Pelicans reserve point guard Jose Alvarado has evolved into an important contributor for New Orleans in his second season, writes Will Guillory of The Athletic in an extensive feature. Guillory notes that Alvarado provides the Pelicans with a burst of energy in his minutes off the bench, especially on defense.
“A lot of people told me that the sophomore year is a slump year for some guys,” Alvarado told Guillory in an interview. “I wanted people to say, ‘Oh, he improved. What else can he do?’ … Obviously, the GTAs and playing defense is who I am. I accept that. But I’m also a complete basketball player. I can be a great point guard. I’m a knockdown shooter. I think there are a lot of things I can do on the court to help this team.”
There’s more out of the Southwest Division:
- Pelicans All-Star small forward Brandon Ingram is considered day-to-day with a left big toe contusion, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). Lopez adds that imaging indicated the ailing digit had incurred no serious structural damage.
- The 9-9 Mavericks have lost three straight games, but the team is striving to stay focused, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas is currently 1-6 in its road games, and will play an excellent Bucks club in Milwaukee on Sunday in the second game in a back-to-back set. The club has struggled mightily from long range. “We’re able to get into the paint,” head coach Jason Kidd noted. “We’re able to get to the rim and finish. But right now we’re just not shooting the ball straight.”
- Spurs reserve center Zach Collins was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from Saturday’s 143-138 loss to the visiting Lakers after he hit L.A. point guard Russell Westbrook in the head while fighting for a rebound. Per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, the impact was not deliberate. “I shouldn’t have jumped on the pump fake, but I did,” Collins said. “And then the worst thing you can do is give up an and-one in that situation, so I was just trying to come down and hit his arm so the ball wouldn’t get up to the rim.”