MarJon Beauchamp

Central Notes: Beauchamp, Nwora, Dosunmu, Mitchell, Bagley

Rookie MarJon Beauchamp has looked ready for his opportunity as he moved into the Bucks‘ starting lineup this week, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Beauchamp played just 12 total minutes in his first six games, but injuries to other players have expanded his role. In Wednesday’s double overtime win at Oklahoma City, he was on the court for nearly 30 minutes, scoring 19 points, and he followed that up with 34 minutes Friday night.

“It’s not a perfect process,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It’s hard. He’s probably confused at times and hears probably multiple (things) – hopefully not from me. I would say right now we’re more in the mindset of encouraging him to be aggressive and find ways to impact the game and not just be in the corners (offensively). Because it is going to naturally happen. You’ll get to that and it’s important that you’re good and your footwork in the corners is good and your ability to read closeouts in the corners is good, but he’s also, we feel like can help us and give us more.”

The absence of Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton has also opened up more minutes for Jordan Nwora, who re-signed with the Bucks shortly before training camp began in September.

“Honestly it’s more just the hustle and effort all around, just playing a lot harder than I have in the years past,” Nwora said. “Not just on the offensive end but on the other side of the ball, running in transition. Not just chucking up shots, trying to find people on offense when I’m playing with those guys (the starters).”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Last season’s frustrating playoff performance inspired Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu to improve his game during the offseason, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bucks swarmed DeMar DeRozan during their first-round series and dared Chicago’s other players to beat them from the outside. No one could deliver, as the Bulls shot just 28.3% from three-point range for the series and Dosunmu was 3-of-13. “I always want to get better,” said Dosunmu, who’s connecting at 38.3% on three-pointers this season. “So far I’ve prepared myself being shot-ready at all times. I try to take all the open shots. I try to get downhill, play to my strengths, playmake. But when the three is open, I’ve really been focusing on that.
  • Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves due to a right ankle strain, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Jarrett Allen and Dean Wade are also questionable, and there are concerns that Wade might have bursitis in his right knee (Twitter link).
  • Marvin Bagley III, who suffered a sprained MCL and bone bruise in his right knee during the preseason, could return for the Pistons tonight, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link). After playing Friday night for the first time this season, Alec Burks is listed as questionable.

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: Cavaliers, C. Lee, Beauchamp, Bulls

The Cavaliers are embracing the high expectations that came with the Donovan Mitchell trade and they’re having a great time while preparing for the new season, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Newcomer Robin Lopez raves about the team’s culture, comparing it to his time with the Bucks, and Darius Garland cites “immaculate vibes around the gym.” Veteran forward Kevin Love agrees, saying he enjoys being around his teammates.

“I think it’s just the temperament of this group,” Love said. “It’s one thing to say and it’s one thing to actually see it live here. More than anything, guys have a willingness to just listen, able to really communicate at a very high level. I think that all starts with (coach J.B. Bickerstaff) but trickles down through the coaching staff. I think we just have very, very high character people, let alone players, out here with us. I think we’ve gotten better every practice so far.”

The addition of Mitchell has added to the optimism that was built as the Cavs reached the play-in tournament last season, and he has been “rejuvenated” by his new surroundings after leaving a veteran team in Utah, Fedor states. Caris LeVert adds that he felt welcome right away after being traded to Cleveland in February.

“It’s a unique group in the sense that everyone celebrates each other and we celebrate the wins,” LeVert said. “We’re always looking out for each other. That’s super unique, especially in the NBA with a lot of different mentalities around the league. I think here it’s all about team, it’s all about family.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • With Mike Budenholzer still recovering from ankle surgery, associate head coach Charles Lee led the Bucks in their preseason opener Saturday night, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. He was matched up against a close friend in Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins, who believes Lee will eventually get a head coaching opportunity. “It’s going to be a no-brainer very soon that he’s going to be a head coach in this league,” Jenkins said. “He’s got the care factor. He’s got the personality. He’s got the resolve. He’s got the intellect. He’s got everything.”
  • The Bucks held out several players Saturday night, so first-round pick MarJon Beauchamp logged 27 minutes in his first NBA game, Nehm adds. “It didn’t feel real, stepping on the court first time, getting the welcoming from the fans and stuff. It was a blessing — everything I dreamed of,” Beauchamp said. “I had a little bit of jitters, you know? I feel like I got some great looks, but it just didn’t go in. Just gotta keep trusting, because I put in the work. I just gotta keep going.”
  • The Bulls are focused on making their offense less predictable and less reliant on Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, according to Rob Schaeffer of NBC Sports Chicago.

Central Notes: Middleton, Lopez, Stewart, Bagley, Bey

Khris Middleton won’t be ready to play by opening night as he recovers from wrist surgery. Joe Ingles is still rehabbing from a major knee injury.

So who will step up in their place? Eric Nehm of The Athletic examines potential lineup combinations the Bucks may use in their absence. Pat Connaughton will likely start until Middleton returns, though Jordan Nwora and MarJon Beauchamp will have opportunities to establish themselves as rotation pieces. Wesley Matthews and Grayson Allen will fight for minutes at shooting guard.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Middleton has a $40.4MM option on his contract for the 2023/24 season, while center Brook Lopez will be an unrestricted free agent unless he signs an extension. However, there hasn’t been any buzz about it at Bucks camp, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. In fact, Lopez claims that “I wasn’t exactly aware this was a contract year” until the subject was brought up.
  • Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley may be more suited to playing center but they’ll both see action at times at power forward this season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That will allow Nerlens Noel and rookie Jalen Duren to get some minutes off the bench. “It’s tough,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “What’s going to have to manifest itself is – it’s not natural right now – for Isaiah to kind of slide to the four just to open some spots for everybody.”
  • While most of the attention regarding the Pistons is focused on their young backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, third-year forward Saddiq Bey has served notice that he could be an offensive force this season, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic. “He’s putting the ball on the floor a lot better, finding guys a lot better,” reserve guard Cory Joseph said. “We know how he can score and the attention he’s going to get. He’s making the game better for himself and everyone around him right now. He’s playing really well.”

LeBron James Among NBA Stars in Seattle Pro-Am League

LeBron James highlights a list of NBA players who will participate in a Seattle pro-am league later today, according to NBA.com.

The league is called “The CrawsOver” in honor of founder Jamal Crawford, a Seattle native and longtime NBA player. Announcing James’ participation on Twitter, Crawford promises it will be “a day like we’ve never seen.”

“A lot of kids in this area especially have only seen their favorite players whether it be on TV or on video games,” Crawford said on ESPN’s “NBA Today” (Twitter link). “To see their favorite players right there in person, to reach out and touch them. And they may have interaction with you. If you’re a kid working to get better and to dream about being on that level, that makes your dreams more realistic.” 

Crawford added that he asks the area kids which NBA players they would like to see and he tries to get them to attend.

James also tweeted about the event, noting that it’s his first game in Seattle in more than 15 years. He was the featured attraction last month in the pro-am Drew League in Los Angeles, which marked his first public game since the NBA season ended.

Established stars such as Jayson Tatum, Dejounte Murray, Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Gordon are also scheduled to play today, along with first-round picks Paolo Banchero, Chet HolmgrenTari Eason and MarJon Beauchamp. There could be an opportunity for Murray and Banchero to renew their rivalry that began with an incident at Thomas’ pro-am game two weeks ago.

Fans can watch the game live on both the NBA app and NBA.com. It’s scheduled to tip off at 8:30 PM Eastern Time.

Eastern Notes: Martin, Beauchamp, Mazzulla, Parker, Celtics

Rookie Tyrese Martin signed a two-year contract with the Hawks over the weekend. The second-round selection out of UConn signed for the minimum of $1,017,781 and the contract is only partially guaranteed for $450K, Hoops Rumors has learned. The second year of the contract ($1,719,864) is non-guaranteed.

