Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Clippers shocked the world with a record comeback in Game 2 of the NBA playoffs Monday night.
Trailing Golden State by 31 points halfway through the third quarter, L.A. came all the way back to upset the Warriors after having a 0.01% win probability. It took 72 points in 19 minutes to pull off the single greatest comeback in NBA playoff history. SEVENTY TWO POINTS IN NINETEEN MINUTES!!!!
Gilgeous-Alexander scored only four points in the game, but still played 33 big minutes with five assists, four steals and only one turnover, while chasing Steph Curry all over the place on the other end. The former Cat also assisted the biggest play of the game when he drove and kicked it outside to Landry Shamet for the go-ahead 3-pointer with only 16 seconds left.
THE CLIPPERS COME BACK TO STUN THE WARRIORS IN GAME 2 ? pic.twitter.com/iThAGePdh6
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 16, 2019
Cue the “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead joke.” I don’t even have to open Twitter to know it is all over Twitter.
Kentucky hosts Louisville tonight at Kentucky Proud Park.
Fresh off its first road series win over a top 10 opponent since 2015, your University of Kentucky Wildcats baseball team will begin a four-game homestand beginning with Louisville tonight and ending with three straight against Tennessee from Thursday to Saturday.
Tonight’s contest against Louisville will air at 6:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network Plus, but you should consider going out to Kentucky Proud Park instead.
It will be the second and final meeting of the season between the Cats and the Cards; Louisville won the first one, 8-3, at Louisville two weeks ago.
2019 CATSPY Award winners are…
Academic Team of the Year
Women’s Swimming and Diving
Female Rookie of the Year
Rhyne Howard, Women’s Basketball
Male Rookie of the Year
Jason Reyes, Soccer
Terry Wilson, Football
Will Shaner, Rifle
Danny Zhang, Swimming and Diving
Keldon Johnson, Men’s Basketball
Tyler Herro, Men’s Basketball
Dwight St. Hillaire, Track and Field
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Marshall Gei, Baseball
Blake Best, Football
Miles Butler, Football
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Katie Reed, Softball
Community Service Award
C.J. Conrad, Football
Morgan Duerr, Rifle
Merideth Jewell, Volleyball
David Bouvier, Football
Reid Travis, Men’s Basketball
Katie Stuart, Gymnastics
Cole Guindon, Men’s Soccer
McKenzie Watson, Volleyball
Blue Heart Award
Aimé Mabika, Men’s Soccer
Ogechi Anyagaligbo, Women’s Basketball
Katie Reed, Softball
Abbey Cheek, Softball
Maci Morris, Women’s Basketball
Taylor Murray, Women’s Basketball
Josh Allen, Football
Benny Snell Jr., Football
Sidney Dukes, Gymnastics
Alex Hyland, Gymnastics
Katrina Coca, Gymnastics
Danaea Davis, Gymnastics
Aubree Rosa, Gymnastics
Katie Stuart, Gymnastics
Asia Seidt, Women’s Swimming and Diving
Sydney McLaughlin, Women’s Track and Field
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Women’s Track and Field
Marie-Josée Ebwea-Bile Excel, Women’s Track and Field
Tim Duckworth, Men’s Track and Field
Daniel Roberts, Men’s Track and Field
JJ Williams, Men’s Soccer
Leah Edmond, Volleyball
Madison Lilley, Volleyball
Leonie Bettel, Women’s Golf
Bill Keightley Assist Award
Randy Gregory, Men’s Basketball
Heart of a Wildcat
Josh Paschal, Football
Elite Team Award
Women’s Track and Field
ESPN’s Marcus Spears and Laura Rutledge hosted the 17th annual CATSPYs last night. Holly Rowe was also on hand to present Josh Paschal with the Heart of a Wildcat award. Grab a tissue.
DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Woodson headline UK Athletics 2019 Hall of Fame Class.
UK announced its next Hall of Fame class last night with six new inductees in 2019: DeMarcus Cousins (men’s basketball), Henri Junghanel (rifle), A’dia Mathies (women’s basketball), Vic Nelson (cross country/track and field), Don Weber (cross country/track and field and Andre’ Woodson (football).
The new class will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, September 13-14, in conjunction with the home football game against Florida.
Now that the recruiting period is over, The Roommate is catching up on chores.
But how many hours has he spent catching up on his Alaskan wilderness reality shows?
The signing period begins tomorrow.
Starting Wednesday, future college basketball players can officially sign with their respective schools. Of the four committed players in Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class, two of them — Kahlil Whitney and Keion Brooks — haven’t yet submitted their paperwork to UK. Whitney plans to do so on Friday, May 3 from his hometown of Chicago; Brooks hasn’t set a date on his signature (to my knowledge). Calipari checked in with Whitney over the weekend to make sure their plan is still all good.
The DeMarcus Cousins’ injury news is heartbreaking.
Only days after Showtime aired its documentary about Cousins’ comeback from a career-threatening Achilles injury, Cousins suffered a quad injury in last night’s game that will likely keep him out a significant amount of time, maybe even the remainder of the playoffs. He will undergo an MRI today and best case scenario is it is only a strain. We’ll find out soon.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 16th, 2019 @ 8:00am
Last night, former Kentucky center and current Golden State Warrior DeMarcus Cousins fell to the floor with an apparent non-contact left quad injury.
And according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there is “significant concern” that he tore it.
There's significant concern that DeMarcus Cousins has suffered a torn left quad, but there won't be complete certainty until his MRI on Tuesday, league sources tell ESPN. The hope is that it's just a strain.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 16, 2019
The injury occurred when Cousins made an attempt to dive for a loose ball early in the first quarter.
Right away, the 6-foot-11 big man knew something wasn’t right, immediately grabbing at his left leg.
Here was the play:
DeMarcus Cousins limped off and headed to the locker room after chasing down a loose ball
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 16, 2019
And another angle:
Another look at the play which injured Boogie. pic.twitter.com/wBle8wHPOs
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 16, 2019
Walking off the court, Cousins was visibly frustrated with the situation, brushing off teammates trying to help him to the locker room.
Once he got to the tunnel, the former Wildcat lifted up his shorts on the left side, which revealed an obvious sign that things are not right with his quad.
This news comes just 15 months after Cousins suffered a torn left Achilles in January of 2018, 32 games after he made his season debut post-injury, and just one game after he made his first career start and registered his first points in the NBA Playoffs.
Now, an MRI today will not only determine if the former Wildcat’s very first postseason is over, but whether or not he will have to start from scratch in the rehabilitation process.
PJ Washington hired his agent representation and it is none other than Jay Z’s own Roc Nation Sports, the sports management division of Roc Nation.
Washington announced the news on Twitter, saying, “Very excited to continue my journey and announce that I’ve signed with @rocnationsports in preparation for the NBA Draft! Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way – BBN and my entire support system. Can’t wait to get started. #RocFam”
The Roc’s NBA client list is headlined by Kevin Durant, but also lists former UK players Willie Cauley-Stein and James Young among its current client list. You may remember Young sitting courtside with Rihanna at an NBA Playoff game shortly after joining Roc Nation back in 2014. Let’s hope the Roc can do more for Washington’s career than it has done for James Young’s NBA dreams.
The Roc Boys in the building tonight. Oh what a feeling, I’m feeling life…
By Zack Geoghegan on ©April 15th, 2019 @ 11:30am
Good afternoon, folks. Enes Kanter has arrived. Let’s talk NBA playoffs.
(5) Pacers – 74 @ (4) Celtics – 84 (BOS leads 1-0)
- Despite the final score resembling something out of an Alabama-Mississippi State SEC basketball game, the first half between the Pacers and Celtics was quite fun. While the turnovers were endless and missed shots rained from the heavens, it was a highly entertaining first two quarters with the Pacers holding a 45-38 lead (which might resemble the score of an Alabama-Mississippi State SEC football game). Then…. the Pacers scored only eight points in the third quarter – and only 29 for the entire second half. Through the first 8.5 minutes of the third, the Celtics were on a 22-3 run…. We do a lot of brain-melting math here at the BBNBA recaps but we can all agree that three points in almost nine minutes is most definitely not good. That type of run is literally something straight out of an SEC hoops game. Boston’s defense suffocated the Pacers the entire second half and made enough shots on the other end to put the game out of reach for practically all of the final 12 minutes.
(6) Thunder – 99 @ (3) Trail Blazers – 104 (POR leads 1-0)
- Enes Kanter balled the hell out in the playoffs and I’m sure his nipples were as erect as ever. But you didn’t need to see his nipples (wow, that sure was a sentence) to know that he was ready to go in his first playoff appearance since 2017. Kanter posted 20 points and 18 rebounds in his first ever playoff start on 8-15 shooting. The most impressive aspect of his game, however, was his defense. He still got burned more than a handful of times in the pick-and-roll and gave up 17 points to Steven Adams, but had a couple of impressive blocks and was fully engaged on the defensive end. He’s not going to ever be some sort of forcefield protecting the paint, but he did more than enough to keep the Thunder out of the paint. It also didn’t hurt for Portland that Paul George is clearly still battling a shoulder injury. If Paul George isn’t playing at 100 percent, the Thunder don’t have that great of a chance to win this series, in my opinion.
- Oklahoma City received 11 fantastic minutes from Nerlens Noel, as he added eight points and six rebounds on 4-5 shooting. He also yammed all over Zach Collins with this nasty baseline dunk.
Nerlens Noel ? pic.twitter.com/Gcmr5vGXDj
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 14, 2019
- Noel was active and playing scrappy. He just played sound basketball and did everything that was asked of him – nothing more.
(8) Pistons – 86 @ (1) Bucks – 121 (MIL leads 1-0)
- Go ahead and mark this one a sweep, folks. Blake Griffin was out of Game 1 for Detroit and now it’s being reported that he’ll miss the entire first round with a sore knee. The Bucks were up 20 after the first quarter, led by as many as 43, and never trailed. Nothing about this game was fair for the Pistons and the next three won’t bring any sort of optimism.
- But in the Bucks blowout victory, Eric Bledsoe recorded 15 points, three rebounds, and five assists with no turnovers on 5-9 shooting. Bledsoe was a plus-27 in only 25 minutes. The Pistons suck.
(5) Jazz 90 @ (4) Rockets – 120 (HOU leads 1-0)
- To cap off the second night of the NBA playoffs, the Houston Rockets easily took care of the Utah Jazz behind 29 points from James Harden. The Jazz tried something I have not seen from any team this season, which was to force Harden into the middle of the floor near the free throw line. Let me explain… Jazz defenders were, quite literally, letting Harden go by them so the defender was always on Harden’s back as he barrelled towards the basket and a sitting Rudy Gobert waiting for him under the basket. In my personal analysis, the plan didn’t work. I believe the goal of this was to make Harden shoot as many floaters as possible. Keep him off the three-point line and away from the rim – his two most efficient shots. The Jazz defending Harden this way also took away his ability to get to the free throw line. Harden is best at creating fouls either on three-pointers or when driving to the rim. He can’t do that when he has to shoot floaters over Gobert.
- Whenever the Jazz did force Harden into a floater, the scheme worked. While Harden can make the floater, he missed at least half of those attempts he put up. If we’re looking at it from purely an analytic standpoint, the Utah defense created the shot they wanted. But Harden is an offensive genius. There’s a reason he’s the most unguardable scorer since Michael Jordan. When the Jazz forced him to the middle, he would draw Gobert as close as possible before flicking up a lob to Clint Capela or rifle a pass into the corner for a stand-still P.J. Tucker or Danuel House. Harden posted 10 assists to only three turnovers. He still shot over 40 percent from the field. The Jazz lost by 30 and Gobert (the presumed Defensive Player of the Year) was nearly played off the court by Harden’s exploitation of the Jazz newfound defensive plan.
