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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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Tyronn Lue: Cavs Can’t Get Satisfied with One Win

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Down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Saturday’s Game 3, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had desperation on his side as his team played with a have-to-have-it edge in their 116-86 blowout of the Boston Celtics.

Now Lue is tasked with distilling that same sense of urgency for 48 hours heading into Monday’s Game 4 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). “We know what it takes,” Lue said after the Cavs’ film session on Sunday. “We did it before. We’ve got a lot of veterans, a veteran crew and they know what it takes to win. We can’t get satisfied with just one win. It’s just one; we’ve got to come out [Monday] night and duplicate it again.”

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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Luka Doncic to Make Decision on NBA Draft ‘Soon’

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Eight months after helping Slovenia to its first European Championship, Luka Doncic added a Euroleague title to his ever-growing mantel, which now also includes the Euroleague MVP and Euroleague Final Four MVP awards.

When asked by ESPN following Sunday’s victory what his next move is, Doncic said: “I will tell about all at the right time. Right now I just want to celebrate with my team. Soon I will tell.”

Source: Jonathan Givony of ESPN

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D’Antoni on Rockets Blow Out Loss: We Played ‘Soft’

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Coach Mike D’Antoni used the most damning four-letter word in the NBA vernacular — “soft” — to describe the Houston Rockets’ performance in the most lopsided playoff loss in franchise history.

The Golden State Warriors routed the top-seeded Rockets 126-85 at Oracle Arena in Sunday’s Game 3 to regain the series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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