Keyonte George

NBA Announces 2023/24 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA officially unveiled the two All-Rookie teams for the 2023/24 season on Monday (Twitter links). The teams are as follows:

First Team

Second Team

Unsurprisingly, Wembanyama and Holmgren were unanimous selections to the first team (Twitter link). Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Wembanyama was also the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year, with Holmgren receiving all but one second-place vote for that award.

The entire first team mirrored the Rookie of the Year balloting, with Miller, Jaquez and Podziemski coming in third through fifth. Lively received the most points for the second team, followed by Thompson, George, Wallace and Jackson.

Jackson is the only All-Rookie member who wasn’t drafted in the first round; he was selected 45th overall in 2023 and initially signed a two-way contract. He was converted to a standard contract in February.

The current youngest player in the NBA, Jackson didn’t start receiving regular minutes until mid-January. The 19-year-old put up some big numbers down the stretch though, including 31 points and 44 points in the final two games of the season.

Jackson beat out Warriors big man Trayce Jackson-Davis for the final spot on the second team by a single point. Jackson actually received fewer overall votes (38 vs. 42 for Jackson-Davis), but earned the nod by receiving five first-team votes, which were worth two points apiece (second-team votes were worth one point each).

A total of 22 rookies received at least one vote. Aside from Jackson-Davis, the other top finishers who didn’t make the cut were Pistons forward Ausar Thompson (35 points), Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson (33), and Wizards wing Bilal Coulibaly (14). Ausar is Amen’s identical twin brother.

All-Rookie was one of the awards that didn’t require players to meet the newly instituted 65-game minimum. Jackson, Lively, Thompson, and Wallace didn’t meet that criteria, but they were still eligible for All-Rookie honors.

Western Notes: George, Holmgren, Ingram, Kennard

Keyonte George became a big part of opponents’ game plans as the season wore on, and Jazz CEO Danny Ainge feels the young guard will benefit from that experience, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune relays.

“He had some ups and downs, and I kind of liked that he had those ups and downs,” Ainge said. “I kind of liked the fact that the scouting report — the most important person to stop on our entire team many nights the second half of the year was him. So the best defender was guarding him, the team defensive schemes were to stop him, and so he had to face some of that.”

Ainge believes George made bigger strides than another of the Jazz’s rookies this season, Taylor Hendricks.

“He’s just a little further behind than Keyonte,” Ainge said of Hendricks. “His shooting was getting better and better. He’s working a lot on his shooting. His arc of his shots has been a little bit flat. But he shot a pretty good percentage. That’s a big step for him, but he’s got to get a lot better defensively.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Thunder rolled into the playoffs as a No. 1 seed despite being one of the league’s youngest teams. Center Chet Holmgren, the likely runner-up in the Rookie of the Year, said his team must take an even-keeled approach to the postseason. “The playoffs are a time of huge swings,” Holmgren told Darnell Marberry of The Athletic. “And you can’t let the swing of things allow your emotions to run wild in one direction or the other, good or bad. If you win one game, the series isn’t over. If you lose one game, the series isn’t over. So it doesn’t matter what fashion you lose or win with. A buzzer-beater, a blowout, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to get ready for the next game because no team’s going to roll over and give you anything.”
  • With Zion Williamson sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Pelicans will need big performances from Brandon Ingram to get out of the first round, Rod Walker of the New Orleans Times Picayune opines in a subscriber-only story. Ingram had 24 points, six rebounds and six assists in New Orleans win over Sacramento on Friday. “He is a leader for us and we follow his lead,” forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “Every single game, I tell him to be the best player on the court and (Friday) I believe he was the best player on the court.”
  • The Grizzlies have a $14.8MM option on Luke Kennard‘s contract for next season and Keith Smith of Spotrac believes they’ll pick it up, even though it would push them closer to the second tax apron. Smith, previewing the Grizzlies’ offseason, notes that Kennard is a solid backup wing due to his shooting ability and play-making.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Jokic, Murray, George, Giddey

The battle for control among Timberwolves‘ ownership isn’t affecting the team’s performance, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. While majority owner Glen Taylor and minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez fight things out in the media and probably in the court system, Minnesota picked up one of its biggest wins of the season Friday night at Denver. The Wolves are now tied with Oklahoma City for the top spot in the West with just nine games remaining.

