Will O.J. Mayo go to Turkey or Vegas this summer?

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According to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commerical-Appeal, O.J. Mayo wants to go to Turkey this summer and try out for a spot on the US World Championship team. The Grizzlies, of course, want him to do the responsible thing and spend his summer in Las Vegas in order to work on his point guard skills. From the article: 

It is well-documented that second-year player O.J. Mayo is an undersized shooting guard at 6-4, so the Grizzlies coaching staff has invited the former USC standout to participate in summer league.
The goal is for Mayo to significantly improve his point guard skills. The Griz are looking to improve their versatility so Mayo’s ability to play point guard at times could lead to a bigger, more potent offensive lineup in doses.
Mayo’s shaky ball handling and poor decision-making have been major deficiencies throughout his first NBA two seasons.

Sending Mayo to Summer League and turning him into a true point seems like a nice idea. I do wonder if it would actually work out the way the Grizzlies think it will, though. It’s generally a lot harder for players to develop passing skills or change their style of play than is for them to add muscle or improve their outside shots; scoring guards expected to “develop into point guards” rarely do so. 

Summer league also isn’t the best place to learn how to run an offense. The play is up-and-down, the guards take most of the shots, and all of Mayo’s teammates will be worse than he is. Mayo might be instructed to be a pass-first player, but summer league is the perfect environment for him to indulge his shoot-first tendencies; there’s a reason Nate Robinson’s one of the great summer league players of all time. The Grizzlies might be better served letting Mayo play for his country and spending some time around the best players in the world instead of hoping that Mayo will be able to make serious changes in his game while going against a bunch of rookies and D-Leaguers. 

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.