Month: April 2018

Community Shootaround: Best New Hall Of Famer

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2018 today with 13 new inductees from across the basketball spectrum. Most prominent for NBA fans are five perimeter players who established themselves as among the best ever at their positions: Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Maurice Cheeks.

All five posted strong Hall of Fame credentials, but part of the fun of sports is arguing about who was the best:

  • Before an injury derailed his career in the late 1990s, Hill was putting up MVP-type numbers each year, finishing third in the voting in 1997. A seven-time All-Star, he popularized the concept of a “point forward” and averaged 7.3 assists per game during the 1996/97 season. A bad ankle limited him to a total of 47 games in what should have been four of his prime seasons, but he recovered and was able to stay in the league until age 40.
  • Kidd was a triple-double machine who led the Nets to the finals twice, then won a title late in his career with the Mavericks. A 10-time All-Star, he led the NBA in assists five times in a six-year period and finished second in the 2002 MVP voting. Kidd is second in career assists and steals and ranks ninth in made 3-pointers.
  • Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 and finished second in the voting in 2007. An eight-time All-Star, he is best known as the creative force behind the high-scoring Suns team from last decade. One of the game’s most accurate shooters, Nash posted four seasons in the 50/40/90 club.
  • Allen holds the record for most 3-pointers with 2,973 and was a 40% career shooter from long distance. He was a huge scorer for Milwaukee and Seattle, and later became a 3-point threat for championship teams in Boston and Miami. A 10-time All-Star, Allen was one of the most feared shooters in the league for 18 seasons.
  • Cheeks was a talented two-way point guard for Sixers teams that were among the league’s best throughout the 1980s. Though he was often overshadowed by more famous teammates, Cheeks was an important contributor, making four All-Star teams and four All-Defensive first teams. He ranks fifth in career steals and 11th in assists.

We want your opinion on these new Hall of Famers. If you could take one of them in his prime to build a team around, which one would you choose? Jump into the comments section below and give us your pick.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/31/18

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Thunder assigned rookie center Dakari Johnson to their Oklahoma City Blue affiliate for today’s playoff game, the team announced in an email. Johnson put up 15 points and five rebounds in a loss to South Bay.
  • The Hawks assigned rookie forward Andrew White to their affiliate in Erie, also for a playoff game today, tweets Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. White had 15 points and seven rebounds in a win over Lakeland.

Kings Sign Nigel Hayes To Multi-Year Deal

MARCH 31, 7:17pm: The signing is official, the Kings announced on their website.

MARCH 30, 7:45pm: The Kings have signed forward Nigel Hayes to a deal for the rest of this season and the 2018/19 campaign, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Hayes has played through an eventful 2017/18 season. The 23-year-old signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers in mid-January but only appeared in two games, accumulating 11 minutes. Los Angeles chose not to re-sign him and he ended up signing a pair of 10-day deals with the Raptors, also appearing in just two games.

All told, the University of Wisconsin product appeared in four NBA games, averaging 2.3 PPG in 17 minutes of action.

The rest of Hayes’ season was split between the G League’s Westchester Knicks and Raptors 905. He had just rejoined the Westchester club for the team’s postseason run, per ESPN’s Ian Begley. In 43 G League games (38 of which came with the Knicks), Hayes averaged 15.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 34 minutes per contest.

Pacific Notes: Ingram, Booker, Gallinari, Warriors

Lakers forward Brandon Ingram was diagnosed today with a concussion and has been placed in the league’s concussion protocol, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The injury Ingram suffered Friday in Milwaukee was initially believed to be a neck muscle contusion, and preliminary concussion tests came up negative.

Ingram was hit in the neck in the third quarter, but didn’t tell the training staff about his symptoms until overtime, according to Bill Oram of the SoCal News Group (Twitter link).

The Lakers will once again be without the dynamic second-year forward, who was playing his second game after missing 12 in a row with an injured groin. He is averaging 16.1 points in 59 games and shooting .390 from 3-point range.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns may have a new coach next season, but Devin Booker places a higher priority on who’s on the court than who’s running the team, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Booker believes coaching won’t be a concern if the talent level is upgraded. “I’ve had three coaches since I’ve been here and I’ve never blamed anything on one of the coaches as an individual,” Booker said. “I’ve had great relationships with all the coaches. I think the NBA just overall, when you need somebody to blame the first person that you go to is the coach. But at the end of the day you need the right players that match each other. Not just the best players. Chemistry helps.”
  • Booker refused to say if he stands by a statement he made in October that he would sign a five-year, $156MM extension if the Suns offered it this summer, Bordow adds in the same story. “I mean, that’s a whole other discussion,” Booker said. “A lot goes into that. When that time comes I’ll have to make a decision. … I’ve always said this is the place I want to be so if everything works out, yeah.”
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari still had pain in his right hand as he returned to the court Friday, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. He played 24 minutes and scored 11 points, but played with black tape wrapped around the hand. Gallinari had missed 18 games with a non-displaced fracture. “Listen, he was OK,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He was better in the second half. I thought his rhythm may have upset other rhythms. You never know. We need him, and we’re going to use him.”
  • Klay Thompson‘s expected return for tonight’s game will result in the Warriors’ 26th different starting lineup of the season, notes Darryl Matsuda of The San Jose Mercury News.

Hoops Rumors Originals: 3/24/18 – 3/31/18

Every week, we here at Hoops Rumors strive to create interesting original content to complement our news feed. Here are the original segments and features from the past seven days:

Injury Updates: Hill, Irving, Wall, Gasol

An MRI confirmed that Cavaliers guard George Hill sprained his left ankle in last night’s win over the Pelicans, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Hill was pulled from the game midway through the third quarter after landing awkwardly on a layup attempt.