“I don’t think it affects the players as much,” Mike Conley said of the ownership situation. “Maybe it affects the image of the team, the aura of the team around a little bit. But as far as the players are concerned, I think we just are like, ‘Damn, that’s crazy.’ Then we go back to watching film and worrying about (Nikola) Jokic, Jamal Murray and (Michael) Porter and those guys. It’s a unique situation and it’s something we don’t have any control over. We’re trying to do our job.”

Rudy Gobert didn’t mention Taylor, Lore or Rodriguez by name, but he said ownership in general has improved since he was traded to Minnesota nearly two years ago, creating a better atmosphere for the players.

“Whether it’s nutrition, recovery, facility, family room, how our family is being treated — it’s a lot of things,” Gobert said. “This organization is becoming really a top-notch organization and I think it’s come a long way.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets may need to prioritize health over chasing the No. 1 seed, contends Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. Jokic played with his right wrist taped Friday night, and Durando observes that it was clearly bothering him even though he finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds. “His wrist has been giving him a lot of trouble,” coach Michael Malone said. “But as we know, Nikola plays through things that most guys won’t.” Murray missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury, but Malone said he’s expected to return before the start of the playoffs.
  • The Jazz dropped their eighth straight game Friday night as they deal with the realities of starting three rookies, notes Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Taylor Hendricks, Keyonte George and Brice Sensabaugh are struggling with efficiency as they get accustomed to playing big minutes at the NBA level, but the organization is committed to all three players, with coach Will Hardy complimenting George on his mental approach to the game. “Keyonte is really, really smart. He’s really, really smart in general, and that applies to basketball,” Hardy said. “He watches a lot on his own, which is very rare these days. He’s at home watching League Pass, watching games. So with that he has pretty quick recognition of things. He has an ability to learn things fast. He has really good recall. He can remember plays that we ran three weeks ago that we haven’t scripted in a while.”
  • Thunder swingman Josh Giddey said he used to hate it when teams dared him to shoot from the outside, but he’s learned to use it as a weapon, tweets Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman. “Now I’ve changed my mindset going into games,” Giddey said, “where it’s like, ‘If he’s gonna leave me open, I’m gonna punish them. I’m gonna make them pay and change their defensive scheme.’”

Northwest Notes: Trail Blazers, Henderson, Gobert, George

The Trail Blazers started five rookies in tonight’s game against Denver, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. The lineup consisted of Scoot Henderson, Kris Murray, Rayan Rupert, Toumani Camara and Duop Reath, marking only the second time that a team has started five first-year players since the NBA began tracking starters in 1970/71. The 2012 Warriors were the first, according to a tweet from the Blazers.

The move was necessitated by the team’s lengthy injury list, which grew even longer when guard Anfernee Simons had to leave Friday’s game in the third quarter after hurting his left knee. Coach Chauncey Billups told reporters that Simons will undergo an MRI on Sunday.

Deandre Ayton missed Friday’s game with tendinitis in his left elbow, which is also keeping him out tonight. Jerami Grant is already sidelined with a hamstring issue, and Malcolm Brogdon has been out of action since early February with elbow tendinitis. Billups expressed hope that Grant and Brogdon can return before the end of the season.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Friday marked Henderson’s best performance since suffering a groin injury during the Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend, observes Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (subscription required). The No. 3 pick in last year’s draft, who posted 24 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and two steals in the Trail Blazers‘ loss to the Clippers, talked about his experience with the “rookie wall.” “It’s a longer season now, so you kind of get that wall a little later,” Henderson said. “After 50 games in the G League, you’re like, ‘OK, let’s play another one.’ But when you hit 50 or 60 [in the NBA], it’s a little tougher now.”
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is determined to not let the pain from a sprained rib keep him out of the lineup, per Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops“You got to embrace the pain sometimes. Sometimes the pain of watching hurts more than the pain of the injury itself,” Gobert said. “It is all about playing through that. As long as I can move, able to impact the game, I am going to be out there.”
  • The Timberwolves fired a team employee this week for stealing thousands of files, some of which contained “strategic NBA information,” according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Somak Sarkar was charged with felony third-degree burglary.
  • Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune examines the high turnover rate for Jazz rookie guard Keyonte George and how it might impact his NBA future.

