Patrick Williams

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are:

Ball, Edwards, Haliburton Head All-Rookie Team

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced on Thursday in a press release.

Ball, who was named Rookie of the Year on Thursday, led first-year NBA players in assists (6.1 APG) and steals (1.59 SPG) and ranked second in scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (5.9 RPG) for the Hornets. Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Timberwolves, averaged a rookie-high 19.3 PPG.

The Kings’ Haliburton ranked third among rookies in scoring (13.0 PPG) and second in assists (5.3 APG). Bey, the 19th overall pick, made a rookie-high 175 three-pointers for the Pistons. Tate, who went undrafted in 2018 and played in Australia last season, averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 PPG for the Rockets.

Ball and Edwards were the only unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 potential First Team votes. Haliburton got 98, while Bey had 63 and Tate received 57.

Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley narrowly missed out on the top five, having earned 51 votes for the First Team.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals notes in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2020/21 All-Rookie First Team:

2020/21 All-Rookie Second Team:

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (42), Magic guard Cole Anthony (40), and Warriors center James Wiseman (24) were among the players who just missed the cut. Nine other players received votes — you can view the full voting results right here.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Williams, Markkanen, Simonovic

The bold moves that the Bulls made at the trade deadline didn’t get them into the playoffs, but star guard Zach LaVine is encouraged by the direction of the franchise, writes Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Chicago shook up its roster in late March, including a blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star center Nikola Vucevic from Orlando. The organization is hoping LaVine and Vucevic will be the foundation of the team for years to come.

LaVine is eligible for an extension next season or he could opt for free agency in 2022. Either way, it appears he wants to remain with the franchise.

“Obviously with the trade, it made us a lot better, and I loved it,” LaVine said. “I love it here in Chicago. And I think everybody understands the business of basketball and anything can happen, but I let that stuff handle when it comes by. I don’t think too far into the future about it. I don’t stress about it either. I try to let my game do the talking for me, but also try to worry about the things I haven’t accomplished yet, like winning. This year was great, but also frustrating at the same time.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • LaVine is already looking ahead to next season and is planning offseason workouts with some of his teammates, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. He has invited rookie forward Patrick Williams, who is planning to play in the Summer League, and second-year guard Coby White. “I think that’s a good bonding and team exercise for us, especially in the offseason,” LaVine said. “You’re away from your guys, and everybody needs time away, but once you start ramping back up these are the dudes you’re going to be in battle with. I want to help them just like other players helped me when I was younger going out there and working out.”
  • In his comments to the media on Monday, executive VP of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas stressed that the Bulls’ front office will remain aggressive going forward in its efforts to improve the roster, as Sam Smith of Bulls.com relays. “We will not settle for mediocrity here,” Karnišovas said. “We’re going to add talent to our roster and from there get better and come back improved and better so we don’t have to sit out another postseason.”
  • Coach Billy Donovan and Karnišovas are expressing support for Lauri Markkanen, but their public comments don’t mean they’ll make a strong effort to keep him when he hits restricted free agency this summer, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Karnišovas called Markkanen “an essential part of our team” after a disappointing season that saw him lose his starting job.
  • Karnišovas said draft-and-stash prospect Marko Simonovic is in the team’s plans for the future and will be evaluated further after his season ends, Schaefer tweets. A second-round pick in 2020, the 21-year-old center played in Serbia this year.

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Vucevic, Young, Williams

One of the most important questions facing the Bulls this summer will be what to do with Lauri Markkanen, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Once considered the future of the franchise, Markkanen had a decline in production in his fourth NBA season. He lost his starting job at midseason and is headed toward restricted free agency without a clear role on the team.

Markkanen has taken a lot of heat for his down year and his seemingly poor fit alongside center Nikola Vucevic, who was acquired at the trade deadline. However, coach Billy Donovan said critics need to understand how Markkanen has adapted to changing circumstances.

