Bam Adebayo

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has officially announced its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2017/18 season. Ben Simmons of the Sixers and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz – widely viewed as the top two contenders for this season’s Rookie of the Year award – were the only two players to be unanimously selected to the First Team. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received 99 of 100 potential First Team votes.

Listed below are the NBA’s All-Rookie teams for 2017/18, with the player’s vote total in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

First Team:

  • Ben Simmons, Sixers (200)
  • Donovan Mitchell, Jazz (200)
  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics (199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, Bulls (173)

Second Team:

Jackson, who received one First Team vote to go along with 43 Second Team votes, narrowly beat out Bam Adebayo of the Heat for the final spot on the Second Team — Adebayo finished with 44 points.

Outside of Adebayo and the 10 players who earned spots on the All-Rookie teams, 14 other players received votes, with De’Aaron Fox (Kings), OG Anunoby (Raptors), and Jarrett Allen (Nets) leading the way among that group.

Southeast Notes: Morris, Hawks, Hornets, Adebayo

Markieff Morris will be entering the final year of his contract with the Wizards this fall, raising questions about his long-term future in D.C. While Morris’ outlook could change between now and his 2019 free agency, his current preference would be to not only stick with the Wizards beyond his current deal, but also to remain in Washington for several years, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details.

“I would definitely want to finish my career here,” Morris said of the Wizards. “I love playing here. I love being in the city that I was basically raised in and playing for this organization.”

After a first-round exit in the postseason this spring, the Wizards will be looking for ways to improve their roster this season, so Morris isn’t necessarily a lock to return. However, his $8.6MM salary makes him a better value than the team’s two centers, Marcin Gortat ($13.57MM) and Ian Mahinmi ($15.94MM).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Wade, Ellington

Hassan Whiteside headed into the offseason last night with one last jab at Heat coach Erik Spoelstra over playing time, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside spent just 10 minutes on the court during the season-ending loss and played 77 total minutes in the five-game series.

“At least give me a chance to fight,” Whiteside said. “I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance. … We played a style of play Coach wanted. He wanted to utilize more spacing I guess in the playoffs, so that’s why he did it.”

Foul trouble played a role in Whiteside’s lack of minutes, Jackson notes, as did matchup concerns with Philadelphia’s smaller lineups, but there’s an apparent feeling from the coaching staff that the Heat are better without Whiteside on the floor. His playing time dropped sharply during the season, going to 25.3 minutes per game after a career high of 32.6 last year.

The 28-year-old center said he will address the matter this summer with Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley. He is under contract for more than $25.4MM next season with a $27.1MM player option for 2019/20, and Jackson states that the Heat are expected to explore trade options.

There’s more from Miami on the first day of the offseason:

  • The Heat are stuck with a roster talented enough to make the playoffs, but not to be a legitimate contender once they get there, Jackson writes in a separate piece. He recommends significant changes, which will have to come through trades because of the team’s cap situation. He says the Heat would prefer to keep Josh Richardson, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, but adds that Riley should give the Spurs their choice of any two players on the roster if Kawhi Leonard becomes available.
  • Dwyane Wade is in no rush to make a decision about another NBA season, according to Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald. The 36-year-old played well after returning to Miami in February, including a 28-point performance in Game 2 of the playoff series. “Fresh off the NBA season, my 15th year, I’ll sit back and think about that,” Wade said after Tuesday’s loss. “Then, I’ll dive and throw myself into my family. They’re next on my bucket list of making sure I’m there for them. Then when it comes to the basketball side of it, which is a long time away from now, then I’ll think about that. But right now I ain’t concerned with it.”
  • Wayne Ellington hopes to return to Miami, but financial realities could make that difficult, notes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. The Heat own Early Bird Rights on Ellington as he heads into free agency, allowing them to offer a four-year contract starting at $10.9MM with raises up to 8%. However, Miami is roughly $15MM over next year’s cap, so some salary may have to be trimmed before it makes that kind of commitment to Ellington.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Adebayo, Gordon

The Hornets are in a precarious position financially considering that franchise owner Michael Jordan has said that he’s unwilling to dip into the luxury tax for anything less than a deep playoff contender. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer wonders if that could lead to a drastic cap-clearing move.

Charlotte is a shade below the tax line this season, but is already on the hook for about $118MM in 2018/19. That total, Bonnell notes, is for just 11 players. Unlike in years past, the salary cap and luxury tax threshold aren’t expected to rise considerably, so the fact that the Hornets would need to supplement their roster with extra bodies – including a lottery pick on the fixed rookie scale – could put them in a dangerous position.

