The NBA’s Rookie Transition Program garnered headlines last week when Minnesota Timberwolves’ lottery pick Shabazz Muhammad was sent home and, eventually, was threatened with being sent to the NBA Development League if he didn’t start to shape up. Washington Wizards’ second-round pick had a much different experience at the RTP, however — though he’s heard most of the information a time or two already.
Rice Jr. spent this past season playing with the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers where, on multiple occasions throughout the season, players are required to attend Team Awareness Meetings that help them transition to a life of playing professional basketball. That wasn’t the first time he’d heard the information presented last week either, though, because his father — a 15-year NBA veteran and three-time All-Star — had already been hammering responsibility, finances and the dangers of drugs into his son from an early age.
The younger Rice was still able to find new knowledge at last week’s program, though, telling the Washington Post’s Michael Lee that it helped to hear about how other players faced adversity with their role.
“The thing that stuck out to me was when we got to talk to some of the players and hear some of their biggest challenges, how they went through facing them and that kind of stuff,” Rice said. “For example, not playing that much. Jarrett Jack was there. Jerry Stackhouse was there and he was mentioning, whatever your role, whether minimum or large. I think that was the biggest thing that stuck out to me. Because as they said, some people in the league have never had to take a backseat, have never had to worry about not getting significant minutes and I was like, ‘I already been through that.’ ”
Rice could have trouble just finding a role in Washington this year considering his experience in the D-League had him playing as a sort-of stretch-four in new Toronto Raptors’ assistant Nick Nurse’s offense. Once he finds a position — which will likely be the small forward — fellow rookie Otto Porter, along with Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton and Martell Webster, will all likely be ahead of him on the Wizards’ depth chart to begin the season.
The younger Rice likely isn’t going to find the success his father did during his career, but it’s nice to see that he seems ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.
Here’s what he said:
I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly
It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.
While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.
Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.
He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.
Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.