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NBA AM: 10-Day Contract Candidates

A look at some D-League standouts who are candidates to land a 10-day contract from an NBA team.

Cody Taylor

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10-Day Contract Candidates

Beginning tomorrow, teams may begin signing players to 10-day contracts. These sort of contracts are most commonly used as a tryout period for respective players. Most players that sign a 10-day contract originate from the NBA’s Development League.

Teams may sign a player to a maximum of two 10-day contracts. Following the end of the second 10-day contract, teams must decide if they want to sign that player for the remainder of the season or cut ties with that player.

Last season, we saw a record number of call-ups from the D-League, as 47 players received an all-time high 63 call-ups. Players like Hassan Whiteside, Tim Frazier, Tyler Johnson, Seth Curry, Langston Galloway and Robert Covington were some of the players called-up to the NBA who still remain on an NBA roster.

This week also represents the deadline in which non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed, with teams needing to cut those players by Friday in order to allow for the two-day waiver period before those contracts become guaranteed on Sunday. As more roster spots open up, this could free the way for more prospects to earn their way onto NBA rosters.

With the window opening tomorrow for players to make their impressions on NBA teams, here are 10 prospects to keep an eye on that could earn a 10-day contract (in no particular order):

F – Ronald Roberts, Raptors 905:

After a successful showing in the Vegas Summer League, Roberts earned an invitation to play with the Raptors during training camp. He would eventually be waived by Toronto, but he then joined the Raptors 905 in the D-League. Among players that have played at least 10 games in the D-League, Roberts ranks third in field goal percentage at 66.2 percent. In addition, he’s averaging 17.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. His rebounds rank second in the D-League and his blocks rank 10th. Roberts is an exceptional athlete and has demonstrated that he should be playing in the NBA.

G – Jimmer Fredette, Westchester Knicks:

The struggles Fredette has faced since coming into the league in 2011 have been well-documented. Fredette made a name for himself in college, but hasn’t been able to catch on with NBA teams as he’s played with four different franchises in his career. Fredette now finds himself playing for the Knicks’ D-League team in Westchester. He’s fourth in the D-League in scoring (among players who have played at least 10 games) with 23.5 points per contest. He’s shooting 47 percent from three-point range and is also adding nearly five rebounds and five assists per game. He can still provide teams with a viable shooting option off of the bench. The Knicks have been reportedly interested in adding a guard to the roster, and have been linked with Fredette in recent weeks.

G – Elliot Williams, Santa Cruz Warriors:

It seems as though Williams is the most likely player to be called-up at some point this season since he’s the No. 1 D-League prospect, according to the league’s rankings. It should come as no surprise then that Williams is leading the D-League in scoring at 28.1 points per game. He’s also adding 7.1 assists, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting an even 50 percent from the field. Williams figures to be one of the most scouted players this week when the D-League Showcase kicks off on Wednesday. Each of the 19 D-League teams will be playing two games over the five-day showcase, giving players plenty of chances to catch the eye of potential teams.

Since this article has published, Williams will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies, as reported by Marc Spears.

G – Sean Kilpatrick, Delaware 87ers:

Kilpatrick seems to be right behind Williams in terms of players poised to earn a call-up. Kilpatrick ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the D-League, and is tied for second in scoring with 26.1 points per game. On his resume this season is a 45-point outing at the beginning of December where he knocked down 6-of-8 shots from three-point range. He’s hitting 3.3 three-pointers per game and is converting on 45 percent of those shots. It’s possible Kilpatrick could earn a call-up from the 76ers at some point. Although the Sixers already have 15 players on their team, several of those players are on non-guaranteed deals and could be cut by the deadline this weekend, which could open up a spot for Kilpatrick.

F – Earl Clark, Bakersfield Jam:

With six seasons of experience in the NBA, Clark is perhaps the most experienced player in the D-League. Given his vast experience, he could be a favorite to be called-up to a team in need of some frontcourt depth. Playoff races will only continue to heat up as the season progresses, and Clark could provide a veteran presence for a team in need of an extra body. Clark ranks ninth in scoring with 20.7 points per game, and is also adding 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Clark could also be a candidate to head back overseas to pursue a larger contract if he can’t catch on with an NBA team. The fact that he’s in the D-League means he wants to play in the NBA, so he may just stick it out for a while in the States.

G – Erick Green, Reno Bighorns:

Green has already played a season overseas and two seasons with the Denver Nuggets before being waived by the Nuggets back in November. After being waived by Denver, Green was acquired by Reno in the D-League. Rather than go back overseas, Green stayed in the D-League in an attempt to catch on with an NBA team. Green is the No. 4 ranked prospect in the D-League and is turning in a great 2015-16 campaign so far. He’s tied with Kilpatrick for second in scoring with 26.1 points per game, and is also adding 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. In addition to that, he’s shooting 44 percent from three-point range and 52 percent from the field. In 24 games this season, Green has scored at least 20 points in all but three of those games. He’s proven himself in the D-League and it seems he should be on an NBA roster.

G – Terrico White, Bakersfield Jam:

White is perhaps one of the more interesting names in the D-League. He was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Detroit Pistons, but never appeared in a game after suffering a foot injury. He spent the next season with the Idaho Stampede, before spending the next three seasons overseas. Now, he’s back in the States trying to land in the NBA. He’s in the D-League with the Phoenix Suns’ affiliate looking to earn a call-up. In 15 games for the Jam, White is averaging 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He’s also shooting 45 percent from the floor, including 43 percent from three-point range. His best game of the season came on Dec. 15 when he recorded 34 points (on 7-of-8 shooting from three-point range), 13 rebounds, four assists and three steals.  

G/F – Darington Hobson, Santa Cruz Warriors:

Hobson is touted as the 12th-best prospect in the D-League. With several teams in the NBA in need of guard depth, Hobson could be a name to watch over the course of the next few weeks. He’s shown that he can be a capable passer and rebounder as well. On the season, Hobson is averaging 17.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He’s been an efficient shooter this season as he’s converting on 41 percent of his shots from the field and 40 percent from three-point range, including 47 percent over his last four outings. He’s played four seasons in the D-League and is by far having his best success this year, which could earn himself a spot on an NBA team.

F – Vince Hunter, Reno Bighorns:

Hunter went undrafted this past year, and has torn up the D-League so far. He’s averaging 22.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He’s tied for the league lead in double-doubles with 13, his 22.2 points are sixth-highest, his 11.9 rebounds rank third and his 5.1 offensive rebounds are tops in the league. His best game of the season came back on Nov. 21 after he scored 32 points and pulled down 24 rebounds. Hunter could be an option for teams seeking frontcourt depth and rebounding help.

G – Toure’ Murry, Texas Legends:

Murry is a player who has shown that he can contribute in a wide variety of different ways. He’s averaging 14.7 points, 6.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season for the Legends. He’s become a consistent scorer this season as he’s scored in single-digits just one time, and is coming off of a season-high 24 points on Saturday. He also added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in that outing. The Utah Jazz have reportedly shown interest in Murry already, and he could become an option for the Brooklyn Nets now that Jarrett Jack is done for the season. He’s proven he can create mismatches with his 6’5 frame and has shown he can be a capable defender.

*****

These are all players to keep an eye on in the coming weeks since they could find themselves on an NBA roster. With the D-League growing each year, teams will surely be looking there to add some depth to their respective rosters. Some teams could be looking for an extra body or two for their playoff push, while others could begin to look ahead and try to add players for the future. These players are looking to get into the league; if their quest proves unsuccessful, they could look for a bigger deal overseas.

Cody Taylor is an NBA writer in his fourth season with Basketball Insiders, covering the NBA and NCAA out of Orlando and Miami.

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New Orleans Pelicans and Cliff Alexander Agree To Deal

Michael Scotto

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The New Orleans Pelicans and free agent forward Cliff Alexander have agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.

The addition of Alexander will give New Orleans 20 players heading into training camp.

Alexander spent last season playing 40 combined games with the Erie Bayhawks and Long Island Nets in the G-League, where he averaged 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game. Alexander also shot 52 percent from the field and blocked one shot per game.

The 21-year-old forward was a McDonald’s All-American and won MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic in 2014 before attending Kansas University. Alexander played 28 games as a Jayhawk and averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game before declaring for the draft.

After going undrafted, Alexander played in eight games for Portland during the 2015-16 season and received a 10-day contract from the Brooklyn Nets in April.

For more information on the salary cap and roster situation for the New Orleans Pelicans, click here.

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Atlanta Hawks and John Jenkins Agree To Deal

Michael Scotto

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The Atlanta Hawks and free agent guard John Jenkins have agreed to a training camp deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.

The addition of Jenkins will give Atlanta 20 players heading into training camp.

Jenkins drew interest from several other teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.

The 26-year-old guard began his career in Atlanta after the Hawks selected him 23rd overall out of Vanderbilt in the 2012 draft. For his career, Jenkins has averaged 5.1 points in 12.8 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the field overall and 36 percent from beyond the arc.

For more information on Atlanta’s salary cap and roster situation, click here.

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Golden State Warriors 2017-18 Season Preview

The Golden State Warriors remain the cream of the NBA crop, even after several franchises went all in this offseason. Can anyone really beat the Warriors in a seven-game series? We look at the Warriors in this final NBA season preview.

Basketball Insiders

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After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015-16 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were highly favored to win the 2016-17 championship with the offseason addition of Kevin Durant. In the Warriors’ third straight Finals match up with Cavaliers, Golden State, with plenty of help from Durant, over-matched Cleveland in last season’s NBA Finals. This year, with Durant taking a pay cut, the team did a masterful job of bringing back just about all of the key players from last year’s championship run. Now the team is primed to wreak havoc on the league once again.

FIVE GUYS THINK…

It’s almost comical at this point how the best team in basketball keeps getting better.

After adding Kevin Durant last summer, and then completely decimating the entire NBA, including LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, all the Golden State Warriors did was go out and add two players in Omri Casspi and Nick Young who almost perfectly fit their brand of “you’re not out-shooting us” basketball.

The powers of the NBA all shuffled around their rosters this season in hopes of trying to assemble some type of “anti-Warriors” remedy, and when it’s all said and done, those moves will be all for naught. Expect Golden State to ride their legendary roster to another NBA title.

1st place – Pacific Division

– Dennis Chambers

What do you need me to say about the Warriors that you don’t already know? Two of the best five players in the league are on the roster, as well as arguably the top defensive player in the league and a cast of reserves that fit perfectly with the superstars running the show. Even JaVale McGee is shooting three pointers now. The Warriors are unstoppable and in some ways even better than the team that won a championship a few months ago. It’s going to be a long season for every other team in the league. They’re all playing for second place.

1st Place – Pacific Division

– Joel Brigham

The road to the NBA Finals obviously goes through Oakland, especially after the club managed to re-sign JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Nick Young will give the team some additional firepower, but they probably don’t even need it.

So long as these guys stay healthy, they’ll probably find their way to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals, and with the Clippers having lost Chris Paul, the Warriors should have a relatively easy time winning the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year.

I’m usually longer-winded than that, but I’m not sure much else needs to be said about the Warriors.

1st place – Pacific Division

– Moke Hamilton

At this point, what’s really left to say? The Warriors had arguably the best basketball team ever assembled last season, and that was while dealing with minor role concerns and dealing with Kevin Durant’s midseason injury. Then they went out and improved this offseason, adding the likes of Omri Casspi and Nick Young as perfect end-of-roster pieces. Combine that with what most would expect will be even better fit and chemistry across the roster this season, and the Warriors stand head and shoulders above the rest of the league even with several squads making big power moves to try and bridge the gap. Anything but a third title in four years will fail to do justice to the incredible, historical talent on this roster.

1st Place – Pacific Division

– Ben Dowsett

The best team in the NBA went out and retained key players and signed Omri Casspi and Nick Young to round out the roster. As has been the case for several years now, the Warriors enter the upcoming season with the most overall talent, improved chemistry, good health and every ingredient necessary to win an NBA championship. Several other contenders pulled off some impressive moves to try and bridge the gap between themselves and the Warriors, but Golden State still holds the advantage against every other team in the league. So long as the Warriors are playing up to their potential, or anywhere near it, the other contenders are out of luck. Unless the Warriors face some serious injuries this upcoming season or some internal discord, we should expect them to win their third championship in four seasons.

1st Place – Pacific Division

– Jesse Blancarte

TOP OF THE LIST

Top Offensive Player: Stephen Curry/Kevin Durant

Don’t knock me for not clearly choosing a single player here. The individual excellence of both Stephen Curry and Durant cannot be stated enough. While Curry’s statistics did take a bit of a step back from the year prior, he still led the way for the Warriors last season. Last year, Curry led the team in points per game (by a slim margin), three-pointers made, assists and usage percentage. Keep in mind, Durant was excellent but Curry still commanded the offense for the most part. However, Durant was right on Curry’s heels and in the playoffs actually slightly surpassed Curry in points per game. In addition, Durant remains as tough to cover one-on-one as anyone in the league. Regardless, both players are unbelievable individual talents and would easily be the top offensive player on just about any other team.

Top Defensive Player: Draymond Green

For the foreseeable future, Draymond Green has this category on lockdown for the Warriors. Green uses a combination of length, strength, timing and sneaky athleticism to smother his opponents. Green’s versatility allows him to guard a range of positions in the post and switch to guard guards and forwards on the wing effectively as well. His versatility is the lynchpin of the Warrior’s vaunted death line up that uses Green at center and brings Iguodala off the bench to close games. Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year race came down to Green and Utah center Rudy Gobert. In the end, Green’s versatility as well as his ability to guard the rim effectively made him the top choice in voters’ minds. Expect Green to be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year this upcoming season as well.

Top Playmaker: Stephen Curry

When the Warriors added Durant to the roster, many wondered, even for a team as unselfish as the Warriors, how would Stephen Curry and Durant manage to share the ball? That question was answered when Curry took a step back and allowed Durant’s individual offensive brilliance to shine. Curry’s points per game dropped (30.1 to 25.3) as did his usage percentage (32.0 to 29.2). Curry’s individual excellence continued regardless as he remained the Warriors’ top distributor (followed closely by Draymond Green). In addition, Curry garners so much attention that his simple presence on the court creates more room for teammates to operate. Curry’s ability to pull up from virtually anywhere on the court and willingness to make the extra pass to teammates makes him a nightmare to cover and the Warriors’ top playmaker.

Top Clutch Player: Kevin Durant/Stephen Curry

Once again, you could give this award to either of the Warrior’s two best offensive players. Curry dominates most of the advanced statistics when breaking down clutch play, defined as the last minutes of a game within 5 point or less, per nba.com. However, based on Durant’s size, length and ability to get off a shot in isolation, he makes for an excellent clutch player in just about any situation. Either is an extraordinary option and their play in crunch time continues to be critical to their championship fortunes.

The Unheralded Player: Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson is a phenomenal talent who does a number of things well. He’s an unbelievable three-point shooter and defends elite point guards to alleviate the pressure on Curry. For a team with two elite offensive players, having Thompson as your third option on offense is just unfair to the rest of the league. Thompson lights up the league with his ability to hit outside shots without needing to dominate the ball. Don’t just count on Thompson to score as he takes pride in his defense and his ability to lockdown on defense.

Best New Addition: Omri Casspi

Overall, the Warriors have had an unbelievable stretch of luck when it comes to injuries, which will hopefully rub off on Omri Casspi this season. With his length, versatility and the ability to stretch the floor, he can slide into either forward spot. His addition strengthens the team’s ability to survive the grind of the regular season and lessen the minutes of the starters. Casspi fills a lot of needs for several teams that are looking to challenge the Warriors, so simply keeping him away from those teams is an added benefit to his signing.

– James Blancarte

WHO WE LIKE

1. Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr continues to be the perfect coach for this team. He helps to keep the players focused on their individual roles within the larger team structure and has so far prevented major dissension and discord. Kerr took the team that Mark Jackson previously coached and helped to transform the team into champions. Credit is deserved for his part in successfully orchestrating the move of former All-Star Iguodala to a bench role and meshing Durant’s individual brilliance with the Warriors’ pre-existing, pass-happy offense. Kerr has missed significant time due to his botched spinal surgery, but if he can manage his health, count on Kerr to keep the Warriors a well-oiled machine.

2. Nick Young

Nick Young is a player that has had an up-and-down career. Credit Young for carving out a relatively successful career as a journeyman three-point shooting wing. Keeping Young focused and unlocking his full range of talents has been difficult for many organizations. The Warriors are up next and will give the 11th year pro an opportunity to do what he does best — knocking down three-pointers. As a career 37.6 percentage three-point shooter, Young will have a chance to get more open looks from distance than he has previously in his career. Like JaVale McGee, Young will also have a chance to transform his reputation if he proves to be a disciplined, effective contributor to a championship team.

3. Jordan Bell

What’s the perfect piece for a rebuilding team in need of young talent to build around? Jordan Bell, selected with the 38th pick in this year’s draft), is just that sort of player. The Warriors acquired the pick from the Chicago Bulls for cash consideration. The Bulls loss is the Warriors gain as hopes are high for the young talent from the University of Oregon. The Warriors will take their time with the 6-foot-9 forward and hope that he will build on and develop his defensive talents and one day be a reliable contributor for Golden State.

4. Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston is many years removed from the knee injury that nearly ended his professional career. While Livingston has played for nine teams in his career, he continues to be loyal to the Warriors, the team with which he has experienced the most success post-injury. Livingston continues to do whatever the team requires as he slides into either guard slot when needed and provides reliable production from the bench. Opposing backup point guards often get caught being posted up by the lengthy 6-foot-7 guard. Count Livingston as another essential cog who will do whatever it takes to help the Warriors win at all costs.

– James Blancarte

SALARY CAP 101

The Warriors are a major spender at $135.4 million in guaranteed salary, resulting in at least $32 million in luxury taxes. Golden State used its Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to sign Nick Young at $5.2 million for a season. Having re-signed on one-year deals, Zaza Pachulia, David West and JaVale McGee can block any trades.

Before November, the Warriors need to decide on 2018-19 team options for Kevon Looney and Damian Jones. Next summer, Kevin Durant can opt out again but now the team has his Early Bird Rights and the ability to give him a raise in the $35 million range. The Warriors seem willing to pay for a winner but for how long as luxury taxes grow progressively as the team gradually becomes a repeat offender?

– Eric Pincus

STRENGTHS

This team continues to have everything you could want in a modern NBA team. An electric point guard who is nearly unstoppable, a 3-and-D wing with a killer three-point shot, an unstoppable one-on-one player who can score from anywhere, a dominant and flexible defensive forward who can play center and a defensive wing who is a great glue guy. That’s just the five players that are normally used to close out games. The rest of the roster has a number of key contributors ready to do whatever the team needs. Oh, and they also have a great coach to keep everyone on the same page. With all the pieces a team could want, expect the Warriors to again push a possible record-breaking pace in the regular season on their way to the playoffs and likely the Finals.

– James Blancarte

WEAKNESSES

The easiest answer here is none. Eventually the injury bug might hit the Warriors but for now they have everything they could want to continue their excellent play. Perhaps some players may lose a sense of urgency in the regular season after breaking records and dominating the last few seasons, though that seems unlikely. On paper, this team is not afflicted by any major weaknesses.

– James Blancarte

THE BURNING QUESTION

Can anyone stop the Warriors?

Other teams continue to make moves to get better. On September 23, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded agreed to terms on a deal to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks. With that move, count the Thunder, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics and the Cavaliers as the biggest potential obstacles in the Warriors’ path to repeat. One of these teams may beat them, but the Warriors are the heavy favorites and the team most likely to win the championship next year.

– James Blancarte

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