The Hornets have six players slated to make $12MM or more next season, including Nicolas Batum and his $24MM price tag. While the team has time to find a solution, such conditions could potentially warrant a draconian quick fix, like dealing Jeremy Lamb and his $7.5MM deal for a future second-round pick.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • First-year big man Bam Adebayo has committed to studying game tape and his improvement on the defensive end reflects that, Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel writes. “Bam, for such a young player, is becoming a technician with his discipline and technique and studying players,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’ll definitely be able to build on that.”
  • It has been a disappointing season for Hornets guard Nicolas Batum and while health has played a significant role in that, there’s no denying that his lofty contract is more palatable when he’s bringing more to the table. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, with head coach Steve Clifford back on the sidelines and a clear commitment to getting the ball in his hands early, the swingman has raised his game.
  • The Magic have had to adjust to life without Aaron Gordon lately. John Denton of the team’s official website writes that the forward has been troubled by a lingering hip flexor injury, forcing the rest of the team to adapt on offense.

Southeast Notes: Dedmon, Fournier, Walton, Adebayo

Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon returned to the active roster on Monday evening against the Clippers, Jeff Siegel of Peachtreehoops.com reports. Dedmon missed 19 games with a left tibia stress reaction, which was expected to sideline him 3-6 weeks. Atlanta has been the league’s third-worst defensive club since the Dedmon injury in late November, Siegel notes. Dedmon, who played for the Spurs last season, signed a two-year, $12.3MM deal with the Hawks in July. He holds a player option for next season.

In other news involving the Southeast Division:

  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier shot just 27.5% from the field during the team’s first three games in January and it’s clear he misses injured center Nikola Vucevic, as John Denton of the team’s website explains. Vucevic is Fournier’s best friend on the team and the Euros feed off each other. Vucevic suffered a broken bone in his left hand just before Christmas and is out 6-8 weeks. “Definitely, we have great chemistry and there’s no secret to that,” Fournier told Denton. “No more two-man game with him out.”
  • Heat rookie guard Derrick Walton Jr. has only 14 days of NBA service remaining on his two-way contract, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel notes. That was a factor in the team’s decision to send the University of Michigan product to the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce on Sunday despite injuries to two wing players. He has appeared in 12 games with the Heat. If he returns to the Heat and reaches the 45-day limit, he must either spend the rest of the season in the G League, be offered a standard contract or be released.
  • Rookie Bam Adebayo is likely to drop out of the Heat’s rotation due to a logjam in the frontcourt, Winderman opines in his weekly mailbag. Adebayo’s energy is admirable but he’s prone to defensive mistakes, Winderman explains. For a team fighting for a playoff spot, the club is best served by dividing the minutes at power forward and center among veterans Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson, Winderman adds.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Payton, Gordon

Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from injury this week after missing 13 games with a bone bruise in his left knee. In his absence, the Heat modified their offense a bit to involve their big men in more dribble handoffs and other ball-handling activities, showcasing the skill of players like Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. And as Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reports, Whiteside will be called upon to continue this change.

“You’re going to get assists when you handle the ball more,” he said. “It’s just part of the game. (Coach is) putting it into the big’s hands more (and) I love it, man. I can’t wait to get my hands into that. It’s not as much pick-and-roll as much as it was. It’s more handoffs, bigs flashing to the elbows, that sort of stuff.”

And while Whiteside is eager to see how he fits into the new offense, Winderman figures that the adjustment will be gradual as Whiteside’s playing time increases. As head coach Eric Spoelstra explained, “The rhythm, the timing, the cohesiveness, you can’t take it for granted. You actually have to spend time working at it and getting back into the swing of things. It’s one thing to watch it. It’s different when you drill five on five.”

There’s more today from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic guard Elfrid Payton may be playing some of the best basketball of his career, and it’s on the heels of head coach Frank Vogel asking Payton for more production and aggressiveness in the wake of a rash of injuries to the Magic roster, reports John Denton of NBA.com. Payton has averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds a game on 59.5 percent shooting since he was approached by Vogel.
  • As we discussed yesterday, Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely while he recovers from injury. In another piece for NBA.com, Denton explains how Isaac is being patient and waiting for his ankle to completely heal. Said Isaac, “Just take my time, day-by-day. It’s tough (being out). It takes time and trying to come back when it’s not completely there (physically) is tough, so I just have to be patient and take it day-by-day.’’
  • In yet another story for NBA.com, Denton also profiles how Aaron Gordon is beginning to embrace pressure packed moments. Gordon, only 22, has already made two game-winning three pointers for the Magic this season.

Heat Rumors: Waiters, Johnson, Adebayo

Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters may have offseason surgery to correct his lingering left ankle issues, according to an Associated Press report. Waiters missed the final 13 games of last season due to an ankle sprain and the injury never fully healed, the AP story continues. He’s missed the last two games after re-injuring the ankle and there’s no timetable for his return. “It’s something I don’t like to talk about because there’s nothing we really can do right now but try to take care of it, get it stronger, things like that,” Waiters told the assembled media. “I don’t want to be in this predicament where it’s a little tweak, you’ve got to miss a decent amount just off a little tweak.” However, Waiters does not want to have surgery during the season, the report adds.

