February 25, 2019, 12:19 am
With the Oscars taking center stage on Sunday, the NBA had a light schedule with only three games on the docket. Spike Lee (congrats on the Oscar), left his courtside seat for the limelight of the Academy Awards, his New York Knicks earned their first home win since December 1st 2018, narrowly missing the unenviable record of the most consecutive home losses. With the Oscars in mind, I’ll be recapping tonight’s games with an added a bonus category if any of the players or coaches are the running for one of the NBA’s season-ending awards.
Don’t forget to Ross daily
Terrence Ross was the Magic’s leading scorer in a revenge game on Sunday in the 113-98 win over the Kawhi-less Toronto Raptors with 28 points, nine boards, three triples and an assist. Ross is a top-120 asset and will be a key contributor if the Magic have any chance of sneaking into the playoffs, they’re currently one game out of the eighth seed. Nikola Vucevic continued his All-Star season with a full box score, posting 23 points, 12 boards, four assists, three triples, two steals and a block. Jonathan Isaac is starting to get it together, scoring 16 points with three triples, six boards and two blocks. Aaron Gordon has regressed this season and is outside the top-200 over his last two games. Tonight he hit 2-of-11 shots for seven points, seven boards and six assists.
6th Man of the Year – Terrence Ross
The Serge sits early, misses the counters
The Raptors acquired Marc Gasol and on Sunday he drew his first start for them, posting 16 points, fivee boards, five assists and a triple. The Raptors, without Kawhi Leonard, ended up losing by 15, so we’ll see if Nick Nurse sticks with his new lineup. Earlier in the season Nurse would rotate Jonas Valanciunas with Serge Ibaka based on matchups, and so far that’s been the plan. Ibaka was solid tonight but failed to register any counters, a key to his value, with 14 points and five boards. Kyle Lowry was electric with four steals, 19 points, 10 assists, two triples and four boards. Pascal Siakam double-doubled with 10 points, 11 boards, two blocks, two triples and three assists.
Most Improved Player – Pascal Siakam
Jokes in the frontcourt, party in the back
Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap put together a frontcourt display on Sunday, combining for 43 points, 32 boards, five assists, six steals, three blocks and two triples in a 123-96 win over the Clippers. The game was close heading into halftime but a strong finish to the second frame and a blistering start to the third put the game out of reach. Denver’s backcourt had four players in double figures, led by Jamal Murray’s 16 points, six assists and two triples. With everyone getting healthy Denver has six players who’re capable of scoring in double digits in their backcourt. Isaiah Thomas continued his return to the court, logging 24 minutes with 10 points, four assists and a block while Monte Morris scored a dozen with a swat, two steals and two triples. Gary Harris will continue to come off the bench for the time being but he outscored the starter, Malik Beasley 14 points to eight while showing similar contributions across the box. This will likely become a timeshare with only Murray being safe from the daily swings.
MVP – Nikola Jokic
Coach of the Year – Mike Malone
The ship’s taking on water, all-hands-on-deck
The Clippers are currently tied with the Spurs as the 7th and 8th seeds in the West, with the Kings a game outside of the playoffs. They’ll need to do their best to avoid a 0-of-10 shooting night from their starting backcourt moving forward if they want to make it into the postseason. Patrick Beverly missed his only shot of the night while rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed all nine of his as they combined for 3 points, eight assists, two steals, two blocks and seven boards. Landry Shamet, who’s also been starting scored eight points with three steals, a triple and an assist, but only took six shots in 28 minutes. Hopefully, his comfort level continues to grow and he can help his new team, while boosting his owners three-point counts. Lou Williams scored a point-per-minute with 24 points in 24 minutes while fellow Sixth-man-of-the-year candidate Montrezl Harrell struggled with foul trouble and only clocked in 16 minutes. Harrell still delivered eight points, two blocks, a steal and three assists to salvage the night.
6th Man of the Year – Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell
No need to lose your Knickerbockers
The New York Knicks snapped an 18-game losing streak at home on Sunday with the 130-118 win over the Spurs. If the Knicks lost tonight’s game, they would have tied the NBA’s longest home losing streak. Luckily, they matched up with a squad that struggles to deal with fast, athletic teams and they ran them out of the gym. The Knicks had six players in double figures, all of whom scored at least 15 points. Mitchell Robinson was the top producer fantasy-wise with 15 points, 14 boards and five blocks. Damyean Dotson, the rookie out of Oregon hit eight triples, the most since 2014 by a Knick, en route to 27 points, five boards, two assists and a steal. Dennis Smith Jr. missed a spectacular poster opportunity at one point but still brought it with 19 points, 13 assists, two steals and six boards. Kevin Knox scored 19 with 10 boards, one triple, two assists and a block. Emanuel Mudiay scored 12 points in an eight-minute stretch at one point and finished with 19 points with three triples.
The Moment was Spurred too late
The San Antonio Spurs are now on the bubble of the playoff chase out West, with an identical record to the Clippers while owning the tiebreaker. They fell behind early in this game and the last-minute fourth-quarter run saw them close the gap to single digits before the Knicks put the game out of reach for good. DeMar DeRozan did his best with 32 points, nine boards, four assists, a steal and a block. LaMarcus Aldridge was frustrated all night with foul trouble, only logging 21 minutes with 18 points, three boards and two blocks. Bryn Forbes continued his steady play with 15 points, two triples, six boards and three assists. Jakob Poeltl barely avoided being on Dennis Smith’s poster but delivered some value with 12 points, nine boards and two assists.
