Brandon Ingram

Southwest Notes: Alvarado, Ingram, Kidd, Collins

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.”

Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram Exits Friday’s Loss With Toe Injury

Forward Brandon Ingram suffered a left big toe sprain in the second quarter of Friday’s blowout loss to Memphis and did not return, the Pelicans announced (via Twitter).

According to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez, Ingram initially tried to play through the injury after stepping on another player’s foot. He left a couple possessions later and was able to walk to the locker room under his own power, but the fact that he wasn’t able to return for the second half might be a sign that he could miss more time.

The 25-year-old is having another strong season for the Pelicans, averaging 21.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists on .476/.475/.861 shooting through 14 games (33.1 minutes per night). He missed four games earlier this season after sustaining a concussion.

After dropping Friday’s contest, the Pelicans are now 11-8. Second-year wing Trey Murphy started the second half in place of Ingram, and Naji Marshall is another candidate to receive more playing time if Ingram’s future availability is impacted. The Pelicans are off this weekend and face Oklahoma City at home on Monday.

Southwest Notes: McGee, Powell, Ingram, Jones, Tate, More

Signed by the Mavericks during free agency in July after being promised a starting job, JaVale McGee has indeed started all six games he has played so far this season in Dallas. However, he hasn’t logged more than 14 minutes in any of those games, and was on the court for a season-low eight minutes on Wednesday vs. Utah.

With Dwight Powell, a full-time starter last season, playing more than McGee in each of the last three games, head coach Jason Kidd was asked about the Mavericks’ first-quarter struggles and whether Powell could move into the starting five in McGee’s place. As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News tweets, Kidd first joked that he’d do it if he could start six players, then admitted it would be “something we talk about.”

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the Mavs have been a minus-30 in 68 minutes with McGee on the court, compared to a plus-50 in 56 minutes when Powell plays. Powell also earned a rave review on Wednesday from Spencer Dinwiddie, who spoke to reporters for upwards of four minutes about the big man, praising him for doing “a glory-less job” that allows his teammates to succeed, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.

“In a lot of ways, he’s like that great left guard for a football team where Tom Brady is getting all the accolades and endorsements but if that dude isn’t protecting his blind side and isn’t doing it every single time, Tom Brady is getting his head knocked off,” Dinwiddie said. “DP is the ultimate pro. I have the upmost respect for him and I hope every single Mavs fan listens to this monologue and has a different respect level for DP because everybody is not going to get to shoot 20 times and score 30 points and do all of the flashy stuff and dunk and stuff.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Pelicans forwards Brandon Ingram (concussion) and Herbert Jones (knee) have both been listed as probable for Friday’s game vs. Golden State, the team announced in a press release. Jones was initially listed as probable for New Orleans’ game on Wednesday before being downgraded to questionable and then out. However, it sounds like the Pels could have both players – neither of whom has played since October 23 – back tonight.
  • After missing the first four games of the regular season due to an ankle issue, Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate played in the next three, but has since missed two more. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, the team is trying to play it safe with Tate’s injury going forward. “It’s just a lot of games,” Tate said. “We just want to be cautious with it and make sure it’s fine. There’s just some things we have to discuss so I’ll be able to be consistent and be me. This is just part of the recovery process.”
  • Although John Wall was away from the team during his final year in Houston, Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. said the five-time All-Star made a lasting impression on him during their time as teammates, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “John has impacted me tremendously,” Porter told Iko. “Just him being a big brother and a vet when he was here when I was first switching my position. I had a great vet to lean on and that was John Wall. … He helped me when I was trying to learn how to run a team and seeing him back out there (with the Clippers) was a blessing.”
  • Long viewed as a model NBA franchise, the Spurs now face unfamiliar scrutiny as a result of the accusations levied against the team in a lawsuit filed by a former employee, says Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News.

Southwest Notes: Primo, Pelicans, Wood, Mavericks

The Spurs‘ decision to part ways with 12th overall pick Joshua Primo just 15 months after drafting him was one of the most stunning moves in franchise history, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Based on his research, Mark Deeks of Forbes (Twitter link) believes it’s the smallest gap between being drafted and waived for any NBA lottery pick, ever.

While Orsborn was able to confirm through sources that Primo’s release wasn’t related to basketball, details remain sparse, beyond the statement released by the 19-year-old on Friday. No one in the Spurs’ organization has offered any concrete information, and Primo’s agent Todd Ramasar hasn’t returned messages asking for a comment, according to Orsborn.

As we wait to see if we get any more clarity on Primo’s shocking release, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southwest…

  • With Brandon Ingram (concussion), Zion Williamson (hip/back), and Herb Jones (knee) all out of action, the Pelicans showed off their depth on Tuesday in a victory over Dallas, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. However, that depth wasn’t enough to pull out an upset win on Friday in Phoenix without that trio of forwards available. Both Williamson and Jones will be game-time decisions on Sunday, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. It remains unclear when Ingram will be able to exit the concussion protocol.
  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Mavericks big man Christian Wood discussed playing with Luka Doncic, adjusting to coming off the bench in Dallas, and his goals for the rest of his career. “Individually, of course, I want to be an All-Star in this league. I think I have a good chance if I get the time and the minutes to show what I can really do. I think I can definitely make a case for that,” Wood said. “I want to try to win as many games as I can. I want to get to the playoffs. I haven’t been to the playoffs one time in my career. I want to try to make a run in the playoffs.”
  • The Mavericks are considering giving JaVale McGee a rest night on Saturday vs. Oklahoma City, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. However, the plan would be to start Dwight Powell, not Wood, at center. Powell has only seen seven minutes of action so far this season, but Dallas wants to keep Wood as the sixth man, since he has thrived in that role so far, MacMahon explains.

Injury Notes: Ingram, Zion, Jones, Garland, Anthony, MPJ

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol) will be sidelined for at least three more games, as he won’t travel with the team during its upcoming road trip, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. Head coach Willie Green told reporters, including Guillory, that Zion Williamson (right posterior hip / low back contusion) and Herb Jones (right knee hyperextension) were partial participants in Thursday’s practice and will be listed as questionable for Friday’s game at Phoenix.

The Pelicans have gotten off to an impressive 3-1 start, including Tuesday’s 113-111 victory over Dallas sans all three of the aforementioned starters.

Here are a few more health-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland was hoping to make his return for Friday’s game at Boston but he has been ruled out for the contest, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Garland is still dealing with the effects of his lacerated left eyelid, which he suffered in the season opener vs. the Raptors.
  • Imaging revealed that Cole Anthony sustained a right internal oblique injury during the Magic‘s loss to Cleveland on Wednesday, Orlando announced (via Twitter). The Magic were vague in giving a timeline for the injury, saying that the third-year guard’s “return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment.”
  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. missed Wednesday’s game against the Lakers with “lumbar management,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Head coach Michael Malone told reporters, including Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link), that Porter suffered a back spasm during Monday’s game at Portland and could have played against the Lakers if necessary, but Malone expects him to play against the Jazz on Friday. The Nuggets have officially listed Porter (lumbar spine management), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left ankle sprain) and Davon Reed (personal reasons) as questionable for Friday’s contest, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Porter, who only played nine games last season and underwent lumbar spine surgery last November, is off to a strong start in 2022/23, averaging 18.0 points and 5.8 rebounds on .510/.500/.800 shooting through four games (29.0 minutes).

Southwest Notes: Wood, Tate, Pelicans, Spurs

Mavericks star Luka Doncic likes what he has seen from new teammate Christian Wood so far this season, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. Wood has racked up 50 points and 20 rebounds in just 49 minutes of action in his first two games with Dallas.

“He’s a great player,” said Doncic, who has a +26.3 net rating when sharing the court with Wood. “He listens to us. He accepts his role, and he’s just doing amazing stuff out there. It’s only two games, but he’s going to be very good for us.”

Wood, who has come off the bench so far, is making a strong case to be promoted to the starting five, but the Mavericks are unlikely to make any immediate changes to their lineup, according to Tim Cato of The Athletic. Dallas’ coaching staff wants to assess its current rotation across a larger sample before drawing any conclusions, Cato explains.

“We’ll look at a 10-game stretch, maybe,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “We can’t do two games and figure that’s the way we’re going to roll. You don’t get enough data.”

