Javonte Green

Bulls Notes: Bench, Drummond, Ball, Williams, DeRozan

The Bulls‘ bench came up big again on Wednesday in the team’s win over Indiana, scoring a season-high 43 points, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Alex Caruso, Goran Dragic, Andre Drummond, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones, and Coby White have all been regular contributors outside of the starting five, with the team frequently running out lineups that feature Zach LaVine and four reserves.

On Wednesday, Dragic was a game-high plus-19, while Caruso (+18), Drummond (+16), and Jones (+16) were right behind him. LaVine (+12), who saw action with those second units, was the only starter who had a positive rating.

“We mesh really well because everybody does what they do at a high level. And I think it complements each other really well,” Caruso said. “Drum gives us that inside presence—great screener, great rebounder, rim protection. Me on the outside kind of stirring everybody up on defense whether it’s Woo (Green) or D.J. helping out with the four-man doing the same thing. And then any of the guards that are in with us, whether it’s Coby, Goran or Zach, doing a good job making decisive decisions.”

Of the Bulls’ lineups that have played at least 10 minutes so far this season, none have performed better than the five-man group of Caruso, Dragic, LaVine, Jones, and Drummond, which has outscored opponents 42-21 in 17 minutes of play.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Drummond, who referred to Chicago’s second unit as “pretty much a starting lineup,” also dubbed himself “the best rebounder of the past century,” Johnson writes for NBC Sports Chicago. And, as Johnson points out, Drummond may have a statistical case for that title, given that his career average of 13.2 rebounds per game ranks first among players since 2000, as does his 24.68% rebounding percentage. The big man is averaging 9.4 RPG this season despite playing just 15.6 MPG.
  • It has been four weeks since the Bulls announced they would reevaluate Lonzo Ball in four-to-six weeks following his knee surgery, but head coach Billy Donovan didn’t have any concrete updates on Wednesday, says Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I have not heard anything as of yet with that,” Donovan said. “He’s doing good. He feels like he’s progressing. He’s pretty optimistic and positive about everything. I think the biggest thing with the surgery is the incision healing in order to continue to make progress, and I just don’t know how far along he is in that process.”
  • While Patrick Williams‘ inconsistent start to the season has raised questions about his spot in the starting lineup, it doesn’t sound like Donovan intends to move him to the bench anytime soon, Cowley writes in another Sun-Times story. “I do think that with it being early in the season, taking four or five games and saying, ‘OK, we’re scrapping this,’ you never get a chance to see and maybe get enough information to make those decisions,” Donovan said.
  • In a conversation with David Aldridge of The Athletic, Bulls star DeMar DeRozan spoke about embracing his role as a veteran mentor and enjoying a strong second act to his NBA career after being devastated by the trade that sent him to San Antonio following nine seasons in Toronto. “It’s definitely gratifying from the standpoint that I hope I can be an inspiration for guys who lose confidence in themselves. Or they hit a rock in the road, and (are) struggling to figure it out,” DeRozan said. “There’s always a way. You can’t get down on yourself mentally, you can’t doubt yourself. You can’t get caught up into what everybody else may say and the expectations they put on you. As long as you have the ultimate belief in you and your work ethic, that’s the only thing that matters, that will pay off.”

Central Notes: J. Green, Bulls, Cavs, Giannis

After a slow start to the season for Patrick Williams, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago thinks it’s time for Javonte Green to replace him in the Bulls‘ starting lineup.

According to Johnson, the switch would be less about the individual play of the two forwards and more about how they fit with the starters. Johnson notes that Williams’ deferential nature often means that he’s too passive playing along All-Stars Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, and moving him to the bench might enable him to be more assertive.

Green, meanwhile, plays with consistent energy and competitive fire, even if he’s undersized at 6’4″. He started 45 games last season in place of the injured Williams, so he has familiarity with that unit.

Green will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and Williams will be eligible for a rookie scale extension, so the 2022/23 season is a big one for both players.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • The Bulls had some glaring weaknesses exposed by Cleveland during Saturday’s blowout loss, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. As Mayberry writes, the defense, consistency and energy were all lacking, which was undoubtedly disappointing for fans in the home opener. The Bulls have also struggled with outside shooting in the early going, Mayberry notes, converting just 29.3% of their three-point attempts during their 1-2 start to the season.
  • The Cavaliers‘ team-first approach was on full display in the 128-96 victory over the Bulls, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he’s never been around a locker room that has embraced his “the strength of the team is the team” motto as much as his current group. “It’s the reality of it. Every night, we might not be the most talented team on the floor, but we can be the best team. We take that seriously,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s something that we try to grow every single day. It’s not something where the lights kick on and we fake it. Our guys genuinely care about each other on a level that I haven’t seen on a team before. It’s special what’s in that locker room.”
  • Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to amaze teammates after scoring 44 points (on 17-of-21 shooting), pulling down 12 rebounds and dishing three assists in just 28 minutes of action during the Bucks‘ 125-105 victory over the Rockets, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I mean, you’ve run out of words to describe a guy like that, right?Brook Lopez said. “I can’t imagine you guys actually have to write. I don’t know how you guys don’t just send in the same article over and over with the same adjectives and everything like that. Because you need some ways to just describe how his game grows. It’s tough.”

Central Notes: White, P. Williams, Mobley, Bucks, More

Bulls guard Coby White, the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft, was eligible for a rookie scale extension up until Monday’s deadline, but he never really thought he’d sign a new deal this year, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“No, no. I didn’t,” White said on Tuesday. “I wasn’t really focused on that. Just play this year out. I put in a lot of work this summer, so let my work show, and take it from there.”

White also dismissed the idea that entering a contract year and playing for his next contract will provide any extra motivation this season: “Nah, I love playing basketball. That’s all the motivation I need. I love playing, I love hooping. I’ve had motivation my whole life. I ain’t gonna change nothing now.”

In other Bulls news, the team’s 2020 lottery pick, Patrick Williams, will open the season as the starting power forward, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed today (Twitter link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic). Williams came off the bench in multiple preseason games as Javonte Green shone, but Green will be part of the second unit to open the season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers feel as if Evan Mobley has Hall of Fame potential and believe his development is the key to whether the team can become a legitimate championship contender, Chris Fedor writes in an excellent article for Cleveland.com. “Evan needs to be in a position where people look at us and say, ‘Evan is their best player,'” assistant coach Greg Buckner said. “It can’t be, ‘Donovan (Mitchell) is their best player, Darius (Garland) is their best player or J.A. (Jarrett Allen) is their best player.’ It has to be Evan.” That view is shared by head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, according to assistant coach Luke Walton. “J.B. talks about it all the time with us: We need Evan to be one of the best players in this league, if not the best player in this league, if we’re gonna win championships,” Walton said. “That’s our mission coming from J.B. — help him get to that level.”
  • Hoops Rumors has confirmed that Didi Louzada is eligible to become an affiliate player for the Cleveland Charge after signing a two-way contract (rather than an Exhibit 10 deal) with the Cavaliers on Monday and being waived shortly thereafter. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype first reported the Cavs’ plan to secure Louzada’s G League rights.
  • With Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles already ruled out for the start of the season, the Bucks will also be without Pat Connaughton for a few weeks, prompting Eric Nehm of The Athletic to explore how the team will deal with all its injury absences. As Nehm details, George Hill, Jevon Carter, and Wesley Matthews all figure to play increased roles, with young wings Jordan Nwora and MarJon Beauchamp potentially seeing action too.
  • Pacers forward James Johnson was happy to earn the team’s final roster spot, beating out Langston Galloway and Deividas Sirvydis. However, as Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files relays, Johnson knows that he can’t get comfortable yet, since his contract still isn’t fully guaranteed for the season. “It’s an honor for this spot, but at the end of the day I’m still vulnerable,” he said.