Martin averaged 13.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 2.2 APG in five games at the Las Vegas Summer League.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bucks rookie MarJon Beauchamp delivered some solid Summer League performances, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, with his 3-point shooting standing out. However, it’s not always indicative of what will happen in the regular season, he adds. Nehm also breaks down the performances of two-way players Sandro Mamukelashvili and AJ Green.
  • The Jazz hired Celtics assistant Will Hardy as their new head coach but Joe Mazzulla, another Boston assistant, was also a finalist for the position, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe notes. He’ll now have a front-of-the-bench role due to Hardy’s departure. Jazz CEO and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge hired Mazzulla in 2018 out of the Division II ranks. “I just liked his presence,” Ainge said. “He just had a good way about him and how he developed players. … He just has a great way about him of pushing guys, holding them accountable, and letting them know this is a serious time.”
  • The Spurs bounced back from losing the 2013 Finals to Miami to win the championship the following season. Retired Spurs star Tony Parker told The Athletic’s Jay King that the Celtics can use their loss in this year’s Finals as a motivational tool. “For me, the way we lost in 2013, it created what happened in 2014,” Parker said. “Maybe one of the best finals in NBA history. Maybe the best Spurs basketball that we played. In 2014, the way we played, the passing game, everything, we were maybe at the highest level of my whole career. It started with a tough loss in 2013.”

Bucks Sign MarJon Beauchamp To Rookie Contract

The Bucks have signed shooting guard MarJon Beauchamp to his rookie scale contract, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

Beauchamp, who averaged 15.1 PPG in 12 games for the G League Ignite last season, was the 24th pick in the draft.

Assuming Beauchamp signed for the usual 120% of the rookie scale amount, his four-year contract would be worth $12,544,796 with a first-year salary of $2,420,400.

Central Notes: Ivey, Duren, Beauchamp, Agbaji

The Pistons used the Knicks’ desperation to shed salary as a means of trading for Jalen Duren, James Edwards III of The Athletic explains.

Detroit rebuffed the attempts of New York and other teams to trade for Jaden Ivey after the Purdue guard landed at its lottery pick. Pistons GM Troy Weaver then used the Knicks’ need to open up cap space to make a run at Jalen Brunson against them, as New York traded the No. 11 pick to Oklahoma City for a trio of future first-rounders. A three-team agreement among New York, Detroit and Charlotte was then engineered involving the No. 13 pick, where Duren dropped.

Detroit was content to take on Kemba Walker‘s contract, which it will buy out, according to Edwards. It was a best-case scenario for the Pistons to land Ivey and Duran but they’ll still be big players in free agency, though not necessarily for Deandre Ayton or another big name on the market. They may instead add multiple veteran pieces.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Ivey said he’s eager to show that he has a mid-range game and can be a defensive force, two of the knocks on him going into the draft. Those were issues talked about in conversations with Weaver and coach Dwane Casey prior to the draft, Edwards writes in a separate story. “They talked about winning, and that’s what I want to do,” Ivey said. “We talked about setting a defensive presence when I get there and bringing back winning to Detroit. (Weaver) challenged me to be a great defender. I want to do that.”
  • The Bucks selected G League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp at No. 24 and GM Jon Horst believes that Beauchamp can make an impact with his defensive tenacity, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. “Length, athleticism, I think he’s got a grittiness and a toughness to him,” Horst said. “He’s going to have to work on his strength like any young player. … One thing about the G League is it’s a bunch of fast, quick, athletic guys, and I think he really held his own.”
  • Wing Ochai Agbaji, chosen with the No. 14 pick, gives the Cavaliers another quality offensive option, coach J.B. Bickerstaff told The Athletic’s Kelsey Russo and other media members. “I thought he could be a weapon. He’s got a skill that no matter where you are in the NBA, you need it,” Bickerstaff said. “He has the ability to put the ball in the basket, and it’s not just the ability to stand in a spot and make a shot.”