Hill has been declared out of Sunday’s game with the Mavericks, but there is no word on his availability beyond that. He will undergo treatment and rehab, but the team hasn’t set a timetable for a return, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Hill has been a valuable addition to the Cavs since he was acquired from the Kings in a deal at the deadline. He has appeared in 22 games, all starts, and is averaging 9.9 points and 2.9 assists per night.

There’s more injury-related news from around the NBA:

  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered an update on the progress of Kyrie Irving, who underwent a procedure on his left knee last week, relays Chris Forsberg of ESPN (Twitter link). “I saw him yesterday,” Stevens said, “spent a lot of time with him. Spirits were good. Bending, extending his knee on a training table. No on-court videos. No 360 dunks.”
  • John Wall played 33 minutes today in his first game since arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in January. However, the Wizards aren’t going to take a chance with using him in back-to-back games as coach Scott Brooks has already ruled him out of Sunday’s contest in Chicago, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • Spurs center Pau Gasol will continue to play through a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). Gasol said the shoulder is “going to nag” him for the rest of the season.
  • An MRI conducted today showed that Trail Blazers forward Ed Davis has a sprained right ankle, according to Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com (Twitter link). Davis will be re-evaluated in seven to 14 days and may miss the start of the playoffs.
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon was removed from today’s game with a right ankle sprain, the team tweeted. Further evaluation will be needed to determine the extent of the damage.
  • Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry is listed as probable for Sunday’s game with the Magic, according to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link). Bembry has been limited to 21 games this season and hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Feb. 23.

Five Key Stories: 3/24/18 – 3/31/18

In case you missed any of this past week’s top stories from around the league, we have you covered with our Week in Review. Below are the most noteworthy stories from the last seven days.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry will miss the first round of the playoffs with a grade 2 left MCL sprain. Golden State coach Steve Kerr confirmed his team will open the postseason without Curry, whose condition will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Sixers center Joel Embiid needed surgery to repair an orbital fracture of his left eye. Embiid was injured in Wednesday’s game after colliding with Markelle Fultz and had to be helped to the locker room. His projected recovery time is two to four weeks.

Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas will miss the rest of the season after arthroscopic surgery on his right hip. Thomas had been relatively pain free since being traded to Los Angeles, but woke up with stiffness in the joint last week. He will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

Darius Bazley, a projected lottery pick in the 2019 draft, may have set a precedent by deciding to play in the G League next season rather than college. Bazley, who had committed to Syracuse, will be eligible to join the league in September. He is the highest-profile player ever to choose the G League over the NCAA.

Zeke Upshaw of the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive died Monday after collapsing on the court during Saturday’s game. Upshaw, 26, spent the past two seasons with the team after playing collegiately at Illinois State and Hofstra.

Here are 10 more headlines from last week:

Joel Embiid Has Surgery, May Be Back In Two Weeks

MARCH 31, 3:26pm: Embiid had surgery today to repair an orbital fracture, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He could be cleared by team doctors to return for the start of the playoffs in two weeks, but the date will depend on his pain threshold (Twitter link).

MARCH 29, 6:57pm: The Sixers have announced in a press release that Joel Embiid has, in fact, been diagnosed with a concussion and will additionally undergo facial surgery after a CT scan revealed an orbital fracture of his left eye.

There is no current timetable for his return, although Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets that a source of his suggests Embiid could resume playing in two-to-four weeks, pending the results of surgery.

Initially Embiid cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol but began to exhibit symptoms later on after being taken to a hospital for further evaluation and testing. Embiid, the team says, has now been formally placed in the league’s concussion protocol.

As we wrote earlier today, Embiid suffered the injury after a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz.

There is no set date for Embiid’s surgery, the team having only specified that the procedure will be performed in the coming days.

Klay Thompson Ready To Play Tonight

After missing eight games with a fractured right thumb, Klay Thompson plans to play tonight against the Kings, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN. Thompson went through the morning shootaround and is officially listed as probable for the contest.

Golden State has gone 3-5 without Thompson and has settled into the second spot in the Western Conference standings. The Warriors are starting to get healthy ahead of the playoffs, with Kevin Durant and Draymond Green already back in the lineup, although Stephen Curry is sidelined through at least the first round of the playoffs.

Thompson is averaging 19.7 points through 66 games and is shooting a career-best .443 from 3-point range. He has been an All-Star the past four seasons.

Kawhi Leonard Back In New York; Return To Court Still Uncertain

With just six games left in the season, Kawhi Leonard has returned to New York in search of a solution for his right quad injury, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN.

Leonard, who has been in New York since Monday, is meeting with doctors outside the Spurs organization to figure out why he hasn’t been able to recover from a quad problem that has limited him to nine games this season. No one is sure when he plans to rejoin the Spurs, and Wojnarowski notes that team officials are losing hope that he will be able to play either in the regular season or the playoffs.

Leonard took a similar trip to meet with his own doctors prior to the All-Star break, but this latest trip comes in the wake of a players-only meeting March 17 to address his status. Wojnarowski has described the meeting as confrontational, but several players denied that. Members of San Antonio’s staff have joined Leonard in New York and are getting regular updates from him.

The 26-year-old, who finished third in last season’s MVP voting, has established himself as one of the top two-way players in the league. He is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and was named MVP of the 2014 Finals. His absence has obviously affected the Spurs, who are fighting for a playoff spot at 44-32, three games ahead of the ninth-place Clippers and Nuggets.

Rumors have been swirling that Leonard’s relationship with the team has soured heading into an offseason where he will become eligible for a super max contract extension worth roughly $217MM over five years. If no extension is reached, he can opt out of a $21.3MM salary and become a free agent next summer.