Western Notes: O’Brien, Suns, Towns

J.J. O’Brien‘s gamble on the D-League has paid off, according to Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune. The 6’7″ forward signed a 10-day contract with the Jazz today and will be available for tonight’s game with the Lakers. O’Brien played for Utah’s summer league team and earned an invitation to training camp. After being cut, he decided to join the franchise’s D-League affiliate in Idaho rather than seek a larger contract with an overseas team. He averaged 9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 24 games with the Stampede. “I had a pretty good confidence in myself that I could get to this level,” he said. “It’s the ultimate dream to get here. The best way to do that is to be here playing in the D-League.”

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • GM Ryan McDonough is remaining positive about the Suns‘ future, even as losses pile up, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Phoenix has dropped 12 of its last 13 contests, but is still on the edge of the playoff race, trailing eighth seed Utah by just five games. The team’s performance in the next few weeks will determine McDonough’s course of action. “Over the next month or so,” he said, “we’ll evaluate where we are and what our options are and be realistic about who we are as a team and what we can do this year as we get closer to the trade deadline.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns may have landed with a struggling franchise, but he’s very happy to be in Minnesota, writes John Krawczynski of the Associated Press. The top pick in the 2015 draft has made an immediate impact, averaging 15.7 points and 9.4 rebounds over the first half of the season and putting himself in the race for Rookie of the Year honors. He also feels comfortable in Minneapolis, even though the Wolves are off to a 12-28 start. “I think I’m more and more a part of this community every day,” Towns said. “I love it here. I love absolutely everything here.”
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