Western Notes: Powell, Aldridge, Knight

The strong play of Dwight Powell for the Mavericks has given the franchise some enduring benefit from last season’s trade for Rajon Rondo, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com writes. Powell has worked extremely hard to develop his game, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated by his teammates, MacMahon adds. “The kid basically sleeps in the gym,” Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki told reporters. “He never goes home. It seems like every time I come in, he’s in there working, either lifting or running or shooting. He just wants to get better all the time. Now that he’s got some playing time, he’s still working harder than everybody else.” The 24-year-old is averaging 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds thus far this season, well above his career numbers of 5.2 PPG and 3.5 RPG.

Here’s more from the West:

  • The Suns‘ decision to acquire Brandon Knight from the Bucks last season is finally starting to pay off, with Knight playing some of the best basketball of his young career as he and Eric Bledsoe mesh perfectly together, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation in his analysis of Phoenix’s backcourt duo.
  • The Spurs have recalled Jonathon Simmons from their D-League affiliate in Austin, the team announced via press release. Simmons notched 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in one contest on his assignment.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge remains happy with his decision to join the Spurs over the offseason, and he is pleased with his relationship with coach Gregg Popovich thus far, Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com writes. “He’s very particular as far as basketball, you know, doing things right,” Aldridge said about his new coach. “But as soon as the game is over, he’s on to a different thing, making sure we are good as human beings. I think that’s a really good balance. He doesn’t burn you out. He’s not always basketball, basketball, basketball. He actually gives you the time to be free.
  • It’s the play and “aloofness” of James Harden that’s frustrated Rockets teammates, Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today write, clarifying Zillgitt’s earlier tweet that Harden’s “style” had created tension.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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