Archive for January, 2017

Vander Blue named D-League Performer of Week

Vander Blue of the Los Angeles D-Fenders today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 29.

Blue (6-4, Marquette) led Los Angeles to a 2-0 week, averaging 32.5 points (second in the league) on 45.0 percent shooting to go with 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. On Jan. 26, with the D-Fenders trailing 119-112 with 2:25 to play, Blue connected on back-to-back three-pointers and added two free throws to secure a 125-120 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He finished the game with 37 points and seven rebounds. On Jan. 29, Blue tallied 28 points, nine rebounds and three steals in a 132-104 win over the Austin Spurs.

Blue, who has scored at least 30 points seven times this season, is averaging 25.5 points (third in the league), 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals. This is the second Performer of the Week award for Blue this season.

Other top performers considered included Canton’s Chris Evans and Eric Moreland, Delaware’s Shawn Long, Erie’s Kalin Lucas, Iowa’s Jarell Martin, Maine’s Jalen Jones and Ryan Kelly, Northern Arizona’s Elijah Millsap, Oklahoma City’s Daniel Hamilton, Rio Grande Valley’s Darius Morris, Santa Cruz’s Phil Pressey and Scott Wood and Texas’ C.J. Williams.

This is the sort of stat that many fans won’t care about, but it’s still impressive and says a lot about what kind of competitor Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas is. Here’s ESPN Boston reporting:

Isaiah Thomas great on second night of back-to-back games

Of all the ridiculous offensive numbers that Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas has put up this season, there may be none more impressive than this: Thomas is averaging a league-best 34.2 points per game on the second night of back-to-backs.

In a league that’s trying desperately to cut down on the number of back-to-backs and game-heavy stretches, Thomas is the anti-DNP Rest movement. The 5-foot-9 guard saves some of his best basketball for when he’s had the least rest. What’s more, Thomas is averaging more than three points better than his nearest competitor (Russell Westbrook, 30.9) for scoring on the second nights of back-to-backs.

The only player in the last 20 years to average more points per game on the second nights of back-to-backs is one of Thomas’ idols, Allen Iverson, who averaged 34.9 points during the 2004-05 season.

The Dallas Mavericks today released guard Pierre Jackson from his 10-day contract, and signed rookie guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell to a 10-day contract.

Jackson (5-11, 176) appeared in nine games (one start) for Dallas this season, averaging 3.9 points, 1.0 rebound and 2.1 assists in 9.3 minutes per game. He made his first career start in the Mavericks’ game at Oklahoma City on Thursday (Jan. 26), and recorded nine points, two rebounds and four assists in 13 minutes before leaving the game in the first half with a left hamstring strain.

Jackson was originally signed by Dallas on Dec. 27, before being waived by the team on Jan. 6 after appearing in four games. He then signed his first 10-day contract with Dallas on Jan. 15 and his second 10-day with the club on Jan. 25.

Before his first and second stints with Dallas this season, Jackson appeared in 13 games (all starts) for the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. In those 13 contests, he averaged a league-high 29.6 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 37.4 minutes per game.

Enes Kanter injured, out after arm surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter underwent successful surgery today to repair a fractured right ulna (in his right forearm), it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Kanter sustained the injury during last night’s 109-98 victory over Dallas. During a timeout, he expressed his frustration by hitting a chair. The result? A fractured forearm. 

This season, the sixth-year center has recorded 12 double-doubles and is averaging 14.4 points on .563 percent shooting from the floor, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 21.6 minutes in 47 games.

Kanter has come off the bench every game this season for OKC, but he’s still one of their most important players. He’s third on the team in both points and rebounds per game. 

He will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks at which time a further update will be provided.

Suns sign Ronnie Price to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Ronnie Price to a 10-day contract.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Price most recently played last season with the Suns when he averaged a career-best 5.3 points while appearing in a career-high 62 games. This is Price’s third tenure with the Suns as in addition to 2015-16, he averaged 3.6 points and 1.9 assists in 36 games with Phoenix in 2011-12. For his career, the 6-2, 190-pound point guard has averaged 3.8 points and 1.8 assists in 530 games with Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the NBA’s 2016-17 GM Survey, the 33-year-old floor general tied with Suns forward Jared Dudley as each received the second-most votes in response to the question, “Which active player will make the best head coach someday?”

