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Dwane Casey: DeRozan to Play More Point Guard Next Year

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Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday that he has plans to give DeMar DeRozan more time at point guard during the 2017-18 season.

“DeMar DeRozan, have him handle the ball a bit more as a point guard, a facilitator, a passer. Kyle Lowry moving the ball a bit more, spacing up. We don’t want to give our whole ‘what we’re going to try to do next year’ away, but again it comes down to passing the basketball and better spacing more so, than we know, one-on-one play.”

DeRozan proved himself as a capable and willing facilitator when Lowry was out for a 20-game stretch during the 2016-17 season. The three-time all-star shooting guard averaged 4.4 assists over that stretch, which would set a career-high if compared to his regular season statistics.

Casey also said that he’s not going to shy away from allowing DeRozan to create in the mid-range in iso situations, knowing it helps him draw fouls. But the focus is clear: the Raptors are looking to create more ball movement.

Source: The Andrew Walker Show via Bryan Meler of Sportsnet

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Agent: Gordon Hayward Likely Out Rest of Season Following Surgery, Expected to Make Full Recovery

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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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