Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings

Michael Carter-Williams, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard all in All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge

9 Comments

While the All-Star Game itself is an exhibition for the biggest names in basketball, a sneaky fun part of All-Star Weekend is always the Rising Stars Challenge — watching the games best young players put on a little show.

And there are plenty of good young players to showcase this season.

Last season’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard of Portland will be joined by the guy leading that race this season — Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers — in this year’s edition of the Rising Stars Challenge. The game takes place Friday night of All-Star weekend, Feb. 14, in New Orleans.

Lillard likely will pull double duty on the weekend, playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday as well (it’s likely the coaches select him as a reserve). It’s possible Anthony Davis of the Pelicans, who has put up monster numbers the last couple games, will join him – Davis also is scheduled for the Rising Stars Challenge.

Joining Davis and Lillard as second-year players with an invite are (Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Terrence Jones (Rockets), Jared Sullinger (Celtics), Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors) and Dion Waiters (Cavaliers).

Other rookies in the game besides Carter-Williams are Steven Adams (Thunder), Pero Antic (Hawks), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Trey Burke (Jazz), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Knicks), Victor Oladipo (Magic), Kelly Olynyk (Celtics), and Mason Plumlee (Nets).

How Miles Plumlee of the Phoenix Suns got snubbed is an interesting question. For that matter Draymond Green has played better than Barnes in Golden State.

Eventually the rookies and sophomores will be drafted into teams, then once those teams are set fans will be able to go online at NBA.com and vote for what players should start on both teams. The coaches for the teams will be an assistant from the staff of Scott Brooks of the Thunder and Frank Vogel in Indiana (those are the two All-Star Game coaches, their lead assistants have to work Friday night, too).

The game will be broadcast by TNT on Feb. 14 starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Andre Drummond hits buzzer-beating heave from beyond halfcourt (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 27:  Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons reacts in the final seconds of their 106-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 27, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading andor using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:

Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.

Joe Johnson banks in three to give Nets win over Nuggets (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 03:  Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles against the Indiana Pacers during their game at the Barclays Center on February 3, 2016 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:

Johnson had 12 points on the night.

Report: Kings plan to fire George Karl in coming days

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 09:  Head coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings stands on the side of the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena on January 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
8 Comments

For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.

Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:

The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.

The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.

Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:

Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:

That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.

Karl-Anthony Towns fakes out Luke Babbitt with spin move (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 09:  Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after hitting a basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 9, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
1 Comment

Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: