Despite entering training camp next month with plenty of depth at the point-guard position, it’s unclear who will emerge as the Dallas Mavericks’ starter when the 2017-18 season gets underway.
Selecting rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 9 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, the Mavericks believe they filled a need at point guard after using a revolving door at the position last season. The Mavs also have second-year standout Yogi Ferrell returning for another season in coach Rick Carlisle’s system after coming on strong to close the ’16-17 campaign and earning All-Rookie Second Team honors. Veterans Seth Curry, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris are also signed for next season to supply the Mavs with depth in the backcourt. And according to Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, Smith will have to prove he’s ready to take the reins during training camp in order to win the starting job.
“Those keys are earned. You know, it’s going to be an interesting training camp,” Nelson explained during Smith’s introductory press conference with the Dallas media. “I think Dennis is going to play for one of the best coaches in the NBA. That being said, I think internally you can’t help but be excited by the potential, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. Just knowing the character of Dennis and knowing his family and surrounding structure, he’s going to want to earn those minutes. He’s truly a winner in every sense of the word.”
Source: Earl K. Sneed at Mavs.com
Jimmy Butler (Knee) Sits Out T-Wolves Win Over Raptors
Jimmy Butler sat out Minnesota’s 115-109 victory Saturday night against Toronto with a sore right knee.
Butler is averaging 21.7 points per game for the revamped Timberwolves, who entered with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. Minnesota had lost two straight before hosting the Raptors. Nemanja Bjelica started in Butler’s place.
Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Set to Return From Shoulder Injury
Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving went through the team’s entire off-day practice Saturday and expects to return to game action Sunday against the Orlando Magic after missing one game due to a sore shoulder.
Irving sat out Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers after undergoing tests on a shoulder that had been bothering him recently. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but Irving will continue getting treatment even as he returns to game action.
Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN
LeBron After Loss to OKC: We Can Get Bounced Early in Playoffs
Following one of the most inept defensive performances in Cavaliers history, LeBron James said his team looked primed for a short postseason appearance, barring any changes.
The Cavs fell 148-124 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, tying a franchise record for most points allowed in regulation. They are 3-9 since Christmas Day. “Playoffs? We can’t even start thinking about that, not the way we’re playing right now,” James said. “We could easily get bounced early in the playoffs if they started next weekend. Haven’t even began thinking about the postseason.”
Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN