Grayson Allen hits five three-points in his NBA preseason debut

The Jazz led the Perth Wildcats 44-13 after one quarter and 75-34 at the half. This thing wasn’t close. Jazz player stats for this game are on the inflated side. Still, a win is a win, and it was a very impressive career NBA preseason debut by Jazz rookie Grayson Allen, who made it rain from three-point range in impressive fashion.

Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Allen sank the first five shots he took, including four straight 3-pointers, and by the midpoint of the second quarter, already had 14 points. He cooled off a bit in the second half but still ended up leading all Jazz scorers with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 5 of 9 from long range.

The rookie from Duke said he wasn’t expecting to lead all scorers, but all in all was pleased with his first performance in a Jazz uniform, even if it wasn’t against a real NBA team.

“I was a lot more comfortable after the first three went down,” he said. “It felt good. These guys are really easy to play with. It’s really seamless when you’re jumping in there with a lot of smart basketball players. It makes my job a lot easier.” …

Besides finishing with 19 points, Allen also had three rebounds and an assist. His only real negative was a team-high four turnovers on the night, which Allen mentioned after the game as something to improve on.

A few extra turnovers comes with the territory. It was a nice debut by Allen.

Preseason for the league began Friday.

Nice preseason debut for Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic is one of the most intriguing NBA rookies in a while. And while preseason isn’t a time to make firm judgments about anyone, it’s still a good sign when a rookie comes out and does nice things right away.

In adding Doncic, the Mavs got a player who has already proven to be able to compete at a higher level than the best of college basketball. He’s one of the main rookies to keep a constant eye on, both now and at least for a solid first month of the regular season.

Here’s on how his career preseason debut went:

Luka Doncic’s performance in his preseason debut provided some glimpses of the unique skill that persuaded the Dallas Mavericks to trade up to draft the European teen star.

Doncic, the No. 3 pick in the draft, scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 30 minutes during a 116-63 victory Saturday night over the Beijing Ducks.

“It was great to be out there,” said Doncic, who also grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots. “It’s been a long time since I played a game, so I’m really happy to be here. Always the first game, you’re a little bit nervous — new team and everything. I think everything went well.”

The 6-foot-7 Doncic made a few dazzling plays off the dribble, something the Mavs are expecting on a consistent basis as he serves as one of their primary ball handlers despite playing mainly power forward.

Preseason stats aren’t that important. It’s about the skill level of a player and the potential to do big things at regular-season intensity.

One important note, though, is the opponent wasn’t competitive at all. The Mavs absolutely dominated the Beijing Ducks in a game that really wasn’t even at a preseason basketball level. We can’t hold that against Doncic, though. But the next step of course is an actual NBA opponent.

Still, a nice first showing.

Pelicans sign center Brandon McCoy

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent center Brandon McCoy.

It is very likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings McCoy to training camp.

McCoy, 7-1, 250, went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Chicago native spent one season at UNLV, appearing in 33 games and averaging 16.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

McCoy will wear #12 for the Pelicans. New Orleans’ training camp roster now stands at 20.

Michael Carter-Williams has nice opportunity with Rockets

Many of you have forgotten about Michael Carter-Williams. Or you’ve written him off. But he’s in an interesting situation now, as a backup in Houston to some of the league’s best guards. It’s tough to predict how many minutes he’ll get this regular season but he certainly has an opportunity to earn a pretty big supporting cast role, off the bench.

Of course, watching him as a rookie it was presumed he’d be a starter in the league. Maybe he will be again. But for now, the Rockets are a nice opportunity. Here’s the Houston Chronicle with more on him:

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Carter-Williams has looked ready to be a fill-in at the point if Harden or Paul are out, but that the play is still to have Paul work as the backup point.

“We keep either James or Chris on the floor all the time,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll still stagger James and Chris so MCW will be off the ball more than he does in scrimmages. That’s just the way our team is made up. But if we needed him if someone got injured or was out of the game, he would be the backup point. He can play off the ball, too. He’s in a good spot. James and Chris like to play together (in practices) because they’re still learning what they can do.”

The Rockets have another serious guard to bring off their bench: Brandon Knight. Though he still needs to get healthy, and that has been a lengthy concern. So for now, MCW has a very clear window of opportunity.

Pistons training camp report

Training camp came, then preseason quickly started. There’s basketball being played. It’s just preseason basketball, but the teams are actual NBA teams, and therefore everything is amazing, even if stars played limited minutes and the main goal is to loosen up.

As for the Pistons, here’s the Detroit News reporting:

The Pistons finally got away from the grind of practice and got closer to a game atmosphere. Sort of.

The Pistons wrapped up a week of training camp in Ann Arbor with an open scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Crisler Center, before a crowd of just more than 4,000.

The standout was Andre Drummond, who had 25 points on an array of scoring — including a 3-pointer — and helped the Blue Team to a 73-66 victory.

The starting lineup for the Blue Team was Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Stanley Johnson, Blake Griffin and Drummond. That could be the starting lineup to start the regular season, but coach Dwane Casey said it was more to balance the lineups.

The Pistons are worth keeping an eye on. Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond form an intriguing core. However, it’s one that isn’t great enough to do monster things on their own. Serious Pistons talent needs to emerge (or be found) in the shooting guard and small forward spots. And the entire bench.

