Keegan Murray

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.

Kings Notes: Defense, Sabonis, Barnes, Vezenkov, Murray

The Kings‘ 118.6 offensive rating this season was easily the best mark in the NBA, but their 116.0 defensive rating was the worst of any of the 16 teams that made the playoffs. It’s no surprise then that general manager Monte McNair identified upgrading the defense as a top priority for Sacramento this offseason, per Eduardo Razo of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Still, McNair made it clear that he doesn’t want defensive upgrades to come at the expense of the Kings’ NBA-best offense, stressing that the front office will need to find a way to balance those efforts.

“You always want to continue to shore up your deficiencies, but you don’t want to pull on one string and you lose another,” McNair said. “So we’re going to have to do it in a way that we were able to put all the things we need on the floor for both offense and defense. So, yeah, I don’t know, delicate balance. Everybody has the same challenge, but yes, we need to maintain and improve. We can’t just make trade-offs that keep us in the same spot.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Domantas Sabonis will be extension-eligible this summer and the new CBA will allow the Kings to give him a 40% raise (instead of 20%) in an extension offer. Still, that may not be enough to entice him to sign a deal, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. An extension for Sabonis could be worth up to $27.1MM in 2024/25, whereas his maximum salary as a free agent that summer may exceed $42MM. “Domas is a huge part of what we do,” McNair told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re going to do all we can to keep him here and build around him.”
  • Asked about Harrison Barnes‘ possible future in Sacramento, McNair referred to the free-agent-to-be as “a pretty fantastic part of our team,” per Slater, and suggested the Kings will have conversations in the coming weeks about retaining Barnes.
  • McNair praised the season that draft-and-stash prospect Sasha Vezenkov has had in Greece for Olympiacos and told reporters that a decision on the standout EuroLeague forward will be made later in the summer (Twitter video link via Deuce Mason). Vezenkov is under contract with Olympiacos through 2025, but could be bought out of that deal.
  • Keegan Murray didn’t come close to averaging 20 points per game in his first NBA season like Rookie of the Year winner Paolo Banchero, but McNair made the case this week that the Kings forward was the standout player in his draft class for another reason. “A rookie who started seven games in a playoff series, was, I believe, the most winning impact rookie on the court this year,” McNair said, per Tristi Rodriguez of NBC Sports Bay Area. “While we didn’t ask him to come in and shoot 30 shots, he certainly could have, he was the leading scorer in college basketball last year. But to come in and know what we need, which was to actually defend multiple positions, hit shots, cut to the basket, play off of our veterans, I thought it was a fantastic year for him.”
  • Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee explores whether it’s realistic for the Kings to attempt to emulate the Warriors’ championship blueprint.

Western Notes: Irving, Wiggins, Poole, Murray

The Mavericks said after the season they intended to re-sign Kyrie Irving and that’s what’s Steve Bulpett is hearing from rival executives. However, Luka Doncic will have to get used to not having the ball in his hands all the time and they’ve got to upgrade the roster defensively, Bulpett writes.

“Kyrie was on great behavior — like he was doing everything to try to win over Luka and be a teammate. Every single player on that team and everyone in the organization loves Kyrie from his time there so far,” one GM told Bulpett. “I do think there’s some skepticism going forward for what (the Mavericks are) going to offer him. Like, they’re not completely naïve.”