- So to summarize, the Jazz tried to force Harden into the high paint and into floaters that are statistically worse shots than three-pointers, layups, and free throws, but the Rockets had it beat by the second half. Houston would set screens in the corner to pop open shooters once Harden got into the paint and the rest if history. Utah’s scheme accomplished the primary goal but failed to account for the variable that Harden is just way too damn good to let him purposefully drive into the paint with no resistance. Game 2 should probably look a bit different from the persecptive of Utah’s defense on Harden.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Enes Kanter (POR)||104-99 W vs. OKC||20||8-15 (0-1)||18||2||1||2||2||+15||34|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||121-86 W vs. DET||15||5-9 (2-4)||3||5||1||0||0||+27||25|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||99-104 L @ POR||8||4-5 (0-0)||6||0||0||0||0||+8||11|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||99-104 L @ POR||DNP-Elbow||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||99-104 L @ POR||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||104-99 W vs. OKC||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
8:00 (TNT): Nets @ Sixers
10:30 (TNT): Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Warriors (Cousins)
By Zack Geoghegan on ©April 14th, 2019 @ 3:30pm
A painful and depressing year away from basketball is changing DeMarcus Cousins’ view on life. He’s spent the last 10 years of his life being associated with the “Boogie” moniker, but now, he just wants to be DeMarcus.
In an excellent and detailed article by Lonnae O’Neal of The Undefeated, Cousins talks about how he’s been perceived since beginning his basketball career in Alabama high schools. The constant negativity, misconstrued stories, and his battle to get through it all with a somewhat level head.
*All quotes are credited to The Undefeated’s article*
The article touches on how Cousins does endless amounts of charity work for his community, both past and present, along with the emotions of recovering from a brutal Achilles injury last year. Having a year off “Has slowed me down,” Cousins says. It’s helped “me see the reality of this whole business, just appreciating every moment.”
Watching the progression and growth of Cousins since his one-year at Kentucky has been beautiful. He’s a model example of being put in terrible situation after terrible situation (sometimes to his own fault) while finding a way to overcome the adversity and make himself a better man because of it.
The Boogie we know is the version of himself that Cousins wants to leave in the past. “I don’t want to be Boogie,” Cousins says. “I just wanna be DeMarcus.”
“It’s so much extra put on with Boogie”, Cousins said.
Definitely check out the full article by O’Neal. It’s loaded with interesting notes about Cousins and his past.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©April 14th, 2019 @ 12:30pm
Good morning, folks. If you heard that opening day of the postseason would be a boring affair, you were woefully misinformed. Let’s talk NBA playoffs.
(6) Nets – 111 @ (3) 76ers – 102 (BKN leads 1-0)
- Let’s start in Philadelphia and get all the non-BBNBA games out of the way. The three-seeded 76ers fell to the six-seeded Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 by a score of 111-102. But the controversy wasn’t the Nets upset win, rather a cell phone incident on the sideline between 76ers superstar Joel Embiid and veteran reserve Amir Johnson. Embiid was caught by cameras looking at Johnson’s phone as he checked it during the middle of the game. The Internet immediately lost its mind.
Philly texting on the Sixers bench as the Nets had a lead on them all game pic.twitter.com/2ogjPhajPj
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 13, 2019
Joel Embiid says Amir Johnson was checking his phone because “his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on his daughter” pic.twitter.com/ZXVyd8iTT3
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 13, 2019
- If Embiid’s claim that Johnson was checking on his extremely sick daughter, then I personally don’t understand what the big deal is. Should Johnson have his phone out during a playoff game? No. But does it really have an impact on the actual game? Would Philly have won if Johnson kept his phone in his pocket? No. Johnson has already been fined by the Sixers for the incident – a fine I believe was more about the principle of the rules rather than “detrimental conduct”. This isn’t an issue that should be debated beyond yesterday.
- Now to the upsets.
(7) Magic – 104 @ (2) Raptors – 101 (ORL leads 1-0)
- Jodie Meeks only appeared on the court for Toronto for two minutes, but still managed to drill a triple in the process as his Raptors team fell at home to the Magic in Game 1. And once again, we can bask in the glory that is the Raptors absolutely blowing it in the playoffs. What’s that? DeMar DeRozan is gone? Doesn’t matter. Kyle Lowry forgets how to play basketball once those initial 82 games come to a conclusion and Kawhi Leonard’s 25 points didn’t even matter. D.J. Augustin buried a three with under four seconds left to break the tie and ultimately give Orlando a massive 1-0 advantage. Augustin finished with a team-high 25 points.
(8) Clippers – 104 @ (1) Warriors – 121 (GSW leads 1-0)
- Of course, the only upset I wanted to see, didn’t happen. The Los Angeles Clippers held strong for the majority of the first three quarters but were overwhelmed by the stacked Golden State Warriors in Game 1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander opened his playoff career with a solid outing for the Clips, posting a BBNBA-high 18 points on 6-16 shooting (3-6 from deep) to go along with five rebounds and three blocks.
- DeMarcus Cousins playoff debut didn’t go as well. Cousins fouled out after only 21 minutes, but not before he registered nine points on 4-12 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists (and six turnovers). But the worse news is Cousins was a minus-17 in those 21 minutes. And if my math is correct… that was the final difference in the end. The Clippers were baiting Cousins into open threes, to which he happily obliged – and then missed.
- Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley were both ejected after receiving two double-technical fouls in a matter of 20 seconds while Steph Curry broke the record for most made three-pointers in playoff history. Curry finished with 38 points and made eight of his 12 attempts from deep. Geez…
(7) Spurs – 101 @ (2) Nuggets – 96 (SAS leads 1-0)
- The playoff debut for Jamal Murray is one he’ll want to forget as soon as possible. The former Kentucky guard got off 24 shots against the Spurs but connected on only eight of them for 17 points. 17 points on 24 shots is not quite ideal for a Game 1 playoff matchup. Actually, the Nuggets as a team shot under 22 percent from deep (6-28) – they shot worse than that only three times in the regular season. The Nuggets aren’t used to not breaking 100 points (they did that only 12 times in the regular season). Murray was just missing wide-open looks, including the clean mid-range attempt he missed right before the end that would have won the game for Denver. He did finish with six steals, however, a career high.
- Denver is the only team of the three upsets that I’m not worried about. The Spurs did look good but did so by bombarding Nikola Jokic on every possession. Jokic was making plays like a young (and oversized) Chris Paul all night but it didn’t matter when his teammates weren’t hitting. Once those shots start to fall, the Nuggets will take off. This is the team a lot of pundits are worried about because of their overall playoff inexperience and star power flowing through a plodding big man with love handles, but they’re built for this. They can torch teams for 120 on any given night. It’s going to happen to San Antonio in this series (they hit that mark 17 times in the regular season). Keep an eye on the rest of this series, it’s only going to get better from here.
- Check out the full stat sheet below. On deck for Sunday’s games, we have Eric Bledsoe and Enes Kanter headlining Game 1’s for their respective teams.
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||104-121 L @ GSW||18||6-16 (3-6)||5||1||0||3||1||-8||34|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||96-101 L vs. SAS||17||8-24 (0-6)||2||0||6||0||2||+5||34|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||121-104 W vs. LAC||9||4-12 (1-3)||9||4||1||0||6||-17||21|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||101-104 L @ TOR||3||1-2 (0-0)||0||1||0||0||0||+4||2|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||96-101 L vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||96-101 L vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TODAY IN THE NBA
1:00 (TNT): Pacers @ Celtics
3:30 (ABC): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Trail Blazers (Kanter, Labissiere)
7:00 (TNT): Pistons @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
9:30 (TNT): Jazz @ Rockets
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 13th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
Back in January, Showtime announced a documentary highlighting former Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins’ devastating Achilles injury suffered back in January of 2018 and his long journey to return to basketball.
Now, Boogie’s comeback story is available for you to stream online.
The documentary aired tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on Showtime, but if you missed it, you can head to Showtime.com and watch the replay.
Here are just a few of the previews they released prior to the airing:
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) April 13, 2019
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) March 23, 2019
Don’t have Showtime? You can get a seven-day free trial here.
While we’re on the topic, Cousins made his NBA Playoffs debut for the Golden State Warriors this evening.
Here he was scoring the very first postseason points of his career:
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 14, 2019
Welcome back, Boogie.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 13th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
The NBA Playoffs are set to tip off this afternoon, and the University of Kentucky will be heavily represented in both conferences, as 13 total former Wildcats (12 players and one head coach) will be getting the postseason rolling.
Eric Bledsoe (Milwaukee), Jodie Meeks (Toronto), and Dwane Casey (Detroit) will compete in the Eastern Conference, while DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State), Hamidou Diallo (OKC), Nerlens Noel (OKC), Patrick Patterson (OKC), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Los Angeles), Enes Kanter (Portland), Skal Labissiere (Portland), Trey Lyles (Denver), Jamal Murray (Denver), and Jarred Vanderbilt (Denver) will represent the school in the Western Conference.
12 active players from one school is second-most among all NBA teams in the Playoffs.
Had our fingerprints all over the regular season. About to do the same in the postseason. Good luck to the #NBACats in the NBA Playoffs.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 12, 2019
The first Wildcat in action will be this afternoon at 5:00 p.m. when Meeks’ Toronto Raptors take on the Orlando Magic on ESPN. Then, Cousins and Gilgeous-Alexander will make their NBA Playoffs debuts when the Warriors take on the Clippers at 8:00 p.m. And then tonight, Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt and the Nuggets will host San Antonio at 10:30 p.m.
And then tomorrow, five Wildcats will compete against one-another at 3:30 p.m. when the Oklahoma City Thunder (Diallo, Noel, and Patterson) take on the Portland Trailblazers (Kanter and Labissiere). Afterward, Bledsoe’s Bucks will begin their series against Casey’s Pistons at 7:00 p.m.
Best of luck to all BBNBA members in their pursuit of the 2019 NBA Championship trophy.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 11th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
The NBA regular season may be over, but one former Kentucky Wildcat is still dealing with the adversities that come with being a rookie in the league.
On his Snapchat story last night, New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox posted a video of a rookie prank his teammates pulled on him.
To his surprise, Knox found his Land Rover loaded to the ceiling with packing peanuts.
Kevin Knox got pranked by the rest of the Knicks ? pic.twitter.com/snzmVEW5Sb
— KY Clips™? (@KY_Clips) April 11, 2019
If you’ll remember, former Kentucky guard Devin Booker received a similar rookie surprise back in 2016 by the veterans on the Phoenix Suns.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 9, 2016
Instead of complaining, Booker took it like a champ and drove his car home as-is.
Thanks to my vets? pic.twitter.com/gUuxr1D4p3
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) February 9, 2016
With the worst record in the NBA to close out the regular season, Knox will have the opportunity to return the favor next year with possibly the No. 1 overall draft pick.
You’re next, Zion.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©April 11th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
The regular season for the NBA came to a close on Wednesday night, with a few teams solidifying their postseason seeding ahead of the playoffs, which begin Saturday. Here’s the schedule for the entire first-round.
As you can see, there are going to be a few playoff matchups without any members of the BBNBA; PHI vs. BKN, HOU vs. UTA, and BOS vs. IND. As exciting as those three series should be, I’ll go ahead and give you a heads up, they won’t be covered with nearly as much effort as the other matchups. What we’re going to focus on is the former Kentucky Wildcats, so let’s list them real quick by matchup and give a bit of a preview to go along with it.
(1) Warriors vs. (8) Clippers
- This is already the first round matchup I’m most excited for, even if is likely to end in a Warriors sweep. But the Clippers are sneaky good. They have been all season long and the majority of it has been done without a bonafide All-Star. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is going to get his first taste of the NBA playoffs on the biggest stage against the two-time defending champs. If you haven’t been able to watch SGA at all this year, get ready to be awestruck. I don’t expect the fear of going head-to-head with Steph Curry to affect him much. However, if the Clippers want any chance of stealing a couple of games, they’re gonna need a big outing or two from the former Kentucky guard. And that means posting major numbers against one of the all-time greats while also chasing him around the court for endless periods of time. The experience of playing in a playoff atmosphere – and not faltering under the pressure – is all I’m looking for from SGA.
