Dante Exum to come off the bench for Australia in World Cup

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Earlier this year, Dante Exum was playing Australian high school basketball.

Though he’s competed internationally and made a mark in summer league (not completely positive), Exum is still a mystery by top-five-pick standards.

So, I was particularly looking forward to watching him in the World Cup. I figured he’d have a huge role playing for Australia, not exactly a powerhouse.

But the Jazz guard won’t take over Team Australia.

Roy Ward of The Sydney Morning Herald:

coach Andrej Lemanis is expected to bring Exum off the bench, charging his young star with using his speed and athleticism to make an impact.

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova and Besiktas swingman Ryan Broekhoff are expected to start in the guard positions.

Lemanis has both started Exum and played him off the bench during the team’s lead-up games.

Exum, at times, has stood out offensively but he has also struggled to get over the many screens which are set during international play.

Lemanis said Exum would likely come off the bench but every game would present a different challenge for the team and the player.

“Having Dante come off the bench and make an impact is something which is good for us,” Lemanis said.

“He can change the pace of the game and with the initial energy out of the game, he can find his feet a bit easier and be more effective for this team.”

This could be a strategic decision to balance the starting lineup and bench, or Exum, 19, just might not be ready to start.

I’m a big Dellavedova fan, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s better than Exum right now. Broekhoff… I’m not so sure.

Hopefully, Exum still gets plenty of playing time. I want to get a better idea what all the fuss is about.

PBT Extra: Fan votes from twitter on MVP, other awards

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We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.

Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.

I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.

Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier ejected for altercation, leading to hilarious Dwight Howard free throws (video)

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Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.

It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.

One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.

The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.

He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.

Kent Bazemore hits game-winner to lift Hawks over Pelicans (video)

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Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.

This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.

Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.

Jalen Rose calls Paul Pierce petty to his face (video)

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Paul Pierce is being petty about Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video.

And that’s from someone who empathizes with Pierce’s point of view.

When retiring a player’s number, teams tastefully use stoppages to show highlights and tributes to the player. The whole night, not just the moment of raising a number into the rafters, can be about celebrating the player. It’s reasonable for Pierce to want the entire package.

But to go on television and advocate for not showing Thomas’ video? To continue the campaign after Thomas made clear how important his video was to him? To tell the Celtics not to show a short video for Thomas during introductions?

It’s way too far.

Too many people around Pierce enabled his flawed approach. Jalen Rose put that to a pointed stop.

Rose on ESPN:

I’ve got say a word for you, fam. I think it was petty.

On Paul Pierce’s part.

I love Paul. This is my brother. Because to me, there are going to be all type of announcements that happen in the 48 minutes during that game. All types. Including Isaiah Thomas could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation. Like Kobe’s, it happened during the game. Because they’re doing yours post-game.

The look on Pierce’s face while Rose was talking!