Pregame notes for Rockets vs Sharks

Rockets team notes for game vs Shanghai Sharks tonight:

· This game marks the first time a professional team from China is facing an NBA team in the United States… the Sharks play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).


· The Sharks are owned by former Rocket Yao Ming… on Feb. 2, 2016, Yao will become just the sixth player in Rockets history to have his number retired.

· Rockets guard Bobby Brown spent the past two years playing in the CBA… last season, he was with the Shenzhen Leopards and averaged 29.2 points, 6.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds.

· Sharks center Wu Guanxi was a member of the Rockets entry in the 2016 Samsung NBA Summer League… Rockets Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, K.J. McDaniels, Chinanu Onuaku, Gary Payton II, Isaiah Taylor and Kyle Wiltjer all played on that team.

· Sharks guard Jimmer Fredette played five seasons in the NBA and was teammates with Rockets forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon in New Orleans for the 2014-15 season.

Injury/Status Report:

· The Rockets have no injuries to report.

Rockets News & Notes:

· This marks the 50th season in Rockets franchise history… the San Diego Rockets were established as an expansion team for the 1967-68 season and moved to Houston prior to the 1971-72 season.

· Houston is one of three teams (Dallas and San Antonio) to have gone .500 or better in each of the past 10 seasons… the Rockets have also made the playoffs in four straight seasons, which is tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history.

· Since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, James Harden has scored 533 more points than any other player in the league… he also has made 461 more free throws than any other player has attempted over that span.

· In 27 games played post All-Star break last season, Patrick Beverley averaged 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists after averaging 8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 2.8 apg his first 44 games played.

The Clippers won 53 games last season, which was the sixth highest win total in the league. Very good, but not great. More is expected this season, especially with power forward Blake Griffin, who played just 35 games in 2015-16, returning to action. Here’s the LA Times reporting on Doc Rivers and the squad:

Doc Rivers says Clippers had fantastic training camp

After four days of camp, Rivers concluded that this one was the “best training camp” since he first arrived in 2013.

Rivers said it was a “comfortable camp” and that his players “picked up” information “pretty quickly.”

“The learning curve was high,” Rivers said. “It was just a really good camp. From a coaching standpoint, they were very easy to coach. I hope I’m saying that later.”

All week long, Rivers said, Marreese Speights “has played the best” in practice, showing off his three-point shooting, giving the Clippers another weapon off the bench.

Rivers also said that Wesley Johnson had an impressive camp.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal played 56 games as a rookie, 73 games in his second season, 63 in his third, and 55 in his fourth. Staying healthy would probably be quite enjoyable for him. Here’s the Washington Post reporting:

No, Bradley Beal does not enjoy getting hurt

During the Wednesday practice, Beal caught an inadvertent elbow from center Ian Mahinmi, who was stripped of the ball, his arms flailing, and “my head was in the way,” as Beal recalled…

“People make it seem like I’m trying to get hurt, you know what I’m saying?” Beal said. “I’m not here, like: ‘Oh, hit me in the head on this play!’ Nah, it just happens. Anybody can be in that position, so that’s not going to stop me from being aggressive and continuing to play hard.”

Rockets sign P.J. Hairston

Rockets sign P.J. Hairston

The Rockets have signed free agent guard/forward P.J. Hairston.

Hairston (6-6, 220) was originally the 26th overall pick by Miami in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent his first season and a half with Charlotte before being acquired in a three-team trade by Memphis on Feb. 16, 2016.

In 66 games with 52 starts for the Hornets and Grizzlies last season, Hairston averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He also hit two or more 3-pointers 19 times in 2015-16, including a career-high 5 at the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 26, 2016.

Heat consider Tyler Johnson a combo guard

Heat guard Tyler Johnson averaged 5.9 points on 41.9% shooting in 18.8 minutes per game as a rookie two years ago, 8.7 ppg on 48.6% shooting in 24.0 mpg last season, and should have a bigger role this year. Here’s the Palm Beach Post blog with some insight:

Heat consider Tyler Johnson a combo guard

“He’s a combo (guard). That’s why we like him,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You put him on the court and he knows how to have an impact. He’s comfortable now playing either position on the ball or off the ball. That kind of versatility is important.”

The Heat are hoping [Tyler] Johnson can give them minutes at point guard this season, a position that he’s played sporadically in the past. After Miami decided to keep Johnson and matched his four-year, $50 million offer sheet from the Nets in July, he spent most of the offseason working on his point guard skills with Heat coaches.

With a log jam at shooting guard – Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington and Johnson – Johnson will get more playing time if he’s also able to serve as Goran Dragic’s backup at point guard. The 24-year-old Johnson believes he’s better prepared for that role this season.

The Windy City Bulls, who are the Chicago Bulls’ D-League affiliate, have announced the remainder of their coaching and basketball operations staff as well as team medical personnel for the 2016-17 season.

Bobby Lutz and A.J. Guyton will join Nate Loenser’s staff in November as assistant coaches, while Josh Kreibich has been named coordinator of basketball operations.

“I am thrilled that Bobby and A.J. will be joining our staff for the upcoming season,” said Loenser. “Bobby brings a tremendous amount of coaching experience, and A.J. is someone who is very well respected within the Chicago Bulls organization. His experience playing here is invaluable to us.”

Lutz brings over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience to Windy City, spending the last five seasons as an assistant at North Carolina State. During his tenure with the Wolfpack, Lutz helped guide the team to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2012 and 2015. Prior to his time at North Carolina State, Lutz spent a season as an assistant for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. From 1999-2010, he served as the head coach at the University of North Carolina Charlotte where he led the 49ers to three Conference USA titles while averaging more than 18 wins per season. Lutz was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award in 2005 and is the school’s all-time winningest coach.

Guyton returns to the Chicago Bulls organization where he began his professional playing career in 2000.. The Peoria, Ill., native spent three seasons in the NBA before playing overseas for the remainder of his 10-year professional career. Guyton got his start in coaching in 2010 when he was an assistant coach at Illinois Central College. In 2012, he led the Bloomington Flex to the Premier Basketball League Championship as the team’s head coach. Guyton played college basketball at the University of Indiana Bloomington from 1996-2000 where he was a consensus First-Team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year in his senior season. In 2014, Guyton was inducted to the University of Indiana Athletics Hall of Fame.

Kreibich comes to Windy City after spending the last two seasons as the director of basketball operations at Northern Arizona University. Prior to his stint with the Lumberjacks, he served as an assistant coach at Concordia University in Austin, Texas, from 2012-2014.

Arnold Lee has been named certified athletic trainer while Dr. Adam Yanke and Dr. Jeremy Alland of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center will serve as team physicians. Additionally, Dr. Brian Cole and Dr. Kathleen Weber of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center will serve as consulting team physicians.

Lee joins Windy City after working as an intern for the Chicago Bears during the 2016 pre-season. From 2013-2016, he worked as the head athletic trainer at Chicago’s Kennedy King College. A graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Lee holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and a Masters in Athletic Training from California Baptist University.

The Windy City Bulls are preparing for their inaugural season in the heart of Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Beginning in November, the team will play 24 home games at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. The NBA Development League, which is entering its 16th season, will expand to 22 teams for the 2016-17 season with the additions of the Windy City Bulls, Greensboro Swarm and Long Island Nets. Last season saw 32 D-League players called up to the NBA a total of 42 times.

Young Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game as a rookie last season. Despite his height and position, he took a lot of three-pointers, hitting 81-of-243 (33.3%). Normally you don’t want a forward who is taller than most of the league’s centers to shoot many outside shots at all, let alone lots of three-pointers. Unless, of course, he can make them. On that note, here’s the New York Daily News reporting:

Expect even more three-pointers from Kristaps Porzingis this season

Given the green light by Phil Jackson, Kristaps Porzingis is heading into the season unafraid of releasing a pull-up 3-pointer.

