Nuggets end search for another big, sign Brian Butch

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Some praise is in order for the Denver Nuggets: they had a chance to sign an empty name (a Brian Cook, a Mikki Moore, or a Mark Blount), and instead signed something of a player. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Denver has signed Brian Butch, the reigning D-League All-Star game MVP, for the rest of the season. Butch will also have an unguaranteed salary for next season.

Butch is a decent add, and he’ll provide a different look at center than the Nuggets are used to. He’s not one to attack the basket on the move like Nene, finish around the rim like Kenyon Martin, play clean up like Chris Andersen, or Johan Petro like Johan Petro. Instead, Butch gives Denver a decent rebounder (11.9 RPG for the Jam) and an outside scoring threat (35% from three). Not much else, but hey, what do you expect from mining the big man free agent crop at this point in the season?

Ultimately, Denver picked up a serviceable big, even if he’s the heir apparent to Raef LaFrentz. Butch should be able to provide some decent minutes in the middle while Andersen nurses a sprained ankle. He won’t be tearing up the paint with drop-steps or sweeping hooks anytime soon, but I see little harm in throwing another shooter on the floor (in limited minutes, of course) to help space the court for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.

No comment on his ability to protect the rim, though.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.