Luka Doncic

And-Ones: Zion, Silver, Chalmers, Bona, Lawson

A panel of 15 NBA evaluators, including four general managers, unanimously agreed that Mavericks star Luka Doncic is the player under 25 whom they would most want to build a franchise around, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Suns guard Devin Booker, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant received the next-highest scores in the poll.

As Scotto notes, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Pelicans big man Zion Williamson, placed just seventh on the evaluators’ list, tied with Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. Among the respondents who spoke to Scotto, the enthusiasm for Williamson’s obvious upside was dampened by long-term weight and injury concerns.

“He’s just a special player inside the arc who’s an elite finisher,” one executive said of the Pelicans’ rising star. “… He’s one of the best finishers behind Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and LeBron (James). He can hit the open man. He’s so physically dominant. His shooting shouldn’t be a problem, but we’ll see. I think he’s always going to be hurt, though.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to be at the league’s Walt Disney World campus this week, sources tell Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether Silver’s visit will be brief or if he plans to stick around through the NBA Finals.
  • Greek club Aris Thessaloniki has announced the signing of former NBA guard Mario Chalmers (hat tip to Sportando). A former two-time champion with Miami, Chalmers spent last season in Athens, but continues to hold out hope of making an NBA comeback.
  • Adem Bona, a 17-year-old Nigerian/Turkish big man, will spend the next two seasons stateside at Prolific Prep in California, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who refers to Bona as one of Europe’s “most promising” prospects (Twitter links). He’ll become draft-eligible in 2023, Givony adds.
  • Agent Chris Patrick and The Sports Law Group have ended their representation of former NBA guard Ty Lawson following his ban from the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Lawson last played in the NBA during the 2018 postseason with Washington.

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.

Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.

The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.

While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.

Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marcus Morris, Luka Doncic Receive Fines

Clippers forward Marcus Morris and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic have both been fined for incidents in Sunday’s Game 6 of their playoff series, the league announced.

Morris was fined $35K for “recklesssly striking” Doncic on a Flagrant 2 foul in the first quarter, resulting in Morris’ ejection (Twitter link). Morris’ history played a role in the amount of the fine, according to the statement, which notes that he has been “disciplined on several prior occasions for physical altercations on the court.”

Doncic received a $15K fine for “throwing the ball off the legs of a game official,” the league tweeted. It happened midway through the third quarter, and Doncic was assessed a technical foul.

Brandon Ingram Wins Most Improved Player Award

Brandon Ingram has been named the league’s Most Improved Player, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets.

The Pelicans forward collected 42 first-place votes and 326 total points to edge Heat center Bam Adebayo, who picked up 38 first-place votes and 295 points. Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (12 first-place votes, 101 points) finished a distant third. A global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters voted on the award.

The seeding games in Orlando were not considered when the voting was conducted.

From the beginning of the season through the stoppage of play on March 11, Ingram averaged 24.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 4.3 APG in 34.3 MPG in 56 games.  He was one of seven players to average at least 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals this season.

He will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

Ingram made 137 3-pointers in games played through March 11, which is more than he recorded in his first three seasons combined (127).

Ingram, who turns 23 on Sept. 2, was selected as a reserve for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in his first season with New Orleans after being included in the blockbuster, multi-team deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Ingram averaged 18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG and 3.0 APG in 33.8 MPG in 52 games with the Lakers last season.

The Raptors’ Pascal Siakam won the award last year and finished seventh in voting this season. The full voting results can be found right here.

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Porzingis, Future, Barea

The Mavericks were eliminated from the postseason on Sunday, but Luka Doncic acquitted himself well in his first playoff experience, averaging 31.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 8.7 APG on 50.0% shooting in six games vs. Dallas. As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes, Doncic is the reason why both the Mavs and rival teams are high on Dallas’ long-term outlook.

“He’s a guy that I predict is going to win multiple MVPs,” one Eastern Conference scout said of Doncic. “I could not be higher on a guy in the league. If you start that ‘Who would you take to build a team’ conversation, there’s not another guy that I would take over Luka.”

Although there’s no doubt that Doncic is capable of being the best player on a championship-contending team, there’s no consensus yet on whether Kristaps Porzingis can be a reliable No. 2, MacMahon writes. One Western executive expressed optimism on Porzingis, but cautioned that it’s too early to pass judgment, given the big man’s injuries.