Central Notes: Bulls, Mobley, Cavs, Diakite, Pacers

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan says he’s still tinkering with different lineup combinations and hasn’t decided which player will start at power forward, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Certainly, the rest of this week and going into next week, we’ll do that,” Donovan said when he was asked about experimenting with different looks and combinations.

Cowley writes that the Bulls are trying to determine whether Patrick Williams‘ development would be aided more by starting or coming off the bench. Javonte Green is his primary competition for the starting job.

Donovan has said “several times” during training camp that the power forward spot could fluctuate during the season, and it’s not clear if he’s prioritizing performance or matchups, according to Cowley.

2022/23 will be an important season for both players. Williams will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer after the Bulls exercised his fourth-year option, while Green will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers rested several key players in Friday’s 114-108 loss to Orlando, but Evan Mobley looked good, and more importantly healthy, in his preseason debut after dealing with a sprained right ankle, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Last season’s Rookie of the Year runner-up will be a huge piece of the puzzle for the Cavs if they hope to return to the postseason for the first time since 2018.
  • Both Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert made a strong case for the Cavaliers‘ starting small forward job in the loss to the Magic, Fedor adds in the same piece. Okoro finished with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added three rebounds, while LeVert had 15 points (on 5-of-12 shooting), four rebounds, three assists and four steals.
  • The Cavaliers preferred to keep their 15th standard roster spot open to maintain flexibility, but Fedor wonders (via Twitter) if Mamadi Diakite might be forcing their hand after a strong preseason performance. According to Fedor, Diakite has intrigued with his mix of activity, energy and productivity. He’s on a non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 deal after playing for the Bucks and Thunder the past two seasons.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic previews the Pacers, projecting them to finish with a 27-55 record, 14th in the Eastern Conference. Though he expects them to be bad, Hollinger thinks the Pacers will be entertaining to watch and notes that they have a lot of interesting decisions to make, including potentially dealing away veterans and exploring ways to utilize their $29MM in cap space.

Eastern Notes: Suggs, P. Williams, Sixers, Bridges

After battling health issues as a rookie, Magic guard Jalen Suggs was frustrated to sustain another injury during the preseason, so it came as a relief when his diagnosis wasn’t as serious as it could have been. Suggs has a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise.

“Those things really can either go one of two ways — they can be the worst or be things that are really manageable,” Suggs said on Sunday, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Thankfully, it was one of those really manageable things.”

Speaking to Price in a separate Sentinel story, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tony Wanich said Suggs was fortunate to avoid an ACL injury and suggested that the second-year guard could be back on the court in November.

“A capsule injury usually heals in about two-to-four weeks,” Wanich said. “But the bone bruise usually takes a bit longer and closer to the six-week timeline depending on how extensive that bone bruise is.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan downplayed his decision to remove Patrick Williams from the starting lineup for the team’s two most recent preseason games, but the significance of that move is “clear for all to see,” argues Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Javonte Green, who earned the start in Williams’ place on Friday, has scored 50 points in 60 minutes this preseason and is playing like the Bulls want Williams to, Mayberry writes. “When you put Javonte out there, you know what you’re going to get,” Donovan said after Friday’s game.
  • Following the Sixersrelease of Trevelin Queen, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice believes Isaiah Joe looks like the “clear frontrunner” for the team’s final regular season roster spot, ahead of Charles Bassey.
  • The preliminary hearing for Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges was pushed back for a fifth time, to October 12, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (subscriber-only link). That hearing for Bridges, who has pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges, was initially scheduled for August 19.

Fischer’s Latest: Gobert, Jazz, Bulls, P. Williams, Snyder, Spurs

Confirming a pair of earlier reports, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report states that the Jazz haven’t entertained inquiries on Donovan Mitchell, but have been willing to engage in talks involving Rudy Gobert, with the Bulls among the potential suitors for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

According to Fischer, a Bulls offer for Gobert would – as expected – start with center Nikola Vucevic. The “popular package” discussed by various league executives would also include Patrick Williams, according to Fischer, who notes that the Jazz have long been seeking a wing defender like the former No. 4 overall pick.

