Western Notes: Valanciunas, Lee, Porter Jr., Huestis, Spalding

Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas missed Monday’s game against the Suns due to the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. It’s uncertain how long Valanciunas will be sidelined. He was instructed to leave the bench area 10 days ago due to COVID-19 contact tracing but it turned out to be a “false alarm,” as Valanciunas described it. Rookie Xavier Tillman started in his place.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors might take a longer look at Damion Lee with Kelly Oubre Jr. off to a slow start, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic writes. Lee’s skills mesh more seamlessly with Stephen Curry, so Golden State could even try Lee in a starting role. He had a pair of double-digit scoring outings last week and has shot the ball well from deep (44.7%) with a low turnover rate. Oubre has shot an icy 19.7% on his 3-point tries but the Warriors dipped deeper into the luxury tax by acquiring him, so they’ll likely exercise plenty of patience and hope he returns to last season’s form.
  • Michael Porter Jr.‘s starting spot is safe, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said on Monday, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Porter hasn’t played since December 29 after being placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list. “Bottom line is, he’s the starting small forward at 6’10”, averaging close to 20 points a game and seven rebounds,” Malone said. “Not only are you whole, but you have a really talented player who’s a big part of your current team and also your future.”
  • NBA veterans Josh Huestis and Ray Spalding are among the players on the Rockets’ G League roster, according to a tweet from the Rio Grande Vipers. Huestis played in Germany last season after appearing in 76 career games with the Thunder, including 69 during the 2017/18 season. Spalding was waived by the Hornets in November. He played 13 games with the Suns in 2018/19.
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16 thoughts on “Western Notes: Valanciunas, Lee, Porter Jr., Huestis, Spalding

  1. osaegthong

    ikr. they literally forgot bout lee. he was shooting pretty well last year. lmao warriors better play him more and play oubre off da bench if they really wanna contend dis year

    • Walladipo and Wood

      They made the trade out of total desperation. Horrible move by GSW.

      • Marty McRae

        GSW beat the Lakers last night because of that move. Oubre finally showed out too – right on time!

        How are 100% of your GSW takes wrong? Get ONE right before posting in every thread ever.

        • arc89

          Oubre problem all year is him settling for 3s in the corner. Last night he was moving a lot more and slashing towards the basket. His defense has been good all year so hopefully the offense shows up.

      • jasonbourne23

        I thought the same with his hurrible 3-pt shooting, but his defense has been solid. While he should be playing off the bench and Paschall promoted, Kerr is trying to make him a starter. While Oub Jr has improved, I still think Paschall should start. He’s earned it.

  2. x%sure

    Oubre has a career minus in on/off, and his 35%3pt% was a career best, so he may not get that much better. I was never impressed with that choice for the exception.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    Warriors should go get Love. Obrue is playing his way out so far. I wonder if they even tried to get Gordon instead. Also I’m surprised they haven’t picked up a backup center yet. Wiseman is playing great. But you really want to totally depend on a 19yr old.

    • osaegthong

      man dropped 23 and played excellent defense on lebron limited him to 19 points and 5 rebs. didnt expect that from him. yea i agree all they need is another vet center like alex len who recently got cut by da raptors or dedmon and kyle o quinn.

  4. ABStract

    I can understand the frustration with Oubre, but you gotta admire his hustle. I don’t know if over ever seen a guy fail so often, but not give up…
    I feel like at some point he’s gonna hit his groove and the results will finally match the effort
    Give him a chance people!

  5. El Don

    No brainer to say MPJ is gonna be starting when he is back, I mean dude was playing at an All-Star level, as simple as, he is a star in the league already!

  6. Jeff Zanghi

    Wow Oubre is off to a horrendous start this season. Shooting 19% from 3 and its not like it’s in an overly small sample… he’s taking 5+ a game and averaging barely 1 make. You have to assume he’ll pick it up eventually and get back closer to his career norms but WOW is that a rough start!!

  7. Jeff Zanghi

    Why wouldn’t Porter’s starting spot be safe? I mean just cuz he’s hurt doesn’t mean he should lose his spot. Especially seeing as he’s averaging almost 20 PPG in just his second season. He looks like (if he can stay healthy) one of the best picks of the draft last year… at least when you take into consideration he wasn’t even selected until 14th overall. Not many guys taken that late go on to average 20 PPG in just their 2nd season… so i definitely think if healthy he could go on to develop into quite the special player.

  8. Harden Durant (mvps) and Irving

    Great opportunity for Xavier Tillman to step up his minutes in place of Big Val.

  9. The thing with Porter is that Will Barton has been in that starting spot since way back and recently because MPJ is out. He was very outspoken about his believing he should start – that he’s a starter in the league. I don’t see it though, he doesn’t play well in Denver’s system – it seems like his teammates and coaches roll their eyes when he starts shaking and baking!

    MPJ isn’t without his issues too – very poor defensive awareness, some mental lapses we can maybe attribute to youth and can force his offense at times. He’s too slow to defend 3s but not strong enough to box out 4s (who am I kidding – no one boxes out anymore).

    Denver took a big step back defensively losing Grant, Craig and Plumlee. Given the names often linked with them I’m not sure that Beal would help that much on that side of the floor, esp as it would likely mean Harris is out. They’d still have a 6’3/4″ backcourt. Portland-esque.

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