Dyson Daniels

World Cup Notes: Latvia, Japan, Philippines, China, Australia

The Latvian Basketball Association has officially announced the national team’s 12-man roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup (Twitter link).

Thunder forward Davis Bertans is the only active NBA player on Latvia’s roster, but the team features a handful of former NBAers, including Bertans’ brother Dairis Bertans. Former Nets forward Rodions Kurucs and ex-Wizards big man Anzejs Pasecniks are the other Latvians with NBA experience.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 World Cup:

  • Japan and the Philippines, two of the host nations of the World Cup, have announced their 12-man rosters for the event. Suns forward Yuta Watanabe is the only NBA player representing Japan in this year’s tournament, while Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is the lone NBA player for the Philippines (Twitter link). Young center Kai Sotto, who committed to the G League Ignite in 2020 and has spent the past two seasons in Australia, is also suiting up for the Philippines.
  • China and Australia are among the other national teams to finalize their 12-man World Cup squads. There are no surprises in either case — while Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson is China’s only NBA player (Twitter link), the Boomers have nine active NBAers on a loaded roster that includes up-and-comers like Thunder guard Josh Giddey and Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (link via BasketNews.com).
  • A panel of ESPN’s basketball writers, including Brian Windhorst, has previewed the 2023 World Cup and made predictions for the event. South Sudan is a popular sleeper pick to make it to the knockout round and potentially earn an Olympic berth, but Team USA is widely expected to win the tournament — France was the only other team to receive a single vote.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Daniels, Sullivan, Wright

In a surprise appearance on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast (YouTube link), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson admitted he’s struggled to this point with the discipline required for healthy eating habits, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com relays.

It’s hard, man,” Williamson said. “I’m 20, 22, have all the money in the world — well, it feels like all the money in the world. It’s hard.

I’m at that point now, because of certain things, I’m putting back the wisdom around me. I don’t want to say older because they get defensive, but I’m putting people around me with wisdom. Put me on game to certain things. And just go from there.”

The former first overall pick has been limited to 114 games over his four NBA seasons due to a variety of injuries. Williamson, whose five-year rookie scale max extension starts in 2023/24, acknowledges he has to make changes going forward.

Like (former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski) taught me, I have to own up to my responsibilities,” Williamson said. “There are a lot of things I could have done better. I didn’t. I’m in the process of fixing those wrongs.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • The Pelicans are focused on expanding Dyson Daniels‘ offensive repertoire as he enters his second season, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “It’s important to feature Dyson and expand (him) in his role,” Pelicans coach Casey Hill said before Summer League play started. “That’s what you’re going to see in Vegas. We are going to give him the basketball. Put him in decision-making situations. And build him from there.” The 20-year-old guard has struggled with efficiency through three games in Las Vegas, but holds impressive all-around averages of 15.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks.
  • Ben Sullivan has had a unique journey to becoming an NBA assistant coach, and it’s an opportunity he doesn’t take for granted, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscriber link). “You hear people talk about this. ‘Find your passion. Find your passion, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I actually am lucky enough to believe that,” Sullivan said. “It doesn’t feel like a job. I feel like I’m doing what I love doing, doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Whatever form or capacity it ends up being, I love being in the gym and working with the guys. I love what I do.” As Feigen writes, Sullivan’s wife pushed him to consider coaching while he was working at a construction company, and he got his start teaching sixth graders the game. The new Rockets assistant has been part of two championships during his 10 seasons in the NBA, including eight as an assistant.
  • Point guard McKinley Wright will miss the remainder of Summer League after spraining his left ankle, the Mavericks announced (via Twitter). Wright is currently an unrestricted free agent after spending the past two seasons on two-way deals with Minnesota and Dallas, respectively.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Brooks, Bane, Pelicans, Daniels

The Grizzlies weren’t thrilled with the framing or leaking of the story about Dillon Brooks not being brought back “under any circumstances,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on his Howdy Partners podcast (YouTube link).

The Grizzlies did not want the messaging out there of, basically, ‘Dillon Brooks is a scapegoat. We’re dumping Dillon Brooks and everything is going to be fine.’ They were fine with the way (GM) Zach Kleiman left it at the exit interviews with the media,” MacMahon said.

Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the quotes from Kleiman.

I’ll hit on (Brooks) another day,” Kleiman said. “Nothing I can comment on for now with him going into free agency.”

Multiple members of the team, including Kleiman, talked about toning down the trash-talking, while Brooks said it was part of who he is, according to Cole.

We’re going to take a different approach as it pertains to (trash talk) next season,” Kleiman said. “You’ll see a different approach from this team, but at the same time, confidence is important. .. There’s a line there, certainly.”

