Cam Reddish

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Trae Young says it’s too early to judge who won/lost Luka Doncic draft night trade

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Luka Doncic is already a star, a guy in the MVP discussion, and the cornerstone of the Mavericks franchise in just his second season. All that at age 20. It follows from what he did for Real Madrid in Europe, where he was the EuroLeague MVP at 19.

That has fans of the Suns (Deandre Ayton), Kings (Marvin Bagley III), and the Hawks — who traded Doncic to get Trae Young and another first-round pick — looking back at the 2018 NBA Draft and asking, “how did we miss on Doncic, exactly?”

Young has racked up impressive numbers this season — scoring 29.1 points and dishing out 8.5 assists per game, and he leads East guards in the All-Star fan voting — but the Hawks are a dreadful 9-32 and dead last in the East. Meanwhile, Doncic and the Mavericks are 25-15 in the West, and Doncic is helping his team win games.

Young said the Hawks and Mavericks were teams in different places and its not fair to compare them or judge the trade yet. Via Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:

“[Doncic’s] on a team, and they’ve got more veterans and is a team that’s more looking to win now,” Young told Bleacher Report. “We’re more of a team that wants to win now, but we’re focusing more on developing, and we’re one of the youngest teams in the league. It’s just two totally different situations, so it’s just hard to really judge who won or lost [the trade] right now. I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I just try and focus on my team and how I can help my team. Maybe down the road at the end of our careers, I think that can be a topic of discussion, but right now, I don’t pay too much attention to it.”

Young is right. The Hawks are young and building with himself, John Collins, Cam Reddish, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, and the rest of a young core. Dallas is a roster better positioned to win right now.

That said, Doncic has looked more like the complete player and more like a guy who can lead a team to contention — he’s doing a lot of that in his second season. Doncic’s not a great defender but he’s better than Young, who is part of the defensive problem in Atlanta.

It’s too early to say Atlanta made a mistake in the 2018 draft — and is it really much of a mistake to get Young? — but they seem to be among the teams that misjudged Doncic’s ceiling. They may come to regret that for the next decade.

Kyrie Irving looks sharp, scores 21 in return to lead Nets during rout of Hawks

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in 20 minutes of an easy return from a two-month absence with an injured right shoulder, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Irving shot 10 for 11 from the field after missing 26 games with an impingement. The shoulder looked fine and his handle looked as good as ever while he dribbled his way around a hopeless Atlanta defense.

Energized by his return that still seemed a ways away just a week ago, the Nets led by 39 points and won their second straight after dropping seven in a row.

Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young because of a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight.

Taurean Prince scored 14 points for the Nets, who made it such an easy night that their fans didn’t need to worry about the scoreboard as they roared for Vince Carter’s two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The 42-year-old former Nets star finished with eight points in his final road appearance against the franchise.

Irving began feeling pain in his shoulder early in the season, and he took himself out of the lineup after a game in Denver on Nov. 14. The Nets held up well without him for a while thanks mostly to Spencer Dinwiddie’s strong play, but had faltered recently and struggled especially in crunch time.

Irving got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24, revealing last weekend his options were that or surgery. He gave no indication then he was close to returning, but participated fully in practice this week.

He started alongside Dinwiddie to share the playmaking responsibilities and did most of his scoring near the basket, making the only 3-pointer he attempted. The Nets were already leading 70-46 at halftime before he went 5 for 5 for 10 points in a dazzling six-minute stretch of the third quarter.

Ten biggest NBA trades of the decade

Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant
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Here are the most significant NBA trades – for better or worse – of the last decade:

10. Nuggets trade Carmelo Anthony to Knicks in 2011

The Anthony trade saga loomed over the league for a while, which is partially why this trade – and the next one – rank ahead of a few higher-impact deals like Chris Paul to the Rockets, Celtics trading the No. 1 pick (Markelle Fultz) to 76ers for the No. 3  pick (Jayson Tatum) and the Clippers trading a first-rounder that became No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving to unload Baron Davis’ contract. Anthony was a very good player. But New York had to give up so much to acquire him then had to pay him such a large share of the salary cap, it made winning around him difficult. The Knicks mostly weren’t up to the task. Denver got several players and picks – Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, a first-rounder used to become Andre Iguodala and a first-rounder that became Jamal Murray – that helped the Nuggets in multiple eras of winning.

9. Magic trade Dwight Howard trade to Lakers in 2012

This trade set all four involved teams in motion. After a lengthy drama, Orlando moved its big star and settled into mediocrity. The Lakers got a hobbled Howard for a year, showed cracks in their foundation, watched Howard leave for the Rockets in unrestricted free agency then stunk a while. The 76ers got Andrew Bynum, who turned out to be damaged goods and was mostly finished. That failure made The Process look appealing. Andre Iguodala helped the Nuggets win 57 games, though Denver lost in the first

8. Hawks trade Luka Doncic to Mavericks for Trae Young in 2018

This draft-night trade will shape these teams for a long time. Dallas will probably come out ahead. Doncic and Young are both already stars. Doncic might already be a superstar. The extra pick the Hawks got for moving down from No. 3 to No. 5 turned into Cam Reddish, whose early returns haven’t been encouraging. But Young is good enough to at least pose a challenge as this trade gets re-analyzed and re-re-analyzed over the next decade.

7. Celtics trade Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Nets in 2013

Of all Brooklyn’s ill-fated moves of this era (Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson) this was the coup de grace. With pick swaps, the Nets pushed the limits of the Stepien rule – and paid for it. Brooklyn wound up sending Boston the No. 17 pick in 2014, No. 3 pick in 2016, No. 1 pick in 2017 and No. 8 pick in 2018. Garnett and Pierce were over the hill, and their big contracts left the Nets stuck. The Celtics meanwhile gained assets essential to acquiring Kyrie Irving and Jason Tatum. Ironically, Boston built a winner far quicker than Brooklyn.

6. Pelicans trade Anthony Davis to Lakers in 2019

Davis’ trade request sabotaged the Pelicans’ season and created a stir that hovered over the whole league. Davis got his wish, joining Los Angeles. New Orleans got major return. And the Lakers got a second superstar to pair with LeBron. It’s a little risky with Davis approaching unrestricted free agency. But if he leaves, it changes only the winners of the trade. It’d still be a big deal.

5. New Orleans Hornets trade Chris Paul to Clippers in 2011

This trade is most infamous for the trade it wasn’t. Ostensibly acting as governor for the league-owned Hornets, NBA commissioner David Stern nixed a trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers. Lakers fans still haven’t forgiven Stern, and theories run rampant about what he truly meant by “basketball reasons.” Paul led the Clippers to their best era in franchise history, throwing lobs to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Though the Clippers never advanced past the second round, Paul helped the beleaguered franchise gain credibility, paving the way for L.A. to get Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

4. Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in 2018

This trade won Toronto a championship. It’s hard to beat that. Though some have downplayed the risk – especially in hindsight – the Raptors took a real chance by disrupting their very-good status quo to raise their ceiling. They stayed only one season, but Leonard and Danny Greenan underrated accompaniment – delivered immediately. By getting so little (DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a draft pick that became Keldon Johnson) for its superstar, San Antonio might have sealed the end of its empire.

3. Pacers trade Kawhi Leonard to Spurs in 2011

The Spurs didn’t want to move Hill, a nice example of their developmental system. Leonard became the crown jewel of San Antonio’s culture. He grew into the Spurs’ best player, winning 2014 NBA Finals MVP as they lengthened their dynasty. San Antonio and Indiana were right about Hill’s potential. He became a quality starter on the championship-contending Pacers that fought the Heat hard, but twice came up short. For a while, this trade seemed like a win-win. But Leonard was so good, the Spurs came out way ahead, even considering his unpleasant departure from San Antonio.

2. Clippers trade for Paul George in 2019

L.A. surrendered an unprecedented package –  five first-round picks, two first-round pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari. Worth it for just George? No. But this trade cinched the Clippers getting Kawhi Leonard, too. There’s no guarantee this works out for L.A. Leonard and George are each locked up only two seasons. But this trade created an instant championship contender. That’s worth the potentially massive cost. Oklahoma City got a huge jump on its rebuild, gaining a threatening bunch of picks for a team that once drafted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden in quick succession.

1. Thunder trade James Harden to Rockets

This trade undermined a budding dynasty in Oklahoma City and established Houston as a force for years to come. We’ll never know how Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden would have developed together. But considering the Thunder never won a title with any of them, it’s natural to wonder, “What if?” Questions about why Oklahoma City made this trade, particularly centered on the luxury tax, continue to this day. Even Rockets general manager Daryl Morey admits he didn’t foresee Harden becoming this good. But Houston targeted Harden and gets all the credit for landing a superstar just before everyone realized he should be valued like one.

Hawks’ Kevin Huerter to start ‘modified on-court work’ but out for at least 3 more games

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ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks say guard Kevin Huerter will miss their upcoming road trip while he recovers from a shoulder injury.

Huerter strained his left rotator cuff when fouled by Denver’s Nikola Jokic on Nov. 12. He was examined again by team doctors Monday night and has been “cleared to begin modified on-court work and return-to-play rehabilitation,” according to a press release by the team.

Huerter provides another three-point threat to Atlanta, 58 percent of his shots come from beyond the arc and he hits 38.6 percent of them. Rookie Cam Reddish and DeAndre’ Bembry have filled in for Huerter, who is averaging 9.3 points a game. Reddish recently missed two games with a sprained left wrist.

The three-game road trip begins Wednesday night at Milwaukee.

 

Rumor: Kings passed on Luka Doncic in draft because Vlade Divac doesn’t like Doncic’s dad

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Luka Doncic looks like an NBA superstar — already, at age 20 — and the kind of player that can win MVPs and turn a team into a contender. A true franchise cornerstone.

Anytime a player like that doesn’t go No. 1 in the draft, especially when that player comes in with the level of hype Doncic did (he had just won the EuroLeague MVP at 19), there’s fingerpointing at front offices. How did they miss on this guy?

In the case of the Suns (who  had just hired Doncic’s international coach), multiple of sources around the league say Phoenix owner Robert Sarver pushed for Deandre Ayton, the in-state Arizona player (and, to be fair, he was on top of a lot, if not most, team draft boards).

The Kings are harder to pin down, Vlade Divac is well connected in Europe and had seen Doncic. So why pass? Tim MacMahon of ESPN told this story on The Woj Pod about Doncic (hat tip to Jesse Reed of Sportsnaut).

“My understanding is that [Divac] being so close to Luka and knowing his dad so well factored into their decision. Basically, he didn’t think a whole lot of Luka’s dad, and the whole like father like son … well … no, this is a different dude. You messed that one up, Vlade.”

The Kings will undoubtedly push back on this idea, and there’s certainly no way to prove this rumor. The Kings’ argument for their moves would be a respectable one: They had Marvin Bagley higher on their draft board — and he is a quality young big man (out right now with a fluke broken thumb) — plus they had a primary ballhandler they liked in De'Aaron Fox. From the outside, it is impossible to say what really drove the Kings’ decision, but it would not be the first time that personal feelings got in the way of smart basketball moves.

Even if you buy Sacramento’s reasoning, that doesn’t make this any less of a miss. They either underestimated Doncic or overestimated Bagley (who looks to be good but not on Doncic’s level). Also, having a player a team likes is a terrible reason to pass on the best player available even if they fill the same role. It’s the “we have Clyde Drexler so we’re not going to take Michael Jordan” issue. Talent wins in the NBA. Flat out. Draft the best player, get the most talent, and if a team ends up with too many players at one position or has overlapping skill sets, then make a trade from a position of strength.

Which is to say, MacMahon was right about this, “You messed that one up, Vlade.”

A discussion point on this draft for a future day: Do the Hawks get a pass for setting up the trade of Doncic that netted Atlanta Trae Young and the pick that became Cam Reddish? Young is a special talent as well, so it feels a little too early to make that call, but Doncic has looked the better player.