Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette has great workout in Utah

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Former BYU sensation and current draft prospect Jimmer Fredette recently had a draft workout with his hometown Utah Jazz, and all indications are that it went great. Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune has the report:

The Jimmer Fredette Circus arrived Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The show was packed; the scene was a riot. And Fredette again stole the spotlight.

Building off strong performances during four previous NBA Draft workouts, the former Brigham Young guard accomplished exactly what he set out to do weeks ago when initial plans took shape for a highly hyped session with the Jazz. Fredette got his long-desired matchup against ex-Connecticut star Kemba Walker, holding his own against a player many consider to be a lock for a top-10 pick in the June 23 draft. Fredette also drilled shots he was expected to sink, while drawing praise for his sharp passing and improved defense. In turn, the undersized combo guard who entered the five-week buildup toward selection day facing numerous questions and serious doubts ended Wednesday’s session by converting more believers…

…Fredette again focused on proving that he can play defense and run the point guard position at the NBA level.

All five other players involved in the workout said Fredette did just that. And while Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor offered his standard string of no comments, Utah coach Tyrone Corbin was impressed with the guard’s speed and fiery spirit.

“This cat really competes and he hate to lose,” Corbin said. “He’s a good kid. He really like to play, and that shows in everything that he do on the floor – along with his scoring ability. Everyone knows him for putting up numbers on the board. But I think he’s a more complete player than a lot of people give him credit for.”

Sounds like things went pretty well for Jimmer, but this may actually put the Jazz in a bind. No matter how well Jimmer’s workout goes, he would still be far too much of a reach for the Jazz to take with their #3 pick, and if he keeps having workouts this impressive, he might not be there when the Jazz pick for the 2nd time with the #12 pick. Given Fredette’s immense popularity in the Jazz’s market and the fact that Utah traded away its franchise point guard last season, it seems almost impossible that the Jazz will pass on Fredette if he’s available at 12.

When the draft process first started, the opinion seemed to be that the Jazz would be drafting Fredette for marketing as much as they would for his on-court skill, but now he appears to be playing like a legitimate lottery pick in workouts — on both ends of the floor, no less. The question now seems to be whether or not Jimmer will be available for the Jazz to grab with the #12 pick, and if they’ll try and make some sort of move up to get him if he isn’t.

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.