Jeremy Sochan

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.

Western Notes: Doncic, Brunson, Bamba, Vassell, Sochan, Popovich

With the Mavericks seemingly headed for postseason elimination, Luka Doncic acknowledged that he misses former backcourt partner Jalen Brunson “a lot,” Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports.

“I mean, amazing guy, amazing player. For sure,” the Mavericks’ franchise player added.

Doncic describes the Mavericks’ season as “very disappointing” due to chemistry issues, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I think you don’t see that chemistry we had before — I mean, especially last year,” Doncic said. “I think that chemistry was at the top, everybody. But chemistry builds not just not right away. It’s a long process.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers could have another frontcourt option as soon as Tuesday. They have upgraded Mohamed Bamba to doubtful for their game with Utah, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Bamba has been sidelined since March 5 with a left ankle sprain. In a Late Night Lake Show podcast, Buha said he “would not be surprised if (Bamba is) back by the end of the week.” (video link).
  • Spurs swingman Devin Vassell has been out since March 26 with a knee ailment. Jeremy Sochan has been sidelined since March 22, also due to a knee issue. It’s likely both are done for the season. Sochan has far exceeded the number of games he played last season at Baylor, while Vassell is coming off surgery performed in January, so the Spurs are playing it cautious, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that hearing he’d been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame was an “out of body experience,” Orsborn writes. Popovich got the news Saturday in a phone call from Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo. “Sort of a phone call you never think about or expect,” Popovich said “It’s like somebody telling you the earth is flat, some weird feeling that you have, an out-of-body experience, because it’s not what you grow up thinking.”

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Kyrie, Sochan, Porter

In his latest diary entry for Andscape, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum discussed a handful of topics, including injured teammates Zion Williamson and Jose Alvarado and his expectations for the home stretch of the season. Perhaps most notably, he confirmed that his own right thumb injury will require surgery during the offseason.

“I knew the final outcome would probably be surgery, and I was notified that that’s what it’s going to have to be,” McCollum wrote. “It’s my shooting hand, so you’re always a little nervous. So, I’ve just been checking in with a hand specialist out of New York and just making sure things are progressing and continue to get images every couple weeks to track the progress as to what type of surgery I may need, what’s the process going to look like and I’m comfortable with what I’ve been hearing so far, so I’ll be all right.”

McCollum acknowledged that it hasn’t been ideal playing through the thumb injury, which has “affected how I dribble, shoot, pass, (and) absorb passes.” However, he said that shutting it down for the season has never been an option he seriously considered, since he believes he can still be effective.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Dallas is just 7-12 since Kyrie Irving made his Mavericks debut and has slipped out of the top 10 in the West, but Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link) has heard only positive things about the guard’s professionalism and locker room presence since last month’s trade. Blaming Irving for Luka Doncic‘s recent frustration wouldn’t be “fair or accurate,” MacMahon adds.
  • A nagging right knee injury will sideline Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan on Sunday for the seventh time in his last 11 games. However, the rookie has downplayed the issue as “nothing serious” and head coach Gregg Popovich said the team “probably” won’t shut down Sochan for the season, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). It sounds like there’s no concern that the knee problem will turn into a major injury, and the Spurs want to give Sochan all the reps they can before his first NBA season ends.
  • Despite the way in which his time in Cleveland ended, Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. still values the time he spent with the Cavaliers and said he’s looking forward to playing in Cleveland on Sunday, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “I would say that’s the first time I learned about the business of the NBA,” Porter said of the trade that sent him to Houston following a locker-room incident with the Cavs. “But we’re all still close, still. Those relationships are still there and very valuable to me, and (to) the other side, too. Definitely, a lot of people would say it was bad, a bad (ending). It was (for) the best for both of us.”

Texas Notes: Mavericks, Hardaway, Irving, Rockets, Spurs

Despite falling below .500, the 36-37 Mavericks remain intent on competing for a title this season, writes Eddie Sefko of

“The standings are going to change to the last game of the season,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “If we can get healthy and have everyone on the court, that gives us the best chance to win… We feel we have the pieces to be a championship team. We’re playing for a championship. But we just right now have to focus on the game that’s in front of us and that’s Charlotte.”

