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Billups: Dennis Smith Jr. Can Win Rookie of the Year Award

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There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Dennis Smith Jr. since the Mavericks selected him with the ninth pick in June’s NBA draft. The former North Carolina State point guard earned first-team All-Summer League honors in Las Vegas and bookkeepers consider him an early leader for Rookie of the Year.

Former NBA point guard and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups isn’t about to argue you with you if you put your money on Smith Jr. taking home that trophy at the end of the season.

“I love him. I love him. I think he’s got the potential to be the rookie of the year in the league this year,” Billups said in a phone interview promoting the BIG3’s stop in Dallas on Sunday. “I think he’s the most polished out of all the point guards that were out there this year. I think he’s the most polished, pro-ready in my opinion and there’s some really good ones that came into the draft this year and I like almost all of them.”

Billups and Smith Jr. have a personal relationship, with the five-time All-Star taking on something of a mentor role with the new Maverick. And Billups is excited to see his protege in good hands with the Dallas coaching staff.

Source: Adam Grosbard of the Dallas News

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Joel Embiid Not Happy With Early Minutes Restriction

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The Philadelphia 76ers will be cautious with Joel Embiid early on this season, and the star center isn’t thrilled with that plan.

Sixers coach Brett Brown, when asked how much Embiid would play in Wednesday’s season opener against the Wizards, told reporters that he didn’t have a set number of minutes in mind before acknowledging “somewhere like in the teens.” “That’s f—ing bulls—. I wish I was playing more minutes,” Embiid told reporters on Tuesday. “I think I’m ready. I think I’m ready for more than whatever number they have. I don’t know. I wish I was playing more, but we’re going to see how that goes.”

Source: ESPN

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Report: Bulls’ Mirotic, Portis Involved in Serious Practice Altercation

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Chicago Bulls forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis engaged in a physical altercation in practice Tuesday that resulted in Mirotic being hospitalized and sidelined indefinitely, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Mirotic was taken to the hospital Tuesday after their shoving altercation during practice ended with an alleged cheap shot from Portis to Mirotic’s face, league sources told The Vertical.

Source: Shams Charania of The Vertical

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Warriors Receive 2017 Championship Rings, Unveil Banner

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The Golden State Warriors held their much-anticipated ring ceremony prior to tipoff against the Houston Rockets on opening night. Commissioner Adam Silver started the event by introducing the 2016-17 champions.

The Larry O’Brien Trophy was stationed at center court, with the players camped around it. The Warriors wore white and gold hoodies, which will be signed by the players and auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Bay Area wildfire relief efforts.

Source: Chris Haynes of ESPN

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