Joe Ingles

Northwest Notes: Diallo, Ingles, Vanderbilt, Towns

Hamidou Diallo is best known as the winner of the 2019 Slam Dunk Contest, but he has become the Thunder‘s most productive bench player in his third NBA season, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Diallo is the leading scorer among Oklahoma City’s reserves at 10.5 PPG, including a 23-point outburst in Friday’s win at New York.

“He’s had a lot of ups and downs, he’s had injuries, he’s had a lot of nights where he’s probably staring at the ceiling, and it’s just a reminder that development’s not linear,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “He’s somebody that’s weathered storms. To his credit he’s been professional and he’s just stayed consistent. He has a night like tonight because of the cumulative effect of all those experiences and the way that he’s handled them.”

Going to Madison Square Garden is a homecoming for Diallo, who hails from Queens, but he said it’s a different experience with no fans in the stands and no ability to see the city because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Now we’re quarantined,” he said, “and we just pretty much stay in the hotel and stay out the way.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz forward Joe Ingles missed Friday’s game in Milwaukee because of right Achilles soreness, ending a streak that began in December of 2015, according to a story on the team’s website. Ingles had played in 384 straight regular season games and 418 total, counting the playoffs. “It makes you pause for a second and reflect on what a streak of consecutive games like that means and what it says about Joe, his toughness, his commitment and the type of teammate he is,” coach Quin Snyder said.
  • Foul trouble allowed Timberwolves power forward Jarred Vanderbilt to play extended minutes Tuesday, and he responded with with 11 points, five rebounds, two blocks and three steals, notes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Vanderbilt has been waiting for a chance since Minnesota acquired him at last year’s trade deadline. “I feel like you’re always going to get an opportunity. No matter how it comes … so my mindset was to just stay ready, stay locked in and continue to stay positive,” he said. “Especially in this league, once you go down that path of being negative, it’s hard to turn it around and get back on the right track.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the Timberwolves‘ lineup tonight for the first time since dislocating his left wrist two weeks ago, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Towns tested the wrist in warm-ups before a final decision was made (Twitter link).

Northwest Notes: McLaughlin, Jackson, Pokusevski, Bogdanovic

Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders said today that the team hopes to add another point guard to its depth chart behind D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio, tweets Jon Krawczysnki of The Athletic.

While Saunders didn’t explicitly name him as the player the Wolves want to bring aboard, restricted free agent Jordan McLaughlin is the most obvious candidate for that role, Krawczynski notes. McLaughlin, who was on a two-way contract with Minnesota last season, is the only RFA who has yet to secure a new deal for 2020/21.

The qualifying offer McLaughlin received from the Wolves last month is for another two-way deal, but he and the team are likely trying to negotiate a standard contract that would give him a spot on Minnesota’s 15-man roster for the regular season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Frank Jackson‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Thunder has a partial guarantee worth $250K for 2020/21, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The second year of Jackson’s new deal is non-guaranteed.
  • Several reports leading up to the 2020 draft linked Aleksej Pokusevski to the Thunder, but the Serbian forward was still surprised to be drafted by Oklahoma City at No. 17, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “Before the draft we didn’t have any contacts,” Pokusevski said. “I didn’t talk to anyone. I was shocked that I was chosen at No. 17 and drafted to OKC. I was shocked. I didn’t know that it was going to happen, and I was very happy about it.”
  • Jazz forward Joe Ingles is looking forward to playing with center Derrick Favors again, writes Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com. “He’s obviously a guy I feel super comfortable playing with,” Ingles said of Favors, noting that the two veterans played a lot of minutes together during the big man’s previous stint in Utah.
  • Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) practiced in full this week and looks to be on track to play in the team’s regular season opener, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Northwest Notes: Millsap, Schroder, Nuggets, Ingles

Nuggets forward Paul Millsap is optimistic about his squad’s title odds, per The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider. The 35-year-old veteran has hardly rested on his laurels during the two-month pandemic-mandated league shutdown. Millsap revealed in a team Instagram interview recently that he has focused his workouts around a plyometrics-strengthening program, working toward getting stronger and quicker than he was in March.

Millsap, a two-time All-Star with the Hawks, is earning $30.35MM in the final year of his contract with Denver. The 43-22 Nuggets, led by All-Star center Nikola Jokic and promising young point guard Jamal Murray, are the No. 3 seed in the West. Millsap thinks that the team’s familiarity will give them an edge in a season with so many changing faces among the league’s elite teams. “I think we have an advantage,” Millsap said. “We’ve been together probably longer than any team out there.”

There’s more out of the Northwest:

  • On July 1, Thunder guard Dennis Schroder will become the majority owner of his German hometown team, Löwen Braunschweig in the Basketball Bundesliga League, per Nick Crain of Forbes. Schroder’s first pro experience was with Löwen Braunschweig’s farm team in 2010. After three seasons in the BBL, Schroder took the leap to the NBA, where he’s currently in the third year of a four-season, $62MM contract extension he signed with the Hawks before being traded to Oklahoma City in 2018/19.
  • Colorado University forward Tyler Bey could be an enticing fit for the Nuggets in the 2020 draft given his defensive skill set and rebounding skills. Bey’s raw offensive game and lack of a clear position at the level give The Denver Post’s Mike Singer pause about the fit. Elsewhere in his mailbag, Singer addresses other pressing Nuggets questions, including the Denver futures of post players Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, and Millsap.
  • Following up on March comments that suggested Jazz forward Joe Ingles might avoid a return to league play this season due to safety concerns, Ingles clarified his stance on the matter in a recent tweet“When it’s safe to go back and play, I will not let my teammates down!” he said, in part.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets Draft, Plumlee, Ingles, Beasley

The Nuggets’ front office has focused on the draft during the hiatus and they could prioritize perimeter shooting, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic writes. Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. and Arizona’s Josh Green are among the wings who could be available with Denver’s first-round pick. The Nuggets traded away their pick but own the Rockets’ first-rounder, which currently puts them at No. 21 or 22 overall.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mason Plumlee is a luxury that the Nuggets may not be able to afford after this season, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The reserve center is a steady contributor due to his rebounding, passing and ability to finish on the break. He was also a featured piece in their defensive lineups but Plumlee will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and financial constraints may force the club to let him walk.
  • Jazz swingman Joe Ingles plans to return to Australia when he retires but he’s not sure what the future holds when his current contract expires, according to Aaron Falk of the team’s website. “My whole plan was to play out my deal and make a decision after that,” Ingles said. “But if it’s time to go home and put them in school and settle down, that’s obviously my first priority. It’s not whether I want to keep playing. It’s a family deal.” Ingles is signed through the 2021/22 season, including a one-year, $13MM extension he signed last October.
  • Guard Malik Beasley has already made his way into the Timberwolves’ long-term plans, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Beasley averaged 20.7 PPG in 14 games after he was acquired from the Nuggets. Beasley is noncommittal. “Right now it’s tough to decide for anything,” Beasley said. “We don’t even know if we’re playing or not, so it’s just tough to decide that.” Minnesota, which also holds Beasley’s Bird Rights, only has to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer to make Beasley a restricted FA.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Ingles, Simons, Thunder

The Timberwolves were struggling through a difficult 2019/20 season even before the coronavirus pandemic caused the entire league to postpone play indefinitely, writes The Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman.

The Wolves’ average home attendance count of 15,066 placed them last in the NBA. Their 19-47 record put them at No. 14 in the Western Conference. After the team made a series of deadline trades, including the transaction that moved swing man Andrew Wiggins‘ contract to the Warriors in exchange for point guard D’Angelo Russell, president of basketball operations Gerson Rosas stressed the importance of game play for building chemistry for the new-look Wolves.

“Those [remaining] games are critically important to us,” Rosas said. “I’ve said it from the beginning, this year is about building identity. It’s building chemistry, building habits, and it is painful. These first 50 games, it was painful to go through the growing pains.” The truncation of the team’s final 18 games impeded that.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz wing Joe Ingles, who tested negative for COVID-19, notes that he’d be willing to walk away from the NBA if he needed to do so to protect his three-year-old son Jacob, who is more at risk due to his autism, per The Athletic’s Sam Amick. “If you had to tell me that you could never play again to protect Jacob from this,” Ingles said, “I would walk away, fly to Australia and never play another game in my life and be very content with it.”
  • Second-year Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons has shown flashes of promise, but had been frustrated by his own lack of progress during the 2019/20 season, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. The Blazers are still excited about the athletic swingman’s potential.
  • The Thunder face an uncertain future in light of the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on next season’s salary cap, the Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto reports. Though Oklahoma City only has $105.5MM committed in salaries next year, the team’s notable free agents are key contributors Danilo Gallinari and Nerlens Noel. Defensive stalwart Andre Roberson, who has been absent since midway through the 2017/18 season with a serious injury, is also on an expiring deal this summer. Roberson last suited up for an NBA game on January 27, 2018.

How Olympic Postponement May Impact NBA, Team USA

Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that the 2020 Olympics have been postponed until sometime in 2021. As a result, the NBA no longer has to consider the possibility of overlapping with the Games if the league resume its 2019/20 season this summer.

However, the potential dates for the 2020/21 NBA season and the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics remain very much up in the air. As such, there’s no guarantee that we’ll see the ’20/21 campaign end in June and the Olympics begin on July 24, which was the plan for this year before the coronavirus crisis worsened.

Here’s what we know so far about the impact the Olympic postponement might have on the NBA and Team USA specifically:

  • USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Gregg Popovich had only been committed to the program through 2020, but that commitment will now extend to 2021, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst confirms. “We’re all-in and we’re committed,” Colangelo said. “It’s important to deal with the unknowns and this virus. This too shall pass, and we’ll be back for everyone’s well-being.”
  • Within that Windhorst story, Colangelo says USA Basketball will adjust if NBA players aren’t available for the rescheduled Olympics, but points out that changing the window for the NBA season or the Olympics would be a significant undertaking. “Changing the window for the NBA is easier said than done. There’s a lot of logistics and contracts to deal with,” Colangelo said. “Same for the Olympics. You have to assume it will be around the same dates (in 2021).”
  • As Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN note in a Q&A on the rescheduled Olympics, it’s possible Team USA will no longer be able to send its top players as a result of the postponement. However, it’s also possible that players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – who may not have been ready to go for the 2020 Games – will be healthy and available to participate by the time USA Basketball finalizes its roster in 2021.
  • Joe Ingles, who will represent Australia in the Tokyo Olympics, said he’d be disappointed if a schedule conflict prevent him from playing for the Boomers, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays. “I do understand that the NBA and the Utah Jazz pay my salary and it’s really good money and I’m obviously obligated to be here (in the NBA),” Ingles said. “I absolutely love playing for Australia and would do anything to keep playing for Australia, representing my country. We obviously don’t really know what that looks like yet. I hope (the NBA season and the Olympics) don’t clash.”

Jazz Moving Joe Ingles Out Of Starting Lineup

3:33pm: The Jazz have changed their minds on removing Conley from the starting lineup and will instead move Ingles to the bench, according to Charania and Jones (via Twitter). The move will have a similar effect on the rotation balance, with a defensive specialist who doesn’t need the ball replacing a ball-handler in the starting five.

2:01pm: The slumping Jazz are shaking up their starting five, according to Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic, who report that forward Royce O’Neale will replace point guard Mike Conley in the team’s lineup. The change will go into effect beginning on Wednesday night against Boston, per Charania and Jones.

Conley is Utah’s highest-paid player and was the team’s major acquisition in the summer of 2019. However, he has struggled to adjust to his new NBA home this season, battling injuries over the course of the year and underperforming when he’s healthy enough to play. In 34 games (27.9 MPG), Conley has averaged just 13.4 PPG, 4.1 APG, and a .394 FG%, all of which are among the worst marks of his 13-year career.

As Charania and Jones explain, the Jazz believe that the lineup change will balance their rotation a little better, allowing Joe Ingles to take on more of an offensive role with the starters while O’Neale – the team’s best perimeter defender – handles the toughest assignments on the other end of the court. Conley will come off the bench and look to provide an offensive punch alongside Jordan Clarkson.

It has been an up-and-down season in Utah not just for Conley but for the Jazz as a whole. After a modest 13-11 start, the club won 19 of 21 of its next games. Since pushing their record to 32-13 though, the Jazz have endured a pair of losing streaks, winning just four of their last 12 contests. The roller-coaster season has left the team searching for an identity, Tim MacMahon of ESPN wrote today.

Despite their recent struggles, the Jazz are still fifth in the Western Conference, just one game back of the Rockets for home-court advantage in the first round. Utah will hope that its latest lineup change has a positive impact on its push for a top-four seed.

Jazz Notes: Clarkson, Ingles, Morgan, Zanik

Jordan Clarkson has quickly transformed the Jazz bench after being acquired in a trade with the Cavaliers last week, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Clarkson was brought in to add more scoring punch, but he has also surprised with his defense while adding a burst of energy to the second unit.

“He’s been everything we thought he was going to be these past three games,” teammate Donovan Mitchell said, “and he’s learning all this on the fly and still playing well, and that’s tough to do.”

Clarkson is averaging 16.0 PPG in three games since joining the Jazz, including a 20-point outburst in last night’s win over the Pistons. Before the trade, Utah ranked next to last in the league in bench scoring at 26.9 points per night.

“I’m trying to learn every day,” he said. “When we come in for practice I’m very attentive and everyone is talking to me. I’m just trying to pick everything up as quick as possible.”

