The NBA slapped us with a big heaping handful of news yesterday. My face still hurts.
• The pressure is on for Marc Eversley. Not only is the Bulls general manager tasked with fixing the Bulls, but he is now tasked with bringing the luck. NBC Sports Chicago shared on Wednesday that Eversley will represent the Bulls virtually at the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery set for next week. Arturas Karnisovas was the face who made an appearance last offseason, sitting there with a calm and collected smirk as the Bulls landed the No. 4 picks in the draft. Eversley hopes his (virtual) presence can equally please the basketball gods. After all, Chicago must land either with the same pick or higher to keep their first-round selection.
General manager Marc Eversley will represent the Bulls at Tuesday's NBA draft lottery, where the franchise needs some luck to keep its first-round pick.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 17, 2021
• Considering how little we have seen of Eversley since his official hiring in May of 2020, it will be nice for him to be front and center. But I hope he is practicing his poker face in the mirror. If I was on camera as the Bulls pick conveyed to the Orlando Magic, I might accidentally scream the f-word while ripping my shirt off in a Hulk-like fashion.
• The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry compiled a bunch of thoughts from the Bulls players regarding how the team can take the next step. Give it a read.
Progress report: How Bulls players think the team can improve next season ⬇️ https://t.co/pUg7I5jArP
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) June 16, 2021
• Most of the group seems to believe that more time will do the trick. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, and I also don’t expect anyone to really say anything different (no player is going to single out a certain guy or position that needs to improve). A full offseason and training camp should make everyone feel more comfortable in their new roles, as well as help guys like Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and Patrick Williams study up how to best mesh. At the same time, this roster still needs significant upgrades. More time isn’t going to adequately fix things like lack of physicality, failing to get to the free-throw line, and trash perimeter defense. New talent will have to do that.
• LaMelo Ball has won rookie of the year. While many thought the 19-year-old’s candidacy would be a bit up in the air after a wrist injury midseason, the voting showed otherwise. Ball received 84 first-place votes compared to Anthony Edwards 15. Meanwhile, the only other two players who even received votes were the Kings’ Tyrese Haliburton and the Pistons’ Saddiq Bey.
Here are voting results for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, per the league: pic.twitter.com/49BOByZZxq
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 16, 2021
• The T-Wolves were all kinds of petty after the announcement, and I’m not sure why. Edwards had his moments, but he also played for a 23-win T-Wolves team and posted an effective field goal percentage (48.2) that sat in the 23rd percentile. Turn on the TV and it was clear that Ball promoted winning on a much more immediate level, and he helped the Hornets finish 33-39, which was good enough for 10th in the Eastern Conference. Ball’s effective field goal percentage may not have been anything too special, but it did sit several notches higher at 51.1 percent (52nd percentile).
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) June 16, 2021
• You know who shot better than both players? That’s right, the Paw. I’m just messing around. It’s totally fair to leave Williams off the ROY of the ballot. While the guy showed great glimpses on both ends of the floor and started 71 games this season, his overall impact was minuscule. But that’s okay. The Bulls did not plan for Williams to impact winning in Year 1. He was the second-youngest player in the league who was trying to get his feet wet. Whether it be his no-fear defensive on the league’s top talent, his nasty block on Deandre Ayton, his surprisingly efficient rainbow 3, his perfectly timed cuts, or his thunderous dunks … those who watched closely this season know Williams is still one of the most intriguing young talents in the NBA. Don’t believe me? Look here.
• The 76ers told the Bucks to hold their beer.
• And Paul George tried to tell Kevin Durant to hold his beer but Durant just laughed. Still, hell of a game from Playoff P last night.
The Clippers note that Paul George joins Kevin Durant as the only two players this postseason to have at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in one game.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 17, 2021
• Luka, listen, Arturas Karnisovas would never hurt you. Never.
Luka Doncic, from Slovenia with his national team, on Donnie Nelson's Mavericks exit:
"It was kind of tough to me. I really like Donnie. I know him since I was a kid and he was the one that drafted me. It was tough for me seeing that, but I'm not the one making decisions there."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 17, 2021