- But it’s a different story for DeMarcus Cousins and the Warriors. This is going to be Boogie’s first ever playoff appearance in his eight-year career, and while he’s still working himself back into game shape, the expectations for him to perform at a high-level are going to be daunting. This is why Cousins shocked the basketball world and signed with the Warriors – to show out in the playoffs. He should expect a significant pay raise in the summer – although probably not the max deal he’d like – but it also depends on how well he does in the Warriors run to a three-peat. The Clippers don’t have a frontcourt player that can compete with Boogie on the block so he’ll have a significant overall advantage. This will be a great warm-up series that will allow us to get a better idea of how impactful Boogie can be on this loaded Warriors team if things get messy.
Prediction: Warriors in 4
(2) Nuggets vs. (7) Spurs
- This should be one of those “under-the-radar yet also extremely thrilling” type of series. The Spurs are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time and the Nuggets haven’t been in the playoffs since 2013. I’m not calling an upset here, but I’m also not going to be surprised if San Antonio steals more than one game off of Denver. But the Spurs don’t have any former Kentucky players. The Nuggets have three.
- Let’s go ahead and establish the fact that Jarred Vanderbilt isn’t going to play. It’s been awesome to see him finally get some run on an NBA court and looking healthier than ever, but he’s not ready for this environment and there is way too much talent ahead of him. I’m not even so sure that Trey Lyles will see consistent – if any – minutes. He’d have a tough time guarding either of Davis Bertans (an excellent outside shooting big) or Rudy Gay (a quicker forward than Lyles) and his shooting has been a disaster for most of the season. The Nuggets will likely prefer to go smaller and faster, spreading minutes across to players such as Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, and probably Juancho Hernangomez.
- The X-Factor for Denver is going to be Jamal Murray. He had a brilliant yet frustratingly inconsistent third season. He’ll average 20 points in five straight games only to combine for 20 total over his next three. That absolutely cannot happen in the playoffs, especially against a Spurs backcourt that he towers over (and not the other way around). Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills can’t contain Murray. They physically can’t. You think Marco Bellinelli wants to exert any defensive effort to guard Murray instead of popping open for triples on the other end? Absolutely not. Derrick White is the only Spurs defender who can handle Murray – and White really is a good defender. This is Murray’s first playoff experience and he’s coming into it playing sound basketball. Let’s just hope he can keep it up.
Prediction: Nuggets in 5
(3) Trail Blazers vs. (6) Thunder
- Here we have the BBNBA special. Five former Kentucky players (two from Portland, three from OKC) will be featured in what will be a starstudded first-round series. However, odds are high we’ll only see two of the three actually play. Skal Labissiere played his heart out in the Blazers last regular season game against a bunch of G Leaguers and even without Jusuf Nurkic, I’d be shocked to see him play any meaningful minutes. His frontcourt counterpart, on the other hand, is Enes Kanter, and he’ll be in the starting lineup.
- Playing against his former team, Kanter is going to have his hands full against the physical beast that is Steven Adams. The good thing for Kanter (and his horrendous defensive abilities) is that Adams isn’t a scorer. The Thunder runs everything through Russell Westbrook and Paul George while Adams feasts on the boards better than 99 percent of the NBA. Keeping him off the glass will be Kanter’s biggest challenge and it could be the reason he gets played off the court. If the Thunder emphasizes attacking Kanter in the pick-and-roll on every other possession, he could be in for a long series. I think the Blazers are going to make this a fun series almost solely because of Damian Lillard (with a sprinkle of C.J. McCollum in there, as well), not because Kanter averages a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, although that would be awesome (and probably necessary if the Blazers want to move on).
- As for OKC, Hamidou Diallo won’t play. It doesn’t look like Patrick Patterson will play much, either. It’s going to be up to Nerlens Noel to satisfy your Wildcat hunger. But Noel will play. He’s the primary backup to Adams and has thrived in his role. Noel averages less than 15 minutes per game on the season and I’d expect him to hover around that range in this series. He’ll be able to defend Kanter, Zach Collins, or Meyers Leonard with plenty of trust from his teammates and coaching staff. Noel is going to give his all every minute he’s on the court. That gives him a ton of value in a playoff setting.
Prediction: Thunder in 7
(1) Bucks vs. (8) Pistons
- Eric Bledsoe is the lone Wildcat between these two teams, but he plays a massively important role for Milwaukee. Bledsoe had his best season to date and was a borderline All-Star (in my opinion, he was an All-Star) as a starter on the best team in the NBA. The Bucks underwent an entire change in philosophy and approach once they hired head coach Mike Budenzholer and the results have been historic. Milwaukee is an elite offensive team backed by an even better defensive line. Detroit just kind of exists and Blake Griffin isn’t 100 percent healthy. Bledsoe could come out and lay a dud all series and the Bucks would still pull out a convincing sweep as long as Giannis Antetokounmpo plays half as good as he has been all year.
- Against Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Ish Smith, and any other mediocre backcourt player the Pistons decide to toss into the fire, Bledsoe will have no issue. He’s been decimating teams at the rim this season and none of the players just listed can prevent him from getting there. This is the only first-round series I don’t expect to see anything competitive from one side for four games and Bledsoe is a big reason as to why.
Prediction: Bucks in 4
(2) Raptors vs. (7) Magic
- This could have been soooo much better had Isaiah Briscoe not been forced into surgery due to a torn meniscus and subsequently released by the Magic. Instead, the only Kentucky product to cheer on will be Jodie Meeks, who was signed to Toronto a few weeks ago. But Meeks should find the court as a three-point specialist. He’s hit eight of his 18 attempted triples in eight games as a Raptor, playing 13 minutes per game. And that will be his role in this series, one the Raptors should win handily.
- Man… I really wanted to see Briscoe in the playoffs. Now it’s just going to be Kawhi Leonard overpowering a bunch of seven-foot forwards acting as wing players. Can’t wait…
Prediction: Raptors in 4
In reality, there’s only going to be six members of the BBNBA that will play significant time; SGA, Boogie, Murray, Noel, Kanter, and Bledsoe. These are the dudes to keep an eye on. And for what it’s worth, I’m taking Houston in 6 against the Jazz, Philly in 5 over Brooklyn, and Boston over Indiana in 6.
