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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Booker Scores 27 in Return From Injury

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good morning, folks. Devin Booker scored over 25 points again. The Phoenix Suns also lost again. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

[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.

Other notes

  • 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.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)104-117 L @ SAC279-19 (3-5)86005-1535
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)117-104 W vs. PHX175-11 (2-4)69202+1031
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)117-104 W vs. PHX103-5 (0-0)82151+1226
Bam Adebayo (MIA)118-120 L @ GSW84-6 (0-0)113122-1025
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)120-118 W vs. MIA72-6 (0-3)31232-1226
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)124-108 W @ ATL21-8 (0-3)02001+422
Rajon Rondo (LAL)120-143 L @ PHI00-3 (0-0)37002-1415
Skal Labissiere (POR)101-102 L @ DALDNP-CD----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)108-124 L vs. ORLDNP-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


(Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Alex Poythress and Terrence Jones are Dominating the G League

(Photo via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

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


2019 NBA Skills Challenge betting odds.

De’Aaron Fox is the Favorite to Win the Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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).

2019 NBA Skills Challenge betting odds.

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).

2019 NBA 3-Point Contest betting odds.

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.

2019 NBA Dunk Contest betting odds.

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


(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: AD Back in Pelicans Lineup, Randle Scores 21

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good morning, folks. We took a day off on Saturday to focus on the current Cats, but Anthony Davis is back in the Pelicans lineup and things are as normal as ever. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

[25-32] Pelicans – 90 @ [23-34] Grizzlies – 99

  • Anthony Davis played his second consecutive game for the New Orleans Pelicans following his trade request and things are definitely not weird at all. After dropping 32 points on Friday night in a win at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves, where Davis was greeted with boos and left to a chorus of cheers (still weird), he scored only 14 points against the Grizzlies. The plan is for Davis to play limited minutes, but after not playing at all in the fourth quarter of the game against Minny, Davis clocked nearly 34 minutes and played over half of the final period in Memphis. This whole thing is just bizarre, honestly.
  • Julius Randle led the BBNBA in scoring with 21 points on 7-13 shooting to go along with his six rebounds. It was Randle’s third game back after missing six in a row with an ankle injury. Darius Miller shot 2-8 from three for a total of eight points. Miller has now started the previous seven games for the Pellies.

[24-32] Magic – 103 @ [41-14] Bucks – 83

  • The lopsided victory for the Orlando Magic can best be described with three words: no Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks’ All-Star sat out with knee soreness, leaving Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe to pick up the slack. Bledsoe posted (another) impressive line of 19 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Since the new year began, Bledsoe is averaging 17.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.9 steals per game while shooting over 48 percent from the field. He’s playing the best basketball of his career right now and it isn’t close.
  • For Orlando, Isaiah Briscoe shined once again, registering nine points on 4-5 shooting in addition to three rebounds and seven assists in 24 minutes. Briscoe is good. Like, has a chance to be a longtime NBA veteran good. I’m worried that the Magic recently trading for the 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz might steal some well-earned minutes away from Briscoe, however, Fultz is still recovering from his nagging shoulder issue. But whenever Fultz does come back you better believe that Orlando is going to dump a ton of minutes in his direction and odds are it’ll come at the expense of Briscoe. Which means every passing game is vitally more important than it should be for Zay and so far he’s been up to the task. The quicker he can establish himself and create an identity in the NBA, the quicker he can command minutes out of necessity rather than luxury.

Other notes

  • Brandon Knight made his Cleveland Cavaliers debut on Saturday, and it went smoother than any game he ever played in a Houston Rockets uniform. Knight went 3-3 from three for nine points and two assists in 11 minutes. It was Knight’s first in-game minutes since Jan. 11 when he dropped 12 points against, ironically, the Cavaliers.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers were trailing the Boston Celtics by 28 points in the second quarter and were behind 74-53 at halftime. The Clippers won this game by 11 points and the Celtics were booed off their own home court. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed 14 points, four rebounds, and five assists for the Clips. The Celtics continue to claim the title of the most enigmatic team in the NBA. No one knows how good or bad they are. Not even the team does. They blew an 18-point lead against the Lakers on Thursday, as well.
  • And finally, in New York, where the Knicks lost to the new-look Toronto Raptors, who rolled out the recently acquired Marc Gasol off the bench. Gasol played only 18 minutes in his Raptors debut, scoring seven points and pulling in six rebounds in a win. Kevin Knox dropped 20 points for the Knicks, including four rebounds on 7-21 shooting from the field.

  • Also, enjoy this video of Kyle Wiltjer knocking down a game-winning shot overseas.

  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Julius Randle (NOP)90-99 L @ MEM217-13 (0-3)62114-1830
Kevin Knox (NYK)99-104 L vs. TOR207-21 (4-9)42203-1040
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)83-103 L vs. ORL197-13 (2-4)115001-1429
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)123-112 W @ BOS145-8 (1-2)45215+1125
Anthony Davis (NOP)90-99 L @ MEM144-8 (0-1)166222+233
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)129-120 W @ ATL115-5 (0-0)31112+1629
Brandon Knight (HOU)90-105 L @ IND93-3 (3-3)02000-611
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)103-83 W @ MIL94-5 (1-1)37002+1624
Darius Miller (NOP)90-99 L @ MEM83-10 (2-8)02000+619
Malik Monk (CHA)129-120 W @ ATL41-4 (0-2)22103-610
Patrick Patterson (OKC)117-112 W @ HOU31-3 (1-2)01000-136
Nerlens Noel (OKC)117-112 W @ HOU21-3 (0-0)40000-99
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)117-112 W @ HOUDNP-CD----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)120-129 L vs. CHADNP-G League---------------
John Wall (WAS)134-125 @ CHIDNP-Heel----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

3:00: Trail Blazers (Labissiere) @ Mavericks

3:30 (ABC): Lakers (Rondo) @ 76ers

6:00: Suns (Booker) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox)

7:30: Magic (Briscoe) @ Hawks (Poythress)

8:30 (NBATV): Heat (Adebayo) @ Warriors (Cousins)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


John Wall will use time off to graduate from Kentucky and help his mother during fight with cancer

(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Back in December, it was announced former Kentucky star John Wall would undergo surgery to repair a Haglund’s deformity and a chronic Achilles tendon injury in his left heel, a procedure that would keep him out of basketball for six to eight months.

Last week, it was then announced that Wall ruptured his Achilles following a slip-and-fall at home, moving his timetable for a return back 12 months.

For a player that relies on speed and athleticism the way the former Wildcat does, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

But it doesn’t come close to what we learned yesterday evening.

Last night during his first public appearance following the injury, Wall announced he had even more devastating news.

When asked about where his spirits were what he would do to pass the time during the rehabilitation process, Wall said his mother was battling cancer and he would be helping her through that process.

When it rains, it pours.

On a slightly more optimistic and happy note, Wall also announced that he would be returning to Kentucky to finish his degree and graduate.

Fred Katz of The Athletic said Wall is “close to graduation.”

Wall’s former Kentucky teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, who just returned from a torn Achilles injury of his own a few weeks ago, said he called the Washington Wizards star to share his sympathy and offer a few pieces of advice.

Cousins also said he doesn’t believe for a second this injury will slow Wall down in the future.

“I know he’ll overcome this, no doubt in my mind,” he said.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wall during this difficult time. Hopefully the Big Blue Nation can lift his spirits when he returns to Lexington here in a little while.


(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Rondo’s Game-Winner and Trade Deadline Wrap-up

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good morning, folks. Did the trade deadline treat you well? I was an exuberant small child on Christmas morning. Rajon Rondo also hit a game-winner to beat his former team. It was a great day. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

  • Starting with the game of the night in Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to steal a massive victory on the road against the Celtics. Amid trade rumors that practically the entire Lakers young core was susceptible to being dealt, the team came together late to pull out a feel-good (and necessary) win. LeBron James posted a 28-point triple-double, but it was the first ever career game-winning field goal by Rajon Rondo – who knocked down a midrange jumper off a loose ball right at the buzzer – that stole the show. The ball hit literally nothing but the net.

  • Rondo finished the game with an impressive stat line of 17 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists for the Lakers, who pushed themselves back to a game over .500 with the win and back into the playoff discussion.
  • Our second star of the night was Karl-Anthony Towns as he led the BBNBA in scoring with 27 points on an efficient 12-16 shooting from the field (2-3 from three) to go along with 11 boards and five dimes. However, his Timberwolves squad was bested by the Orlando Magic, 112-122.

  • Isaiah Briscoe shot a perfect 3-3 for seven points against Towns and the Wolves, adding three rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes.