Even so, if Jackson, Griffin and Drummond are actually all healthy, they can do some things.

Championship or bust, says John Wall

Every NBA player wants to win a championship, but for most, of course, it simply won’t happen. And of course, simply making the league is a great accomplishment, let alone enjoying a full career, especially as a star. But Wizards guard John Wall, he definitely wants that ring. Here’s NBC Sports Washington  with more:

Wall, naturally, wants to win an NBA title. But it’s not just a goal, it’s the benchmark for which Wall will measure his basketball career.

“I think for me to have a heck of a career – if I don’t win a championship, I feel like my career was a failure. So that’s my ultimate goal,” Wall said.

Wall, 28, has never been past the second round of the NBA playoffs. The closest his Wizards team has been to advancing further was in 2017 when they lost in Game 7 of the second round to the Boston Celtics.

The Wizards as they currently stand face an uphill battle in reaching the 2019 NBA Finals, but they remain one of the East’s better teams. But several key players on the squad must emerge as serious difference-makers for the team to reach that elusive next level.

Hornets beat Celtics in NBA preseason opener

The 2018-19 NBA preseason began Friday, with a Hornets victory over the Celtics. Some quotes on the game:

Charlotte Observer: “Jeremy Lamb says his dream growing up was to be an NBA starter. That didn’t look plausible based on most of his pro career to date, but he sure made a case in the Charlotte Hornets’ first exhibition. Lamb, starting at shooting guard, hit three of his five 3-pointers, finishing with 15 points and looking generally impressive in the Hornets’ 104-97 victory over the Boston Celtics at the Smith Center on North Carolina’s campus.”

The Observer on Celtics guard Kyrie Irving: “The Celtics’ point guard looked sharp in his first game back since a knee procedure in March that ended his season.”

Boston Herald: “Gordon Hayward’s first game in roughly a year had predictable rust, and the equally expected self-critique by the Celtics forward when it was all over. But forget about the warts and the Celtics’ 104-97 loss to Charlotte in their exhibition season opener in the Dean Smith Center. He was playing again. “It definitely was (a small victory),” Hayward said after scoring 10 points in 22 front-loaded minutes. “I’ve been through a lot this last year. Just to be out there in front of the fans and playing with my teammates – there were moments last year when I definitely was not able to do that. Definitely a win.”

Lakers hire Kurt Rambis as Senior Basketball Advisor

Legendary former Lakers role player Kurt Rambis is back with the squad. Not as a role player again, which would be fun considering his playing days are long over, but as Senior Basketball Advisor.

Rambis will report to President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, and support the basketball operations and coaching staffs in their day-to-day functions.

“As a member of the Showtime Lakers, Kurt is a champion and knows how to win,” said Johnson. “He has been an integral part of the Lakers organization winning four NBA Championships as a player and an additional four as a part of the staff. His insights and wide range of experiences will be a huge benefit to our operations.”

Rambis has spent the past 16 years (1994-2009, 2013-14) in various coaching and front office roles within the Lakers organization. During that time, the team made six NBA Finals appearances (2000-02, 2004, 2008-09) and won four NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2009).

Rambis also served as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2009-11 and for four years from 2014-18 was associate head coach of the New York Knicks, including a brief stint as interim head coach.

“I’m happy to welcome Kurt back to the organization,” said Lakers head coach Luke Walton. “Kurt’s vast NBA experience and knowledge of the game will be a great asset to the team and I look forward to working with him again.”

Lauri Markkanen out 6-8 weeks with elbow injury

NBA preseason is generally filled with minor injuries that are the opposite of serious and generally only require a day or two’s worth of rest to heal.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with Lauri Markkanen. The young Bulls power forward sustained a right elbow injury in practice on Thursday, Sept. 27. He underwent an MRI today that showed a high grade lateral elbow sprain.

Markkanen is estimated to be out six-to-eight weeks.

And according to the Chicago Sun-Times, after averaging 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season and being named to the NBA All-Rookie first team, Markkanen added 17 pounds of muscle this offseason and was expected to be a focal point of the offense. “Lauri looks great,’’ guard Zach LaVine said just days before Markkanen suffered the injury in practice Thursday. “He got a little bit stronger; jumper still looks pretty as all get-out. Still the funniest dude in the world. He looks good, man.”

Is Emmanuel Mudiay ready for a breakout season?

Look. Preseason starts tonight. Which means for the next week or so, there is going to be tons of speculation about which young players are ready for a breakout season.

Of course, players who were rookies last year and showed some skills are almost all expected to do better as NBA sophomores.

But what about guys who have been in the league for a few seasons, and haven’t shown the anticipated improvement, and need to step up sometime soon to keep themselves on the basketball map?

Here’s the New York Post on Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay:

Less turnovers. Less pounds.

That’s been point guard Emmanuel Mudiay’s modus operandi during the first week of Knicks training camp.

First-year coach David Fizdale said Mudiay has the lowest turnover rate of anyone during the first week of scrimmages. Mudiay’s loss of 10-15 pounds since the regular season finale has helped with stamina and adjusting to Fizdale’s fast offense.

He looks much improved so far from late last season when he didn’t make a big impression after the February trade with Denver.

Sounds reasonable. If he really did work hard enough to drop that much weight, maybe something is brewing.

Preseason begins tonight with Celtics vs Hornets.