Nate Hinton

Southwest Notes: Wood, Aldridge, Jackson, Hinton, Pels

There was some optimism that Rockets center Christian Wood, who has missed the team’s last 13 games due to a right ankle injury, might be able to return to start the second half, but it appears he’ll need a little more time to get back on the court.

Wood has been listed as out for the Rockets’ Thursday game in Sacramento, after ESPN’s Tim MacMahon first reported (via Twitter) that he was expected to miss the game. Wood has resumed basketball activities, per MacMahon, so his absence shouldn’t last much longer.

The odds of the Rockets making a run at a play-in spot are long, but if they want to have a chance, they’ll need Wood back in action — they’ve lost all 13 games he has missed.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The impending divorce between LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs has been a long time coming, according to Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News, who suggests the team was starting to move on from the veteran big man last summer, when it made a push for a playoff spot without him. As the Spurs have adopted a new offensive approach, they’ve played better this season with Aldridge off the court (+2.5 net rating) than on it (-5.6 rating).
  • Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who has yet to play at all this season due to a knee injury, will be out for a while longer. A source tells Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal that Jackson is continuing to ramp up his basketball activities and will be back this season, but his status won’t be updated until later this month or early next month.
  • With the NBA G League season about to end, more young players are being recalled to their NBA clubs. The Mavericks have transferred two-way guard Nate Hinton back to the NBA from the Santa Cruz Warriors (Twitter link), while the Pelicans brought back Wenyen Gabriel, Naji Marshall, and Will Magnay from the Erie BayHawks (press release).

Southwest Notes: Oladipo, Hinton, Point Zion, Tucker

Even before his recent right foot injury, new Rockets shooting guard Victor Oladipo has been wrestling with his productivity this season, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

The sore right foot, meanwhile has hampered his mobility of late and may keep him unavailable during the Rockets’ upcoming road trip. At a high 31.8 usage rate, Oladipo is shooting just 38.6% from the floor and 29.9% from long range through his first 11 games in Houston.

“Victor’s gonna get there,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said, going on to highlight Oladipo’s contributions on the other side of the ball. “Hopefully, his injury isn’t too bad. He is a big part of what we do, and one of the of the reasons we’re top five defensively is because of Victor Oladipo.”

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • Whilst on the NBAGL Orlando “bubble” campus, two-way Mavericks rookie shooting guard Nate Hinton has been recalled from the Long Island Nets and transferred to the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to a team tweet. Dallas’ own affiliate, the Texas Legends, isn’t active this season.
  • The Pelicans‘ offense has benefited from second-year forward Zion Williamson being utilized at the point, according to Christian Clark of Williamson has frequently been starting the team’s offensive actions during the last five games. “That’s how I grew up playing the game,” Williamson said. “When I’m bringing it up, I take a quick snapshot of the court. I know where all my teammates are and I know where all my teammates are going to be.”
  • Defensive-oriented 35-year-old Rockets iron man forward P.J. Tucker has yet to miss a game since joining Houston in 2017. writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. This season, Tucker and rookie forward Jae’Sean Tate are the only Rockets to have not missed any of Houston’s 26 games this season.

Southwest Notes: Lewis, Bey/Hinton, Stone, Porter

Rookie Pelicans point guard Kira Lewis Jr. has carved out further playing time with New Orleans, per Scott Kushner of the Times-Picayune. “He’s just so young,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said of the 19-year-old rookie, the No. 13 draft pick out of Alabama in 2020. “But he does so many good things. Trying to figure out how we throw him into that rotation is something we are definitely thinking about.”

Van Gundy expounded on his interest in exploring more time on the court for Lewis as the Pelicans’ 2020/21 season progresses: “Does that mean every single night? Does it mean 20 minutes a game? Does it mean 12 minutes a game? I can’t give you a definitive on that yet. But I do think I want him to play.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Two-way Mavericks rookies Tyler Bey and Nate Hinton have been sent to the NBA G League’s Long Island Nets to participate in the NBAGL 2021 season in Orlando, per an official team tweet.
  • Rockets GM Rafael Stone has exhibited an aptitude for being able to tinker with his roster quickly, Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle writes. Stone’s haul after trading away All-Star James Harden – led by wing Victor Oladipo – has impressed on the court. Houston is currently riding a six-game win streak to climb into the top eight teams within the competitive Western Conference.
  • The Grizzlies are sending forward Jontay Porter to the the club’s G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, for the 2021 NBAGL season in Orlando, according to a team press release.

Southwest Notes: Jones, Poeltl, Harden, Hinton

After a knee injury prevented him from suiting up for the Grizzlies during the NBA’s summer restart, backup point guard Tyus Jones is finally returning to the court for Memphis during the preseason, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.

“I’m a competitor, so I wanted to be out there on the court,” Jones said. “That motivated me this offseason to attack rehab, get back healthy, get in great shape and be ready to go when this season got started.” Without Jones, the Grizzlies finished as the No. 9 seed and lost a play-in game against the Trail Blazers to qualify for the 2020 playoffs in the West.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is hopeful that center Jakob Poeltl will commit to scoring more during the upcoming 2020/21 season, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Popovich wants Poeltl to channel his experiences as a chief scoring option for the Utah Utes into more offensive production this year. “Maybe he’s gotten the impression I don’t want him to score,” Popovich joked. “Maybe that’s my fault.”
  • After perennial Rockets MVP contender James Harden apparently requested a trade out of Houston, the club will need to finesse its relationship with the guard if it hopes to retain him, per Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle. As teams prepare appetizing trade packages for the eight-time All-Star, the Rockets should certainly have plenty of options should they opt to move on.
  • Mavericks rookie shooting guard Nate Hinton had a solid preseason debut for this Dallas, writes Dwain Price of The former University of Houston guard scored eight points, pulled down eight rebounds, and logged four assists. “It’s more spacing on the court (than on the collegiate level), so there’s more opportunities to get into the paint and just make plays and just be a ball player,” Hinton said. “I work hard, and just being around guys like Luka (Doncic) and the vets, and Tim Hardaway and all those guys in practice kind of makes it easier and makes it better for me to play and watch to see how the pace of the game is.”

Mavericks Sign Nate Hinton, Freddie Gillespie

DECEMBER 1: The Mavericks have officially signed Hinton to his two-way contract, the club confirmed today (via Twitter). Gillespie’s deal is also official, per the Mavs (Twitter link).

NOVEMBER 19: The Mavericks have agreed to sign undrafted Houston shooting guard Nate Hinton to a two-way contract, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link).

Dallas has also reached a contract agreement with undrafted Baylor big man Freddie Gillespie, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Terms of Gillespie’s deal weren’t specified — he’ll either get the Mavs’ other two-way deal or come to a camp on a standard contract, perhaps with an Exhibit 10 clause.

Hinton and Gillespie both rank among ESPN’s top 20 prospects who didn’t get drafted on Wednesday night — Hinton at No. 4 and Gillespie at No. 19.

Hinton declared for the draft after averaging 10.6 PPG and 8.7 RPG with a .387 3PT% as a sophomore in 2019/20. Gillespie, meanwhile, averaged 9.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and 2.2 BPG in his senior season at Baylor, earning Big 12 All-Defense honors.

It was an eventful draft night for the Mavs, who also nabbed Josh Green, Tyrell Terry, and Tyler Bey, and sent Seth Curry to Philadelphia in a deal for Josh Richardson.

Draft Notes: Combine, Hinton, Krejci, Pinson, Miller

When the NBA announced in a memo to teams earlier this week that the 2020 draft lottery has been moved up by five days, the league also informed clubs that possible dates and formats for a 2020 combine are still being evaluated, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

The combine typically takes place in May after the lottery, but holding such a big event in person this spring was impractical due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While it remains to be seen whether any sort of in-person combine can take place, the NBA told teams which 105 prospects received the most votes to be invited to such an event. If the league is able to move forward with a combine in some form, that number would likely be whittled down to about 70 players, says Bontemps.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links) compares the list of 105 prospects in the NBA’s memo to ESPN’s big board of 2020’s top 100 prospects, noting that ESPN is higher on Houston guard Nate Hinton, while NBA teams seem to be higher on Czech guard Vit Krejci, who plays for Zaragoza in Spain.
  • Missouri guard Xavier Pinson indicated in an Instagram video this week that he’ll return to school for at least one more year after testing the draft waters. As a sophomore in 2019/20, Pinson averaged 11.1 PPG, 2.8 APG, and 2.8 RPG in 31 games (24.0 MPG).
  • UNC Greensboro guard Isaiah Miller will also remove his name from draft consideration, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Miller declared for the draft following a junior year in which he averaged 17.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 2.8 SPG in 32 games (28.4 MPG).

Draft Updates: Hinton, Green, White, Hampton

Houston swingman Nate Hinton has elected to hire an agent and keep his name in the draft, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link). Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports (via Twitter) that agent Tallen Todorovich will represent Hinton.

I’m at peace with it. I prayed long and hard about it,” Hinton said of his decision to forgo his remaining two years of college eligibility, per Berman. “Through the guidance of the people around me I decided to just make that step and turn professional.”

During his sophomore season with the Cougars, Hinton became a full-time starter and put up 10.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 2.0 APG in 31 games (30.3 MPG). He shot 41.0% from the field, including 38.7% on three-pointers. Despite his solid year, Hinton doesn’t show up on ESPN’s list of 2020’s top 100 prospects, so he’s not exactly a lock to be drafted.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • UCF guard Darin Green, who elected to test the draft waters following his freshman year, is withdrawing and will return to school next season, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Junior forward Romello White, who spent three years at Arizona State, has committed to Ole Miss, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). As far as we know, White still hasn’t technically withdrawn the draft, but his latest decision suggests he’ll likely transfer to Ole Miss rather than go pro.
  • After a report last week revealed that draft prospect RJ Hampton is working out with Memphis Tigers coach Penny Hardaway at the team’s practice facility, the University of Memphis has stepped in to put a stop to those workouts, which aren’t in accordance with the school’s COVID-19 protocols. Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the details.
  • A strong 2019/20 performance ensured that Killian Hayes – once considered a probable late first-rounder – is now viewed as a surefire 2020 lottery pick, according to Jeremy Woo of, who takes a closer look at one of the top international prospects in this year’s draft pool.

Draft Decisions: S. Lewis, Armstrong, Camper, Santos-Silva, More

Florida freshman shooting guard Scottie Lewis had been considered a strong candidate to be drafted this spring, ranking 38th overall on ESPN’s big board. However, Lewis has opted not to declare for the draft, as he confirms to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

“I was so stuck on going to the NBA when I got home, but then I thought long and hard about it and with all the uncertainty about the draft process, and if there will even be a combine and team workouts, I felt like it was the right move to go back to school,” Lewis told Stadium.

As Goodman details, Lewis got feedback from the NBA’s advisory committee, and while he was confident he’d be selected if he entered, he received a wide range of opinions on when exactly he might come off the board. With few opportunities during this year’s pre-draft process to boost his stock, Lewis has opted to play at least one more college season in the hopes of showing individual improvement and enjoying more team success.

“There’s so much more I think I can show, that we can show as a team,” Lewis said. “I want to leave a legacy at Florida. … I’m an optimistic person and no matter where I get drafted, I’m going to work my butt off. But with all this uncertainty, it was best for me to play it safe and put myself in a better position a year from now.”

Although Lewis isn’t entering his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, several NCAA underclassmen are doing so. In addition to Kentucky guards Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans, whose decisions we covered earlier today, here are some of the recent prospects who will at least test the draft waters: