Evan Mobley

Central Notes: Pistons Draft, Davis, Gobert, Eason

Jaden Ivey‘s lack of a mid-range game might give the Pistons some pause if he’s available with No. 5 pick, James Edwards III of The Athletic opines. Keegan Murray may not be flashy but he’s an efficient scorer who be a great option for playmaker Cade Cunningham, according to Edwards, who examines the fit of the options at the No. 5 pick.

We have more from the Central Division:

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 number of votes.

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.

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.

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Garland, Mobley, Love

The Cavaliers are still hoping injured center Jarrett Allen can return at some point, but he will miss Sunday’s regular season finale against the Bucks, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Allen, who hasn’t played since fracturing his left middle finger on March 6, is listed as “out” on Cleveland’s official injury report.

Allen went through a 15-minute workout before Friday’s game at Brooklyn, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. He wore a splint over the injured finger and did nearly everything one-handed as he simulated a variety of game situations. Every shot he took was with his right hand, Fedor adds.

A source told Fedor that a major concern involves Allen’s pain tolerance, particularly when he catches passes. Allen and the team remain hopeful that he’ll be ready for the Cavs’ first play-in tournament game, which will take place Tuesday if they’re in the 7-8 matchup or Wednesday if they fall to the 9-10 contest.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers have slumped lately amid a series of injuries, but Darius Garland believes they’re still a “scary” postseason opponent for anyone, whether or not Allen is able to play, Fedor writes in a separate story“We’re scary with him or without him,” Garland said. “There’s a lot of teams that don’t want to see us with him or without him. We get him back, great. If we don’t, great. We still got basketball games to play.”
  • Although Cleveland lost its third straight game Friday, there was some good news, Fedor adds. Rookie star Evan Mobley returned from a five-game absence with a sprained left ankle and contributed 17 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes.
  • In an interview with Chris Mannix of Sports IllustratedKevin Love said this season is the most fun he’s had since winning the NBA title six years ago. Love, who has been through disputes with management in recent years, credits the trust that coach J.B. Bickerstaff has shown in him. “J.B., he’s like, ‘I want you to play free,’” Love said. “You have the green light … so for me, there was no pushback. And from then on, it took me about, I’d say four to six weeks to really feel right and secure and find how I was going to play within our group and different matchups and who I was going to be playing with. I’d say around December is where I found myself within that sixth man role. And then it just grew from there.”

Cavaliers’ Evan Mobley Will Play Friday Against Nets

Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley will return for Friday’s crucial matchup against the Nets, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Mobley will start the game at center, moving Moses Brown back to the bench, and is expected to play around 30 minutes, Fedor reports.

Mobley has missed Cleveland’s last five games with a sprained left ankle; the team went just 1-4 in his absence. Mobley had previously been listed as questionable for Friday’s game, but was able to do “everything” at practice on Thursday.

The 7’0″ big man is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year this season, posting averages of 14.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 blocks on .506/.253/.664 shooting through 67 games (33.9 minutes per night).

Cleveland’s road game at Brooklyn will have a major effect on the seedings for the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. The Cavaliers are currently the No. 7 seed at 43-37, but only hold a one-game lead over Brooklyn and Atlanta (both are 42-38). Charlotte, the current No. 10 seed, trails by two games at 41-39.

The Cavs have dealt with a number of injuries to key players this season, so Mobley’s return will be a welcome boost for the struggling club. All-Star center Jarrett Allen (broken finger) remains sidelined, and Cleveland is also playing without Dean Wade (knee) and Collin Sexton (knee), who are both out for the rest of the season.

Central Notes: Bagley, Mobley, Vildoza, McConnell, Komoroski

Marvin Bagley III is headed to free agency this summer but Pistons coach Dwane Casey hopes the front office re-signs the young power forward, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Detroit can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $7.3MM qualifying offer. Bagley has played well since being traded by Sacramento, averaging 14.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 27.2 MPG while appearing in 18 games for the Pistons.

We have more Central Division news:

  • Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley is questionable to play against Brooklyn on Friday, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. Mobley hasn’t played since March 28 due to an ankle injury but he was able to do “everything” at practice in Orlando on Thursday, coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. Jarrett Allen is listed as out, although he went through an individual workout.
  • Guard Luca Vildoza signed a two-year, $1.8MM contract with the Bucks, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed and includes a $500K trigger date if he’s not waived before Milwaukee’s first regular season game. Vildoza was signed on Wednesday.
  • T.J. McConnell surprised a lot of people by returning to action this week, even though the Pacers are out of the playoff picture. McConnell played 15 minutes on Tuesday after missing 55 games due to a hand injury. McConnell told Joel Lorenzi of the Indianapolis Star he just “wanted to feel like a basketball player again.” “They’ve been talking about coming out here and creating that chemistry, and what better way to get that chemistry started than to come back now?” he said. “You know, I just wanted to feel like a basketball player again. It was hard sitting there.”
  • Cavaliers CEO Len Komoroski is stepping down from his post at the end of the season, according to a team press release. Komoroski’s career with the Cavaliers began in 2003 as a team president. He took on the CEO title in 2013. He will remain affiliated with Rock Entertainment Group.

Health Updates: D. Murray, Hayward, Mobley, Zion, More

Dejounte Murray, who missed a third straight game on Tuesday due to an upper respiratory illness, may not accompany the Spurs on their trip to Minnesota for Thursday’s game, head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters, including Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).

As it turned out, the Spurs didn’t need their All-Star guard available in order to clinch a play-in spot with a victory in Denver on Tuesday. The Spurs are just one game behind the Pelicans in the standings for the No. 9 spot and hold the tiebreaker over New Orleans, so if the two teams finish with identical records, their play-in game would take place in San Antonio.

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

  • After making his return from a foot injury on Saturday, Hornets forward Gordon Hayward missed Tuesday’s contest against the Heat. According to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), head coach James Borrego referred to it as a precautionary move and said the team doesn’t want to push Hayward too hard following a lengthy absence.
  • Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley did a lot of on-court work on Tuesday and is making progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. A source tells Fedor there’s a chance Mobley will play in Brooklyn on Friday. The team will know more after Thursday’s practice.
  • Pelicans head coach Willie Green didn’t provide an official update on Zion Williamson‘s injury rehab on Tuesday, but sources tell Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter links) that the star forward has progressed to more on-court work. He remains out indefinitely.
  • The Clippers upgraded Norman Powell (foot) from out to doubtful for Wednesday’s game vs. Phoenix, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. It still sounds like Powell probably won’t play tonight, but it’s a good sign that he’s moving closer to a return.
  • Heat power forward P.J. Tucker left Tuesday’s win early due to what the team has initially diagnosed as a right calf strain, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Acting head coach Chris Quinn said Tucker will get looked at more extensively on Wednesday.

Injury Notes: Allen, Mobley, McDaniels, Powell, Fox, Sabonis

Discussions about Jarrett Allen‘s potential return for the Cavaliers have gravitated toward “if” rather than “when,” according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The team has said Allen is making progress in his recovery from a broken finger and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him returning before the regular season ends on Sunday, but his finger was still in a splint this weekend, says Vardon.

Even if Allen is able to play soon, it’s “highly unlikely” that he’ll be 100% effective, says Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). In Fedor’s view, Evan Mobley – who has missed four games with a sprained ankle and wasn’t walking with a limp after Sunday’s game – is a better bet to be fully effective, or at least close to it, when he returns.

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

  • Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, who has been out since March 14 due to a high left ankle sprain, “looks really good” in his scrimmages, head coach Chris Finch said on Sunday (link via Chris Hine of The Star Tribune). The Wolves will formally reevaluate McDaniels on Monday. Finch expects him to be on a minutes limit when he returns, per Hine.
  • Clippers forwards Paul George and Marcus Morris hinted after Sunday’s game that Norman Powell could be close to returning from his left foot injury, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group, who notes that the injured swingman took part in an on-court pregame workout. “It’ll be great for Norm if he could get back out there in the next game or two, just to get a good feel back,” Morris said.
  • With the Kings officially eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged that shutting down De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will likely be “something we’ll talk about” (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). Fox has missed Sacramento’s last eight games due to a hand injury, while Sabonis has been out for six games due to a knee issue.

Cavaliers Notes: Rubio, Allen, Mobley, Sexton

The Cavaliers‘ last two opponents are a reminder that success can be fleeting in the NBA, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Cleveland got a much-needed win in New York this afternoon to solidify its hold on seventh place, two days after getting blown out in Atlanta. The Knicks and Hawks have both fallen on hard times after surprising success last season, and the Cavs are hoping to avoid the same fate.

Cleveland has already experienced a prolonged slump after being tied for second in the East on February 10. Injuries to rotation players have been an issue, but the problems run much deeper, according to Vardon. The Cavaliers were regressing on defense before Jarrett Allen fractured a finger early in March, and coach J.B. Bickerstaff called out his team for complacency as it began to slide down the standings.

The team hasn’t really gotten over the loss of Ricky Rubio, who suffered a torn ACL in late December, Vardon adds. Cleveland’s defense was third in the league with Rubio, but it has since fallen to 12th.

“It was more his spirit, even, than it was just the stuff on the floor,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s hard to put into words. Like, he has a unique ability to raise the level of each individual that he’s playing with and impact them in a positive way. We missed the stuff that he did on the court, so I don’t want to minimize that. But like, to me, it was him as a human being and his personality that made us unique, the way we were, and as good as we were, to be honest with you.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavs are preparing for their first postseason since LeBron James left, and Kevin Love believes it will be a valuable experience for his young teammates, Vardon adds. “I think it’s not lost on us, and certainly not lost on me, how major and paramount an experience like this would be for this group, especially this young group in particular,” Love said. “Not going to next year saying ‘playoffs are the goal’ type of thing. Like, we want to see that this year and be able to make the next step.”
  • Allen and Evan Mobley remain sidelined, but there’s still hope that they might return before the regular season ends April 10, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Both have been ruled out for Sunday’s contest with the Sixers, which will mark the 15th straight missed game for Allen and the fourth for Mobley, who sprained his left ankle Monday. “I don’t know when that game may be, but we’re hopeful that maybe one or two of the final games we’ll have both those guys back,” Bickerstaff said.
  • Collin Sexton, who had surgery in November for a torn meniscus in his left knee, went through a 15-minute workout before Friday’s game, Fedor states in a mailbag column. There’s no expectation that he’ll return for the playoffs, a source tells Fedor, but he continues to make progress.