Fred VanVleet

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Booker

The Raptors will have a welcomed dilemma on their hands when Delon Wright returns from a shoulder injury. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that initial third-string point guard Fred VanVleet has made a strong case for regular minutes.

VanVleet has become an integral part of the lineup the Raptors have been closing games with during their current five-game streak. The gritty, undrafted guard has been providing skills that Dwane Casey loves while shooting an impressive 8-17 from beyond the arc.

I think we have the opportunity with Delon, Fred, Norman Powell,” starting Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said of the fluctuating lineups. “We’ve got guys who can play basketball and guys who are very talented and play extremely hard. You never know, whoever has it going is going to finish the game.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets opted to take a flyer on Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas this week but the aspect of the trade that they’re most excited for could very well be the second round pick, Zach Lowe of ESPN says (via Nets Daily). General manager Sean Marks has been busy the last few years, acquiring second-rounders to replenish those that his predecessor traded away.
  • The latest addition to the Sixers considers himself to be a bigger version of a current fan favorite. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently caught up with Trevor Booker and asked him what he thinks he’ll be able to contribute to his new team. “I’ll bring a lot of passion; I’m a passionate player. I’m a guy that’s going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense. I’m pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell.

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.”

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:

Raptors’ Affiliate Wins NBA D-League Championship

Thursday was a good night for the Raptors’ organization. Not only did the NBA squad pull out a Game 6 victory in Milwaukee to make it through to the second round, but Toronto’s D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, won its first NBADL championship.

The Raptors’ affiliate dropped the first game of the D-League’s best-of-three Finals to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ NBADL team, on Sunday. However, the club bounced back with a win on Tuesday and a resounding 122-96 victory on Thursday night to clinch the series.

While many of the contributors to the championship roster aren’t under contract with the Raptors, former first-round picks Bruno Caboclo and Pascal Siakam played major roles in the team’s postseason run, as did undrafted rookie Fred VanVleet. The trio combined for 76 points on Tuesday, with Caboclo (31 points, 11 rebounds) and VanVleet (28 points, 14 assists) leading the way. All three players remain under team control for the Raptors through at least next season.

While D-League excellence doesn’t necessarily translate to NBA success, the development of their young players is certainly a positive sign for the Raptors, who could be at risk of losing NBA rotation pieces this summer — Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker, and Patrick Patterson will all be eligible for free agency, and re-signing them would likely take Toronto deep into luxury-tax territory.

Meanwhile, the championship win is another major step forward for Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse, who was named the D-League’s Coach of the Year last week. Stackhouse will be looking to join the NBA’s head coaching ranks at some point, and his first-year performance for Toronto’s affiliate will look pretty good on his résumé.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Raptors’ affiliate figures to officially go down as the last D-League champion in league history. Starting next season, the NBADL will be re-branded as the NBAGL — the NBA Gatorade League.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 4/25/17

Here are Tuesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • In what could be the last D-League assignments of the season, Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet have been sent to the Raptors 905 by the Raptors, the team announced today (Twitter link). Toronto’s D-League affiliate will look to extend the NBADL Finals to a third and deciding game with a win tonight, and VanVleet – who appeared briefly at the end of the Raptors’ win over Milwaukee on Monday – will Caboclo and Siakam as added reinforcements.
  • The Raptors 905’s opponent in the D-League Finals, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, likely won’t make any moves today — Kyle Wiltjer, Chinanu Onuaku, and Isaiah Taylor have been assigned to the Vipers for the last 10 days and will presumably remain with the Rockets‘ D-League affiliate as the club looks to clinch the NBADL title.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/31/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • A day after sending them down, the Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet from the D-League, the team announced today (Twitter link). VanVleet and Siakam led the way with 24 and 22 points respectively in a Raptors 905 win on Thursday night.
  • Maurice Ndour and Marshall Plumlee also returned to the NBA a day after being assigned to the D-League, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). Plumlee had a double-double for the Westchester Knicks in a loss on Thursday, with 11 points and 11 boards.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled forward Jarell Martin from the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. Martin’s assignment with the Iowa Energy lasted more than a month. For the season, he has averaged 15.9 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 22 games with Memphis’ D-League affiliate.
  • The Pacers have assigned rookie forward Georges Niang to their D-League squad, the team announced today in a press release. It’s the fourth assignment to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season for Niang.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/30/17

Here are Thursday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Raptors have assigned Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet to their D-League affiliate, the team announced today (via Twitter). The trio will be in action tonight for the Raptors 905, who lead the NBADL’s Eastern Conference with a 37-11 record.
  • The Knicks have sent rookie bigs Maurice Ndour and Marshall Plumlee to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). Ndour and Plumlee will suit up tonight for the Westchester Knicks in their game against the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s D-League affiliate.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/28/17

Check out Tuesday’s D-League assignment and recalls from around the league:

Atlantic Notes: Long, VanVleet, Marks, Porzingis

Shawn Long has seized his opportunity with the Sixers; most recently scoring 18 points with seven rebounds in Friday’s win over the Bulls. Coach Brett Brown spoke with Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly about Long’s emergence in the absence of Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel.

“I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable,” Brown said. “He’s shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player. Opportunity uncovers different qualities in people.”

While Long’s contract is partially guaranteed over the next two seasons, the 24-year-old has asserted his role in the league over the last nine games.

More from around the Atlantic…

  • Fred VanVleet‘s season with the Raptors has affirmed his self-belief. VanVleet, who was disappointed to go undrafted following a successful career at Wichita State, worked his way from Toronto’s summer league squad to their regular season roster. “As a young player, any experience you get is beneficial – even if it’s learning from mistakes,” VanVleet told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “It does give you some personal satisfaction, proving [you belong in the league] when you’ve known you’re good enough for your whole life and you know all the work that you put in and everybody counted you out. It’s good to know that I wasn’t crazy for believing in myself. It’s nice confirmation.”
  • While Milos Teodosic appears unlikely to sign with the Nets– the Serbian standout cited “competitive ambitions” among his NBA requirements- Brooklyn GM Sean Marks continues to search for Euroleague point guards. NetsDaily detailed Marks’ activities during the GM’s recent trip to Barcelona (article link).
  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ transition to the Knicks‘ primary scoring option has been an “ugly work in progress,” Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. As coach Jeff Hornacek has reduced Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose‘s minutes, Porzingis has faced significant expectations in running the offense. “Porzingis is a helluva player, but he’s young,’’ Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after Monday’s match-up with New York. “You just don’t walk into the league and change. He’s going to be a superstar. There’s not any doubt. But there’s not a lot of patience from what I remember when I played in New York. We’re going to have to allow him to be great.’’

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/24/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Rookie point guard Kay Felder has been sent to the D-League by the Cavaliers, per a team press release. It’s just the third assignment of the season for Felder, who has averaged 30.0 PPG in two games for the Canton Charge.
  • The Raptors recalled Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet from the D-League today, the team announced (via Twitter). The trio helped lead the Raptors 905 to a Thursday night win, with VanVleet (26 points, 11 assists) and Siakam (15 points, 12 rebounds) recording double-doubles.
  • The Warriors have assigned Damian Jones to the D-League, tweets Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Jones will likely play for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s affiliate, tonight in Reno.
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