However, as Fischer writes, the Bulls weren’t interested in discussing Williams during in-season trade talks for Jerami Grant, so it remains to be seen how open they’d be to including him in an offer for Gobert. If Williams is off the table, adding Coby White and Javonte Green would work from a salary-matching perspective, Fischer observes, but presumably the Jazz would be seeking a more substantial return for one of their two All-Stars.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Jazz offered Quin Snyder a variety of contract structures in an effort to keep him in Utah, but those offers were rebuffed, with Snyder deciding it was time to move on. The expectation in league circles is that Snyder – who is highly regarded by Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – would be the leading candidate for the coaching job in San Antonio when Gregg Popovich steps down, says Fischer.
  • The Jazz are still working on their list of head coaching targets and will begin to formally reach out to candidates in the coming days, according to Fischer. One of the names included in the team’s preliminary list of candidates was Terry Stotts, who has the same representation as Snyder and spent several weeks around the Jazz in 2021/22, Fischer notes.
  • While there’s some skepticism around the NBA about how much Jazz CEO Danny Ainge will cater to Donovan Mitchell, Ainge isn’t viewed as someone who “scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches,” Fischer writes. In other words, if Mitchell and team owner Ryan Smith both want to bring in former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant as Snyder’s replacement, Ainge likely wouldn’t stand in the way, sources tell Fischer.

Bulls Notes: Green, Donovan, LaVine, Thompson

Javonte Green has emerged as the most valuable piece of a three-team trade the Bulls made at the 2021 deadline, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Chicago also received Daniel Theis and Troy Brown Jr. in the deal with the Celtics and Wizards, but Brown has become indispensable for coach Billy Donovan. He was inserted into the starting lineup after an early-season injury to Patrick Williams and has been able to contribute as both a starter and reserve.

“I know what I’m on the team for and what I bring to the team. I’m going to continue to do that whether that’s coming off the bench or starting,” Green said. “I’m just here to do my job, be here for my teammates. Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it regardless if I’m starting or coming off the bench. It’s not like I’m mad about it or anything.”

Green was asked to fill both roles this week as Donovan started Tristan Thompson alongside Nikola Vucevic in Friday’s game against the Bucks, then used Green as a starter again Monday at Philadelphia. Green might have to adjust again if Williams and Alex Caruso return before the end of the season, but he says he’s ready for anything.

“From the beginning, from my first game in the NBA, I knew I could play at this level,” Green said. “I’m just getting a great opportunity, and I’m taking advantage of it.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Donovan said it’s up to him to get the team back on the right path after a fifth straight loss on Monday, Johnson adds in a separate story. Donovan, who has extensive playoff experience, including coaching in a conference finals, understands that many of his players are unfamiliar with that level. “I think it’s my responsibility for guys like Ayo (Dosunmu) and Coby (White) even Zach (LaVine), some of these guys who haven’t played in places that they want to play in this league, that there are certain things you can’t escape that have to do,” Donovan said. “And you have to confront them.”
  • LaVine is still dealing with swelling in his left knee that affects his mobility, but pain is no longer an issue, tweets Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Donovan said LaVine is feeling better now than before he saw a knee specialist last month.
  • Even though the Bulls have hit a low point in the season, Thompson remains confident that he made the right choice in coming to Chicago after his buyout with the Pacers (video link from NBC Sports Chicago).

Eastern Notes: Harris, Hornets, LaVine, Green, Claxton

Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris has now missed 31 straight games due to an ankle injury, a process that head coach Steve Nash called “tricky,” Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Asked if Harris has experienced setbacks during his rehab, Nash acknowledged the forward’s progress has been stop and start.

“Yeah, there’s been some awareness (of it) and irritation,” Nash said. “He’s been doing a tug-of-war between making progress and then having some irritation. It’s really a process that’s been tricky.”

Last season, Harris scored 14.1 points per game, shooting 47.5% from three-point range in his 69 contests. The Nets own the best record in the Eastern Conference (29-16) despite Harris only playing 14 of those games.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • In a piece for The Charlotte Observer, Roderick Boone lists how several Hornets players have graded their seasons to date. Key players such as Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges all gave themselves assessments in the C range, suggesting they believe there’s plenty of room for improvement. On the season, Charlotte is 26-20, which includes a 13-6 home record and 13-14 road mark.
  • Bulls guards Zach LaVine (knee) and Javonte Green (adductor) are meeting their team in Oklahoma City, head coach Billy Donovan said, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Bulls will play the Thunder on Monday. LaVine could return for that game, Mayberry adds.
  • Nets center Nicolas Claxton hopes to return early next week, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays (via Twitter). Claxton has been dealing with a left hamstring injury and won’t rush the return process, Lewis adds in a separate tweet. He’s only appeared in 20 of the team’s 45 games this season.

Injury Notes: DiVincenzo, Bulls, Wiseman, Nuggets

Donte DiVincenzo‘s string of bad luck continued over the weekend, as the Bucks guard rolled his surgically repaired left ankle during warmups on Saturday and is expected to be sidelined for a little while, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).

The Bucks haven’t issued a formal update on DiVincenzo’s status or his potential recovery timeline, but Owczarksi says there’s a belief he’ll be out for “a few weeks.”

It’s a frustrating setback for DiVincenzo, who missed the start of the season while recovering from ankle surgery, then contracted COVID-19 when he was about to return last month. He appeared in just three games for the Bucks before sustaining his latest injury.

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

  • The Bulls are expected to be without guard Javonte Green and forward Tyler Cook for a little while. As Jamal Collier of ESPN writes, head coach Billy Donovan said on Monday that Green will likely miss two-to-four weeks due to a strained groin. Donovan also stated that Cook has a “pretty significant” ankle sprain and will be out for a couple weeks, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • The Warriors hope that second-year center James Wiseman, who participated in the team’s shootaround on Monday, can begin contact drills next week, says Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area. Wiseman has exited the health and safety protocols, but continues to work his way back from the knee surgery that ended his rookie season.
  • In a recent interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said the team will give stars Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (back) all the time they need to recover from their respective injuries. Unlike Porter, who is expected to return in 2022/23, Murray has a chance to return to the court this season, though Malone warned that’s not a given. “I’ve told him many times — and I think it’s important for him to hear it from me — (that) there’s absolutely zero pressure for him to come back this year,” Malone said. “At the same time, I tell him, ‘Listen, if it’s in the cards for you to come back and play this year, great. If it’s not in the cards for you to come back and play this year, great.’ He’s gonna come back when he is ready.”

Lakers’ Westbrook, Cavs’ Okoro Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Lakers guard Avery Bradley has also been placed in the protocols, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Westbrook and Bradley are the fourth and fifth Lakers to enter the protocols within the last three days, joining teammates Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, and Malik Monk.

It’s unclear if the two Lakers guards have registered confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, but if they have, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The news of Westbrook and Bradley entering the protocols coincides with reports that the Lakers have agreed to sign Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception. Westbrook’s and Bradley’s absences should open the door for Thomas to get some run at the point guard spot.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro has entered the health and safety protocols, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). No other Cavs players are currently in the protocols, so we’ll have to wait to see if Okoro is a one-off or if any of his teammates join him in the coming days. If Okoro tested positive for COVID-19, he’ll be in the protocols for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, that Coby White and Javonte Green are the only two players on the team who have cleared the health and safety protocols and have been conducting individual workouts. That leaves eight players in the protocols, and many of them – including Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, and Troy Brown Jr. – may not be back until after Christmas, according to Donovan.
  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen also provides a few injury updates on Raptors players — Dalano Banton (illness) is good to go, while OG Anunoby (hip) and Khem Birch (knee) will be listed as questionable for the club’s game vs. Golden State on Saturday.