Based on what I’ve gleaned over the past couple months from conversations with a wide range of NBA executives and scouts, this is currently a two-player race for the No. 1 spot, with Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Duke’s Paolo Banchero having separated from the pack. I ranked Smith as the draft’s top prospect after seeing him play live for the first time last month. Based on what we’ve seen to this point, I’d venture further and give Smith the edge as the slight favorite.
August 18, 2022 | 4:52 pm EDT Update
France defeated Belgium (90-71) which managed to stay competitive for one half, but after that couldn’t do much. Thomas Heurtel with 13 points and six assists, Rudy Gobert with 12 points and six rebounds, and Evan Fournier with 10 points and five rebounds led the charge for the “Bleus” who put on a show for the home crowd in Montpellier.
Michael Grady comes to Minnesota from Brooklyn, where he spent the last five-plus years on the Nets’ highly respected YES Network broadcast serving as a sideline reporter, pregame and postgame host and occasional play-by-play man. He steps into the high-profile role at BSN at a crucial moment for the franchise. The Wolves are coming off a renaissance season and pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a blockbuster that brought Rudy Gobert to Minnesota from Utah with the goal of turning the Wolves into a contender in the Western Conference. “I know the fan base already has a sense of excitement about what this team can be, and I’m excited about fanning that flame,” Grady told The Athletic. “I’m excited to be a part of this community. That means a lot to me.”
It is the culmination of a long journey for Grady, who spent his younger days grinding up the ladder, from radio show producer to Pacers in-arena host and, eventually, a job with a television station in Indy that he parlayed into a coveted spot with the Nets’ broadcast crew. Grady would call 10-12 games per season for the Nets while filling in for Ian Eagle, one of the most respected voices in the game. The way he cultivated relationships with the coaches and players and how he prepared for broadcasts resonated with color analyst Sarah Kustok, who held Grady’s job as sideline reporter before he came aboard. “There are few professionals that compare to Michael Grady in his versatility, in his work ethic, in how much he pours his heart and soul into his craft,” Kustok said.
Grady grew up in Indianapolis during the Pacers’ heyday, when Miller and Mark Jackson were battling with Jordan’s Bulls and Patrick Ewing’s Knicks for Eastern Conference supremacy. Watching his team from the Midwest get overlooked and discounted in favor of the bigger-market teams instilled in him a defiance — an audacity, as he likes to put it — that could serve him well here in Minnesota. “You have the Lakers and Golden State and these big markets and these teams with players that are household names,” Grady said. “You mention Minnesota competing with them and some people might not take that seriously. But you have to have the audacity that you can go toe-to-toe with anybody out there. Being able to be a part of fanning the flame for what this franchise is building is something that I take very seriously and I’m really excited about.”
August 18, 2022 | 4:19 pm EDT Update
New York Basketball: “I was told by a source that the Jazz actually have a couple of offers, that I was told are from other teams outside of NY that they like an awful lot…“ — Utah sports radio host Spence Checketts to Jazz reporter Andy Larsen about Donovan Mitchell.
The Lithuanian national team defeated Spain in a close-fought battle behind Ignas Brazdeikis and Jonas Valanciunas’ effort in a friendly game in Vilnius with a final score of 78-76 (25-17, 14-13, 17-23, 22-23). Lithuania: Jonas Valanciunas 16 (9 REB), Ignas Brazdeikis 16, Rokas Giedraitis 12, Marius Grigonis 11, Domantas Sabonis 7 (6 AST, 5 REB); Spain: Lorenzo Brown 18 (5 AST), Dario Brizuela 12, Juan Hernangomez 8, Sebastian Saiz 7 (5 REB), Jaime Fernandez 7, Xabier Lopez Arostegui 7.