Once again, the playoffs start on SATURDAY. Let’s get it.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 11th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
A new documentary chronicling DeMarcus Cousins’ comeback and decision to join the Golden State Warriors will air this Saturday on Showtime.
“The Resurgence: DeMarcus Cousins” gives a behind-the-scenes look at Cousins’ grueling rehab from a career-threatening injury and the troubles it caused in his free agency plans last summer. Complete with home videos and interviews with those who know him best, we see exactly what the former Kentucky Wildcat had to endure over the last year, undoubtedly the most challenging year of his young life.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy and I can confirm it is must-see TV for Boogie fans and Boogie haters. His fans will learn so much more about him, going all the way back to his Baby Boogie days in Alabama as the big brother in a fatherless household, through his time at UK and on to the NBA. His haters will see the real DeMarcus Cousins and how he is one of the more genuine and loyal people in the league, and why he ultimately landed with the NBA’s best team. “The Resurgence” should change a lot of opinions about one of the league’s most hated players.
Watch a trailer for the documentary and then make sure you’re signed up for Showtime so you can catch it when it premieres this Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m.
It will only make you love Boogie even more.
Good afternoon, folks. Skal Labissiere waited until the very last game of the regular season to finally show out. Let’s talk NBA.
- Welcome to the final regular season BBNBA recap post. The season is far from over with the playoffs tipping off on Saturday, but there was still plenty to talk about on the final day of the 2018-19 season. There were several notable names who were held out for rest/health reasons, such as Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Enes Kanter, but the reserves more than picked up the slack.
- Before we get into the monster performance Skal put up on Wednesday, let’s start from the top.
- Starting in Atlanta, where Isaac Humphries played in his fifth consecutive game to end the Hawks season. Unfortunately, he only saw a little over one minute of action but still managed two points and a rebound. Humphries ends his stint with the Hawks averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in over 11 minutes per game.
- Bam Adebayo played only 18 minutes for the Miami Heat, who decided to roll with veteran Udonis Haslem to cap off their season. The former Kentucky big still managed 10 points and six rebounds. Dwyane Wade finished off his NBA career with a 25-point triple-double.
- The rookie season for Kevin Knox ended the same way it began – with a poor shooting game. Knox shot 3-12 from the field and 0-6 from deep for nine points to go along with seven rebounds. Knox needed the offseason to get here A.S.A.P.
- Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets can officially prepare for the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2013 after finishing off the Minnesota Timberwolves at home. Murray posted 17 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists for Denver.
- The Los Angeles Clippers apparently didn’t want the regular season to end, as they needed overtime to knock off the Utah Jazz, 143-137. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander registered eight points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals to complete an outstanding rookie season. And even though I don’t want to mention it, I will, because Grayson Allen scoring 40 points is… surprising. Not because it took him 30 shots to get there or because he shouldn’t even be on an NBA roster, but because he managed to go an entire basketball game without overextending his foot and chopping it into someone else’s ankles like an out-of-control Razor scooter. Now that is impressive. Shoutout to Grayson.
- But now for the game of the night. The Portland Trail Blazers emptied the bench against the Sacramento Kings and it was… awesome. De’Aaron Fox still put up 17 points and nine rebounds on 8-10 shooting in a mere 16 minutes because there literally wasn’t a single member of the Blazers on the court who could stop him. Seriously, this was a borderline G League game at times. Willie Cauley-Stein put up eight points and five rebounds in only 17 minutes. The real fun, however, was the 40 minutes of Skal Labissiere I’ve eagerly been waiting to see. Skal led the BBNBA with 29 points, which somehow wasn’t a career-high (he posted 32 against the Suns in March of 2017), and added 15 rebounds, which tied a career-high. This was the first time Labissiere has seen real minutes since, well… last season. He shot 12-17 from the field against the Kings, drilled two threes, had a couple of insane putback dunks, and looked like the best version of himself I’ve seen since he was a rookie. The Kings also blew a 30-point lead after sitting the starters. But I honestly can’t even properly describe Labissiere’s play because it was something I haven’t seen from him all year. He was posting up, driving to the basket, draining stepbacks. The confidence was oozing. Now, he was going up against defenders such as Nemanja Bjelica and Caleb Swanigan – who did not look flattering in the Kings uniform – and his rookie teammate Anfernee Simons put up 37 points, as well. I still don’t know how good Skal is yet and all this game did was build up some hype, but he played a great game. Maybe he can sneak in for some playoff minutes.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||136-131 W vs. SAC||29||12-17 (2-2)||15||1||2||1||2||-9||40|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||131-136 L @ POR||17||8-10 (1-1)||1||9||0||0||1||+19||16|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||99-95 W vs. MIN||17||6-12 (3-7)||8||7||0||1||2||+16||34|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||94-113 L @ BKN||10||4-7 (1-2)||6||0||1||0||2||-10||18|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||89-115 L vs. DET||9||3-12 (0-6)||7||1||0||0||3||-26||28|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||131-136 L @ POR||8||3-3 (0-0)||5||0||0||0||0||+16||17|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||143-137 (OT) W vs. UTA||8||3-6 (0-0)||2||3||2||0||1||+5||24|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||127-116 W @ MIL||2||1-3 (0-0)||2||2||1||1||0||+3||9|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||114-122 L vs. ORL||2||1-4 (0-2)||2||3||0||0||1||-9||17|
|Isaac Humphries (ATL)||134-135 L vs. IND||2||1-1 (0-0)||1||0||0||0||0||-1||1|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||114-122 L vs. ORL||0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||-4||1|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||134-135 L vs. IND||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||127-116 W @ MIL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||127-116 W @ MIL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||116-127 L vs. OKC||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||99-95 W vs. MIN||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||99-95 W vs. MIN||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Enes Kanter (POR)||136-131 W vs. SAC||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||95-99 L @ DEN||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||117-132 L @ MEM||DNP-Load Management||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
None! The playoff bracket is officially set, too. I’ll have a detailed post outlining each matchup later in the day. Playoffs begin Saturday.