“There’s some optimism there. Give the Mavs credit,” a Western scout told MacMahon. “They went and got a 1 and potentially a 2. Doncic is definitely a 1. I’m not all-in on Porzingis as a 2, but he’s a really good 3 in the worst case. Now it’s just about filling in the pieces around them.”

While the Mavs are well positioned to eventually add another impact player, sources tell MacMahon that they aren’t likely to make significant roster changes right away, especially if Tim Hardaway Jr. opts in for $19MM, as expected. According to MacMahon, people within the organization have pushed for Dallas to focus this offseason on acquiring veterans who have “reputations for toughness” and can be signed to short-term contracts.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • While the Mavericks will probably be conservative this fall, their salary cap situation sets them up well to go hunting for a star player during the 2021 offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in his Insider-only preview of Dallas’ upcoming decisions. Marks also explores how Dallas should use its draft picks – including the No. 31 selection – and the best way to utilize the mid-level exception.
  • In the wake of the Mavericks’ Sunday loss to the Clippers, team owner Mark Cuban and former star Dirk Nowitzki were among those who tweeted optimistic messages about the franchise’s future. This is just the beginning,” Cuban said.
  • J.J. Barea will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and acknowledged in a conversation with Fernando Ribas Reyes of Puerto Rican outlet El Nuevo Dia that he was a little frustrated by his lack of playing time this summer (he was a DNP-CD in five seeding games and five more playoff games). Barea said it would be “difficult” to leave Dallas, but suggested that the Mavs might only want him back as a coach, meaning he might have to look elsewhere if he wants to continue playing (hat tip to Sportando).

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Injuries, Porzingis, Game 6

The Mavericks don’t expect star guard Luka Doncic to be under any restrictions when their series with the Clippers resumes Sunday, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic had been dealing with the effects of a sprained left ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3, but an unexpected three-day break in the playoff schedule has allowed it to heal.

Doncic fought through the pain to deliver a remarkable performance in Game 4, posting 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists and nailing a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He is officially listed as questionable for Game 6, but coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today that Doncic has made significant progress.

“Ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said. “The extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice today, he looked pretty good, so going into tomorrow, I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • Injuries will be a concern as Dallas tries to keep its season alive, Caplan adds in the same story. In addition to Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. (cervical strain), Dorian Finney-Smith (left hip strain) and Trey Burke (left ankle sprain) are all listed as questionable for Game 6.
  • The knee issue that has sidelined Kristaps Porzingis may change the way the Mavericks deal with him moving forward, suggests Tim Cato of The Athletic. The team needs to recognize that Porzingis could eventually develop chronic knee problems, Cato states. He advises the Mavs to expand their frontcourt depth in case Porzingis has to miss numerous games every season and points out that there has never been another 7’3″ player with his mobility who plays so many minutes. Cato believes the organization should consider limiting Porzingis to about 30 minutes per game and reducing his travel schedule.
  • Like all the remaining teams, the Mavericks face the challenge of putting aside the emotions of a difficult week and concentrating on basketball, Caplan writes in a separate story“We’re going to go … whistle to whistle, timeout to timeout,” Carlisle said, “and we’re going to do everything possible to get to a Game 7.”

Injury Updates: Westbrook, Gordon, Lowry, Mavs

After initially being ruled out for Game 5 due to his quad injury, Rockets guard Russell Westbrook was upgraded to questionable today, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

With the Rockets and Thunder set to tip off at 5:30 pm central time tonight, Westbrook is expected to test his strained quad on the court before the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that the All-Star point guard will be a game-time decision.

While it remains to be seen whether Westbrook will get the go-ahead to play tonight, it sounds as if he’s getting awfully close, which means the odds we’ll see him in action before the end of the series are increasing.

Here are a few more brief injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Game 5 against Milwaukee, the team announced today (via Twitter). We heard on Tuesday that Gordon was still having trouble running up and down the court and that the club didn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury. If Orlando loses today, Gordon’s season will be over without him getting a chance to play in the postseason.
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (ankle sprain) didn’t practice again today, as Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. However, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad sign, tweeting that there would be no sense running Lowry through a full practice even if he’s feeling good and plans to play on Thursday. Lowry’s status for Game 1 against Boston remains up in the air.
  • Four key Mavericks players – Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) – are listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Thursday, with Dallas’ season on the line, according to Brad Townsend and Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Injury Updates: Doncic, Beverley, Westbrook, Harris, Green

The Mavericks are listing star guard Luka Doncic as questionable for Game 4 against the Clippers, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. In today’s session with reporters, coach Rick Carlisle said Doncic, who left Friday night’s contest with a sprained left ankle, might be a “game-time decision” for Sunday.

