Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, says he’s excited to team up with Marcus Smart, who won the award in 2022, writes Jerry Jiang of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Smart was acquired from the Celtics last month in a three-team trade, and Jackson reached out to him when the news broke.
“That doesn’t happen pretty often or ever,” Jackson said, referring to a team having two DPOY winners at the same time. “I just know what he brings to Boston. I’ve seen it before I was in the league and it’s crazy.”
Here’s more from the West:
- The Mavericks intend to hire Eric Hughes as an assistant coach, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Hughes got his NBA start as an assistant with Toronto and previously worked under head coach Jason Kidd with the Nets and Bucks, MacMahon notes. He has been with the Sixers for the past four seasons.
- Thunder big man Aleksej Pokusevski won’t be able to represent his native Serbia in the FIBA World Cup next month, according to Eurohoops.net. The 17th pick of the 2020 draft, Pokusevski suffered a broken arm during an offseason workout at the end of May and won’t receive medical clearance to train with a basketball until late August, the report states. The World Cup starts August 25 and runs through September 10. The 21-year-old was hoping to secure a spot on the Serbian national team’s 12-man roster.
- In a mailbag for The Oklahoman, Joe Mussatto predicts that Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Victor Oladipo, Jack White, Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington are the the most likely players to be on the chopping block due to the Thunder‘s roster crunch. However, Mussatto notes that OKC has a few months to figure things out and more trades could be in order rather than outright waiving all five players.