Cade Cunningham

Barnes, Cunningham, Mobley Head All-Rookie Team

Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner and Jalen Green comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley were all unanimous selections, receiving the maximum total of 200 points each. Wagner received 183 points, followed by Green with 158. Strangely, one media member left Wagner off their ballot completely, as he received 99-of-100 possible votes.

Raptors wing Barnes, who narrowly edged Cavaliers big man Mobley for the Rookie of the Year award, ranked third in points (15.3) and rebounds (7.5) among all rookies, and fifth in assists (3.5). Mobley was fifth in points (15.0) and led all first-year players in rebounds (8.3) and blocks (1.67) per game.

Pistons guard Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, was first among rookies in points (17.4), second in assists (5.6) and fifth in rebounds (5.5). Magic forward Wagner also had a great year, averaging 15.4 points (fourth among rookies), 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 79 games. Rockets guard Green finished the season strong, scoring 20+ points in 17 of his last 25 games on his way to averaging 17.3 points, second among first-year players.

Pelicans defensive ace Herbert Jones (123 votes) and Thunder floor general Josh Giddey (122 votes) headline the Second Team. Jones averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals (first among rookies) and should at least receive votes for an All-Defensive nod, even if he doesn’t end up making one of the two teams.

In addition to averaging 12.5 points, Giddey was second among rookies in rebounds (7.8) and first in assists (6.4), but he only appeared in 54-of-82 games, having missed the final 23 contests with a hip injury, which is likely why he didn’t receive more First Team votes.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Rookie First Team:

2021/22 All-Rookie Second Team:

Ten other rookies received votes — you can view the full voting results right here. Among the group that missed the cut, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (47) was just behind Duarte, with Kings guard Davion Mitchell (28) the only other player receiving a significant amount of votes.

Central Notes: Grant, Pistons, Pacers, Haliburton

After securing the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft and selecting talented guard Cade Cunningham, the Pistons are hoping to have similar lottery luck this year. Detroit’s landing spot in Tuesday’s draft lottery could help add some clarity to the team’s decision on the long-term future of veteran forward Jerami Grant, writes Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

The Pistons could opt this offseason to extend Grant, whose deal with the club expires in 2023 after he earns $21MM next season. Should the Pistons find a suitable young replacement candidate in the draft, the team may opt to move on from the 28-year-old forward.

During his second season with the Pistons, Grant missed 35 games with a left calf strain. In his 47 healthy contests, he averaged 19.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.0 BPG, with shooting splits of .426/.358/.838.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will have a variety of players to choose from wherever they land within the NBA lottery, writes James Edwards of The Athletic. Edwards takes a look at a handful of mock draft scenarios for Detroit depending on just where that selection ends up. Edwards notes that Purdue guard Jaden Ivey could rocket up the draft board for several clubs, and may be an intriguing top-four candidate for Detroit.
  • The lottery-bound Pacers held their first pre-draft workout of the 2022 offseason Friday at the St. Vincent Center with six young prospects. Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files offers a breakdown of the day, including intriguing tidbits on draft hopefuls Josh Minott, a 6’8″ guard out of Memphis, and Hyunjung Lee, a 6’7″ guard out of Davidson.
  • New Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton hopes to stick around in Indiana for the long haul, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files“I want to be here and I want to be part of it,” the 22-year-old said of his future with the franchise. Agness notes that Haliburton has remained in Indiana, working out consistently, since the team’s season came to an official close. He sat courtside to watch the Indiana Fever defeat the Minnesota Lynx 82-76 earlier this week. The 6’5″ guard averaged 17.5 PPG, 9.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, and 1.8 SPG in his 26 games with Indiana after being dealt by the Kings.

Pistons Notes: Cunningham, Draft, Free Agency

Last year’s NBA draft lottery resulted in the Pistons landing the No. 1 overall pick and selecting Cade Cunningham, and his strong rookie campaign has liberated general manager Troy Weaver to select the best player available no matter where their pick lands on May 17, argues Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

The league has been dominated by primary play-makers with the basketball IQ, talent and skill to manipulate defenses, and Cunningham certainly fits that description. That’s why Langlois believes Weaver should be comfortable selecting whichever player he believes “has the best chance to both complement Cunningham and have his potential drawn out by Cunningham.”

The worst pick the Pistons can end up with is No. 7, but there’s a 93% chance it’ll be in the top six.

Here’s more on Detroit:

  • James L. Edwards III and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic explore several prospects the Pistons might target in the upcoming draft. If the Pistons land the No. 1 pick again, Vecenie views Jabari Smith as the top choice, with Chet Holmgren second. However, he doesn’t love the fit between Cunningham and Paolo Banchero. In the four-to-seven range, Vecenie thinks Jaden Ivey or Shaedon Sharpe, both top-tier athletes, would fit well as a second guard next to Cunningham. Both Edwards and Vecenie have heard Detroit likes Keegan Murray, but they aren’t sure exactly how much. Vecenie compares Murray’s game to Tobias Harris and Antawn Jamison, skilled forwards who are/were productive NBA players.
  • Who should the Pistons target if they fail to land one of the top 2022 free agents with their sizeable cap space? Some fallback options might include Gary Harris, Bryn Forbes, Donte DiVincenzo and T.J. Warren, Edwards writes in another story for The Athletic.
  • In the same vein, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press details three focus areas for the team in free agency, and who they should target. Sankofa thinks Jalen Brunson is a good fit with Cunningham and Detroit has been linked to him multiple times, but the Mavs are reportedly intent on keeping him. Deandre Ayton, who’ll be a restricted free agent once Phoenix tenders him a qualifying offer, is a legitimate max player in Sankofa’s eyes, but he thinks the Suns would match any offer for him.

And-Ones: Cotton, 2021 Re-Draft, Pro Days, G League Camp

Veteran guard Bryce Cotton, the top player in Australia’s National Basketball League, isn’t planning a return to the NBA. The Perth Wildcats have reached a contract extension agreement with the three-time NBL MVP, Sportando’s Dario Skerletic reports. Cotton, 29, averaged 22.7 PPG and 4.8 APG last season. He played a total of 23 games for Utah, Phoenix and Memphis from 2014-16.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • How would last year’s draft look if it were held now? The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie explores that topic, ranking those players on how they performed this year, whether they can improve upon their weaknesses and how they figure to grow and mature. The top five, in order, would be Cade Cunningham, Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Franz Wagner, Vecenie says.
  • The NBA has sent memo to teams informing them that agency Pro Days will only be permitted during two windows — the week of the NBA Combine from May 16-21 and in Southern California from May 25-27, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets.
  • The NBA G League Elite Camp will have workouts May 16-17 in Chicago and the Combine will run workouts from May 18-20, Adam Zagoria tweets.

Mavs’ Brunson Continues To Boost Value Ahead Of Free Agency

After enjoying the best year of his NBA career during the 2021/22 regular season, Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson has taken his game to another level so far in the playoffs, averaging 29.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.8 APG on .483/.409/.857 shooting in four games (38.5 MPG). He played a key role in helping Dallas take a 2-1 lead in the series without Luka Doncic before the All-NBA guard returned in Game 4.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, pro personnel scouts and executives polled by ESPN believe the floor for Brunson – an unrestricted free agent this summer – is now $20MM per year on his next contract. Some people believe the 25-year-old could get upwards of $25MM annually, MacMahon adds.

For his part, Brunson told ESPN that he isn’t thinking about his next contract with the Mavs engaged in a battle with the Jazz for a spot in the second round of the playoffs.

“Not at all. Not at all. I promise you,” Brunson said. “My dad, we’ll joke about it, but (my family knows) that I don’t want to talk about it until the season’s over. That’s really not going to help me right now. … I know it’s a weird situation. People don’t believe that I don’t talk about it, but it’s not a topic of conversation until I guess we get there.”

Brunson said he has “loved every second” of his time in Dallas, and it seems likely the Mavs will get the first shot at re-signing him. Although Brunson isn’t restricted, Dallas holds his Bird rights and can offer him more years and more money than any other suitor — additionally, team owner Mark Cuban has talked about wanting to lock up the point guard long-term. However, Brunson’s father Rick Brunson suggests the Mavs shouldn’t expect to get a team-friendly rate.

“We’ve got to figure out if Dallas wants him. Not words,” Rick Brunson said, per MacMahon. “Ain’t no discount. So don’t put it on us. Don’t tell me you love me. Show me.”

Here’s more on Brunson:

  • Brunson was eligible for a four-year, $55.6MM in-season extension in 2021/22, but the Mavericks didn’t offer it to him until after the trade deadline, according to MacMahon. By that point, Brunson had decided to wait until the offseason to sign a new deal. “I told him once the season is started, that’s it,” Rick Brunson said. “I told the Mavericks, ‘Once the season is started, there’s no contract talk,’ and I went back against my word. In January, I thought he did enough where he deserved (the extension). I said, ‘Hey, take the money, man.’ He wants security. He wants to live here. And (the Mavs) declined. He didn’t turn s–t down. Y’all declined first. When y’all came back to him (in February), we said, ‘Hey, we just want to finish out the season and go from there.'” Signing Brunson to a long-term extension in January would’ve made him ineligible to be traded this season, so the Mavs may have wanted to keep their options open.
  • The Pistons and Knicks are widely considered to be potential suitors for Brunson, as previous reported have indicated. League sources tell MacMahon that Detroit likes how Brunson fits alongside Doncic and believes he could play a similar role next to Cade Cunningham. Knicks president of basketball operations and former CAA agent Leon Rose, meanwhile, has several ties to the Brunson family — Rick was his first client and he previously represented Jalen. Now, Leon’s son Sam Rose is one of the agents who reps Jalen at CAA.
  • Despite those links to the Knicks, Rick Brunson insists the familial connections won’t be a deciding factor in his son’s free agency. “I’ve made it very clear to Leon, ‘I love you to death. Your son works for Jalen, represents Jalen, but this is about Jalen,'” Rick Brunson said. “… Leon wouldn’t never talk to me again (if Jalen signs elsewhere). The question I have, is it a good fit in New York? We don’t know, because we have to sit down and figure it out (and evaluate the) draft. July 1 is a long way away.”
  • Further complicating matters for the Knicks? League sources tell MacMahon that the Mavericks have no intention of accommodating a sign-and-trade scenario, so any team that wants to sign Brunson will likely need cap space to do so. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Pistons, but the Knicks would have to shed some salary to create cap room.
  • Interestingly, the Knicks had an opportunity to acquire Brunson in 2020, according to MacMahon, who says the Mavs were dangling a package of Brunson, the No. 18 overall pick, and the No. 31 overall pick that year in an effort to trade up for Tyrese Haliburton. Dallas was unable to find a taker, including the Knicks, who used the No. 8 pick that year on Obi Toppin.

Eastern Notes: Nets, Simmons, Okoro, Cunningham

The Nets are facing elimination after going down 3-0 to the Celtics in their first-round series. With their backs against the wall, the team will need a miracle to overcome such a deficit, Scott Cacciola of the New York Times writes.

No team has ever come back from trailing 3-0 in NBA history. It’s happened in other sports such as baseball — the Red Sox defeated the Yankees prior to the 2004 World Series — and the NHL has seen it happen four times. As other coaches like Toronto’s Nick Nurse have noted (the Raptors were down 3-0 entering Game 4), several NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit, making Game 4 an important one.

Brooklyn will have to win on Monday to have any glimmer of hope. The following game would be played in Boston. If the team can somehow manage to steal that contest, Game 6 in Brooklyn could provide enough momentum for a Game 7. Then again, there’s a reason so few professional sports teams have been able to achieve this feat.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

Central Notes: G. Hill, Lopez, Pacers, Cunningham

Bucks guard George Hill will remain sidelined for Game 2 of the team’s first-round series vs. Chicago on Wednesday due to an abdominal strain, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The injury, which Hill suffered on April 8, also kept him on the sidelines for Game 1 on Sunday.

As Owczarski relays, Bobby Portis (right calf bruise) and Jordan Nwora (back soreness) also showed up on the Bucks’ injury report for Game 2, but both are listed as probable and look like good bets to be active.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bucks center Brook Lopez was limited to just 13 appearances during the regular season due to a back injury, but he’s healthy at the right time and looks like he has fresh legs, writes Steve Megargee of The Associated Press. The resurgence of Lopez, who scored 18 points in a season-high 32 minutes in Game 1 on Sunday, makes the Bucks more dangerous on both ends of the court and gives them a size advantage vs. Chicago, according to Megargee.
  • In his preview of the Pacers‘ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) observes that the team must decide if it wants to continue rebuilding in 2022/23 or pivot back to competing for the playoffs. That decision will affect whether Indiana decides to retain or shop veterans like Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield, Marks writes.
  • The three players selected immediately after Cade Cunningham in the 2021 draft look like future stars, but Cunningham’s second-half performance on the court and the leadership qualities he displayed off of the court show that the Pistons made the right call with the No. 1 pick, says Rod Beard of The Detroit News (subscriber link).

NBA Announces 2021/22 Award Finalists

The NBA has announced the 2021/22 season award finalists for the league’s six major awards: Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 2022 NBA Award Picks]

The awards were voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. The three top vote-getters for each award are the finalists. They are as follows:

Most Valuable Player:

Rookie of the Year:

Sixth Man of the Year:

Coach of the Year:

  • Taylor Jenkins (Grizzlies)
  • Erik Spoelstra (Heat)
  • Monty Williams (Suns)

Defensive Player of the Year:

Most Improved Player:

Winners will be announced during TNT’s coverage of the NBA playoffs, according to the league.

Pistons Notes: Grant, Offseason, Bagley, Cunningham

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver isn’t sure what kind of trade offers he might get for Jerami Grant this offseason, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. Grant was a hot name on the rumor mill prior to the trade deadline but the Pistons opted to hold onto their starting power forward. Grant will enter the final year of his three-year, $60MM contract and he’s eligible to sign an extension.

“Jerami demonstrated his efficiency in the way he fit with the group. I’m curious. I’m not sure. The deadline, people had their feelers out but nothing that blew us away,” Weaver said of Grant’s trade market. “Maybe something comes down the pipe. We’ll see. I don’t anticipate it being an avalanche. After the playoffs, some teams will feel like we can add a player or two, and maybe the phone rings a little more. I’m not sure. The landscape of the NBA changes weekly.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Armed with cap space and another lottery pick, Weaver plans to be proactive this offseason, Sankofa reports in a separate story“We’re going to look at everything,” Weaver said. “We’re going to be aggressive, turn over every rock and vet it out and try to come back better as a team, whether it’s one guy, two guys or three guys. We’re going to be aggressive in our approach and make sure that we come out ready to go and hopefully put a better product on the floor.”
  • In the same story, Weaver hinted he wants to retain restricted free agent Marvin Bagley III, who was acquired Sacramento at the deadline. “Coach (Dwane Casey) and I talked about this, I didn’t give coach enough tools and the Bagley trade was a big tool for us,” Weaver said. “We didn’t have enough athleticism up front. We needed to address that, and we did. I feel better for the team that we were able to acquire that young man and give us a tool we didn’t have.”
  • Cory Joseph has no doubts that Cade Cunningham will be one of the league’s brightest stars for many years to come, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “He’s beyond his years,” Joseph said. “He’s already a star but he’s going to be a superstar in this league sooner rather than later. He’s an amazing talent. We all know what he can do with a basketball, but he doesn’t get sped up. Mentally, he’s there every possession, every play, and he wants it. You can tell in those big moments. He wants to be in those moments. He wants to be great.”

Central Notes: Brogdon, Turner, Holiday, Pistons, Cade

Malcolm Brogdon has been the subject of some trade speculation since the team acquired Tyrese Haliburton — some rival executives reportedly believe the Pacers will look to move the veteran guard this offseason.

However, speaking to reporters on Monday as part of his exit interview, Brogdon said he feels comfortable with his current team and has a “great relationship” with head coach Rick Carlisle, per Joel Lorenzi of The Indianapolis Star. In other words, while it’s possible the Pacers could trade him this offseason, it doesn’t sound like that would be his preference.

“I want to be here,” Brogdon said. “I feel like I’ve built a home here. They’ve paid me here and extended me here. And I fit. I like Carlisle, I like the coaching staff and I love my teammates. This is a player’s league, but a lot of time we don’t make the decisions. So for me it’s about getting healthy, getting better this summer and coming back ready.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Entering a contract year in 2022/23, Pacers big man Myles Turner admitted on Monday that the possibility of an extension is “always in the back of my mind,” but said he’s more focused on coming back healthy next season to “remind everybody what I’m about” (link via Matthew VanTryon of The Indianapolis Star). Turner didn’t play after January 14 due to a foot injury.
  • Jrue Holiday, whose contract calls for a $306K bonus if he plays in at least 67 games and averages at least 3.15 rebounds per game, logged just eight seconds of game time on Sunday in his 67th appearance of the season to ensure he received that bonus, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The Bucks guard averaged 4.5 RPG this season.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Marks takes an in-depth look at some of the most important roster decisions facing the Pistons this offseason, including Marvin Bagley III‘s free agency and a handful of team options.
  • No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who averaged 21.0 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 5.8 RPG on 45.7% shooting in 21 games after the All-Star break, may have gotten hot too late to win the Rookie of the Year award, but his strong second-half performance is a reminder that he’s a player the Pistons can build around going forward, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.