Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Maggie Davis on ©February 15th, 2019 @ 8:30pm
The NBA Rising-Star game is almost upon us, and three former Wildcats will be on the game roster. De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will all suit up for the NBA’s up-and-comer competition. The Rising-Star game features players in their first and second years in the league. All the action is going down at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, but you can watch it all from the comfort of your home on TNT. The game is set to tip at 9 p.m.
In addition to the former Cats, players including Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum and Trae Young will all participate. Knox got the call when Lonzo Ball pulled out of the game due to an ankle injury (or, he still doesn’t want to play next to Fox. Whatever you choose to believe).
Friday night’s game is just the beginning of a basketball-filled weekend. Of course, Kentucky vs. Tennessee takes place Saturday night, but so will the NBA Skills Challenge, 3-point contest and the Slam Dunk contest. The NBA All-Star game will be Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. In total, there will be an astonishing seven Wildcats participating in the weekend.
The Skills Challenge (Saturday, 2/16): De’Aaron Fox
The 3-point Contest (Saturday, 2/16): Devin Booker
The Slam Dunk Contest (Saturday, 2/16): Hamidou Diallo
The All-Stars Game (Sunday, 2/17): Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.
How awesome would it be to see a Kentucky sweep? Gilgeous-Alexander may have picked against Booker in the 3-point competition, but he’s going with Hami for the dunk contest:
.@shaiglalex gives his NBA All-Star Saturday Night predictions!
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) February 15, 2019
Remember, tonight’s action starts at 9 on TNT.
Good morning, folks. The All-Star Weekend is upon us, but first, we need to recap Thursday night’s games. Let’s talk NBA.
[27-30] Hornets – 98 @ [27-32] Magic – 127
- After an absolute throttling of the playoff-hopeful Charlotte Hornets right before the All-Star break, the Orlando Magic have now won five games in a row (for the first time in three seasons) and seven of their previous eight to have them only half-a-game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Magic led this game 71-36 at halftime and didn’t let up in the second half. It was also Orlando’s first win over Charlotte since Dec. of 2015. This was a monumental win for the Magic for a plethora of reasons. Isaiah Briscoe also posted a nifty stat line of six points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 26 minutes.
- For Charlotte, who is hosting the upcoming All-Star weekend, they looked like they were taking their week off a day too early. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was held scoreless in 13 minutes while Malik Monk added 15 points on 7-16 shooting to go along with his four rebounds and two assists.
[37-20] Thunder – 122 @ [26-33] Pelicans – 131
- If I recall correctly, this was the first Pelicans game where the starting lineup featured all three of Darius Miller, Julius Randle, and Anthony Davis. Unfortunately – or coincidentally, however you’d like to look at it – Davis left in the second quarter with what was later diagnosed as a bruised shoulder. He still finished with 14 points and four rebounds in 15 minutes. But now the major question is… Will Davis play in the All-Star Game? I’d still put my money on yes, but this definitely complicates things. That is, if this wasn’t a “planned” injury. I don’t want to go all “tin foil hat” on you, but of all the times for Davis to get hurt, it happens now? Anyways, he probably is hurt. And somehow the Pelicans still won this game. After being gutted by the Magic in a 30-point loss the game before, I’m honestly not sure how they pulled this one off.
- Miller contributed eight points, four rebounds, and five assists while Randle went off for 33 points on 11-21 shooting to lead the BBNBA in scoring. He also added 11 rebounds and six assists to his totals and three clutch buckets late in the game to seal the win for the Pellies. The Pelicans head coach, Alvin Gentry, was happy his team could pull out a win amidst the Davis drama.
- ”To tell you the truth, this whole thing has been a dumpster fire,” coach Gentry said, alluding to the effect Davis’ trade demand has had on the rest of the team. ”It’s hard for guys to go through what they’ve been through, and to be able to come out and beat a team of that quality, I’m happy for all the guys.”
- For the Thunder, Nerlens Noel played his best game of the season, exploding for 22 points in a mere 21 minutes while also corralling 13 rebounds in addition to his two steals. Patrick Patterson got the start for OKC but scored only five points in 15 minutes. Hamidou Diallo did not play.
- Kevin Knox had a poor shooting night, going 2-9 from the field for only nine points but he managed to bring in 10 rebounds in the process. The Knicks were able to end their longest ever franchise losing streak by beating the Atlanta Hawks.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Julius Randle (NOP)||131-122 W vs. OKC||33||11-21 (2-3)||11||6||1||1||4||+19||38|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||122-131 L @ NOP||22||10-16 (0-0)||13||1||2||0||1||+4||21|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||89-127 L @ ORL||15||7-16 (1-7)||4||2||0||0||0||-19||24|
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||131-122 W vs. OKC||14||5-10 (1-2)||4||2||1||1||2||_10||15|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||106-91 W @ ATL||9||2-9 (2-3)||10||1||0||0||3||+8||22|
|Darius Miller(NOP)||131-122 W vs. OKC||8||3-7 (2-5)||4||5||1||0||0||+19||34|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||127-89 W vs. CHA||6||2-5 (2-2)||8||5||0||0||1||+23||26|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||122-131 L @ NOP||5||2-8 (0-4)||3||0||0||0||1||-20||15|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||89-127 L @ ORL||0||0-2 (0-1)||2||0||0||0||0||-13||13|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||122-131 L @ NOP||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||91-106 L vs. NYK||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00 (ESPN): NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles
9:00 (TNT): MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars Challenge
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
The Kentucky effect is invading Charlotte, North Carolina and the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend.
Several former Wildcats are expected to participate in each of the events planned for this weekend’s midseason NBA festivities. If you aren’t familiar with NBA All-Star weekend, let me briefly update you.
