McDonald’s All American and Syracuse commit Darius Bazley — a projected top-10 selection in the 2019 NBA draft — has decided to turn professional and plans to sign in the NBA G League, Bazley told Yahoo Sports. Bazley, 17, told Yahoo Sports he has decommitted from Syracuse and will play in the G League after discussing several options with his mother, Lynnita Bazley, close family members and Princeton (Cincinnati) High School coach Steve Wright. Several players have set a trend of leaving collegiate commitments to play overseas, but Bazley’s decision to bypass the one-and-done format for the G League is unprecedented.
“This is a life-changing decision,” Bazley, one of the top players in the Class of 2018, told Yahoo Sports. “I put a lot of thinking into this with my mom and close circle, especially sitting down with her. It’s just like making the decision to which college you want to go to. Me and her did some talking, and I prayed on it. I talked to my high school coach, Steve, who played overseas, and then I talked to a couple of guys in the G League who have experience. Ultimately, playing professional basketball has always been my dream. It’s always going to be the dream goal, always going to be the goal until I achieve it. This is going to put me one step closer to doing so.
“The G League will have the most to offer, considering that is the development league for the NBA,” he continued. “I will get more out of that than going overseas. The G League is the closest thing to the NBA. I see most guys now are spending time in the G League even after they went to school and the draft, so this gives me the chance to accelerate the process. There have been a lot of successful guys who have been brought up in the G League, and I’m confident that I will be one of them. I’m self-motivated because I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is how I want to make a living. This is how I want to provide for my family, and provide for my love of basketball. I’m not playing any games with this. I’m attacking this straight forward. I’m not maneuvering around this, take any side steps. I’m taking this head on. This is the decision that I made, and I know it will work. I know what I’m capable of doing, and I’m going to do just that.”
NBA executives believe he can be one of the best players in the 2019 draft. At 6-foot-9, Bazley has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker, ball-handler in the open floor and defensive force. Bazley turns 18 in June and will then be eligible to formally sign a G League contract in September and enter the league’s annual draft in October.
June 12, 2021 | 1:33 pm EDT Update
After more than six months on the sidelines due to an ACL injury, Dinwiddie is eyeing a return to play if the Nets make it to the Finals, the Daily News has learned. A source close to the Nets’ combo guard also says after spending most of the regular season rehabbing in Los Angeles, Dinwiddie is planning to return to the team “sooner than later.” “He’s going to be in Brooklyn to support his team,” the source said. “He definitely is.”
Justin Kubatko: Chris Paul has 61 assists and six turnovers over his last six games. Since the NBA started tracking individual turnovers in 1977-78, Paul is the only player to record 60 or more assists with six or fewer turnovers over a six-game postseason span. He also did so in 2008 and 2015. pic.twitter.com/B4aQFCrQAc
Chris Grenham: Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. participated in the Celtics’ pre-draft workout on Thursday, per source. He has received a G League Elite Camp invite, which begins next weekend in Chicago prior to the NBA Draft Combine.
June 12, 2021 | 8:31 am EDT Update
Sergio Scariolo is a strong candidate for Virtus Bologna head coaching job, as reported by Il Corriere dello Sport and confirmed to Sportando. Sasha Djordjevic’s departure from Virtus Bologna was almost certain when Serie A playoffs started, also considering the elimination in EuroCup semifinals against Unics Kazan and the missed chance to play in EuroLeague next season.
In the locker room after the Nets’ 86-83 loss, there were lots of “atta boys” and “pick your head ups” and “we’ll live with that shot” from teammates, but Irving had a little piece of extra advice. Be like dad. Dunk it. “Kyrie was like, ‘Hey, you gotta try and dunk it, get a foul or something,’” Brown said. “That’s definitely what I should have done. I had the lane and the angle too, so maybe if I did that I’d have gotten a foul call, gotten to the line. If I had taken my two steps toward the rim, I probably could’ve dunked the ball.”
The available replays call into question this very idea. Lopez is 7-feet tall, and he’d recovered quickly from where he was on the sideline to get in Brown’s way. Brown faded left as he shot the ball, and, “I shot it too hard, I was trying to get it up a little higher, but he was nowhere near the ball, looking at the pictures and the film. “I could’ve just really did a simple layup and made the shot,” he said. “I made it difficult for myself just thinking too much during the shot.”
Harris wasn’t the only one misfiring in the Nets’ 86-83 loss. Add in Landry Shamet (1-for-4) and Mike James (1-for-5), and three Nets who can make a defense pay for double-teaming Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were a combined 3-for-20 from the field, including 2-for-11 from 3-point range. If those supporting cast numbers are repeated Sunday in Game 4, the series soon could be tied. “If you look at it, only one or two buckets in the last three or four minutes that we needed to fall and they just didn’t,” coach Steve Nash said. “I thought plenty of opportunities. Now, would I want Kevin or Ky shooting every single ball? Of course, but that’s not always the way it works out. We can learn from it.”
Phoenix went on a 14-2 run to build a 20-point lead on the way to a 116-102 win Friday to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in this best-of-7 conference semifinal series. “We have our eyes on the prize,” All-Star guard Devin Booker said.