TyTy Washington

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Wood, Jones, Washington

Pelicans star point guard CJ McCollum may be one of the finest current players never to earn an All-Star berth. The 31-year-old could have a shot at the honor this season, but to hear him tell it, he’s not particularly worried about that recognition, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

“I get paid like an All-Star,” McCollum noted. “If it happens, that’s great. If not, I am treated very well on the 1st and the 15th. I just do my job. You could argue I should have made it in previous years. But it’s more about team success… I’m here to win games. I’m going to be more efficient. I’m going to be more consistent. I am going to make plays. I am going to make shots and am going to help us win.”

During the summer, McCollum inked a two-year, $64MM contract extension that will keep him under team control through the 2025/26 season. Through 38 games with New Orleans, McCollum is averaging 21.2 PPG on .435/.403/.785 shooting. He is also contributing 5.9 APG, 4.7 RPG and 1.0 SPG for the 26-17 Pelicans.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • As Mavericks center Christian Wood continues to grow comfortable with his role with Dallas, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News wonders how Wood’s recent development impacts the likelihood of a contract extension being negotiated this season. Wood could enter free agency in the summer of 2023 if he does not reach an extension agreement with Dallas before then. He is eligible to sign a four-year deal worth up to $77MM until June 30. Townsend notes that Wood has been conscious of his coaches’ feedback and has improved on the defensive end of the floor for Dallas. The big man is averaging 18.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 1.3 BPG through 40 games this season. He is also shooting well all over the court, boasting splits of .543/.394/.731.
  • During his first season as a starter, third-year Spurs guard Tre Jones has added a scoring element to his game, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Primarily known as a passer, Jones has averaged 20.8 PPG on 50% shooting from the floor and 40% shooting from the three-point line across his last five contests. “I’m continuing to just trust the work I put in, trying to just play my game and not get too hung up on if I am making shots, missing shots,” Jones said. “I know what my role is on this team, and I continue to try to do that every single night and just let the rest take care of itself.” 
  • Following a 53-point, 10-rebound Friday night game for the NBAGL’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, rookie guard TyTy Washington was recalled to rejoin the Rockets ahead of their next game Sunday, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. In his last three contests with the Vipers, Washington averaged 33.3 PPG while shooting 46.5% from the floor and dishing out 7.3 APG. “It helped me grow on and off the court,” Washington said of his development with the Rockets’ G League affiliate. “It taught me to stay ready, stay patient. When your number gets called, go out there and do what you do. In the meantime, don’t look at it like I’ve been demoted or anything like that. Go down there, have fun, play your game, and get your confidence.”

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.”

Texas Notes: Washington, Kidd, Spurs Rookies, Popovich

Rookie Rockets point guard TyTy Washington Jr. has emerged as a quick study early in his NBA career, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Washington, selected with the No. 29 pick in the 2022 draft out of Kentucky, grew from his experience rehabilitating a left knee sprain with Houston’s NBA G League affiliate club, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

“With me being out because of my injury, going down to the G League definitely helped me get in a rhythm, get back into shape, back up to speed, stuff like that,” Washington said. “I spent a lot of time, especially when I was down there in the G League, before practices, after practices, working out … just to get my wind up.”

Feigen writes that Washington used his time with the Vipers to adjust to the physical nature and quickness of players at the NBA level.

“Part of [the thinking behind sending Washington to the Vipers] was he just had to get back into basketball shape, which he did,” Rockets general manager Rafael Stone said. “But also, just to get used to the speed of the game and physicality, I think it helped. He is still going through that. You could see moments in the first couple games he got a little shocked by some of the speed and physicality, but every rookie does… He has an extraordinarily high basketball IQ.”

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • The NBA fined Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd $25K this week following a heated conversation with a referee in the third quarter of Dallas’s 116-106 road loss to the Timberwolves on Monday, the league announced in a press statement (Twitter link). Kidd was given two technical fouls and was ejected from the contest.
  • The Spurs seem to be giving their rookies additional time to develop on the floor, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. As San Antonio goes all-in on its rebuild, the team has exhibited an openness to giving its three 19-year-old first-year players more run, per McDonald. Those rookies include power forward Jeremy Sochan, small forward Malaki Branham, and, eventually, injured shooting guard Blake Wesley. “We’re in a position where rookies are playing now,” guard Devin Vassell said. “So they’ve just got to take advantage of the opportunities.” 
  • Longtime Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has expressed his gratitude for being nominated to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News“It’s not something you think about growing up or while you are coaching,” the 73-year-old, who has led San Antonio to six NBA Finals appearances and five championships since taking over in 1996, reflected. “It’s not something you aspire to. It’s out of the realm of possibility. You just sort of do your job. It’s not top of mind, that’s for sure… To be nominated for something like that with any group is pretty flattering and pretty amazing.” Six-time All-Star Spurs point guard Tony Parker has also been nominated for inclusion in the 2023 class.

Southwest Notes: Washington, Porter, Zion, Morant, Bane

Rockets rookie first-round pick TyTy Washington was sent to Houston’s NBAGL affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, this week as he continues to rehabilitate from his sprained left knee, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

 “I’m excited,” Washington, the No. 29 pick out of Kentucky this summer, said. “I can’t wait. I can play and get my feet under me, go down there, have fun. This is the game I love. I can go down there and handle my business. And when I get back up here, get my moment and do what I’ll do down there and help win games.”

“He just needs to play,” Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. “We very obviously value the G League. Almost all of our players have spent real extensive time down there. It’s more of an abnormality for people not to. He’s coming off an injury. He needs to get back in game shape and play minutes. Right now, we don’t have that opportunity for him here.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Starting Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr. may have unlocked something as a passer lately, having averaged 11 assists per game across his last two contests, Feigen writes in a separate piece. “It’s just the flow of the game,” Porter said. “I’ve just been able to balance sharing the ball and taking my shots, knowing my guys, where they like the ball and just getting them where they’re open. It’s been easy to read these last couple games. I want to continue to do that and find my shots, too.”
  • Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson has struggled defensively thus far this season, to the point where William Guillory of The Athletic wonders if it could impact how far New Orleans can actually go in the postseason this year. Guillory notes that Williams has exhibited promising flashes as a defender thanks to his speed and strength, but overall has struggled communicating on the floor to teammates and has had trouble defending against dribble penetration.
  • Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant opines that he and breakout shooting guard Desmond Bane are the NBA’s current best backcourt, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Top two, not [number] two,” Morant responded to a question about where the duo ranks among league backcourt tandems. “That’s the easiest question ever.” Morant was already an All-NBA guard, but Bane has taken a major leap in expanding his breadth as a scorer. “That was the goal this summer,” Bane said. “Not just be a 3-point shooter, be able to affect the game. Being able to set it up for myself and my teammates, getting to the free-throw line. All of that will help me remain consistent.”

Texas Notes: Tate, Washington, Harrison, Days

Rockets small forward Jae’Sean Tate is not resting on his laurels after signing a new three-season, $22.1MM contract with Houston this summer, writes Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. The 26-year-old hopes to improve his play all over the court.

“With the extension, it just really helped me a lot because it just made me relax and focus on basketball instead of trying to just stress about stuff,” Tate said. “Since [signing the deal], I’ve been even more confident in my overall game. My shooting, my ball-handling, my ability to talk and lead.”

Tate indicated he is working out multiple times daily in Houston, including at the Rockets’ home arena, the Toyota Center. During his second season in 2021/22, the 6’4″ Ohio State alum averaged 11.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG and 0.9 SPG across 26.4 MPG for the 20-62 Rockets. He appeared in 78 games, starting all but one.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Rockets rookie point guard TyTy Washington revealed a COVID-19 pandemic-era preparatory holdover that has helped him track player tendencies: a notebook he kept from 2020 through his lone season at Kentucky. Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle writes that the 20-year-old intends to begin jotting down observations into a fresh notebook during his first NBA season with Houston. Washington would watch documentaries as well as current and classic NBA games and write down thoughts in his original notebook. “That one was kind of through high school and college, like younger me but more watching it as a fan,” he said. “But now it’s like, I’m at this level. So it’s no more watching it as a fan. It’s watching and trying to get better, watching it to learn stuff.” The 6’2″ guard was selected with the No. 29 pick by the Grizzlies on draft night before ultimately being dealt to Houston.
  • Mavericks GM Nico Harrison addressed a variety of interesting topics, including the departure of Jalen Brunson in free agency, the recovery timeline of Tim Hardaway Jr., and the fit of new center JaVale McGee, in a conversation with Mark Medina of NBA.com. “You lose a talent like Brunson, it’s definitely a blow,” Harrison acknowledged. “We knew it was a possibility that could happen. We did as good a job as you could do with anticipating something like this actually happening.”
  • Spurs Summer League forward Darius Days, who went undrafted out of LSU this year, is doing his darnedest to earn a two-way contract with San Antonio, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. The team has already signed center Dominick Barlow to one of its two-way slots. “You’ve got to have fun,” Days said of his opportunity. “This is going to determine the rest of our lives, but you’ve got to have fun at the same time.” In his final NCAA season, Days earned All-SEC honors, while averaging 13.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 1.5 SPG across 33 games, all starts. During a 97-84 Spurs loss Monday to the Rockets, Days scored 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Orsborn notes that Days is competing with undrafted ex-St. Joseph’s rookie guard Jordan Hall and second-year forward Joe Wieskamp for a chance to nab a two-way deal.

Rockets Sign Jabari Smith, Tari Eason, TyTy Washington

The Rockets have officially signed their trio of first-round picks, the team announced in a press release.

Jabari Smith, the No. 3 pick out of Auburn, averaged 16.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.0 BPG in 34 games (28.8 MPG) as a freshman.

Tari Eason, the No. 17 pick out of LSU, averaged 16.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG and 1.1 BPG in 33 games (24.4 MPG) as a sophomore.

TyTy Washington, the No. 29 pick out of Kentucky, averaged 12.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.9 APG and 1.3 SPG in 31 games (29.2 MPG) as a freshman.

Assuming the three players signed for the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale, which nearly every team gives to their first-round selections, Smith will earn $8,882,640 in 2022/23, Eason will make $3,359,160, and Washington will get $2,210,040.

Wolves Acquire Wendell Moore From Rockets

JUNE 24: The two future picks the Rockets are receiving in the trade are the Timberwolves’ own 2025 and 2027 second-rounders, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The deal is now official, according to a press release from the Wolves.

JUNE 23: The Rockets are rerouting the first-round pick they’re acquiring from the Mavericks in the Christian Wood deal to the Timberwolves, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Duke guard Wendell Moore, who was chosen at No. 26, is thus headed to Minnesota.

Houston is receiving the No. 29 pick in this year’s draft, plus two future second-rounders, Wojnarowski reports in another tweet. The Rockets used that first-rounder to select Kentucky guard TyTy Washington.

Moore averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 4.6 APG for the Blue Devils. Washington averaged 12.5 PPG and 3.9 APG for the Wildcats.

Grizzlies Acquire No. 19 Pick Jake LaRavia From Wolves

JUNE 24: The trade is complete, the Grizzlies and Timberwolves announced in a pair of press releases. Officially, LaRavia’s draft rights head to Memphis along with a 2023 second-round pick in exchange for the draft rights to No. 22 pick Walker Kessler and No. 29 pick TyTy Washington.

It’s unclear if that ’23 second-rounder is Minnesota’s own or the Knicks’ second-round pick that the Wolves acquired earlier in the draft.

The Wolves are flipping Washington to the Rockets in a separate trade.

JUNE 23: The Grizzlies have agreed to acquire the No. 19 pick from the Timberwolves and will select Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). In exchange, Minnesota will receive the No. 22 and No. 29 selections in tonight’s draft, with the Grizzlies also gaining a second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

It’s apparently a 2023 second-rounder, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune tweets.

LaRavia, who spent two seasons at Indiana State, moved up draft boards in recent weeks after averaging 14.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 3.7 APG for the Demon Deacons last season. With Kyle Anderson entering free agency, LaRavia could compete for a rotation spot in his rookie campaign.

He improved his stock during workouts, as he was originally projected as a borderline first-rounder.

Parlaying two first-rounders for the No. 19 selection doesn’t seem like great value, as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian notes, but Grizzlies executive Zach Kleiman is unfazed by perceptions as long as he gets the player he wants. Kleiman has traded up for every pick on his watch with the exception of Ja Morant, Herrington adds (Twitter links).

Draft Notes: Rockets, Nuggets, Green Room, Houstan, Sharpe, Roddy

Now that they’re poised to add the No. 26 pick to their list of draft assets, the Rockets are looking into the possibility of trading up in the draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports within his latest mock draft. According to O’Connor, Houston has inquired about moving up from No. 3 into one of the top two spots in the draft, and has also explored the possibility of moving up from No. 17 into the late lottery.

Like Houston, the Nuggets have agreed to acquire an extra first-round pick (No. 30) and are trying to package it with No. 21 in order to move into the middle of the first round, O’Connor writes. However, O’Connor expects Denver to have to add a young player or a future asset to its package in order to make any real headway.

O’Connor’s newest mock draft includes a few more interesting tidbits, including his suggestion that there’s still some “chatter” about teams trying to trade for the Magic‘s No. 1 overall pick.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Five more players have been invited to the green room for next Thursday’s draft, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Tari Eason, Jalen Williams, TyTy Washington, MarJon Beauchamp, and Jaden Hardy received invites, joining an initial list of 16 invitees. Of the 21 players invited to the green room, only Hardy (No. 22) and Beauchamp (No. 23) are outside of the top 21 prospects on ESPN’s big board.
  • Michigan’s Caleb Houstan, one of the only prospects to decline a combine invite this year, worked out this week for the Grizzlies and Nuggets, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Those two teams control the last two picks of the first round.
  • Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe told reporters today that the Spurs, Thunder, and Magic are among the teams he has worked out for in the pre-draft process, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Sharpe will work out for the Pacers on Monday, a source tells James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy still has workouts coming up with the Thunder and Celtics, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. By the time draft night arrives, Roddy will have visited “half the league,” Wolfson adds.

Wizards Notes: Daniels, Washington, Draft-Day Trade, Beal

Dyson Daniels believes he’d be a good fit in the backcourt next to Bradley Beal if the Wizards draft him with the No. 10 pick, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The G League Ignite guard visited the Wizards on Saturday.

Obviously, Beal’s a great player and has been a great player for a long time. I think we would fit well together,” he said. “We can both play off each other a little bit. I can play off the ball with him, he can play off the ball with me. It takes a little time to adjust to playing with new people, but there’s definitely a fit there for sure.”

We have more on the Wizards:

  • TyTy Washington, another possibility with that first-round pick, says that former Washington point guard John Wall is an inspiration to him, Hughes writes in a separate story. “I definitely looked up to him. His little signature dance got me kind of hipped onto him. Seeing that, his high school mixtape, his college highlights and then seeing what he did in the NBA, it’s definitely amazing,” he said. “Nobody has ever seen anybody that big and that fast doing the stuff he was doing.”
  • Wrapping things up, Hughes examines whether Daniels or Washington would be a better fit.
  • A trio of writers from The Athletic — Josh Robbins, Kelly Iko and Jason Jones — discuss the possibility of the Wizards trading into the top four in the draft. They conclude it’s highly unlikely, even if Kyle Kuzma and the 10th pick are part of the package.
  • A sign-and-trade of Beal for Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell? Robbins says the odds of that happening are less than one percent, considering Beal hasn’t expressed a desire to be moved to Utah and that he’d benefit more financially by re-signing on a max deal with Washington.