Draymond Green

Olympic Notes: Lillard, Green, Canada, Serbia, Italy

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Warriors forward/center Draymond Green are among the first players to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Team USA figures to bring more than a dozen players to its initial camp this summer before paring down the roster to 12 for Tokyo, so Lillard’s and Green’s commitments don’t guarantee that they’ll be part of the final Olympic roster. However, it seems safe to assume that spots on the 12-man squad will be reserved for the two stars as long as they remain healthy and committed.

Green won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, while Lillard has yet to play for Team USA in a major international tournament. Green and Lillard are two of the 57 names listed as part of USA Basketball’s initial player pool in March, though as we noted last week, many of the players on that list seem unlikely to participate for a variety of reasons, including injuries.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Team Canada’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month included 14 current NBA players. However, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic and Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links), at least three of those NBA players – Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, and Celtics center Tristan Thompson – now aren’t expected to participate.
  • The Serbian national team is preparing for the possibility of being without several key players for this month’s qualifying tournament, according to a MozzartSport report (hat tip to Sportando). Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets are among the players considered unlikely to be available for the OQT in Belgrade.
  • Longtime NBA shooting guard Marco Belinelli announced that he won’t be part of the Italian team attempting to earn an Olympic berth at this month’s qualifying tournament in Belgrade, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Belinelli, who is now playing for Virtus Bologna, wants to rest to make sure he’s 100% healthy for next season.

NBA All-Defensive Teams Announced

The NBA has officially announced the voting results for its two 2020/21 All-Defensive teams.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons, and Sixers guard Ben Simmons were unanimous selections for the All-Defensive First Team. Both players made the First Team lists of all 100 tallied ballots, for a perfect total of 200 points. Votes are given to 100 media members.

This marks Gobert’s fifth straight appearance on the All-Defensive First Team, and the second consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Simmons.

Warriors forward Draymond Green garnered 176 points (including 80 First Team votes). Green was named Defensive Player of the Year in the 2016/17 season. This year’s nod is his fourth First Team honor, and his sixth total All-Defensive team.

Two Bucks players rounded out the All-Defensive First Team this season. Guard Jrue Holiday netted 157 points (65 First Team) and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, earned 135 total points (43 First Team). Antetokounmpo has just made his third straight All-Defensive First Team, and his fourth All-Defensive team overall. This is Holiday’s second All-Defensive First Team appearance and his third overall All-Defensive team.

[RELATED: Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Two All-Defensive First-Teamers have unlocked contract bonuses associated with the honor. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that Gobert will receive a $500K bonus for the inclusion this season. Marks adds (Twitter link) that Holiday will pocket a cool $100K for making All-Defensive First Team. Holiday has other contract incentives associated with his team’s further postseason advancement.

The All-Defensive Second Team honorees are led by Heat stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who each netted 111 points (37 First Team votes) apiece. Adebayo makes his second All-Defensive Second Team with the nod today. This is Butler’s fifth such honor.

Simmons’s Sixers teammates Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle also make the cut. It is the third All-Defensive team nod for Embiid and the first appearance for Thybulle. Clippers All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, rounds out the All-Defensive Second Team this season.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Suns guard/forward Mikal Bridges, Hawks center Clint Capela, and Pacers forward/center Myles Turner were among the highest vote-getters who missed the cut for the Second Team. You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year

Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been selected as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. This is the third DPOY honor for Gobert, who also won the award in 2018 and 2019.

During his eight NBA seasons, Gobert has established himself as one of the league’s best shot blockers. He averaged a career-best 2.7 rejections per game this season and ranked first in a number of defensive analytics stats, including defensive real plus-minus and defensive RAPTOR, by a wide margin.

“It takes team effort, mental toughness, hard work and dedication,” Gobert told Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). “Every day you have to come in with a mindset to make your team better on that end.”

Gobert received 84 first-place votes, along with 14 for second place and two for third place for an overall total of 464 points, the NBA announced in its official press release.

The SixersBen Simmons was second with 15/67/11 and 287 points, followed by the WarriorsDraymond Green with 0/13/37 and 76 points. The other first-place vote went to Bam Adebayo of the Heat, who came in fourth.

Eight other players received at least one DPOY vote, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Clint Capela, Joel Embiid, and Jrue Holiday. Perhaps the most unexpected vote belonged to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was placed third on one ballot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Curry, Poole, Green

The Warriors‘ season ended with a pair of disappointing losses in the play-in tournament, but the team believes it can become a title contender again. Part of the optimism involves the expected return of Klay Thompson, who has missed the past two seasons with a torn right Achilles tendon and a torn ACL in his left knee.

Thompson was an important part of the Golden State teams that reached five straight NBA Finals and won three rings. He absence was noticeable this year as the Warriors couldn’t find a reliable second scorer to pair with Stephen Curry.

“He’s going to do everything in his power to get back to 100 percent, knowing what he’s been through the last two years,” Curry told Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. “There’s going to be a lot of support around to help him get there, but whatever version of him comes back is definitely a boost. We’ll patiently wait for what that looks like.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Jordan Poole spent part of the season in the G League, but he made a strong impression on coach Steve Kerr once he returned, McCauley adds in the same story. Kerr envisions the second-year guard in a sixth-man role when Thompson is available. “A season ago, he was lost. He was lost in the woods like most rookies are, and it’s just confirmation that hard work and perseverance pays off,” Kerr said. “Jordan was in the gym more than any other player during the pandemic, and he’s earned this. So thrilled for him. I think he’s got a really bright future, and obviously will play a big role for us going forward.”
  • The Warriors are likely to explore any trade possibilities that don’t involve Curry, Thompson or Draymond Green, according to Mark Medina of USA Today. Medina expects Kelly Oubre to leave in free agency, while inconsistent play from Eric Paschall and Kent Bazemore could decide their fates. “I expect to be extremely involved. It’s just the way it’s got to be,” Green said about personnel decisions.
  • Curry hasn’t made a decision on whether he will try to be part of this year’s Olympic team, writes Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. Curry has never played in the Olympics, but he does have two gold medals at the FIBA World Cup.

Pacific Notes: Green, Warriors, Kings, Clippers Fans

After the Warriors were eliminated in the play-in game by Memphis on Friday, Draymond Green said the team has a long way to go to become a title contender again, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “We’re far away. Because in order to win a championship, you got to be in the playoffs,” Green said. “So, we’re clearly a ways away — a few tweaks here and there, and we’re not that far. But right now we’re a ways away because we’re not in the playoffs.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Upgrades to the rotation are imperative for the Warriors, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. They must decide whether to re-sign free agent Kelly Oubre, whose style of play doesn’t mesh well with his current teammates. Re-signing Kent Bazemore to a low-cost deal would be a prudent move, but Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall have tenuous futures with the organization, though Paschall’s contract for next season is guaranteed.
  • The Kings will take an aggressive approach to the off-season, GM Monte McNair told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “We’ll be aggressive whether it’s really (any of) the three avenues — draft, free agency, trade,” McNair said. “We’re going to continue to be aggressive and smart in looking for big or small ways that we can upgrade the team.” However, it could be difficult for the Kings retain unrestricted free agent Richaun Holmes, Anderson notes. Holmes will likely seek upwards of $15MM annually and the Kings will be hard-pressed to pay more than $12MM due to cap issues.
  • The Clippers will have approximately 7,000 fans in the stands for their playoff opener, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That’s the maximum they can sell, per local regulations. The remainder of the seats will be filled with cardboard cutouts.

Finalists For Major 2020/21 NBA Awards Announced

During a TNT broadcast ahead of tonight’s Wizards-Pacers play-in matchup, the finalists for six big end-of-season 2020/21 awards were announced. Here is the full list, as voted on by reporters.

NBA Most Valuable Player:

NBA Defensive Player of the Year:

NBA Rookie of the Year:

NBA Most Improved Player:

NBA Sixth Man of the Year:

NBA Coach of the Year:

  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
  • Monty Williams (Suns)

Some of these current contenders are familiar with the hardware they’re up for again. Curry is a two-time MVP, having won the award previously in 2015 and 2016. Gobert and Green have both previously won Defensive Player of the Year awards — Green in 2017 and Gobert in 2018 and 2019. Thibodeau was voted Coach of the Year a decade ago while with the Bulls.

The winners for the awards will be announced during the 2020/21 NBA playoffs.

Warriors Notes: Toscano-Anderson, Wiseman, Poole, Green

Juan Toscano-Anderson has signed a standard contract that includes a fully guaranteed minimum salary for next season and he’s extremely grateful, as he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic and other media members (Twitter link). The 6’6” Warriors swingman calls it a “life-changing contract, a life-changing signature” and vows to work even harder. “I get kind of paranoid in situations like this,” he said. “I am happy but the real work starts now. I don’t feel pressure but there’s more I need to do, I need to raise the bar.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • James Wiseman had a spotty rookie season cut short by injury but coach Steve Kerr promises that the No. 2 pick of the draft won’t disappoint in the long run, Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “I have no doubt James is going to make a huge impact in this league,” Kerr said. “He’s gonna be a hell of a player, but it takes time and you can’t rush that process, unfortunately. It just has to happen on its own time, so he’ll get there, but we’ll just have to keep working with him. The good thing is he’s a great student, and he’s a hard worker and got a great approach. “
  • Jordan Poole has continued to be a key player during the second half of the season, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The former University of Michigan guard is averaging 13.6 PPG and 2.4 APG since the All-Star break. Poole is under contract for next season and the team holds a $3.9MM option for the 2022/23 campaign.
  • Draymond Green asserts his defensive impact goes far beyond stats, as he described to Sam Amick of The Athletic in a wide-ranging interview. “One thing I am certain of is that I can (mess) up an entire team’s offense,” he said. “And so, when you look at the impact that I have on the defensive side of the ball, it’s not always going to show up in blocked shots. It’s not always going to show up in steals. But I guarantee you it shows up in your favorite-player-who-I-may-be-playing-against’s mind.”

Warriors Notes: Green, Curry, Brown, Iguodala

At ninth place in the West, the Warriors are in a crowded fight to qualify for a play-in game, but Draymond Green doesn’t take any motivation from trying to reach that pre-playoff contest, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. After winning three titles and playing in five straight NBA Finals, it’s hard for Green to get excited about such a modest goal.

“To be honest with you, I don’t go into these games thinking like, ‘Man, we need to win these games to get to the playoffs,'” Green said after Thursday’s loss at Miami. “I hate losing, so when I step on the floor I want to win. But I’ll be 100% honest with you, fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me. We’re in what, (ninth)? Fighting for a (play-in) spot doesn’t motivate me at all.”

The change in the playoff system was introduced as part of last year’s restart in Orlando. A play-in game was instituted between the eighth and ninth seeds if they were close in the standings. This year, the system has been expanded to include teams seven through 10 in each conference.

“I want to win,” Green explained. “That’s enough motivation for me, but I’m not going to spend every day like, ‘Man, we’re right on the cusp of that play-in’ — I don’t give a damn about that play-in game. If that’s where we are and we’re in the game, yeah, I’m going to do all I can to win the game. But, the play-in situation isn’t going to get me out of my bed like I got to bust my ass today because we’re fighting for the play-in spot. That ain’t going to push me.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry won’t play tonight against the Raptors, tweets Anthony Slater of the Athletic. Curry had been considering playing back-to-back games for the first time since suffering a tailbone bruise March 17, according to Friedell. Curry scored 36 points in 36 minutes Thursday in his second game since returning. “I gotta see how I feel when I wake up,” he said Thursday. “This is an injury where Monday to Tuesday it was a tough day-after-game feeling. I’m hopefully progressing where I wake up and feel good and know what I’m dealing with and be able to play, but we’ll monitor that.”
  • Green may not be excited about the play-in game, but assistant coach Mike Brown believes any postseason experience will be valuable, according to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. “It would be huge. The playoff atmosphere — not only in your preparation but the actual games — it’s at a whole other level,” Brown said in a radio interview. “For our guys to get a feel of it, a taste of it, would only benefit them for many years to come.”
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes the Warriors miss Andre Iguodala as much as Klay Thompson, writes Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area. Iguodala was an all-around contributor during Golden State’s best seasons, and now he’s playing that same role in Miami.

USA Basketball Expands Finalist List for Olympic Roster

Fifteen players have been added to the list of finalists for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. The group will eventually be pared down to 12 players who will participate in the Olympic Games, which are set for July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will serve as coach for the U.S. team, with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Villanova coach Jay Wright and former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce as his assistants.

No tryouts will be held this year. Instead, USA Basketball will choose the final roster by early summer. Training camp is scheduled to being in early July before the conclusion of the NBA playoffs.

“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible,” USA Basketball men’s national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that. Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”

The new names under consideration are:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers)
  2. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  3. Jerami Grant (Pistons)
  4. Blake Griffin (Nets)
  5. Jrue Holiday (Bucks)
  6. DeAndre Jordan (Nets)
  7. Zach LaVine (Bulls)
  8. Julius Randle (Knicks)
  9. Duncan Robinson (Heat)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Fred VanVleet (Raptors)
  12. John Wall (Rockets)
  13. Zion Williamson (Pelicans)
  14. Christian Wood (Rockets)
  15. Trae Young (Hawks)

Forty-two players remain from the original list, which was announced in February 2020:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Nets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Lakers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Hornets)
  22. Dwight Howard (Sixers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Cavaliers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Rockets)
  36. Chris Paul (Suns)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Pistons)
  38. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  39. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  40. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  41. Russell Westbrook (Wizards)
  42. Derrick White (Spurs)

Two players removed from that list are Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and Celtics guard Marcus Smart. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Smart turned down an invitation because of injury concerns due to having a short offseason and playing late into consecutive seasons (Twitter link).

Western Notes: Curry, Green, C. Johnson, Jazz, J. Hall

Warriors veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green didn’t make the trip to Phoenix for Thursday’s game and won’t be available, reports Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s a rest day for Curry, who will be participating in the All-Star Game this weekend. As for Green, he’ll get an extra day of rest for his sore ankle before Golden State gets a week off for the All-Star break.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Second-year sharpshooter Cameron Johnson also won’t play in Thursday’s Suns/Warriors contest, as he’s been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. If Johnson is subject to contact tracing, he could be good to go following the All-Star break, but if he has tested positive for COVID-19, he won’t be available for the start of the second half either.
  • After waiving Shaquille Harrison last week, the Jazz are still about $1.2MM above the luxury tax line, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests Utah could still get out of tax territory by paying a team to take on Juwan Morgan‘s contract before the trade deadline, then filling its open roster spots off-and-on with 10-day contracts for the rest of the season. Of course, a bigger trade that reduces team salary would also work.
  • The Thunder recalled rookie two-way player Josh Hall from the G League bubble on Wednesday, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Hall, who played in just one game for the OKC Blue at Walt Disney World, was listed on Wednesday’s injury report as out due to left knee soreness.