Dwayne Bacon

Team USA Announces Camp Roster For September World Cup Qualifiers

Fourteen players will participate in a Las Vegas training camp beginning this Thursday, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. Of those 14 players, 12 will be named to Team USA’s roster for the club’s upcoming qualifying games for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

This set of games – the first window for the second round of qualifiers – will take place later this month. Team USA will face Uruguay on September 14, then play against Panama on September 17.

The following players will be vying for Team USA roster spots for these qualifying contests:

In the first round of qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup, Team USA was made up predominantly of G League players. That’s the case to some extent again this time, with guys like Hearn and Warney returning. However, many of the players this time around are currently under contract with NBA teams, including Bacon (Hornets), Ellenson (Pistons), Hicks (Knicks), Mason (Kings), Trice (Bucks), and White (Spurs).

“With our September second-round games marking the start of the most critical part of the World Cup Qualifying, I think it is imperative for us to look for players who possess mental fortitude, who are tough, and who have experience,” said Team USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “All of our second-round games are going to very, very difficult and competitive battles. Argentina, Panama and Uruguay are all really good and well coached.”

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers will take place over three windows of competition in September, November, and February. Team USA will play two games apiece vs. Argentina, Panama, and Uruguay during that stretch.

Having posted a 5-1 record during the first round of qualifiers, Team USA is tied for first with Argentina in Group E, which is made up of six teams. If Team USA remains in the top three of the Group E standings by the end of February’s games, the squad will qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in China next September.

Hornets Notes: Monk, Staff, Bacon, Parker

After undertaking a limited and somewhat disappointing role last season as a rookie, second-year guard Malik Monk has been told by the Hornets’ new coaching staff that he needs to make quicker, more decisive choices with the ball in order to maximize his talent and athleticism, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

Monk, 20, was selected 11th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft before suffering an ankle sprain that cost him summer league work before his first NBA training camp. Due in part to that lack of experience, Monk was in and out of the Hornets’ rotation all season long, finishing with an average of 6.7 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the field.

But despite whatever troubles he may have experienced during his rookie season, Monk will have plenty of opportunity to step into a bigger role this season, per head coach James Borrego.

“Malik Monk is a major player for us next (season)… I knew he was a shooter but being up close to him is impressive. This guy has a chance to be an elite shooter, a very consistent shooter. Someone we can play through for different stretches of a game.”

As for how Monk feels about Borrego and the new coaching staff, the good feelings seem to be mutual, with Monk saying, “I love them. They’re opening up the court for me and giving me a chance. That’s what I’ve been looking for.”

There’s more out of Charlotte this evening:

  • Speaking of the new coaching staff, the Hornets have officially hired Jay Triano, Chad Iske, Jay Hernandez, Ronald Nored, and Dutch Gaitley as assistant coaches under Borrego, per an official press release from the team.
  • Another young player the Hornets believe in is second-year player Dwayne Bacon, Bonnell notes in another piece. The new staff believes that Bacon, the 40th overall selection in last year’s draft, is both talented offensively and versatile defensively and that he will benefit from an increased pace of play.
  • As we relayed yesterday, the Hornets may be in the market for another guard to play alongside Monk and All-Star Kemba Walker, with free agent guard Tony Parker no longer necessarily a lock to return to San Antonio.

Southeast Notes: Borrego, Wall, McGruder, Monk

As we wrote yesterday, the Hornets have no immediate plans to blow up their roster. Yet, a culture change is definitely in the works with new head coach James Borrego, who brings with him the winning culture of Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise with five championships and a sixth NBA Finals appearance since the 1998-99 season.

While Borrego is not Popovich, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer opines that there are four great habits he learned from Popovich that he can bring to the Hornets – great ball movement, getting the best out of your players, the ability to positively impact a locker room, and perhaps most importantly, develop talent.

As Bonnell notes, the more important quality the Hornets were looking for in its next head coach was player development. And while the Spurs front office gets a lot of credit for its ability in the draft, having a coaching staff adept at developing players is just as important.

Some examples of players who the Spurs drafted low and turned into serviceable NBA players include Tony Parker (28th overall), Manu Ginobili (57th), George Hill (26th), Tiago Splitter (28th), and Dejounte Murray (29th). Moreover, the Spurs developed Danny Green (46th) after acquiring him as a free agent. To that end, the Hornets hope that the hiring of Borrego will help develop its two young players drafted last summer – Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post opines that although the leadership of John Wall was at times questionable this season for the Wizards, the situation would’ve been helped if Wall was able to play more, using his on-court leadership skills as opposed to trying to lead off the court.
  • Heat swingman Rodney McGruder is looking forward to returning to the hardwood next season and working to win back a spot in the rotation after missing 64 games during the 2017/18 campaign, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
  • In another piece for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell looks at how Monk will fit into the Hornets’ plans. According to new head coach Borrego, “I see him as a playmaker, who can play with Kemba (Walker) and also be on the court without Kemba, creating offense for us. (Or) pairing him and Nic Batum in a lineup where Nic is facilitating. He’s a combo (guard). I don’t know until I get my hands on him where I’m going to put him or how we’re going to play him. But he’s just going to be a very good basketball player who fits today’s NBA.”