Let’s round up a few more items from around the Southwest…

  • Barring a setback, Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate will return to action on Wednesday in Utah, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tate, who signed a new three-year contract with Houston in the offseason, has been on the shelf for the team’s first four games of the season due to a right ankle injury.
  • Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol), Zion Williamson (right posterior hip / low back contusion) and Herb Jones (right knee hyperextension) have all been ruled out for the Pelicans‘ game vs. Dallas on Tuesday, the team announced (via Twitter). All three players were initially listed as questionable, so they’ll presumably be considered day-to-day going forward.
  • The Spurs, widely expected to be a player in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, are off to a 3-1 start this season. Swingman Devin Vassell admitted after Monday’s win in Minnesota that the outside expectations for the team have been a motivating factor. “I try not to listen to the outside noise, but I’m not going to lie, it does get frustrating when everybody is talking about tanking, tanking, tanking,” Vassell said, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “We are professional athletes. We all want to play. We all want to win. And that’s how we are going to approach every game.”

Injury Notes: DiVincenzo, Zion, Ingram, Boucher, Barnes

Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo injured his left hamstring during Sunday’s victory over Sacramento and won’t travel with the team to Phoenix for Tuesday’s contest, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Speaking today to reporters, including Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link), Warriors head coach Steve Kerr revealed that DiVincenzo will miss more than just Tuesday’s game, indicating that the swingman will be reevaluated in one week.

As Andrews relays, the Warriors will be in the midst of a five-game road trip at that point and haven’t yet determined whether DiVincenzo will join them on that trip, which ends on November 4.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans are listing forwards Zion Williamson (hip), Brandon Ingram (head), and Herb Jones (knee) as questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. Dallas, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Williamson and Ingram left Sunday’s loss after sustaining their respective injuries, while Jones tweaked his knee during that game, but it sounds like none of the three injuries are significant. Imaging on Jones’ knee came back clean, per head coach Willie Green.
  • Although Green told reporters today that Ingram wasn’t in the NBA’s concussion protocol, the Pelicans put out a press release announcing that Ingram is, in fact, in the protocol. Within the announcement, the team noted that the return-to-participation process can begin no earlier than 24 hours from the time of the injury, which is why Ingram can’t yet be cleared.
  • Raptors big man Chris Boucher has been cleared to make his regular season debut on Monday after missing the team’s first three games due to a hamstring issue, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Scottie Barnes remains questionable for Monday with an ankle sprain, but the fact that he’ll likely be a game-time decision is a sign that the injury isn’t as serious as the team initially feared it could be, Lewenberg observes.
  • In case you missed it, the Lakers ruled out two-way forward Cole Swider for at least the next four weeks due to a foot issue.

Pelicans’ Williamson Injures Hip, Ingram Hurts Head In Loss To Jazz

Oft-injured Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson is injured yet again. New Orleans has announced (via Twitter) that the 6’8″ forward suffered a posterior hip contusion near the end of New Orleans’s 122-121 overtime loss to the Jazz on Sunday.

The severity of the ailment, which could indicate a recovery timeline, has not been revealed as of yet. It’s unclear whether Williamson will be able to play through it. Across his first two games this season, the former first overall pick had been averaging 20.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.0 APG and 2.5 SPG for the Pelicans.

New Orleans’ other star forward, Brandon Ingram, also departed the contest early after the club determined that he had incurred concussion-like symptoms from a head injury, reports Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

Ingram bumped into Pelicans reserve small forward Naji Marshall while trying to make a steal. Ingram had averaged 28.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 6.0 APG through his first two complete contests. He played just 11 minutes against the Jazz before exiting the game.

New Orleans currently sports a 2-1 record on the young 2022/23 NBA season. That said, should either Williamson or Ingram be sidelined for an extended duration, the club may need to lean on shooting guard CJ McCollum for further scoring punch, and could be looking for further minutes from reserves Marshall, Trey Murphy III, and Larry Nance Jr. if it needs to compensate for the absence of Williamson and/or Ingram.

Last year, an upstart Pelicans team pushed the Suns to a hotly-contested six-game first round Western Conference playoff series. With Williamson back in the fold to start the season, the club is hoping to build on that result this year.

Pelicans Notes: Zion, McCollum, Ingram, Jones

Within an in-depth feature by Howard Beck of SI.com, Pelicans star Zion Williamson said that he was in “dark places at times” while he spent last season recovering from a broken foot.

“I couldn’t play basketball. I could only do limited rehab things. And then just seeing how the world reacted? It took a lot. It did a lot on my spirit,” Williamson said, acknowledging that the criticism he faced from outside observers took a toll on him and his family.

Having leaned on assistant coaches Teresa Weatherspoon – whom Williamson described as being “like a big sister” – and Corey Brewer to help get him through the year, the former No. 1 overall pick believes he’s grown a lot and is in a much better place heading into the 2022/23 season, both mentally and physically.

