Southwest Notes: Jones, Poeltl, Harden, Hinton

After a knee injury prevented him from suiting up for the Grizzlies during the NBA’s summer restart, backup point guard Tyus Jones is finally returning to the court for Memphis during the preseason, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.

“I’m a competitor, so I wanted to be out there on the court,” Jones said. “That motivated me this offseason to attack rehab, get back healthy, get in great shape and be ready to go when this season got started.” Without Jones, the Grizzlies finished as the No. 9 seed and lost a play-in game against the Trail Blazers to qualify for the 2020 playoffs in the West.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is hopeful that center Jakob Poeltl will commit to scoring more during the upcoming 2020/21 season, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Popovich wants Poeltl to channel his experiences as a chief scoring option for the Utah Utes into more offensive production this year. “Maybe he’s gotten the impression I don’t want him to score,” Popovich joked. “Maybe that’s my fault.”
  • After perennial Rockets MVP contender James Harden apparently requested a trade out of Houston, the club will need to finesse its relationship with the guard if it hopes to retain him, per Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle. As teams prepare appetizing trade packages for the eight-time All-Star, the Rockets should certainly have plenty of options should they opt to move on.
  • Mavericks rookie shooting guard Nate Hinton had a solid preseason debut for this Dallas, writes Dwain Price of The former University of Houston guard scored eight points, pulled down eight rebounds, and logged four assists. “It’s more spacing on the court (than on the collegiate level), so there’s more opportunities to get into the paint and just make plays and just be a ball player,” Hinton said. “I work hard, and just being around guys like Luka (Doncic) and the vets, and Tim Hardaway and all those guys in practice kind of makes it easier and makes it better for me to play and watch to see how the pace of the game is.”
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