July 2, 2018, 11:45 pm
Bringing in Seth Curry doesn’t make letting walk Ed Davis any more palatable, nor explain the curious decision to guarantee Jake Layman‘s contract after non-tendering Pat Connaughton at a similar price. Acquiring another guard only exacerbates existing positional redundancy rather than filling a hole on the roster, too. But for a two-year, $5.8 million deal, the Portland Trail Blazers certainly could have done far worse than Curry, who finally emerged from under his older brother’s shadow two seasons ago before succumbing to injury that forced him to miss all of 2017-18 – and made him available at a bargain in the first place.
Curry, who turns 28 in August, established himself as a bonafide NBA rotation player in 2016-17, his first and only season with the Dallas Mavericks. He shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range on 4.6 attempts per game, an impressive number that nonetheless fails to paint an accurate portrayal of his true ability. Curry connected on a scorching 44.9 percent of his pull-up triples two seasons ago, per NBA.com/stats, the league’s second-best mark behind Troy Daniels. His accuracy was stellar regardless of how many times he put the ball on the floor before launching, too. Curry went 32-of-74, good for 43.2 percent, on 3-pointers attempted after he took at least three dribbles, evidence of his underrated ability with the ball in his hands.
The Duke product is hardly just a standstill shooter. Rick Carlisle, in dire need of perimeter dynamism, empowered Curry as a ball handler like no prior coach ever had, unearthing a far more versatile offensive performer than anyone realized. Only Tony Parker and LeBron James shot better than Curry’s 50.0 percent from the field in pick-and-roll action, and his .99 points per possession on such plays ranked in the 88th percentile overall. He posted a career-best 19.0 assist percentage, too, a number not on par with point guards, but definitely acceptable for a score-first player who spent a lot of time as a de facto floor general.
At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, noticeably less chiseled than his older brother, Curry looks the part of a defensive liability. While he can be attacked by bigger, more athletic guards and is always susceptible to mismatches after a switch, he’s still hardly the sieve on defense his body and reputation suggest. Curry’s effort and intensity never wanes, allowing him to play bigger than his size, and he has extremely quick hands. Most of all, though, he’s an extremely smart and instinctual defender, rarely behind the play and often in front of it.
Indeed, it will be tough for Terry Stotts to slot Curry next to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum against many teams, and that trio will always be unplayable for extended stretches should the Blazers advance deep into the playoffs. His addition doesn’t allow Portland greater lineup flexibility, nor address the need for another talented scorer to put alongside its star guards in crunch time. But for just more than half of the tax-payer’s mid-level exception, the Blazers have replaced Shabazz Napier with a superior player, one better suited to Stotts’ offensive attack – health provided, of course.
Curry’s agent told NBC Sports Northwest that his client has been cleared to play for “about three weeks,” though other outlets are reporting Curry was issued a clean bill of health earlier in the summer. Considering he was first sidelined with a stress reaction in his tibia during last year’s preseason slate and didn’t go under the knife until February, it’s prudent to view Curry’s injury-status with caution. Clearly, Neil Olshey has enough confidence in his health to use a portion of Portland’s only surefire team-building chip on a player who never made it back to the floor last season despite a minor initial diagnosis. Only time will tell whether that trust is paid off.
In a vacuum, Curry is obviously worth the risk associated with a deal that pays him less than $3 million annually. Shooting has never been more valuable or at more of a premium than today, and he’s the type of marksman who can make teams pay from all over the floor, with or without the ball. It’s hard to imagine Curry coughing up open triples the way Napier and Connaughton did again and again down the stretch of 2017-18. Don’t be fooled by DeMarcus Cousins taking the full tax-payer’s mid-level from the Golden State Warriors, either. Portland was never going to get any highly sought-after player, let alone a wing, to come to town for a discount; bargain hunting for players with boom potential makes the most sense given this team’s financial constraints and need for helpful change.
Does Curry move the needle for the Blazers all by himself? Of course not. He’s just a useful part of the machine as opposed to its cog. After watching Portland’s surprisingly successful bench get decimated over the last few days, though, fans should be heartened that Curry is coming aboard – especially given the terms of his contract.
June 24, 2019, 10:57 pmRudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert has won the 2018-2018 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Gobert helped anchor one of the best defenses in the league and this makes it the second consecutive year he's taken home the award. The Jazz are always steady due to his efforts on that end of the floor and the team's identity starts with him.
Source: NBA on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 10:51 pmMike Budenholzer - Team - Milwaukee Bucks
Mike Budenholzer has been named the Coach of the Year for the 2018-2019 season.
In his first season as the Bucks’ coach, Budenholzer helped propel the team to an NBA-best 60 wins. The Bucks revamped their offense and did their best to play through Giannis Antetokounmpo’s strengths and the drastic shift in performance compared to years past makes this a well deserved award.
Source: NBA on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 9:58 pmLou Williams - SG - Los Angeles Clippers
Lou Williams collected his third Kia NBA Sixth Man Award on Monday night, winning it over Domantas Sabonis and Montrezl Harrell.
Williams wasn't needed quite as much this season due to the heath of his teammates. That caused his minutes to drop from 32.8 to 26.6 per game, but he still scored 20.0 points per game and even increased his rebounds and assists to career highs.
Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 9:51 pmMike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Conley won two awards Monday night that were voted on by the players, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and the Sportsmanship Award.
It's nice to see Conley getting some attention this summer. This is his third Sportsmanship Award, and he'll be taking that and his Teammate of the Year Award to probably the best team he's ever been a part of in Utah. Now let's see if he can get his first All Star nod, too.
Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 9:42 pmPascal Siakam - PF - Toronto Raptors
Pascal Siakam took home the Kia Most Improved Player Award, beating De'Aaron Fox and D'Angelo Russell.
This award was seemingly wrapped up back in November. Siakam exploded this season, improving significantly is every fantasy category (excluding turnovers). He finished the regular season with per-game averages of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 threes on 54.9 percent from the field and 78.5 percent from the line. His three-point percentage has increased from 14.3 to 22.0 to 36.9 as well. Whether or not Kawhi Leonard returns, Siakam should easily make his way into the top-40 ranks next season.
Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 9:30 pmLuka Doncic - PG - Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic won the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award, beating finalists Trae Young and DeAndre Ayton.
Ayton had the best fantasy season and Young had an amazing second half. However, Luka was a team leader, primary ball-handler and clutch shot-maker all season. His per-game averages of 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.3 threes exceed most expectations. If he can bump up his percentages, he could be an early-round fantasy star for over a decade.
Source: NBA on TNT
June 24, 2019, 8:32 pmPatrick Beverley - PG - Los Angeles Clippers
According to Brad Townsend, Patrick Beverley plans to meet with the Mavs, though a meeting has not been scheduled.
He's also planning to meet with other teams, as we've heard before. Beverley appears to be in-demand this summer and he should produce similar stats to what he's put up over the last few seasons regardless of his landing spot. Whether he's with a bad team like the Bulls, a middling team like the Mavs or a potential contender like the Lakers, one would think he'll be signing in a spot where he'll be starting.
Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 5:55 pmMarkelle Fultz - PG - Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz (shoulder) will not play at Summer League, according to GM John Hammond.
Fultz has reportedly been making good progress and the Magic are excited about what he's been able to do since coming over at the trade deadline, but this is not great news. Hopefully Fultz will be ready to contribute in the preseason so we can get a look at how he'll fit in Orlando. The upside is immense but it would take a strong showing to confidently draft Fultz in redraft formats as his shoulder issues have completely derailed the first few years of his career.
Source: 96.9 The Game on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 5:29 pmHaywood Highsmith - PF - Philadelphia Sixers
The Sixers have waived Haywood Highsmith.
Highsmith joined the Sixers on a two-way deal last season but only appeared in five games. Expect them to use that spot on a more established G-League player or a rookie with some upside.
Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter
June 24, 2019, 5:26 pmNando De Colo - G - Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have extended a qualifying offer to Nando De Colo, making him a restricted free agent.
De Colo has spent the last five seasons out of the NBA but has been fantastic for CSKA Moscow, earning a reputation as one of the strongest players currently not in the Association. The Raptors have been doing the proper paperwork since he left and will now have the right to match any other offers that come his way as he prepares for a comeback. It’s entirely possible that they keep him around as a third point guard if the price is right.
Source: Keith Smith on Twitter