Basically, it’s a week vacation for players, coaches, and also the media, but mainly, it’s a bunch of different basketball-themed games played over the course of three days. Starting the with All-Star Celebrity Game and the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, followed by the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Dunk Contest on Friday, and finished off on Sunday with the main event, the 68th ever NBA All-Star game.
Friday is the weekend teaser, with two events setting the scene early before things really get rolling on Saturday.
NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles (7 p.m. on ESPN)
The Celebrity Game is up first – and rightfully so since it’s hardly watchable in the first place – featuring celebs ranging from musical artists such as Quavo and Chris Daughtry (for some reason), NBA greats such as Ray Allen, and even Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry, with several other names I have never heard before and will have to look up to confirm they are real people. Like, seriously, what in the hell is a Dr. Oz? Am I this out of touch already?
The celebrity game is mostly a gimmick and was really only entertaining when Kevin Hart was running around like a child who ate wayyyyy too much sugar right before his bedtime. But even then, it’s basically always been a giant social media gathering and a “who’s who” of being involved with NBA Twitter. I will be avoiding this game at all costs.
MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars Challenge (9 p.m. on TNT)
The main event on Friday, the Rising Stars Challange, takes place immediately after the Celebrity Game. And we’ll see plenty of our more recent Wildcats.
The Rising Stars Challenge features two teams, one compiled of players from the United States and the other of players from across the world. The U.S. team will showcase De’Aaron Fox (SAC) and Kevin Knox (NYK) – who is replacing the injured Lonzo Ball. For the World team, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC) will represent Canada. Here’s a look at the full roster for both sides.
The U.S. vs. The WORLD
— NBA (@NBA) January 30, 2019
At first glance, I’d pick the World team to win because having Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons on the same team seems wildly unfair to any opponent. But the U.S. team might have more depth and overall talent despite the World team having the experience factor on their side. All I know is that if Fox and SGA don’t go one-on-one against each other at least once I will boycott the entire event. We also need a Fox to Knox alley-oop connection so I can liquify the video into a fluid that can then be injected it in my veins.
Saturday (8 p.m. on TNT)
Saturday is when things get fun. While the All-Star game itself is more of a spectacle and watching the best basketball players in the galaxy play a poor man’s version of streetball is legitimately compelling, the mini-games on Saturday is where the real excitement brews.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge kicks things off as the selected players navigate a course predesigned to make the ball handler pass, dribble, and shoot all while doing so in a shorter amount of time than the field. Representing Kentucky in this year’s event will be De’Aaron Fox, who will play in his second event in as many days.
Fox is among a group that includes two All-Stars from this season along with rookies Trae Young and Luka Doncic. I’d say Fox is poised to do well in this event, considering he is easily the fastest player of the eight participants and one of the two or three best passers. There’s a portion early in the course where a player is required to pass the ball through a hoop-sized hole that always seems to give at least a few players a problem. If Fox can ace that part and land the pass on the first try, his speed will lead him to victory in the event. He’s also the favorite to win it.
This is the fourth year for the event and normally the bigs have been pitted against the guards in the final, which is expected to be the same layout this season. Here are the highlights from last year’s event, which was won by Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. With a guard winning it last year, this means the record is two wins for the bigs and two wins for the guards. A lot is on the line here, folks.
The MTN DEW 3-Point Contest is a pretty straight forward event. Normally set at eight participants, this year’s event will feature 10 players, including a Kentucky fan favorite, Devin Booker (PHX). Players will shoot 25 total balls out of five different racks spread across the perimeter under the allotted time, with regular basketballs worth one point and the “money ball” worth two points, which is found at the end of every rack.
Booker won the event last year and is one of the favorites to win it again, behind Stephen Curry (GSW) and Buddy Hield (SAC). Curry’s younger brother, Seth (POR), will also play in the shootout. Booker could join a list of six players who have won the event twice. There have been only two – Larry Bird and Craig Hodges in the late ’80s, early ’90s – who have won it three times. Here are the highlights from last year’s shootout.
The AT&T Slam Dunk will cap off an entertaining Saturday, with Hamidou Diallo (OKC) hoping to showcase his otherworldly athleticism that Kentucky fans saw in his season and a half wearing the blue and white. The rest of the field is rather uninteresting, to be honest, especially if you aren’t an NBA addict. But there is real potential for an outstanding battle of the dunkers, here.
Diallo and fellow participant Miles Bridges Jr. are both rookies and John Collins sounds like the name of a Lieutenant in 1782. But don’t let their lack of general popularity fool you. Bridges is one of the most forceful dunkers in the league, linking up Malik Monk multiple times throughout the season for ground shattering alley-oops. Collins is a mutant of an athlete. Diallo has a record-setting vertical that no one has really gotten the chance to see in all it’s glory just yet. I’m expecting some impressive and creative dunks from Diallo. The fourth participant is Dennis Smith Jr. A one-time Kentucky recruit, he has athleticism for a guard that is only comparable to the Russell Westbrook’s and Donovan Mitchell’s of the world.
Smith Jr. is the overwhelming favorite while Diallo is the underwhelming underdog, so bet at your own risk, but I think Diallo is going to make a small name for himself early in his career by unleashing some hellacious dunks and an insane vertical. Check out last year’s contest, won by Donovan Mitchell (UTA).
68th NBA All-Star Game (8:20 p.m. on TNT/TBS | coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
The stage is set for the All-Star Game and it’s Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis.
This year’s event will feature two former Kentucky players, Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) and Anthony Davis (NOP), who will both suit up for Team LeBron. Well, we know Towns will be suiting up, at least. Davis is expected to play and by all accounts, it appears he will. But man, I still can’t get over how weird everything is with Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. I don’t know how Davis feels about all of this, but I can guarantee there is some awkwardness stuck in there somewhere. This weekend might be a good opportunity to clear his head, a bit.