Over the past two weeks, Dallas has gone just 2-5, while slipping from the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference to No. 9. They have been without one or both of their two All-Star guards, Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, in each of their past six games.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr. are both questionable to suit up for the Mavericks in their next game, Friday against the Hornets, the team has announced (Twitter link). Irving is dealing with a sore right foot, while Hardaway continues to struggle through a non-COVID illness.
  • Two Rockets players may not be available for Houston on Friday against the Grizzlies, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Small forward Jae’Sean Tate will miss another game due to his sore left knee, while center Frank Kaminsky is considered questionable to play due to migraines.
  • Several key Spurs players will be sidelined Friday night against the Wizards, as the team continues to tank. Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News reports (Twitter link) that rookie Jeremy Sochan will be shelved with a sore knee and guard Romeo Langford will miss the action with an adductor injury. The team’s second-leading scorer, Devin Vassell, is questionable with a knee injury, as is center Zach Collins, who is dealing with a biceps bruise.

Southwest Notes: Morant’s Return, Zion, Sochan

Ja Morant received an enthusiastic reception from Grizzlies fans as he returned from his suspension Wednesday night, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Fans showed their support when he took the floor for warmups, when he entered the game in the first quarter and when he touched the ball for the first time.

Morant wore headphones during his pregame routine to block out the outside noise, Cole adds. He also meditated before the game, which was among the recommendations he received during his two weeks of counseling in Florida.

“I’m thankful and grateful for everybody who has been supporting me during this time,” he said. “It definitely helped me a lot. It definitely made me feel a little better, eased everything that’s going on.”

Morant admitted feeling rusty after being away from the game, but he hit 6-of-13 shots and scored 17 points in nearly 24 minutes of action. The idea to come off the bench in his first game back was his, as Morant didn’t want to upset the Grizzlies’ recent hot streak.

“I didn’t want to come right back and mess any of that chemistry up,” Morant said. “I was watching film once my time was getting closer to being back, watching how they was playing. Obviously, it’s different from watching it to being out there.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Ja’s father, Tee Morant, told Kelly Iko of The Athletic that the past few weeks have been “rough” for his family, but he believes his son will benefit from the experience. Ja Morant has been criticized for a series of incidents that culminated with an Instagram Live video from a Denver-area strip club in which he appeared to be waving a gun. “I saw growth,” Tee Morant said in talking about Ja’s time away from the Grizzlies. “I saw growth, and I saw grace. And I know that he knows that God is in control of everything. Forget what the world got to say about you; you can only be judged by one.”
  • Pelicans coach Willie Green couldn’t offer any insight into whether Zion Williamson will play again this season, according to Christian Clark of NOLA. The team announced Wednesday that Williamson is able to resume on-court activities after being sidelined since January 2 with a hamstring injury, but he won’t be reevaluated for two more weeks, which will delay a potential return until at least the final week of the season. “Because of the re-injury, we are taking a slower approach with his rehabilitation,” Green said. “He’ll get on the floor. He’s starting to do some running, doing some shooting. But we’re taking it kind of slow.”
  • Jeremy Sochan returned Wednesday after missing two games with right knee soreness, but the Spurs rookie was still in obvious pain, observes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “He has grown a lot this year, playing through injuries and all that,” said teammate Keita Bates-Diop. “I think most of us are as well, but you can visibly see he is going through some stuff. But he wants to be out there, wants to play, wants to help us compete. I love that about him.”

Southwest Notes: Luka, Kyrie, Kidd, Smith, Sochan

Luka Doncic has been ruled out of Friday’s game at the Lakers as he continues to deal with a left thigh strain, the Mavericks confirmed (Twitter link via Marc Stein). Fellow guard Kyrie Irving is questionable with a right foot injury — he previously said he was feeling discomfort near his big toe.

While Doncic miss his fourth straight game tonight, he’s hopeful that he could return for the Mavs’ next game on Monday at Memphis, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

Hopefully next game. Monday, hopefully then, but we’ll see day by day,” Doncic said.