The Mavericks can offer Irving a five-year contract worth up to $272MM.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Andrew Wiggins surprised many people by how effective he was against Sacramento despite a long layoff due to personal reasons. The Warriors forward averaged 18.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in the first-round series and told The Athletic’s Sam Amick he should be even better against the Lakers. “I feel like in Game 1, once I scored a couple points, I was like, ‘Pffft, I’m back. I’m good.’ My feel for the game was still there. My rhythm and my conditioning felt good enough to compete,” he said. “So I think I’m only going to get (better), because my conditioning still needs to get better. I feel like there’s still more. I mean, last year I was picking up full court (defensively) the whole playoffs, and I didn’t do that yet. It’s coming though.”
  • In contrast, Warriors guard Jordan Poole had a rough series against the Kings, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic notes. He shot 33.8% from the field and struggled defensively against Sacramento’s guards. Poole’s four-year, $123MM extension kicks in next season and the Warriors hope he’ll pick it up against the Lakers. “Wasn’t his best series, obviously,” coach Steve Kerr said.
  • Kings rookie forward Keegan Murray came away from the playoffs feeling optimistic about his future, Hunter Patterson of The Athletic writes. The lottery pick averaged 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in the first-round series. He’ll work with Domantas Sabonis during the offseason. “This series made me more confident than anything in my ability to move forward and my ceiling of how good I can be in the NBA,” Murray said.

Kings Notes: Sabonis, Fox, Barnes, Monk, Murray, Mitchell

Domantas Sabonis may need surgery for the avulsion fracture in his thumb, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets. The Kings center had an appointment with hand specialists on Monday to discuss whether the thumb needs to be repaired.

While he mends, Sabonis is open to hearing from the front office about potential moves. He said that if general manager Monte McNair and assistant GM Wes Wilcox have questions for him about roster construction, he will provide his input, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets.

We have more on the Kings:

  • De’Aaron Fox will take lessons from his first playoff series, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes. Fox feels he and his teammates have to improve in order to become true contenders. “I know there’s another level I have to get to as a professional and our team has to get as well,” he said. “I’m grateful for this experience. The playoffs are everything that I expected it to be.”
  • Harrison Barnes and Trey Lyles are among the players headed to unrestricted free agency. Malik Monk hopes the front office can keep the core group intact, Ham tweets. “I would love to have the same guys here because we’re all like brothers,’ Monk said.
  • Sabonis is eligible for an extension this offseason but it’s unlikely he’ll agree to one, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks explains. The big man could get an additional four years and $122MM without a renegotiation but the extension is $132MM less than the five-year deal he could sign with the Kings after becoming a free agent next summer. It would also be $65MM less than a four-year max with a rival team that has cap space.
  • In order to acquire another high-level player, the Kings may have to deal Keegan Murray and/or Davion Mitchell, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype opines in his offseason primer.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Draymond, Kings, Clippers

It seemed as though the Warriors had all the momentum after winning three straight games to go ahead 3-2 in their first-round series against Sacramento, which made their Game 6 home loss Friday night all the more stunning, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

Kawakami calls the 19-point defeat Golden State’s “most disappointing” performance since the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green started making the postseason in 2013. The locker room was understandably quiet and reflective afterward.

Still, the team remains confident it will be able to rebound and emerge victorious Sunday afternoon in Sacramento for Game 7.

It’s up to us to go to Sacramento and do everything we did tonight — but opposite,” Thompson said. “And I know we will respond. I just know this team. I know these guys. I’ve played at the highest level with them and I know what we are capable of, and we will respond like the champions we are come Sunday.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • It’s time for head coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors to re-insert Draymond Green into the starting lineup in place of the struggling Jordan Poole, argues Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area, who points to Green’s experience of winning in high-pressure situations and his defensive acumen as reasons why the change should take place.
  • The Kings made a “series-altering” adjustment in Game 6, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. They decided to go smaller and faster, with more shooting around De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, who both had terrific games. They went away from Alex Len as backup center and used Trey Lyles at the five, with Terence Davis, Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray receiving more playing time, while Harrison Barnes and Davion Mitchell played less. “We knew we could run them a little bit and we took advantage of that tonight,” Monk said. “I felt it a little bit more on them. They were a little tired. We’re younger than they are. So we knew we could take advantage of that. We’re going to try to do the same thing Sunday.”
  • Confirming a recent report from Mark Medina, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank says the Clippers will “continue to build around” Kawhi Leonard and Paul George despite their injury troubles, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. “Kawhi’s a ceiling raiser,” Frank said. “When you study past NBA champions, they have a top-five guy on their team, and Kawhi has shown that when healthy he can be the best player in the world. Paul is an eight-time All-Star now. So we’re going to continue to build around those guys and look for every which way [to improve around them].”
  • Both Leonard and George are eligible for pricey contract extensions in the offseason, and the Clippers will discuss the matter with their star players when the time comes, per Youngmisuk. “Those guys are great players and they’re great partners and we want to keep them as Clippers for a long time,” Frank said. “And so we’ll look forward to those conversations. And the No. 1 goal is how can we build a sustainable championship team? And those guys have been great partners, so at the appropriate time, we look forward to sitting down with them.”