As MacMahon observes, it was pretty easy to read between the lines and realize that Brooks was highly unlikely to be re-signed, but the Grizzlies didn’t want to throw him under the bus, either.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the story on Brooks. Brooks’ agent, Mike George of OneLegacy Sports Management, lit into Charania for his report. “@ShamsCharania the leader of spreading false news and attacking players. Why any player in the league talks to this guy blows my mind. #weirdo,” George tweeted.
  • In an appearance on Stephen A.’s World with Stephen A. Smith of ESPN (YouTube link), Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane praised Brooks. “Things like this happen,” Bane said. “You know, it’s part of the business. There ain’t no telling whether he’s gonna be back with us or with another team in the future. … Whatever happens for him I’m gonna be cheering, hopefully it’s with us, but if not, I’ll be rooting for him — as long as it’s not in the Western Conference.”
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype takes a look at what’s next for Brooks and the Grizzlies following the news of his impending departure, noting that a sign-and-trade might be the best chance for Memphis to replace his salary slot.
  • Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels had a strong rookie season on the defensive end, but he knows he has a lot of work to do on offense to make the impact he wants going forward, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “For me, I was disappointed how it went this year,” said Daniels, who plans to play in Summer League. “I think I could have made more of an impact. But for me, it’s about learning now and getting the work in this summer and being ready for next year.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, William Guillory thinks it would be “extreme” for the Pelicans to explore trading Zion Williamson this summer, viewing it as a total non-starter. Williamson is too talented to deal away so early in his career despite his significant injury troubles, according to Guillory. Adding a shooter in free agency will likely be a priority for New Orleans this offseason, Guillory adds.

NBA Announces All-Rookie Teams

Rookie of the Year winner Paolo Banchero was a unanimous choice for the 2022/23 All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced today (via Twitter).

Players receive two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote, and Banchero received the maximum possible 200 points.

Here’s the full five-man squad, listed in order of their total points received via voters:

The All-Rookie Second Team was announced as well, with a couple of teammates headlining the group (Twitter link).

In my opinion, the most surprising omission from the All-Rookie Second Team was Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard, who received 46 points. Nembhard was actually listed on one more ballot than Eason, but Eason received two First Team votes versus Nembhard’s zero, giving him a narrow edge.

That’s not to say Eason (or anyone else) was undeserving — he had a strong season as a tenacious offensive rebounder and defender. I just thought Nembhard should have been honored because he started the majority of the season for a competitive Indiana team and was frequently tasked with guarding the opposing teams’ best player, as Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files notes (via Twitter).

According to the NBA (Twitter link), others receiving votes included Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe (36), Hawks wing AJ Griffin (26), Nuggets forward Christian Braun, Thunder center Jaylin Williams (seven), Mavericks guard Jaden Hardy (four), Spurs guard Malaki Branham (three), Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (two), Hornets center Mark Williams (two) and Bucks wing MarJon Beauchamp (one).

In case you missed it, more NBA awards will be coming later this week. The All-Defensive teams will be announced on Tuesday, followed by All-NBA on Wednesday and the Teammate of the Year award on Thursday.

And-Ones: Boomers, Awards, Thibodeau, Butler, Gilbert

All but one of the 11 Australian players in the NBA have been named to the extended Australian Boomers squad for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Olgun Uluc of ESPN reports. The exception is a notable one — the Nets’ Ben Simmons, though there’s a possibility he’ll be added ahead of the selection camp.

Simmons recently expressed interest in playing for Australia in this year’s World Cup.

Some of the NBA current or past players who made the 18-man list include Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Josh Green, Jock Landale, Matisse ThybulleJosh Giddey, Dyson Daniels, Xavier Cooks and Thon Maker. The team will eventually be pared to 12 players.

We have from around the basketball world:

  • It’s going to be a busy week in terms of NBA awards announcements, the league’s communications department tweets. The All-Rookie team will be revealed on Monday, the All-Defensive Team will be unveiled on Tuesday and the All-NBA team will be announced on Wednesday. The Teammate of the Year award will be announced on Thursday.
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is looking for ways to slow down red-hot Jimmy Butler and the Heat. ESPN’s Nick Friedell takes an in-depth look at the relationship between Thibodeau and his former player.
  • Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, has died at the age of 26, according to ESPN’s News Services. Nick Gilbert had a lifelong battle with neurofibromatosis (NF1), which causes noncancerous tumors to grow on the brain, spinal cord and skin. He became well-known to NBA fans for being Cleveland’s good luck charm at the draft lottery, as the Cavs twice got the top pick when he was the team’s lottery representative.