“You’re talking about a guy who has a shoulder injury, misses quite a bit of time, comes back after the All-Star break, plays a couple games and then we have an entirely different team and now he has to re-invent himself and find himself, that’s a lot,” Donovan said. “The one thing I’ve always asked Lauri to do is compete and play and maximize the time you’re out there for the benefit of the team. And he has always done that. And I respect and appreciate that from him.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The Bulls expected to move into the playoff picture after shaking up their team at the deadline, but the results have been disappointing. Vucevic suggests too much may have been expected right away, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘When you make a trade midseason, a lot of things change, and sometimes it takes more time [to jell],’’ Vucevic said. ‘‘Unfortunately, we didn’t have that. It is disappointing we didn’t achieve our goal, so we have to be realistic and say we failed at that. But the only thing we can do is move forward and hopefully use that as motivation going into next year.’’
  • Chicago currently has just seven players under contract for next season and may want to consider creating even more cap space by unloading Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, who both have modest partial guarantees, Cowley adds in a separate story. Young’s $14.19MM contract and and Satoransky’s $10MM deal will both become fully guaranteed August 1.
  • Rookie forward Patrick Williams had one of his best games today, scoring a career-high 24 points in a loss to the Nets, writes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Williams said he has started looking to score more often as the season winds down. “This is definitely the Patrick that they want to see,” he said. “Of course, a little bit more that I did today. This is the player that they want me to be. It takes some getting used to, especially for me, because it’s not natural to go out there and be aggressive. But this is who I’ve gotta be in order to be the player that I want to be in this league. I’m up for the challenge.”

Eastern Notes: Butler, Spoelstra, Hayes, Williams, Wizards

Heat star Jimmy Butler recently reflected on his relationship with head coach Erik Spoelstra, a partnership that’s lasted since the team acquired Butler in a sign-and-trade back in July of 2019.

Butler and Spoelstra are known as basketball purists, a competitive player-coach duo that helped lead Miami to its first Finals berth since 2014 last season.

“(We) keep it real with one another,” Butler said of his relationship with Spoelstra, as relayed by Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We got in a little predicament [Wednesday against the Spurs]. But it’s nothing new. Everything is not all good all the time. But we both want to win, we both have the same agenda.

“So I think he’s helping me grow a tremendous amount, talking about leadership as a player and what to look for with my guys. He’s making sure that I put a lot of trust in my teammates and in my young guys, and I appreciate him for it.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Pistons rookie Killian Hayes is still playing with a sense of urgency despite his team being eliminated from playoff contention, as relayed by Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The 19-year-old Hayes was the team’s No. 7 pick in the draft last year and has only appeared in 19 games this season due to injury.
  • The Bulls need more production from rookie Patrick Williams, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. “I’m trying to be aggressive,’’ Williams said. “But kind of like I said, it’s a learning experience, for sure. We have some more games to go, so hopefully I can continue to get better at that.’’ On the season, Williams has averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game across 63 starts.
  • The red-hot Wizards have three secret weapons in the middle, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes. Boswell examines the production the club has received from Daniel Gafford, Robin Lopez and Alex Len, all of whom have seen valuable minutes in recent weeks. Washington has been playing without its starting center, Thomas Bryant, since he suffered a partially torn ACL in January.

Central Notes: Teague, Cook, Love, Dellavedova, Williams

Even with the addition of Jeff Teague to fortify their backcourt, the Bucks still have a little breathing room under the luxury tax line, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. Marks calculates that Milwaukee is $737,439 below the tax after taking a $510,589 cap hit on Teague, who was signed this week. Teague was traded by Boston to Orlando and then waived. The Bucks still have another roster spot open, should they choose to add another player.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It’s uncertain whether forward Tyler Cook will remain with the Pistons after his second 10-day contract expires next week but coach Dwane Casey likes what he’s seen, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. “He’s an interesting guy. I don’t know what we can do with him contractually, but I’d love to keep him around as much as we can. He’s one of those guys you want to keep in your program because he gives you everything,” Casey said. Cook, who signed his second 10-day on March 28, has averaged 3.4 and 3.3 RPG in 13.3 MPG in eight games with the Pistons.
  • The return of Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova from long-term injuries puts the Cavaliers in position for a final playoff run, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “We don’t have much time left, but I do think that we can put together a great last however many games that we have and really make a push,” Love said. “Having Delly back, having myself back, actually being able to make an impact playing the game, there’s just nothing like that.”
  • With the addition of Nikola Vucevic, rookie Patrick Williams is now starting at small forward for the Bulls. Williams hasn’t seen his role change dramatically, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times“The people I guard are pretty much the same,’’ Williams said. “Even when I was [at power forward], I was guarding some threes and some twos, so nothing really changes. In our offense, coach [Billy Donovan] does a really good job of making sure the wing positions are pretty much interchangeable.’’

Lowe’s Latest: Wolves, Bulls, Bucks, Rivers, Vucevic, Nuggets, More

Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has been extremely proactive in overhauling the club’s roster since taking control of the front office in 2019, and Minnesota figures to be a team worth watching again leading up to this Thursday’s trade deadline.

While the Wolves have been linked to potential trade targets like Aaron Gordon and John Collins, Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) says it’s safe to assume that if there’s a power forward between the ages of 22 and 30 who could theoretically be available, Minnesota has inquired on him. Upgrading the four is a top priority for the team.

On the other hand, while the Wolves could be in the market for a win-now move, they’ve also signaled that they may be willing to trade some of their deeper rotation players for future draft picks, sources tell Lowe.

Lowe’s latest look at the trade market is worth checking out in full if you’re an ESPN+ subscriber. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Lowe’s sources believe the Bulls could get a first-round pick for Thaddeus Young, but they continue to signal that he’s not available. Chicago has also rebuffed inquires on rookie forward Patrick Williams.
  • The Bucks will peruse the trade and buyout markets for a backup guard after trading D.J. Augustin, and Lowe suggests Knicks guard Austin Rivers is a target to watch. Rivers is a buyout candidate if New York doesn’t trade him by Thursday afternoon.
  • Lowe believes a Nikola Vucevic trade is “very unlikely.” Jared Weiss and Sam Amick of The Athletic conveyed a similar sentiment today, writing that it might take a Jrue Holiday-esque return for the Magic to pull the trigger.
  • Other teams suggest the Nuggets have been active in search of a deal to upgrade their rotation, according to Lowe, who confirms Denver explored a move for P.J. Tucker before he was sent to Milwaukee.
  • While the Warriors aren’t feeling pressure to move Kelly Oubre, they’re exploring the market for him to see if there’s a deal that could help them more beyond this season, Lowe says.
  • Pacers sharpshooter Doug McDermott is drawing interest from several teams, sources tell ESPN.

Bulls Notes: Trade Deadline, Porter, LaVine, Williams

It hasn’t been scheduled yet, but Bulls management has an important meeting coming up to plot the team’s future, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago is part of a crowded field fighting for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, and decisions will have to be made soon on whether to try for the postseason or build for the future.

“Nothing has been presented to me in terms of any ideas or suggestions of buying, selling or anything like that. I don’t have anything on that,’’ coach Billy Donovan said before Saturday’s game. “My focus has been on trying to continue to help the group get better and improve and to try to help the team get better. But I know in speaking to (executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas) that he wants to sit down and have a conversation at some point, probably a couple of weeks before we’re out from the trade deadline.’’

The Bulls, currently in ninth place in the conference, must decide whether to be buyers or sellers ahead of the March 25 deadline. Several teams are reportedly interested in veteran forward Thaddeus Young, and the team will have to determine whether it wants to keep building around Zach LaVine or listen to offers for a potential franchise-altering deal.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Starting center Wendell Carter Jr. is healthy again, but that’s the only positive news on the injury front, Cowley adds in a separate story. Lauri Markkanen remains sidelined by a sprained right shoulder that will likely keep him out of action until mid-March, and Otto Porter Jr. is still being bothered by back issues. “He’s done nothing in practice, but he has gotten shots up, and he has been doing more physically,’’ Donovan said of Porter. “Still do not know a timetable of when he’ll actually be back.”
  • Donovan made the case for LaVine to be added as an All-Star after his 38-point outburst Saturday night, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. The reserves are chosen by coaches and will be announced Tuesday. “When you look at players that are All-Stars, you are saying they are playing at a high level individually and they are also raising the level of the team,” Donovan said. “I think Zach has done that.”
  • Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports looks at how Patrick Williams‘ “stone cold” reputation has helped him move into the starting lineup as a rookie without a normal training camp or preseason.

Bulls Notes: Carter Jr., LaVine, Williams, Dotson

Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. is in line for an earlier-than-expected return from a quadriceps injury, practicing with the team fully on Sunday, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports writes.

Carter, 21, sustained the injury nearly one month ago and has been out for the club’s last 11 games. He also missed time with injuries during his previous two campaigns, averaging 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 29.2 minutes per game during the 2019/20 season.

“Eventually, we’re going to have to throw him in there with the number of games coming and the limited amount of practice time,” coach Billy Donovan acknowledged. “(Sunday) was a good day for the fact we were able to practice and go up and down and do some 5-on-5 and he was able to participate in all of those things. And he looked fine doing it. I don’t think there was any problems at least while that was going on. We’ll see how he responds to the workload.”

Chicago will open a three-game road trip on Monday against Pacers, followed by games against the Hornets on Wednesday and Sixers on Friday.

Here are some other notes from the Windy City:

  • Zach LaVine‘s teammates believed he’s being overlooked as a potential All-Star this season, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Though his defensive production needs work and the Bulls are 10-15, LaVine has averaged a career-high 28.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game this season. ‘‘I think he understands at this point in his career that individual accolades come when the team does really well,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I think if it happens, it would be great for him to be recognized as an All-Star; it’s an incredible honor. But I don’t think it’s the driving force for him.’’
  • Playing on Friday against Kawhi Leonard, his favorite player, was a learning experience for forward Patrick Williams, Cowley writes in a different story. Leonard finished with a game-high 33 points, also tallying six rebounds and zero turnovers in nearly 33 minutes in the Clippers’ 125-106 win. ‘‘Me, I think I could have done better — energy, defensively, just making it tough on him,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I think he was a little bit too comfortable out there. That’s on me. So . . . just gotta watch the film and get better from it offensively and defensively. And also, as a team, there are some things, some areas there where we kind of dropped the ball.’’
  • Two-way player Devon Dotson had an impressive start to the G League Bubble last week, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports writes. Dotson finished with 16 points in the first contest, along with 12 points and 10 assists in the second, making a respectable impact in both games.

Central Notes: Satoransky, P. Williams, Portis, Love

Billy Donovan isn’t ready to change his starting point guard, but the Bulls coach expects more playing time for Tomas Satoransky now that he has returned from his second COVID-19 experience, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Satoransky was sidelined earlier in the season due to contact tracing, then tested positive for the virus later. Saturday marked his fifth game back, and his playing time has been gradually increasing.

“I think he’s getting his legs back under him, he’s trying to find himself, but each game I think he’s out there playing I think he’ll be more and more comfortable,’’ Donovan said.

There might be temptation to move Satoransky into the starting lineup in place of Coby White, who’s shooting 40% from the field and struggling as a lead guard, but Donovan remains committed to developing White as the long-term answer at point guard.

“Is it a situation where maybe you bring Sato in a little bit earlier? You stagger those guys? But I’m not at a point where I just say, ‘Hey, listen we’re done with him.’ I wouldn’t do that. I think he’s too important to our team,” Donovan said. “He does compete, I trust him in that area. I just think he’s a guy that’s 20 years old, and there’s going to be some of these moments where he’s going to be up and down.’’

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls drafted Patrick Williams for his defensive prowess, but injuries may force them to rely on him for more scoring, notes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Williams is one of seven rookies in a regular starting role, but he’s only ninth on the team at 29.7 touches per game. “They just say whatever I do, be confident in it 100%,” Williams said. “They have confidence in me in whatever I decide to do, whether it’s drive or shoot. Just whatever I do, be 100% confident and don’t be in the middle.”
  • Bobby Portis is excelling with the Bucks’ second unit, writes Spencer Davies of Basketball News. Portis, who signed as a free agent during the offseason, enjoys changing the atmosphere of a game. “I think the last three, four years of my career, I’ve kinda found the niche of coming in and bringing energy off the bench,” he said. “Just knowing if the game’s up and down or if our team needs energy, being that sparkplug that the team needs.”
  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who has been limited to two games this season because of a calf injury, went through a pre-game workout Saturday for the first time in more than a month, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. No date has been set for him to return.