California Notes: Powell, Thompson, Kings, Lakers

Clippers reserve guard Norman Powell appears to be rediscovering his fighting form of late. In his most recent contest, a 125-118 win over the Lakers Wednesday, Powell notched a team-high 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor, per Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.

“I think it’s like my fourth game back coming off injury after missing 11 games so it was just being prepared and just staying mentally locked in and as (head coach Tyronn) Lue says, not playing so angry,” Powell said. “It just shows how much I love the game and how much I commit to it, and my preparation every single day.”

Playing in his first full season with the Clippers, the 6’3″ swingman is averaging 16.7 PPG on .476/.404/.815 shooting splits. All but eight of his 58 healthy contests have come off the team’s bench.

There’s more out of California:

  • Starting Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has been dealing with a sore back of late, but head coach Steve Kerr said on Friday that the 6’7″ vet is feeling better and was a full practice participant today, Kendra Andrews of ESPN tweets.
  • The 48-32 Kings could be without several notable players against the Warriors tonight, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets. All-Stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis are both questionable with ankle injuries. Shooting guard Kevin Huerter is managing his own injury, while rookie power forward Keegan Murray has a foot ailment. The statuses of forward Trey Lyles and guards Davion Mitchell and Malik Monk are also up-in-the-air. If Sacramento wins out and the Grizzlies lose out, the Kings would be able to secure the West’s second seed by benefit of a tiebreaker, but it appears the team is happy with its current No. 3 seed.
  • Despite a clean injury sheet, the healthy Lakers‘ loss against a Clippers team missing All-Star forward Paul George exposes the club as being less than title-caliber, opines Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. Plaschke notes that stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James were clearly playing through ailments, and the rest of the team failed to step up to meet the moment.

Kings Notes: Dellavedova, Johnson, Huerter, Murray

Kings reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova has a fractured finger, James Ham of The Kings Beat relays via a team update (Twitter link).

Dellavedova suffered a right index finger fracture during the fourth quarter against Portland on Wednesday. Treatment options are being mulled and there’s no timetable for his return.

The 32-year-old has appeared in 32 games off the bench but is only averaging 6.7 minutes in those outings. He’s playing on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

We have more on the playoff-bound Kings:

  • Stockton Kings GM Paul Johnson has been named the NBA G League Basketball Executive of the Year, according to a press release from the team. Johnson became the first executive in Stockton history to earn the award after leading basketball operations for the last two seasons. Stockton finished with the best regular season record (25-7) and matched the franchise single-season record for victories with regular season wins and Showcase Cup wins combined (37). However, the team was upset in the G League playoffs this week.
  • Several teams were interested in acquiring Kevin Huerter when the offseason began last summer, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. The Kings were not one of the teams his representatives initially mentioned to him. However, Sacramento and Atlanta soon came to terms on a deal for Huerter, who was vacationing in Spain at the time. Huerter was expecting to get dealt after the Hawks acquired Dejounte Murray. “It just felt like there were too many cooks in the kitchen,” Huerter said. “Somebody was gonna go.”
  • Lottery pick Keegan Murray has set the league record for most 3-pointers by a rookie, according to a league press release. Murray sank his record-breaking 188th 3-pointer of the season on Wednesday. Donovan Mitchell previously held the record, having knocked down 187 during the 2017/18 season. “Breaking any type of records at the highest level in anything you do is absolutely amazing. And to see Keegan do that (Wednesday), with the way he’s played all year and how hard he’s worked, was an amazing feat,” coach Mike Brown said.