Hornets Notes: Borrego, Batum, Howard, Zeller

Nicolas Batum may benefit more than anyone from the Hornets’ coaching change, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Spurs assistant James Borrego is expected to install the motion offense used in San Antonio, which plays to Batum’s strengths of handling the ball and making quick decisions.

Charlotte’s approach under Steve Clifford this season was heavy on postups for center Dwight Howard, which restricted Batum’s effectiveness. His scoring average dropped to 11.6 points per game, the lowest in his three years with the Hornets, and Bonnell speculates that he needs a new approach on offense to become productive again.

Bonnell addresses more Hornets topics in a mailbag column:

  • New GM Mitch Kupchak would like to move at least one big contract this summer to provide cap relief, but the organization might be wise to hold onto Howard. Bonnell states that the team may be in a better long-term position by allowing Howard’s $23.8MM contract to expire next summer rather than trading it for other expensive assets. However, he questions how much Howard will play next season, especially if the Hornets fall out of contention early.
  • Of the five players with large contracts, Cody Zeller may be easiest to trade. Zeller is signed for the next three seasons at an average of about $14MM per year, but he is only 25 and could develop into an effective center if he can overcome his injury history.
  • Young players Malik Monk, Willy Hernangomez and Dwayne Bacon may get a better chance to prove themselves under Borrego than Clifford. Bonnell says all three will be closely watched and supervised over the offseason, although Hernangomez will spend a large part of the summer with the Spanish National Team.
  • Borrego may try to add a former NBA head coach to his staff, just as Clifford did with Bob Weiss and Eddie Jordan.
  • The most pressing offseason need is finding a point guard to back up Kemba Walker. Monk played there late in the season, but Bonnell notes that it’s too early to say if that’s his best position. It’s also a long-term concern because Walker is headed for free agency in 2019.

Injury Updates: Hill, Irving, Wall, Gasol

An MRI confirmed that Cavaliers guard George Hill sprained his left ankle in last night’s win over the Pelicans, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Hill was pulled from the game midway through the third quarter after landing awkwardly on a layup attempt.

Hill has been declared out of Sunday’s game with the Mavericks, but there is no word on his availability beyond that. He will undergo treatment and rehab, but the team hasn’t set a timetable for a return, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Hill has been a valuable addition to the Cavs since he was acquired from the Kings in a deal at the deadline. He has appeared in 22 games, all starts, and is averaging 9.9 points and 2.9 assists per night.

There’s more injury-related news from around the NBA:

  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered an update on the progress of Kyrie Irving, who underwent a procedure on his left knee last week, relays Chris Forsberg of ESPN (Twitter link). “I saw him yesterday,” Stevens said, “spent a lot of time with him. Spirits were good. Bending, extending his knee on a training table. No on-court videos. No 360 dunks.”
  • John Wall played 33 minutes today in his first game since arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in January. However, the Wizards aren’t going to take a chance with using him in back-to-back games as coach Scott Brooks has already ruled him out of Sunday’s contest in Chicago, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • Spurs center Pau Gasol will continue to play through a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). Gasol said the shoulder is “going to nag” him for the rest of the season.
  • An MRI conducted today showed that Trail Blazers forward Ed Davis has a sprained right ankle, according to Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com (Twitter link). Davis will be re-evaluated in seven to 14 days and may miss the start of the playoffs.
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon was removed from today’s game with a right ankle sprain, the team tweeted. Further evaluation will be needed to determine the extent of the damage.
  • Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry is listed as probable for Sunday’s game with the Magic, according to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link). Bembry has been limited to 21 games this season and hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Feb. 23.

Hornets Notes: Clifford, Bacon, Zeller, Batum

The Hornets have already announced that general manager Rich Cho won’t have his contract renewed after this season, and according to Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer, head coach Steve Clifford probably shouldn’t be retained either.

Despite being one of the best coaches that the city of Charlotte has ever had – in Sorensen’s eyes – Sorensen wonders whether the team has reached a point where the players have stopped listening to Clifford and his message.

The Hornets have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA this year. The team was widely expected to compete for a playoff spot, but have been out of the hunt for much of the season, currently sporting a record of 34-41 with seven games remaining after finishing with a similarly disappointing record last season at 36-46.

There’s more out of Charlotte from Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

  • The Hornets selected Malik Monk with the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft, with expectations that Monk could come in and help the team this season. However, the Charlotte rookie who has probably ended up having the best season is second-round pick Dwayne Bacon, the 40th overall selection. With that in mind, Bonnell analyzes whether Bacon could end up being the better catch.
  • Hornets big man Cody Zeller missed his 10th consecutive game tonight against the Cavs, leaving Bonnell to wonder whether Zeller may be done for the season. Zeller, who thought he might be ready to play in Dallas on Saturday, said his injured left knee had begun to swell again after he tested it.
  • Part of the Hornets’ problem is a high payroll for next season, leaving the team with few options to improve upon its current roster. One albatross of a contract is that of Nicolas Batum, who is scheduled to make $24MM next season. In a mailbag piece, Bonnell answers some readers’ questions regarding Batum and his contract, among others.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/13/18

Here are the G League moves from around the NBA today:

  • The Knicks recalled guard Damyean Dotson from their Westchester affiliate, the team tweeted. Dotson has appeared in 20 NBA games during his rookie season.
  • The Hornets recalled rookie guard Dwayne Bacon from their affiliate in Greensboro, the team announced on its website. Bacon is averaging 26.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists with the Swarm.
  • The Thunder recalled rookie center Dakari Johnson from the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team website. Johnson has played 19 games for the Thunder, averaging 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14.6 minutes.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/8/18

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

3:50pm:

  • The Celtics have recalled Abdel Nader and Guerschon Yabusele from the G League, according to the team (Twitter link). Nader and Yabusele played for the Maine Red Claws during Sunday’s loss to the Raptors 905.
  • The Hornets have assigned Dwayne Bacon to the G League for the third time this season, the team announced today in a press release. Bacon has played two games for the Greensboro Swarm so far this season, averaging an eye-popping 38.5 PPG.

3:12pm:

  • The Nets have assigned injured guard D’Angelo Russell to the G League, the club announced today in a press release. As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), Russell is practicing with Brooklyn’s affiliate today as he rehabs the knee issue that his kept him out of action for several weeks. He’ll be recalled to the NBA after that practice.
  • Rookie guard Davon Reed has been re-assigned to the G League by the Suns, according to an announcement from the team. Reed, who recently made his G League debut after recovering from a torn meniscus, has yet to appear in an NBA game.
  • The Kings have recalled Justin Jackson and Georgios Papagiannis from the Reno Bighorns, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California. The two youngsters have yo-yo’d back and forth between Sacramento and Reno over the last few days, appearing in a pair of games for the Bighorns since Friday.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/31/17

Here are the G-League moves from around the NBA today:

  • The Hornets recalled Dwayne Bacon from the organization’s G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, the team announced in a press release. In 28 games for Charlotte, Bacon has averaged 3.6 PPG and 3.1 RPG. He was acquired along with cash considerations from the Pelicans for draft rights to Frank Jackson during the 2017 NBA Draft.
  • The Hornets also recalled guard Julyan Stone from the Greensboro Swarm. per the press release. Stone has appeared in four contests for the Hornets, posting totals of  1.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG and 1.8 APG.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Speights, Bacon

The Heat will be eligible to apply for a hardship exception after tonight’s game, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. To qualify, teams must have at least four players miss three consecutive games with injuries and be ruled out for at least two more weeks by an independent medical specialist. Dion Waiters will sit out his third straight game tonight with a sprained ankle, joining Justise Winslow, who has missed eight games with a left knee sprain, and Rodney McGruder and Okaro White, who are both recovering from surgeries.

Miami, which signed White under similar circumstances last season, has a roster candidate playing for its G League affiliate, Winderman notes. Veteran swingman Alonzo Gee is averaging 17.8 points in five games with Sioux Falls. The 30-year-old, who last appeared in the NBA when he signed a 10-day contract with the Nuggets in January, has played for six teams in eight years.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • John Wall and Bradley Beal both used the word “selfish” to explain why the Wizards frequently suffer letdowns like the one that resulted in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, relays Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Washington was expected to be among the top teams in the East, but has dropped games to the Mavericks, Suns, Lakers, Clippers, Nets [twice] and Hawks, who all have losing records. “We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats,” Wall said.
  • At age 30, Marreese Speights has become a leader on a young Magic team, notes John Denton of NBA.com. Speights, who signed with Orlando this summer, has been around seasoned veterans throughout his career and is passing on the knowledge he gained to his new teammates. “You never know when this game is going to get taken away from you, and that happens to a lot of people, so you have to cherish it every time you get to play,’’ he said. “You have to understand this is bigger than what you think it is. I never take it for granted putting that jersey on.’’
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon will have a short stay in the G League, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The rookie out of Florida State made an impression Thursday with 45 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Swarm. “Barring injury to a Hornets player [Friday against Golden State], the plan is to have Bacon play in Greensboro tonight [i.e. Thursday] against Wisconsin, and then on Saturday in Iowa,” GM Rich Cho wrote in a text message. “We would then recall him after the game on Saturday and have him join [the Hornets] in LA.”