“I wish I knew right now, but I don’t,” Carlisle said. “We have good depth to play without him, but he’s one of the best players in the world, so if we have to play without him, it’s a big loss.”

Doncic was scheduled to have an MRI on the ankle today, but the test was delayed because of an issue with the machine. He briefly returned to Game 3 after suffering the injury in the third quarter, but was removed again after about three minutes.

“I could run,” he told reporters, “but I couldn’t push off my left leg.”

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is listed as doubtful for Sunday, according to a tweet from the team. If he can’t play, it would mark the eighth game in the past nine that Beverley has missed with a strained left calf.
  • Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni continues to cite improvement from Russell Westbrook as he recovers from a strained quadriceps muscle, but hasn’t speculated on when he might return, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Westbrook’s running has been limited to an alter-G device that restricts how much of a player’s weight is placed on the treadmill. D’Antoni said Westbrook is “doing better, as expected. Every day he does a little bit more.”
  • Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris has been upgraded to doubtful for Game 4, raising hopes that he might soon be ready to play for the first time in five months, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. A right hip strain has kept Harris out of action since the team arrived in Orlando.
  • The Celtics announced that small forward Javonte Green will miss his second straight game Sunday with a sprained right knee (Twitter link). Green’s court time in the playoffs has been limited to a brief appearance in Game 2.

Luka Doncic To Undergo MRI On Injured Ankle

Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic is expected to undergo an MRI today on his left ankle after he suffered a sprain in Dallas’ 130-122 loss to the Clippers on Friday which put the team in a 2-1 series hole, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes.

Doncic suffered the injury late in the third quarter as he rolled his ankle while Kawhi Leonard drove to the basket. The 21-year-old returned in the fourth quarter but managed to play only briefly before leaving for the remainder of the game.

“It’s not that bad,” Doncic said after the game. “Honestly, I had luck it’s my left ankle. It’s not my right. It’s a little sprained. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

Doncic being forced to miss any games for the remainder of the Mavericks’ first-round series against the Clippers would likely derail their postseason. The Slovenian had been dynamic in the series thus far, recording 42 points in a Game 1 loss and managing to total a triple-double (13 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in Game 3. Doncic is the third-youngest player to ever record a triple-double in the postseason, behind Magic Johnson and LeBron James.

Dallas is set for Game 4 against the Clippers Sunday afternoon which gives Doncic less than 48 hours to recover but head coach Rick Carlise was optimistic about his chances.

“The game is early Sunday, which doesn’t help things, but we’ll see,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got every advanced treatment modality that you can have, as every team here does. We’ll see how this responds in the next 36 hours.”

NBA Announces All-Bubble Awards

The NBA announced today that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has been named the Player of the Seeding Games, earning de facto MVP honors for the league’s restart.

Lillard, who averaged 37.6 PPG and 9.6 APG on .497/.436/.888 shooting in eight seeding games, led the Blazers to a 6-2 record, allowing the team to surpass the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the West. Portland will earn the conference’s final playoff spot if it picks up a win over Memphis today or tomorrow.

Lillard was the unanimous selection among 22 media voters for the bubble’s MVP award. Devin Booker (Suns) received 19 second-place votes, with T.J. Warren (Pacers) picking up two and Luka Doncic (Mavericks) getting the other one. Booker, Warren, Doncic, James Harden (Rockets) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) all received third-place votes.

Meanwhile, Suns head coach Monty Williams was named the Coach of the Seeding Games, per today’s announcement. The selection comes as no surprise after Williams led Phoenix to an 8-0 record this summer. The Suns narrowly missed out on a spot in the play-in tournament, but were the only club that went undefeated during the seeding games, despite initially being ranked 21st of the 22 teams invited to Orlando.

Williams was a near-unanimous choice, with Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts receiving one first-place vote and finishing second overall in voting. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn and Raptors coach Nick Nurse were among the other top vote-getters.

The NBA also announced All-Seeding Games First and Second Teams, as follows:

First Team:

  • Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  • Devin Booker (Suns)
  • Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
  • James Harden (Rockets)
  • T.J. Warren (Pacers)

Second Team:

Lillard, Booker, and Doncic were unanimous First Team selections, with Harden and Warren each receiving 18 of 22 First Team votes. Antetokounmpo received the other eight First Team votes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.