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Gorgui Dieng on Andrew Wiggins: “He cannot pick and choose when he wants to play”

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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins has had a good third NBA season, but his progression has been slower than some in the North Star state would like. So too have some called out his inconsistency, the latest of which was teammate Gorgui Dieng.

When asked about Wiggins after the Timberwolves’ loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night, 112-105, the Minnesota big man told Locked on Wizards that he supported his teammate but wanted to see more consistent play from the young guard.

Via Locked on Wizards:

“Wigg is a great basketball player. He cannot pick and choose when he wants to play. We need him to play like this every night. He needs help, we’re all going to help him, but he’s our leader. He needs to play like this every night.”

Wiggins finished Friday night’s game with 41 points on 16-of-31 shooting, adding two assists, two steals, and a rebound.

Prior to his breakout against Washington, Wiggins scored just 8 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the last game Wiggins shot under 50% from the field and fewer than 20 points prior to that was before Christmas.

There’s been monumental pressure on Wiggins, perhaps more so this season as both Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine have emerged as 20+ ppg scorers. He’s an OK passer but not a great rebounder for his position, sitting outside the Top 50 for forwards under 6-foot-10.

Still, Wiggins has made a huge leap in 3-point shooting. He’s bumped himself up to 34.8 percent from deep after a hot start to the year, something that should help his own scoring and spacing for his teammates.

He still has some bad habits on both offense and defense, at times taking awkward, low-efficiency jumpers coupled with poor rotations and technique on the other end of the floor.

That’s likely what Dieng is referring to, given that on Friday Wiggins attacked the paint and got to the free-throw line often. Everyone in Minnesota would like to see that on a nightly basis, but there have been games where Wiggins has been more tentative.

Generally, I think there was an idea that Wiggins would continue on the leap he took between Year 1 and Year 2, that there would be some kind of exponential rise. Wiggins is still just 21, and has years of experience left to gain. Tom Thibodeau’s system takes some repetition to get into, and nobody should fret just yet.

Report: Kyrie Irving picked Nets over Knicks because of Knicks management

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Kyrie Irving wanted to play at home. But the NBA has two teams near New Jersey, where Irving grew up.

Why did he pick the Nets over the Knicks?

Frank Isola of The Athletic:

“When it came down to the Nets and Knicks he was concerned about the management of the Knicks,” said a person familiar with Irving’s thinking. “It’s really as simple as that.”

Irving is not alone. Many NBA players distrust Knicks management.

Right now, it’s easy to see why. The lousy roster and finger-pointing are indicators of even bigger problems. It starts at the top with owner James Dolan.

Until Dolan sells the team (good luck with that) or hires an executive capable enough to overcome Dolan (i.e., not Steve Mills, Phil Jackson or Steve Mills), the Knicks will be fighting an uphill battle.

Are these the new Mavericks alternate jerseys?

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The Mavericks want you to take them seriously. They traded up for Luka Doncic, traded for Kristaps Porzingis then signed a bunch of solid role players. Dallas became a good team through brute force.

Then these make the rounds…

Though the Mavericks haven’t announced anything, that would be an elaborate fake of a new alternate jersey.

These are pretty ridiculous. Dallas has the added misfortunate of using a graffiti-influenced font just after the Nets and Clippers did – only the Mavericks’ is more cartoonish.

But I’m absolutely certain, in several years, there will be major nostalgia for these as throwbacks.

Gordon Hawyard admits he’s frustrated by latest injury

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Following a gruesome leg injury that robbed him of a couple of years of his career, Gordon Hayward was finally starting to look and feel like himself — like the All-Star from Utah the Celtics thought they were signing. Hayward averaged 18.9 points per game, shot 43.3 percent from three, pulled down 7.1 rebounds, and dished out 4.1 assists per game. He was a playmaker Brad Stevens could lean on.

Then Hayward fractured the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand on a fluke play. Hayward had surgery to repair it and will be out for six weeks.

Of course Hayward is frustrated. Via NBC Sports Boston:

“Like I said, happy that it shouldn’t be that long. Obviously frustrated — it sucks watching and not being able to go out there and play, especially with the start that we’ve had. I think this time around, I’ll be able to run around, use my legs still, maintain my conditioning, which I’m very thrilled about and then be around the team, too. And kinda stay involved, which is good…

“I think we’ll take it, as cliche as it sounds, we’ll take it day by day and week by week and it’s one of those things that, once the bone is healed, then it’s kind of how much can you tolerate and how well does my body handle with the swelling, kind of how well it takes ramping up activities and doing different basketball things,” said Hayward. “Honestly, looking at the plan that we set up today and just kind of attacking each day. Hopefully, I’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

The 9-1 Celtics can afford to be patient bringing him back. No need to rush it. They are a deep and talented team, but they need Hayward at his playmaking and scoring best to be a real playoff threat. Hayward should be back around New Year’s Day, why risk his hand issues becoming chronic so he can play in games in December?

Hayward, a competitor, is not going to want to be patient. After everything he’s been through with injuries, hard to blame him.

 

Russell Westbrook on Patrick Beverley: ‘He don’t guard nobody, man. He just running around doing nothing’

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Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley have a history.

After his Rockets beat Beverley’s Clippers last night, Westbrook fanned the flames.

Mark Berman of FOX 26:

Westbrook ripping someone else for phony defensive effort? That’s rich. Westbrook is the king of that style.

Beverley is one of the NBA’s best defensive guards. Sure, he has antics. But there’s an underlying effectiveness behind all his bark.

James Harden scoring 47 points hardly disproves Beverley’s defensive ability. Harden’s output by defender:

  • Beverley: 4 points on 1-of-9 shooting
  • Other: 43 points on 11-of-17 shooting