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Gorgui Dieng on Andrew Wiggins: “He cannot pick and choose when he wants to play”

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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins has had a good third NBA season, but his progression has been slower than some in the North Star state would like. So too have some called out his inconsistency, the latest of which was teammate Gorgui Dieng.

When asked about Wiggins after the Timberwolves’ loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night, 112-105, the Minnesota big man told Locked on Wizards that he supported his teammate but wanted to see more consistent play from the young guard.

Via Locked on Wizards:

“Wigg is a great basketball player. He cannot pick and choose when he wants to play. We need him to play like this every night. He needs help, we’re all going to help him, but he’s our leader. He needs to play like this every night.”

Wiggins finished Friday night’s game with 41 points on 16-of-31 shooting, adding two assists, two steals, and a rebound.

Prior to his breakout against Washington, Wiggins scored just 8 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the last game Wiggins shot under 50% from the field and fewer than 20 points prior to that was before Christmas.

There’s been monumental pressure on Wiggins, perhaps more so this season as both Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine have emerged as 20+ ppg scorers. He’s an OK passer but not a great rebounder for his position, sitting outside the Top 50 for forwards under 6-foot-10.

Still, Wiggins has made a huge leap in 3-point shooting. He’s bumped himself up to 34.8 percent from deep after a hot start to the year, something that should help his own scoring and spacing for his teammates.

He still has some bad habits on both offense and defense, at times taking awkward, low-efficiency jumpers coupled with poor rotations and technique on the other end of the floor.

That’s likely what Dieng is referring to, given that on Friday Wiggins attacked the paint and got to the free-throw line often. Everyone in Minnesota would like to see that on a nightly basis, but there have been games where Wiggins has been more tentative.

Generally, I think there was an idea that Wiggins would continue on the leap he took between Year 1 and Year 2, that there would be some kind of exponential rise. Wiggins is still just 21, and has years of experience left to gain. Tom Thibodeau’s system takes some repetition to get into, and nobody should fret just yet.

Baron Davis figured out why Russell Westbrook isn’t starting All-Star Game: Russian hackers

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When the starters for next month’s All-Star Game in New Orleans were announced this week, there was a mini-uproar on Twitter because Russell Westbrook — the guy averaging a triple-double this season — wasn’t picked. It’s hard for me to get worked up over two-time MVP Stephen Curry getting the nod, but if you want someone to blame it was the fans’ call — they voted Curry first overall, James Harden second, Westbrook third. The players and media had Westbrook first, Harden second, but the tie is broken by the fan vote.

Enter Baron Davis with the timely joke.

We just need to tie in a Zaza Pachulia joke and it will be perfect.

Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, center, looks for an open teammate as he is surrounded by Miami Heat players during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bucks 109-97. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.

In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.

It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…

Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.

The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)

The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.

 

Denver’s Kenneth Faried gets up, blocks DeAndre Jordan dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.

Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.

The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.

Suns’ Devin Booker sinks three that defeats Knicks (VIDEO)

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The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.

The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.

Carmelo Anthony got a shot to win it for the Knicks, but his rimmed out.