Northwest Notes: George, Jokic, Gobert, Warren

The Jazz have fallen out of the play-in race and are headed for another lottery finish, but rookie guard Keyonte George continues to impress. He scored at least 25 points for a third straight game in Friday’s win over Atlanta, earning high praise for head coach Will Hardy, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Keyonte (has) the opportunity to become a real star in this league,” Hardy said. “… There’s a lot of pressure when you’re the No. 1 guy. Like, you’re driving to the gym and you’re thinking, ‘If I don’t play well, we won’t win.’ Role players don’t always necessarily have that burden in their brain before a game and so these opportunities for Keyonte to be the quote-unquote No. 1 guy for us are imperative for his development.”

George was one of three players drafted by the Jazz in the first round last June, but he’s the only one of the three to have earned a significant role as a rookie.

While fellow first-rounders Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh have played a combined 624 minutes, George has logged more than 1,500 across 59 games. The first-year guard has averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .403/.359/.828.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nikola Jokic played in his 65th game of the season on Friday night, ensuring that the Nuggets star will be eligible for end-of-season awards, including Most Valuable Player, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Jokic is currently the betting favorite to win this season’s MVP award, which would be his third.
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert underwent X-rays after sustaining a rib injury in Tuesday’s game, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says those X-rays came back negative. Gobert is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game in Utah due to what the team is calling a left rib sprain, so it doesn’t appear it’s a significant injury for the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner.
  • With Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined, T.J. Warren got the opportunity to play real rotation minutes in his NBA comeback with the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Warren’s 10-day contract expired last night, so Minnesota will have to decide whether or not to sign him to a second one.

Northwest Notes: Conley, George, Blazers, Nuggets

Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley will earn $9,975,962 in 2024/25 followed by $10,774,038 in ’25/26 as part of his new two-year extension, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). It’s a straight two-year contract with no options, and Conley can’t be traded for six months due to the 8% raise in year two of the extension, Marks adds.

Appearing on NBA Countdown, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said (Twitter video link) Conley initially wasn’t thrilled that Utah sent him to Minnesota at last year’s deadline, having instead hoped to land with the Lakers or Clippers. However, he and his family now love the area and he was enthusiastic about staying with the Wolves.

In a story for, Kevin Pelton writes that Conley’s extension looks like a win for the Wolves on the court and off, even though they’re almost certain to be a second apron team in 2024/25. Pelton says the No. 1 seed in the West is well worth spending money on. Minnesota has only paid the tax once in franchise history, but Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez are set to become majority stakeholders next season.

Pelton also examines Minnesota’s free agents this summer and ways in which the team could trim payroll, which seems unlikely barring an unforeseen development.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Jazz guard Keyonte George, the 16th pick of last year’s draft, spent the summer watching all 82 of Utah’s games from 2022/23 to prepare for his rookie campaign, he tells Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. “I watched as much film as I could just so I knew what my role was going to be coming in,” George said. “I knew Mike (Conley) was gone, so I just had to go into a new situation, trying to be a lead guard, and I was trying to speed up the process. My main goal was to be effective as soon as possible so I wanted to put myself in a position to be knowledgeable and not think about what I was doing in a new system and just play.” Known as more of scorer coming out of Baylor, George knew facilitating would be key to NBA minutes. He says he continues to study other players to gain an edge. “As the year has gone on, I’ve felt way more comfortable and my shot is starting to fall,” George added. “Definitely the game is slowing down for me. I’ve been watching games around the league and seeing how other guards get to their spots and just trying to figure out my spots and my shot selection.”
  • The Trail Blazers have reached a five-year “bridge agreement” with the city of Portland that will keep the team in the Moda Center through at least 2030, with the current lease expiring in 2025, per Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. The Blazers own the arena but the city leases the land. President of business operations Dewayne Hankins said the move will keep the team in Portland and owner Jody Allen has instructed the Blazers to get a long-term deal done with the city.
  • The Nuggets are 25-8 with all five starters active but just 12-11 when at least one player from the group is unavailable. With that in mind, head coach Michael Malone says he’s more focused on repeating as NBA champions instead of angling for the West’s top seed, as Bennett Durando of The Denver Post writes. “For me, (the top seed) is not a top one or two priority, to be very honest,” Malone said. “We talked about that with our team today. The good thing is Minnesota is No. 1. We play them three more times. We’re three games out (of first place). So we have avenues to become the No. 1 team. It’s definitely attainable. But I don’t want to win that battle and lose the bigger war. … I think having home court in the first round is very, very important. I think having a healthy team going into the postseason is very important. And if we happen to be the No. 1 seed, that’s just a cherry on top. But we’re not gonna put all our cards in just to attain that and to risk being healthy for a very deep playoff run.”

