Duke freshman point guard Tyus Jones enters NBA draft, likely first-round pick

7 Comments

And Tyus Jones makes three.

Wednesday Jones became the third player from Duke’s national championship team to declare for the NBA Draft. He joins Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow in that class, although the other two are expected top 10 picks and Jones likely goes later in the first round.

Jones had a strong season for the Blue Devils, averaging 11.8 points, 5.6 assists, 3.5 boards and 1.5 steals a game this season. He was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

If you watched him in the Final Four you saw a guy with some skills that will translate to the next level — he’s good on the pick-and-roll, he can get into the lane, he’s got a decent outside shot, and he just knows how to run a team. But there are questions about his defense and, more importantly, his ceiling, which hold him down a little. DraftExpress.com has him going No. 20.

Here is what PBT’s NBA Draft Expert  Ed Isaacson of Rotoworld and NBADraftBlog broke down Jone’s game for us.

A few positives stand out for Jones. First, he has a very good understanding of the pick-and-roll game already for his age; he makes good, quick reads and he’s a strong, sometimes creative passer. Also, he makes good decisions with the ball, though he can have some problems being pressured or against guards with some length. Jones has shown ability to knock down open jumpers, and he can make defenders pay if they try to go under a screen against him, though he needs to be more consistent. Jones is solid in transition, even though he doesn’t have great speed/acceleration, relying on ballhandling/smarts to keep defenders off-balance. He does have some problems getting to the rim, and if he does, he can some problems scoring against long-defenders. Jones does thrive on the big moment, as shown in the NCAA Tournament, and he wants the ball in his hands when a game is on the line. 

Defensively, Jones had a lot of trouble defending on the perimeter in his one year of college, and things will probably get worse for him before they get better going against NBA speed. He doesn’t have very good size, and can be slow to react, but he has good awareness and will try to make plays.
I think Jones does have a future in the NBA, but it’s likely has a backup, and even then, it may be a couple of years for him to be ready to go up against NBA guards. Mentally, he has what it takes, but the physical part may give him issues. He is the kind of guard that coaches will like having, and will eventually feel comfortable giving him control for stretches of a game. I think he would be a safe risk in the late 1st round, hopefully with a team that can give him time to develop.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

Getty Photo
0 Comments

Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.

Watch Curry, Klay in 3-point shooting contest in Japan. Yeah, they’re good at this.

NBA Japan Games Saturday Night
Jun Sato/WireImage
0 Comments

The NBA went to Japan to promote the brand, play a few games in a huge market — Japan specifically but Asia as a whole — and put on a show.

Is there a better show than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson draining 3s? Here they are in a 3-point contest during a basketball exhibition (there were some pro dunkers) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Stephen Curry, was there any other possible outcome?

It’s preseason and they are the defending champs — they should be having fun, playing with some joy.

Thompson took part in the shooting contest but is not playing in either of the exhibition games in Japan as the Warriors ease him back into play this season. It’s a marathon of a season and the Warriors need the best version of Klay starting in April, not October.

Report: Pelicans, Nance agree to two-year, $21.6 million extension

0 Comments

Larry Nance has been a stabilizing influence in New Orleans since coming over mid-season as part of the trade for CJ McCollum. Nance is a versatile player who can play the four or the five, knocks down his threes, is very strong on the glass, can be a disruptive defender in passing lanes, and fits in — and he has the veteran attitude of work this team needs.

So the Pelicans have reached an extension to keep the 29-year-old around for two years past this coming season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This is a signing that should make Pelicans fans happy. Importantly, it makes CJ McCollum happy — they are tight and this is something McCollum wanted to see. The money on this deal seems fair, about the league average for a solid rotation player.

Nance is the kind of veteran this team needs considering its young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (just turned 25), Herb Jones, and guys like Trey Murphy III, Jose Alvarado, and others. Nance compared it to the young Lakers teams he was on, but noted that team lacked the same level of veteran leadership this Pelicans team has.

We may see more Nance at the five lineups — small ball with Zion at the four — to close games this season in New Orleans, that could be their best lineup because Nance can defend but also spaces the floor for Zion on offense. Coach Willie Green has a lot of different players and matchups to experiment with.

And now he has the stability of Nance for a few more years.

Durant tired of talking Nets dramatic offseason: ‘I didn’t miss any games’

0 Comments

No team had an offseason quite like the Brooklyn Nets. First, they would not give a long-term extension to Kyrie Irving, which sent the star guard looking for a new team (but there were no offers that worked for everyone, so he opted in with Brooklyn). Then Kevin Durant asked for a trade, and to gain a little leverage reportedly threw down an ultimatum of him or the coach and GM. No trade could be found — how much the Nets wanted one is up for debate — so he is back in Brooklyn. And all that is not even getting into the return of Ben Simmons, a trade for Royce O’Neal, or anything else.

The Nets drama and how they move past it has been the talk of training camp. The only talk at training camp, it feels like.

When asked Friday if there were any inaccuracies in the reporting of the Nets summer he would like to clear up, Durant sounded weary of rehashing the summer.

The only thing that will start to move the conversation in a new direction is the Nets playing and winning games (they open the preseason Monday against the 76ers). And even those wins will have the shadow of the offseason cast over them. Durant and Irving made this bed.

Part of the fascination is the Nets remain the team hardest to predict in the league. They arguably have the most talented roster in the league and, if everything comes together just right, they can contend for a title. It’s also possible the wheels fall off early and by Christmas the Nets are looking to trade Durant again. Both things feel possible (even if reality most likely lands somewhere in the middle).

That uncertainty about the Nets’ future is the drama that will keep eyeballs on them — which also means more questions about this past offseason. Durant can choose not to answer them, but the questions aren’t going away.