Oscar Tshiebwe

NBAGL All-League, Defensive, Rookie Teams Announced

The NBA announced all of the major All-NBA G League teams on Thursday (All Twitter links found here), including the First Team, Second Team, Third Team, All-Defensive Team, and All-Rookie team.

Several current and former NBA players are among the honorees. Here is the full list of winners for the 2023/24 season.

All-NBA G League First Team:

All-NBA G League Second Team:

All-NBA G League Third Team:

G League All-Defensive Team:

G League All-Rookie Team:

* Denotes two-way contract

^ Denotes standard contract

Pacers’ Tshiebwe Named NBAGL Rookie Of The Year

First-year big man Oscar Tshiebwe, who is on a two-way contract with the Pacers, has been named the NBA G League’s Rookie of the Year for the 2023/24 season, according to an announcement from the league.

An undrafted free agent out of Kentucky, Tshiebwe has only appeared in eight NBA games as a rookie, but had a monster season for the Indiana Mad Ants in the G League, where he began the Showcase Cup in the fall by racking up 33 points and 22 rebounds in his first ever NBAGL outing.

Over the course of 33 total Showcase Cup and regular season games, Tshiebwe averaged 16.4 points per contest and pulled down 532 total rebounds, including 201 offensive boards, setting a new team record. He also established a new high-water mark for rebounds per game in a G League season, averaging 16.2 in 23 regular season appearances.

Tshiebwe was busy at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis in February, competing in both the G League Up Next game and the Rising Stars event.

Because Tshiebwe’s two-way contract with the Pacers only covers a single season, he’ll become eligible for restricted free agency this summer, so Indiana will need to sign him to a new contract in order to keep him around beyond 2023/24.

According to the NBA (Twitter link), Clippers two-way guard Jordan Miller was the runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting, with Sixers two-way guard Ricky Council IV placing third.

Miller averaged 20.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 30.3 minutes per game with a .491/.355/.829 shooting line across 39 total Showcase Cup and G League regular season outings for the Ontario Clippers.

Council, meanwhile, put up 23.8 points per game on .473/.380/.775 shooting to go along with 5.3 RPG and 1.9 APG in 27 Showcase Cup and regular season contests for the Delaware Blue Coats.

Council will also be a restricted free agent this summer, while Miller is on a two-year deal and will remain under contract for 2024/25.

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.

NBA G League Announces Up Next Participants

A pool of 28 players has been selected for the NBA G League’s Up Next Game at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, the NBAGL announced in a press release.

According to the release, the event features “four teams of seven players competing in two semifinal games. The winner of each semifinal will face off in a Championship game.

“The teams will be made up of 28 NBA G League players, including 10 selected by a fan vote. The remaining 18 players will be selected by the NBA G League and will include eight members of NBA G League Ignite and at least one member of the Indiana Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the All-Star hosting Indiana Pacers. Each team will be coached by a head coach from the NBA G League.”

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are on two-way contracts.

Fan vote:

Former Kentucky guard Hagans received the most votes.

NBAGL selections:

G League Ignite:

They aren’t currently on NBA teams, but it’s worth noting that Labissiere and Bazley are ineligible for two-way deals because they each hold four years of NBA experience. Weatherspoon (three years), Hagans (one) and Williams (one) also hold at least some NBA experience.

Bucks, Pacers Have Postgame “Fracas” Over Game Ball

A shootout between the Bucks and Pacers in Milwaukee on Wednesday night featured several milestones: Giannis Antetokounmpo set a new franchise record with 64 points, Damian Lillard surpassed Kyle Korver for the fifth-most total three-pointers in NBA history, and Pacers rookie Oscar Tshiebwe scored his first career point.

After the final buzzer sounded, fans in Milwaukee were treated to another unique moment: a frantic bid to track down and claim the game ball (Twitter video link).

As Eric Nehm of The Athletic and Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star detail, although there was video showing a Bucks staffer grabbing the game ball at the end of the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo was certain that the Pacers had taken it with them to their locker room. Following a brief on-court argument, Giannis and a few of his Bucks teammates ran down the tunnel toward Indiana’s locker room in search of the ball.

“It was Oscar Tshiebwe’s first official NBA point,” Carlisle later told reporters. “We always get the game ball. We were not thinking about Giannis’ franchise record. So we grabbed the ball and a couple of minutes later some of their players ended up in our hallway. There was a big, I don’t know what to call it, a fracas, a melee, whatever. I don’t think any punches were landed, but my general manager (Chad Buchanan) got elbowed in the ribs by one of their players. He certainly has a bruised rib and who knows if it’s anything more than that.

“Unfortunate situation. We don’t need the official game ball. There’s two game balls there. We could have taken the other one. It didn’t need to escalate to that. Really just unfortunate.”

After subsequently watching the video that shows a member of the Bucks’ security team taking the game ball from the referee, Carlisle added: “Turns out that their security guy had grabbed the real game ball used in the game initially. They already had it.”

As Carlisle notes, the Pacers did end up with one ball to commemorate Tshiebwe’s night, but they believe they have a reserve ball, rather than the game ball itself. As for Giannis, while he also ended up with a basketball once things calmed down, he’s not convinced it was the one used in the game.

“I have a ball, but I don’t know if it’s the game ball. It doesn’t feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new ball,” Antetokounmpo said. “I can tell, I played, what, 35 minutes today? I know how the game ball felt. The ball that I have, which I will take and I’ll give it to my mom, for sure, but I don’t know if it’s actually the game ball.”

Giannis also said that his original goal was to get the game ball for Lillard rather than for himself.

“Dame is fifth of all-time,” he said. “I scored 60. At the end of the day, the ball they gave us, I offered it to Dame. I scored 60, he’s scored multiple times 60, he’s scored 70. He should have the ball. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s fair. I understand when you score your first point in the NBA, you want to have the ball or whatever the case may be. But the end of the day, you’re talking about the guy who just jumped over Kyle Korver on the list. I feel like we should all stop what we’re doing and appreciate greatness.”

It’s hard to believe that this incident, which was essentially a misunderstanding over a piece of memorabilia, will become a source of genuine bad blood between the two teams. But the Bucks weren’t happy about their loss to the Pacers in the in-season tournament semifinal, and things got a little chippy in the fourth quarter on Wednesday following a hard foul by Aaron Nesmith on Antetokounmpo (video link).

It’s also worth noting that Antetokounmpo – who broke the team’s single-game scoring mark with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter – remained in the game until the final buzzer, despite the Bucks’ double-digit lead. He sealed the 140-126 victory with a dunk with 26 seconds remaining. Carlisle was asked after the game if he was surprised the Bucks star didn’t check out earlier.

“No point commenting on it,” Carlisle said. “I think it’s pretty obvious what the answer is.”

At the very least, the division rivalry between the Bucks and Pacers is getting more interesting than it has been in years. The two teams will face one another again on January 1 in Milwaukee and Jan. 3 in Indiana.

Pacers Notes: Haliburton, Nembhard, Turner, Two-Way Players

Borrowing a video game analogy, Tyrese Haliburton called Lakers star LeBron James the “final boss” that the Pacers have to defeat to win the in-season tournament, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

To reach tonight’s title game, Indiana had to get past a Bucks team that features Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard and a Celtics squad headlined by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Before that, there were group play matchups with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, Atlanta’s Trae Young, and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham.

None of them has the same mystique as James, who has been one of the league’s elite players for more than two decades. Dopirak points out that Haliburton was just three years old when James played his first NBA game, and the Pacers guard followed him closely until he became a professional himself.

“Like any kid born in 2000, LeBron was my favorite player growing up, and it’s hard for him not to be for a lot of us,” Haliburton said. “Growing up, I was a Cavs fan, then a Heat fan, then a Cavs fan again, then a Lakers fan before I got drafted. It’s just how it went. To be able to compete against him in a championship is kind of like a storybook a little bit, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. But that’s the great part about being in the NBA, getting to compete against your idols on a nightly basis. I really look forward to that.”

