Yogi Ferrell

Mavericks Notes: Ferrell, Carlisle, Lottery

Yogi Ferrell is confident that he can be the Mavericks‘ starting point guard, though he’s willing to play whatever role is best for the team, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“I feel like, yeah, I am a starting point guard, and I’m going to play whatever role coach decides to put me in,” Ferrell said. “I’m definitely just blessed to be here and glad to be here. I definitely want to be here for a very long time.”

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Coach Rick Carlisle believes Ferrell has earned a place in the league, but he added that it’s unfair to project what kind of role the Indiana product will play going forward, Sefko adds in the same piece. “I do like Yogi in our franchise, on our roster,” Carlisle said. “He certainly has proven that he can be a rotation player in this league. We didn’t have a good record. At this point in time, projecting exactly where he’s going to be is not really fair. I love him as a competitor. He’s grown each and every day, each and every game. I’m just really thrilled we have him here.”
  • Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News can envision the Mavericks contending for the eighth seed next season, but he’s bearish on the team’s chances of rising any higher in the standings. The scribe adds that if unless Dallas moves up in the lottery, the team is a season or two away from 50 wins. Mark Cuban’s franchise has a 1.7% at the No. 1 overall selection and a 6.1% chance at a top-3 pick, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details.

Sefko’s Latest: Point Guard A “Priority” For Mavs In Offseason

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News discussed the Mavs‘ offseason plans during a live chat Monday, labeling point guard the team’s “No. 1 priority” in the upcoming draft.

“Somebody who can snag rebounds will help,” Sefko explained. “But an athletic wing player is always in demand. Still, Point guard is the No. 1 priority in the offseason. We all think highly of Yogi Ferrell, but he needs help at the position. If Seth Curry‘s handles get a little better…”

Sefko acknowledged Dallas’ minimal playoff chances, citing the Mavs’ upcoming schedule as problematic. Rick Carlisle‘s squad dropped three of four in a recent stretch (including defeats to the Suns and 76ers), putting the Mavs in an unenviable position as the postseason nears. Still, Sefko writes, there’s reason for optimism in 2017/18:

“This franchise still is recovering from the DeAndre Jordan nightmare. But this summer, if they can connect on another solid double like Harrison Barnes or Curry or Wesley Matthews, then they are positioned to have enough young talent to get the attention of star free agents.”

Veteran point guard J.J. Barea was among Sefko’s talking points. While Barea has two guaranteed seasons left his contract, Sefko predicts J.J. will be coaching before too long. With that in mind, it would behoove Barea to act as a mentor to Ferrell and Curry.

When asked about potential draft picks for the Mavs, Sefko pointed out Donovan Mitchell of Louisville, as well as Jonathan Isaac of Florida State.

Mavericks Notes: Noel, Harris, Ferrell, Singh

Nerlens Noel, who will play his old team in Philadelphia for the first time tonight since being traded to the Mavericks last month, believes that the culture in Dallas is “only going to help” him as he looks to improve his game. As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes, Noel’s brief time in Dallas so far has already given him a new perspective on the kind of influence that talented veteran players can have on him and his younger teammates.

“It’s a whole different type of culture, adjusting to the way things are done here,” Noel said. “The veteran leadership is something that’s big. The older guys are always holding the young guys accountable. … I’ve been in this league long enough now to know where I need to be at and especially not having any veterans early on. This team having mostly veterans is only going to help me.”

As Noel and the Mavs prepare to take on the Sixers, let’s round up a few more notes out of Dallas…

  • Veteran guard Devin Harris spoke to Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype about his new teammates in Dallas, the possibility of eventually playing for his hometown Bucks, and his desire to return to the Mavericks next season. Harris is under contract for about $4.4MM, but that 2017/18 salary is non-guaranteed.
  • Appearing on The Vertical’s Chris Mannix Show, Yogi Ferrell suggested that he can’t imagine being in a better situation than the one he has landed in with the Mavs. The Dallas Morning News passes along some other notable quotes from the interview with Ferrell.
  • The Mavericks have typically had plenty of roster turnover each offseason, but owner Mark Cuban would like to see a little more continuity this year with the current group, as Sefko writes for The Morning News.
  • Satnam Singh was the subject of international headlines when he became the first Indian-born player to be drafted back in 2015, but he has yet to make his NBA debut. Thomas Neumann of ESPN.com takes an interesting and in-depth look at Singh’s quest to make it to the NBA as he continues to spend time with the Mavs’ D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

Mark Cuban: “We’ve Gone Through A Rebuild In One Season”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban discussed his team in a Q&A with Shaun Powell of NBA.com. The interview spanned a variety of subjects- even touching on politics toward the end- but Cuban was sure to praise the “reinvigorated” Dirk Nowitzki, as well as scrappy guards Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry.

“This has reinvigorated Dirk. He sees the big picture,” Cuban said of Nowitzki’s choice to ‘ride it out’ in Dallas. “We’re in a win-win situation. We lose, we get a better draft pick, we win we get into the playoffs. It’s fun. It feels a lot more like 2000 when I first brought the team. All this young energy, exciting, fun to watch, we’re at a place where we’re not supposed to be.”

Cuban has reason to be pleased with Dallas’ season. Having gotten off to a 5-18 start in 2016/17, it looked as though the Mavs were in for a lost season. Several key contributors have helped right the ship, however. Ferrell and Curry have supplanted J.J. Barea and Devin Harris as Rick Carlisle‘s primary guards, Harrison Barnes has overcome a shaky start to the season, and Nerlens Noel looks like a stellar trade deadline pick-up.

“He has the most understated swag I’ve ever seen. His brother [Stephen] likes to dance. Seth will just kill you and then give you a little hand motion. He’s so non-demonstrative,” Cuban said. “To me, the more of a show you put on when you do something, the less swag you have. He doesn’t tell you, he scoreboards you, and to me, that’s the ultimate swag. We want him to be here forever. He’s our kind of guy.”

In Cuban’s mind, the team’s abbreviated rebuilding period has been a group effort.

“We’ve basically gone through a rebuild in one season. It’s a credit to Rick (Carlisle, the Mavericks coach) but also everyone on this team,” Cuban said. “There’s still a lot more to do. Nobody’s writing us in for The Finals this year. Our guys really worked hard, as hard or harder than any team in the league. Look at Miami. They’ve undergone a lot of changes too, much like we have, and they just play harder. I remember the Celtics after they traded off Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and they tried to find themselves and they did that by playing their asses off. That’s who we are now. Teams kind of look at our talent and don’t know what to expect but it’s hard to keep up with us when you go 15 deep with guys playing hard. It’s our calling card. I love it.”

And-Ones: Cook, Ferrell, Fines, Tanking

Quinn Cook has rejoined the D-League’s Canton Charge after his 10-day contract in Dallas expired, but it may just be a matter of time before he’s back with an NBA team, writes Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. “He proved he can play in this league,” one source told Amico. “Now he just needs to find the right opportunity.”

Cook could find inspiration from Yogi Ferrell, who was briefly Cook’s teammate in Dallas. The undrafted point guard turned a 10-day contract into a multiyear contract with the Mavericks after being cut by the Nets. As Ferrell explains, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, things didn’t work out for him in Brooklyn, but it only takes one team “to fall in love with you” (Twitter links). “Brooklyn didn’t like me, so they got rid of me,” Ferrell said. “I came to Dallas and they love me. So I’m glad it worked out here.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:

  • The NBA announced on Thursday that Suns forward Jared Dudley and Wizards guard Brandon Jennings were fined $35K apiece for their actions during an altercation that took place in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game between the two teams.
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider link) provides a top-10 list of sorts, assigning teams a “Tank Rank” that looks a little different in some cases than their current spots in the 2016/17 Reverse Standings. For instance, even though the Suns currently have the league’s third-worst record, it’s the Sixers that Ford places third in the tanking rankings, suggesting that Phoenix is playing well and could pass Philadelphia in the standings in the coming weeks.
  • Deron Williams (Cavaliers), Matt Barnes (Warriors), Brandon Jennings (Wizards) are among the recently-signed veteran free agents who could end up making an impact in the postseason, writes James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders.

Mavs Working On Buyout Agreement With Deron Williams

2:57 PM: Dallas has told Williams that the team will pay him the full remaining amount of his $9MM salary if he would like to become a free agent, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

2:37 PM: The Mavericks are working with Deron Williams to come to an agreement on a buyout, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The scribe adds that the Cavs, Jazz, and Hawks expressed interest in the point guard via trade. There would presumably be more teams interested in him should he hit the open market.

Williams sat out practice over the last two days with what coach Rick Carlisle is calling a “pending situation,” Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Williams is making $9MM this season after signing a one-year deal to return the Mavs during the offseason.

Dallas will be thin at the point guard position if it cuts ties with Williams. J.J. Barea remains out with a calf injury and he’s expected to miss at least three more contests. MacMahon (Twitter link) notes that the team could look to add a player via another 10-day deal.

The ESPN scribe adds that the team is preparing to give its top point guard spot to rookie Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell got his chance in Dallas after signing a 10-day contract earlier this season. He thrived in the starting role and helped the team get back into the playoff picture, as the Mavs sit just three games behind the Nuggets in the Western Conference’s eighth seed race.

Pierre Jackson is a player to keep an eye on later in the season, though that’s merely my speculation. Jackson was playing well for Dallas before straining his hamstring, an event that led the team to sign Ferrell. The injury was nearly a month ago and if Jackson is healthy enough to play, he could be a candidate to come to the team. However, it’s worth noting that a deal would have to be for the remainder of the season since Dallas already signed him to two 10-day deals.

Mavericks GM Talks Trade Deadline, Barnes, Ferrell

Like a handful of other NBA teams, the Mavericks got off to a very slow start this season, but have looked better as of late. The team has won 11 of its last 18 games, and remains within striking distance of a playoff spot in the West, just three games behind the eighth-seeded Nuggets.

With next Thursday’s trade deadline fast approaching, general manager Donnie Nelson and the Mavs will have to decide whether it makes more sense to sell off veteran players and focus on the future, or whether to keep those players around to assist in the push for a postseason berth.

Appearing on ESPN Dallas Radio this week, Nelson addressed that subject and a handful of others, so let’s round up a few of the highlights, courtesy of a pair of articles from the The Dallas Morning News.

On whether the Mavs will buy or sell at the deadline:

“When you’re in the position that we’re in, there’s all kinds of different possibilities. You’re looking what’s in the best interest of your franchise, short-term and also long-term. To get the right veteran type of player at a position that will give us solid minutes, obviously you have to look at those things. Dirk [Nowitzki] gets into his twilight years, you’re always looking for an injection of youth and athleticism and energy and toughness. You’re always looking to add, you never want to subtract, but unfortunately in this league there aren’t many fools and you got to give to get.”

On the trade talks the Mavs are having as the deadline nears:

“We have daily conversations with pretty much everyone in the league and you’re always talking about the possibility. That’s kind of our job. There isn’t a single person that doesn’t come up in a discussion during the course of the season. So again, you’re always weighing those and measuring those opportunities. When something comes up you have to take a peek at it and if something comes up, one thing Mark Cuban isn’t is trigger shy.”

On whether the Mavs were more fortunate to sign Harrison Barnes or Seth Curry last summer:

“Oh, it was definitely Harrison. I don’t think anyone was expecting [Kevin Durant] to land in Golden State and that happened so fast … Obviously, we were all in the mix and preparing, but the thing happened so fast, literally within a probably a two-hour period it kind of came to fruition. Then to be in a position to get a starting center like Andrew Bogut, which was another because they clearly had to make room and make decisions. So that was a good two- or three-hour period for the old Mavericks.”

On why Yogi Ferrell couldn’t catch on with another NBA team before the Mavs signed him:

“That’s a great question. We currently have seven of those [undrafted] guys in our locker room, three of which are starting. You got Wes Matthews that went through the same thing. J.J. Barea, as you remember. I think it’s a couple things. First of all, the talent level is so significant and then the influx of international kids, sometimes kids get lost in the cracks. Then you always have the Division II or III guys or the low D-Is who don’t quite hit their stride. That’s the great thing obviously about the D-League is it gives these kids an opportunity to spread their wings and fly in NBA systems.”

Central Notes: George, Jackson, Ferrell

The Pacers have lost five straight games and Paul George believes it could be a result of the way the roster in constructed, Nate Taylor of USA Today passes along. “Maybe it’s changing schemes up in how we guard these spread teams,” George said. “This is a new league, a new NBA. I think we might have to go a different route and work on that as oppose to trying to make changes during games where we’re kind of not really sure how to guard something.”

George added that the team may need to make some changes going forward. “I think we just build for where the league is headed and just work on that because it’s not going to get easier,” he said “We’re going to keep facing teams that give us this challenge of spreading around the perimeter. That’s really where we’re losing.”

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy remains confident in Reggie Jackson, Aaron McMann of MLive writes. “It’s an adjustment period for all of us, and I don’t have any doubts he’ll come back to playing the way he was before,” Van Gundy said. The Pistons reportedly have “quietly explored” the trade market for the point guard.
  • The Pistons attempted to sign Yogi Ferrell before the season when the point guard was an undrafted free agent, McMann relays in a separate piece“He’s a guy on draft night that didn’t get drafted, and we tried to get in the race for some money to have him guaranteed,” Van Gundy said. “But Brooklyn had gobbled him up. He ended up getting cut there and has really latched on and played very, very well for Dallas.”
  • Jabari Parker underwent successful surgery on his left knee and the Bucks are expected to be without the former No. 2 overall pick for 12 months, Chris Mannix of The Vertical tweets.
  • Cristiano Felicio‘s development is a major plus for the Bulls’ front office, Mark Schanowski of Comcast Sportsnet writes. Felicio will be a restricted free agent in the offseason and Schanowski believes the team will have tough competition for his services.

Western Notes: Williams, LaVine, Plumlee, Afflalo

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did not hesitate to insert veteran point guard Deron Williams into the starting lineup despite the emergence of rookie  Yogi Ferrell, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports. Carlisle called Williams “a better player” than Ferrell, adding that Williams was “playing at close to All-Star caliber” before a toe injury sidelined him for eight games, MacMahon adds. Williams played 16 minutes in a blowout victory over the Magic on Saturday night, contributed seven points, four assists and three steals. Ferrell, who earned a two-year contract while filling in for Williams, played 32 minutes off the bench with Williams on a minutes restriction.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Timberwolves shooting guard Zach LaVine will undergo surgery to reconstruct the torn ACL in his left knee on Tuesday, according to a league press release. Lavine, who suffered the season-ending injury driving to the basket against the Pistons on Friday, February 3rd, was averaging 18.9 PPG and 3.0 APG. Brandon Rush and Shabazz Muhammad have shared the shooting guard spot since LaVine was sidelined.
  • The Nuggets got the better of the pending trade with the Blazers, Ben Golliver of SI.com opines. While it’s unlikely that the pairing of Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee would work defensively, it gives Denver coach Michael Malone the ability to establish a clear offensive identity across his rotations if Plumlee is used in a backup role, Golliver continues. The Blazers were smart to get something now for Plumlee, who will become a restricted free agent, before he became too expensive to keep but the return of Jusuf Nurkic and a first-rounder the Grizzlies owed the Nuggets was modest, Golliver adds.
  • Kings guard Arron Afflalo is getting some minutes at point guard due to injuries, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Afflalo has not played the point since high school but is unfazed by the situation, Jones adds. “It’s not really that much different; it’s just making sure the team gets into a play, into a set,” Afflalo told Jones. “I’m pretty familiar with the sets, and a lot of our spots are interchangeable.”

Mavs Notes: Williams, Ferrell, Trade Chips

Sidelined since January 25, veteran point guard Deron Williams has had his status updated to “questionable” for Saturday’s contest between the Mavs and Magic. The point guard has missed eight games nursing a sprained big toe on his left foot.

In 37 games with the Mavs this season, Williams has averaged 13.5 points and 7.1 assists per game and, after participating in shootaround earlier today, will be a game-time decision says Eddie Sefko of the Dallas News.

Williams’ absence, in addition to injuries and illness to J.J. Barea and Devin Harris, have contributed to the rise of 10-day signee Yogi Ferrell. Signed as a temporary replacement for previous 10-day signee Pierre Jackson, Ferrell was thrust into the spotlight in Dallas and did not disappoint. In seven games as a starter, Ferrell has averaged 15.3 points and 4.6 assists per game, enough to earn himself a two-year deal.

When Williams returns to the lineup, he will presumably assume his position in the starting five, but there’s no guarantee that the depth chart behind him will remain the same as it was prior to the Ferrell signing.

There’s more news out of Dallas:

  • An inconsistent season has put the Mavs in a unique position where there’s no direct indication that they’ll either be buyers or sellers at the deadline. If they do decide to make moves, they have a number of valuable trade chips, writes Eddie Sefko in a separate piece for the Dallas News. Andrew Bogut and his $11MM expiring deal will be coveted, as will Deron Williams and his one-year $9MM contract. Similarly, Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson could stand out as valuable assets with bargain contracts.
  • Since debuting with the Mavs at the end of January, undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell has been a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season. Ferrell hit the ground running with Dallas, starting in his first game with the club and Barry Horn of the Dallas News suggests that he could be partly responsible for a boost in the team’s TV ratings.
  • The Mavs will have the opportunity to draft a great player, regardless of position, writes Matt Mosley of the Dallas News. The writer specifies that, even despite the emergence of guards Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell, if Lonzo Ball or Dennis Smith Jr. are available, them team should draft them anyway.
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