Andrew Wiggins one of just four 2014 draft picks on Rising Star Challenge rosters

17 Comments

The NBA shook up the Rising Stars Challenge, making it the U.S. vs. the World.

Each 10-man team had to have at least four guards, four frontcourt players, three rookies and three sophomores.

Here’s how the rosters shook out:

U.S. Team

Guards

  • Trey Burke, Jazz (Sophomore)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons (Sophomore)
  • Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers (Sophomore)
  • Zach LaVine, Timberwolves (Rookie)
  • Victor Oladipo, Magic (Sophomore)
  • Elfrid Payton, Magic (Rookie)

Frontcourt

  • Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves (Sophomore)
  • Nerlens Noel, 76ers (Rookie)
  • Mason Plumlee, Nets (Sophomore)
  • Cody Zeller, Hornets (Sophomore)

Coach

  • Alvin Gentry, Warriors

World Team

Guards

  • Bojan Bogdanovic, Nets (Rookie)
  • Dante Exum, Jazz (Rookie)
  • Dennis Schroder, Hawks (Sophomore)
  • Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves (Rookie)

Frontcourt

  • Steven Adams, Thunder (Sophomore)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (Sophomore)
  • Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves (Sophomore)
  • Rudy Gobert, Jazz (Sophomore)
  • Nikola Mirotic, Bulls (Rookie)
  • Kelly Olynyk, Celtics (Sophomore)

Coach

  • Kenny Atkinson, Hawks

These rosters reveal the reason for the format change. The 2014 draft, which could become the most underwhelming of all time, produced just four participants – Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Elfrid Payton and Zach LaVine – in the game once know as the Rookie Challenge.

The other rookies – Nerlens Noel, Bojan Bogdanovic and Nikola Mirotic (read more about him here) – were selected in previous years. The deck has never been stacked like this before.

Still, the Timberwolves scrimmage Rising Stars Challenge could be interesting. The Americans are much more guard-oriented than the larger World Team, which could lead to some interesting matchups (or awful basketball).

No clear snubs, but K.J. McDaniels, Tim Hardaway Jr., Alex Len, Pero Antic and Jusuf Nurkic all got squeezed out.

European coach berates his players: ‘You’re good guys. F— you’ (video)

Mikhail Serbin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Remember Luigi Datome? He spent a couple seasons with the Pistons and Celtics.

He makes an appearance in this wild video featuring Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic (warning: profanity):

A partial transcript the best I could muster:

YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. IN YOUR EYES, YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. F— YOU, EVERYONE! F— YOU, OK!

F— YOU, GIGI DATOME. OK? SHAME ON YOU. AND YOU…

Festivus isn’t for another month, but someone is already ready for the airing of grievances.

Report: Rockets waiving Ryan Anderson

Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

To facilitate a trade from the Rockets to the Suns last summer, Ryan Anderson reduced the guarantee of his 2019-20 salary by $5,620,885. Anderson barely played in Phoenix, got traded to the Heat, barely played in Miami and got waived. He again signed with the Rockets this summer.

Now, after barely playing in Houston, Anderson will continue his odyssey elsewhere.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Anderson was guaranteed $500,000 on his minimum-salary contract this season. By the time he clears waivers, he will have earned $434,704. So, assuming Anderson goes unclaimed, Houston will be on the hook for the remaining $65,296.

This might end the career of the 31-year-old Anderson. Once a premier stretch four, he no longer stands out in a league where 3-point shooting has become a common skill for power forwards. He’s also a major defensive liability.

Report: Doubts linger around Rockets about Tilman Fertitta-Daryl Morey fit

Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
1 Comment

Before Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet sparked an international geopolitical firestorm, it created a fissure in Houston. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly tweeted that Morey didn’t speak for the organization. It was a harsh public rebuke that led to major questions about Morey’s future in Houston.

Especially because there was already concern about the Fertitta-Morey relationship.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Though a couple of NBA executives speculated Morey might have greater difficulty attracting marquee free agents to Houston, few said that his ability to perform his job would be affected beyond having to placate Fertitta, a shotgun marriage that sources close to the Rockets have considered a tenuous fit since Fertitta bought the team in 2017.

Morey has been operating like someone who doesn’t believe he’ll be in Houston long-term. Morey traded the Rockets’ last four first-round picks. He traded multiple distant-future first-round picks and took on significant future salary to upgrade from Chris Paul to Russell Westbrook. Morey also gave a three-year-guaranteed contract extension to a 30-year-old Eric Gordon.

To be fair, Morey has also been operating like someone whose team’s championship window is closing. That could also explain repeatedly mortgaging Houston’s future. It’s difficult to parse the difference.

But the costs incurred to contend now have veered toward paying later than paying now.

Morey has kept the Rockets out of the luxury tax – a detriment to their on-court ability, but a boon to Fertitta’s wallet. There’s no reason for Morey to operate this way if not directed by the owner. Yet, Fertitta has claimed the luxury tax didn’t influence roster decisions. That’s totally unbelieve, but if taken at face value, Fertitta was throwing Morey under the bus for downgrading Houston’s roster.

It’s easy to read between the lines and see a disconnect between Fertitta and Morey. This is only corroboration, and considering Arnovitz describes his sources as “close to the Rockets,” it’s particularly persuasive.

But Fertitta signed Morey to a five-year extension earlier this year. Fertitta also stood by Morey during the China-Hong Kong controversy, calling Morey the NBA’s best general manager. Whatever problems between the two, Fertitta continues empower Morey in significant ways.

Danny Green – yes, Danny Green – flies in for tip dunk, and Lakers go wild (video)

1 Comment

Danny Green is a quietly effective player. He shoots 3-pointers. He defends. He tries to build team chemistry.

I didn’t know he could do this.

Judging by how his Lakers teammates reacted, they didn’t know either.