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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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Giannis Antetokounmpo to Miss Game With Knee Soreness

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The Milwaukee Bucks have listed All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo as out for Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers because of right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo will be missing his third game this season with the same ailment, having sat out a Nov. 22 contest at Phoenix and a Dec. 23 matchup in Charlotte.

Source: ESPN

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Hornets Make Kemba Walker Available via Trade

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Overloaded with bad contracts and untradeable assets, the Charlotte Hornets have made All-Star point guard Kemba Walker available in trade discussions, league sources told ESPN.

Charlotte has been encouraging teams to make offers and appears eager to discuss attaching Walker to a larger trade in which another team would take on one of the Hornets’ several less desirable contracts, sources said.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Bulls’ Kris Dunn in Concussion Protocol After Hard Fall

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Point guard Kris Dunn was re-evaluated for concussion symptoms and has been placed in the NBA concussion protocol, the Chicago Bulls announced Thursday.

Dunn will be out indefinitely and will not travel with the Bulls to Atlanta for their Saturday game. Dunn took a hard fall late in Wednesday night’s 119-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors, landing face first after a dunk.

Source: ESPN

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