Jazz host multiple first-round picks trying to find a home in Wednesday’s free-agent mini-camp

Maybe calling Wednesday’s free-agent mini-camp the Jazz’s version of the Island of Misfit Toys is a little bit harsh… but it’s not inaccurate.

Take Justin Patton, the 2017 No. 16 pick who earned his relatively lofty selection thanks to great athleticism and size, if not a developed offensive game. But a foot injury or three sidelined him and ultimately ended his first contract early, and now the 21-year-old is trying to find his next NBA contract.

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Or Cameron Payne, the 2015 No. 15 pick who first disappointed for the Oklahoma City Thunder before disappointing immediately when traded to the Bulls.
“We knew the second practice [after he was acquired] cheap nba jerseys china
that he couldn’t play at [an NBA] level,’’ a Bulls source told the Chicago Sun Times. “The only reason it took two practices was because we thought maybe it was nerves in the first one.”

Or Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira, the 2013 No. 16 pick, a 7-0 center with a 7-5 wingspan who played in 141 games for the Raptors, even starting 10 of them. But battles with depression and alcohol abuse served to hamper his on-court effectiveness.

The highest former pick was Thomas Robinson, who went No.5 overall in 2012 to the Sacramento Kings. Since a 5-year NBA career, Robinson’s played overseas and in the G-League.

It’s these players, plus a cast of 26 other free agents from around the world of basketball, who made up the Jazz’s mini-camp this year. Players who were on the Stars roster last year, like Willie Reed, Isaac Haas, Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Tanner McGrew, and Jairus Lyles all also had the chance to compare themselves to the other free agents.

In the two-day camp, the Jazz try to find which of these players might have a chance to make it beyond their limitations into effective players in the NBA in 2019-20.

Sprained ankle ends Jonas Valanciunas’ season after solid 19 games with Grizzlies

Jonas Valanciunas will miss the Grizzlies’ final five games after suffering an ankle sprain in Sunday night’s loss at the Clippers.

Valanciunas left the game midway through the third quarter after twisting his ankle after a rebound.

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The bruising center acquired at the trade Wholesale nba jerseys
deadline in a deal with Toronto for Marc Gasol averaged 19.9 points and 10.7 rebounds in 19 games with the Grizzlies.

Valanciunas has a player option for next season worth $17.6 million.

The injury leaves the Grizzlies with a front line of Chandler Parsons, Ivan Rabb and Bruno Caboclo.
Joakim Noah has been nursing knee soreness but has not been ruled out for the season.

Memphis Grizzlies News: Jonas Valanciunas’ Season Comes To An End After Ankle Injury

Jonas Valanciunas has been playing some of the best basketball of his career, but his season is coming to an end a few games early. The Memphis Grizzlies will be without another key player the rest of the way due to injury.
Jonas Valanciunas has been an absolute stud since he joined the Memphis Grizzlies. In the 19 games he played in with the Grizzlies he averaged 19.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. If that was over a full season it would easily be the best mark of his career as his prior high cheap nba jerseys from china
in scoring was just 12.8 points during the 2015-16 season.
He has had many dominating performances during just a short time with the Grizzlies. The team as a whole has improved and his play is a big part of that. The future continues to get brighter in Memphis and with him at the center spot they should be a much-improved team next season.

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In many recent games, he has completely stuffed the stat sheet. Prior to the Clippers game in which he was injured he had posted at least 18 points and 13 rebounds in the previous six games, which included a couple of games that really stood out.

In a road loss against the Orlando Magic, he finished with 23 points and 24 rebounds which is a career-high in rebounds. The Grizzlies haven’t had a guy like that who can dominate the boards for a couple of years, really since Zach Randolph. He isn’t on that level, but he certainly is an upgrade in that area over Marc Gasol.
The best game of the season for him certainly was in the recent win on the road against the Phoenix Suns. He finished with 34 points and 20 rebounds in that game as he was dominant inside. He did also have five assists in this game which is tied for the highest mark of his career with another game since he’s been in Memphis.

Valanciunas was also extremely efficient in this game as he went 16-28 from the field. He was dominating inside and they continued to feed him the ball in the paint. Those are career-highs of his in both field goal attempts, as well as makes.

Becoming the antithesis of ‘Lob City’ might be a good thing for current Clippers squad

Consider this: The only local men’s basketball teams that exceeded expectations were UC Irvine and the Clippers. Just as everyone predicted.

“Exactly,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said with a smile that reflected great pride in his team and in the Anteaters, whose roster included his son Spencer as a reserve guard.

It’s absurd and marvelous that the Clippers, widely predicted to miss the playoffs, have clinched a postseason berth and can finish as high as fourth, a cause they advanced with their 132-108 victory over Cleveland on Saturday. The Lob City era was fun, but it ended without the Clippers getting past the second round. This group’s fate will play out soon enough, but its chemistry is different and feels good. The Clippers’ teamwork, togetherness, and depth can compensate for the absence of a superstar. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Clippers are only the sixth team in NBA history to win 45 games without a current or former All-Star on their roster.

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“The big three never got to the Western Conference finals,” Ivica Zubac said, referring to Lob City stars Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, “and I think if Wholesale nba jerseys we have a good playoff run we can change the image about the Clippers being a successful team, and even attract some fans, I hope.”
Although they’ve thrived after they traded leading scorer Tobias Harris and shooting guard Avery Bradley in salary cap-clearing moves, they have no familiar faces or big personalities. And for better or for worse the NBA is fueled by personalities like LeBron James, whose season was cut short Saturday when the Lakers announced they’d rest him the remainder of a season that isn’t going to end in a playoff appearance. That absence of star power apparently has turned off fans who were dazzled by the Lob City exploits: The Clippers’ home attendance average is up slightly compared to last season but they’ve played to only 90.8% of capacity, down from 100.1% in 2016-17.

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The Lakers have tradition and banners and LeBron. The Clippers can’t match that but they’re trying to improve their corner of the sports landscape. “The Lakers didn’t make it the last [six] years. The picture is obviously changing,” Zubac said. “People know the Clippers were being the better team the last couple of years. It shouldn’t matter what the Lakers do. We’ve just got to focus on ourselves and trying to be as successful as we can, trying to win as many games as we can in the playoffs. We’re going to start attracting some fans, and I think in a couple years it’s going to be a different picture about Clippers.”

Rivers said he never focused on the Lakers and the popular notion James would carry them at least to the Western conference finals. “Truth be told I did believe, and I said it from Day One, that we would be there and I thought they would, too, and that didn’t bother me one way or the other,” Rivers said. “I actually thought they could be a first-round opponent in some ways. But what they did or didn’t do, never controlled anything we did. It was almost like we were in separate towns in the way we viewed it. Like, let’s be us, and not worry about anything else, and I think we did a good job of that.”

Despite their success so far, the Clippers think they’re still under the radar. “We’re fine with that,” guard Patrick Beverley said after Rivers rested all of his starters in the fourth quarter Saturday, an ideal example of load management with another game looming Sunday night at Staples Center against Memphis.

“We’re not a flashy team,” Beverley said. “We don’t go in there with dunks, and oohs and ahhs and all that. We play the right way and next thing you know we’re up 15. We play the right way and next thing you know we’re up 20 points and we’re walking out the door with a win. We don’t really care about the oohs and ahhs. We continue to do the right things, play the right way.”

Predicting the 2024 NBA All-Star Class

The NBA is in tremendous shape. If you need proof of that, we’ll suggest two places to look.

For starters, soak up every second of All-Star Weekend 2019. This is a superstars’ league, after all, so you would be remiss not to see its largest contingent of star power.

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But you’ll also want to glance in our crystal ball for a glimpse cheap nba jerseys china
into the All-Star future—specifically, the 2024 midseason classic.

That’s a ton of time in basketball years. Flash back to the 2014 All-Star Game, for instance, and you’ll find the likes of Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, Dwight Howard and Joe Johnson. You’ll see a decent number of present stars, too—LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and James Harden all had starting spots—but the changes are significant.

By weighing past production with future potential, we’ll attempt to predict how the aging process will predict our latest batch of ballers. Youngsters, for instance, could get a lift for additional experience, while older players who depend on athleticism might take a serious hit.

For simplicity’s sake, our player pool is only as deep as the current NBA’s. In other words, if you find yourself wondering why Zion Williamson didn’t make the cut, you have your answer.

Got it? Good. Let’s go time-traveling.

Playoffs? Young Clippers refuse to get ahead of themselves

There’s a humility that’s part of the Clippers’ charm this season.

Ask coach Doc Rivers about looking into the future, about trying to get everything in order for the playoffs, about taking the foot off the gas pedal, and he’s had the same answer all season.

“We’re not good enough.”

The latest version of this happened after the Clippers beat the Indiana Pacers 115-109 Tuesday night at Staples Center. In his postgame press conference, Rivers closed things by taking questions from a group of student journalists.

One asked who, if anyone, the Clippers would like to play in the first round of the postseason.

“We’re not good enough to pick who we want to play,” Rivers said.

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The teams that are good enough — teams like the Warriors — are allowed to have stronger preferences, and Tuesday night, guard Klay Thompson told reporters his choice would cheap nba jerseys
be the Clippers, keeping the Warriors close to home on their first steps towards another championship.

It makes sense. The Clippers are young, starting three players younger than 22 (Ivica Zubac just celebrated his 22nd birthday Monday). They don’t have a star in the way other potential first-round opponents do. They dealt their top scorer, Tobias Harris, in a deal that set them up for the future. And, more than any of the other seven teams headed for the postseason, the Clippers are the most surprising entrant.

Of course a team would want to play them. But is it really that wise?

Since the All-Star break, as they’ve pushed for the postseason, the Clippers have been better than they were with Harris. Through Tuesday, they owned the second-best record in the NBA since the break, 9-3, trailing only the 12-2 Houston Rockets.

The record has been bolstered by a stretch of eight-straight games at Staples Center — the Clippers won seven. Still, four of those wins came over likely playoff teams.
“It was nice that we were able to do that,” River said. “And those were tough teams. This stretch that we just went through, those were good teams that came through here.”

And the Clippers were better than them.

A combination of five Clippers wins and Sacramento losses will clinch the Clippers a playoff berth, locking in at least the No. 8 seed. If the team can keep winning, the Clippers could keep on climbing. Their schedule is favorable, with five of their next six games against teams with losing records.

But it’s not like they’re looking at the good position they’re in. The Clippers, remember, aren’t good enough for that.

“Um, I guess it’s cool,” Clippers rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. “But yeah, personally, I haven’t worried about the playoffs at all. I’m just worried about the next game, getting ready for that one.”

For Curry, a Return Home Shows He Is Where He Belongs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephen Curry was about 25 minutes into a news conference here on Saturday afternoon when a magician who goes by the name Jibrizy sidled up to the dais to do a card trick. Curry, the Golden State Warriors point guard, seemed impressed.

“That was nice, big fella,” Curry said. “That was crazy. Y’all see that? Did y’all see that? What’s your name, cheap nba jerseys china boss? Jibrizy? Nice to meet you, man. Fire. You’re fire. That’s what’s up.”

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Lots of weird stuff tends to happen during N.B.A. All-Star weekend, and a cameo by Jibrizy was no exception. But it was also the rare instance when the spotlight left Curry, if only for a moment, in the run-up to the weekend’s flagship game on Sunday.

Curry, a six-time All-Star and two-time most valuable player who has already coaxed Golden State to three championships, is used to lots of attention. But he relished his return to Charlotte, where he grew up to become perhaps the greatest shooter of all time — and where he is still revered.

Zion Williamson’s Injury Has Some Saying He Should Quit Duke

A freakish injury to Duke’s Zion Williamson, college basketball’s best and most prominent player, only seconds into a game on Wednesday night has instantaneously renewed a debate about the contradictions of the sport’s economic foundation, shining a harsh new light on the N.C.A.A.’s policy of amateurism and the influence of billion-dollar shoe companies.

It also raised an important question: Should Williamson ever suit up for another college game?

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even before Duke announced that Williamson had sprained his right knee in the fall.

“It’s a legitimate question,” said Ramogi Huma, the founder and president of the College Athletes Players Association, an advocate for players’ rights.

In the first minute of top-ranked Duke’s game against its archrival, eighth-ranked North Carolina, Williamson, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward whose game is a blend of quickness and power, pivoted with the ball near the free-throw line. As he planted a foot to reverse direction, his left sneaker collapsed and tore apart from the sheer torque of the move.

No Matter What LeBron Says, the Lakers’ Issues Aren’t Just About “Being Comfortable”

LeBron James wanted to talk about culture. After a 128-115 Saturday night loss to the Pelicans—a team in tumult that was on the second night of a back-to-back, and didn’t play superstar/would-be Hollywood transplant Anthony Davis—James took his time to figure out how he’d answer questions about a bleak performance that dropped his Lakers back below .500. That’s what he settled on: culture.

Just a few short days after publicly announcing that he’d “activated” his playoff-level intensity, James faced the media to talk about another blow to L.A.’s hopes of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2013.

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“How do you know what’s at stake if you’ve never been there?” James asked, by way of “playing devil’s advocate” about the Lakers’ sputtering playoff push. “[…] It’s kind of cheap nba jerseys
a fine line when you talk about that, because when you’ve never been there or know what it takes to actually shoot for something like that, it’s like you’re afraid to get uncomfortable. So you gotta be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
What LeBron can’t get comfortable with is the losing that has marred the past half-decade of Lakers basketball, and that has persisted throughout this year’s 29-30 campaign. L.A. is three games out of the West’s no. 8 seed with 23 games to go. Asked whether Saturday’s loss felt different than the 29 defeats that had preceded it this season—more disappointing, perhaps, since it squandered the positive vibes of Thursday’s big win over the Rockets—James scoffed at the notion, and pointed to the past.

“For me? No,” he said. “See, that’s what I’m talking about … the last few years, everyone’s so accustomed to the losses. I’m just not accustomed to it. I’m not accustomed to it. I will never get comfortable with losing. So, losing Game 1 to [Portland] is still the same as losing Game 59 in New Orleans to me. It’s just how I’m built. It’s who I am.”

No one doubts who James is or how he’s built anymore. But 59 games into his first season in L.A., there remain a hell of a lot of questions about who the Lakers are, how they were built, and the fundamental weirdness of this whole enterprise.

How Cedi Osman earned LeBron James’ respect and built a special bond that goes beyond basketball

LOS ANGELES — The relationship between Cedi Osman and LeBron James got off on the wrong foot. Literally.

“The thing I remember clearly is how quiet that gym got,” Cavs head coach Larry Drew recalls about Sept. 27, 2017. “Practice is going. There’s all the talk, all the chatter and then that happened and it was just total silence.”

There was Osman, a rookie taking part in his first official NBA training camp. He had left Turkey and was in a new country, trying to prove that he belonged,Wholesale nba jerseys
trying to earn the respect of his new teammates that had only known him from grainy YouTube clips and a Head and Shoulders commercial.

Then in his opening scrimmage, he stepped on James’ foot, sending the franchise player hobbling off the court with a nasty ankle sprain.

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“Man, Cedi saw his life — and his career — flash before his eyes,” Channing Frye told cleveland.com while laughing. “He was about to be on the first flight back to Istanbul.”

In a strange twist, that was James’ first glimpse of the qualities he has come to appreciate. That terrifying moment actually sparked what has become a tight bond between James and Osman.

“That was the time when I felt I started earning that respect,” Osman said. “That’s what he liked to see, that I’m fighting hard, that I’m working hard.”
Beyond basketball

On Feb. 7, 2018, following weeks of tension and questions about the season slipping away, James rescued the Cavaliers once again. He punctuated his triple-double with a game-winning fade-away jumper at the buzzer that gave Cleveland renewed hope. While the Minnesota Timberwolves were left in shock, James went sprinting toward his teammates. Well, one in particular. Osman.

The two jumped for joy and chest-bumped. It was the kind of celebration that made it seem like they had known each other for years.

It took time to get to that point.

Most of the early conversations weren’t even about basketball. The intention was for James to learn about Osman the person. The two discussed their love of soccer. James would ask Osman about European culture. Osman would inquire about James’ younger days growing up as a basketball prodigy while also facing plenty of hardships along the way.

Eventually, road trips led to lunches and dinners. It was small group of four. James, Osman, Jeff Green and Jose Calderon.

Osman and Calderon favor classical music. James and Green love rap.

“Every moment we had together was amazing because every day we were on the road we were talking about something different,” Osman said.