Archive for July 3rd, 2018

Nuggets sign rookie Michael Porter Jr

The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Michael Porter Jr. to his rookie contract.

All players selected in the first round of the draft, as Porter Jr was, are guaranteed to receive a contract. Therefore, this signing is standard and was expected.

Porter Jr., 6-10, 215, was selected by the Nuggets with the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft out of the University of Missouri. He began his collegiate career as the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit as a high school senior out of Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Washington. Porter Jr. averaged 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game as a senior while leading Nathan Hale to a perfect 29-0 record en route to the Washington Class 3A State Championship, the first-ever state title for the school.

The native of Indianapolis was named the MVP of the McDonald’s High School All-American Game as well as winning both the Naismith and Gatorade National Player of the Year awards, joining Dwight Howard (2004), LeBron James (2003), Chris Webber (1991) and Alonzo Mourning (1988) as the only players to ever accomplish the feat. Porter Jr. was named a 2017-18 consensus preseason All-American, the 2017-18 preseason ESPN National Freshman of the Year and the 2017-18 preseason SEC Co-Player of the Year.

Kings sign rookie Marvin Bagley III

The Sacramento Kings a day ago signed Marvin Bagley III to his rookie contract.

Selected second overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley III was just one of four freshman in the nation to average a point-rebound double-double en route to posting 21.0 points (.614 FG%, .397 3pt%, .627 FT%), 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 33.9 minutes per game in 33 contests (32 starts), culminating in ACC Player and Freshman of the Year accolades in addition to consensus First Team All-American honors and NABC National Freshman and Pete Newell Big Man of the Year awards. He finished his lone collegiate campaign by joining Clemson’s Horace Grant (1986-87) and Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan (1996-97) as the only players in ACC history to lead the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.

A 6-11, 234-pound forward, Bagley III concluded this season ranked atop the Blue Devils’ all-time freshman annals in total points (948), scoring average, rebounds (366), double-doubles (22) and 30-point-10-rebound outputs (seven). He snared 15 rebounds to accompany a career-high 34 points (12-19 FG, 1-2 3pt, 9-13 FT) against Texas (Nov. 24), piggybacked by 30 points (10-20 FG, 1-2 3pt, 9-10 FT) and 15 rebounds versus Florida (Nov. 26). He collected a career-high 21 rebounds to complement 32 points (13-17 FG, 1-2 3pt, 5-11 FT) against Florida State (Dec. 30) starting a spate of three 30-point performances in the span of four games, punctuated by 30 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four steals versus Wake Forest (Jan. 13).

The Arizona native accrued averages of 20.5 points (.689 FG%, 3-4 3pt, .680 FT%), 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 37.5 minutes per contest in four games during Duke’s Elite Eight run in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. His 30 combined rebounds in the ACC Tournament ranked second-most for a two-game span in tournament history. In the quarterfinals versus Notre Dame (Mar. 8), his 33 points rank third all-time for points by a freshman in ACC Tournament annals while his 17 rebounds were one shy of the Tournament mark for freshmen set by Virginia’s Ralph Sampson in 1980.

Sixers sign rookie Zhaire Smith

The Philadelphia 76ers yesterday signed NBA Draft 2018 first-round pick Zhaire Smith.

Smith, whose rights were acquired in a draft-night trade with Phoenix, was selected No. 16 overall after one collegiate season at Texas Tech. Smith averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals in 28.4 minutes per game. The 6-foot-5 guard-forward helped lead the Red Raiders to the school’s first Elite Eight appearance in program history, averaging 12.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in four NCAA Tournament games.

Over the course of the 2017-18 season, Smith totaled 417 points, a Texas Tech single-season freshman record. He also led the team in rebounds (185) and blocks (42), which ranked top 10 in Big 12 play. The Garland, Texas native became the first freshman in program history to secure All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Smith also received All-Big 12 Defensive Team and All-Big 12 Newcomer Team selections.

Celtics sign Brad Wanamaker

The Boston Celtics yesterday signed guard Brad Wanamaker.

Wanamaker (6-4, 209 lbs.) officially joins the Celtics after spending the last seven years competing professionally in Europe. The Philadelphia, PA native played in 69 games (45 starts) with Fenerbahce Ulker of the Euroleague in 2017-18, averaging 11.5 points (45.6% FG, 35.0% 3-PT, 83.3% FT), 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.14 steals in 24.0 minutes.

Wanamaker excelled during a 2018 postseason run that ended with Fenerbahce’s third straight BSL title. He averaged 16.2 points on 76.3% shooting (9-16 3-PT) and 4.2 assists throughout the championship-clinching series against Tofas en route to being named the Turkish League Finals Most Valuable Player.

Named Second Team All-Euroleague as recently as 2016-17, Wanamaker produced 16.7 points (44.8% FG, 38.6% 3-PT, 86.4% FT) and 4.7 assists in 34 games (33 starts) during his lone season with Darussafaka Basketbol Istanbul.

In joining the Celtics, Wanamaker reunites with second-year forward Daniel Theis, who previously served as his teammate with Brose Baskets Bamberg for two seasons from 2014-15 to 2015-16. Both Wanamaker and Theis were named German Beko BBL All-Star starters during the second year of their pairing in 2015-16, with Wanamaker eventually ending the season as the league’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.

A four-year product at the University of Pittsburgh from 2007-08 to 2010-11, Wanamaker averaged 7.9 points on 43.7% shooting in his collegiate career with the Panthers.

Wanamaker will wear No. 9 with Boston.

Wizards add Thomas Bryant off waivers

The Washington Wizards yesterday claimed Thomas Bryant off of waivers from the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Thomas is an intriguing young prospect with size and athleticism who showed he has three-point range during his time in the G League last season,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He will be able to continue his development process as he gains experience and works with our staff.”

Bryant (6-10, 245 lbs.) appeared in 37 games while on assignment with the South Bay Lakers of the G League last season, averaging 19.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting .597 (284-476) from the floor and .364 (67-184) from three-point range. The 20-year old center, who has a 7’6” wingspan, also appeared in 15 games with the Los Angeles Lakers.

A native of Rochester, NY, Bryant was originally drafted 42nd overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft. Bryant was acquired by the Lakers from the Jazz along with the draft rights to Josh Hart in exchange for the draft rights to Tony Bradley on June 22, 2017.

Bryant played collegiately for two seasons at Indiana (2015-17) and averaged 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting .592 from the field and .373 from three-point range. He was named Third Team All-Big 10 as a sophomore after earning Big 10 All-Freshman honors following his first campaign.

Jazz sign rookie Grayson Allen

The Utah Jazz yesterday signed guard Grayson Allen to his rookie contract.

Selected 21st overall in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft by Utah, Allen was a four-year player at Duke University where he averaged 15.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 37 contests (all starts) during the 2017-18 campaign. As a senior, the 22-year-old guard was named to the 2018 All-ACC Third Team and during the 2015-16 season, he earned AP All-America Third Team honors and an All-ACC First Team selection. He played in 15 career NCAA Tournament games, helping Duke win its fifth NCAA Title in 2015.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., the 6-5, 198-pound guard appeared in 142 career games (97 starts) finishing 12th on Duke’s all-time scoring list with 1,996 points. Allen is one of just five Blue Devils in history to record 1,900-or-more points, 400-or-more rebounds and 400-or-more assists, joining Grant Hill, Jon Scheyer, Danny Ferry and Johnny Dawkins.

The Lakers reportedly came to an agreement with LeBron James early in free agency, and then proceeded to add a stream of players who are talented but aren’t known for their shooting ability or their decision-making. To hear the agreements one after the other was almost shocking. The only thought is, perhaps a big Lakers trade is looming, or perhaps the Lakers are merely stalling until next season’s free agency and that’s why they’re doing these one-year deals. Here’s the LA Times reporting:

Within 24 hours of adding the disciplined and professional James to a group of young and impressionable kids, the Lakers have inexplicably opened the locker room door to three veteran misfits.

In moves that ended Monday afternoon, they gave one-year deals to Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo in what only sounds like a “Saturday Night Live” spoof.

All three are valued for their fierce competitiveness. All three are also renowned for their unabashed kookiness.

Not only do all three have histories of odd and unsettling on-court behavior, but none of the three can provide James with the expert shooter his game desperately needs. The Lakers still don’t have that shooter. They also don’t have fan favorite and greatly improved Julius Randle, who looked at the new landscape Monday, threw up his hands and moved to New Orleans.

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