- Warriors coach Steve Kerr is coordinating the minutes for rookie center James Wiseman to get him on the court as much as possible with the team’s veteran leaders, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. So far, the No. 2 pick has played 267 minutes with Stephen Curry and 182 minutes with Draymond Green. “If we’re going to be a championship contender the next few years, those guys have to learn to play together,” Kerr explained.
- The Warriors might take a longer look at Damion Lee with Kelly Oubre Jr. off to a slow start, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic writes. Lee’s skills mesh more seamlessly with Stephen Curry, so Golden State could even try Lee in a starting role. He had a pair of double-digit scoring outings last week and has shot the ball well from deep (44.7%) with a low turnover rate. Oubre has shot an icy 19.7% on his 3-point tries but the Warriors dipped deeper into the luxury tax by acquiring him, so they’ll likely exercise plenty of patience and hope he returns to last season’s form.
We’re likely still a few weeks away from Forbes’ publication of its annual NBA franchise valuations, which are typically revealed during the first half of February. However, new sports-business website Sportico has gotten the jump on Forbes in 2021, trying its hand at projecting the values of all 30 NBA teams.
According to Peter J. Schwartz of Sportico, the average NBA franchise is worth nearly $2.4 billion. That projection dipped slightly as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, since teams around the league have missed out on anticipated revenues as a result of playing without fans. However, the fact that the NBA’s national revenues have remained relatively stable means Sportico’s projected valuations have only dipped about two percent.
In Sportico’s view, the Knicks ($5.42 billion), Warriors ($5.21 billion), and Lakers ($5.14 billion) are far and away the most valuable NBA franchises, followed by the Nets ($3.4 billion) at No. 4. The Pelicans ($1.35 billion), Grizzlies ($1.36 billion), and Timberwolves ($1.43 billion) are at the other end of the spectrum.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The NBA G League announced in December of 2019 that it would be expanding to Mexico City for 2020/21, but given the circumstances surrounding this season, the Capitanes franchise won’t be debuting now after all. While the league has been quiet about its plans for that Mexico-based franchise, the club is now expected to begin playing in the NBAGL in 2021/22, says Marc Stein of The New York Times.
- Although most coaches and general managers around the NBA support the idea of giving teams a third two-way contract slot – an idea being discussed by the league and the players’ union – some would have liked to see a different tweak made to the two-way rules, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “We are in support of (the proposal),” a Western Conference GM said. “But (we) might prefer to have current two-ways with unlimited game-day restrictions.” Players on two-way contracts are limited to being active for 50 of 72 games this season.
- In an interesting article for HoopsHype, Michael Scotto explores the “art of the smokescreen,” speaking to agents and team executives about why they might be motivated to leak information to reporters.
Health and safety protocols have forced a pair of Friday games to be postponed, the NBA announced in a press release (Twitter link). The game between the Wizards and Pistons in Detroit and the contest between the Warriors and Suns in Phoenix have both been called off.
“Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Wizards and Suns, the teams will not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with Friday night’s games,” the league stated.
Washington and Phoenix, which played each other Monday, both had games postponed tonight for the same reason. The Wizards were scheduled to host the Jazz, while the Suns had a home game with the Hawks.
The latest postponements bring the total to nine for the season, with eight of those coming since Sunday. This marks the first time the league has postponed a game two days in advance.
JANUARY 13: Paschall has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will join the Warriors on their upcoming road trip, tweets Slater. Golden State will begin that trip on Thursday in Denver.
JANUARY 12: Second-year Warriors reserve power forward Eric Paschall will be unavailable for tonight’s game against the Pacers as a result of the league’s coronavirus protocols, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (via Twitter).
Slater adds that the timeline for Paschall’s anticipated absence from the Warriors has yet to be determined. He may have returned a positive or inconclusive COVID-19 test result, or he may have come into contact with someone who later tested positive and is being isolated as a result of subsequent contact tracing.
Golden State drafted the 6’6″ forward, now 24, with the No. 41 pick out of Villanova in 2019. After injuries thrust him into a major role during his first NBA season, 2019/20, Paschall was named to the season’s All-Rookie First Team.
This year, Paschall is averaging 12.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.3 APG in 19.3 MPG for the 6-4 Warriors. Across 10 games, he holds a shooting slash line of .542/.389/.828.
