NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/21/17

Here are the D-League transactions for the day:

  • The Suns have recalled Derrick Jones Jr. from their D-League affiliate, the team announced via Twitter. Jones Jr. has averaged 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in 18 games in the D-League.
  • The Thunder have recalled Josh Huestis and Semaj Christon from their affiliate in the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. The pair have averaged 18.7 points and 14.2 points respectively during their stints in the D-League.
  • The Sixers have recalled big man Richaun Holmes, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Holmes hasn’t played in an NBA game since suffering a concussion on December 14.

Pacific Notes: Ingram, Tucker, Russell

No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram has made great progress over the course of his first three months in the NBA, writes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register, and the humble Lakers rookie deserves to start in place of veteran Luol Deng.

Oram cites Ingram’s preparation and focus, as well as head coach Luke Walton‘s recent praise of the young forward, as reasons why change should come to the Lakers’ lineup.

There’s plenty of times where the best answer for our success is Brandon,” Walton told Oram after the Lakers took down Indiana on Friday, “And there’s plenty of times where we just want to challenge the hell out of him and see how he responds.”

In 11 January games, Ingram has upped his production, averaging 11.5 points per game versus the 7.1 he recorded in December.

Unless Walton fears a promotion would “douse Ingram’s competitive fire” Oram argues that starting the rookie is a “no-brainer”.

Elsewhere in the Pacific Division:

  • No stranger to trade rumors, P.J. Tucker is well aware of the business side of basketball, writes Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic. “It’s part of business,” the Suns forward said Thursday. “Contract year. Being a defensive player, a lot of teams are looking to make an addition to (help) fight for a championship.”
  • Second-year Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell tweaked his knee Friday, but the mild MCL strain may not even force him to miss time, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t think it’s as bad as I initially thought,” Walton said of the fall. “When I saw him go down, I was pretty worried, but he said he felt all right when I checked on him at halftime.” Russell will undergo an MRI on Saturday.
  • The Achilles injury suffered by Rudy Gay will impact more than just the Kings. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders explores all of the ripple effects that the Gay news could have on the trade  market throughout the league as teams that considered making bids for the forward will have to look elsewhere.

Hoops Rumors Originals: 1/14/7 – 1/21/17

In addition to aggregating the the biggest headlines in basketball, the Hoops Rumors staff was busy pumping out their share of original content this week. Here’s a look back at was published this week.10

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Southwest Notes: Gasol, Ajinca, D’Antoni

The Spurs are once again the No. 2 team in the Western Conference and a given to qualify for and contend in the playoffs. A recent hand injury to Pau Gasol, however, could change that. Ben Alamar of ESPN has explored the impact that Gasol’s absence will have in San Antonio, citing the big man’s staggering efficiency from mid-range as one of the biggest voids that the club will have to fill.

On the other side of the ball, Gasol has long-established himself as a heady defender capable of providing paint protection. This will now fall to reserves Dewyane Dedmon and David Lee. Though Dedmon and Lee have been respectable back ups this season, Alamar isn’t sure they’ll have the same impact as Gasol has with his ability to block shots and limit his fouls.

Gasol, Alamar writes, is second on the Spurs in defensive win shares behind only Kawhi Leonard.

The veteran was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the hand fracture on Friday. No recovery timetable has yet been announced.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Though not shy about expressing his frustration with a lack of playing time, Alexis Ajinca has reportedly not requested a trade from the Pelicans, tweets Justin Verrier of ESPN. Ajinca has racked up 11 DNP-CDs since his last legitimate taste of action on December 23 and has played just three minutes total in January.
  • Offseason addition Mike D’Antoni has made a serious case for Coach of the Year, writes Chris Mannix of The Vertical. His decision to move James Harden to the point has been one of the highlights of his brief tenure. “I watched a lot of tape of him,” D’Antoni told Mannix. “His skills are enormous. Point guard made sense. He was that anyway. We just cut the fat off. The way he plays now, he’s making an impact every minute. So we can play him less minutes. And he’s fresher.”
  • The 2016/17 campaign won’t go down in history for the Mavs, at least not in a good way. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas News has come up with a list of things that have officially gone wrong, chief among them significant injuries to Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut, Devin Harris, Deron Williams and J.J. Barea (again).
  • For the first time this season, the Spurs featured Dejounte Murray prominently in their rotation and the rookie guard responded with a career-high, 24-point showing. “I felt like I had a rhythm the whole game,” Murray told Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News. “I was confident even before he Gregg Popovich told me I was starting. I always stay ready. … My teammates, when they heard I was starting, they cheered me up tried to keep my confidence high.”

Barea To Miss Weeks With Calf Injury

The Mavs could be without J.J. Barea for weeks, says Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. In Friday night’s contest the veteran point guard injured his calf muscle and knew automatically that something was wrong.

After a shot, I went to step to the side, and I think I ran into the fans behind me and the fans sitting down,” Barea told Sneed for his official report after the game. “I looked back, but nobody touched me. When I went to step, that’s when I knew.

The loss is just the latest injury to impact the team that wasn’t expected to struggle as much as they have throughout the first half of 2016/17. Dallas sits 14th in the Western Conference with a 14-29 record.

In 18 healthy games for the Mavs so far this season, Barea has averaged 12.2 points, 4.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. He’s under contract through the 2018/19 season with a cap hit of $4.1MM this year.

Expect reserve Pierre Jackson, currently signed to a 10-day contract, to get extra opportunities for the Mavs while they have him under contract.

Community Shootaround: Kings’ Outlook

If the Kings weren’t considered to be a playoff contender at full strength, they certainly aren’t without Rudy Gay. After averaging 18.7 points on 45.5% shooting in 30 games, Gay tore his left Achilles’ tendon against the Pacers on Wednesday; a season-ending injury.

Gay has vowed on Twitter to come back “stronger than ever,” but the Kings will still face a myriad of issues in 2016/17. Now 11th place in the Western Conference, the Kings sit at 16-26 following a lopsided loss to the Grizzlies. What’s more, the Kings’ roster is full of veterans preventing rookies Malachi RichardsonGeorgios Papagiannis, and Skal Labissiere from receiving court time. Willie Cauley-Stein recently voiced grievances on the lack of opportunity in his sophomore season.

“I feel I was showing stuff at the end of last season that would make people say, ‘Oh, damn, they got a steal in the draft,'” Cauley-Stein told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee. “Now it’s like I took 25 steps forward and 30 steps back. It’s like my whole rookie season didn’t matter and I’m back at square one. Nothing I did last year is having an effect on my career. It’s been very frustrating.”

The team appears unlikely to trade DeMarcus Cousins, but they have several assets who could help another team’s playoff run. With a lack of direction for the 2016/17 season, several on-and-off the court controversies, and no clear path to minutes for younger players, we want to know…

Should the Kings trade off assets and start a complete rebuild? Is there any hope in salvaging the season to grab a No. 7 or 8 seed? Will Gay – who has a player option for the 2017/18 season – opt to remain in Sacramento, or is he a lock to test the market even after his injury?

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/20/17

Here are today’s D-League assignments and recalls:

  • The Hornets recalled Christian Wood from the Greensboro Swarm, the team announced through its website. Wood has appeared in only one game for the Hornets this season, but averaged 19.6 points with 10.1 rebounds through 18 games with Greensboro this season. Wood, who declared for the 2015 draft but went undrafted, scored 61 points over 17 games with the Sixers in 2015/16.
  • The Celtics recalled Demetrius Jackson from the Maine Red Claws, the team announced via Twitter. With point guard Avery Bradley still recovering from an Achilles injury, Jackson stands a chance to play in Saturday’s game against the Trail Blazers. Jackson, who has scored 10 points in four games with Boston this season, averaged 17.9 point through 17 games with Maine. A second round draft pick in 2016, Jackson has now been recalled from the D-League seven times this season.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Wall, Dragic, Hezonja

Controversy surrounded the ending of Thursday’s game between the Knicks and Wizards. Down three points in their final possession, the Knicks attempted to get a shot off while Washington assistant coach Sidney Lowe was standing on the court, appearing to distract Courtney Lee. The NBA addressed Lowe’s actions today, claiming he “should have been assessed a technical foul,” before levying a $15,000 fine against the Wizards and a $5,000 fine to Lowe. Carmelo Anthony stood up for his teammate, claiming Lee was deceived.

“He [Lowe] was on the court. They have six players on the court,” Anthony said of the Wizards’ assistant. “I’ve never seen it before. I’ve never seen that before, especially not in a situation like that. Close game, half court offense, we’re trying to make something happen. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Other goings-on around the Southeast:

  • John Wall, playing at the healthiest he’s been throughout his seven-year NBA career, is posting career-high totals in offensive categories. Unhappy with his perception as a player who wasn’t engaged at practice, the Wizards point guard has worked with a vengeance at the gym. “I wanted to put the work in but I couldn’t because I needed to spend an hour to stretch just to get prepared to practice. That was frustrating,” Wall said, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. “People would tell me I don’t take the NBA seriously. I take this as seriously as possible. Now, I can do a regular stretch for 10 minutes and get a full workout in without having any problem afterward. That’s the key to why I am playing at a higher level.”
  • Goran Dragic has Dwyane Wade‘s competitive spirit, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said this week, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel details. “This game means so much to Goran Dragic,” Spoelstra said. “When we lose, he doesn’t sleep. He takes it hard like a coach would. I get text messages from him about things that he thought he could have done better or differently, hours after the game.” Dragic’s 20.3 points per game are his highest total since 2013/14 with the Suns.
  • The Hornets “have much to prove” at the midway point of the season, Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer writes. Coach Scott Clifford lamented his team’s inability to play to their strengths.  “We are not physically imposing.” Clifford said. “We are not playing three guys who are going to average 23 (points) a night. What we are is we have exceptional basketball IQ, skill level and intelligence. And that only matters if you take advantage of it. So if you’re going to make mistakes and have dumb turnovers — we lost a game the other night with 19 turnovers — we’re not that team. …We can’t turn it over. We can’t beat ourselves.”
  • The playoffs appear to be an afterthought for the Magic, Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders writes. While the Magic expected to be an imposing defensive team, they’ve recently dropped out of the Top 20 in league-wide defense. With an ugly 17-27 mark at the halfway point of the season, coach Frank Vogel is shaking up his rotations, including giving 21-year-old Mario Hezonja additional court time.

Magic Eyeing 10-Day Deal For Anthony Brown

The Orlando Magic are lining up a 10-day contract for Anthony Brown, reports Marc Stein of ESPN (Twitter link). Currently playing for the Erie BayHawks at the D-League showcase in Ontario, Brown would be the first player to receive a call-up from the four-day scouting event.

Brown, 24, has played in parts of two NBA seasons with the Lakers and Pelicans. The former Stanford Cardinal appeared in nine games with New Orleans earlier this season, totaling 34 points and 26 rebounds. Brown has excelled in the D-League, averaging 21.7 points through 15 games with the BayHawks.

Brown is a logical fit with the Magic, whose struggles on offense this season have been well-documented. Brown would provide depth at the two and three, where Orlando is missing Evan Fournier and Jodie Meeks due to injury. The team also has an open spot on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding move would be required.

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