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  1. NBA Draft: Fultz is No, 1, Ball is No. 2

    After acquiring four days earlier the No. 1 overall selection in this year?s National Basketball Association college/international draft from the Boston Celtics in exchange for their own No. 3 pick and another future first-rounder (2018 or 2019), the Philadelphia 76ers expectedly corralled University of Washington?s much-coveted freshman Markelle Fultz with the first pick during the annual college/international grag-bag at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York last June 22.

    It was only the fourth time in franchise history that the 76ers got to make the first dance in the draft party, having also picked No. 1 in 1973 (Illinois State?s Doug Collins, a member of the ill-fated U.S. national team that dropped a controversial 51-50 verdict to the old Soviet Union in the gold-medal game of the 1972 Munich Olympics for the Americans? first ever Olympic defeat), 1996 (Georgetown?s Allen Iverson) and 2016 (Louisiana State?s Melbourne-born Ben Simmons).

    The Sixers, who now have drafted first overall in the last two years, is the first team in NBA history to own a pair of rookie No. 1 overall picks on the same team as Simmons, last year?s selection, was sidelined for the entire 2016-17 wars due to a broken bone in his right foot he sustained in training camp. (In April 2017, it was reported that the 6-10 Simmons, who turns 21 on July 20, had grown two inches taller since being drafted to stand at 7 feet.)

    Fultz, an athletic, high-scoring 6-4 playmaker, averaged a Pacific-12 Conference-best 23.2 points ? which was tops among freshmen and sixth highest among NCAA Division I players ? in his lone seasons with the woeful Huskies. A third-team All-America selection by the Associated Press, the 19-year-old Maryland-born Fultz also averaged 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds and shot 41.3 percent from three-point range.

    Fultz?s selection marked the first time ever that both the top choices in the NBA and Women?s National Basketball Association (WNBA) drafts have come from the same school in the same academic year. The San Antonio Stars tabbed former Huskies standout, Kelsey Plum, a 5-8 guard who is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women?s basketball history, with the No. 1 overall choice in the 2017 WNBA draft. A 5-8 guard, the 22-year-old Plum is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women?s basketball history, with the No. 1 overall choice in the 2017 WNBA draft.

    The Los Angeles Lakers, in the midst of a four losing and non-playoff seasons (27, 21, 17 and 26 victories), did secure much-publicized Lonzo Ball out of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with the No. 2 overall choice after speculations that the Hollywood City outfit would jettison the first-rounder in return for a veteran player such as the Indiana Pacers? Paul George, a native of Southern California who plans to exercise his early-termination option in 2018 and become an unrestricted free agent.

    New Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin (Magic) Johnson was convinced that Ball was the right guy for the team following a second four hours-plus pre-draft workout in his dad LaVar?s palatial Chino Hills, California home on June 16, an individual workout that was witnessed by Johnson and new LA general manager Rob Pelinka on the Lakers? side and LaVar, trainer Darren Moore and agent Harrison Gaines on Ball?s side and included running hills (near their home), weightlifting and on-court drills.

    Magic was impressed with Lonzo?s work ethic leadership skills. He believes the 6-6 point guard?s competitive fire fits the young Lakers team and that he is likely to flourish in Lakers coach Luke Walton?s up-tempo style.

    Ball, who turns 20 in late October, topped the NCAA Division I in assists at 7.6 a game (breaking the Bruins? all-time record for most assists in a single season) and registered averages of 14.6 points (on shooting clips of .551 from the field and .412 from beyond the arc), 6.0 boards and 1.8 steals every time out in his lone season at Westwood.

    Ball was named the Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year (over Fultz) and earned first-team AP All-America honors.

    The Boston Celtics grabbed Duke frosh Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 draft pick. The 6-8 small forward normed 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 shot blocks per game with the Blue Devils.

    At No. 4, the Phoenix Suns snared Kansas freshman Josh Jackson, a 6-8 small forward who made it to the AP All-America Third Team after contributing 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals for the Jayhawks.

    The Sacramento Kings (following a swap of first-rounders with Philadelphia after the draft lottery) got Kentucky?s De?Aaron Fox with the No. 5 selection. A 6-4 point guard, Fox averaged 16.7 points with the wildcats and topped the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in assists ...
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  2. NBA Draft: Fultz is No, 1, Ball is No. 2

    After acquiring four days earlier the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s National Basketball Association college/international

    Updated 07-08-2017 at 11:11 PM by Henry Liao

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  3. The NBA Salary Cap Explained by Brian Mahoney

    NBA signing day brings salary cap, luxury tax questions

    By Brian Mahoney (Associated Press) | Updated July 7, 2017 - 11:26am

    NEW YORK ? Free agency in the NBA can be so complicated that even teams mess it up sometimes.

    The Houston Rockets and Nene had to negotiate two deals because it turned out the first contract they agreed to wouldn't have been legal in NBA circles.

    All the talk about salary caps and luxury taxes is when the game of basketball becomes a business. It's one of the reasons more and more front offices are being led by former stat analysts instead of former stat stuffers.

    So now that free agent signings have commenced, here's a look at the salary cap, how it's determined, and how teams get around it:

    Q: Why are deals that were done days ago being announced today?

    A: The NBA has a moratorium period during which teams and players can negotiate and agree to deals, but nothing can be completed until the moratorium ends, which is now the afternoon of July 6. The salary cap used to be computed during the moratorium and announced just before it ended, which was sometimes confusing to teams in trying to negotiate contracts without knowing exactly how much they could spend. The cap is now announced when free agency opens on July 1.

    ***

    Q: How is the salary cap determined?

    A: It's a formula based on the projected basketball-related income of that year. For the 2017-18 season, the cap has been set at $99.1 million. That's the highest it's ever been, though it didn't take anywhere near the huge leap of a year ago following the extension of the league's national TV deals. As a result, teams haven't spent quite as extravagantly ? or perhaps foolishly ? as last July.

    ***

    Q: Are there penalties for exceeding the cap?

    A: Yes, there are penalties. And they can be severe, depending on how much a team goes over the cap and how often. Teams pay a luxury tax this year if they exceed $119 million. It starts with $1.50 for every $1 they are over, and rises at various levels from there if they soar $5 million or more past the tax. But that starts at $2.50 for every $1 if a team is a ?repeater,? having been a taxpayer for the previous three seasons.

    ***

    Q: Is $99.1 million the most each NBA team can spend in payroll next season?

    A: No, teams can exceed the cap. Unlike the NFL, the NBA has what's considered a ?soft? cap, allowing teams to exceed the cap through the use of various spending exceptions. In some cases, the more a team spends, the bigger its tax break. Teams can use one of three mid-level exceptions this season: There is a $5.2 million exception granted to teams with payrolls exceeding $119 million, an $8.4 million exception for teams with payrolls under $119 million, but over the $99.1 million cap; there is a $4.3 million exception for teams with a payroll under $99.1 million.

    ***

    Q: Will teams that signed players to big free agent deals now have to make trades because of the luxury cap?

    A. That's a yes and no answer. Yes, if teams that are in danger of paying the luxury tax want to avoid penalties, they will have to make deals. The answer would be no if teams don?t mind paying the luxury tax. Before signings picked up momentum Thursday afternoon, there were two teams with payrolls over the $119 million payroll that triggers the luxury tax ? Cleveland and Portland. Once free agency ends, there likely will be several more. But teams have the upcoming season to adjust payrolls via trades, buyouts and other moves as the luxury tax won't kick in until the end of the 2017-18 season since it is based on players' salaries.

    ***

    Q: What does the cap have to do with player salaries?

    A: Veteran players can get a percentage of the cap to determine the first year of their salaries in a contract. For a player who has been in the league 10 or more years, that can be 35 percent of that season's salary cap. The cap doesn't really impact contracts for rookies or minimum-salary players. Their salary levels are determined.

    ***

    Q: How did the Warriors sign Nick Young after giving Stephen Curry a $200 million deal and re-signing Kevin Durant?

    A: The Warriors will be one of those teams over the cap once all their deals are completed. The reigning champs went on a spending spree with Curry's big deal, re-signing Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and everything else they're doing. Their payroll will exceed $119 million, so they will use the $5.2 million mid-level exception available to them to slot in Young.

    ***

    Q: Are only legitimate championship contenders willing to pay the luxury tax?

    A: Not necessarily. Portland, ...
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  4. "San Beda Na Naman 'Yan"

    That was what Mr Libog declared during our last dinner out at an up and coming Thai restaurant in our neck of the woods.

    "Honestly, sino tatalo sa kanila? Sino? Lyceum? Letran? Arellano? Sino pa," he rapidly asked away.

    Truth be told the Red Lions really do look like they can and indeed will win the Season 93 men's basketball championship of the NCAA, and that's just how it goes.

    Consider their rather successful off-season, practically traipsing through the Fil Oil Flying V summer tournament. Sure they had one or two close shaves, including the one-game championship game versus reigning UAAP champion De La Salle.

    But come the hell on, seriously, did San beda look like it was at any point worried that they would lose any game in the Fil Oil?

    "Tignan na lang natin ang roster nila, they have arguably the best college player now in the country, si (Robert) Bolick, tapos meron pa silang (Davon) Potts, (Arnaud) Noah, and that new guy (he couldn't quite remember Eugene Toba). Hindi pa nga naglaro si (Donald) Tankoua nung Fil Oil eh," he declared in between sips of the hot pot's broth.

    I reminded him that Lyceum has CJ Perez, the guy who he said was the best college player as of last year.

    "Last year 'yon, bago ko nakita ulit na maglaro ng seryoso si Bolick. Bolick now plays both ends eh. Magaling na nga gumawa, magaling pa dumepensa," he retorted.

    Then he remembered something I foolishly hoped he had forgotten.

    "Hindi ba nag-try out sa Ateneo 'yung Bolick? Bakit nga hindi kinuha? Dahil ba galing La Salle," he asked in rapid succession.

    I said it can't be because Bolick was a transfer from La Salle. The Ateneo already took in at least three former Green Archers in guard Nico Elorde, center Ponso Gotladera, and most recently forward Gabby Reyes. Although word has it that Reyes didn't pass academic muster at Loyola Heights and is once again looking for a new school.

    I could only surmise that when Bolick tried out that the Blue Eagles either had too many guys at his wing position, or he just wasn't the "type" of player the Ateneo wanted.

    "Ah ganun ba... so ang type ng Ateneo hindi 'yung magagaling. Kasi magaling si Perez, pinabayaan or inayawan or both, magaling din si Bolick, pina-try out try out pa pero hindi din kinuha. So the two best college players now mga ayaw ng Ateneo, ha-ha-ha!"

    Yes, he really did have a good laugh at that one.

    We were talking about who could beat San Beda, I reminded him.

    He was still kind of laughing, "Sira ulo ka ba? May nakikita ka bang tatalo sa Beda? Wala na 'yan, champion na ulit sila. Meron pa nga silang mga (Joe) Presbitero, (Radge) Tongco, (JV) Mocon, (AC) Soberano, (Benedict) Adamos. Sige nga, sino tatalo diyan? Lumpiat pa nga sa knaila si KMark (Carino) na inayawan din ng Ateneo. Talagang basta magaling ayaw ng Ateneo, ha-ha-ha!"

    I can't imagine how he can laugh while also partaking of the various grilled meats and shrimp, truly remarkable.

    "I'm sure naman may makakatisod sa kanila, maybe they will lose one game, maybe, tipong super init nung kalaban at super malas nila, pero other than that there is no way they can be beaten, no way," he insisted.

    "Sabi ko nga sa iyo simple lang naman ang basketball, basta llamado ka sa talent and experience sure panalo ka na. Kahit naman mga upsets like nung tinalo sila ng Letran two years ago, llamado naman sa talent ang Letran perimeter that time, and it was enough to get past Ola (Adeogun) and Art (Dela Cruz)."

    "Nakalaban naman ng Beda sa Fil Oil Finals malakas din, La Salle, na may Mbala, best import ever, so it all just makes sense, dapat lang naman na sila magkatapat sa Finals."

    So with the NCAA out of the way, how does he see us in the UAAP?

    "Mas magandang tanong 'yan, pero saka na, dessert muna tayo dun sa kabila."
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  5. NBA Draft: Is Fultz No. 1?

    It has never happened before in National Basketball Association (NBA) draft history but there could yet be a first in this year's point guard-stacked grab-bag at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on June 22 (June 23, 7:00 a.m., Manila time).

    History will be made if the teams that own the first three overall selections in a draft trade away their first-round picks even before the draft proceedings commence.

    In the past, there have been occasions wherein the team with the right to select first in an entire draft gave up the opportunity via a trade.

    This year will follow that same route as the Boston Celtics, who owned the No. 1 selection in the entire draft, agreed in principle on June 17 to ship that pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the 76ers' own No. 3 overall choice plus the 2018 first-rounder that the Sixers had earlier obtained from the LA Lakers due to a pair of past trades ? the July 2012 deal that sent Phoenix?s Steve Nash to LAL, and the February 2015 three-way swap that jettisoned the Sixers? Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee, the Bucks? Brandon Knight to Phoenix and the Suns? top three-protected first-rounder via the Lakers to Philly).

    That 2018 first-rounder is to be transported to the Celtics only if the Lakers? selection is not anywhere from No. 2 to No. 5 overall. Otherwise, the Sixers will send to the Celtics the 2019 first-rounder they had previously acquired from the Sacramento Kings.

    While Boston owned the best regular record in the Eastern Conference at 53-29 and subsequently reached the conference final playoffs, the boys from Beantown got to make the first dance in the draft proceedings after winning the draft lottery utilizing Brooklyn?s first-round pick that was obtained in a trade four years ago.

    The moribund Nets posted the NBA?s worst record during the 2016-17 regular wars at 20-62 and would have had the best chance to secure the No. 1 selection in the college/international draft. However, a July 12, 2013 trade with the Celtics changed the entire landscape.

    Brooklyn shipped Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, three first-round draft choices and a second-round pick to Boston in return for a trio of past-their-prime stars in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry along with journeyman D.J. White.

    Anent to the transaction, the Celtics owned the option to exchange first-rounders with Brooklyn this year and utilized it because of the Nets? porous regular performance.

    With the No. 1 choice in the 2017 NBA draft, Philadelphia is expected to take the University of Washington's much-coveted 6-4 point guard Markelle Fultz.

    An athletic, high-scoring playmaker, the Maryland-born Fultz, who turned 19 last month, averaged a Pacific-12 Conference-best and freshmen-leading 23.3 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds and shot 41.3 percent from three-point range in his only season with the Huskies, who, however, failed to make the NCAA playoffs due to a losing (9-22) record under coach Lorenzo Romar, a former NBA guard who was fired after 15 seasons at the helm.

    The Lakers have the No. 2 selection but are not solid on taking UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the pick as they question the 6-6 Bruins star?s work ethic and unorthodox shooting form (for sure, it has nothing to do with his loud-mouthed and controversial dad).

    While Ball is the front-running choice, El-Ay is also considering Kentucky point guard De?Aaron Fox and Kansas forward Josh Jackson (a third-team Associated Press All-American) at No. 2.

    Ball, who turns 20 in late October, is a native Californian. He played prep ball back home and posted a triple-double average (23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game) as a senior for a 35-0, state champion Chino Hills High School team.

    As a college frosh in 2016-17, Ball topped the NCAA Division I in assists at 7.6 a game (shattering the school record for most assists in a single season) and averaged 14.6 points (shooting .551 from the field, including .412 from trifecta land), 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals every time out for UCLA, which plays in the same conference as Fultz?s Washington Huskies.

    The Bruins posted a 31-5 record this past campaign (after a frigid 15-17 mark in 2015-16) and reached the Sweet Sixteen of the 2017 NCAA tourney before dropping an 86-75 decision to Kentucky, which also has a top-five draft prospect in 6-4 Fox (who racked up 39 points against UCLA for an NCAA tournament freshman record).

    The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (over Fultz), Ball was awarded the Wayman Tisdale Award (named after the late former NBA player) by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) as the country?s top frosh and earned Associated Press All America First Team honors (in contrast, Fultz ...
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