D’Angelo Russell

Atlantic Notes: Kanter, McConnell, Russell

Despite having missed the last two games with back spasms, Enes Kanter remains committed to trying to play Monday night, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The 25-year-old wants to get back out on the court for the Knicks even if he’s not quite 100% ready.

I might not be a hundred percent, but I think I’m going to try and play,” the Knicks’ center said. “I play with pain probably 95 percent of the season every season. If they think it’s not going to affect me in the long run, I’ll play. It doesn’t matter.

Of course the Knicks won’t make any irresponsible decisions with their prized new big man. Kanter is averaging 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game so far this season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • For the third straight year, Sixers guard T.J. McConnell is proving that he’s an overlooked – and underpaid – asset. Keith Pompey of The Inquirer writes that the 25-year-old guard proved himself all over again as a substitute starter for the injured Ben Simmons this weekend. McConnell makes just $1.4MM this season.
  • Although he remains inactive without a timetable, injured guard D’Angelo Russell will join the Nets on their upcoming road trip, Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily writes. The offseason addition will be called upon to help lead from the sidelines and stay engaged with the group.
  • With some of the best length in the NBA, Kristaps Porzingis could be a nightmare for opposing teams in the paint. Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, legendary big man Hakeem Olajuwon would like to mentor the 7’3″ Knicks forward whose current Dream Shake leaves much to be desired.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Russell, VanVleet, Hardaway

Despite being in the midst of a 15-game win streak, the Celtics aren’t satisfied, reports Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com and Chris Forsberg of ESPN. While arguably sporting the league’s best defense, head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t believe his team’s offense is where it needs to be. “We got a lot to improve on [offensively],” Stevens said.

The Celtics shot only 32.9% from the field in their win against the Warriors, and while they have leaned on a league-leading defense giving up a mere 95.4 points per 100 possessions, the C’s are currently 27th in the NBA in FG%. We haven’t played well enough to consider this win streak to be valid, in my opinion,” Stevens said. “We’ve figured out ways to win games (but) we’ve got to be better, and we know that.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • According to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, one way the Celtics can create more offense is to play Marcus Morris more with the second unit. Morris scored 14 points in Saturday’s win against Atlanta.
  • The Nets are trying to remain positive and maintain a “next man up” mentality after losing D’Angelo Russell to a right knee injury for the foreseeable future, writes Anthony Puccio for NetsDaily.com. The Nets also lost Jeremy Lin to a right knee injury after he suffered a ruptured patella tendon in the season opener, but head coach Kenny Atkinson is confident in the players being called on to step up. “We have a good group of wings, and guards,” said Atkinson. “I think we’ve developed sufficiently enough to withstand injuries.”
  • After going undrafted following a successful four-year college career at Wichita State, second-year guard Fred VanVleet is finding his niche with the Raptors as a fighter on the defensive end of the floor, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“He’s a grinder, he’s a survivor, he’s a worker, he’s had to fight for everything he’s ever gotten in his life,” says head coach Dwane Casey. “He gets into the guys, he’s a little pitbull from that standpoint. He brings everything to the table that you need.”
  • Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek believes that Tim Hardaway Jr. is suffering from something similar to plantar fasciitis in his left foot, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Hardaway Jr., who removed himself from last week’s loss to Toronto and sat out of yesterday’s practice, plans to play through the pain in spite of the risk. “It could help if he rests,” Hornacek said. “But Tim wants to play. He’s a tough kid. He’s a competitor. He feels that he’s got enough for us that he can go.”

Community Shootaround: D’Angelo Russell’s Knee Surgery

D’Angelo Russell‘s original diagnosis of a left knee contusion last Saturday yielded a nightmare outcome for the Nets as their starting point guard underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday, the team announced. No timetable for Russell’s return was given, so Brooklyn will be without its best, youngest, and most valuable player for an extended period.

Russell, 21, was in the midst of his best season to date, averaging a career-best 20.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.7 RPG in 12 games for Brooklyn. The organization acquired Russell in an offseason trade that saw longtime Net Brook Lopez shipped to the Lakers. While Russell was expected to miss a few games, now he will likely sit out several months due to surgery but general manager Sean Marks did not sound too worried about the procedure.

“This was a direct correlation to the incident that happened in Utah,” Marks said (via ESPN). “I think with any 21-year-old that’s played a lot of basketball you’re going to have a little bit of wear and tear. The good thing is he’s young enough and he’s certainly going to bounce back from something like this. We’re not too concerned in that regard.”

The Nets were pegged for another losing season — despite upgrading with young talent — and thus far, the team sports a 6-9 record. Brooklyn’s prime backup to Russell, veteran Jeremy Lin, suffered his own season-ending knee injury so he will not be able to help. Spencer Dinwiddie will be the Nets’ starter in Russell’s absence, giving the organization an extended look at 24-year-old point guard. Dinwiddie promptly made Nets history in the team’s win over the Jazz on Friday, becoming the first Net to score 25+ points, make 6 three-pointers, dish out 8 assists, and no commit a turnover (via Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily).

At this point, the Nets will be without their best player for several months, but he is expected to return before season’s end. While the Nets are not expected to compete for the playoffs, they are just two games out of a playoff spot through 17 games.

What do you think? Should the Nets be concerned about Russell’s health long-term since he does have a history of knee ailments? Is rushing Russell back to make a run something Brooklyn needs to consider or should they bring him along slowly?Sound off below!

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Russell, Baynes

One month into his third NBA season and first as a regular member of the Raptors rotation, Delon Wright has dislocated his shoulder. As Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes, the guard suffered the injury in Thursday’s win over the Pelicans and will be out for an indefinite amount of time.

Wright had stepped up in the vacancy that Cory Joseph‘s free agency departure created. His 7.6 points and 2.6 assists per game were both career bests for the Raptors.

While there’s no guarantee that the 25-year-old will miss significant time for the Raptors, the injury comes on the same shoulder that he had surgery on in the summer of 2016, Josh Lewenberg of TSN says. In his first two NBA campaigns, Wright played just 27 games apiece.

A press release from the Raptors’ media relations department says that the next step for Wright will be to travel with the team to New York City next week for a special consultation.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Among the numerous players stepping up for the Celtics this season is offseason free agent addition Aron Baynes, Nick Metallinos of ESPN writes. Baynes provides toughness and leadership for a Boston team that lacked size last season.
  • The “reality of the NBA” has forced the Nets to experiment with smaller lineups. That’s head coach Kenny Atkinson‘s justification for why Timofey Mozgov‘s role has shrunk over the course of the season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
  • Sidelined Nets guard D’Angelo Russell underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee today, the team’s official Twitter account tweets. Russell has been out of action since November 11. Expect the team to apply for a disabled player exception. Per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, general manager Sean Marks says there’s “probably a good chance” that they do. A DPE would be designed to replace Jeremy Lin, rather than Russell, since Lin is out for the season.

Nets Notes: Point Guards, Harris, Hollis-Jefferson

The Nets are without an exact timetable for D’Angelo Russell‘s recovery from a knee contusion, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes, so they haven’t made any reactionary moves to replace him just yet.

If the 21-year-old, who has been sidelined with the injury since last Saturday, ends up in street clothes long-term, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson may look to bring in reserves.

We’re not there. It’s updates every day, that’s where we are,” Atkinson said. “If it were contrary to that, somebody would be here. So we’re just obviously [expecting not to need that].

In the meantime, Alex Squadron of the New York Post writes, the Nets will turn to Spencer Dinwiddie as their temporary starter. They also have Isaiah Whitehead and Sean Kilpatrick available to step up in Russell’s absence too.

Spencer’s made a jump up. Isaiah has got a year under his belt. And obviously Sean played a lot of minutes [for the Nets] last year,” Atkinson said. “I just think our roster is a lot better equipped this year to deal with guys being out.

There’s more out of Brooklyn tonight:

  • In addition to Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead, Caris LeVert also saw time at the one in the club’s Tuesday night loss to the Celtics, writes Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily. “I thought our defense was pretty good,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of the decision to try their swingman at the point. “Caris handled the ball a fair amount and that worked out OK. We need more of a sample size. We need to feel it out more. I am giving you a little bit of a vague answer, but we’re still trying to figure it out.
  • With a clearly established role, fourth-year guard Joe Harris is stepping up and thriving. As the New York Post’s Alex Squadron writes, Harris has reached double figures seven times this season, shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc.
  • While the Nets have struggled to stay healthy of late – and win games, for that matter – one thing that’s going particularly well is the development of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Alex Squadron of the New York Post writes that the versatile forward has made progress in 2017/18. “It’s great to see,” head coach Kenny Atkinson says. “I have a special place in my heart for Rondae for some reason. We have a good relationship.

D’Angelo Russell To Miss ‘Several Games’ With Knee Injury

An injured left knee will sideline Nets guard D’Angelo Russell for “several games,” tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Further evaluation, including an MRI, is planned for Russell after he was hurt in Saturday’s loss to the Jazz. He played 32 minutes and scored 26 points before landing awkwardly and limping off the court with 2:57 remaining.

“No update. Checking him out now,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told Brian Lewis of The New York Post after the game. “I didn’t really see it. I didn’t see the play. I think when he landed on a jump, I believe that’s when it happened. … We’re evaluating him now. I guess we’ll do more tests [Sunday].”

Russell has been off to a strong start after being acquired in a summer trade with the Lakers. He is posting career highs in several major categories with 20.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.

The injury-plagued Nets are already shorthanded in the backcourt with Jeremy Lin out for the season because of a torn patellar tendon and Spencer Dinwiddie sidelined by a hamstring injury. Power forward Trevor Booker returned from back problems Saturday night, while rookie center Jarrett Allen has an injured foot.

 

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Morris, Crabbe, Russell

The Celtics remain interested in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, but won’t give up a first-round pick to get him, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston views the third-year center as more of a project than an immediate contributor and is reluctant to part with a significant asset.

Okafor has been on the market for more than a year, but his fate became obvious when the Sixers decided this week not to pick up his option for 2018/19. Washburn contends Philadelphia has let Okafor’s market value slip by not playing him. He has appeared in just one game this season.

Washburn compliments Okafor for the way he has handled a difficult situation and says the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft has kept himself in good shape despite the lack of playing time. The Bucks, Cavaliers, Spurs and Nuggets also have interest in Okafor, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops, but so far no one is willing to meet the Sixers‘ asking price.

There’s more this morning from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Morris made an immediate impact Friday in his first game for the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. After being slowed by soreness in his left knee, Morris debuted with nine points and four rebounds in a win over the Thunder, and his defense on Carmelo Anthony helped Boston overcome a large deficit.
  • Allen Crabbe posted his best game since joining the Nets with 25 points Friday against the Lakers, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The fifth-year swingman was acquired from the Trail Blazers in a July trade to boost Brooklyn’s offense, but has started the season in a shooting slump, hitting just 15 of 43 from 3-point range before Friday night. “I think he’s finding his rhythm. He’s going to get better and better,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “He was struggling because he missed a fair amount of time at training camp. I [don’t] think he was physically at his peak. You’ll see him get better as the season goes on.”
  • Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell has responded to comments from Lakers president Magic Johnson suggesting he wasn’t a leader during his time in Los Angeles, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“I would say it ruffled a few feathers,” said Russell, who spent two seasons in L.A. after being the second pick in the 2015 draft. “But you control what you can control. He’s in a position to say what he wants, so I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day.”

Pacific Notes: Russell, Teodosic, Randle

After spending his first two seasons with the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell will face them as a member of the Nets tonight. As Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes, Los Angeles him expects him to be fired up in his return to the Staples Center.

You see him right now in Brooklyn, he’s cooking,” former Lakers teammate Jordan Clarkson said. “He’s balling. … He’s got a new home, feel like it’s the right fit for him. He’s able to create, score, have the ball in his hands a lot, play the style of play that he wants to.

In seven games with the Nets this year, the Lakers’ second-overall pick in 2015 has averaged 21.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. Those numbers are up from his sophomore figures of 15.6 and 4.8, despite playing over two minutes less per contest thus far in 2017/18.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Injured guard Milos Teodosic has shown progress in his recovery from a plantar fascia injury in his left foot but there’s still no timetable for his return. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Clippers rookie is now getting around in a walking boot, whereas previously he was confined to a scooter.
  • As we wrote about earlier today, Larry Nance Jr. will miss four to six weeks undergoing surgery for a hand fracture. That could spell a big opportunity for Julius Randle, the forward slotted behind him in the depth chart. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Randle’s role change could be particularly significant considering that the pending restricted free agent’s qualifying offer amount could increase if Randle starts at least nine games this season.
  • Don’t expect 17-year veteran Tyson Chandler to demand a trade out of Phoenix, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes in an excellent feature. The 35-year-old Suns big man may be on a different timeline than the rest of the franchise but doesn’t plan on forcing his way out of town. He spoke about teammate Eric Bledsoe who, well, has. “I’m not surprised about that. I kind of saw that stuff coming,” Chandler said. “He’s in a different place than I’m in. He’s in the prime of his career. Everything that happened last season and then rolling over into the summer, of course, I felt like it could’ve been handled differently. But I understand his stance and I understand it’s his career. He’s got to eat. He ultimately has to make his own decisions, as a man.”

Nets Exercise Options On Three Players

The Nets have exercised team options on three players that make up a substantial part of their young core. The team announced on its website that the 2018/19 options for all of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert have been exercised.

Both Hollis-Jefferson and Russell will be under team control through their fourth seasons, the former having spent the past two years with the squad, the latter arriving in Brooklyn after an offseason trade with the Lakers.

In LeVert’s case, fresh off of his rookie season in Brooklyn, it was his third-year option exercised.

Expect all to see significant time on the court for the Nets in 2017/18 as the franchise claws its way out from a dark chapter in franchise history.

Russell will suit up for the squad having posted 14.2 points per game through two years in Los Angeles. Hollis-Jefferson and LeVert averaged 8.7 and 8.2 points per game in 2016/17, respectively.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Raptors, McDermott

The Nets‘ two best players may very well play the same position so preseason will serve as a good indication of how head coach Kenny Atkinson plans to utilize the tandem. Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes that hoops fans could see the pair of point guards employed together at the beginning and end of halves.

In 24.5 minutes per game for the Nets last season, Lin emerged as a top offensive priority before an injury cut his campaign short. This year, however, the 29-year-old will share backcourt duties with Russell, the 2015 No. 2 overall pick, and the chief haul in general manager Sean Marks‘ deal to take on Timofey Mozgov‘s contract.

I’d like to have one of those guys at the point the whole game. That’d be pretty nice,” Atkinson said when asked how he’ll divvy minutes between the two. “I’m not going to say definitely that’s how it’s going to play out, but that’s in my mind, keeping D’Angelo or Jeremy at the point the whole game.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

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