The Mavs have gone 1-2 over the past three games without their two best players and are currently 35-35, the No. 8 seed in the West.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has been heavily scrutinized in recent weeks for his laid-back demeanor amid a poor stretch of play (the Mavs are just 4-9 since the trade deadline), but his players like his “even-keeled” style, as Caplan writes for The Dallas Morning News. “He’s a Hall of Fame point guard, one of the best point guards of all time, and you can tell by the way he coaches that he has that demeanor,” third-year wing Josh Green said. “A lot of coaches, they’re tight, they’re panicking, but he’s very relaxed. He sees plays. He sees what’s open. He knows what’s working. It’s good to have a coach like that, and it’s very motivating for the rest of the team.” Kidd wasn’t always known for being easygoing — far from it. He credited his time as an assistant with the Lakers for his improved “patience and perspective,” according to Caplan.
  • Jabari Smith Jr. has had his ups and downs this season, as most rookies do. However, the 2022 third overall pick has played his best basketball of late, a promising sign for the Rockets going forward, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscriber link). “You want to see your rooks learn and grow and improve throughout the season,” guard Kevin Porter Jr. said. “Jabari’s season has definitely been that. He started figuring it out. Had a great run, a great stretch and then had a rookie wall and then had his All-Star break. Now you see him settling into his own game. You see him shooting the 3 with a lot more confidence, his turnaround, his mid game, everything. The defensive end, he’s shown he’s improved that. I’m proud of him. He’s going to keep getting better.” Smith, a 19-year-old forward, recently became the first teenager in league history to record three straight games with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds, Feigen writes.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich thinks very highly of for rookie forward Jeremy Sochan, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links). He’s a stud,” Popovich said. “He’s going to be a hell of a player. He’s got the same heart, the same competitiveness as Manu Ginobili. … I have never seen someone come in at such a young age and act like they have been here forever. He’s just totally unintimidated.” The ninth overall pick of last June’s draft, Sochan is averaging 11.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 2.6 APG on .453/.250/.702 shooting in 54 games (26.4 MPG).

Spurs Notes: Graham, Birch, Sochan, Barlow

Devonte’ Graham dropped 15 games and seven spots in the standings by virtue of the deadline-day deal that sent him from New Orleans to San Antonio, but the Spurs guard intends to make the most of his new situation, telling reporters after the trade that he has no problem playing for a rebuilding team.

“Rebuilding, but they play hard,” Graham said of the Spurs, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I had the same experience in Charlotte, so I kind of know what this feels like, trying to rebuild but just playing the right way, playing hard and continuing to try to get better.”

After seeing his minutes reduced significantly in New Orleans this season, Graham is also welcoming the opportunity to play a more significant role in San Antonio. He averaged 15.3 minutes per game in 53 appearances for the Pelicans — that number has jumped to 29.7 MPG in his first three games with the Spurs.

“It’s a new adventure, new team, new city,” Graham said. “Optimistic about it. I have always been good at adjusting. Grateful to be around this franchise, a legendary coach (Gregg Popovich) and this young group.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Veteran center Khem Birch, acquired from Toronto in the Jakob Poeltl trade, has a right knee issue that will keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Birch is with the Spurs on their current road trip, but won’t practice or play until being examined over the All-Star break by the team’s medical staff. “It’s going to be quite a while,” Popovich said of Birch’s timeline to return.
  • Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan doesn’t fit the mold of stoic former Spurs stars like Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, but the team doesn’t mind the rookie’s tendency to “talk crap,” as Popovich puts it. “He’s just so happy to be in the NBA and playing basketball,” Popovich said, according to McDonald. “That’s what he does. It’s his main interest. … Beyond what you see skill-wise out there and IQ-wise, he’s got that heart and courage. He’s not afraid of any situation. He’s not embarrassed to screw up. He just goes on to the next play. It’s a perfect example for how you’ve got to play.”
  • Determining how to properly evaluate prospects coming out of the relatively new Overtime Elite program remains a work in progress for NBA scouts. Still, Spurs two-way player Dominick Barlow has no regrets about his OTE experience and believes it helped prepare him for the next level, McDonald writes for The Express-News. “There are pros and cons, like you are not going to be able to play in college and get that kind of experience,” Barlow said. “That wasn’t a big thing for me. I really wanted to work on my game, that the jump I was able to make in a year was good enough to outweigh that (college experience). I was happy with it.”
  • In case you missed it, Charles Bassey signed a four-year contract with the Spurs that reportedly includes $5.2MM in guaranteed money.

Injury Updates: Haliburton, Jones, Sochan, Fox, Robinson, Reaves

Star Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton will play on Thursday night for the first time since January 11, he confirmed to reporters, including Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).

The 6’5″ guard sprained his left elbow and incurred a mild left knee bone contusion last month against the Knicks. When healthy, Haliburton has been performing at an All-Star level during his third pro season. He’s averaging 20.2 PPG on .480/.399/.880 shooting splits, 10.2 APG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.8 SPG for Indiana.

We have more notable injury updates:

  • Spurs point guard Tre Jones and rookie power forward Jeremy Sochan had to leave Wednesday night’s game with injuries and were ruled out for the rest of the evening upon being examined by the team’s medical staff, reports Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (via Twitter). Jones suffered a left foot injury, while a sore lower back sidelined Sochan. Orsborn adds that Sochan will miss Friday’s game against the Sixers, but Jones is probable to play.
  • Personal reasons will keep Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox sidelined for the team’s next game Friday, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.
  • Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson will sit tonight as he continues to recuperate from right thumb surgery, reports ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link).
  • Lakers head coach Darvin Ham indicates that reserve shooting guard Austin Reaves may return to the floor for Los Angeles as early as Saturday against the Pelicans, in the final contest of the team’s current five-game road trip, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic (via Twitter). Reaves has been sidelined with a sprained hamstring since early January.

NBA Announces Player Pool For Rising Stars Event

The NBA officially unveiled the 28-player pool for this year’s Rising Stars event on Tuesday, making the announcement via the NBA App. The following players made the cut:



G League players:

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by longtime NBA guard Jason Terry. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA stars Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Deron Williams.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 17 as part of All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City. The NBA’s full press release with more information on the event can be found right here.

Southwest Notes: Gordon, Washington, Doncic, Sochan

The Rockets have the third-worst record in the NBA and Eric Gordon is discouraged by the lack of progress from his young teammates, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. Talking to reporters after Saturday’s 20-point loss to the Knicks, Gordon said “there’s no improvement” when asked about the direction of the season.

“Same old thing all year,” Gordon said after the team committed 25 turnovers. “We have a small margin for error. … It’s a lot of things. It’s mindset. You got to play for one another. Do what’s right by your teammates. If you do that it’d be more fun. You give yourself a better chance to win.”

Gordon is the veteran leader on a team filled with players in their early 20s, and he’s the only member of the roster who has played a consistent role on a contender. Gordon is also a strong candidate to be moved if the Rockets can find an offer to their liking before the February 9 trade deadline.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rookie guard TyTy Washington believes he was too tentative in his first few games with the Rockets after missing the early part of the season with an injury, writes Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle. The first-round pick recently replaced Daishen Nix as the backup point guard, and he credits coaches and teammates for helping him to stop second guessing himself. “The coaching staff and everybody was telling me, ‘Do what you did to get you to this point,’” Washington said. “At first I was kind of like, just out there nervous just trying to fit in and stuff like that. And they just told me, ‘You never fit in your whole life. Do what you did to get you here.’” 
  • Mavericks guard Luka Doncic continued his scoring barrage on Saturday night with 51 points against the Spurs, per Raul Dominguez of The Associated Press. Doncic has scored at least 50 points three times in his last five games. “It’s incredible,” Christian Wood said. “In my seven years in the league, I’ve never seen anybody do what he’s able to do. He’s on an incredible run. He’s playing like an MVP. Clearly one of the best players in the league.”
  • The Spurs like what they’ve seen from lottery pick Jeremy Sochan, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. The 19-year-old forward has established himself as a starter and a strong defender in his first NBA season. “We’ve seen it from the beginning,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He plays a great all-around game. He continues to work on his shooting. But he does everything for us defensively, moves the ball, handles the ball, plays some point.”