Undrafted out of college in 2005, the Friendswood, Texas native was a four-year performer at Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University) and the first player to enter the NBA directly from that school.

Price will wear uniform number 14. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15

Heat sign Okaro White to second 10-day contract

The Miami Heat re-signed Okaro White to a second 10-day contract today.

White, who was signed to a 10-day contract on January 17, appeared in four games with the HEAT and averaged 3.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.00 blocks and 16.4 minutes while shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) from the field, 40 percent (2-of-5) from three-point range and a perfect 3-of-3 from the foul line.

Earlier this season, White appeared in 23 games (all starts) for the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and averaged 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.09 steals and 33.0 minutes while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 86 percent from the foul line. He helped the Skyforce to a division best 16-5 record while ranking second on the team in points (424), rebounds (201), field goals made (144), three-point field goals made (38) and free throws made (98).

White, who was originally signed by the HEAT on July 15, 2016, previously appeared in six preseason games with Miami and averaged 5.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.5 minutes. Additionally, he appeared in five games with Miami’s Summer League team in Las Vegas this past summer and averaged 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.00 steals.

Enes Kanter punches chair, breaks arm

The OKC Thunder (now 28-19, 6th best record in Western conference) bring center Enes Kanter (zero starts in 47 games this season) off the bench, but he’s still one of the team’s key players. Kanter’s 14.4 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game both rank 3rd on the squad. But a quick showing of frustration will reportedly keep Kanter out of action for the near future. Here’s the Oklahoman:

Enes Kanter punches chair, breaks arm

The Thunder survived January. The same cannot be said of Enes Kanter.

A night of frustration ended in victory for the Thunder, who rode Russell Westbrook’s late flurry to a 109-98 victory over a makeshift Dallas team. But Kanter’s night ended earlier, in the second quarter, when the valuable sixth man suffered a fractured arm when he slammed it on the back of a chair in frustration.

That means the Thunder almost surely goes into February – and remaining January road games at Cleveland and San Antonio – without the scorer and rebounder who makes the Thunder bench bearable at times.

Kemba Walker makes NBA All-Star team

The Charlotte Hornets have themselves an All-Star. The reserves were announced earlier today. Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting:

Kemba Walker makes NBA All-Star team

Point guard Kemba Walker was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve Thursday, the first time the Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats have had an NBA All-Star since 2010.

Walker was selected as one of seven reserves, in a vote of Eastern Conference head coaches. He is having his best of five NBA seasons, averaging 23 points, 45.9 percent shooting from the field and 41.4 percent from 3-point range.

The Hornets last had an All-Star when forward Gerald Wallace was selected as a reserve for the 2010 game in Arlington, Tex.

For the first time in a long time, Carmelo Anthony did not make the All-Star team. Here’s the NY Daily News reporting:

Carmelo Anthony does not make 2017 NBA All-Star team

It’s probably not a very strong indicator, but Thursday night provided a hint of Carmelo Anthony’s trade value: the NBA coaches do not view him as an All-Star.

The 32-year-old was left off the reserves that were announced Thursday night, marking the first time since 2009 that he won’t be part of the game. It’s also just the second time in 10 years that Anthony isn’t an All-Star.

Anthony finished eighth among Eastern Conference frontcourt players — five below the cut for starting — in the voting that was divided up among fans, players and media. And after the coaches picked the reserves, it was John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Paul George, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker who made the cut.

Jazz schedule NBA Math Hoops Live event

The Utah Jazz will teach math to local students through basketball during an NBA Math Hoops Live event on Monday, Jan. 30 at the Zions Bank Basketball Center beginning at 4 p.m.

NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced board game that teaches students fundamental math skills through basketball stats of their favorite Jazz and NBA players. A full-size, live version of the game will be played on the Jazz practice court with help from guards Shelvin Mack and Raul Neto.

The Jazz, with support from Larry H. Miller Charities, introduced this first-year program at the start of the season into 15 schools and non-profits in the Salt Lake Valley. More than 500 youth have been learning basic arithmetic, geometry, percentages and statistical analysis through an engaging curriculum.

The educational event on Monday will feature 40 students from Franklin Elementary and Bryant Middle School, who were selected to attend the event by showing exceptional dedication to the program, split up into two teams with Mack and Neto on each squad.

The court will be set up to mimic the board game, with numbers placed around the floor as shot locations. With two halves of play, students will be given fundamental math problems to complete, which will unlock different locations for the players to shoot from on the court. Once the math problem has been solved correctly, the students will direct their Jazz teammate to the shot location to earn points on the scoreboard.

At the end of the game, the Jazz players will talk to the attendees about the importance of math in their everyday lives, as well as take a group photo.

The Jazz Math Hoops program, in conjunction with the non-profit Learn Fresh, will conclude in early April with a regional tournament for all of the student participants.

Vince Carter turns 40 on Thursday

Vince Carter turns 40 on Thursday

Grizzlies guard/forward Vince Carter is still going strong in his 19th NBA season as he prepares to celebrate his 40th birthday on Thursday, Jan. 26.

The NBA’s oldest active player remains a key contributor for a Memphis team that is pursuing its seventh consecutive playoff berth. Carter is averaging more points (8.2) and minutes (23.8) than he did in either of the previous two seasons. The last player to average eight points or more for a season when he was at least 40 years old at any point was Karl Malone in 2003-04 (13.2 ppg).

Carter is approaching two significant milestones as well. The eight-time All-Star (24,288 career points) needs 81 points to pass Hall of Famer Allen Iverson (24,368) for 23rd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Carter also needs four three-pointers to become the fifth player in NBA history with 2,000 for his career, joining Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Milwaukee’s Jason Terry and the LA Clippers’ Paul Pierce.

It is fitting that Carter is close to cracking an exclusive shooting club alongside Terry and Pierce. Carter, Terry and Pierce are three of the six active players who were drafted in the 1990s, a group that also includes San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Metta World Peace.

– Via NBA News

Jeremy Lin injury update: out another 3-5 weeks

New Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin has spent far more time this season watching basketball than actually playing it.

Nets General Manager Sean Marks released the following statement today:

“During the course of his rehab, Jeremy re-aggravated his strained left hamstring and will be out approximately three to five weeks as he continues to work towards a full recovery. We understand and appreciate Jeremy’s competitive desire to get back on the court with his teammates, however, we are going to be cautious with his rehab in order to ensure that he is at full strength once he returns.”

The Nets are 9-34 this season, which is the worst record in the NBA. Lin has played in just 12 of the team’s 43 games, averaging 13.9 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals per outing.

Spurs sign Joel Anthony to 10-day contract

The San Antonio Spurs have signed forward/center Joel Anthony to a 10-day contract.

It’s tough to predict if the Spurs will keep Anthony beyond the 10-day deal. He’s right on the edge between sticking around in the NBA and falling out of it.

Anthony (6-9, 245), was in training camp with the Spurs earlier this season where he appeared in six preseason games, averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.9 minutes before being waived on Oct. 22.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Anthony most recently played with the Detroit Pistons during the 2015-16 season. The UNLV product has also played for the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, where he spent his first six-plus seasons and won back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013. Anthony has appeared in 471 career games, averaging 2.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.11 blocks in 14.7 minutes.

Anthony will wear No. 30 for the Silver and Black.

Timberwolves putting up wins lately

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on the Timberwolves, who are only 16-28 this season but taking a step in the right direction lately:

Timberwolves putting up wins lately

They’ve won two straight and five of their last seven games overall and for the fourth straight at home. For the second straight game the Wolves won a game decided by four or fewer points. This after going 0-for-10 to start the season in that category.

“We’re trying to establish a home court,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We want to make it tough for people to come in here. We have to understand, you don’t win because you’re at home, but because of what you put into winning.’’

They did tonight. Denver shot 51.2 percent for the game, but 45.5 percent in the second half, 40.0 percent in the fourth quarter, and just 3-for-12 after taking a nine-point lead with 6:06 left in the game.

The Wolves responded with a 20-8 run.

The Orlando Magic have signed guard-forward Anthony Brown to a 10-day contract, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Brown becomes the 12th GATORADE Call-Up from the NBA Development League this season. He will wear #21 with the Magic.

Brown (6’7”, 211, 10/10/92) has played and started in 16 games this season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, averaging 21.6 ppg., 5.1 rpg., 3.4 apg. and 1.00 stlpg. in 39.2 minpg., while shooting .472 (42-89) from three-point range. He also appeared in nine games this season with New Orleans, averaging 3.8 ppg. and 2.9 rpg. in 15.8 minpg. Brown was signed by the Pelicans on Nov. 21, then waived on Dec. 9.

Originally selected in the second round (34th overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, Brown has appeared in 38 career NBA games with the Lakers and New Orleans, averaging 3.9 ppg. and 2.5 rpg. in 19.5 minpg. He has also played in 23 career D-League games with Los Angeles and Erie, averaging 19.4 ppg., 4.7 rpg. and 2.9 apg. in 37.5 minpg., while shooting .419 (57-136) from three-point range.

Brown played collegiately at Stanford University from 2010-15 (medical redshirt in 2012-13). He appeared in 144 career games (106 starts) with the Cardinal, averaging 10.8 ppg., 4.8 rpg. and 1.6 apg. in 29.2 minpg., while shooting .403 (218-541) from three-point range. He was named the Pac-12 Comeback Player of the Year in 2013-14, helping Stanford reach the Sweet Sixteen during the NCAA Tournament.

The Orlando Magic and the Erie BayHawks are in the final year of a three-year single affiliation partnership. Orlando became the 16th NBA team to have a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team. The partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” allows an NBA team to control the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations, while the existing local ownership maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.

Sixers have won 8 of last 10 games

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the 76ers, who are playing very respectable basketball lately:

Sixers have won 8 of last 10 games

The Sixers are the talk of Philadelphia and are creating a huge buzz around the NBA, with just cause.

They won eight of 10 games heading into Saturday night’s matchup against the Atlanta Hawks here at the Philips Arena. Their 16-25 record through 41 games is the best since they went 17-24 during the 2012-13 season…

The Sixers have a legitimate NBA All-Star Game candidate and runaway rookie-of-the-year contender in Embiid. They have a coach in Brett Brown who has been a part of four NBA championships as a San Antonio Spurs assistant. And they should have the services of a passer extraordinaire in Ben Simmons, the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, sometime this season.

Still, Vegas lists the Sixers at 5,000-to-1 to win the NBA title. That’s understandable.

Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe has been fined $5,000, and the Wizards’ organization has been fined $15,000, for Lowe’s standing on the playing court and potentially impacting game action during Washington’s 113-110 win over New York on Jan. 19 at Madison Square Garden, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The Philadelphia 76ers signed guard Chasson Randle to a second 10-day contract today.

Randle has appeared in two games since being signed by the Sixers on January 9. He posted 10 points in 16 minutes in Monday’s win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Randle was most recently with the NBA D-League Westchester Knicks, where he appeared in 19 games and posted averages of 21 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 32 minutes per game, while shooting 40% from three-point range.

Randle played four years at Stanford, posting career averages of 17 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 144 career games (142 starts). He was named to the All-PAC 12 First Team his junior and senior seasons, and capped his collegiate career as Stanford’s all-time leading scorer with 2,375 points.

At this point, fans around the league have an opinion on Sixers center Joel Embiid. He’s on the map. It’s too soon to know how great he may become, but early signs pointing to stardom are very promising. Here’s Raptors coach Dwane Casey sharing his view, as reported by PhillySport:

Dwane Casey compares Joel Embiid to a young Shaq

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey had high praise for 76ers center Joel Embiid, comparing him at a similar stage to 15-time all-star and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.

“He is physical, has size, athletic ability, like a young Shaq coming into the league and Shaq didn’t shoot it like this young man,” Casey said before Wednesday’s game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Sixers.

Embiid entered the contest averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.43 blocked shots in 25.3 minutes per game.

Rodney McGruder a key defender for Heat

The Heat are just 12-30 this season, which through Tuesday’s games is the second worst record in the Eastern conference. Guard Rodney McGruder isn’t putting up big stats but he has been making his mark on the defensive side of the floor. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

Rodney McGruder didn’t expect to start this many games in his rookie season with the Heat.

And he definitely didn’t expect to be Miami’s go-to defender against the NBA’s top scorers.

But 42 games into the season, those expectations have changed. McGruder ranks sixth among rookies in starts with 25 and he’s already been asked to defend future Hall of Famers like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.

“At this point, I think this is the world that Rodney knows,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s either going against MVPs, former MVPs, future MVPs, definite All-Stars every single night. Whoever that big-ticket player is, Rodney you got him. Make him work. He’s absolutely stepped up to that challenge.

“Does that mean he’s winning battles? No. But he makes you earn everything and fight for every inch that you get.”

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