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Longevity, Bronny, More

The Lakers may be without star forward LeBron James for their first game after the All-Star break, as he’ll be undergoing left ankle treatment this week, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. L.A. faces Golden State on Thursday.

An All-Star starter, James played 14 minutes in Sunday’s exhibition game but sat out the second half to manage the ankle injury. He missed his seventh game of the season last Wednesday, the final contest before the break.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • James set a record by being named to his 20th All-Star game in 2023/24. Several young players at All-Star weekend said they were amazed by his remarkable longevity, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times, who notes that seven Rising Stars participants were born after James made his NBA debut, including Jazz rookie Keyonte George. “It’s crazy. There’s a stat when we played him the first time that he was older than our coach (Will Hardy),” George said Friday morning with a laugh. “… All the young guys coming into the league know who Bron is. To me, he’s the best that ever touched the basketball. … The main goal coming into the league is, ‘How can I stay in it for as long as possible?’ Being a good teammate, with your play. The name of the game is longevity. … I think the shot-making ability, not going to the rim all the time, get to their spots, pick them, play with a good pace. I think that helps with longevity and your body. And then it comes down to skill.
  • Appearing on TNT’s Inside the NBA before the All-Star game, James said his son, Bronny James, has yet to decide whether he’ll declare for the 2024 draft, as McMenamin of ESPN relays. Bronny is a freshman guard at USC. “It’s up to him, it’s up to the kid,” LeBron said. “We’re going to go through the whole process. He’s still in season now. He has the Pac-12 tournament coming up. … We’re going to weigh all options and we’re going to let the kid make the decision.”
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic lists five reasons to be optimistic about the Lakers down the stretch, including the new starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, James and Anthony Davis. L.A. is 8-2 when those five players have shared the court together, Buha notes, including 5-0 with them starting.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Jokic, Braun, George

The Timberwolves arrived at the All-Star break with the best record in the West, and they’re determined to finish the season as the conference’s top seed, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. It’s an accomplishment that Minnesota has achieved only once in its history — during the 2003/04 season — but it appears to be within reach. The Wolves are a game-and-a-half ahead of Oklahoma City, and their 20 road wins are the highest total in the league.

“It matters if you’re trying to project everything forward,” coach Chris Finch said. “You want every advantage possible. If you have the best record, then of course you get home court, but it’s too far out to really bank on anything.”

Being in contention for the top spot is a major accomplishment for Minnesota, which had to battle through the play-in tournament last season before being ousted in five games in the first round. Rudy Gobert, who has experience as a No. 1 seed with Utah, said it’s important to keep focusing on business and not get distracted by the standings.