Good morning, folks. Anthony Davis has seen his last game as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. Let’s talk NBA.
- It was just your regular day in the NBA on Tuesday. Magic Johnson unexpectedly (and thankfully) quit on the Lakers without telling his boss first. Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki both scored 30 points in their last NBA home game. Jamal Crawford scored 51 at age 62. The Thunder and Blazers both won off clutch shots at the end of the game. The Pistons officially made the playoffs. And Anthony Davis is still trolling, but let’s start with recapping the games.
- Brandon Knight – my Comeback Player of the Year – scored nine points for the Cavaliers in their blowout loss to the Charlotte Hornets, who were eliminated from the playoffs. Malik Monk added eight points, three rebounds, and four assists for Charlotte, who were without Michael Kidd-Gilchrst for the second straight game as he tends to personal matters.
- Wade was the centerpiece of Miami’s 23-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers, but Bam Adebayo played a great game without having to worry about a patrolling Joel Embiid. Adebayo posted 19 points and nine boards on 8-11 shooting for the Heat.
- Kevin Knox registered a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double – the third of his career – in a Knicks win over the Chicago Bulls.
- In New Orleans, all three former Wildcats were sidelined, but that didn’t prevent Anthony Davis from digging deep into his bag of petty streetwear. Davis wore a shirt that had the words “That’s all folks!” printed across his chest and it’s kind of hilarious but also not a great look.
Anthony Davis arrives for the Pelicans last game of the season wearing a ‘that’s all folks!’ shirt…… pic.twitter.com/Nu4SNCqq6I
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 9, 2019
- Interpret that as you please.
- DeMarcus Cousins added 21 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists for the Warriors against his former team as Golden State beat the Pellies 112-103.
- In Utah, the Jazz edged out a win over the Denver Nuggets despite Jamal Murray going for 22 points and five rebounds.
- And lastly, in Los Angeles, the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Lakers thanks to a game-winning shot from Moe Harkless. Enes Kanter led the BBNBA with 22 points and 16 rebounds on 8-13 shooting for Portland.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
- Tonight is also the last night of the NBA regular season. Playoffs start on Sunday.
|Enes Kanter (POR)||104-101 W @ LAL||22||8-13 (1-1)||16||2||1||0||3||+15||36|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||108-118 L @ UTA||22||9-21 (3-6)||5||1||1||0||2||-18||30|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||112-103 W @ NOP||21||7-18 (1-5)||12||6||1||1||3||+7||34|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||122-99 W vs. PHI||19||8-11 (0-0)||9||2||1||2||0||+16||22|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||96-86 W @ CHI||17||5-16 (4-8)||10||2||0||0||1||+12||34|
|Brandon Knight (CLE)||97-124 L vs. CHA||9||3-10 (3-5)||5||2||0||0||2||-19||31|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||124-97 W @ CLE||8||3-7 (2-6)||3||4||2||2||1||+14||23|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||120-100 W @ MIN||7||3-5 (1-3)||1||1||0||0||1||+20||17|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||112-111 W vs. HOU||4||2-3 (0-0)||2||0||0||1||1||-1||11|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||108-118 L @ UTA||4||1-1 (0-0)||0||0||1||0||0||+6||2|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||109-120 L @ DAL||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||103-112 L vs. GSW||DNP-Back||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Julius Randle (NOP)||103-112 L vs. GSW||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||108-118 L @ UTA||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||112-111 W vs. HOU||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||112-111 W vs. HOU||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||104-101 W @ LAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||101-104 L vs. POR||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|John Wall (WAS)||110-116 L vs. BOS||DNP-Heel||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||103-112 L vs. GSW||DNP-Hip||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||100-120 L vs. TOR||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||124-97 W @ CLE||DNP-Personal||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
8:00: Pacers @ Hawks (Poythress-out)
8:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Nets
8:00 (ESPN): Magic @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)
8:00: Pistons @ Knicks (Knox)
8:00: Bulls @ 76ers
8:00: Warriors (Cousins) @ Grizzlies
8:00: Thunder (Diall0, Noel, Patterson) @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
8:00: Mavericks @ Spurs
10:30: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt)
10:30 (ESPN): Jazz @ Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander)
10:30: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox) @ Trail Blazers (Kanter, Labissiere)
Well, here we are – days away from the start of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. This was my first full season covering the BBNBA for KSR and while it’s not quite over with yet, it has granted me more amusement, entertainment, and headache than I ever imagined possible just from watching/writing about that beautiful orange ball.
Now is when the fun truly begins. The upcoming playoffs aren’t going to resemble the postseasons of old. The ones where the good matchups don’t formulate until the Conference Finals or even the NBA Finals. No, these playoffs are going to be fantastic from start to finish. There’s going to be something of notice and value in each and every matchup and I intend on taking you all along for the ride with me. The unfortunate news is that most of the BBNBA roster is spread out across non-playoff teams. So, in reality, there will only be about 7-8 former Wildcats who will receive significant minutes in the playoffs – and possibly a few more depending on what happens with Bam Adebayo in Miami and Malik Monk/Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in Charlotte. Regardless, the content will be there.
But before we can preview any potential playoff matchups (mainly because the standings are still not set in stone just quite) we need to hand out some awards. I split the categories into Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, along with a 1st and 2nd team All-BBNBA. Let’s get to it, starting with MVP.
Most Valuable Player – Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)
Through all the nonsense and media interrogation Karl-Anthony Towns has been dragged into as a result of the whole Jimmy Butler-Minnesota debacle, he deserves this award. Towns is having his best season to date, even if the raw numbers don’t indicate it. He’s averaging a smooth 24.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game while shooting nearly 52 percent from the field and right at 40 percent from three. If we take away the first few weeks when Butler was a member of the Timberwolves, those numbers go up even slightly higher.
Minnesota won’t make the playoffs this year after finally returning from a long hiatus the season before, but what KAT has been able to do for his team since the All-Star break is borderline historic. He has been just ripping teams apart for 30-point, 15-rebound performances, drilling an unorthodox amount of triples while dominating in the post and demanding his teammates move the hell out of his path of terror. Towns has a legitimate shot to land himself on an All-NBA team this season, as well. He was the Wolves best player all season and one the franchise has seemingly (and finally) gone all in on. It’s about damn time, too. There’s a chance KAT is looking at real NBA MVP awards in his near future.
Runners up: Devin Booker (PHX) and De’Aaron Fox (SAC)
Most Improved Player – Julius Randle (NOP)
This was actually a hard one to pick. Out of De’Aaron Fox, Eric Bledsoe, and Julius Randle, all three players made massive strides in their game this season. Bledsoe’s was probably the most impressive, considering his age and where he was with Phoenix last year. Fox was expected to get better after a worrisome rookie year, but not this good. However, Randle went from a Los Angeles Lakers afterthought to a player that would have the second-best on that roster – next to LeBron James – had they resigned him.
What Randle has done in New Orleans amidst all the internal drama with the Anthony Davis trade saga is nothing short of impressive. Davis has been in and out of the Pelicans lineup for basically the entire second half of the season (which is why you won’t find his name on any of these personal awards) with Randle carrying the frontcourt responsibilities. And he did so in spectacular fashion for a team actively trying to lose. The former Kentucky big is averaging a career-high 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game this season while shooting over 52 percent from the field and – most impressively – over 34 percent from deep on 2.4 attempts per game.
Randle is no longer just a bruiser in the post, he’s elevated his game to stretch across all areas of the court. He’s a much smarter passer, can be the focal point of an offense, has extended his range, and can still body the living hell out of any and all opposing big men. What was once purely brute strength has now been harnessed into pinpoint timing and accuracy combined with that overbearing size of his. He’s one of the biggest bargains in the NBA at under $9 million this season and he should expect double that if he decides to test free agency in the summer.
Runners up: De’Aaron Fox (SAC) and Eric Bledsoe (MIL)
Rookie of the Year – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should easily make 1st Team All-Rookie this season, joining future stars such as Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton, and Marvin Bagley. So it wasn’t hard to pick him as the BBNBA Rookie of the Year. Kevin Knox had a historically poor shooting season for a rookie and Hamidou Diallo couldn’t get off the bench enough outside of the Dunk Contest to fight for the award. But SGA isn’t winning this award by default, he truly is one of the best rookies in what is shaping up to be an insanely talented draft class. There’s a reason the Clippers – a 47-win playoff team – have started him for 72 out of 81 possible games so far. He’s the type of player they can build around. The type of player they can trust to learn from his mistakes. His progression from November to now would be unheard of if it didn’t mirror what he did during his lone season at Kentucky.
Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 10.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists for the Clips while shooting over 47 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from deep. He’s methodical in how he attacks the basket, almost like an ever-suspicious kitten plodding around its new house, slowing gaining a complete understanding of its surroundings. He stops. He goes. He waits… He plots. There aren’t many 20-year olds that NBA historians can point to and confidently say that they understood the game better than SGA does. He’s the starting point guard on a playoff team as a rookie and that is wholly by design. He’s the most valuable asset the Clippers have right now.
Runner up: Kevin Knox (NYK)
Comeback Player of the Year – Brandon Knight (HOU/CLE)
The obvious candidate for this award is DeMarcus Cousins and how he overcame a career-threatening Achilles injury, joined the Golden State Warriors, and returned to the court playing high-level basketball. But I’m giving this award to Brandon Knight, for a few different reasons. First off, the beginning to Knight’s career was incredibly promising. He was the young, lead guard for Detroit and Milwaukee early on and put up impressive numbers in the process. He was a borderline All-Star when he averaged over 19 points per game in Phoenix, only for injuries to stack up against him. And keep stacking. And stacking…
An ankle injury turned into heel surgery. He missed over a month next year with an adductor strain. That same adductor would later end his season and five days later he underwent surgery for a sports hernia. He missed the entirety of the 2017-18 season with a torn ACL. He played organized basketball for the Houston Rockets in mid-December of 2018 for the first time since February of 2017 – nearly two years away from an NBA court. But the injuries didn’t fully subside. He was limited during his time in Houston with constant knee soreness. Then he was traded to a tanking team in Cleveland during the first year of the post-LeBron era. And that is where Knight has earned this recognition.
As a member of the Cavaliers, Knight has started 25 out of 26 games, averaging 8.5 points and 2.3 assists per game. He’s become a mentor to Cavs rookie point guard Collin Sexton, working alongside the energetic guard from Alabama who has recently been playing his best basketball of the season. Knight has been through more pain in the previous two years that most NBA players experience in their entire careers. Now, he’s making the most of what Cleveland is giving him and relishing every second of it.
Runner up: DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)
And finally, here are my selections for the two All-BBNBA teams. Yes, Davis still made the list. Even if he appeared in fewer than 60 games this season, he was still soooo good when he was in. Shoutout to Darius Miller and Willie Cauley-Stein, too, for some solid, under-the-radar seasons.
1st Team All-BBNBA
G: De’Aaron Fox (SAC)
G: Devin Booker (PHX)
F: Julius Randle (NOP)
F: Anthony Davis (NOP)
C: Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)
2nd Team All-BBNBA
G: Jamal Murray (DEN)
G: Eric Bledsoe (MIL)
F: Darius Miller (NOP)
F: Enes Kanter (NYK/POR)
C: Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 09th, 2019 @ 5:20pm
It’s no secret that Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans, and ahead of what is likely his final game with the Pelicans, he spelled it out, sporting a “That’s All Folks” t-shirt on his way into the Smoothie King Center:
Anthony Davis is wearing a shirt reading "That's All Folks!" to the arena in what is likely his last game with the Pelicans ? pic.twitter.com/dN5a0OTwsi
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 9, 2019
Davis has missed the last six games with back spasms, and I’m guessing he won’t play tonight vs. Golden State. What kind of reception will he get from the New Orleans crowd?