CJ McCollum

Blazers’ C.J. McCollum has advice for incoming NBA rookies

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C.J. McCollum was selected by the Blazers with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft, but Portland wasn’t your typical lottery team. Instead, the Blazers were a team on the rise, with many key pieces already in place that came together in time to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Most rookies selected at that spot in the draft are given the chance to develop during live game scenarios, with a heavy dose of minutes not being a problem since teams picking that highly normally don’t have expectations of being all that good in the somewhat immediate future.

McCollum, however, due to being added to an already pretty good team, didn’t end up seeing too much action. He appeared in just 38 regular season games, and averaged just 12.5 minutes in those contests. But he seems to have learned a lot from his first year in the league nonetheless, and took the time to give out some advice aimed at the current crop of incoming NBA rookies.

From C.J. McCollum at Basketball Insiders:

My advice is to check your bank account statements and actually read over your monthly cash flow. Every time you post a picture on Instagram or Twitter, you should probably also take the time to check your accounts online. …

Instead of thinking of reasons why your coach should be playing you, honestly assess reasons as to why he isn’t. The next step is to go work on those things and improve the specific areas you come up with, so there is a change in your play. For me, it was simple. I made a list of what I needed to improve on.

Make defense a priority and not an afterthought. Most rookies struggle with the transition of defense.  Do a better job of gauging angles. There are more pick-and-rolls and in the league, teams will utilize a play or player over and over again until it is stopped. …

But my number one piece of advice to the incoming rookies is to humble yourself now because regardless of your situation, and the amount of opportunity available, you are a piece to the puzzle, not the piece.

All very sound points.

The main thing that comes across when reading McCollum’s unfiltered thoughts on his first season is that he seems to be keeping everything in its proper perspective. Any rookies entering the league this season and beyond would be wise to do the same, and heed McCollum’s advice.

Knicks allow John Wall to grab clutch rebound, score on break to ice game (VIDEO)

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The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.

The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.

Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:

Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.

Gregg Popovich gets ejected, standing O after screaming “You’re a terrible referee” (VIDEO)

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Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?

Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.

“You’re a terrible referee!”

GOT ‘EM:

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.

Long Live Pop.

Watch Kristaps Porzingis come out of nowhere on this putback dunk (VIDEO)

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Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.

Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.

Via Twitter:

Yeah, that’s crazy.

There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.

Spurs big man Pau Gasol fractures finger during warmups, out indefinitely

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The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.

That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.

Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.