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76ers draft Ben Simmons No. 1

The Philadelphia 76ers have selected LSU forward Ben Simmons with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

After three straight seasons of losing on a grandiose scale, the Sixers hope Simmons will be the franchise player who can help them take a big step forward in their rebuild. The addition of another big man doesn't help Philadelphia's logjam in the frontcourt, but don't be surprised if there's a trade in the near future to balance out the roster.

Simmons arrived in Baton Rouge last year from Melbourne, Australia, with much fanfare as the Tigers' best recruit since Shaquille O'Neal. He largely lived up to the hype as one of college hoops' most productive freshmen in recent memory, using his stunning combination of size and athleticism to become the first player since Ron Harper in 1984 to average 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists per game. However, LSU missed the NCAA Tournament entirely, raising questions about Simmons' leadership ability and focus.

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Rockets select Zhou Qi with No. 43 pick

With the No. 43 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets selected Zhou Qi, an enormous Chinese big man with major boom-or-bust potential.

Zhou is 7'2, and his 7'8 wingspan is the largest ever seen at the NBA Combine, according to Draft Express. That's immediately the most impressive thing about the 20-year-old, who considered declaring for the 2015 NBA Draft before deciding otherwise.

Despite his size, Zhou is incredibly mobile, running the floor and moving his feet on both ends. He has an excellent mid-range jumper and he'll shoot a three-pointer from time to time, too. Combine that with an advanced post game and Zhou is probably the most polished offensive center in the draft. In a game against Korea, you can see Zhou put the ball on the floor, hit layups with both hands and even show a pull-up jumper dribbling in from the three-point line, all advanced skills that are incredible for his size.

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Sacramento Kings trade Marco Belinelli to Charlotte for 22nd pick

Vlade Divac somehow managed to convince the Charlotte Hornets to take Marco Belinelli coming off his worst season and with two years left on his deal for the 22nd pick in this year's draft. That's incredible. The Kings now have the 8th and 22nd picks in the draft and just freed up some more cap space for this summer.

Belinelli had an incredibly disappointing year for the Kings, and the fact that they were able to get a first round pick for him is kind of incredible. We'll see if this is the only move they make tonight but even if is, it's a move in the right direction for the Kings.

 

Chicago Bulls trade Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks

CHICAGO — Derrick Rose’s Wednesday exit from the only organization he has ever known was just as sudden as the premature end to his MVP peak.

He was shipped to the New York Knicks along with forward Justin Holiday and a second-round pick in exchange for second-year point guard Jerian Grant, and veterans Robin Lopez and Jose Calderon. The move came with little warning.

There was a mid-afternoon report from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski that a deal was close, followed by an official announcement from the Chicago Bulls, followed by a hastily thrown-together press conference with general manager Gar Forman. Forman wasn’t even able to get Rose on the phone to tell him about the trade, settling instead to talk to agent B.J. Armstrong after several attempts to reach Rose went straight to voicemail.

And just like that, a marriage that had grown awkward over the years for all parties came to an end. Nobody had time for a proper farewell.

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Who's in, who's out: Predicting USA Basketball's roster for 2016 Olympics

Funneling a league overflowing with superstars into a single 12-man roster is a daunting task, but every four years, only a dozen of the NBA's top-tier talents are chosen to represent Team USA at the Olympics, while plenty of well-deserving guys are left in the dark.

The field was narrowed down to 31 finalists earlier this year, but with the recent withdrawals from some of basketball's biggest names like Stephen Curry,Russell Westbrook and James Harden, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo's selection process has gotten a bit easier than in years past.
With the USA Basketball Showcase fast approaching (July 22 to August 1) and the Olympics in Rio following closely thereafter (August 5 to 21), the official 12-man roster will be announced by the end of June. In conjunction with the analytics team at Synergy Sports Technology, we predict that 12-man roster, assuming no more last-minute withdrawals are made.

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How the NBA Finals validated Kyrie Irving

OAKLAND – LeBron James understood what was necessary in the NBA Finals.

Did Kyrie Irving? Question answered.

Irving made the biggest shot of his career – a game-winning 25-foot three-pointer with 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter – giving the Cavs a three-point lead, James added a free throw with 10-seconds left and Cleveland beat the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

Irving scored 26 points and proved that he could handle the big stage, play alongside other stars and do what needs to be done to a win a championship.

“I don’t necessarily know if I was looking for validation,” Irving told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m glad that we could make history, and we did it with a team that's very resilient and understood what was at stake for us. I’m glad that would be that one team in NBA history to come back from 3-1 in the Finals.”

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Finals Game 7 was highest-rated NBA telecast ever on ABC

Sunday night’s game netted the highest-rated NBA telecast ever on ABC (18.9 overnight rating) and the ratings peaked (25.5) as the Cleveland Cavaliersbeat the Golden State Warriors to claim Cleveland’s first major sports title in decades.

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WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING - GLOBAL CHAMPIONSHIP WELCOMES AUSTRALIAN AFFILIATES ETERNAL MMA & REIGN FIGHTING

LAS VEGAS, NV June 20, 2016 - World Series of Fighting – Global Championship (WSOF-GC) continues to expand its affiliate program by adding Australian-based MMA promotions, Eternal MMA and Reign Fighting. Eternal MMA and Reign Fighting become the twelfth and thirteenth organizations to join the ranks of WSOF Global Championship.

Eternal MMA/Reign Fighting CEO and Founder, Cam O’Neill, had this to say about the signing. "Signing as an official partner with WSOF Global is a huge next step for our organizations. Not only does it validate us as a pathway for talented and driven Australian MMA athletes to reach the next level of their careers, but it adds the potential for international fights on one of the world’s very best MMA promotions in WSOF Global. It also ensures that Eternal and Reign events will now be shown in millions of homes across the world via WSOF Global’s broadcast partners. Eternal and Reign are committed to raising the level of MMA talent in Australia and catapult these local stars onto the global stage. Now is certainly the time for any 

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Cavaliers beat Warriors to win NBA title and end Cleveland's 52-year drought

Astounding. That’s not the only adjective to describe the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 93-89 Game 7 victory and first NBA championship in franchise history. Remarkable or sublime would work too. No team has ever come back from 3-1 down to win the NBA finals, until now. A series defined by back and forth body blows (both figurative and literal) ended in similar fashion — two teams trading runs and pushing each other to the limit. The moment LeBron James returned to Ohio for has finally arrived. He got one for the Land.
Leading his team with a seventh career finals triple-double (27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists), James refused to be denied his third NBA championship and third finals MVP trophy. A hard bump on a shooting foul late in the game was one final obstacle to overcome. His free throw off that foul helped give the Cavs a four-point lead that iced the title. James was also vital on the defensive end, swatting three blocks, including a huge denial of Andre Iguodala, last year’s finals MVP and noted LeBron stopper, that prevented the Warriors from taking the lead with less than two minutes to go.

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