After signing a five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Pelicans in the offseason, Williamson has also gotten a reprieve from questions about his commitment to New Orleans. Speaking to Beck, the fourth-year forward laughed off the speculation that he’d want to leave the Pelicans after getting a first-hand look at the team’s second-half surge and playoff appearance last season.

“People really out here think that I could witness something like that and then tell myself I don’t want to be (there)?” Williamson said.

Here’s more on Zion and the Pelicans:

  • Williamson left Wednesday’s preseason game with left ankle soreness, but the injury is considered minor, and the team only removed him for precautionary reasons, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “It was one of those things where it happened and I popped back up, like, ‘Yeah, I’m straight,'” Williamson said. “Played a few minutes after that, it felt fine. Then they sent me to the back just to double-check. We wanted to look at it, had a doc look at it, and he just said a little day-to-day soreness. But outside of that, I personally feel fine. Wasn’t bad news from the docs.”
  • CJ McCollum returned to action on Wednesday after missing two preseason contests with a sore right ankle, while Brandon Ingram (toe) remained out. According to Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link), head coach Willie Green said that Ingram went through a full practice on Tuesday, and the forward himself told ESPN’s Lopez (Twitter link) that he thinks he’ll be able to play in the team’s preseason finale on Friday.
  • In his first diary entry for Andscape, McCollum (as relayed by Marc J. Spears) explains why he’s “genuinely excited” about playing in New Orleans and says he’s embracing the opportunity to be a vocal leader and the primary ball-handler and decision-maker in the backcourt after seeing Damian Lillard play that role in Portland.
  • In a story for The Athletic, Guillory profiles second-year forward Herbert Jones, who has the potential to raise the Pelicans’ ceiling if he continues to improve following a very promising rookie season.

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Hearn, Vassell, King, Rockets

Fans and people around the league didn’t think very highly of the Pelicans when Brandon Ingram signed a five-year extension with the team back in 2020, but that perception is changing, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscription required). Clark notes that Jonas Valanciunas, Zion Williamson and most recently CJ McCollum have all signed extensions with the franchise after Ingram inked his deal a couple years ago.

It’s a good place to be,” Ingram said about New Orleans. “They see what’s going on. They see how we bond with each other. How we play on the floor. It’s kind of unheard of in the league, having 14 or 15 guys care about each other and believe in each other and actually want to know about each other. It’s pretty different here.”

The Pelicans have historically struggled in the postseason, having failed to advance past the second round in their 20-year existence. Ingram says the team has its sights set on loftier goals.

The expectation is to win, especially for our team,” Ingram said. “We just have some added fans. We always believed in what we were doing. The expectation is still the same. I don’t know what the outside expectation is. But for us, it’s to bring a championship to New Orleans.”

Ingram had a great playoff run with New Orleans last season. Despite falling to Phoenix in the first round, the Pelicans and Ingram put up a good fight, with the star forward averaging 27.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 6.2 APG on .475/.407/.830 shooting in six games (39.3 MPG).

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Guard Reggie Hearn has decided to retire after nine professional seasons, having agreed to join the Spurs as a scout, sources tell our JD Shaw (Twitter link). As Shaw notes, Hearn spent the majority of his career in the G League, holding career averages of 11.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .431/.392/.799 shooting in 317 games (218 starts, 27.7 MPG). Hearn also made a brief appearance with the Pistons in 2018, playing three games while on a two-way contract.
  • After increasing his averages across the board in year two, former lottery pick Devin Vassell is hoping to have a breakout third season with the Spurs in 2022/23, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I don’t think I can put into words how excited I am,” Vassell said. “I think it’s going to be a big year, not only for me but for this organization to grow and build. I can’t wait to get this thing going.”
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, have acquired the returning player rights to Louis King from the Westchester Knicks, Shaw tweets. Rio Grande sent Westchester its first-round pick and a second-rounder (via the Maine Celtics) in the NBAGL draft to complete the deal. King holds three years of NBA experience with the Pistons and Kings on two-way contracts. He was waived by Sacramento in February.
  • In the recently completed eight-player trade that saw Derrick Favors head to Houston, the Rockets received a staggering $6,363,000 in cash from Oklahoma City, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). That’s the maximum amount of cash a team can send in a trade in 2022/23. The Thunder, meanwhile, generated two traded player exceptions worth $10.18MM (Favors) and $4.22MM (Ty Jerome), Pincus adds.