Nets Will Replace Michael Beasley

Nets forward Michael Beasley will become the summer’s first substitute player who requires a substitute player of his own, as Shams Charania reports (via Twitter) that Beasley won’t be joining the team after all.

Beasley signed with Brooklyn a week ago, but tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving to the Walt Disney World campus and didn’t clear quarantine. As a result, the Nets have decided to sign a substitute player to replace him. Although Charania doesn’t specify who that player will be, he notes that Justin Anderson “remains a signing candidate.”

Anderson reportedly reached a deal back in June to sign with the Nets and said during an appearance on the JWILLY Show (YouTube link) on Monday that he was quarantining in an Orlando-area hotel in preparation.

It’s a tough break for Beasley, who had been out of the NBA since February of 2019 and likely would have had a chance to earn some playing time this summer for the Nets, who are missing a total of seven players from their original squad.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Nicolas Claxton are sidelined with injuries, Wilson Chandler voluntarily opted out, and DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Taurean Prince have been ruled out following positive coronavirus tests. Beasley becomes the eighth Nets player who won’t participate in the restart.

Brooklyn has been able to sign substitute players to replace its non-injured players, bringing aboard Jamal Crawford, Lance Thomas, and Donta Hall along with Beasley. The former No. 2 overall pick will now be replaced by a fifth substitute player, presumably Anderson.

Zion Williamson Leaves NBA Campus For Urgent Family Matter

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus in order to attend to an “urgent family medical matter,” the team announced today in a brief press release. The expectation is that Williamson will rejoin the team in Orlando at a later date.

“We fully support Zion’s decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family,” Pelicans VP of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. “Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time.”

The NBA has a protocol in place for players who receive approval to leave the Disney campus for a personal matter, as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer relays. As long as the player tests negative for the coronavirus for each of the seven days preceding his return to campus (or tests negative every day, if he’s away for fewer than seven days), he is subject to only a four-day quarantine period upon returning.

An unexcused absence or a failure to follow those guidelines would result in a 10-day quarantine period upon the player’s return to campus. However, with seeding games just two weeks away, I’d expect Williamson to be careful about following the league’s protocols to ensure he maximizes his availability for New Orleans’ eight upcoming games.

The Pelicans will take part in the first game of the NBA restart on July 30 vs. Utah. That game will be followed by crucial matchups with the Clippers (August 1), Grizzlies (August 3), and Kings (August 6). New Orleans’ schedule finishes with games against the Wizards (August 7), Spurs (August 9), Kings (August 11), and Magic (August 13).

The Pelicans, who are 3.5 games back of Memphis for the No. 8 spot in the West, have one of the more favorable summer schedules and are in position to challenge the Grizzlies for the conference’s final playoff spot. The club will hope that Williamson can be a key part of that postseason chase — he has averaged 23.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG in 19 games (29.7 MPG) in his first NBA season.

Hoops Rumors Glossary: NBA Draft Lottery

The NBA’s draft lottery, which takes place annually between the end of the regular season and the draft, is the league’s way of determining the draft order and disincentivizing second-half tanking. The lottery gives each of the 14 non-playoff teams – or whichever clubs hold those teams’ first-round picks – a chance to land one of the top four selections in the draft.

Although the top four picks of each draft are up for grabs via the lottery, the remaining order is determined by record, worst to best. The league’s worst team isn’t guaranteed a top-four spot in the draft, but is tied for the best chance to land the first overall pick and will receive the fifth overall selection at worst.

The first four picks are determined by a draw of ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14. Four balls are drawn, resulting in a total of 1,001 possible outcomes. 1,000 of those outcomes are assigned to the 14-non playoff teams — for instance, if balls numbered 4, 7, 8, and 13 were chosen, that combination would belong to one of the 14 lottery teams. The 1,001st combination remains unassigned, and a re-draw would occur if it were ever selected.

The team whose combination is drawn first receives the number one overall pick, and the process is repeated to determine picks two, three, and four. The 14 teams involved in the draft lottery are all assigned a specific number of combinations, as follows (worst to best):

  1. 140 combinations, 14.0% chance of receiving the first overall pick
  2. 140 combinations, 14.0%
  3. 140 combinations, 14.0%
  4. 125 combinations, 12.5%
  5. 105 combinations, 10.5%
  6. 90 combinations, 9.0%
  7. 75 combinations, 7.5%
  8. 60 combinations, 6.0%
  9. 45 combinations, 4.5%
  10. 30 combinations, 3.0%
  11. 20 combinations, 2.0%
  12. 15 combinations, 1.5%
  13. 10 combinations, 1.0%
  14. 5 combinations, 0.5%

If two lottery teams finish the season with identical records, each team receives an equal chance at a top-four pick by averaging the total amount of outcomes for their two positions. For instance, if two teams tie for the league’s fourth-worst record, each club would receive 115 combinations and an 11.5% chance at the first overall pick — an average of the 125 and 105 combinations that the fourth- and fifth-worst teams receive.

If the average amount of combinations for two positions isn’t a whole number, a coin flip determines which team receives the extra combination. For example, if two clubs tied for the league’s third-worst record, the team that wins the coin flip would receive 133 of 1,000 chances at the first overall pick, while the loser would receive 132. The coin flip also determines which team will draft higher in the event that neither club earns a top-four pick.

The table below displays the odds for each lottery team, rounded to one decimal place. Seeds are listed in the left column, while the picks are noted along the top row. For our purposes, the first seed is the NBA’s worst team.

Seed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 14 13.4 12.7 12 47.9
2 14 13.4 12.7 12 27.8 20
3 14 13.4 12.7 12 14.8 26 7
4 12.5 12.2 11.9 11.5 7.2 25.7 16.7 2.2
5 10.5 10.5 10.6 10.5 2.2 19.6 26.7 8.7 0.6
6 9 9.2 9.4 9.6 8.6 29.8 20.6 3.7 0.1
7 7.5 7.8 8.1 8.5 19.7 34.1 12.9 1.3 >0
8 6 6.3 6.7 7.2 34.5 32.1 6.7 0.4 >0
9 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.7 50.7 25.9 3 0.1 >0
10 3 3.3 3.6 4 65.9 19 1.2 >0 >0
11 2 2.2 2.4 2.8 77.6 12.6 0.4 >0
12 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.1 86.1 6.7 0.1
13 1 1.1 1.2 1.4 92.9 2.3
14 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7 97.6

It’s worth noting that the NBA’s lottery format was changed in 2019, with that year’s draft representing the first one that used the new system. Previously, only the top three spots were determined via the lottery and the odds were weighted more in favor of the league’s worst teams.

The odds-smoothing effects of the new system were felt immediately. The Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Lakers – who claimed the Nos. 1, 2, and 4 picks, respectively, in 2019 – each ranked outside of the top six in the initial lottery standings.

In 2020, the lottery format has been tweaked slightly to account for the fact that the NBA was unable to play out its full regular season. The eight teams that were not invited to Orlando to participate in the resumption of the season will receive the top eight spots in the lottery standings. The final six spots will go to the six clubs that don’t make the postseason in Orlando, sorted by their records through March 11.

We previously broke down what the 2020 lottery odds will look like if the Nets, Magic, and Grizzlies all hang onto their playoff spots. This year’s event has been postponed until August 25.

Note: This is a Hoops Rumors Glossary entry. Our glossary posts will explain specific rules relating to trades, free agency, or other aspects of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Information from Tankathon.com and Wikipedia was used in the creation of this post.

Earlier versions of this post were published in 2012, 2013, and 2019.

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Atlantic Notes: Crawford, Walker, Udoka

On Wednesday, recently-signed guards Jamal Crawford and Tyler Johnson practiced for the first time with the Nets down at Disney World, having cleared quarantine (Twitter link). Both veterans are candidates to play a significant amount of minutes for a Nets team that is missing Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, and Taurean Prince due to COVID-19. Brooklyn will play its first game in Orlando on July 31 against the Magic.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The 40-year-old Crawford spoke with reporters on Wednesday night about getting another shot in the NBA with Brooklyn after not playing since the 2018/19 season. Crawford said he was surprised that they called because it looked like his career was over. “It didn’t feel real in some sense,” he said (via Nick Friedell of ESPN). “I was going to sleep that night, and I woke up like, ‘Did this really happen, or was I dreaming? Did the Nets really call and I really signed a contract with them or agreed to a contract?’ And it was real.”
  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said on Wednesday that point guard Kemba Walker is on a “day-on, day-off” plan to build up strength in his knee. However, Stevens thinks Walker should be available when games begin (Twitter links).
  • According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, multiple executives believe that current Sixers assistant coach Ime Udoka will be a future NBA head coach. Udoka is among 10 candidates who interviewed for the Knicks‘ head coach vacancy.

Jonathan Kuminga Opts For G League Professional Path

8:52pm: Kuminga’s deal is expected to be in the $500K range, tweets Charania.

8:35pm: 17-year-old forward Jonathan Kuminga has decided to forgo college and will take the NBA G League professional path for the 2020/21 season, reports Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link). Kuminga confirmed the decision to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Kuminga is one of the top prospects in the 2020 recruiting class, ranking fourth overall on ESPN’s list, — he also comes in at No. 4 on ESPN’s early 2021 mock draft. He becomes the fifth notable prospect to opt to join the G League’s new Select Team — No. 1 recruit Jalen Green will also be part of that squad, as will Daishen Nix, Isaiah Todd, and Kai Sotto.

[RELATED: G League Development Program Revamped, Includes $500K Salaries]

The 6’8″ Kuminga announced on social media last week that he would reveal his decision this Thursday, but ended up doing so a day early.

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kuminga attended The Patrick School in Elizabeth, N.J. He had narrowed his college options to Auburn, Duke, Kentucky and Texas Tech, but was always considered a good bet to go the G League route. He’ll be eligible to enter the draft as early as 2021.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Clippers, Lakers, Morris

The Kings were one of 22 teams chosen to play in the NBA’s restart, which begins in a couple of weeks in Orlando, Florida. The Kings are currently 3.5 games behind Memphis for the eighth seed and could make the playoffs if they can play how they did before the season was suspended.

That will hinge not only on how De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield play, but also how Kings head coach Luke Walton utilizes second-year big man Marvin Bagley. This past weekend, Walton was asked about where does the former Duke standout fit on the court and responded by saying that Bagley is a position-less player.

“We see Marvin as a player that, down the road, is going to be pretty much a position-less type of basketball player,” Walton said. “For now, and getting him back, we got him getting most of his reps at the five and the four.”

Richard Ivanowski of The Sacramento Bee disagrees with Walton’s assessment and opines that Bagley should be considered a center or big man. Ivanowski points out that the former second overall pick struggles to shoot from three-point range (28.8%) and is not someone who can initiate the offense. Instead, Bagley is better around the rim and is an adequate defensive rebounder.

Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers guard Terance Mann, who is the team’s NBPA rep, told reporters on Tuesday that the players’ decision to play was “a pretty long process,” per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (Twitter link). The Clippers, who will be back in action on July 30 against the Lakers, had several Zoom conversations about the restart before deciding to participate, Mann said.
  • Mann also told reporters that he is back to full contact after undergoing hand surgery in March, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Anthony Slater and John Hollinger of The Athletic discussed the current state of the Lakers and where they’ll go from here. The Athletic duo talked about how Los Angeles did in free agency last summer, what to do with Kyle Kuzma (who is eligible for an extension this offseason), and Anthony Davis‘ future.
  • According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), veteran forward Markieff Morris, who has an excused absence, is expected to join the Lakers soon in Disney World.

Spurs’ Trey Lyles Out For Summer Due To Appendectomy

The Spurs‘ frontcourt depth has taken another hit, with head coach Gregg Popovich announcing on Wednesday that power forward Trey Lyles will be sidelined for the summer due to appendicitis (link via Paul Garcia of Project Spurs). The club confirmed in a press release that Lyles underwent an appendectomy earlier today.

San Antonio had already been missing its go-to big man, having ruled out LaMarcus Aldridge for the rest of the season after he underwent shoulder surgery. Lyles had been expected to take on a larger role with Aldridge on the shelf.

Lyles, who signed with the Spurs last summer, averaged 6.4 PPG and 5.7 RPG on .446/.387/.733 shooting in 63 games (53 starts) this season. He played 20.2 minutes per game, while Aldridge averaged 33.1 MPG, so San Antonio will have plenty of minutes to make up in its frontcourt.

As Garcia notes, the Spurs will now have to rely on the likes of Jakob Poeltl, Rudy Gay, Luka Samanic, Drew Eubanks, Chimezie Metu, and recently-signed big man Tyler Zeller up front. They’ll enter the restart four games back of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies. They’ll need to pass the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and Kings in the standings to force a play-in tournament for the No. 8 spot.

Meanwhile, Lyles is under contract for the 2020/21 season, but only $1MM of his $5.5MM salary is guaranteed. Although he isn’t necessarily a lock to be retained, that looks like a reasonably team-friendly price for a regular rotation player.

De’Aaron Fox Sprains Ankle, Will Be Reevaluated In 7-10 Days

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has suffered a left ankle sprain, the team announced today in a press release. The injury, which Fox sustained during Wednesday’s practice, will be reevaluated in approximately seven-to-10 days, according to the club.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Fox and the Kings, who will want their point guard at full strength during their eight seeding games this summer if they hope to make a serious push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

If it’s a mild sprain, perhaps Fox will be close to returning when he’s evaluated next week. However, a more significant sprain would likely force him out of action for at least some of those seeding games. Given the abridged ramp-up period leading up to the restart, the Kings will want to be cautious with one of their cornerstone players, making sure not to rush him back.

Sacramento’s summer schedule gets underway on July 31 when the team faces the Spurs.

And-Ones: Early Entrants, FAs, M. Williams, Draft

NCAA early entrants who are testing the 2020 NBA draft waters will have less than three more weeks to decide whether or not to keep their names in the draft pool. According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link), an NCAA official has clarified that the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for early entrants will be August 3 at 5:00 pm ET.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Draft Early Entrants List]

The NCAA had previously announced that this year’s withdrawal deadline would be postponed until August 3 or 10 days after the NBA draft combine, whichever came later. With the status of this year’s combine still up in the air, August 3 is now the official withdrawal deadline.

Early entrants can still withdraw their names up until October 6, which is the NBA’s deadline. However, college players who do so after August 3 won’t be eligible to return to their NCAA teams.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world: