Jarrett Allen

Atlantic Rumors: Green, LeVert, Marks, Williams

Danny Green believes Kawhi Leonard will have a tough time leaving the city of Toronto once he settles in during his first season with the Raptors, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Green, who was included in the blockbuster deal that sent Leonard to Toronto, made the comment during an Inside the Green Room Podcast. “The city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there. I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.” Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • LeVert played a total of 30 games at the point last season when D’Angelo Russell was injured, Milholen notes, and posted averages of 13.2 PPG and 4.8 APG in 27.2 MPG. Russell will start for Brooklyn and the Nets also have free agent addition Shabazz Napier at that spot. LeVert can also be viewed as a long-term insurance policy since Russell could become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, Milholen adds.
  • The early returns on Sean Marks‘ first-round picks bode well for next June’s draft, Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily.com opines. The Nets GM found two valuable assets during the last two drafts in LeVert and starting center Jarrett Allen, even though those picks were in the bottom third of the first round, Rose notes. Thus, Marks and his staff have shown they can not only identify talent but develop players as well, Rose adds. The Nets could have two first-rounders in June, their own pick plus the Nuggets’ top-12 protected pick acquired this summer.
  • Dominating at the G League level would make for a successful rookie season for Celtics first-rounder Robert Williams, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. That’s where Williams will spend a good portion of the season, Blakely notes, and the big man must prove the left knee injury he’s dealing with won’t be a major issue. Williams also needs to show more maturity off the court, Blakely adds.

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has officially announced its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2017/18 season. Ben Simmons of the Sixers and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz – widely viewed as the top two contenders for this season’s Rookie of the Year award – were the only two players to be unanimously selected to the First Team. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received 99 of 100 potential First Team votes.

Listed below are the NBA’s All-Rookie teams for 2017/18, with the player’s vote total in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

First Team:

  • Ben Simmons, Sixers (200)
  • Donovan Mitchell, Jazz (200)
  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics (199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, Bulls (173)

Second Team:

Jackson, who received one First Team vote to go along with 43 Second Team votes, narrowly beat out Bam Adebayo of the Heat for the final spot on the Second Team — Adebayo finished with 44 points.

Outside of Adebayo and the 10 players who earned spots on the All-Rookie teams, 14 other players received votes, with De’Aaron Fox (Kings), OG Anunoby (Raptors), and Jarrett Allen (Nets) leading the way among that group.

Atlantic Notes: Blatt, Allen, Nets Backcourt, Powell

The Knicks continue their search for a new head coach and a pool of nine candidates is slowly starting to shrink. With one interview left this weekend – for Spurs’ assistant coach James Borrego – there is a sense that David Blatt is the best fit in New York, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Blatt has not coached in the NBA since January 2016 when he was fired by the Cavaliers despite a 30-11 record. He has since returned to Europe and continued to coach successfully, and his ability to relate to international talent could benefit the Knicks.

“KP [Kristaps Porzingis] and Frank Nitti [Ntilikina] need him as he is the most qualified to finally make international players that arrive in New York comfortable and productive,” former Knicks European scout Tim Shea said to Berman. “He’d be a godsend.”

As we relayed yesterday, there is a belief that the Knicks are focused on Blatt and Mike Budenholzer, who recently parted ways with the Hawks. Both men bring impressive résumés, but one NBA source close to Blatt tells Berman that his ability to win would be invaluable to a Knicks team coming off another 50-loss season.

“He’s won everywhere he is, won everywhere in Europe,’’ the NBA source said. “This year was supposed to be rebuilding year in Istanbul and he wins the EuroCup. His résumé is impeccable.”

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Most teenagers are not core pieces for an NBA team’s future, but Jarrett Allen, who spent most of the regular season as a 19-year-old standout for the Nets, is exactly that, Michael Scotto of The Athletic writes (subscription required). “He came along nicely,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “He impacts the game defensively right now with his length. He dunks everything around the rim and has shown a developing jumper. He could be a starter.”
  • With Jeremy Lin expected back to go along with incumbents  D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whiteheadthe Nets‘ crowded backcourt will be worth watching, Net Income of NetsDaily writes. All of the aforementioned players bring their own skills and value and head coach Kenny Atkinson enjoys versatility on his roster.
  • While Norman Powell was a key player for the Raptors in the postseason last year, he has gone from X-factor to ex-factor, Dave Feschuck of the Toronto Star writes.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers Culture, Rozier, Wright

Love or hate The Process, it produced a Sixers team that is every bit an Eastern Conference contender. Beyond the roster loaded with talent, however, is a strong culture, one that ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz points out is far more developed and nuanced than we all assumed while they were losing historically.

