Pacers sign Marcus Williams for a test drive

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According to Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside, the Indiana Pacers are expected to pick up (the other) Marcus Williams for the remainder of the season.

Williams is one of the top wings in the D-League, but this call-up is still a bit of a surprise. For one, the fact that Williams was called up by the Pacers is nothing short of shocking since almost all of Marcus’ NBA ties have been with the San Antonio Spurs. Williams’ entire D-League career has been with the Spurs-affiliated Austin Toros, a team to which Williams returned after playing most of this season in China. Part of me always assumed that with the flurry of D-League call-ups in San Antone, Williams would be next on the list after he made his stateside return.

Not so, and now Williams will finish out the season with the Pacers after a short stint back in Austin. The move is also a bit surprising given how difficult it is for scoring wing players to find call-up opportunities. Marcus doesn’t fit that mold as well as say, Morris Almond, but he’s still a high usage player that will be put in low usage situations on the next level. Lots of teams could use an extra point guard or an extra big man, but how many are really desperate for a shooting guard that’s going to put up points and use up shot attempts?

What makes Williams so unique though, is that he’s not just a high-scoring off-guard. He’s a good rebounder for his position (6.8 RPG over his career with the Toros), a pretty decent defender, an efficient scorer (.563 FG% this season), and get this: a point guard prospect. Williams hasn’t had a ton of pro experience running the point, but he’s surprisingly capable of running an offense.

He also has one particular trait that should make him particularly palatable to Pacers fans: he’s not Dahntay Jones. That’s reason enough for the signing right there.

The Pacers are likely using the final games of the regular season to get a good look at Williams before summer. It shouldn’t surprise you to see Williams pop up on the Pacers’ summer league team or in their training camp in the fall, as the franchise is doing the work now to see how he performs against NBA competition and how he gels with the existing core (if you could call it that) in Indiana.

 

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.