C.J. Watson

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

Austin Rivers tweets he’s ‘straight up better than a lot of those dudes playing’ in Team USA scrimmage

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As a reminder, here were the rosters for last night’s Team USA scrimmage:

Blue Team (Monty Williams, coach):

Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton.

White Team (Tom Thibodeau, coach):

Arron Afflalo, Michael Carter-Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, Terrence Jones, Kawhi Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Klay Thompson, C.J. Watson.

Austin Rivers’ takeaway?

Rivers certainly doesn’t lack confidence – which is his biggest problem as a player. He too often takes bad shots or dribbles into trouble, because he believes he’s good enough to handle it.

This tweet gives little hope he better grasps his limitations.

To be fair, Rivers has improved each of his three NBA seasons. How dreadful he was as a rookie certainly plays a part, but Rivers has made nice progress. Most Improved Player is a good goal for him.

The rest is nonsense.

Maybe – maybe – Rivers is better than Watson, a non-Team USA minicamper invited to fill out the roster. But a lot of those dudes? It’s just insulting to them, which Rivers seemed to realize before he went further:

Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green teammates USA Basketball exhibition Thursday in Las Vegas

Blake Griffin
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After what happened last year at the USA Basketball meaningless exhibition game in Las Vegas — the Paul George injury — nobody should be shocked that a lot of the big names you can expect to see playing in 2016 at the Rio Olympics begged out of the USA Basketball exhibition game at the end of traning camp on Thursday.

So few players wanted to take part a handful of guys who were not part of the regular camp had to be called in to play in the game.

Still, there’s some star power out there.

USA Basketball announced the rosters for the showcase, as reported by Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Blue Team (Monty Williams, coach):

Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton.

White Team (Tom Thibodeau, coach):

Arron Afflalo, Michael Carter-Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, Terrance Jones, Kawhi Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Klay Thompson, C.J. Watson.

I’ll pick the White Team, for two reasons. First is, I like that roster better — Cousins on the inside, Green and Leonard playing defense, Griffin owning everyone, and Thompson shooting from somewhere out on the strip and knocking them down.

Then there is Tom Thibodeau — he’s got nothing else to do, he’s probably watched 12 hours of film prepping for this game.

Let’s just hope everyone stays healthy.

Report: Orlando to acquire Shabazz Napier from Miami in trade

Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat
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The guy Miami drafted in 2014 because LeBron James wanted him (Pat Riley tried to deny that), then LeBron bolted town. Napier struggled as a rookie in Miami. He averaged 5.1 points, 2.5 assists, 2.2 rebounds a game. He was given a real chance to backup Goran Dragic after the trade deadline, but quickly fell out of favor and had appeared once in the Heat’s last dozen games before he was shut down for the season due to a sports hernia.

Now he is on his way to Orlando. The Magic are finalizing a trade to get Nappier, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic will acquire Miami Heat guard Shabazz Napier for a protected future second-round pick, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Include the luxury tax and the Heat save $5.8 million on this deal, plus they had 17 guarnateed contracts, so now they are only one over the max. That said, the Heat gave up two second rounders to get Napier, now get just one back in this deal.

The Magic are going to give Napier a chance as a third point guard behind Elfrid Payton and C.J. Watson.

They didn’t give up anything of note for him it’s a reasonable gamble for the Magic. And if you want some hope Magic fans, watch this video of Napier in Summer League. (Second-year guys tend to do better there, but still this is a ray of hope.)

[nbcsports_video src=https://www.youtube.com/embed/kVQ4El-8DT8?rel=0 width=620 height=349

Report: Keith Appling signs two-year, partially guaranteed deal with Magic

Keith Appling, Tony Crocker
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The Magic have a starting point guard in Elfrid Payton.

They have a backup point guard in C.J. Watson.

And now they might have a third point guard

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Appling went to training camp with the Lakers after going undrafted out of Michigan State last year. He didn’t make the team, but he probably has a little better shot in Orlando.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Magic add another young point guard to compete with him. How else will they use their cap space?

If Appling doesn’t make the team, Orlando’s D-League affiliate – the Erie BayHawks – owns his D-League rights. The Magic might have offered a partial guarantee to keep Appling, who also played on their summer league team, in the pipeline.

He’s a good athlete with solid playmaking skills, both as a scorer and passer. His jumper holds him back, as does his pedestrian 6-foot-1 frame. But Appling has a chance to make an NBA roster, and it seems Orlando is truly providing that.

Report: C.J. Watson agrees to three-year deal with Magic

Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers
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Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Magic has agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with guard C.J. Watson, a source told Yahoo.

Orlando has nice young point guard talent in Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton, and Watson’s veteran presence can potentially help them along.

Watson will be playing for his fifth team as he enters his ninth NBA season, but has earned positive reviews and a solid reputation everywhere he’s been.

Watson averaged 10 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 24.9 minutes per contest with the Pacers last season, while knocking down 40 percent of his shots from three-point distance.