All of that was a time of learning, a time of progression, a time of really seeing the type of person you can become when you endure hard time,” said Sixers forward Robert Covington. “That journey made us who we are. The 18-win season, the 10-win season. All that, it built us up for this moment.

A mainstay for the team during those lean years is a tradition of having players give presentations about topics that resonate with them on a monthly basis. The result? A series of PowerPoint speeches over which Sixers staffers and stars have been connecting.

Arnovitz breaks down the motivation behind the Sixers’ discussions, which range from Covington’s lecture on snakes to Dario Saric‘s lesson on the Balkan conflict that shaped his childhood. If you dive into one #LongRead today, make it this one.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Consider David Lee a supporter of the notion that the Knicks should hire Mark Jackson. Lee played in New York and later for Jackson in Golden State. “Mark understands the difference in New York basketball. He’s from there,” Lee told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He understands the politics, the fans, things involved unique to the Knicks. That’s an advantage he has.
  • A pair of Atlantic Division point guards have developed slowly over time. Now, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer wonders if Delon Wright and Terry Rozier could eventually leave the Raptors and Celtics for a chance to play a bigger role on another squad. Both players will be eligible for extensions this offseason, and Toronto and Boston may not have the cap flexibility to invest in them for the long term.
  • The Nets have seen a trend of development in players that they’ve had for two or more seasons. Tom Dowd of the team’s official website writes that all eyes will be on D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and Jarrett Allen to see if they’ll show similar improvements when they reach their second year under the tutelage of head coach Kenny Atkinson.

Nets Notes: Harris, Lin, Marks, Cap Room

The Nets are committed to re-signing free agent Joe Harris this summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The fourth-year swingman is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting .419 from 3-point range. He emerged as a rotation player in Brooklyn last season after two years of trying to earn a role in Cleveland, and said “I don’t really envision myself being anywhere else” during a media session last week.

Scotto talked to eight NBA executives who estimate Harris will get offers between $4MM and $7MM per season. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Nets, who will have up to $20MM in available cap space. Harris just wrapped up a two-year veterans’ minimum deal he signed with Brooklyn in 2016.

“I think Joe made it pretty clear in some of the statements he made that he’d love to be back here,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s how the organization feels about him, too. As [coach] Kenny [Atkinson] alluded to before, we’ve got some decisions to make on several, but definitely, Joe is a guy we see in a Nets uniform.”

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeremy Lin‘s season was wiped out by a ruptured patella tendon on opening night, but the front office believes he will be an impact player next season, Scotto relays in the same story. Injuries limited Lin to 36 games during 2016/17 in his first season with Brooklyn, so he feels like he has something to prove heading into the final year of his contract. “I would say I wouldn’t bet against Jeremy,” Marks cautioned. “The way he’s attacked his rehab over the course of the last six to eight months is really impressive. He’s come back with a little bit of a new lease on life, which is great.”
  • The Nets plan to remain patient in the rebuilding process, Scotto adds. The team raised its victory total from 20 to 28 this season and is aiming for modest improvements over the summer. Brooklyn’s cap room will be reduced by about $8.5MM if it makes a qualifying offer to Nik Stauskas and picks up non-guaranteed salaries for Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead. Lin’s contract expires next summer and Allen Crabbe can opt out, giving the Nets much more flexibility in the 2019 free agent market.
  • Atkinson is happy with the progress that Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen all made during their first year with the franchise, but he wants them to improve on defense, especially with forcing turnovers, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Nets Notes: Allen, Atkinson, Kilpatrick, Lin

As pointed out by Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders, not a lot of people inside or outside of the Nets organization could have anticipated the season put together by rookie big man Jarrett Allen. In fact, many thought Allen may actually spend a good chunk of the season in the G-League.

Yet Allen, the sixth youngest player in the NBA and thought to be a project when drafted 22nd overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, found himself a regular member of Brooklyn’s starting lineup by season’s end.

“I defied some people’s expectations,” Allen said. “A lot of people thought I was going to be a G-League guy, and that they were going to have to develop me before I’d be ready to play at the NBA level, but I came in and played well enough to be a starter. I’m playing starter’s minutes now and putting up pretty good numbers. I think I’m doing pretty well.”

When asked what he needs to improve upon most, Allen wouldn’t limit his response to only one area – explaining that he needs to get stronger and work on his offensive game.

“This offseason definitely is going to be when I add a lot of muscle. I want to add strength, shooting, and offensive game stuff. [Defensively], I think I’ve done pretty well, and I know I’ll get even better with time, but I need to work on offensive skills, dribbling, shooting, and post work.”

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • Despite having a lesser overall record than some head coaches on the hot seat, Kenny Atkinson isn’t likely to be let go after the season, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. One reason? Approval from legendary Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
  • Former Nets and current Bulls guard Sean Kilpatrick was surprised to be released by the team earlier this season, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “Absolutely (I was surprised by the move). And I’m pretty sure the coaches were surprised as well. When the news broke, my teammates, some of them cried. They were shocked … But you have to move on in this league.”
  • Nets injured point guard Jeremy Lin worked out in front of Atkinson yesterday, leaving his head coach impressed but cautious, tweets Lewis. “We’ve just got to be really super, super-cautious. We don’t want to rush this in April, May. But I was blown away at how well he was moving, and the stuff he did yesterday.”

New York Notes: Kanter, Lee, Russell, Allen

Despite starting the season with four centers, that could become a position of need for the Knicks this summer, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Enes Kanter has signed with Mark Bartelstein, one of the NBA’s most powerful agents, as he ponders whether to opt out of an $18.6MM salary for next season, adds Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Backup center Kyle O’Quinn has a $4.3MM opt out that he is expected to exercise, as he recently expressed a desire to join a playoff contender. Joakim Noah is on an extended leave of absence from the team, and Willy Hernangomez has already been traded to the Hornets. Berman expects the Knicks to use the stretch provision on Noah once September 1 arrives to open up future cap space.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Trade rumors have surrounded veteran Courtney Lee, but he hopes to remain with the Knicks, relays Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Lee doesn’t fit in with the youth movement in New York and may not have a future spot in a crowded backcourt. “All I can control is what I can control,” Lee said. “And that’s showing up here and being a professional and continuing to do the things I’ve been doing, encouraging and helping the young guys. And then when Coach calls my name, going out there and playing hard.”
  • Lee also came to the defense of embattled coach Jeff Hornacek, Iseman adds, blaming injuries for a disappointing season. The Knicks were 11-10 when Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a stress injury to his left leg in late November, and Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL shortly after Hardaway returned. “For what, injuries?” Lee responded when asked about Hornacek. “For Tim having a stress fracture? For KP going down? How do you blame coach for that?”
  • D’Angelo Russell understands the need to improve after mixed results in his first season with the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Russell averaged 15.4 points and 5.1 assists, but missed 32 games after knee surgery and did little to calm fears about his defense. “Yeah, it could be better. I think it’s just learning. I’m feeling it out,” said Russell, who will be eligible for an extension this summer. “Everything I’m doing is new, playing with new coaches, new teammates. Everything is new. So I think it’s a feeling-it-out type deal with me, so it could always be better.”
  • Rookie center Jarrett Allen has been a pleasant surprise for the Nets, but coach Kenny Atkinson wants him to improve as a rebounder, Lewis notes in a separate story. Allen averages 5.3 boards per night, which ranks 46th among centers.

Nets Notes: Allen, Lopez, Lin

Nets rookie Jarrett Allen has impressed with his play recently and 19-year-old has high expectations for himself, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily writes. In Brook Lopez‘s first game back in Brooklyn on Friday, the veteran was matched up against the rookie Allen which led to several defensive and offensive gems from both players.

Allen, who scored a career-high 20 points and is averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds his past five games, said he is looking to fill the role Lopez held down over the past decade.

“I wouldn’t call it replacing Brook, Brook is one of a kind that I hear. I mean, he has stuff, I have stuff, and I’m just trying to see where I’m at against him,” Allen said. “(He was the) face of the franchise, now I’m here trying to become the face, too, so just going back and forth. It was a good challenge.”

Lopez, 29, has suffered through the worst season of his career in 2017/18, seeing his numbers and playing time diminish in his first season with the Lakers. However, Lopez was a franchise linchpin for the Nets for nine seasons and became an All-Star along the way. Allen, still just a teenager, is obviously confident in his ability to become a similar force in Brooklyn.

Check out other Nets new below:

  • Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily chronicled Lopez’s first game back in Brooklyn, which the center admitted was odd at times. Lopez admitted he had to keep reminding himself to not walk to the home locker room when he entered Barclays Center. The Nets honored Lopez with a tribute video during the game.
  • Injured point guard Jeremy Lin spoke to local media for the first time since he suffered a season-ending ruptured patellar tendon on opening night. Lin said the injury has forced him to retrain his body but that once he is healthy, he will not change his on-court style, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “I’m not going to change the bread and butter of who I am which is downhill, attacking, dynamic playmaking. I’ll always be that player,” Lin said

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Porzingis, Powell

The issue with the shooting shoulder of Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz has taken an interesting turn, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Fultz, who has missed all but four games this season, was apparently upset with his head coach Brett Brown after it was reported that Brown classified Fultz’s injury as “psychosomatic”.

Fultz took to social media to air his frustrations, while Brown insisted that he was misquoted, that he has never wavered from the narrative that Fultz’s shot is being affected by a shoulder injury, and that Fultz’s shoulder still hurts sometimes when he rises to shoot a jump shot.

Brown understands Fultz’s frustration, but believes Fultz will ultimately accept the misunderstanding. “Last night’s erroneous reporting was disappointing,” Brown said, “(but Markelle) knows the organization. He knows me. It doesn’t require much more to be said than that.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Kristaps Porzingis is planning to use his first All-Star game appearance as a recruiting opportunity, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. One of his first targets? Team LeBron teammate Kyrie Irving, who is from the New York area and listed the Knicks as a preferred destination before being traded to Boston.
  • After not playing in three of the team’s previous four games and having being relegated to mop-up duty lately, Raptors guard Norman Powell played well in a come-from-behind win against Minnesota last night, and his teammates weren’t surprised one bit, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, who reports that Powell is still a popular locker room figure.
  • The Nets have benched veteran center Tyler Zeller in favor of youngsters Jahlil Okafor and Jarrett Allen, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post. While head coach Kenny Atkinson wouldn’t confirm the move as permanent, Allen started in Zeller’s place in last night’s loss to the Knicks after Zeller had started 33 of the last 34 games.

New York Notes: Hornacek, Baker, Point Guards, Allen, Russell, Okafor

The Knicks entered last season with high expectations but a midseason collapse partnered with a veteran team was the root of the team’s demise. With a younger team in place this season, head coach Jeff Hornacek does not expect the current Knicks to quit on the season if things get tough, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes.

Ball-dominant players such as Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose were not conducive to the Knicks’ offensive strategy. Free agency acquisitions Courtney Lee (who has been solid this season) and Joakim Noah did not perform to expectations. This season, however, Hornacek has a different vibe.

“Usually when you have an older team — veteran guys — and the losses start piling up guys have a tendency to go, ‘Okay, the season (is over),'” Hornacek said. “These guys are going to fight until the end of the season no matter what our record is. A lot of young guys, they know we’re working not just for this year, but for the next couple of years to get better at certain things. So there won’t be any quit in these guys.”

After back-to-back losses, the Knicks are 17-16, good for an eighth-place tie in the Eastern Conference with the Heat. Injuries to Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, and Enes Kanter have hindered the team at times this season. Yet, Hornacek feels the current crop is hungry and willing to compete, even through difficult circumstances.

Check out other news from the New York NBA scene below:

  • The Knicks‘ uncertain point guard situation was exploited in the team’s Christmas loss to the Sixers on Monday, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Veteran Jarrett Jack went 0-for-5 from the field while rookie Frank Ntilikina struggled on both sides of the ball. Conversely, Sixers backup point guard T.J. McConnell provided Philadelphia with a major boost.
  • Knicks point guard Ron Baker has taken an unconventional path to the NBA, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders writes.  Baker was not heavily recruited out of high school and needed several productive seasons at Wichita State to get on several NBA teams’ radars. Then, Baker went undrafted and had to impress the Knicks in the summer league to earn an NBA opportunity.
  • Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen is trying to model his game after Rockets big man Clint Capela, Net Income at NetsDaily highlights. 
  • As both D’Angelo Russell (knee surgery) and Jahlil Okafor (conditioning) work to enter the Nets’ rotation, general manager Sean Marks’ remarks from last Wednesday put both men on track to return shortly after the New Year. Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets that Russell’s 7-to-8 weeks’ timetable after November 17 surgery puts him on track to return anywhere from January 5-12; Okafor was said to be about two weeks away, putting him on schedule to enter the rotation on the Nets’ upcoming homestand.