- The 2020 trade deadline deal wherein the Warriors sent D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves in a package for swingman Andrew Wiggins and a top-three protected 2021 first-round draft pick continues to pay off for Golden State, according to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. After a rocky start, Wiggins has transformed into a solid two-way option on the wing to help fill the void left by injured Warriors star Klay Thompson. Through 10 games this season, Wiggins is currently averaging 17.5 PPG on 43.3% shooting from the floor and 38.5% shooting from deep, on 5.2 attempts. The 6-4 Warriors are the No. 4 seed in the West.
The NBA G League held its draft for the 2020/21 season on Monday afternoon.
In a typical year, the G League draft lasts four rounds and teams are only required to make two selections. However, this year’s draft was just three rounds and teams weren’t required to make any picks.
Because only 17 of 28 NBA G League affiliates (plus the G League Ignite) are participating in the revamped season at Walt Disney World in Florida, and because teams aren’t permitted to bring extra players to training camp for health and safety reasons, roster spots will be at a premium in the NBAGL this season, and the draft reflected that. Only 25 players were selected.
With the first overall pick, the Greensboro Swarm – the Hornets‘ affiliate – nabbed former Wizard Admiral Schofield. The 42nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Schofield averaged 3.0 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 33 games (11.2 MPG) as a rookie before being traded to the Thunder during the offseason. Oklahoma City waived him last month.
With the second overall pick, which they acquired in a trade earlier in the day, the Memphis Hustle selected former Baylor standout Freddie Gillespie, who had been in camp with the Mavericks. Gillespie recently spoke to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors about his desire to make it to the NBA and his plans to begin his professional career in the G League. He’s now in position to suit up for the Grizzlies‘ affiliate.
Here are the full 2020/21 G League draft results:
- Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Admiral Schofield (Tennessee)
- Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): Freddie Gillespie (Baylor)
- Canton Charge (Cavaliers): Antonio Blakeney (LSU)
- Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Allonzo Trier (Arizona)
- Lakeland Magic (Magic): Tahjere McCall (Tennessee State)
- Canton Charge: Anthony Lamb (Vermont)
- Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder): Zavier Simpson (Michigan)
- Lakeland Magic: DJ Hogg (Texas A&M)
- Westchester Knicks (Knicks): Justin Patton (Creighton)
- Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): Armoni Brooks (Houston)
- Raptors 905 (Raptors): Kevon Harris (Stephen F. Austin)
- Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
- Oklahoma City Blue: Vince Edwards (Purdue)
- Austin Spurs (Spurs): Jonathan Kasibabu (Fairfield)
- Raptors 905: Gary Payton II (Oregon State)
- Memphis Hustle: Anthony Cowan Jr. (Maryland)
- Iowa Wolves: Dakarai Tucker (Utah)
- Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): No pick
- Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): Jemerrio Jones (New Mexico State)
- Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
- Westchester Knicks: No pick
- Iowa Wolves: No pick
- Long Island Nets (Nets): No pick
- Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): No pick
- Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Quincy McKnight (Seton Hall)
- Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): No pick
- Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors): Selom Mawugbe (Azusa Pacific)
- Raptors 905: No pick
- Memphis Hustle: No pick
- Austin Spurs: Anthony Mathis (Oregon)
- Erie BayHawks (Pelicans): No pick
- Greensboro Swarm: No pick
- Austin Spurs: Kaleb Johnson (Georgetown)
- Santa Cruz Warriors: No pick
- Memphis Hustle: No pick
- Oklahoma City Blue: Rob Edwards (Arizona State)
- Salt Lake City Stars: No pick
- Greensboro Swarm: No pick
- Erie BayHawks: No pick
- Westchester Knicks: No pick
- Delaware Blue Coats: Braxton Key (Virginia)
- No picks from 43-57
The teams that didn’t make any picks will fill their rosters with affiliate players and returning rights players, meaning they didn’t need to draft anyone and/or didn’t have the open spots to do so.
As Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Blake Murphy of The Athletic noted (via Twitter), NBAGL teams overwhelmingly opted for youth, passing on most of the notable veteran NBA players in the draft pool. That group included Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, Emeka Okafor, and Shabazz Muhammad, among others.
The G League draft will be held on Monday at 1 PM ET, Adam Zagoria of The New York Times tweets. Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Shabazz Muhammad, Quincy Pondexter, Lance Stephenson and Allonzo Trier are among the NBA veterans who will be eligible for the draft, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. The full list of draft eligible players can be found here. The G League season will begin in Orlando next month.
We have more news from around the basketball world:
- Former Knicks player Kadeem Allen has departed JL Bourg, according to the French club’s Twitter feed. Allen agreed to join the French team over the summer. The 53rd overall pick of the 2017 draft, Allen had been on a two-way contract with New York before being cut earlier in the summer. In two seasons with the Knicks, Allen saw limited action, averaging 8.2 PPG and 3.3 APG in 29 total games (18.4 MPG).
- What are the pros and cons for each Eastern Conference contender to acquire James Harden? ESPN’s Insiders take a closer look at what each of those teams might have to surrender in order to trade for the former Most Valuable Player and whether Harden would be a good fit.
- Which current players are the biggest icons for their franchise? Eric Koreen of The Athletic uses a numerical system to rank those players, with Stephen Curry of the Warriors coming out on top.
Stephen Curry could be in contention for a third MVP award if he keeps playing the way he has this week. After scoring 62 points last Sunday, Curry sparked the Warriors to a shocking comeback win over the Clippers Friday night. He hit nine 3-pointers, had 11 assists and went 13-for-24 from the field in the 38-point performance, leaving some teammates in awe, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
“He’s making shots that you be like, ‘Whoa!'” Andrew Wiggins said. “There’s not a lot of shots that he can’t make. As soon as he steps over half, he’s a threat, so he causes a lot of attention. So when he gets rolling, you just sit back and watch and let him roll.”
Curry continues to add to his historically great numbers, Youngmisuk notes. Among the 78 players in NBA history with at least 100 30-point games, Curry has a .783 winning percentage, which ranks third all-time behind Larry Bird and Hal Greer.
“There’s not too much you have to say beyond it’s just who Steph is,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s been doing this for many, many years and one of the reasons he’s a two-time MVP and he’s a phenomenal basketball player. And usually with Steph when he has a tough game he bounces back [in] the next one. That’s part of his character, part of his competitiveness.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Clippers star Kawhi Leonard called for the team to change its mindset after letting that game against Golden State slip away, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. was outscored 64-40 in the second half while taking just 12 shots in the paint. “I don’t feel like we took any, pretty much, good shots in that fourth quarter,” Leonard said. “Some of us didn’t know the play we were running but, yeah, we have to know what we’re running, execute it and then live with the make or misses.”
- The Lakers‘ deep lineup creates a challenge for coach Frank Vogel, who has to find minutes for a variety of players, notes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Wesley Matthews, who is being used as a reserve for the first time in nearly a decade, said Vogel has made that transition easier. “When you know when you’re coming in, when you’re coming out, you can start usually preparing yourself and you can get ready and then you can start watching the game a little bit differently,” Matthews said. “He’s a great communicator so far with me and that really helps my curve here.”
- Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton made his first career start Saturday with Richaun Holmes sidelined, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports. Coach Luke Walton and his staff have discussed using Haliburton as a starter, but haven’t committed to making the move permanent.
Word broke just before the start of the regular season in December that the Warriors were attempting to sign Lin to a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract in order to make him an NBAGL affiliate player for Santa Cruz.
However, in order to sign an NBA contract, Lin – who spent last season in the Chinese Basketball Association – required a Letter of Clearance from FIBA. The Warriors were unable to get that letter in time to sign and waive Lin without paying a small portion of his regular season salary, which would’ve increased the team’s projected tax bill.
While it initially looked like the Warriors missed their chance to have Lin play for their G League affiliate, a rule tweak made by the NBA and NBAGL reopened that door. As Jonathan Givony of ESPN has reported, each G League team will be able to designate an “NBA Vet Selection” who has five or more years of NBA experience, and will be able to sign that player directly without navigating the league’s complicated waiver process.
Charania doesn’t explicitly say that the Warriors will make use of that rule to sign Lin, but it’s a safe bet they will. Otherwise, he’d have to enter the draft pool or post-draft waiver pool, giving other G League teams a chance to land him.
Earlier today, we passed along a list of notable former NBA players who will be eligible to be selected in the NBAGL’s draft on Monday — Charania (via Twitter) adds former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley to that list.