Other notes

  • The trade deadline wrapped up yesterday and things got a bit crazy towards the end. The BBNBA didn’t see too much movement, but here’s a recap of everything that went down.
  • As you all probably know by now, Anthony Davis was not moved at the deadline. Now it appears that the Pelicans are going to let him play and they don’t really have a say in the matter. If Davis wants to play, he’s going to play. The Pelicans take on KAT and the Wolves Friday night and Davis is cleared to play, so we’ll see what actually happens. Sounds like he should play, though.
  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)112-122 L @ ORL2712-16 (2-3)115003-936
Rajon Rondo (LAL)129-128 W @ BOS177-11 (3-4)710003-935
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)92-116 L @ IND82-4 (0-1)16015-926
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)122-112 W vs. MIN73-3 (0-0)33101+419
Patrick Patterson (OKC)117-95 W vs. MEM52-2 (1-1)41102020
Nerlens Noel (OKC)117-95 W vs. MEM42-4 (0-0)63300-1220
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)117-95 W vs. MEM21-1 (0-0)10100+11
Alex Poythress (ATL)101-119 L vs. TORDNP-CD---------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Knicks (Knox) @ Pistons

7:00 (ESPN): Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt) @ 76ers

7:00: Cavaliers (Knight-out) @ Wizards (Wall-out)

7:30: Bulls @ Nets

8:30: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Mavericks

9:00: Warriors (Cousins) @ Suns (Booker-questionable)

9:30 (ESPN): Timberwolves (Towns) @ Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle)

10:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox)


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via Getty Images)

BBNBA Trade Deadline Roundup

(Photo via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. The 3 P.M. deadline for all NBA trades has officially come and gone without any movement from Anthony Davis. Here’s a quick recap of what all has gone down in the previous 48 hours.

AD remains a Pelican… For now

Starting with Davis, who was not traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers in order to team up with LeBron James.

The Lakers threw every conceivable offer they could (that didn’t include LeBron) at the Pelicans, who outright refused to do business with Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka – the Lakers top two decision makers. It even got to the point where some believe that the Pelicans are actually reverse-tampering with the Lakers and purposefully going out of their way to make sure that Davis didn’t end up in L.A. by Thursday’s deadline. And there is a serious argument in favor of it. The Pelicans pettiness apparently knows no bounds and I don’t blame them one bit. For some reason, the Lakers came across this entire situation as if they were entitled to Davis all along. Which is… not how this works.

Yes, players are becoming more self-aware and are taking advantage of more power, but they can’t just force their way to an opposing team because the other team wants them. No matter how powerful Davis’ agent Rich Paul is, he can’t force the Pelicans to make a deal. And as the deadline came and went, the Lakers didn’t even have a conversation with the Pelicans front office in the hours leading up to 3 P.M.

What we have now are two semi-awkward situations. First, the entire core of young Lakers prospects is now under the impression that they are not going to be around for the long-term future as every single offer the Lakers threw at the Pellies included most of them and immediately made public. Second, the Pelicans now have to go the rest of the season knowing that Davis wanted to get traded but didn’t, that Davis wants to play but likely won’t, and that the team will not be good enough to make the playoffs while Davis sits on the bench in street clothes.

So what next? Well, now that the deadline has passed, the Boston Celtics can now get in on the action and offer whatever they feel is appropriate for Davis. Whether or not that potential deal could include Jayson Tatum is yet to be determined. If you didn’t get enough of your Davis-to-LA fix over the last couple weeks, you’ll get to experience it all over again with an even mightier force in the summer. There is going to be a Davis-to-? rumor every 30 seconds once we hit July 1.

Brandon Knight traded to Cavaliers

As someone who personally cheers on the Cavaliers and has for over a decade now, I am ecstatic that Brandon Knight is being traded to Cleveland. But really I’m only happy about it because it means that Knight comes along with a future first-round pick.

Because here’s the reality of Knight’s situation: his knee is still an issue. After sitting out for nearly two full calendar years with a brutal ACL injury, Knight is clearly still not back to being 100 percent or even anywhere close to that. After making his season debut in the middle of December, he played only six games before sitting out another three. He would play in six more games after that but since then has yet to play a single minute since Jan. 11.

In the 12 games Knight has played in this season, he topped at least eight points only once and shot 23.4 percent from the field overall. The biggest issue in unloading Knight for the Rockets was his contract and the two-years, $30 million he has left. The only way any team would be willing to take that on is if that team was tanking, has the cap space, and needs first-round picks. The Cavaliers – those damned Cavaliers – hit all three of those unfortunate boxes.

I’m not sure what Knight’s role in Cleveland will be, but if he’s healthy, I expect it to be larger than it was in Houston. Knight wasn’t performing up to the standards of a playoff team and Chris Paul has returned from injury. They had no need for Knight anymore. The Cavaliers just suck, so they won’t mind how good or bad Knight plays. They got the pick and that’s all they really wanted.

New York Knicks waive Enes Kanter

In news that should shock absolutely no one, the New York Knicks have decided to move on from center Enes Kanter. The Knicks have been trying to find a suitable trade partner for Kanter, but the $18.6 million left on his deal was too much for another team to swallow. Instead, he’ll be waived and should be a popular figure on the buyout market.

If you aren’t familiar with Kanter’s situation in New York, let me quickly recap. He had hopes of making an All-Star team this season (lofty goals to begin with on a predictably terrible Knicks team) but was soon moved to the bench. Not because he was playing poorly – although he wasn’t playing well – rather due to the Knicks embracing a youth movement. Management slide Kevin Knox into the starting rotation which eventually led to Kanter being stuck to the sidelines. His frustrations quickly boiled over into the media and he all but asked out of New York. Now he has his wish.

The Boston Celtics have already been listed as the top team to snag Kanter of his service once he clears waivers. In 44 appearances this season, Kanter has averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while shooting over 53 percent from the field. Someone looking to make a playoff run is going to pick him up.

Skal Labissiere traded to Trail Blazers

The Sacramento Kings traded Skal Labissiere to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Caleb Swanigan. My reaction is as follows.

“meh”

This trade is ultimately meaningless for both teams. Labissiere, who is in his third NBA season, had his fourth-year team option declined *correction: his team option was picked up* by the Kings as they brought in Marvin Bagley III through the draft and finally received a healthy Harry Giles. After playing rotational minutes through his first two seasons, Labissiere was relegated to the bench this year.

Labissiere averaged 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in nearly 20 minutes per game during his rookie and sophomore campaign with the Kings but has hardly gotten off the bench in 2018-19. He has appeared in only 13 games this season, averaging fewer than nine minutes per game. He turns 23 shortly, so it’s not like he’s a dead asset. There may a team out there can revitalize him, but right now, there really isn’t any other way to describe Labissiere as a basketball besides ‘not good’.

Honestly, I was more surprised the Kings didn’t make a more concerted effort to trade Willie Cauley-Stein, but after they traded for Harrison Barnes, it’s become clear that they’re gunning for a playoff spot. They need Cauley-Stein to do make a run. Labissiere? Not so much.

The trade deadline was wild and filled with several unexpected deals, but nothing too special happened in the world of the BBNBA. However, I would like to take this time to quickly shoutout everyone who has been following and reading about the NBA along with me this season. We still have roughly 30 games remaining, plus the playoffs, and I can’t wait to continue to bring you all my basketball “knowledge” throughout the summer.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


(Photo via NBA.com/Nuggets | Kenneth St George)

BBNBA: The Trade Deadline is Upon Us

(Photo via NBA.com/Nuggets | Kenneth St George)

Good morning, folks. The NBA trade deadline is only a few hours away and the excitement is still brewing. Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

[37-17] Nuggets – 130 @ [29-27] Nets – 135

  • Jamal Murray made his return to the court after missing the previous six games with an ankle injury. Murray put up a 19-point, 11-assist double-double on 8-17 shooting from the field, but his Nuggets squad could never overcome a massive second-half deficit. Brooklyn blew the game open with a 20-point lead to start the third quarter and Denver had to play catchup the rest of the night. They managed to knock it down to under 10 and make the game a bit interesting with about 3 or 4 minutes left, but D’Angelo Russell and the Nets were too much.

  • Trey Lyles continues his recent hot scoring stretch, posting 15 points and five rebounds on 5-10 shooting. Lyles is averaging 18 points per game over his last three, which is also how long Nuggets starting power forward Paul Millsap has been dealing with a slight ankle issue. Millsap missing time last season is what allowed Lyles to burst onto the scene in the first place and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity once again (conveniently right before the trade deadline).
  • After spending the last two weeks in the G League following his NBA debut, Jarred Vanderbilt was brought up and activated on Wednesday night, playing about seven minutes thanks to the lopsided score. In his second ever NBA appearance, Vando pulled down seven rebounds to go along with a block and a steal. He was rushing himself on offense and it caused him to miss some shots at the rim, but there is no denying his motor and rebounding ability. He is a perennial ball hawk when a shot goes up.

[24-31] Pelicans – 125 @ [12-42] Bulls – 120

  • Anthony Davis has still not been traded – and it doesn’t appear he will be by the 3 P.M. deadline – and sat out his ninth game in a row as the Pelicans front office figures out what the hell is going on. If he’s not traded, Davis has said he wants to return and play the rest of the season – although the Pelicans should not let that happen – and he’s been cleared for basketball activities. I’d bet he participates in the All-Star festivities next weekend, however.
  • Davis might have been out, but Julius Randle returned for the first time in six games, as he’s also been dealing with a nagging ankle injury. It sure didn’t seem to bother him though. Randle led the BBNBA in scoring with 31 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while shooting 10-18 from the field (4-6 from three) in 30 minutes. He scored 19 of his points in the fourth quarter alone to help drive the Pelicans victory. Darius Miller hit four threes for 12 points. He also dished out four assists in 29 minutes.

[32-22] Rockets – 127 @ [28-26] Kings – 101

  • The Houston Rockets absolutely blitzed the Sacramento Kings on their home floor Wednesday night, leading the game by 25-plus points from the second quarter on. De’Aaron Fox registered only six points and six assists on 3-8 shooting while Willie Cauley-Stein posted a mere three points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.
  • The blowout did allow Skal Labissiere to find himself some minutes, who posted three points and four rebounds in 12 minutes.
  • James Harden bumped his consecutive games of scoring at least 30 points to 28 after pouring in 36 for the game – 25 of them coming in the first half. Houston led by 31 at halftime and never let off the gas until the final buzzer.
  • In trade news, Brandon Knight was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team deal.

Other notes

  • Eric Bledsoe had a huge game for the Milwaukee Bucks in their 19-point beatdown of the Washington Wizards. Bledsoe recorded 22 points on 8-16 shooting (4-5 from three) to go along with six rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals in 26 minutes. It was the fifth straight win for the NBA-leading Bucks. Bledsoe also threw down an electric putback dunk off of a Giannis Antetokounmpo missed free throw.
  • ”He’s amazing,” Antetokounmpo said of Bledsoe. ”He’s been amazing all year. He came in with a defensive mindset. He was in the passing lanes. He made Bradley Beal take tough shots. He gave us the extra energy and we were able to close the game.”

  • DeMarcus Cousins only played 15 minutes, but still put up 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists as his Golden State Warriors obliterated the San Antonio Spurs with a devastating third quarter scoring onslaught that resulted in a 39-point difference in the end.

  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Julius Randle (NOP)125-120 W @ CHI3110-18 (4-6)73002+1230
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)148-129 W vs. WAS228-16 (4-5)611201+1026
Jamal Murray (DEN)130-135 L @ BKN198-17 (2-4)311102-431
Trey Lyles (DEN)130-135 L @ BKN155-10 (2-5)51103-2122
DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)141-102 W vs. SAS153-6 (0-2)63122+816
Darius Miller (NOP)125-120 W @ CHI124-7 (4-6)14011-129
Malik Monk (CHA)93-99 L @ DAL73-9 (1-5)21011-1119
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)101-127 L vs. HOU63-8 (0-3)26015-2628
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)101-127 L vs. HOU31-5 (0-0)62001-1621
Skal Labissiere (SAC)101-127 L vs. HOU31-3 (1-1)41011+412
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)130-135 L @ BKN00-3 (0-0)7011007
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)93-99 L @ DAL00-4 (0-0)31011-1013
Brandon Knight (HOU)127-101 W @ SACDNP-Traded to CLE----------------
Devin Booker (PHX)88-116 L @ UTADNP-Hamstring----------------
Anthony Davis (NOP)125-120 W @ CHIDNP-Finger----------------
John Wall (WAS)129-148 L @ MILDNP-Heel----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Pacers

7:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Magic (Briscoe)

7:30: Raptors @ Hawks (Poythress)

8:00 (TNT): Lakers (Rondo) @ Celtics

8:00: Grizzlies @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)

10:30 (TNT): Spurs @ Trail Blazers


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


@KentuckyMBB

SEVEN former Cats will be featured in NBA All-Star Weekend

@KentuckyMBB

The BBNBA is no joke. Seven former Wildcats will be participating in various contests during next weekend’s NBA All-Star weekend. Here’s the latest:

The Rising Stars Game (Friday, 2/15): De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox.

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.

It all starts Friday night at 9 p.m. with The Rising Stars Game on TNT. Kevin Knox was just added to the roster for this game, which will feature some of the league’s best first and second-year players.

Saturday night’s action (which, yes, will unfortunately overlap with the Kentucky-Tennessee game) begins at 8 p.m. on TNT. The Skills Challenge will get it started, followed by the 3-Point Contest and then the Slam Dunk Contest. Booker will attempt to defend his title in the 3-point contest after his record-breaking performance last season, where he made 28 successful three-pointers to beat Klay Thompson. This year, he’ll be going against Steph Curry and eight other elite shooters.

Having seven players participate in the weekend’s activities is hugely impressive for Kentucky. Not only will it be a great weekend for the fans, but it can’t hurt things on the recruiting trail.

Let’s do this, Cats.


@MaggieDavisKSR