Free agent big man Kevin Seraphin wants to start somewhere

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Kevin Seraphin finally got a chance to play key minutes for the Washington Wizards in Game 7 against Hawks — only because Marcin Gortat had food poisoning.

Which sums up where the fifth-year big man has been for a while. He’s been stuck behind the big-man duo of Marcin Gortat and Nene, plus the Wizards have plenty of size up front (Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden, DeJuan Blair). Seraphin, undersized for a center at 6’9″, and his back-to-the-basket game got 15 minutes a night. His game took small steps forward this season, but never really fit with the attacking John Wall/Ramon Sessions guard tandem.

What Seraphin wants to do is start — which would mean leaving the Wizards this summer. Here is what he told J.Michael of CSNWashington.com.

“I definitely want a chance to be a starter,” Seraphin, who matched his career high with 79 regular-season appearances but didn’t start a game for the 46-win Wizards, told CSNwashington.com. “I definitely want to be somewhere I have a chance to be a starter.”

 

“If I really want to learn — it’s easy to say, ‘Yeah, stay on the bench’ — but in basketball or any sport it’s best to be on the court,” said Seraphin, who averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game and came into camp at about 20 pounds lighter at 270. “The first John Wall I saw in my life, remember that was the game in Philly the first game, he wasn’t the same John as right now. It’s because he played all those years and everything. He learned. He became a better player. I remember the John who used to run, get charges all the time. Now he controls the game better. He became an All-Star because he had the talent, he had the opportunity and everything. That’s basically what I want. I want to play. I really want to play and have a chance to prove what I can do.”

He’s not going to be starting for Washington, Gortat signed a five-year, $60 million deal last summer. Gortat is entrenched.

There likely will be teams willing to pitch Seraphin more minutes and the chance to start, but he’s going to have to earn that spot. His skill set will attract teams, although many may be looking for a backup. He did better this season addressing weaknesses such as not fouling, and he’s passing better. But there are limits to his game — nearly 50 percent of his shots come within eight feet of the rim, and while he can step out a little along the baselines he’s not exactly a floor spacer.

The teams likely to give him an opportunity for the minutes and chance to start are ones that are not very good — certainly not as good as a Wizards team that made the second round. That doesn’t seem to be the big issue, what he wants is a chance, one he’s not going to get in Washington. Wherever he lands he’ll get more than the $3.9 million he made this season.

Ja Morant points out one person who didn’t vote him Rookie of the Year

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Ja Morant was not the unanimous Rookie of the Year — 99 out of 100 media members voted for him, one voted for Zion Williamson.

When the media votes became public Saturday, Morant got to see who the one voter who voted for someone else was: Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Crowley stood up for his vote, and everything was good between them (at least on social media).

While the votes come from media members, the NBA goes out of its way to put together voters who see things differently, something ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne talked about is an excellent thread on Twitter, although she was speaking about the case for LeBron James over Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP.

To be clear, I was one of the Morant voters, and I will readily admit that Zion is the better player (at least right now). I consider the impact on winning heavily when voting, which led me to Morant because he played 59 games before the bubble and had his team in a playoff position, while Zion played only 19 and did not (only games before the NBA restart in Orlando were to be considered, per NBA rules). I also expect and respect the fact that not everyone will see it that way, or even define what matters most in winning the award the same way. Diversity of thought and views is a good thing, it leads to better outcomes. Crowley should vote what he sees and believes, and that should be respected.

Unanimous or not, Morant will go down as the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year. The voting will be a footnote at most.

Boston’s Gordon Hayward warming up, available to play in Game 3

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The Celtics are getting their X-factor back — Gordon Hayward is available for the must-win Game 3 for Boston.

This had been expected, but he was out warming up pregame as reports he would be available started to bounce around the web.

Even 20 minutes of Hayward would be a big boost for the Celtics. Hayward suffered a grade III ankle sprain in the first game of the playoffs against Philadelphia. He’s been out ever since, even leaving the bubble for a while to get treatment.

Hayward’s return gives the Celtics another versatile player who can create his own shot and knock down the open looks others create for him. Hayward can run pick-and-rolls with the second unit while Tatum and Walker get rest. He’s the Celtics’ fourth-best scoring option right now, but he’s more dangerous than any other team’s fourth scorer.

Miami leads the series 0-2. If Boston doesn’t find a way to break down Miami’s zone defense and defend the rim better themselves this series is going to be short. Maybe Hayward can help with that on Saturday night.

Ty Lawson dropped by team, reportedly banned from Chinese league after social media posts

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Ty Lawson’s off the court challenges were among the reasons he was playing in China and not the NBA this season. He signed for good money in China instead.

That era of his career after some social media posts, apparently of him at a strip club in China, has him dropped by his team and rumored to be banned from the league.

Lawson’s team, the Fujian Sturgeons, apparently gave this statement to Chinese news agency Xinhua:

“His inappropriate words are inconsistent with the social responsibilities and values abided by our club and have brought serious adverse social impacts to the club and the league. We will not sign him for the new season.”

Emiliano Carchia, the CEO of Sportando, reports that Lawson is out of the Chinese Basketball Association for good.

Lawson’s quickness and ability to create space and score could help some NBA teams, but incidents like this make it less likely an NBA team would roll the dice on the 32-year-old point guard. Lawson spent eight seasons in the NBA then the last two in China.

Mike Brown reportedly on list of Indiana coach interviews

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The buzz for a while has been the Indiana coaching job is Mike D’Antoni’s to lose — the Pacers want to update their offense, and no one is more qualified to do it.

But other names are circulating and people being interviewed: Dave Joerger, the Spurs’ Becky Hammon, Miami’s Dan Craig, Dallas’ Stephen Silas, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham, Minnesota’s David Vanterpool, Philadelphia’s Ime Udoka, Brooklyn’s Jacque Vaughn, Portland’s Nate Tibbetts, and don’t forget Chauncey Billups.

Now add veteran coach Mike Brown to the list, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Brown was the head coach of both the Cavaliers and Lakers, leading the Cavaliers to the Finals in 2007 and being named Coach of the Year two years later. Brown has been the lead assistant under Steve Kerr for a few years now and has undoubtedly soaked up knowledge on setting up a modern NBA offense.

Whoever fills Nate McMillan’s shoes in Indiana has a tough job. Expectations may be high from ownership, but McMillan’s Pacers’ teams played hard and defended, making them difficult to play against. Their offense also was old school, which is why McMillan was fired after the Heat swept the Pacers in the first round, but it wasn’t terrible. How big a leap this team makes may rely less on the style of play and more on if Victor Oladipo has returned to his All-NBA form.