October 3, 2017, 3:02 pm
Frank Mason was the best player on the floor for Sacramento on Monday night. He tallied a team-high 17 points to go with six rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes.
Mason shot an efficient 5-of-10 from the field, 2-of-4 from three and 5-of-6 at the line. He didn’t look like a rookie when he was on the floor. Mason played with poise and looked like a natural fit in the Kings offense.
Most rookies when they come into the NBA look hesitant, lost and are normally a step behind everyone else on the floor. The 23-year-old Mason entered the 2017 Draft as one of the oldest players in the draft class and it’s for that reason, along with his height, why he dropped to the Kings in the second round.
But it’s also for that reason why he stood out against the Spurs on Monday. Mason played like an NBA veteran with the way he handled the ball and created offense for himself. He rebounded like he’s 6-foot-6 too.
However, his stellar performance in Sacramento’s preseason opener does cause problems for the Kings. Mason wasn’t expected to be featured in the rotation this season. He was meant to be brought up behind George Hill and De’Aaron Fox, and nurtured into the backup point guard role.
Instead, he outplayed everyone else on the floor and made a legitimate case for rotation minutes this season. Now it’s only one preseason game, so it’s best not to overreact too much to this, but he played in a way that seemed sustainable for the foreseeable future and the Kings’ coaching staff would have seen that. For all we know he’s been dominating in training camp too.
The reason this causes a problem for the Kings is that Dave Joerger probably has his rotation set despite the fact preseason has just begun. Joerger’s tendencies are clear, he favors veteran players and there’s no way around that. Frank Mason made Joerger’s job a whole lot harder last night because if he continues to play the way he did, the coaching staff will have no choice but to give Mason regular minutes.
But who loses out as a result?
That’s the problem. Hill is set to start and Fox is the backup. Temple looks to be the starter at two-guard with either Bogdanovic or Hield backing him up. There’s no way to fit Mason into the mix.
Joerger will likely get criticized either way. No matter who he decides to play there’s always going to be someone who misses out that deserves to be on the court and Mason may be that guy.
Fans have already taken a liking to the former Kansas star, and for good reason. He has all the makings of a solid NBA player, but will he get an opportunity to really spread his wings in Sacramento? It’s hard to see at this stage.
February 16, 2019, 9:07 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum clinched the Taco Bell All-Star Skills Challenge by draining a half-court a half-court shot to beat Trae Young in the finals of the competition.
Tatum sealed the deal on this one and is responsible for one of the most exciting finishes in Skills Challenge history. For the past month, Tatum has been posting Top-40 value with 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 46 percent from the field. He's currently cruising as an early-middle round guy and should be even better once the Celtics find their footing.
February 16, 2019, 8:45 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum clinched the All-Star Skills Challenge by draining a half-court a half-court shot to beat Trae Young in the finals of the competition.
Tatum sealed the deal on this one and is responsible for one of the most exciting finishes in Skills Challenge history. For the past month, Tatum has been posting Top-40 value with 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 46 percent from the field. He's currently cruising as a early-middle round guy and should be even better once the Celtics find their footing.
February 16, 2019, 4:24 pmHasheem Thabeet - C - Oklahoma City Thunder
Hasheem Thabeet worked out for the Rockets, Raptors and Pistons while the teams were in Charlotte for All-Star weekend.
Thabeet was the second overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Grizzlies and was quickly one of the biggest busts in NBA history. He was the highest overall pick to be sent to the then D-League until Anthony Bennett secured the top spot. Thabeet is somehow still only 31 years old, and 7'2" centers can certainly provide value in today's NBA, but it's unlikely Thabeet finds his way back into the league. He's currently playing in the Japanese B-League.
Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 4:04 pmDirk Nowitzki - F - Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki said he has not made any final decision on if this is his last season.
"I haven't said this will be it," Nowitzki said, "I'm going to wait and see the last couple of weeks, how my body feels and if I continue to see improvement and I'm still having fun, we'll see." While Dirk has been treating this season as a retirement tour, there's still a chance we see him playing next season.
Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 3:58 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis (left shoulder contusion) said he is unsure if he will play in the All-Star game on Sunday.
Davis said the plan is to play, but we will have to wait and see if he's feeling okay. He's certainly not worried about saving himself for the second-half of the season.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 12:26 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) says he is healthy and plans to play in Sunday's All-Star game.
Irving missed the Celtics' last two games but fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to miss any more with the current injury. Terry Rozier was a hot pickup when Irving initially went down but now goes back to being a handcuff. Irving has put up top-10 per-game value this year with no holes in his fantasy game but he has already missed 11 games. He has missed at least 10 games in seven of his eight NBA seasons so this is something fantasy owners should already be used to.
Source: Gary Washburn on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 12:22 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis said that the Celtics are on his list of preferred destinations.
Moreover, Davis added "they were never not on my list," though he also confirmed that the initial reports of his list including the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers and Bucks were true. Initially it had been said that the Celtics are not a preferred landing spot, and Davis' dad would rather his son play elsewhere. It sounds like everything is on the table now that his push to end up on the Lakers has failed, as Davis also said "all 29 teams" (sorry New Orleans) are on his list. Get ready for more updates on AD's thoughts as the season rolls on.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 10:29 amNikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have agreed to extensions with president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and GM Arturas Karnisovas.
The Nuggets haven't reached the playoffs in the last five seasons but will surely end that streak this year. Their abundance of talent and depth currently has them in second place in the Western Conference although Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas have all been injured for much of the season. Their draft choices and player development over the years has been a big catalyst for this as one could look at Nikola Jokic and the breakout seasons of Jamal Murray, Torrey Craig, Monte Morris and Malik Beasley, all of them having been with Denver since their first day in the NBA.
Source: Denver Post
February 15, 2019, 11:14 pmBen Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers
Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.
February 15, 2019, 11:07 pmKyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.
Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.