It also shouldn’t be overlooked that LeBron picked Davis after the entire debacle at the trade deadline. If you think that was a coincidence then I got some news for you… LeBron also drafted Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Klay Thompson, who are all going to be dealing with free agency in some fashion this summer. LeBron is also the tampering King, too.
But I digress…
Watching KAT and AD play should be captivating for both NBA and BBNBA fans alike. It’ll be even more thrilling if we get some Cat-to-KAT alley-oops. As much as I would have loved to see Towns try to dunk on AD, or vice versa, watching them link up as teammates should be just as exciting.
D’Angelo Russell, a Louisville native, was also selected to the game as a reserve for Victor Oladipo. He will play for Team Giannis.
Go Cats. It should be a fun weekend. Tweet at me anything out of the ordinary you might catch on TV/social media.
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 14th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
As we wait for former Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo to compete in the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest this Saturday during NBA All-Star Weekend, we’re reminded of the time the 6-foot-5 athlete took down this year’s college basketball media darling, Zion Williamson, in a high school dunk contest.
Coming out of high school, the high-flying prospect out of Queens, NY was known as one of the best dunkers in the nation, regardless of class.
During the Elite 24 All-Star Game in 2016, Diall0 found himself matched up with Williamson, where he broke open a lead on the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. All he had to do was complete his last dunk to bring home the title trophy and celebrate with his friends and family in New York City.
With all eyes watching, Diallo missed his last attempt, allowing for the current Blue Devil to edge him out in the event.
Brett Dawson of The Athletic spoke to Diallo about his matchup with Williamson and what happened down the stretch.
“I won,” Diallo said. “I had won. I just didn’t complete the (last) dunk. If I had completed the dunk, I would have won. But basically I won. I did everything to make me a winner up to that point. I just didn’t complete the dunk.”
Former Kentucky guard Tony Delk, who was in attendance at the event, said you knew both prospects would be special talents moving forward.
“You knew you were seeing something,” he said. “They had the creativity, and as athletes, those two guys just stood out from all the other kids.”
No matter how talented Williamson is, Diallo knew he absolutely should have won that night, and it was a moment that has lingered with him ever since.
“And then I just missed,” Diallo said. “That’s how easy it can all be taken away.”
Take a look at the highlights from the event:
Now, Diallo will get his chance to officially take home the crown in the biggest dunk contest in the world.
His competition? Dennis Smith Jr. of the New York Knicks, Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets, and John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks.
OddsShark released their updated odds for the popular annual event, with the former Wildcat somehow listed last out of the four competitors.
Updated odds to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest (Bovada):
Dennis Smith Jr. +150
John Collins +250
Miles Bridges +250
Hamidou Diallo +325
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) February 15, 2019
To get you prepared for Saturday, take a look at all of the best dunks Diallo has thrown down to start his rookie season in the NBA:
While you’re at it, the official Oklahoma City Thunder Twitter account released an awesome video yesterday afternoon highlighting Diallo’s life growing up in New York and how he got to where he is today playing in the NBA.
Take a look here:
Hamidou Diallo // What shaped his game. pic.twitter.com/nTMwd4IQUI
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 13, 2019
Go get ’em, Hami.
For the entire article from The Athletic, you’ll have to get out your wallet and head here.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 14th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that I like to dabble in an illegal activity here in Kentucky (although, hopefully that will change soon) and I’m pretty excited to cash in on some former Wildcats who are participating at NBA All-Star Weekend.
Up first, De’Aaron Fox will make his All-Star Weekend debut in the Rising Stars game Friday night. Fox was snubbed from the game last year, his rookie season, but he earned an invite as a second-year player. He will join Kevin Knox on Team U.S., while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be across the way on Team World.
The odds for one of the former Cats to win MVP honors are Fox (+1200), Knox (+2000) and Gilgeous-Alexander (+2000).
Rising Stars MVP:
|Ben Simmons +400||Luka Doncic +400||Jayson Tatum +700|
|Donovan Mitchell +700||Kyle Kuzma +1000||Deandre Ayton +1000|
|De’Aaron Fox +1200||Trae Young +1200||OG Anunoby +1200|
|Bogdan Bogdanovic +1200||Lauri Markkanen +1200||Marvin Bagley III +2000|
|Kevin Knox +2000||John Collins +2000||Jaren Jackson Jr. +2000|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +2000||Cedi Osman +4000||Josh Okogie +4000|
|Rodions Kurucs +4000||Jarrett Allen +4000|
Then on Saturday night, Fox will be back to participate in the Skills Challenge. He is the favorite to win that one over Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Mike Conley, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and Nikola Vucevic.
|De’Aaron Fox +250||Luka Doncic +325||Trae Young +375|
|Mike Conley +550||Nikola Jokic +600||Jayson Tatum +600|
|Kyle Kuzma +700||Nikola Vucevic +900|
The Three-Point Contest is next with Devin Booker in the hunt to win the title for a second consecutive season. He is listed at +500 odds, behind only Steph Curry and Buddy Hield.
|Stephen Curry +200||Buddy Hield +400||Devin Booker +500|
|Seth Curry +600||Joe Harris +650||Kemba Walker +800|
|Damian Lillard +900||Danny Green +1200||Khris Middleton +1200|
|Dirk Nowitzki +1500|
And in the nightcap, Hamidou Diallo will try to win the Dunk Contest as the long shot over Dennis Smith Jr., John Collins and Miles Bridges.
|Dennis Smith Jr. +150||John Collins +250||Miles Bridges +250|
|Hamidou Diallo +325|
Diallo is my play of the night, simply because he has long odds in a field of four participants (and because he can fly). It’s a good value in a competition with three contestants making their debuts, plus Dennis Smith Jr., who finished third out of four last year. I don’t necessarily think Diallo will win it, but I like the payout if he does.
