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Blazers’ McCollum Wins Most Improved Player

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Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, whose scoring average jumped from 6.8 points per game during the 2014-15 season to 20.8 points this season, was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Friday.

McCollum, in his third season since being selected with the 10th overall pick of the 2013 draft, received 101 first-place votes and 559 points in balloting among sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Source: Associated Press

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Agent: Gordon Hayward Unlikely to Return this Season Following Surgery

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Celtics All-Star forward Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return during the 2017-18 season, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Hayward underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia in Boston on Wednesday night, a procedure that Bartelstein labeled a success.

“We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.

Source: ESPN

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Ben Simmons on NBA Debut: ‘It felt like I was playing 2K’

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Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited NBA regular-season debut against the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday night. And after his extended wait to wear the Philadelphia 76ers jersey in a meaningful game, he said he felt initially like he was in a video game.

“It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly,” Simmons said postgame.

“Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, ‘man, I’m actually here.'”

Simmons was drafted with the first overall pick by the Sixers in the 2016 draft, but he missed the entire 2016-17 season while recovering from foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture. He suffered the injury on Sept. 30, 2016, less than a month before the start of the regular season. The Australian was originally expected to miss three months, but was eventually ruled out for the entire season.

Source: Nick Metallinos of ESPN

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Sources: Nuggets Release Jameer Nelson

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Sources: Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has been released by Denver, clears free agency waivers Friday.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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