a situation where either one of them has felt bad at all, so that’s been a positive.”

Bucks: Reserve guard George Hill (abdominal strain) and reserve forward Jordan Nwora (back soreness) were unavailable for Sunday’s game. Hill also was held out of the Bucks’ regular-season finale. Jevon Carter essentially filled Hill’s spot in the rotation and scored three points in 9 1/2 minutes. … The Bucks won Game 1 for just the second time in their last seven playoff series.

UP NEXT

Game 2 is Wednesday in Milwaukee.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t mince words when talking about the Montreal Canadiens‘ controversial selection of Logan Mailloux during last week’s draft.

“I was stunned. Surprised wouldn’t begin to explain my reaction,” Bettman said on “The Power Play with Steve Kouleas” on Thursday. “I’m a dad of two daughters, I have four granddaughters. What was done was horrific.”

Mailloux was charged and fined in Sweden last fall for invasion of privacy and defamation after taking a photo of a woman without consent during a sexual encounter and distributing it.

He put out a statement last Tuesday asking teams not to draft him, writing that he hadn’t “demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege.”

Three days later, the Habs selected him 31st overall.

“Everybody’s focusing on the player – he said he didn’t want to be drafted, the Canadiens drafted him anyway,” Bettman said. “There’s no mechanism not to be drafted, it’s not within the player’s control in any circumstance to decide when he wants to be drafted.”

Bettman acknowledged Canadiens owner Geoff Molson’s statement on the selection, adding that the situation is going to “require evaluation going forward.”

“I don’t think anybody should lose sight of the impact of what happened on the victim and the victim’s family,” Bettman said. “While (Molson) said the Canadiens and Logan are going to try and make good, we’re gonna have to see what that means moving forward in all contexts.”

Bettman added: “They’re going to continue to see how this evolves, how he progresses … and at the appropriate time, we may be called on if and when they want him to play and he wants to play.”

A potential Julio Jones deal appears to be inching closer.

The Atlanta Falcons have discussed several trade offers for their star receiver, including one for a first-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

There’s a sense around the league a deal could be finalized as early as next week, Russini adds. The move could then be designated as a post-June 1 transaction.

The Tennessee Titans have been in contact with Atlanta, though Russini reports the AFC South squad is a “long shot” to land Jones.

The seven-time Pro Bowler has been the subject of rampant trade speculation this offseason. The wideout seemingly signaled the end of his time with the Falcons during an interview with “Undisputed” on Monday, telling Shannon Sharpe he’s “outta there” when asked about his future with the club.

Jones’ relationship with Atlanta has reportedly been deteriorating since contentious contract negotiations in 2019.

The Falcons have asked teams inquiring about the 32-year-old for a first-round pick in return, but many around the NFL don’t believe the franchise will find a partner willing to meet its asking price.

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Rather than adding an immediate difference-maker with their first-round pick in the 2020 draft, the Green Bay Packers traded up to select quarterback Jordan Love.

It was a decision that could lead to problems in a quarterback room that already features Aaron Rodgers – something Rodgers experienced when he was drafted as Brett Favre’s future replacement back in 2005. However, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur doesn’t foresee any issues between the veteran and the rookie who could eventually succeed him.

“I can’t say enough about his leadership, his value, his importance to this football team,” LaFleur said of Rodgers, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He is the one that leads us out there. I know he’s going to be a great mentor and I’m excited to get back to work with all these guys.”

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst can envision a scenario playing out that’s similar to what took place with Rodgers and Favre. Rodgers was a backup for the first three years of his career before Green Bay handed him the controls.

“The reason that back when we moved from Brett to Aaron was because of what Aaron had done his first three years here, and that’s got to happen with Jordan,” Gutekunst said.

“He has to be able to do the work and he has to do that for us to make us believe that he can be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. We drafted him in the first round, we certainly think he has that kind of talent. But that’s not enough in the National Football League. You’ve got to work, you’ve got to earn it, you’ve got to become a good enough player.”

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General manager Brian Gutekunst believes the Green Bay Packers have the top quarterback in the league with Aaron Rodgers, and the fact they drafted his potential successor in Jordan Love doesn’t change their plans for the foreseeable future.

“Aaron’s been around a long time and knows what we’re playing for right now,” Gutekunst said Thursday night on a conference call, according to Packers.com writer Mike Spofford. “We have the best quarterback in the National Football League and we plan to have him for a while competing for championships.

“I think he’ll be a pro’s pro. He’s playing for legacy-type things, historic-type stuff. I know he’s very, very motivated.”

The Packers selected Love with the 26th overall pick after trading up four spots with the Miami Dolphins. It was a decision Green Bay didn’t expect to be in a position to make entering the draft.

“This was not something we set out to do,” Gutekunst said. “He just happened to be a guy we liked who fell to us, and this was the best decision.”

Gutekunst added: “I never believe you’re one player away. I don’t believe in that. You can make mistakes believing you’re one player away from anything … The balance of immediate and long term is something I have to consider.”

Love, who thinks being behind Rodgers “is a really good situation to be in,” is the first quarterback selected in the first round by the Packers since Rodgers was taken in 2005 as Brett Favre’s successor.

“We think a lot of him. Down the road he certainly has all the ability to be a difference-maker,” Gutekunst said about Love. “But these things take time, especially at that position. He has a lot of work ahead of him.”

The Packers have eight more picks to make in the 2020 draft. Their next selection is currently set at No. 62 on Friday as Round 2 and 3 take place.

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Al Davis would be proud.

The Las Vegas Raiders had their choice of the draft’s top three wide receivers when they were on the clock with the No. 12 pick. They surprised many by taking Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III – who most pundits had as the third-best receiver – over his college teammate Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.

“All three wide receivers we felt were diverse and would bring different things to the Raiders and I feel like coach Gruden and that offensive staff is so good they could have gotten the most out of all three of them,” Mayock said after the draft. “However, the distinguishing factor really was his speed, his explosion, and his work ethic.”

Ruggs ran a 4.27 40-yard dash – the fastest of any player at the 2020 scouting combine. Davis, the late Raiders owner, was known for prioritizing speed during his time running the franchise.

In high school, Ruggs set the Alabama state record for the 100m dash and put together a wildly impressive dunk reel on the hardwood.

Ruggs was vastly outproduced by Jeudy the last two seasons at Alabama. However, 24 of Ruggs’ 98 career receptions in college went for touchdowns. Mayock believes his explosiveness will complement the rest of the Raiders’ offense nicely.

“He can run the deep routes. He also gets the manufactured touches, the bubble screens, the jet sweeps,” he said. “I think if you force defenses to roll coverage, it opens up our run game. You respect our deep routes, it opens up Darren Waller. I just think it does an awful lot of things for us offensively.”

The Washington Redskins are in disagreement about whether to select a quarterback in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

If the team does opt to draft a signal-caller with its top pick, owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen are targeting Dwayne Haskins. However, a case is being made for Daniel Jones to be drafted instead, Russini added.

The Redskins hold the No. 15 pick in the draft but are reportedly considering moving up.

Washington acquired quarterback Case Keenum in a trade with the Denver Broncos this offseason after previous starters Alex Smith and Colt McCoy suffered significant injuries in 2018.

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The Winnipeg Jets are looking to bolster their roster before the Feb. 25 trade deadline and have placed their first-round pick on the market, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports.

Sitting near the top of the standings with about one-third of the season remaining, the Jets’ No. 1 priority is to acquire a second-line center who can prove useful in a Stanley Cup run, Seravalli adds.

The Jets have shown recent interest in Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers, reports Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. The 6-foot-5 center has recorded 36 points in 42 games this season and carries a $5.175-million cap hit. He’s scheduled to become a UFA at the end of the campaign.

Winnipeg needed help at the position one year ago and acquired center Paul Stastnyfrom the St. Louis Blues for a package that centered around its 2018 first-round pick. The deal paid off, as Stastny was instrumental in helping the Jets reach the Western Conference Final, tallying six goals and 15 points in 17 playoff games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were the first team to move their first-round pick this season, shipping it along with two prospects to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jake Muzzin on Jan. 28.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Vancouver Canucks

The Detroit Red Wings have reportedly put a high price tag on Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard.

The club is seeking a first-round pick for each player, a source told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan.

For Howard, it seems his price tag has remained consistent over the last month. Back in mid-December, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Red Wings were asking for a first-round selection for the veteran netminder.

According to Khan, the team doesn’t expect to get that return for either player and will look to re-sign Nyquist and Howard as a result. Both will become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

To each player’s credit, they have performed well on a team that sits just two points out of last place in the Eastern Conference. Nyquist ranks second on the team with 40 points in 48 games. Meanwhile, Howard has gone 13-12-5 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage over 32 games while earning an All-Star Game nod.