Pelicans Notes: McCollum, Zion, Daniels, Pannone

During an appearance on “Stephen A.’s World” Saturday afternoon (video link), CJ McCollum cited public “misconceptions” over how Zion Williamson is viewed by his teammates and Pelicans management. McCollum said the entire organization remains supportive of Williamson and wants him to find a way to stay healthy so he can get the most out of his talents.

Injuries limited Williamson to 29 games this season, marking the third time in four years that he has failed to reach 30. He played at an All-Star level when he was available, averaging 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 60.8% from the field, but a hamstring injury he suffered in early January kept him sidelined for the rest of the season.

“The moral of the story is we all want him out there on the court,” McCollum said. “We all understand the importance of the gravity he has, we understand the importance of the greatness that he possesses — and me personally, I want him to maximize that. I want him to maximize his talent, I want him to maximize his window, our window as a team, our window as an organization.”

Executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin addressed the same topic on Friday, telling reporters, including Andrew Lopez of ESPN, that the team will work to increase Williamson’s availability, but he has a role to play as well.

I think a big part is on him,” Griffin said. “I think there is a lot he can do better. And he would, I think, tell you that. I think we need to do a better job examining the whole situation top to bottom a little bit better. I think putting him in the best position to succeed is important. And I think his participation is a big part of that.”

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • McCollum, who will have surgery on his right thumb next week, wrote in his Andscape diary that “this was the most difficult season I’ve been a part of physically and mentally.” He cites the constant injuries that surrounded the team and “the roller coaster of emotions” that involved the fast start, followed by a 10-game losing streak and then rebounding to qualify for the play-in tournament.
  • Dyson Daniels plans to spend a lot of the offseason in New Orleans to work on his game, tweets William Guillory of The Athletic. The Australian rookie also expects to be part of the Pelicans’ Summer League team.
  • Assistant coach Ryan Pannone will join Nate Oats’ staff at the University of Alabama, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Pannone, a former G League coach, spent one year on New Orleans’ staff under Willie Green.

Pelicans Notes: Richardson, Daniels, Zion, Nance

Having inserted new addition Josh Richardson into his starting five ahead of incumbent second-year swingman Trey Murphy, Pelicans head coach Willie Green spoke on Saturday about that decision, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com (Twitter link).

Richardson, who arrived to the Pelicans via the Spurs in a trade deadline deal, has started the club’s last two games ahead of Murphy, on Thursday and Saturday.

“Just want to give us a different look,” Green said of the change. “Looking at that lineup over the past few weeks, we wanted to make an adjustment. Trey will still play 25 plus minutes. Just putting a bit more know-how on the floor with Josh. And Herb (Jones). Being able to guard multiple guys. Trey getting some minutes against teams’ second units. We want to see if that helps us.”

There’s more out of The Big Easy:

  • The Pelicans have gone 7-17 since All-Star forward Zion Williamson injured his right hamstring. As a result, the team has plummeted in the Western Conference standings while Williamson remains out indefinitely. Andrew Lopez of ESPN identifies three key questions for New Orleans heading into the 2022/23 season’s closing stretch. When he was available, Williamson was his typically spectacular self, averaging 26 PPG on .608/.368/.714 shooting splits. He also chipped in 7.0 PRG and 4.6 APG in his 29 healthy contests.
  • Pelicans rookie point guard Dyson Daniels returned to the floor tonight for New Orleans after missing 12 games with a right ankle sprain, reports Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans Podcast (Twitter link). The 6’8″ guard was selected with the eighth pick in the 2022 draft by New Orleans. He has averaged 4.5 PPG on .445/.333/.621 shooting splits, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG and 0.9 SPG across his 39 games for the Pelicans thus far.
  • Veteran Pelicans reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. departed the team’s road game tonight against the Knicks with what New Orleans is calling a left ankle sprain, Clark tweets. Nance was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

Lowe’s Latest: Durant, Grizzlies, Anunoby, Pelicans, Warriors, Clippers

In the wake of the NetsKevin Durant trade agreement with the Suns, reports indicated that Brooklyn only really negotiated with Phoenix rather than canvassing the NBA to generate a bidding war. The Nets likely already knew what teams were willing to offer after discussing Durant deals for nearly two months in the offseason, and liked the combination of players and picks the Suns were willing to offer.

According to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link), another team that was prepared to put a strong package of draft picks on the table for Durant was the Grizzlies. Sources tell Lowe that the Nets were aware since July that Memphis was willing to trade every available draft pick and swap of its own for Durant (it’s unclear if that offer would’ve included Golden State’s lightly protected 2024 first-round pick or just the Grizzlies’ own first-rounders).

However, the Suns’ inclusion of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson helped tip the scales in their favor. Sources around the league have said that the Grizzlies have kept Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. entirely off-limits in any trade talks, according to Lowe, so the players in Memphis’ offer wouldn’t have been as valuable as the ones in the deal Brooklyn ultimately accepted.

Here’s more from Lowe:

  • After mentioning on his podcast that the Grizzlies and Pacers each offered three first-round picks for Raptors forward OG Anunoby, Lowe says the Pelicans – another presumed suitor – didn’t hold any serious talks with Toronto about him. As Lowe reiterates, the Raptors were seeking a high-level player or prospect in an Anunoby deal; Will Guillory of The Athletic says New Orleans didn’t show much interest in discussing Dyson Daniels or Trey Murphy in trade talks.
  • The Warriors also engaged with the Raptors about Anunoby, Lowe confirms, but he says the two teams don’t appear to have gotten all that close to an agreement. Golden State likely would have had to include Jonathan Kuminga as the centerpiece of its offer, sources tell ESPN.
  • The Clippers never ended up having any serious trade talks for D’Angelo Russell or Kyle Lowry, and the Mike Conley bidding was out of their price range, Lowe says. They also got nowhere close on Fred VanVleet, since the Raptors would have wanted Terance Mann and possibly more draft equity than L.A. could’ve offered, Lowe adds.

Trade Rumors: Anunoby, Crowder, Heat, Thybulle, Wood, Russell, Plumlee

The Raptors will be looking for young talent rather than draft assets if they decide to trade OG Anunoby, multiple league insiders tell Christian Clark of NOLA. Toronto plans to wait until its current road trip ends on Sunday before making a decision on whether to part with Anunoby or any of its other top players.

Clark points out that the Pelicans can offer players such as Dyson Daniels, Herbert Jones and Naji Marshall, who are all on team-friendly contracts, along with a large collection of draft picks. In addition to holding all its own first-round picks over the next five years, New Orleans is owed future first-rounders from both the Lakers and Bucks.

Anunoby is one of the league’s top perimeter defenders, ranking first in both steals and deflections per game, and he shoots 39.2% on three-pointers. He can be used at shooting guard in a fully healthy lineup or he can handle either forward slot if Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson continue to battle injuries.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • The Bucks have been considered a potential landing spot for Jae Crowder, but John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets that the Suns are unlikely to accept Milwaukee’s latest offer of Serge Ibaka, George Hill, Jordan Nwora, and second-round draft capital. Gambadoro also doesn’t expect Phoenix to wind up with Anunoby (Twitter link).
  • Assuming the Heat don’t make a play for Kyrie Irving, their main focus before the deadline will be finding another power forward or center who would be worth giving up a first-round pick, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson talks to a scout from a rival team about several trade prospects and what it would take to acquire them.
  • The Hawks have joined the Kings as suitors for Sixers guard Matisse Thybulle, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article. Sources tell Stein there’s a significant chance of Thybulle being moved by the deadline.
  • The Clippers are considering Mavericks big man Christian Wood and Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, Stein adds in the same piece. He also states that the Kings have contacted the Hornets to see if Mason Plumlee is available. Sacramento is hoping to deal Richaun Holmes and Alex Len and would like to improve its interior defense.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Mavs, Daniels, Pelicans, Bane

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who sustained a left ankle sprain on Thursday, has been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Utah, the team announced (via Twitter). However, the expectation is that Doncic won’t be sidelined for much – if any – additional time beyond that game.

Appearing on NBA Today on Friday (video link), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that a worst-case scenario for Doncic would probably be missing two games: tonight’s contest in Utah and Monday’s vs. Detroit. After that, the Mavericks aren’t back in action until next Thursday, when they host New Orleans, so Doncic would have had a full week to rest an ankle sprain that Woj describes as “mild.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • As the trade deadline nears, it will be tricky for the Mavericks to balance their desire to improve this year’s roster with a “future-focused approach,” writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. As Cato outlines, a deal for a veteran like Bojan Bogdanovic would upgrade this year’s roster, but Dallas likely won’t be inclined to move a future first-round pick at the deadline for a player who would only serve the club’s short-term interests.
  • After spraining his right ankle on Tuesday vs. Denver, Pelicans rookie Dyson Daniels is expected to be out for “a little bit of time,” head coach Willie Green said this week, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). That timeline is pretty vague, but Daniels missed Wednesday’s game and has been ruled out for Saturday.
  • Last season’s CJ McCollum trade buoyed the Pelicans down the stretch and helped them earn a playoff spot. Given that the team has so many trade assets still on hand, Christian Clark of NOLA.com wonders whether another in-season trade is inevitable.
  • Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane was unavailable for Friday’s game against Minnesota due to right knee soreness, per Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Bane missed time earlier in the season due to a right big toe injury and sat out one game with right ankle soreness, but this is the first time his knee has prevented him from suiting up.