June 19, 2019, 5:19 pmDarius Garland - PG - College
According to John Gambadoro, the Pelicans are receiving plenty of interest from other teams who are looking to move up to the No. 4 pick to select point guard Darius Garland.
The Pelicans have agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers and one piece that they would receive in return is the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft. With several teams interested in acquiring the Vanderbilt product, the Pelicans may look to move down in the draft while trying to acquire a veteran who can help this young core compete as soon as this upcoming season.
Source: John Gambadoro on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 4:03 pmSteven Adams - C - Oklahoma City Thunder
According to Jake Fischer of SI, the Thunder are looking to shed salaries of players like Steven Adams, Dennis Schroeder and Andre Roberson to get under the salary cap and are willing to toss in the No. 21 pick to sweeten the deal.
Fischer isn't typically a big newsbreaker but there have been several stories indicating that the Thunder are attempting to shed some salary. Steven Adams has two more years on his contract that will pay him a total of $53M. Despite the big price tag, there will be interest in the Kiwi by some teams with cap space in need of a rim protector, especially when the Thunder throw in a first round pick.
Source: Jake Fischer on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 2:44 pmDavid Vanterpool - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have hired David Vanterpool as an assistant coach.
Vanterpool was a popular name on the interview circuit this summer but ultimately did not land a head coaching job. An assistant with Portland for the last seven seasons, one would expect that Vanterpool's responsibilities will increase in Minnesota.
Source: Timberwolves PR on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 2:41 pmAl Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer is reporting that the Mavs, Lakers and Clippers have all shown interest in Al Horford, with some of O'Connor's sources indicating that the Mavs are the frontrunners.
Horford was expected to re-sign with the Celtics but the two didn't appear to be aligned in what they wanted moving forward, and rumors have Horford set to cash in on a four-year deal worth more than $100 million. He is an extremely malleable player who does almost everything at a high level, and his availability drastically changes the open market. Horford is a fit on just about any team build and should have no problem commanding a big offer come June 30. He'd be a fantastic pickup for any of the three teams mentioned, and his fit in Dallas next to two young, do-it-all stars would be great entertainment.
Source: The Ringer
June 19, 2019, 1:59 pmJa Morant - G - College
Ja Morant says he’s pain-free after undergoing a surgery to remove loose bodies from his right knee, and also expects to play in Summer League.
Morant is widely expected to be taken by the Grizzlies at No. 2 overall in Thursday’s draft, and Wednesday’s trade of Mike Conley completely clears the runway for Morant to play a ton right out of the gates. Delon Wright will also be around and is good enough to push Morant for minutes to an extent, but the Grizzlies figure to spend most of the season exploring a Morant – Jaren Jackson Jr. pairing and figuring out what works around that. Barring a draft night surprise, Morant looks like one of the safer rookies to project in terms of sheer opportunity. There was some worry that his knee procedure would put him behind the eight ball but it no longer seems like that will be the case.
Source: Ben Golliver on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 1:33 pmKyle Korver - G/F - Memphis Grizzlies
Kyle Korver, who will be traded to the Grizzlies when they complete Wednesday's Mike Conley deal, is expected to play one more season, and possibly another beyond that per Marc Stein.
Korver, 38, was said to be mulling retirement but it looks as though he's going to give it another crack. A notorious fitness nut, Korver keeps himself in great shape and relies on a skill that hasn't degraded at all with age. His place on a rebuilding team is questionable, however, and it would be surprising if he spent the entire season in Memphis. Consider him the same 3-point specialist he always is.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 1:29 pmJae Crowder - F - Memphis Grizzlies
Jae Crowder is headed to the Grizzlies as soon as Wednesday's Mike Conley trade is officially completed.
Crowder reasserted himself as a quality stretch four last season after he struggled in his pit stop with Cleveland. He might not hold much utility on a squad that's rebuilding, and Crowder's best shot at fantasy value might be getting re-routed to another team. Regardless, Crowder would only be a late-round guy in 9-cat leagues at best, and he'll likely settle in as a streamer for threes, rebounds and the occasional steal. If he does play out the year in Memphis, he figures to impact the minutes of Kyle Anderson and Avery Bradley.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 1:24 pmGrayson Allen - G - Memphis Grizzlies
Grayson Allen is part of Wednesday's Mike Conley trade and will be headed to the Grizzlies when the deal is completed.
Allen only appeared in 37 games for the Jazz, though he did end up dropping 40 points in the season finale when Utah rested most of its players. On a rebuilding team, Allen is a lock to play more, but whether he becomes more than a deep-league points and threes guy is up for debate.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 11:56 amMike Conley - G - Utah Jazz
The Grizzlies are trading franchise star Mike Conley Jr. to the Jazz for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, the 23rd pick in Thursday's Draft and a future protected first-round pick.
The Jazz were considered the frontrunner to trade for Conley in the last few days and they are able to execute a deal that upgrades their point guard position without selling the farm. It’s now obvious that the Grizzlies will be entering a rebuilding period and Ja Morant seems the obvious choice to replace Conley.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 19, 2019, 11:39 amKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
ESPN’s Jay Williams, a Kevin Durant friend and a partner with KD’s manager, Rich Kleiman, told the NY Post that it’s too early for the Warriors superstar to figure out what the injury means for his free-agent future.
Williams has spoken with Durant since the devastating injury as he is still trying to deal with the post-surgery period. KD has until June 29th, the day before free-agency courting period, to opt out of the final season of his pact. Even though he will miss next season, he is likely to get a max deal either with the Warriors or elsewhere. The Knicks are still interested, believing that if there’s any player who can come back from this debilitating injury, it is Durant, who will be 32 to start the 2020-21 campaign.
Source: NY Post