In other developments regarding the Heat:

  • Tyler Johnson has provided a spark with both Waiters and starting point guard Goran Dragic sidelined by injuries, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel notes. The combo guard has scored 17 or more points in three games since being moved into the starting lineup. “When Tyler’s at his best version of himself, you just see a bundle of energy and toughness and winning plays,” coach Erik Spoelstra told Winderman and other media members. “It doesn’t matter necessarily how many points he scored. … His confidence is growing every single game, and you can see it. You can see it before your eyes. You can see it happening.”
  • Hassan Whiteside has returned after missing 13 games with a knee injury but rookie Bam Adebayo deserves to stay in the rotation, Winderman opines in a mailbag post. The Heat must acknowledge that Whiteside, Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk are three of their best players and Spoelstra should be able to figure out a way to utilize all of those big men, Winderman adds.
  • The club is in a much better position than last season, as Winderman points out that the Heat entered the Christmas break a year ago 11 games below .500. “I still think there’s some really good things going on with our team, despite the injuries, despite some of the adversity we’re going through,” Spoelstra said. “I like the direction we’re going.”

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Injuries, Dragic

The Heat have been impressed with how quickly rookie big man Bam Adebayo is able to learn and improve, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

He’s a computer,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said, “So every single game he’s putting it, every experience, into that computer and he’s learning at such a rapid pace.”

The rookie out of Kentucky has been a solid replacement for injured star Hassan Whiteside, who has missed the last 13 games with a knee injury. During that span, Adebayo has posted 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest in just under 25 minutes of action.

Of course Adebayo’s ability to learn on the fly is just one of the many appealing characteristics of the 14th-overall draft pick, the 20-year-old’s athleticism is still a sight to behold.

There’s more from the Heat this evening:

  • The 16-15 Heat are confident that they can build a winner without a traditional star, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports writes. “That’s our belief,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I like living in a world where there are only possibilities, not absolutes. In any fields, there can be a thinking that, ‘This is the only way to get it done.’ There are a lot of ways to get to the top. However unrealistic it may seem to people on the outside, those are the kind of challenges that we like.
  • The Heat have been besieged by injuries so far this season and will need to get a handle on them if they hope to truly reach their peak, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel opines. The team is above .500 but a laundry list of injured players continues to haunt them.
  • Although he returned from a three-game absence on Saturday, Goran Dragic‘s elbow injury continues to plague him, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. “I talked to the doc and the pain is there. It is what it is,” Dragic said. “It’s not the first time I’m playing through the pain. I’m going to try to be there for my teammates and try to do what I can and that’s it, end of story — try to do treatments and be professional.

 

Heat Notes: Waiters, Whiteside, Adebayo

The Heat haven’t publicly expressed an interest in bringing Dion Waiters off the bench but that hasn’t deterred the 26-year-old from advocating for his role as a starter anyway. Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post writes that Waiters views himself as a starter in the NBA.

I’m a starter in this league, man, that’s who I am. We’re going to nip that in the bud right now. I’m not coming off no bench,” the guard said.

Waiters argues that he’s never enjoyed a reserve role and only reluctantly accepted it during previous stops in his career. Over the course of his six-year-career, Waiters has started nearly half of his games in the NBA.

There’s more out of Miami this morning:

  • The Heat are in a holding pattern with Hassan Whiteside‘s knee injury, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports. “There is no time table, let’s make no assumptions about that,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s doing a lot better. He’s been working out two, sometimes three times a day.”
  • A lingering tendon injury in his shooting elbow continues to plague Dion Waiters. As a result, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes, he’ll experiment with a shooting sleeve for the first time in his career.
  • The Heat like what they see in Bam Adebayo but aren’t about to hastily ship Hassan Whiteside out of town to facilitate his long-term development. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel discusses the two big men in a question-and-answer feature with readers.

Heat Notes: Waiters, Adebayo, Winslow, Roster, Deadline

Dion Waiters has shown improvements to his game but Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wants to see his guard take further steps to improve his all-around game, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

“I really like the progress he’s making,” Spoelstra said of Waiters. “I know his shooting numbers aren’t showing it right now, not necessarily his turnovers. I think those will come down. I think his shooting percentage will come up because he’s starting to understand different reads, different coverages, the responsibility of having to make plays for our basketball team.”

Waiters, 25, is enjoying another solid season in Miami after he enjoyed a breakout campaign last season. Waiters signed a four-year, $52MM deal to remain with the Heat. While the improvements are noticeable, Spoelstra added that Waiters needs to maintain his focus throughout each game and not lose focus.

“Now, the other side of that is helping him improve all the other 45 minutes of the game offensively, which he is coming a long way,” Spoelstra said.

Below you can read more news out of the Miami Heat organization:

  • In his Ask Ira column, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel addressed the Heat’s decision to start both Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow. While neither man is a scoring threat, Spoelstra prefers to replace injured players with “someone who least impacts the overall rotation.” Thus, it allows the Heat to start with one lineup and gradually mix in other players throughout the game.
  • In another installment of Ask Ira, Winderman breaks down the Heat roster and examines why it has been difficult for the team to achieve consistency.
  • December 15 will be the first day teams can trade players who were signed during this past offseason. While the Heat have not made a December trade in their 30+ years of existence, Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel breaks down the likelihood of Miami swinging a deal and which players could be on the trading block.