There’s more on the Pacers:

  • In tonight’s pre-game meeting with the media, coach Rick Carlisle said Andrew Nembhard has a right knee bone bruise and will be sidelined for at least the next seven days, Dopirak tweets. “We’ll see where he is and evaluate it from there, but not viewed as a long-term thing,” Carlisle said. “But we’ll miss him today.”
  • Before he agreed to a two-year extension in January, it appeared Myles Turner might not be part of the Pacers’ future, and there were persistent rumors during the summer of 2022 that he was headed to the Lakers. In an interview with Chris Hayes of TNT and Bleacher Report (video link), Turner stated that he’s glad things turned out the way they did and he’s eager for the team to have a high-stakes game in front of a national audience. “People getting to see what we’re about here in Indiana,” Turner said. “It’s fun seeing everything through and to say you didn’t quit.”
  • The financial incentive in tonight’s game will be especially important for the two-way players, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Pacers’ Kendall Brown, Oscar Tshiebwe and Isaiah Wong will get a half share of the prize money, which means $250K for first place and $100K for second. Two-way contracts pay $559,782 and carry a $279,891 guarantee.

Central Notes: Jerome, Pistons, J. Smith, Connaughton, Bulls

Frustrated by his slow recovery from a severe right ankle sprain, Cavaliers guard Ty Jerome has adjusted his treatment plan in the hopes of accelerating his return to the court, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link).

As Fedor details, Jerome recently had the ankle immobilized within a cast, which he’ll wear for about a week. The hope is that he’ll be able to resume individual workouts after having the cast removed.

“He is recovering,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said on Tuesday. “They’re doing different steps with him and trying some new things, different things in order to help him. He’s doing another treatment now and I’ll let the medical staff talk about timeline when they put all that together. He’s trying something different than just the normal rehab.”

Jerome has long been a favorite of Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman, according to Fedor. When he signed a two-year deal with the team this past summer, the plan was for him to be mentored by veteran point guard Ricky Rubio.

Instead, due to Rubio’s absence, Jerome was thrust into the backup point guard role to open the season, then suffered the ankle injury in just his second game as a Cavalier. While it hasn’t been an ideal start to his time in Cleveland, Jerome is trying to look at the bright side, telling Fedor, “Guess it’s better to be injured early rather than late.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Following a team-record 15th consecutive loss on Wednesday, Pistons head coach Monty Williams suggested that “this group struggles with adversity,” which is one reason why the slump has only gotten worse, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic expects lineup changes to be around the corner, with Bojan Bogdanovic likely to start when he makes his season debut — that could happen as soon as this Thursday or Saturday, says Edwards.
  • Pacers center Jalen Smith‘s leg injury isn’t as serious as the team initially feared, but he has been diagnosed with a left knee bone bruise and a left heel contusion and will miss at least the next two games, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Isaiah Jackson is the leading candidate to take Smith’s spot in the rotation, while two-way player Oscar Tshiebwe is being called up from the G League to provide depth, Dopirak adds.
  • In an in-depth story for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim Owczarski takes a look at the journey Pat Connaughton has taken to secure his place in the NBA as a reliable role player for the Bucks, as well as the work he has done in Milwaukee off the court.
  • While it’s one thing to be beaten by more talented teams, the slumping Bulls have also had more “low-effort moments” during their recent losing streak, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Wong, Tshiebwe Sign Two-Way Contracts With Pacers

Guard Isaiah Wong and power forward Oscar Tshiebwe have inked two-way contracts with the Pacers, the team’s PR department tweets.

Both rookies will look to eventually earn their way to a spot on the 15-man roster.

Wong was chosen with the No. 55 pick of this year’s draft. He played four seasons for Miami (Fla.) and led the Hurricanes to the Final Four this past season. He averaged 16.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 37 games last season. He also displayed a solid perimeter game (38.4% on 3-pointers).

Tshiebwe went undrafted despite a stellar college career at Kentucky. He averaged 16.2 points and 13.7 rebounds for the Wildcats last season. Tshiebwe’s agreement with the Pacers was previously reported and now it’s official.

The 6’9″ big man was a consensus All-American Second Teamer with the Wildcats last season and a consensus All-American First Teamer in 2022.

Under the new CBA, two-way contracts are worth half the rookie minimum, which comes out to $559,782 for each player. They can be partially guaranteed for up to $75K at the time of their signing.

Pacers To Sign Oscar Tshiebwe To Two-Way Deal

The Pacers will ink undrafted Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe to a two-way deal, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

The 6’9″ power forward/center was a consensus All-American Second Teamer with the Wildcats in 2023, but a consensus All-American First Teamer in 2022, probably his best college season.

That junior year in 2021/22, his first with Kentucky after spending his first two college seasons with West Virginia, Tshiebwe won the Kareem Abdul Jabbar Center of the Year Award and the Pete Newell Big Man Award. He was also named the SEC Player of the Year, an SEC All-Defensive Teamer, and the National College Player of the Year by a variety of organizations.

He was twice the NCAA’s rebounds leader, averaging 15.1 RPG in 2022 and 13.7 RPG in 2023, and a two-time All-SEC selection during his final two college seasons.

The 23-year-old averaged 16.5 PPG, the aforementioned 13.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 1.0 BPG across 32 contests in 2022/23.

Indiana also added several new young players during this week’s draft. The club acquired Houston forward Jarace Walker in the lottery and Belmont forward Ben Sheppard later in the first round. The Pacers then added G League Ignite guard Mojave King and Miami guard Isaiah Wong in the second round.

Draft Notes: Nuggets, Appleby, Wembanyama, Tshiebwe, Dick, Clippers

The Nuggets agreed to a draft-pick trade with the Thunder during the Finals, acquiring this year’s No. 37 selection, the least favorable of the Thunder’s 2024 first-round picks, and a 2024 second-rounder in exchange for a 2029 first-round pick. They are continuing to look to add a first-round pick in this year’s draft, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets, using the 2024 first-round pick they received from Oklahoma City as bait.

With salary-cap concerns, Denver is trying to add low-cost options to round out its bench as it pursues a repeat. In another draft-related development, the Nuggets will work out Wake Forest point guard Tyree Appleby on Tuesday, Singer reports in another tweet.

We have more updates with the draft approaching on Thursday:

  • Victor Wembanyama, a mortal lock to be the first player off the board, has arrived in the United States from France, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports. He flew into Newark (N.J.) Airport on Monday. Wembanyama has a scheduled pre-draft media session on Wednesday before the Spurs officially secure his services on Thursday night.
  • Kentucky star forward Oscar Tshiebwe has been one of the busiest prospects over the past month. He’s finishing up his workout schedule by visiting the Cavaliers and Celtics, Adam Zagoria tweets. Tshiebwe’s visit with Boston’s brass will be his second there. He has worked out for approximately half the teams in the league.
  • Kansas wing Gradey Dick, who is projected to go in the second half in the lottery, told The Athletic’s Shams Charania that he will be a team player wherever he winds up (Twitter link). “I’m going to go into any organization, any city, and really just buy into the team. I’m the type of player where I honestly don’t care what my role is,” Dick said.
  • The Clippers’ staff had a busy Monday, evaluating 10 prospects in two separate workouts, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The visitors included Tyger Campbell (UCLA), Mouhamed Gueye (Washington State) Seth Lundy (Penn State), Nathan Mensah (San Diego State), Mike Miles (TCU), Omari Moore, (San Jose State), Julian Phillips (Tennessee), Ben Sheppard (Belmont), Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma) and Jordan Walsh (Arkansas).