Rockets Notes: Rebuilding, Porter, Gordon, Beauchamp

The Rockets own three first-round picks in tonight’s draft, which marks the latest step in a rebuilding project that began when James Harden was traded 17 months ago, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Instead of seeking immediate contributors in the Harden deal, Houston opted for a package from the Nets that was heavy on draft picks, including the 17th selection this year.

Another reported option was an offer from Philadelphia centered around Ben Simmons, but the Rockets’ front office decided Simmons wasn’t a player they wanted to build around. Instead, they made what Patrick Fertitta, son of owner Tilman Fertitta, calls a “hard and, at the time, very unpopular decision” to undergo a complete rebuild.

“There wasn’t an equally attractive alternative at the time,” general manager Rafael Stone said. “Not even close from our perspective. I am a big believer in going all-in. Whether it is to go all-in to rebuild or all-in to win a championship.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • The Rockets are sold on Jalen Green as the centerpiece of their future, but there are concerns around the league that backcourt partner Kevin Porter Jr. may not be reliable enough for a long-term commitment, MacMahon states in the same story. Porter, who is eligible for a rookie-scale extension this summer, improved as a defender and three-point shooter last season, but there are questions about whether he should be the starting point guard or a sixth man. “He is not a finished product,” Stone says. “He just turned 22. He needs to grow and improve, on and off the court, but we are excited about him and his trajectory.”
  • Houston is also facing a decision on Eric Gordon, the last veteran remaining from the Harden era, MacMahon adds. The 33-year-old guard could be moved if the Rockets get a first-round pick in return, but the front office likes having him around to mentor the young players. “It’s a tough situation,” Gordon said. “When you’re doing a rebuild, it’s a long-term type thing. Guys have to know that this is a long-term plan. If it’s a long-term plan for these young guys, then I have to know there’s a long-term plan for me, too.”
  • MarJon Beauchamp remembers when the Rockets were the only team to send a scout to watch him play at Yakima Valley College, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Beauchamp worked out for Houston a few weeks ago and appears to be a candidate to be selected at No. 17 or 26.

New York Notes: Beauchamp, Noel, Draft, Ott

The Knicks aren’t expected to take MarJon Beauchamp with the 11th pick in Thursday’s draft, but they like the G League forward enough to bring him in for an individual workout, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Beauchamp also had dinner with coach Tom Thibodeau and team president Leon Rose, and he believes he could be an immediate asset if he winds up in New York.

“I feel like I’m in consideration with them,” Beauchamp said. “I think I can come in right away and play good minutes and learn from the vets that they have. I really, really feel I can grow with that team, especially on the defensive side. You know, with coach Thibs, he’s about defense, and I feel like that’s going to be my role in the NBA.” 

Beauchamp is projected as a mid to late first-round pick, so it would likely take a trade for the Knicks to have a selection in his range. After the No. 11 choice, they won’t pick again until No. 42.

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks are considering trades involving center Nerlens Noel, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said on his latest podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype). Noel, who played just 25 games this season, has a $9.24MM contract for 2022/23, along with a $9.68MM team option for the following year.
  • The Nets are continuing with draft preparations even though they currently don’t have any picks, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn decided to defer the selection owed by the Sixers until next year, but the scouting process hasn’t stopped. “We’re not going to spend a ton of time on the top of the draft right now because we don’t have a way to get there,” assistant general manager Jeff Peterson said. “[But] you’ve got to be prepared. … On draft night we could get a call from a team that wants to trade us the 15th pick. … Just because we don’t have a pick right now, that doesn’t mean we can stop continuing with our video studies and our draft calls and draft workouts and just overall background information.”
  • Nets assistant coach Jordan Ott is being considered for Darvin Ham‘s staff with the Lakers, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. They previously worked together under Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta.