Category Archives: NBA

Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine focused on becoming NBA All-Star

Zach LaVine set out his objectives for this upcoming season with the Chicago Bulls, aiming on winning and making the All-Star team. 

With All-Star Weekend set to come back to Chicago for the first time in three decades this February, the two-time slam dunk champion is certainly eyeing this year’s festivities. But not just the ones on Saturday night.

Which is why even after a career-best 2018-19 season with the Chicago Bulls, he knows what needs to be done in order to reach his goal of becoming an NBA All-Star.

LaVine, 24, averaged career highs of 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists with 46.7 percent shooting during his fifth season, but the Bulls were an afterthought with a 22-60 finish.

He appeared in 63 total games while battling an ankle injury and pushing through drama within the organization that resulted in Jim Boylen being promoted to head coach after the firing of Chicago’s previous sideline leader Fred Hoiberg.

Although they didn’t fully see eye to eye in the beginning, Boylen surely has faith in LaVine’s offensive ability, after finishing in the top-20 of NBA scoring, but he is now challenging LaVine to regularly commit to the other end of the court.

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“What I’d like him to be is a two-way player, and I’d also like him to be a guy that shoots eight, nine, 10 free throws a game,” Boylen said.

Bulls forward Thaddeus Young didn’t make the final cut from the Team USA roster this summer to compete in FIBA Basketball World Cup action, but he was able to interact with several of the league’s rising stars such as Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Myles Turner through that experience.

Young sees a common thread between LaVine and that level of talent. Chicago posted the league’s sixth-worst defensive rating last season (112.8), so it’s not only LaVine who is looking to improve defensively but also the team, which gets back to his point of team and individual success being intertwined.

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Nets’ Irving suffers facial fracture in pickup game

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving suffered a left-side facial fracture after being elbowed in the face during a workout at the team’s practice facility, the team announced Wednesday.

Brooklyn sent Irving to the hospital for further evaluation Tuesday after he was injured during a pickup game. League sources told the New York Daily News that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson accompanied him to the hospital following the injury.

The Nets signed Irving in July after two seasons with the Boston Celtics.

He had to wear a protective mask during games to protect a previous facial fracture, including early in the 2017-18 campaign after he was elbowed by former teammate Aron Baynes.

The good news for the Nets is that the injury doesn’t seem too serious, and Irving shouldn’t miss any significant period of time. Still, you never want your best player dealing with a broken face a few days before training camp is about to begin. That’s not a good way to get the season started. 

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However, even if Irving has to miss a few days of practice, the signing is already paying dividends for the team. During a press conference on Tuesday, which was already scheduled before the incident, Nets GM Sean Marks praised Irving’s professionalism and commitment to the team, saying the “leadership, the work ethic and the competitive nature that he has brought to the group has been terrific.”

The Nets will start training camp on Sept. 28, a few days earlier than most teams due to their preseason trip to China. They’ll be playing two preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai and Shenzhen on Oct. 10 and 12. Assuming no further complications, Irving should be ready to go for those contests.

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Wizards’ Brown out for a month with hurt calf

When players report early to build chemistry with their teammates ahead of training camp, it is usually a good thing. For the Wizards this summer, it has led to an unfortunate string of bad injury luck.

First Isaiah Thomas tore a ligament in his left thumb, on his shooting hand, and required surgery that will keep him out of all of the preseason and likely the start of the regular season as well. Now, as the Wizards announced on Tuesday, Troy Brown Jr. is dealing with a left calf strain. His timeline is four weeks.

That will put the start of the regular season in jeopardy for Brown as well.

The news broke four weeks and one day before the Wizards’ first game, on Oct. 23 at the Dallas Mavericks. These injuries are on top of forward C.J. Miles’ foot surgery in July. He was at a Mystics’ playoff game last week still in a walking boot, which is not a great sign for his availability in training camp, which begins Tuesday. When he had the surgery on July 25, the Wizards said he would be re-evaluated in six weeks. It has now been two months.

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Thomas, Brown, and Miles are three rotation players. The Wizards are also missing John Wall, who remains sidelined as he rehabs from a ruptured Achilles. The injuries are piling up and they haven’t even held their media day.

Brown’s injury is extra pertinent because he figures to be in the same position mix as Miles. If you are filling out a starting lineup for the Wizards, those are probably your two best choices at small forward. And the Wizards don’t exactly have a lot of depth behind them.

Up next could be Justin Anderson, who is a roster-fringe journeyman at this point. Second-round pick Admiral Schofield is probably not ready for important minutes. First-round pick Rui Hachimura seems more suited to play the four. And Jordan McRae seems to be a better fit at guard.

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Andre Iguodala to stay away from the team as Grizzlies look for trade

Andre Iguodala will not report to the Memphis Grizzlies’ training camp as he and the team continue to work toward his expected exit.

The Golden State Warriors traded Iguodala and a protected first-round draft pick to Memphis on July 7 in exchange for forward Julian Washburn.

Multiple media outlets have reported that the Grizzlies do not intend to buy out the $17.2m that Iguodala is owed this year in the final season of his three-year, $48m contract, instead looking to find another team willing to trade for the three-time NBA champion and 2015 NBA Finals MVP.

The 35-year-old veteran will continue to work out separately from the Grizzlies but might remain on their roster into the regular season, according to the Daily Memphian. Iguodala told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday regarding his status with Memphis: “We’ll see. OK, maybe I shouldn’t say we’ll see. But we’re trying to figure out things on both sides. They’re trying to figure out some things, and I’m trying to figure out some things.

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As of today, we’re on the same page.

Camp opens the next week. We’ll see. We’re on the same page, though.”

He added: “At this point, the only buyout that makes sense – if I’m speaking on someone else’s behalf, thinking as an agent – is you don’t leave money on the table. Especially in this league. Because you’ll never get it back, no matter what people say.

“Negotiations are a tactic, so you’ve got to be careful how you approach it, or how you verbalise what you would do going forward. But you can’t leave anything on the table.”

Iguodala, an All-Star in 2012 when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, was part of five consecutive NBA Finals teams with Golden State. Last season, he averaged 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 68 games (13 starts). For his career, he is averaging 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 1,108 games (779 starts).

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NBA Awards 2017

The Basketball city of New York will be the host of the first NBA Awards aired live on TNT. Featuring the traditional season awards and also six new categories, determined by the fan voting across the social networks as: the NBA official app (NBA.com), Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. NBA has decided this year to create new categories, so there could be more awarded players and a more active participation of the fans. Last season, the western champion was the Golden State Warriors and for the eastern side, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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The title of for the NBA Most Valuable Player was awarded to the Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook, winning against Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio Spurs and James Harden from Houston Rockets. The Award for the Best Defensive Player of the Year was for Draymond Green from the Golden State Warriors and Best Executive of the Year was awarded by Bob Myers from Golden State Warriors too. Showing a clear leadership of the team and a strong support from the fans.

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#BlockOfTheYear was awarded to San Antonio’s player Kawhi Leonard. #AssistOfTheYear was given to the Golden State’s player Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. #PerformanceOfTheYear was awarded to Golden State’s Klay Thompson who scored 60 points in three quarters versus Indiana. Rookie of the Year was given to Malcolm Brogdon from the Milwaukee Buck, winning over the two Philadelphia 76ers’ players Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. And finally, the NBA Coach of the Year was won by the 66 years old italian-american Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. These awards showed the clear dominance by Golden State Warriors.

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