The 7-3 Latvian demonstrated the shot in transition during a training-camp scrimmage Thursday, finding open looks as the trailer early in the shot clock. The Knicks hope to get these type of looks more often this season with quicker guards and a faster-paced offense.

“I think that’s a high percentage shot for me. Last year Phil Jackson, he told me that he likes that shot,” said Porzingis, who was left with a bloody nose during the scrimmage after being clocked under the basket. “I wasn’t so sure about it at first. It was early in the offense. I didn’t know if it was the best shot. But once we saw the percentages he said it’s a pretty good look if I get that. The bigs a lot of times, they’re giving me that space, then just take that shot. Once he said that I have his confidence in me and it was just let it go. I’ll probably do the same thing this year.”

Tomas Satoransky impressing in Wizards camp

NBA training camps have opened, and preseason starts Saturday. Basketball is coming. At Wizards training camp, there’s a new name worth paying some attention to. Here’s CSN Washington:

Tomas Satoransky impressing in Wizards camp

The surprise for the Wizards isn’t that John Wall could be back sooner than later. Or that Kelly Oubre stands a chance at winning the starting job at small forward. It’s rookie Tomas Satoransky, who not only has freakish athleticism but a basketball IQ that caught all of his teammates off-guard.

“For me it was Tomas,” said Otto Porter when asked who has wowed him the most. “I’d seen a couple highlights of him playing but actually getting out here playing with him to actually be on his team? One time I was cutting through, he hit me on the back of the shoulder (with the ball). I wasn’t looking for it. I was like, ‘OK, this kid knows how to play.’”

But what has really set apart the European, a 2012 second-round pick for the Wizards who signed a three-year deal for just $9 million this summer, is his flair for the drama. In a pick-up game before training camp started this week, he got the ball in the open court and did something that brought a hush over the practice court.

Cameron Payne suffers broken bone in foot

Cameron Payne suffers broken bone in foot

Thunder guard Cameron Payne suffered an acute fracture to his fifth metatarsal (long bone in foot) in Tuesday night’s Blue-White Scrimmage, which took place in front of fans at a high school.

According to News9 OKC, “it’s the same bone he had surgery on in late July.”

The 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 57 games during his rookie season.

Payne will see his attending physician and additional specialists this week to determine the next course of action.

Khris Middleton out six months after hamstring surgery

Bucks guard Khris Middleton underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair his ruptured left hamstring. The surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York by Dr. David Altchek.

Middleton is expected to be sidelined for approximately six months. A timeline for his return to basketball activity will be established at a later date.

Middleton suffered the injury during preseason workouts on Sept. 20.

Middleton, 25, averaged a career-high 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals last season along with 3.8 rebounds in 79 games. Originally selected by Detroit (39th overall) in the 2012 NBA Draft, Middleton has career averages of 13.2 points, 2.7 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 267 career games (201 starts).

Spurs waive Ryan Richards

The Spurs have waived forward/center Ryan Richards.

The Spurs training camp roster now stands at 19.

The vast majority of the league’s training camps opened on Tuesday. In the next few weeks, the vast majority of players around the NBA who were signed to non-guaranteed contracts will be let go.

Warriors bench very different this season

The Warriors are the hottest topic in basketball entering the new season. Superstar Kevin Durant in the mix. But the GSW bench was a key part of their success in the past, and while Andre Iguodala is still there, the rest of the cast of characters is pretty different. How do this year’s reserves compare? Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

To sign Kevin Durant, the Warriors were forced to move forward without key reserves Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli and Brandon Rush. The new-look second unit, however, is impressing early.

David West has flashed his fundamentals and savvy posting up younger big men. Rookie Patrick McCaw is building off a strong performance at the Las Vegas Summer League. Ian Clark, in his second training camp with the team, has been more self-assured handling the basketball. A training-camp invitee on a nonguaranteed contract, JaVale McGee is cementing his status as Golden State’s best rim protector.

“I think a couple people have either said or written that our bench is going to be … weaker than last year,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I think we’ve got every reason to believe we can play the same way, strength in numbers.”

The Clippers will provide fans a free preview of the 2016-17 team on Saturday, Oct. 1 during an open to the public practice on the campus of UC Irvine at the Bren Events Center.

Doors open to fans at 11:45 a.m. The event should end around 1:15 p.m.

In addition to the team practice, the Clippers Spirit dance team will perform, and the team’s mascot, Chuck the Condor, will do stuff that mascots do.

The Open Practice is a ticketed event. Admission is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Visit for more information.

The Warriors today promoted Kent Lacob to general manager of the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced today. Ryan Atkinson, who joined the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2013, has earned a promotion to assistant general manager.

Lacob is entering his second season with the Warriors organization after serving as Golden State’s coordinator of basketball operations last season. In that role, he assisted with scouting efforts, preparation for the NBA Draft, analytics projects and the team’s efforts with implementing wearable technology. The Woodside, CA, native attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he played guard for the men’s basketball team and was named captain of the club as a senior in 2014-15. He graduated with a degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and a minor in Commercial Entrepreneurship.

Atkinson joined the Santa Cruz Warriors as director of basketball operations prior to the 2013-14 campaign, where he managed team travel and served as a liaison between the coaching staff and the front office. The Atlanta, GA, native, who earned a master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco and a bachelor’s in Sport Management from Missouri Western State University, also worked as a clubhouse attendant with the Oakland Athletics from 2009 to 2016.

Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal with an update on the Grizzlies’ key new small forward:

Chandler Parsons not healthy yet for Grizzlies

The bad news centered on the Grizzlies’ fancy new free agent. General manager Chris Wallace said Parsons is “progressing” but declined to say when he is expected to be able to play.

As for Parsons himself, he said “I’ve had no pain, I’ve had no swelling, I’ve had no setbacks.” But Parsons still isn’t doing any real basketball activity, and didn’t reveal when he might begin.

“Obviously, it’s a big-picture thing,” said Parsons. “The doctors don’t want to rush it back.”

Which is understandable and appropriate, of course. Best to have Parsons healthy over the long haul. But if all this starts to remind you of another injured free agent the Grizzlies signed from Dallas — Vince Carter — you are not alone. Carter wasn’t fully healthy until a year after the Grizzlies acquired him. Let’s hope Parsons is ready sooner than that.

Jahlil Okafor back after knee surgery

Here’s an update from the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, one of the team’s key young building blocks who is currently limited at practice as he works his way back but is considered generally healthy:

Jahlil Okafor ready to go for Sixers

Okafor is getting back in the groove after having season-ending surgery on March 22 to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The injury cost the NBA all-rookie selection the final 23 games of the season. A CAT scan on March 8 revealed the tear.

The 20-year-old, who played in 53 games, was the team’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game last season. He became the first Sixers rookie since Allen Iverson in the 1996-97 season to lead the team in scoring over a minimum of 50 games. He also averaged 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 blocks and shot 50.8 percent from the field.

Who will start at SF for Clippers?

The usual Clippers starters are back: Chris Paul and J.J. Redick in the backcourt, Blake Griffin at power forward, and DeAndre Jordan at center. As for who may get the starting nod at small forward, here’s the OC Register reporting:

When the doors opened at the Bren Events Center, those guys were going to be playing with the first unit. But the fifth guy? That was, and remains, a bit of mystery.

On the opening day of training camp Tuesday, Luc Mbah a Moute played with the starters during the period open to the media. Earlier in the day, free agent addition Alan Anderson also worked with the starters. Wesley Johnson, who couldn’t hang on to a spot in the starting lineup last year, also is expected to get a chance with the starters at small forward.

“It’s the first day. I think that job is wide open,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I’d say Luc, Alan, Wes would be the three, but we may go small. Like I said last year, and didn’t follow through on it, that position will change a lot. Last year, we ran a lot with the small lineup, three guards, and we may do that to start games.”

Dante Exum healthy, ready to return

Young Jazz point guard Dante Exum played all 82 games as a rookie, averaging 4.8 ppg on 34.9% FG. He then missed his entire second season due to injury. Exum is now healthy and set to return to action, though the Jazz have now added veteran PG George Hill, which takes pressure off of Exum and allows him to develop at his own pace. Here’s the Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

nba blog

Exum, the fifth pick of the 2014 draft, said he’s never been so pumped up for a practice as he was leading up to the beginning of training camp. Sitting out for a year can do that to a hungry and enthusiastic young man.

“I was just excited to get back out there,” Exum said after the first of two practices Tuesday. “I was feeling good. … I was just ready to come out there, talk when I can and run between every drill.”

Both his attitude and his body were at 100 percent as he returned from a yearlong rehab that followed his September 2015 surgery on his left knee that had been injured in a friendly international game with the Australian team.

Exum said sitting out of games — especially staying home watching on TV when the team was on the road — was his biggest challenge during that lengthy ordeal. He also struggled seeing his teammates practice and improve while he wasn’t able to do anything on the court. The mental part of this experience, one prolonged by the Jazz’s extra-cautious rehab process, could be more difficult than the physical at times. Even so, he learned patience and got to know his coach’s mindset better while sitting behind the bench during games.

Cavaliers coaching staff announced

Cavaliers coaching staff announced

The Cavaliers have promoted Larry Drew to Associate Head Coach on Head Coach Tyronn Lue’s staff.

“We are extremely pleased to secure Coach Lue’s staff into the future. The diverse talents and wealth of experience they bring to our Cavs family is, and has been, essential to our growth and evolution as a Championship-caliber franchise,” said Cavs General Manager David Griffin.

Additionally, Damon Jones was named a Cavs Assistant Coach, joining Jim Boylan, Mike Longabardi and James Posey. Phil Handy returns as Cavs Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach and Vitaly Potapenko remains as Assistant Director of Player Development. Mike Gerrity has been promoted to Director of Player Development for the Charge and will serve as Player Development Assistant with the Cavs.

The Cavs also promoted Dan Vincent, formerly the Cavs Manager of Video/Advance Scouting, to Special Assistant to the Head Coach/Manager of Advanced Scouting.

The Canton Change, the Cavaliers exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League team, have promoted Nate Reinking to Head Coach. Reinking was formerly an Assistant Coach for the Charge.

In Canton, Melvin Ely and Sam Jones have been hired as Assistant Coaches on Charge Head Coach Nate Reinking’s staff.

Kawhi Leonard the leader for Spurs

The Spurs last season were led offensively by Kawhi Leonard (21.1 ppg), LaMarcus Aldridge (18.0 rpg) and Tony Parker (11.9 ppg). Defensively, Leonard is the best on the squad. With Tim Duncan retired but Pau Gasol now on board and Aldridge still ready to score and rebound, Leonard is still the best all-around weapon on the squad.

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News:

Kawhi Leonard the leader for Spurs

Leonard led the team on both the offensive and defensive ends last season, and he spent the offseason trying to figure how how to lead them somewhere else — the locker room.

“Just becoming a leader,” he said. “Just making sure I know what’s going on on the floor in every position. Just being ready to really get my mentality at leading this group this year, that’s pretty much it.”

Leonard thinks that the Spurs have a championship roster. They added two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol to the roster, whom Leonard said is knowledgeable, skilled and should fit right in. But he knows that the bread and butter of the Spurs’ offense this season will come from him and LaMarcus Aldridge.

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