Paolo Banchero, Keegan Murray Named Rookies Of The Month

Magic forward Paolo Banchero and Kings forward Keegan Murray have been named the NBA’s rookies of the month, the league announced (via Twitter). It’s the second straight rookie of the month honor for both players.

Banchero, the Eastern Conference winner, averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals on .429/.329/.781 in 14 January games (32.7 minutes per contest). He was the No. 1 overall pick of last June’s draft.

Murray, the No. 4 overall pick, averaged 14.0 points and 5.9 rebounds on an extremely efficient .510/.495/.933 shooting slash line in 15 games (32.2 minutes). He won for the Western Conference.

Banchero and Murray also won the award in December after Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin and Thunder wing Jalen Williams earned the honor for October/November.

According to the NBA (Twitter link), the other nominees in the West were Tari Eason, Jabari Smith Jr., Walker Kessler, Jeremy Sochan and Williams, while Jaden Ivey and Mathurin were nominated in the East.

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.

Pacers Rumors: Power Forward, Duarte, Collins, Turner, Bitadze

The growing sense among rival teams is that the 23-19 Pacers could be a buyer, rather than a seller, at this season’s trade deadline, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Fischer acknowledges that Indiana’s trade deadline outlook could certainly be altered if Tyrese Haliburton‘s foot injury causes him to miss an extended period. Fischer also adds a caveat to the team’s potential status as a buyer — the Pacers won’t be in the market for short-term veterans like Jae Crowder or Bojan Bogdanovic, but will have an eye out for players who could be long-term fits.

According to Fischer, power forward is the spot the Pacers would most like to upgrade. Indiana was high on Keegan Murray prior to the 2022 draft, and while the club was happy to ultimately land Bennedict Mathurin at No. 6, missing out on Murray means the power forward position remains a priority going forward.

If they want to get aggressive, the Pacers will have a couple extra 2023 first-round picks to dangle in trade talks, having acquired Cleveland’s and Boston’s first-rounders. Additionally, while Indiana viewed Chris Duarte as off limits at one point, multiple front office sources tell Fischer that the team has been more willing to discuss him in recent talks.

Here’s more on the Pacers’ plans:

  • Indiana has had internal discussions about the possibility of pursuing Hawks power forward John Collins, according to Fischer, who notes that Duarte and draft capital might appeal to Atlanta. The Hawks previously pitched the idea of trading Collins to the Pelicans for Trey Murphy and a first-round pick, Fischer explains. The fact that the Pacers could absorb Collins into their cap room without sending out matching salary could also intrigue the Hawks, who are right around the luxury tax line.
  • The Pacers and Myles Turner‘s representatives at CAA continue to discuss a possible renegotiation-and-extension for the veteran center, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Fischer suggests that the four-year, $133MM offer sheet Indiana gave Deandre Ayton in July would be an “obvious benchmark” for Turner’s side to use in contract negotiations.
  • Trade rumors involving Turner have slowed down as of late, Fischer observes. Teams like the Hornets, Pelicans, Mavericks, and Lakers have been viewed as potential suitors in the past, but don’t appear to be targeting Turner at this point. If the 26-year-old ends up back on the trade block, the Knicks, Raptors, and Clippers could be fits, Fischer writes.
  • The most likely Pacers center to be traded is Goga Bitadze, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club would be willing to work with Bitadze’s representatives to find him a new team. Daniel Theis is due back from injury soon and Bitadze hasn’t had much of a role even with Theis out. The fourth-year center also hasn’t been interested in accepting an assignment to the Pacers’ G League team in Fort Wayne, says Fischer.