And if you’re interested in gambling on the actual All-Star game, which I do not recommend, the two former Wildcats are Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns at +1000 and +4000 to win MVP. The current line is Team LeBron -6 and the total is TBD.
Alex Poythress will get another shot in the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks transferred him back to the league after a successful stint in the NBA G League with the Erie Bayhawks.
Poythress averaged 24.5 points and 10.2 rebounds in 13 games in Erie, where he played alongside Terrence Jones and Isaac Humphries, two fellow former Kentucky Wildcats. In his final game with the Bayhawks, Wednesday night, Poythress had 41 points and 18 rebounds. The Hawks called him back up soon after.
Poythress played in 18 games with Atlanta earlier this season with an average of 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in those appearances, which included one start.
Good luck to Alex on his second shot with an NBA team in need of help.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©February 14th, 2019 @ 10:30am
Good morning, folks. Jamal Murray and De’Aaron Fox went head-to-head on Wednesday night as we are now one day away from the All-Star break. Let’s talk NBA.
[30-27] Kings – 118 @ [39-18] Nuggets – 120
- The Sacramento Kings had a shot at the buzzer to steal a road win right before the All-Star break, but Buddy Hield’s three-point attempt hit just left of the target and sealed the win for the Denver Nuggets. Jamal Murray didn’t have a productive game, scoring 10 points on 3-8 shooting to go along with two rebounds and four assists, deferring to the hot hands of Malik Beasley, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic – who combined for 66 of the team’s points. Trey Lyles played only seven minutes, registering three points and a rebound. Jokic tipped in the game-winning shot with 0.8 seconds left on the clock.
- For Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox posted a 15-point, 10-assist double-double in addition to four rebounds despite his Kings’ squad giving up a 17-point halftime lead. Willie Cauley-Stein filled the stat column with eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, and five steals in only 21 minutes. The Kings head into the All-Star break one game back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot.
- For some news that’ll make you feel all warm inside, Nuggets’ guard Isaiah Thomas played in his first game since March 22, when he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Thomas dropped in eight quick points in the third quarter, knocking down two important threes while playing a total of 13 minutes. If you aren’t familiar with Thomas’ situation, essentially, he was understandably cast away from the Boston Celtics in the trade that landed them Kyrie Irving, despite Thomas finishing fifth in MVP voting the season prior while averaging over 28 points per game. A serious nagging hip injury kept him from playing productive basketball while a member of both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers last year and this was his first shot at redemption since going from an All-NBA player to basically an outcast. Happy faces all around. I’m not even a huge fan of Thomas, personally (mainly for how he continued to stoke the fire in an already hazardous Cavaliers locker room last season), but even I was wearing a smile after he knocked down that second triple.
[11-48] Suns – 107 @ [32-27] Clippers – 134
- Boy oh boy, do these Phoenix Suns continue to stink or what? The Clippers led this game by 10 after the first quarter, 16 at halftime, and blew it wide open in the second half to win by 27. Devin Booker was simply not good, scoring only 10 points on 2-10 shooting in addition to his six rebounds and five assists. The Suns lost their 15th straight game.
- The Clippers, on the other hand, were just messing around out there. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played 21 minutes and tallied 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. Lou Williams poured in 30 points and 10 assists in only 22 minutes – the first player in NBA history to post those numbers in under 23 minutes.
- Karl-Anthony Towns led the BBNBA in scoring for what feels like the 100th day in the row after he dropped in 25 points on 11-18 shooting (3-4 from three) to go along with his nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. His Minnesota Timberwolves would beat the Houston Rockets, 121-110, despite 42 points from James Harden – who has now tied Wilt Chamberlian’s record for the second-longest streak of at least 30 points in a row at 31.
- For Miami, seven Heat players scored in double figures as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks to inch closer to that eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Heat is now tied with the Detroit Pistons for the final spot heading into the break. Bam Adebayo recorded 10 points on 3-4 shooting while also pulling down six rebounds and dishing out three assists for Miami.
- DeMarcus Cousins sat out for the Golden State Warriors for the first time since returning from his Achilles injury due to rest.
- In free agent news, Enes Kanter was picked up by the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. I like this move for Portland because I think a change of scenery (especially on a playoff team) will do wonders for Kanter’s mood and I think he can provide valuable playing time. I’m not a huge fan of him potentially stealing minutes away from second-year player Zach Collins, but they could actually work well next to each other with Kanter as the scoring big and Collins protecting the paint. But really, Portland wanted to beef up their bench scoring with a veteran presence for the playoffs, so that checks the box.
- Also, Kevin Knox completely wrecked Ben Simmons on this dunk.
KNOX POSTER OVER SIMMONS ? ? pic.twitter.com/JeuqsPBVBV
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 14, 2019
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
G League update
- Lost in the kerfuffle of a busy Wednesday night in the NBA was an exhilarating G League matchup featuring four former Kentucky players that had to be decided in overtime. The Erie Bayhawks fell to the Maine Red Claws by a score of 128-130 in extra time. Are you ready for the stats, now? Okay, here we go.
- Alex Poythress led both teams in scoring with 41 points for the Bayhawks and nearly recorded a triple-double, tieing a career-high with 18 rebounds in addition to a career-high eight assists. Poythress shot 14-30 from the field and was 10-11 from the free throw line. His teammate, Terrence Jones, was just as incredible, posting 34 points on 15-28 shooting (although he shot a miserable 3-10 from the charity stripe), 15 rebounds, three assists, and three steals. But we aren’t done with Erie just yet, because Isaac Humphries even got in on the action, scoring 14 points of his own on 5-11 shooting.
- But wait! There’s more! For the Maine Red Claws, Archie Goodwin went off for 27 points on an efficient 12-18 shooting! He also added four rebounds and four assists. Why are these dudes still in the G League???
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||121-111 W vs. HOU||25||11-18 (3-4)||9||5||0||2||2||+20||33|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||118-120 L @ DEN||15||6-11 (1-2)||4||10||0||0||4||+5||31|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||112-101 W @ DAL||10||3-4 (0-0)||6||3||1||0||4||+7||25|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||120-118 W vs. SAC||10||3-8 (2-5)||2||4||0||0||3||-6||31|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||107-134 L @ LAC||10||2-10 (0-3)||6||5||1||1||3||-15||32|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander||134-107 L vs. PHX||10||4-7 (0-1)||4||3||2||1||1||+20||21|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||111-126 L @ PHI||9||4-10 (1-4)||1||0||0||0||0||-29||18|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||118-120 L @ DEN||8||3-5 (0-0)||7||3||5||0||1||0||21|
|Brandon Knight (CLE)||139-148 L (3 OT) vs. BKN||6||3-8 (0-4)||1||4||1||0||2||+1||15|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||106-97 W @ IND||4||1-4 (0-2)||2||1||0||0||2||-7||20|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||120-118 W vs. SAC||3||1-3 (0-0)||1||0||0||0||0||-4||7|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||129-107 W vs. GSW||0||0-0||1||0||0||0||0||+1||>1|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||120-118 W vs. SAC||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||107-129 L @ POR||DNP-Rest||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||120-129 L @ TOR||DNP-Heel||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Magic (Briscoe)
7:30: Knicks (Knox) @ Hawks (Poythress-G League)
8:00 (TNT): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
Kentucky may have fallen to LSU Tuesday night, but Kevin Knox just reminded everyone who owns the professional league. The former Cat absolutely destroyed Ben Simmons, who played for LSU before being selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
KEVIN KNOX ? ON SIMMONS pic.twitter.com/HfGTHhcdqF
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 14, 2019
Yikes. And remember, Ben Simmons didn’t even enjoy his one year at LSU, saying he didn’t really know what he learned, “financially or just being a person,” during his time with the Tigers.
The dunk video is blowing up on Twitter right now – a few of Knox’s former teammates even chimed in about the slam:
On HIS HEAD ?? https://t.co/3iCXx1Rrsd
— Paul Washington Jr (@PJWashington) February 14, 2019
OMG ? https://t.co/I66VjKpZ8x
— Nick Richards (@iamnickrichards) February 14, 2019
Knox by 90 and Cats > Tigers.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 4:54pm
Enes Kanter has a new home. After parting ways with the New York Knicks, Enes has agreed to a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news, and Enes quickly confirmed it on Twitter:
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) February 13, 2019
This season, Enes is averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. In Portland he’ll share the frontcourt with another fellow former Cat, Skal Labissiere, who was traded to the Trail Blazers last week.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Good morning, folks. Anthony Davis has zero interest in playing professional-level basketball with the New Orleans Pelicans. Let’s talk NBA.
[26-32] Magic – 118 @ [25-33] Pelicans – 88
- It was a slow night in the BBNBA, but it seems the New Orleans Pelicans always find a way to titillate us no matter what’s going on. Tuesday night was no exception. Anthony Davis shot a disgusting 1-9 from the field for only three points, his lowest point total of the season and the lowest he’s ever recorded when playing over 21 minutes. He tacked on six rebounds and three blocks, but the Pellies were decimated from the opening tip, playing uninspired and uninterested basketball throughout. Four different Orlando Magic players topped at least 20 points.
- ‘We sucked,” Davis said. ”Nobody was interested in playing, is what it looked like.”
- That quote comes off a little tone deaf, to me, Mr. Davis.
- Davis hasn’t been interested in playing at all since his agent Rich Paul tried to force his client’s way out of NOLA and into Los Angeles. How much influence Davis had over the matter is unknown, but this is the situation he’s in now. And it’s only going to get more and more awkward as the season continues.
- Julius Randle led the BBNBA in scoring with 15 points on 6-11 shooting (3-5 from three) to go along with four rebounds, four assists, and two blocks while Darius Miller was 3-9 from three for nine points, two rebounds, and two assists in 21 minutes.
- Lost in the drama of the Pelicans dysfunction and a 30-point loss is the impressive outing from Isaiah Briscoe. The Magic guard posted an impressive stat line of three points, six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and a block in 28 minutes.
- LAKERS TALK!!!
- The Los Angeles Lakers lost a confusing game to the Atlanta Hawks on the road, as LeBron James looked completely checked out. As someone who has personally witnessed and been “forced” to deal with the sideshow that comes with having LeBron James on your team, all I have to say is “welcome to the main event, Lakers fans”. This is your life now. LeBron practically alienated his entire team while the game was still going on as they got overwhelmingly outplayed by one of the worst teams in the league. That being said, if you don’t think the Lakers will be fine in the end, then that’s on you, because I’ve seen this happen literally four years in a row now. The Lakers are going to make the playoffs. They’ll rattle off some stupid eight-game winning streak after a locker room blowout. Hell, who even knows what happened in the locker room after Tuesday night’s embarrassing failure of a game. But that’s my brief Lakers talk for the day. Rajon Rondo registered 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, but looked just as terrible as every other Laker on the court, and that includes LeBron. But just to harp on LeBron’s greatness again real quick, he posted a 28-point triple-double and you would have thought he was hardly trying – and he truly wasn’t.
- Finally, in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors rallied behind a 21-4 run in the fourth quarter to take down the Utah Jazz by a score of 115-108. DeMarcus Cousins had a poor shooting night, missing 13 of his 17 shots for only 12 points, but he recorded 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the process.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Julius Randle (NOP)||88-118 L vs. ORL||15||6-11 (3-5)||4||4||0||2||3||-21||21|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||113-117 L @ ATL||13||5-10 (2-4)||7||4||1||1||6||-2||33|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||115-108 W vs. UTA||12||4-17 (1-6)||10||5||2||0||2||+8||28|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||88-118 L vs. ORL||9||3-11 (3-9)||2||2||0||1||0||-7||21|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||118-88 W @ NOP||3||1-4 (1-3)||6||8||2||1||0||+8||28|
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||88-118 L vs. ORL||3||1-9 (0-0)||6||0||0||3||0||-16||24|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||117-113 W vs. LAL||DNP-G League||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Nets @ Cavaliers (Knight)
7:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Pacers
7:30: Pistons @ Celtics
7:30: 76ers @ Knicks (Knox)
7:30: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Raptors
8:00: Grizzlies @ Bulls
8:00 (ESPN): Rockets @ Timberwolves (Towns)
8:30: Heat (Adebayo) @ Mavericks
9:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt)
10:30 (ESPN): Warriors (Cousins) @ Trail Blazers (Labissiere)
10:30: Suns (Booker) @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
Good afternoon, folks. The New York Knicks are hot garbage and better hope they land the No. 1 overall pick this June. Let’s talk NBA.
[31-27] Clippers – 120 @ [26-30] Timberwolves – 130
- Lou Williams poured in 45 points for the Los Angeles Clippers, who have now dropped two of their last three games since trading away their best player, Tobias Harris, to the Philadelphia 76ers at the NBA trade deadline. The Clippers relied on 89 points from their bench as they continue to search for an identity since the Harris trade. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the few “untouchable” assets the Clippers have as they’ve elected to embrace the potential of signing max free agents this summer in lieu of a playoff run this year. Which means his minutes – and his tenure with the Clips – won’t be going anywhere anytime soon (barring a surprise Anthony Davis trade in the summer, which is definitely a possibility). SGA scored 10 points on 4-8 shooting (2-3 from three) in 22 minutes for L.A.
- For Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns once again led the BBNBA in scoring (how many times have I typed that this season?) with 24 points on 7-11 shooting to go along with his 10 rebounds. The Wolves had lost four of their previous six games before picking up this win at home – and they did so without Andrew Wiggins, who is battling illness.
- KAT’s shoes were also pretty dope.
— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) February 12, 2019
[25-30] Heat – 87 @ [38-18] Nuggets – 103
- The Monday nightcap game was in Denver and featured four former Cats all seeing action. Starting with Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat, who scored a mere 38 points as a team in the second half. Adebayo contributed only two points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. With the loss, Miami falls out of the final playoff spot as the Detroit Pistons have won five of their last six games, propelling them into the eight seed.
- Denver, on the other hand, ended a three-game losing streak – the team’s second-longest of the season – as they continue to recover from multiple injuries to several key players. Paul Millsap played on Monday after missing three straight games to injury while Gary Harris sat out his sixth consecutive game. With injuries piling up, it didn’t help that Jamal Murray had one of his worst shooting nights of the year, scoring 10 points on an abysmal 3-12 shooting (although he was 3-6 from three) to go along with five assists. Trey Lyles and Jarred Vanderbilt were two of *five* former Kentucky players who played on Monday night while failing to register a single point (along with Hamidou Diallo [OKC], Patrick Patterson [OKC], and Malik Monk [CHA]). But that hardly matters when the Nuggets are getting 23 points apiece from Nikola Jokic and Malik Beasley. Denver won this game handily.
- In Cleveland, the New York Knicks lost their franchise-record 17th straight game (and 25th out of their previous 26) despite erasing a 17-point second-half deficit. And they lost to the Cavaliers, of all teams. New York must really really really want Zion Williamson. Kevin Knox posted 13 points and six rebounds for the Knicks, who have *officially* taken over the title of the worst team in the NBA. For the Cavaliers, Brandon Knight added nine points, three rebounds, and two assists in 16 minutes.
- We’ll wrap up today’s recap with the Milwaukee Bucks, who finished off the Chicago Bulls and a late fourth-quarter rally. Eric Bledsoe went for 19 points – 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter – on 5-8 shooting, knocking down three of his six attempts from deep.
- Check out the full stat sheet blow.
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||130-120 W vs. LAC||24||7-11 (0-1)||10||2||2||0||5||+20||26|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||112-99 W @ CHI||19||5-8 (3-6)||1||2||2||0||4||-2||29|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||104-107 L @ CLE||13||5-16 (1-7)||6||3||0||1||3||-10||35|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||120-130 L @ MIN||10||4-8 (2-3)||1||1||1||0||3||-17||22|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||103-87 W vs. MIA||10||3-12 (3-6)||1||5||3||0||4||+20||33|
|Brandon Knight (CLE)||107-104 W vs. NYK||9||3-5 (3-4)||3||2||0||0||2||0||16|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||90-99 L @ IND||4||1-5 (0-1)||1||0||0||0||0||-17||14|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||120-111 W vs. POR||2||1-3 (0-0)||7||0||0||1||2||+3||13|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||87-103 L @ DEN||2||1-4 (0-0)||5||1||1||0||1||-6||18|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||90-99 L @ IND||0||0-3 (0-2)||1||0||0||0||0||-20||9|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||120-111 W vs. POR||0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||-1||>1|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||120-111 W vs. POR||0||0-5 (0-4)||7||0||1||0||0||+3||23|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||103-87 W vs. MIA||0||0-5 (0-4)||1||0||0||0||0||-9||6|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||103-87 W vs. MIA||0||0-1 (0-0)||1||0||0||0||0||-2||1|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||111-120 L @ OKC||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||112-121 L @ DET||DNP-Heel||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:30: Lakers (Rondo) @ Hawks (Poythress-G League)
8:00 (TNT): Celtics @ 76ers
8:00: Spurs @ Grizzlies
8:00: Magic (Briscoe) @ Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle)
10:30 (TNT): Jazz @ Warriors (Cousins)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
Good morning, folks. Devin Booker scored over 25 points again. The Phoenix Suns also lost again. Let’s talk NBA.
[11-47] Suns – 104 @ [30-26] Kings – 117
- After sitting out the previous two games with a minor hamstring issue, Devin Booker returned to the Phoenix Suns and proceeded to drop 27 points on the Sacramento Kings. Booker also added eight rebounds and six assists while shooting 9-19 from the field but in a losing effort. There was also a nervous moment in the third quarter where Booker banged knees with Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and had to limp himself to the sidelines. He would return and appeared to be fine, but it’s just another entry into the 2018-19 Devin Booker Book of Random Injuries. Through 58 Suns’ games this season, Booker has been sidelined for 15 of them with six different injuries.
- For Sacramento, the team continued its push for the franchise’s first playoff appearance since the 2005-06 season and the Kings’ record of 30-26 is the best start to a season since 2004-05. Leading them against Phoenix was De’Aaron Fox, who dropped in 17 points on 5-11 shooting to go along with six rebounds and nine assists. Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 10 points and eight rebounds for the Kings, who dominated this game from the opening tip, leading by 15-plus points for a majority of the second half.
- The Suns’ current losing streak of 14 games is the second longest in franchise history, only one game behind the record the team set last season.
[25-29] Heat – 118 @ [40-15] Warriors – 120
- Bam Adebayo (MIA) and DeMarcus Cousins (GSW) went head-to-head for portions of this game but were hardly the main attractions. But to be fair, it’s hard to outshine Kevin Durant when he’s casually dropping 39 while Josh Richardson is pouring in a career-high 37 points in a game that came down to the very last possession.
- Adebayo posted eight points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in 25 minutes for the Heat while Cousins struggled for the first time since his return, scoring only seven points and pulling down three boards in 26 minutes.
- Rajon Rondo was held scoreless but did add three rebounds and seven assists against the Philadelphia 76ers as his Los Angeles Lakers fell on the road 120-143.
- For the Orlando Magic, Isaiah Briscoe had a poor shooting night, missing seven of his eight attempts for only two points and two assists.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Devin Booker (PHX)||104-117 L @ SAC||27||9-19 (3-5)||8||6||0||0||5||-15||35|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||117-104 W vs. PHX||17||5-11 (2-4)||6||9||2||0||2||+10||31|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||117-104 W vs. PHX||10||3-5 (0-0)||8||2||1||5||1||+12||26|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||118-120 L @ GSW||8||4-6 (0-0)||11||3||1||2||2||-10||25|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||120-118 W vs. MIA||7||2-6 (0-3)||3||1||2||3||2||-12||26|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||124-108 W @ ATL||2||1-8 (0-3)||0||2||0||0||1||+4||22|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||120-143 L @ PHI||0||0-3 (0-0)||3||7||0||0||2||-14||15|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||101-102 L @ DAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||108-124 L vs. ORL||DNP-G League||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Knicks (Knox) @ Cavaliers (Knight)
7:00: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Pistons
7:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Pacers
7:30: Nets @ Raptors
8:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Bulls
8:00 (NBATV): Mavericks @ Rockets
8:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Timberwolves (Towns)
8:00: Trail Blazers (Labissiere) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)
9:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By Zack Geoghegan on ©February 10th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
We’re used to talking about the Anthony Davis’ and Devin Booker’s of the BBNBA world, but what we don’t talk about enough is the former Kentucky Wildcats grinding and working their way up and through the ranks.
There are two ex-Cats specifically who are dominating in the NBA’s developmental league – the G League – and proving that they might be worth a call up to the big times.
Alex Poythress and Terrence Jones, both teammates for the Atlanta Hawks G League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks, have been dominating the G League landscape as a dynamic duo of power and brute strength.
Poythress is on a two-way contract with the Atlanta Hawks and has appeared in 18 games with them this season, but has been moving back-and-forth between G League to NBA throughout the season and has played in 12 games with the Bayhawks.
But before we get more into Poythress and his situation, let’s talk about Jones first.
Jones has been a dominant G Leaguer for what feels like half-a-decade now. He first got his taste of the developmental league when it was still known as the D-League back in the 2012-13 season, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per game in 24 appearances. After some injuries derailed his first attempt at the NBA, he spent some time overseas in China before making his way back to the New Orleans Pelicans (however he was waived when the team traded for DeMarcus Cousins). He eventually joined the Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors G League affiliate) in Dec. 2017 and spent 16 games with them, averaging 19.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per outing.
Fast forward to this season, and Jones has been straight-up destroying the competition. Through 21 games with the Bayhawks this season, Jones is averaging 22.7 points (8th most among qualified G Leaguers), 9.3 rebounds (12th), and 6.0 assists (23rd) per game while shooting over 53 percent from the field. Perhaps the most outstanding statistic of his is the 3.3 three-point attempts per game that he’s connecting on at a 41.4 percent clip. He’s doing all of this in roughly 30 minutes per game. The talent may be a tier below the NBA, but Jones is putting up career-high numbers in a multitude of categories.
Jones still hasn’t been gifted a two-way contract, or even a 10-day contract, and there’s no assurance that he will with fewer 30 games left in the regular season. But, there should still be some hope.
The Hawks are bad. We know this. Jones knows this. And the Hawks definitely know this. They’re currently 18-37 and vying for a top pick. Signing Jones to some sort of low-risk, low-dollar deal just to see what he’s capable of makes sense for Atlanta. Their entire season has been based around the idea of developing their young talent and seeing what they might potentially have. So might as well throw the 27-year old Jones in there, too.
On Monday, Jones was named the G League Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 28 – Feb. 3 after averaging a near triple-double of 24.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists in two games. He dropped 41 points in late January and poured in 28 points in only 26 minutes less than two weeks before that.
His passing has become a noticeable upgrade. His three-pointer is reliable. The turnovers are still an issue, especially since he acts as a point-forward. But there is definite value in what Jones could bring to an NBA team.
Alex Poythress is in a different boat than Jones in terms of their NBA availability, but he’s putting up impressive numbers all the same.
Poythress is no stranger to the G League, either. He spent the majority of his 2016-17 season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers affiliate), playing in 46 games while averaging 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He signed a two-way contract with the Pacers last season and played a few games in the G League, but was ultimately waived before signing another two-way deal with the Hawks back in August.
The 25-year old Poythress is on a two-way contract, which means the Hawks can pick-and-choose when they would like to promote him or send him back down to the Bayhawks (although the team can only keep a player on a two-way deal for a total of 45 days throughout the season). He began the year spending most of his time with the Hawks, appearing in 13 of the team’s first 16 games, and performed moderately well. He averaged 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15 minutes per game in those 13 matchups but topped double-digits in scoring only once.
Since then, Poythress returned for only one short stint with the Hawks, playing five games in late December, but was once again sent back to the G League where he has played exceptionally well.
Most recently, Poythress torched the Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic affiliate) for 40 points on 18-28 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. On the year, he’s averaging 24.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 53 percent from the field. He hasn’t played enough games to qualify for the G League leaderboards, but his scoring would rank sixth among all positions.
He’s already spent a good amount of his 45 available days with the Hawks so it’s unclear exactly how much of an opportunity he could potentially earn if they brought him back up. The organization has been shuffling him between the two teams for a solid part of the last four weeks, but he has yet to see any more NBA action.
The Hawks are still rebuilding, trying to learn which pieces fit best where and which players have the potential to make an impact in the future. With Poythress and Jones, Atlanta has two promising, hungry, and established G Leaguers who are chomping at the bit to make their mark. There’s still a chance that one of them can make the jump before the seasons end. Now if we can just start a petition to bring them both up at the same time…
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By Zack Geoghegan on ©February 10th, 2019 @ 8:30pm
Do you think you – or anyone in the entire galaxy, for that matter – could beat De’Aaron Fox in the NBA All-Star weekend Skills Challenge? No? Well, neither does Las Vegas.
According to the betting site, Bovada, Fox is the current favorite to win the competition that will feature other talented ball handlers such as rookie sensations Luka Doncic (DAL) and Trae Young (ATL) along with gifted big men such as Nikola Jokic (DEN) and Nikola Vucevic (ORL).
When looking at the field though, it’s no wonder the former Kentucky guard is the favorite. Fox is hands down the quickest of the group (Mike Conley [MEM] might be his only competitor in that area, but only if it’s the Conley of three years ago, which is not going to be the case), but is probably the fourth-best passer behind some combination of Doncic, Young, and Jokic. I’d say Doncic will be Fox’s biggest challenge with Jokic following up behind the two. Id’ also say the two wing players, Jayson Tatum (BOS) and Kyle Kuzma (LAL), will absolutely surprise some people with how easy they’ll be able to run through this course. They are incredibly fluid and rather graceful when they have the ball in their hands. It should be an exciting event.
Fox isn’t going to be the only former Wildcat participating in one of these special events next weekend, though. Both Devin Booker and Hamidou Diallo will participate in the 3-Point Contest and Slam-Dunk Contest, respectively, but neither are considered favorites like Fox.
Booker is tied with Buddy Hield for the second-highest odds behind only – of course – the greatest shooter of all time in Stephen Curry (GSW). Steph’s brother, Seth (POR), is also among the group of 10 and other notable names include Damian Lillard (POR), Kemba Walker (CHA), and the great Dirk Nowitzki (DAL). For my personal pick to win this contest, I’ve actually elected to go with the younger Curry, Seth, who currently leads the league in three-point shooting percentage, connecting on 66 of his 136 attempts (48.5 percent).
As for Diallo, he is the underdog for the Dunk Contest by a considerable margin. Among the group, Diallo has the lowest odds out of John Collins (ATL), Dennis Smith Jr. (NYK), and Miles Bridges (CHA). Now some credit is due to Diallo, who is one of the bounciest players that no one has seen yet and got into the contest despite playing in fewer than 12 minutes per game. But he hasn’t been able to showcase his true dunking ability in the pros just yet. And if you’ve seen any of the other three players dunk a basketball this season, you’d understand why Diallo is so far behind the pack. Smith Jr. attacks the rim like it stole his girlfriend, Collins is just a massive and alien-like athlete, and Bridges’ power dunks, where he cocks the ball all the way back to his feet before unloading every ounce of aggression he has, will leave entire arenas stunned into confusion.
Place your bets now, you’ll have several opportunities to win/lose money off a bunch of former Kentucky players.
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan