Anderson leaving OSU for NBA

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Oklahoma State swingman James Anderson thinks he is ready for the NBA. Scouts pretty much agree.

According to the Oklahoman, there will be a news conference today on the campus in Stillwater where the announcement Anderson is leaving for the NBA will be made.

This is not a shock, Anderson could have gone pro after his sophomore campaign but stuck around for one more year. This season he was the veteran leader on a young team and scored more than 20 points a game in every Big 12 contest.

DraftExpress.com has Anderson going 20 in the NBA draft, and most projections have him near that, just a little outside the lottery. He is a 6’6″ swingman, a generally deep position in the NBA. But Anderson has skills. From the DraftExpress scouting report on him.

Anderson is clearly the centerpiece of the Cowboys’ offense, as they run him off a huge number of screens on virtually every possession in an attempt to get him open looks… Anderson’s shooting ability is simply outstanding, as he boasts excellent form, consistent mechanics, a quick release, and terrific range on his jump-shot. Despite shooting just 36% from beyond the arc this season (more an indication of the type of defenses that are thrown at him than anything), Anderson projects as a high-level NBA shooter any way you slice it when looking at the way he can put the ball in the net.

More than just a spot-up shooter, about a third of Anderson’s jumpers come off the dribble, of which he converts an excellent 43.4% according to Synergy Sports Technology. At 6-6, he needs very little space to get his shot off, as despite getting just average elevation on his jumper, he is able to fade away and create enough separation from his defender to get a good look, while still holding his mechanics steady.

The questions come at the defensive end — if he wants to stick in the NBA, if he wants to get steady minutes, he’s going to have to become a better defender. But that can be said about most players coming out of college, it’s a matter of desire and work.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.