Summer League notes: Archie Goodwin continues to impress for Suns

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LAS VEGAS — After Saturday’s action at Las Vegas Summer League, we’re down to four teams and three games left in tournament play before the event wraps up on Monday.

The Suns are still around, and were expected to be considering the amount of players with real NBA rotation experience that they brought to town. Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and P.J. Tucker all played plenty last year for Phoenix during the regular season, but it’s a rookie who was a late first round draft pick that is the one creating a buzz.

Archie Goodwin is just 18 years old, but has acclimated to playing at the professional level very quickly. And his skill set, while still raw, seems perfect for the uptempo offense that new Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has promised to install for the upcoming season.

Goodwin had another strong summer performance Saturday, finishing with 20 points in 28 minutes, while making all five of his field goal attempts — including two from three-point distance — while getting to the line for 10 free throw attempts.

“I just try to find contact wherever I’m going, and just try to finish through it,” Goodwin said afterward. “I know it’s really not a problem for me to get by that first guy because I have a quick first step, I’m long, and I use my athleticism. It’s just a matter of me absorbing the contact and finishing, and trying to get fouled and get to the line.”

It takes a level of acumen to know what to do with that athleticism once you get into the lane, without ending the play out of control, or by committing a turnover or an offensive foul.

“I know when to attack and when to kick it (out),” he said. “I’ve been getting a lot better at that as well. In high school it was just so easy for me to go score. But once you get against bigger guys, bigger stronger guys, you have to figure out the whole game.”

Hornacek likes what he’s seeing out of Goodwin so far, but is cautious with his optimism at this early stage.

“Our style that we want to try to do is run and push the ball, and that’s good for him the way he plays,” Hornacek said of Goodwin’s game. “He can get out in the open court and make plays. In the half court he’s got to work on defensive stuff, but that’ll come as he learns players, and what other players like to do.”

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Additional notes from Saturday’s action:

– The Raptors team that the Suns knocked off had some stellar performances as well. Quincy Acy was a monster inside on both ends of the floor, and finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds. And diminutive guard Dwight Buycks consistently got to the rim for buckets inside, and finished with 28 points of his own.

– The D-League Select team had been playing well this Summer League, but their Cinderella story came to an end on Saturday as they were eliminated by the Bobcats in the quarter-finals, even though Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat this one out for Charlotte.

– The Warriors came back to beat the Lakers in the nightcap, thanks to a big game from Kent Bazemore, who finished with a game-high 26 points.

– In the final four on Sunday, Miami will face Phoenix at 3 p.m. local time, followed by the Warriors taking on the Bobcats at approximately 5 p.m. The winners will face off in the championship game Monday night.

Serge Ibaka is dunking and Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t going to stop him. Twice. (VIDEO)

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The Toronto Raptors had their best half of their first-round series against the Bucks, taking an early lead and, despite a little shooting slump midway through the second they were up nine at the half.

That was all topped off by two emphatic Serge Ibaka dunks. Ones Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t going to stop.

Ibaka dunked around him more than over the Greek Freak, but still.

Stephon Marbury is parting ways with Beijing Ducks after three titles

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Stephon Marbury is big in China — he has his own statue and a play in his honor.

In six seasons he led the Beijing Ducks to three titles, but eventually rebuilding hits every team and it is coming to Beijing. Which means that while Marbury wants to stay in China beyond this season he is essentially a free agent. Here are the details, via shanghaiist.com (this has been confirmed by other sources).

The 40-year-old former NBA All-Star had a contract with Beijing for the next season that included an unusual clause allowing the team to decide if Marbury — known to fans as “Old Ma” — would return as a player or as an assistant coach. Marbury has said that after his playing days are over, he wants to coach in China; however, he still feels he could play for one more year.

But, after missing the playoffs this past season, Beijing is looking to rebuild and didn’t want their aging superstar clogging up a precious foreign player roster spot. The Ducks announced at a press conference on Saturday that after being unable to negotiate a deal, they were going to terminate Marbury’s contract.

Marbury put out a letter to fans on Weibo — a Chinese social media site — that Shanghaiist excerpted.

Second, we did not make the playoffs in the past season, as a player who always want to win and work hard to prepare myself for winning, it’s very hard to accept the way the season ended. Though I am 40 years already, I still work very hard to keep my body right, I can still play at a very high level, I am sure all the fans could tell from last season I’m still capable of playing. I was still able to lead the team to compete, even with an injured leg. I pulled my hamstring at the beginning of the season and I still played and put everything on the court because that’s who I am. I want to play, I love to compete, I [pursue] winning all the time, l love basketball because it’s my life, I still have a lot in the tank that [makes] me really want to play for another year. I want to dedicate this last year of my career in the best way possible on the court for the CBA, then I’ll retire and work as a coach to help the basketball here for the rest of my life.

Marbury had a 13-year NBA career (and was a two-time All-Star) but things got a little messy for him around the end of his career in the Association. Then he found a second life in China. A lot of Western players struggle to adjust to a very different culture and environment in China — not to mention a different style of basketball — so the league has a high drop out of Western players

However, Marbury has thrived. He’s found a second home.

I have to imagine a lot of teams would leap to get a draw like him on their team for a season.

Report: NBA to announce All-NBA Teams early, because of salary cap reasons

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The NBA’s Most Valuable Player award will not be announced until an awards ceremony June 26 on TNT — after the NBA draft, and after the NBA playoffs that will shape the narrative of the award even though voting will have been completed more than two months earlier. Same for Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and on down the line.

But not the All-NBA Teams, those are coming sooner — because teams want it that way.

The easiest example is the Indiana Pacers: If Paul George makes an All-NBA team they can offer him a designated veteran contract worth roughly $80 million more than any other team. However, if he doesn’t make a team the Pacers need to worry about him leaving as a free agent in 2018, and they may try to trade him. The best time for that trade might be around the draft — Indiana may be able to secure a high pick from a team near the top of the draft in a trade. However, if the Pacers didn’t know if George made an All-NBA team by the draft they wouldn’t make that move.

So the NBA is announcing early, a story broken by Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

To allow for its teams to have all the necessary information to make offseason preparations, the NBA will announce its all-NBA teams before its inaugural awards show in late June, according to league sources.

Because of the newly created Designated Player Exception, which relies on players making, among other things, one of the three all-NBA teams to qualify, decisions about whether players — such as Indiana Pacers star Paul George, for example — will be willing to remain with their current team or be open to being traded elsewhere could be based upon whether a player is voted on to one of the teams.

Smart move by the NBA. There are also bonuses and other impacts on salaries based on end of season awards that will alter the salary structure of teams heading into free agency.

Larry Bird delivers Pacers’ 2021 All-Star bid in an Indy car

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NEW YORK (AP) — Indiana wants the NBA All-Star Game and sent Larry Bird to get it – in an Indy car.

Bird drove four blocks down Fifth Avenue in his car Monday to deliver the Pacers’ bid to host the 2021 game to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, fitting his 6-foot-9 frame into a car usually driven by much shorter people.

Bird, an Indiana native and now the Pacers president, had driven an Indy car only once, during his practice for his drive Monday.

Drawing a crowd of a couple hundred spectators, he maneuvered along the left lane, exited his yellow and blue “Larry Bird” car and called it a “little rough ride” because of his big feet and the car’s small pedals.

Silver says the Pacers, who hosted the game in 1985, would be “fantastic hosts.”

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is in Los Angeles, and 2019 is expected to be re-awarded to Charlotte. Houston, Orlando, and a number of other cities are expected to make bids for the 2020 and 2021 games, along with Indiana.