“I can feel that we have a purpose,” he said. “Personally, I came here to help this team win a championship. But last year, it was kind of like a lot of adversity. We realized early on that it probably was not going to be that year, but we could feel that we had the potential. And this year, from day one of training camp, it was a different focus, different mindset. We learned from everything that happened last year, and it made us grow.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nikola Jokic isn’t a fan of the NBA’s new 65-game minimum for players to qualify for postseason awards, per Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. The Nuggets center believes it puts pressure on players to take the court when they shouldn’t, adding that it likely factored into Joel Embiid‘s meniscus injury. “We saw what happened with Joel,” Jokic said. “… I just don’t like it, how it forces players to play even if they’re injured if they want to achieve something.”
  • Nuggets guard Christian Braun has been dealing with a series of injuries dating back to October, according to Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. The latest is a sprained left ankle that robbed Braun of his explosiveness and made him grateful for the week-long break. “I don’t want to sit here and make any excuses, but it hasn’t been great,” Braun said. “But I feel all right … I think this this break for me, personally, will be great for my body. I think that’s the biggest thing for me right now, is getting my body back. (It) hasn’t felt great all year.”
  • Jazz point guard Keyonte George has been through an up-and-down rookie year, but coach Will Hardy has put him back in the starting lineup to see what he can do, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. George turned in his best game Thursday with 33 points and a rookie record nine three-pointers. “He’s very talented. He plays well with the rest of the guys in our starting unit,” Hardy said. “We just thought it was time to put him back in the lineup.”

Jazz Notes: Frustration, Markkanen, Hendricks, George, Porter

Following the Jazz‘s 129-107 loss to Golden State on Monday, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote that the team’s locker room was as frustrated as he’d seen it following a regular season game. As Larsen explains, Utah players weren’t just upset about the loss but by the trade-deadline deals that sent out three rotation players (Kelly Olynyk, Ochai Agbaji, and Simone Fontecchio) and returned none.

Asked prior to the 2023/24 season about Lauri Markkanen‘s desire to make the playoffs, Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said the front office shared that desire and was on board with it, Larsen notes. But with the team in a play-in position in the West entering last Thursday’s deadline, Ainge essentially sold off players for draft picks, leaving the remaining players feeling as if “they were sold a bill of goods,” Larsen writes.

Jazz general manager Justin Zanik explained the front office’s thinking in a post-deadline press conference last week, essentially saying that the goal is to build a roster capable of legitimate contention in the long term rather than focusing on sneaking into the play-in tournament in the short term.

“All of us want to win,” Zanik said, per Tony Jones of The Athletic, pointing out that Utah hasn’t won more than a single playoff series in a season since 2007. “But I want to win for a long time. We don’t want to just have a year where we had a good run. The goal isn’t the play-in or the first round of the playoffs. Those aren’t the goals. The goal is to win a championship.”

Since the trade deadline, the Jazz have gone 0-2 while the Warriors have gone 3-0, pulling ahead of Utah by 1.5 games for the No. 10 seed in the West.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • The primary focus for the rest of the season in Utah will be the ongoing development of Markkanen and rookies Taylor Hendricks and Keyonte George, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Todd takes a look at what to look for and what the Jazz will be expecting from those three players down the stretch.
  • There has been some confusion over the health of newly acquired forward Otto Porter Jr., Todd writes in a separate Deseret News story. Zanik said during last week’s presser that Porter is “not fully healthy right now, which we knew,” and the veteran forward was ruled out on Monday due to left foot soreness. However, when asked on Saturday how he was feeling, Porter stated that he was “OK, health-wise.” Informed of Zanik’s comments, the former Raptor replied, “Just got to figure some things out as far as my health. There’s some things that I just can’t go into detail with, but with the new training staff here, they should be able to get me back.” As Blake Murphy of tweets, Porter wasn’t on Toronto’s injury report and was active for several games prior to the trade sending him to Utah. He’s not on the Jazz’s injury report for Wednesday’s contest vs. the Lakers.
  • As we wrote on Tuesday, Utah is one of many teams around the NBA that currently has an open 15-man roster spot. The Jazz could create a second opening by waiving either Porter or Kira Lewis if those newly acquired players on expiring contracts aren’t in their plans, but there has been no indication yet that such a move is coming.

NBA Announces Player Pool For 2024 Rising Stars Event

The NBA has officially revealed the 11 rookies, 10 sophomores, and seven G League players who will take part in the Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis next month.

The following players, as voted on by NBA coaching staffs, 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 former NBA forward Detlef Schrempf. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA and WNBA stars Pau Gasol, Jalen Rose, and Tamika Catchings.

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 16 as part of All-Star weekend’s opening night.