The NBA Development Showcase tipped off on Monday morning and, just two games into the four-day affair, the event has already shown why it’s useful. The San Antonio Spurs have decided to call-up Malcolm Thomas from the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Pro Basketball Talk has learned from sources close the situation.
It’s an interesting first in-season NBA call-up considering it came just hours before Thomas was set to play his first game at the Showcase. The Spurs apparently had watched Thomas enough through his first eight games in the D-League, however, and didn’t want him to showcase himself too much to other teams so that they’d have competition in calling him up.
Thomas, a 6-foot-9 forward out of San Diego State, was one of a few intriguing rookie D-League prospects hoping for an NBA opportunity this year. In eight games with the D-Fenders, the lanky forward averaged 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while playing for Eric Musselman. The rookie began the season in Korea, but decided to return stateside for an NBA opportunity after receiving a training camp invite from the Los Angeles Lakers — a decision that paid off, apparently, as his call-up with the Spurs shows.
Kawhi Leonard got the majority of the publicity with the San Diego State Aztecs last season, but Thomas was an integral part of the process as well. He didn’t garner much attention on the defensive end, but his ability to play defense, hustle and do the dirty work will certainly suit him well with San Antonio. The Spurs have found quite a bit of value coming out of the Showcase as they were also the first team to call-up a player from last year’s Showcase when they signed swingman Larry Owens from the Tulsa 66ers.
With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.
Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.
Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.
Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.
T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.
Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.
The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.
Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.
Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.
While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.
Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).