Monthly Archives: July 2017

Wizards reportedly match Nets offer for Otto Porter Jr.

This isn’t complicated. The Spurs, as they so often do, prioritize guys who they know fit in their own scheme and culture, and still have something like $13 million left over in the tank now to go out and add a piece. It’s worth noting that Mills will turn 29 before the season, meaning his game will need to age at a reasonable pace for this to work out as well as it looks like it should. But on the whole, this was an easy choice for the Spurs.

What a difference a year makes for Snell. Before the season started, he was traded from Chicago to Milwaukee straight up for former NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Now, Carter-Williams is the one whose team didn’t even put out a qualifying offer, and Snell gets a deal that will pay him eight-figures annually. Honestly, I thought there was a good chance he would get more than this.

Otto Porter Jr. will not be wearing a different jersey next season.

According to the Washington Post, the Wizards have matched the Nets’ four-year, $106.5 million max contract offer sheet to retain the small forward’s services.

Porter averaged 13.1 points per game last season while also serving as a top wing defender. He is a great third option behind John Wall and Bradley Beal.

The Nets had hoped to snatch Porter as part of their rebuilding effort, but Washington was always expected to match the offer.

The Wizards, despite retaining Porter, are likely still at least one piece away from truly contending in the Eastern Conference.

Leonard has already shown he’s capable.

Now, he’ll likely be called upon to resolve another issue as the Spurs look for another primary ballhandler after point guard Tony Parker went down with a ruptured left quadriceps tendon that will cause him to miss the rest of the postseason. Veteran guard Manu Ginobili, a longtime member of the Spurs’ brain trust, alluded to the likelihood of Leonard’s increased involvement in initiating San Antonio’s offense.

“We’re playing a different style of game now with Kawhi holding the ball a lot and running those high pick and rolls and creating for others,” Ginobili told the San Antonio Express-News. “Then we don’t need as much, as in the past, a point guard that creates for everybody and runs all those pick and rolls.”

Leonard has already shown he’s capable. In Game 2, he finished with 34 points on 13-for-16 shooting to lead all scorers. More importantly for the Spurs moving forward, he added a career-high eight assists.

And when Thomas did have the ball in his hands? Yikes. He attacked on straight-line drives and was met with little resistance on his way to the basket. Thomas benefited from the spacing once again with Avery Bradley, Smart, Rozier and Horford providing enough of a perimeter threat to keep the defense honest.

However, the pick-and-roll coverage by Markieff Morris in the first play below as well as the lack of any help defenders stepping into the lane made these buckets way too easy.

Maybe the most confusing non-adjustment for Scott Brooks’ team was leaving big men like Gortat and Morris on an island with Thomas. There was no way these possessions could possibly end well. Thomas, who scored in the 95.3 percentile at 1.12 points per possession on isolation plays during the regular season (via stats), poured gasoline on these mismatches and sparked his lighter.

Timberwolves, Taj Gibson agree to 2-year, $28M deal, reports say

The Minnesota Timberwolves continued their roster overhaul Sunday, reaching an agreement with power forward Taj Gibson on a two-year, $28 million contract, according to Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical and confirmed by other outlets.

The 7-foot Creighton product, who is expected to see time behind Karl Anthony-Towns this upcoming season, suffered the injury during a recent workout and will be sidelined indefinitely until healed, possibly until the start of preseason.

The Wolves acquired the draft rights to Patton (selected 16th overall), along with Jimmy Butler, from the Bulls in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft rights to Lauri Markkanen, the 7th overall selection in this year’s draft.

Patton played in 35 games last year, averaging 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds en route to earning Big East Freshman of the Year honors. Patton led the Big East and ranked second nationally with a field goal percentage of 67.6 percent, which stands as the highest field goal percentage of any freshman from a major conference in NCAA history.

With that in mind, the goal for this column was to identify 11 rising MLB stars who deserve their first trip to the All-Star Game. That first trip is special, any player will tell you. There’s just something about being honored, about standing out there on the field with the supertstars of baseball.

Turns out, that’s not such an easy task this year. Sooooo many players who have yet to participate in the Midsummer Classic are having great seasons, and just mentioning 10 or 11 isn’t really fair. Think about this: There are 39 position players with a WAR of at least 2.0 (FanGraphs formula) and 19 of those guys have never been to an All-Star Game. Yeah.

So what we’re going to do is round up all of the honorable mentions for a first-time All-Star trip in addition to naming the 11 rising stars who most richly deserve to be first-time All-Stars in 2017 (all stats as of June 27).lightning_384