There’s more from Utah:

  • Joe Ingles turned his season around this month by adjusting to the new way defenses are playing him, relays Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Other teams have been copying the Rockets‘ playoff approach of shading to his left and forcing him to go right on screens. It took Ingles a while to adjust, but now he’s become proficient on 3-pointers while moving to his right. He has shot 55% from beyond the arc this month.
  • Rookie forward Juwan Morgan may be headed for a larger role, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. Morgan was waived in training camp, but played well enough in the G League that the Jazz signed him last month. Utah likes Morgan’s defensive versatility, but there are questions about whether he can shoot well enough to become a regular part of the rotation.
  • General manager Justin Zanik may not be done shaking up the roster after adding Clarkson last week and waiving Jeff Green to sign Rayjon Tucker, Jones suggests in a separate story. He notes that the Jazz could still use more depth on their reserve unit, including an upgrade at backup center, which is currently being handled by Tony Bradley and Ed Davis.

Sixers Notes: Thybulle, Simmons, Embiid

Rookie Matisse Thybulle has special skills for a defender but his discipline is what is going to allow him to play more minutes for the Sixers, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes.

“I should have a higher tolerance level to endure his wild decisions defensively,” head coach Brett Brown said after the team’s contest against the Jazz. “Because they are punishing. This league is so unforgiving when you just forget, ‘Oh, I left Joe Ingles, I forgot he could shoot, and I’m just going to make any play I want — And oh, my bad.’ [Thybulle] is getting better at that and I have to allow him to get better at that.”

If Thybulle had joined the Sixers three or four years ago, he’d have plenty of court time to experiment and grow. However, this is not “The Process” version of the Sixers any longer. The stakes are much higher as the team looks to make its first NBA Finals appearance since 2001.

“I’m always reminding myself, if we woke up tomorrow and it’s April 15th, would I feel comfortable that I’ve grown him the way that I should? And I need to do more, and better, sort of within the confines of what I’ve just said,” Brown said.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Thybulle, whom the team traded up in the 2019 draft to nab, isn’t taking his playing time for granted. The rookie is using his court time to learn from his mistakes and gain the reps needed to be a contributor on a playoff team. “Just being out there and seeing it live, I think, is huge,” Thybulle said (via Bodner in the same piece). “Most of these games, it’s my first time [playing against a team]. We played against [Utah] twice now, so I had a better feel for the guys. And just with each game, I get a better feel for the pace and what I can get away with, with the refs or with help-side and those types of gambles.”
  • With Ben Simmons and Thybulle on the squad, the Sixers have options when defending opposing perimeter threats, Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia explains. The duo shared defensive duties guarding Utah’s Donovan Mitchell on Monday and held him to just 6-for-19 from the field.
  • Some around the league aren’t thrilled with Joel Embiid and his antics on the court. Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke wasn’t shy when given the platform to discuss the big man’s style (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). “I hate that team…I think Embiid gets away with a bunch of crap the league ignores,” Burke said of Indiana’s recent matchup with the Sixers.

Northwest Notes: Ingles, Towns, Nuggets, Jones, Conley

Jazz forward Joe Ingles has sought advice from San Antonio’s Patty Miles and New Orleans’ J.J. Redick as he adjusts to a sixth-man role, Aaron Falk of the team’s website reports. “It’s been a few years since I’ve come off the bench,” Ingles said. “I’m just figuring out different ways, what they do, their routines. If there’s anything I can steal or use to help our team win games, I’m going to do it.” Ingles is off to a slow start in his new role, averaging 7.6 PPG and 3.4 APG with a .400 FG%.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns has no regrets about his scrap with Joel Embiid that resulted in a two-game suspension, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets“Listen I’m going to defend myself. I ain’t going to take nothing,” he said. “That’s a very … talented player. I just had to defend myself in that situation.”
  • The Nuggets are getting an average of 36.7 points from their bench, putting them in the middle of the pack in the league, but forward Will Barton says they’re way better than that, Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post relays. “We’ve got the best bench in the league when we’re clicking on all cylinders,” Barton said.
  • Tyus Jones was grateful he had the chance to play for his hometown team, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune relays. Jones grew up in Minnesota and played four seasons for the Timberwolves. He signed a three-year offer sheet with the Grizzlies this offseason and Minnesota declined to match it. “Last year it was like, ‘Man, I might not get this chance again to play for my hometown team.’ … It was just a cool experience, something I’m grateful for because not everyone gets to do something like that. It’s pretty unique and pretty cool,” the point guard said.
  • Mike Conley is going through a bigger adjustment than anticipated, as the Jazz guard told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “It’s kind of a little bit out of my routine because I’ve had to watch more film on us than I can on the other teams because I’m still learning. … I’ve got a big guy now (in Rudy Gobert) who can go get it. I can throw pocket passes, but it’s a little different. We’ve got lob threats and shooters around. You’re just trying to figure out where guys like to come off screens, and which hand, and then just remembering the terminology,” he said. Conley, who was traded by the Grizzlies over the summer, is making a combined $67MM this season and next season.