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How Spurs’ Bryn Forbes went from afterthought recruit to NBA starter

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Bryn Forbes‘ 2014 transfer from Cleveland State to Michigan State was well-covered in the media. Nearly every article on it explained Forbes’ reasoning: The Lansing, Mich., native wanted to be closer to his son, who was born the year prior, and his sister, who was suffering from what would be a fatal illness.

And those explanations weren’t wrong. Family was Forbes’ primary concern.

But he had another reason: He wanted to better prepare for the NBA.

Forbes kept that one close to the vest. After all, he was a 6-foot-3 scoring guard with unexceptional athleticism. He ranked third in his 2012 recruiting class… at Cleveland State. He didn’t even make the All-Horizon League first team.

“People would have thought I’m crazy,” Forbes said. “They honestly would have thought I’m crazy.”

But Forbes’ self-confidence paid off. He’s now the Spurs’ starting shooting guard, averaging 12.4 points per game on 43.6% 3-point shooting.

It’s incredible how far he has come in just a few years.

Forbes worked hard in East Lansing, developing into a college star. Not bad for someone the Spartans initially offered only a preferred-walk-on spot despite Forbes playing in their backyard with Michigan State commit Denzel Valentine (now with the Bulls) at Lansing Sexton High School. Still, Forbes looked like the archetypical good shooter without the size or athleticism to make the NBA.

Leading up to the 2016 draft, DraftExpress ranked the top shooters in the draft. Forbes’ name appeared once – to note why he wasn’t otherwise included:

Please note that this is not an exhaustive study including all of the best shooters in college basketball or even in the 2016 NBA Draft Class. The only players included in this subset are those deemed to “draftable” NBA prospects. Players like Max Hooper (6-6, SG, Oakland, 3.3 3s made per game, 46% 3P%), Max Landis (6-2, SG, IPFW, 3.8 3s made per game, 46% 3P%), Bryn Forbes (6-3, SG, Michigan State, 3.2 3s made per game, 48% 3P%) for example were excluded, amongst others.

Jonathan Givony’s projection wasn’t exactly wrong. Forbes went undrafted.

He signed a barely guaranteed contract with San Antonio and quickly impressed Spurs president-coach Gregg Popovich with his work ethic, coachability and 3-point shot. Against all odds, Forbes made San Antonio’s regular-season roster and earned an NBA salary.

Forbes still spent much of his first professional season with the Spurs’ minor-league affiliate playing point guard. He’s more of an off guard, but that time helped him develop his ball-handling and passing.

In his second season, Forbes became a rotation regular and spot-starter. He played 1,517 minutes on a 47-win team. After the season, he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Spurs.

Now, Forbes is one of just six full-time starters this season who went undrafted. The other five: Robert Covington, Joe Ingles, Wesley Matthews, Garrett Temple and Rodney McGruder.

“He’s carved out an NBA career,” Popovich said of Forbes.

Though Forbes has expanded his all-around game, that merely got other facets to tolerable levels. He remains a 3-point specialist, and his 43.6% 3-point percentage ranks 12th in the NBA:

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Maybe Forbes wouldn’t be in this position if San Antonio didn’t suffer so many backcourt injuries this season. Dejounte Murray is missing the entire season. Lonnie Walker just got healthy. Derrick White was sidelined for the start of the year.

Forbes has considered similar “what ifs” in the past. What if he stayed at Cleveland State? Would he have had the platform to showcase himself for the NBA? Eventually, he decided not to dwell on that.

“I think, one way or another,” Forbes said, “I would have found a way.”

Wesley Matthews inexplicably fouls LeBron James to set up game-winning free thro

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The Lakers tried hard to lose last night.

Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews tried even harder.

In the final four minutes, Los Angeles missed all its shots, went 4-for-8 on free throws and blew a 14-point lead.

But after Luka Doncic made the game-tying shot, Matthews fouled LeBron James as if he were intentionally fouling him despite Dallas having no fouls to give. LeBron missed the first free throw, but made the second to give the Lakers a 114-113 win.

Matthews said he knew the Mavericks had no fouls to give. I don’t know whether that makes his foul look better or worse, but it was definitely a terrible play.

Three Things to Know: Butler who? Derrick Rose drops career-high 50

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Derrick Rose drops 50 helping everyone forget about the Jimmy Butler nightmare for a while. We can all use a good distraction once in a while — and nobody could use a distraction like Timberwolves fans. They spent their day learning that Jimmy Butler was not going to play against the Jazz that night because he wanted to send a message about trading him… or, he’s just sore and needed a night off. Whichever. The Timberwolves are still Chaos.

Then Derrick Rose took the court.

With Butler and point guard Jeff Teague both out, Rose was thrust into the role of starter and primary ball handler. It was his night from the start — 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting plus two assists in the first quarter alone — and it kept piling up. Rose hit the go-ahead shot for the Timberwolves with :30 seconds left, then sealed the game with :13 seconds remaining, hitting a couple of free throws.

Rose finished with 50 points on 19-of-31 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three.

He was hitting from everywhere — at the rim, midrange, and from three.

After the game, it was an emotional Rose who talked about his long journey — an ACL surgery, two meniscus surgeries —  and how he could have easily walked away from basketball kept fighting because he loved the game and just wanted to play.

That’s a story everyone can get behind.

For a night, until the chaos of the Jimmy Butler situation returns.

2) Shot of the night: Paul Millsap hits putback jumper to get Nuggets a win in OT. Give the Chicago Bulls credit, they played one of the five best teams in the NBA to start the season to a standstill, forcing overtime. Zach LaVine continues to light it up this season with 28 points and rookie Wendell Carter Jr. added a career-high 25.

It was just a point short. In overtime, Denver was down a point with 3.5 seconds left, they got the ball to their star Nikola Jokic who got a pretty clean look at a 19-footer and back rimmed it, but Paul Millsap was there.

Denver is 6-1 on the season

3) This time, LeBron James gets bailed out by a veteran two guard making a mistake. The Lakers had this, a 14-point lead with four minutes to go in the game, they just had to close out the Dallas Mavericks on the road with a couple of buckets and a couple of stops…

And it’s never that easy for the Lakers. Los Angeles didn’t score a field goal the final 4:15 of the game and were just 3-of-6 from the free throw line. A Luka Doncic drive and baseline eight-foot fadeaway tied the game at 113-113 with seven seconds left. The Lakers gave the ball to LeBron, who brought it up and… Wesley Matthews fouls him on the dribble 35 feet from the basket. The Lakers were in the bonus, LeBron got two free throws with :02 seconds left, hits the second and ballgame. Lakers win, 114-113. Matthews foul led to a lot of these memes on NBA Twitter, because why would you foul that far from the basket unless you thought you had a foul to give?

Matthews said after the game he knew the Mavericks didn’t have a foul to give, but he was trying to be aggressive and make a play, to force a turnover. He also admitted it was not a smart move.

Either way, LeBron and the now 3-5 Lakers will take it. Also, all of that paled in comparison to JaVale McGee talking to the media after the game in a custom-made, full-size Grinch costume.

Wesley Matthews throws inbound … pass? (video)

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Wesley Matthews threw this inbound pass.

Well, it’s technically a pass. But it’s making the other highlights reels ….

Report: DeAndre Jordan considering opt-in-and-trade, maybe to Mavericks

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Clippers center DeAndre Jordan plays for a team that might not want him long-term and at a position that is increasingly devalued.

But for a moment, he holds all the power.

Jordan could decline his $24,119,025 player option and become an unrestricted free agent. He could exercise his option and return to L.A. (at least to start the offseason). Or he could even exercise his option to facilitate a trade.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

That Dallas and Jordan are even possibilities for each other is noteworthy. After he emerged as a rumored target for the Mavericks a few weeks ago, they put out word they weren’t interested. Jordan still carries a stigma in Dallas after reneging on an agreement to sign with the Mavericks in 2015.

But Dallas’ plans could have changed on draft night. The Mavericks traded their 2019 first-rounder to move up for Luka Doncic, probably the best current player in the draft. Next year’s pick is only top-five protected, so the present takes on greater importance in Dallas.

Jordan could help – maybe enough to get over his past transgressions.

Dallas, unlike the Rockets with the Chris Paul opt-in-and-trade last year, can easily create enough space to sign Jordan outright. Agreeing to such a trade would make sense for the Mavericks only if…

They believe Jordan is more likely to pick them if he can remain on his current contract.

or

They have a player they want to dump and L.A. wants (Wesley Matthews?).

Opt-in-and-trades are difficult to execute. Two teams and a player must agree. So, the odds are against it.

But the mere possibility of this deal speaks to Dallas’ priorities.