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The ‘Shop: Boogie, The Process & Shots Fired

Damien Barling stops by the ‘Shop to discuss the LeBron-Barkley feud, the Kings, the trade deadline and more.

Jabari Davis

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Welcome back to The ‘Shop for another week of hoops talk. Jabari Davis and Lang Greene welcome Damien Barling (host of The Lo-Down radio show, 1140 KHTK) into the mix for what is certain to be an entertaining conversation.

Jabari: An honor to have you take a seat in the chair this week, Damien. I know you’re up there in Sacramento and covering the Kings, but let’s kick things off with a quick breakdown of which player/era/team(s) brought you to loving the NBA along the way?

Damien: Really happy to be a part of this. Thanks for having me. I was born in 1980. The Sacramento Kings got here in 1985, I really got into them in 88 or so. I loved the players we had here when I was young; Wayman Tisdale, Duane Causwell, on to Spud Webb and Mitch Richmond. Obviously, I was then introduced to Michael Jordan and I couldn’t turn back after that. I’ve seen Come Fly with Me and Playground more times then is probably healthy. From there I just gained an appreciation for basketball and players. I cover the Kings now but love basketball as a whole.

Lang: Good to have you, DB. Welcome. Here’s the thing about the Charles Barkley versus LeBron James saga. Barkley is a jokester. Part of being a great jokester is being able to be the butt of the joke once people stop laughing at your jokes and begin laughing at you in return. I love what LeBron said back to Chuck. Absolutely love it. But I also know that those words are going to bounce right off of Barkley and have minimal impact long term. It’s not like Sir Charles is going to deeply reflect on this. He’s made a living not really caring what people think of him. About the only time you see Charles get emotional about someone’s opinion of him is when his friendship with Michael Jordan is mentioned.

I think LeBron had to stand up for himself. I think he did a good job in changing the narrative into his respect for the game. Barkley can’t win in that regard. Barkley’s story is so confusing. He had to be an overachiever to do what he did at 6’5 – 6’6 versus the giants of the game – in a much more physical era. But there are so many stories of him not practicing hard and being out of shape that you can make a legitimate case of him underachieving. Weird.

Damien: I’m ok with both guys in this situation. I don’t believe athletes are supposed to sit back and not say anything when they’re destroyed in the media. I also don’t believe a guy like Charles Barkley shouldn’t say what’s on his mind. That’s what he gets paid a lot of money for. I’d be far more offended if I felt like he wasn’t being honest. The only problem I had was LeBron’s corny line, “There’s a new sheriff in town”. Come on man. Stop.

Lang: Yeah, LeBron’s new sheriff line was saucey. But he isn’t a good villain (see Miami 2010-11). But think about what we’re seeing here. The best player in the game being dissected at the HEIGHT of his powers. MJ, Bird, Magic, etc. never endured this type of criticism at the HEIGHT of their powers. In many ways, it’s blatantly disrespectful how we treat LeBron at times.

Jabari: Damien, first let me say I LOVE the fact that you mentioned all those old school players and RIP Wayman Tisdale, of course. I agree 1000 percent with each of you on the ‘Bron vs. Chuck discussion. Full disclosure: I may have affectionately been referred to as ‘Round Mound’ (of Rebound) by my family all throughout my childhood. I grew up in L.A. and had a rooting interest in the Lakers, but Chuck was ALWAYS one of my favorite players and (according to others) I played that style … you know, back when I actually did such things. Important for all of us to fully acknowledge this has been coming for a long time with these two. That discussion about LeBron “whining” and “not wanting to compete” was merely the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

‘Bron did go a bit far when he took it to the personal stuff (even though he could have named even more), but I also understand why he may have felt compelled to really drop the hammer when it particularly comes to Barkley. I also respect Barkley for taking it on the chin and not lashing back because I can’t say that I would have possessed quite as much discipline once ‘Bron came through with the verbal Gatling gun like that.

Keeping it in Cleveland, I’m sure you guys saw the news of their “mega workout” in an effort to appease James’ desire to bring in another playmaker from yesterday. Lance Stephenson is the most talented of the bunch, Mario Chalmers (familiarity) probably makes the most sense and Kirk Hinrich was tossed into the mix as well. If YOU are in that front office … which direction are each of you going?

Damien: The whole workout thing is laughable. Lance Stephenson? Mario Chalmers? Kirk Hinrich? Those are playmakers? This is what LeBron meant? Come on man. Not a chance. Yes, the Cavs need a guy to control the ball so LeBron can work the post when June comes around. But that’s not it. Steph, Klay and Dray added Kevin Durant. LeBron, Kyrie and K-Love add … Mario Chalmers? This is all about Golden State and the fear that Cleveland doesn’t have the hunger to win again. Why is LeBron averaging the most minutes in the league? Why do they give a crap about the regular season? It’s the annual LeBron-related panic. Last year there were subtweets to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Oh, and by the way, they fired their coach.

But who can the Cavs get? I have no idea. The Melo rumor is hot again but I don’t see it unless LeBron is gonna let Tristan get traded. Even that I’m not sure about.

If the above names are the names he has to choose from, it’s probably Chalmers. He’s gonna have to go back to getting screamed at by LeBron and him and Kevin Love will shoulder the hate if they lose.

Lang: If I had to pull the trigger, I would go with someone I have game footage of getting it done when it counts. Mario Chalmers. Provided he is fully healthy, of course. The Cavs need playmakers. So scratch the Kirk Hinrich noise. I spent the last 20 minutes trying to find a Hinrich assist highlight on YouTube in the past five seasons. No results found. No disrespect to Kirk, but he’s not what the Cavaliers need. Lance provides the most talent, but he also plays the same position as LeBron (at times) and if you shift him to SG … then you have a logjam with Shump, Korver and J.R. Smith (when he returns). Safe play here is Mario. Not scared of the big stage and won’t back down from the Warriors in June. Even though Lance has played good citizen in his last two stops … you never know when he will become unglued

Jabari: As, perhaps, the sole remaining “Lance guy” in this mix, part of me wants to believe he can capture lightning in a bottle and figure it out with a talented group like the one Cleveland has. He’s STILL only 26, but outside of a decent stretch last year with Memphis, he hasn’t played much meaningful basketball over the last three seasons. That said, I wouldn’t place a single dollar wager on that actually taking place, so I suppose I wouldn’t expect that to happen. I doubt these were the guys LeBron had in mind when he started speaking out, but I still think it will end up being Chalmers if his body is healthy enough.

Transitioning a bit, can we take a moment to talk about Damien’s Sacramento Kings? They were right there in the mix just a couple weeks ago, but have dropped seven of their last 10 and now find themselves closer to the basement in the Western Conference than the 8th seed. We’ll get to whether it will actually happen in just a second, but is it actually time to finally move Boogie? He’s 26 years old, in the prime of his career, and averaging 28.2. points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game on the year. It still doesn’t look like they are any closer to getting over the hump, so is it time?

Damien: Believe it or not, they’re still very much in the mix. They’re three games back from the 8th seed. Funnier than that, they’d be in last place in the Eastern Conference. The West is a mess. It looks like Portland is most likely, and certainly most capable, of pulling away. It’ll be interesting to see how the Kings play back at home at the Golden One Center. They got the Phoenix Teenagers Friday, then the Warriors Saturday. They had a seven-game homestand that ended with Rudy Gay on the shelf for the year and a 1-6 record. They got on the road for eight and went 3-5 and the only two games they had no shot at were the first and the last. The Kings have no identity but they’ve started to move the ball better. They lack consistency but the loss of Rudy Gay has forced guys to be more aggressive offensively.

DeMarcus isn’t going anywhere for a long time. Any trade chatter, particularly that garbage started by some radio guy in Phoenix, is nonsense. He’s not being traded to Phoenix. He’s likely not being traded anywhere and if you asked me to bet on an extension or a trade in the next six months, I’d bet the extension.

Lang: Everyone that has followed me over the years knows how much I love DeMarcus Cousins as a player. Certified goodie monster. Check. Best center in the game today. Check. MVP type of talent? Yes, indeed. But I am also a realist in terms of how much we can expect out of a team with him as the top dog. I understand the franchise hasn’t exactly been world beaters in assembling talent in Sacramento, but at what point does a guy with all of the talents I just mentioned start to elevate the guys around him?

Quick – name the second leading scorer on those Toronto Raptors teams Chris Bosh led to the playoffs for consecutive years in 2007 and 2008? I’ll wait here for a second.

Like I thought. For those wondering, by the way, the answers are T.J. Ford and Anthony Parker. My point is, special talents lead their teams to the promised land. This is Cousins’ seventh NBA season and the Kings have never SNIFFED .500 since he entered the league. I love Cousins, as I said earlier … he is such a fantastic player. But the jury is out on whether he is a leader of men.

Jabari: Most trade rumors are bogus these days and given Sacramento’s history when it comes to Boogie, I tend to believe what Damien is saying. Would I be shocked to see them finally pull the trigger? Not necessarily … but it isn’t going to be for throwaway parts and trade machine filler as so many of the rumors would have you believe. Ok, so whether Cousins is ultimately moved or not, Damien, let me get a few players that you predict WILL or at least should be moved by the February 23rd deadline before we get out of here for the day.

Damien: Anytime Candace Parker’s brother can get worked into a conversation, you know you have a winner.

There are players in the league who can help DeMarcus and Sacramento succeed, but they’re not realistic. I always felt if you wanted Melo to succeed as a non-ball dominant guy, you had to put him with Chris Paul. The same is true for DeMarcus. He’s never had a number two and has certainly never had a 1A. Chris Paul is the perfect point guard for him. Yes, I know, it’s not happening but that’s the type of player he needs around him, a 1A with an Alpha personality.

Two guys who should be traded are Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony. That’s difficult to pull off given the complexity of their contracts and the caliber players they are. Melo with the Clippers works but they have to somehow salvage their role players. Austin Rivers would have to be involved, which is weird, but that window is closing fast and Doc and his group aren’t ready to compete with a healthy Warriors roster or healthy Spurs roster (for that matter, they may not even be able to beat Houston).

The Bulls are a mess as I fully expected and predicted with a certain Basketball Insider on our radio show before the season started. The term blow it up is old and played but … blow it up. Wade finishes his career elsewhere, coach probably fired and Rondo off to annoy coaches and fan bases in a different city.

Teams I’d watch to acquire players – Boston, obviously. And Washington. They are hot right now. There’s a real chance, if LeBron continues to lead the league in minutes, someone can catch the Cavs.

One more team to watch, Philly. One of the most enjoyable teams to watch with assets everywhere. Embiid said playoffs and I may have been the only one who didn’t laugh. I love this team. They have draft picks and young players, so one strong veteran could catapult that team for the next 2-3 years while they build their young guys. East is the new West – it’s where the excitement is.

Jabari: I’m right there with you in terms of the Bulls. Folks were looking at me sideways when I said it would only be a matter of time before Butler and/or Wade wanted to move on, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if it played out exactly the way you broke it down.

I love that you went so hard for Philly because it allows me to do something few in this field tend to do … I was flat-out WRONG about their approach a few years back. While Noel and Okafor certainly are not stars at this stage, the fact that Joel Embiid is AND they have Ben Simmons waiting in the wings and other pieces starting to shine proves it was all worth it in the end.

We’ll see how things work themselves out around the league in terms of player movement, but at least we have a somewhat back loaded schedule (in terms of big matchups) down the stretch of the season to look forward to. The playoff push and ultimate postseason tournaments from each conference should be phenomenal once again.

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NBA

NBA AM: Most Likely All-Star Snubs

Damian Lillard seems to top the All-Star snub list every season. It couldn’t happen again, could it?

Joel Brigham

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This year the NBA has famously decided to mix up the way the All-Star rosters work, while rather infamously deciding against televising the draft that will organize those players into teams, but even as some things change, some things remain the same.

Just like every year, there will be snubs when the All-Star reserves are announced on Tuesday night. Oh, there will be snubs.

The starters already have been selected, chosen by a combination of fan votes, media votes and player votes, the latter of which were taken so seriously that Summer League legend Jack Cooley even earned a single nomination from one especially ornery player voter.

For those that missed the starters, they include LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, and Joel Embiid from the Eastern Conference and Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and James Harden from the Western Conference.

That leaves seven more reserves from each conference and way more deserving players than that from which to choose. These will be selected by the coaches, per tradition, but it’s anybody’s guess who ends up making the team. There absolutely are going to be some massive snubs this year, so let’s take a quick look at the most likely candidates to earn roster spots this winter, as well as who that might leave out of this year’s event in Los Angeles.

The Eastern Conference

Let’s start with the “sure things,” which almost certainly will include with Indian Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. Not only is he putting up a career-best 24/5/4 line, but he’s also averaging two steals per night for an Indiana team that currently lives in the playoff picture despite dismal expectations. That’s almost entirely because of Oladipo.

In the frontcourt, there was plenty of healthy debate when Embiid was voted the starter over Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis, so there’s a very good chance that those two guys find their way to the roster, as well.

Kevin Love, who also is having a monster statistical season, seems like the most obvious third frontcourt guy, but his defense stinks and the Cavs haven’t exactly proven themselves worthy of two All-Stars. Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris both are having borderline All-Star seasons for a borderline playoff team, but they are the closest contenders to stealing away that third frontcourt reserve slot from Love.

Beyond that, Bradley Beal or John Wall likely will be the “other” guard reserve, but choosing which one is dicey. Wall’s the four-time All-Star, but Beal arguably is having the better year and has been snubbed for this event entirely too many times already. It doesn’t seem likely that both guys will make the team.

The wild cards could be that “other” Wizards guard among Beal and Wall, one of those two Pistons players, Miami’s Goran Dragic (they are fourth in the conference, rather surprisingly), Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, or Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons.

What seems most probable is that Oladipo and Beal earn the Eastern Conference reserve slots, with Horford, Porzingis and Love earning the backup frontcourt positions. Lowry and Wall feel most likely as reserves.

That means the most likely Eastern Conference snubs will be: Goran Dragic, Ben Simmons, Andre Drummod, Tobias Harris and Khris Middleton.

The level of controversy with this group feels fairly low, though if Dragic or Drummond were to make the team over Wall or Love, the conversation would be a lot feistier.

The Western Conference

Choosing the reserve guards in the Western Conference is a no-brainer. It will be MVP candidates Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook, which immediately means that if Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul and Paul George are not named as Wild Card players, they will be left off of the team. That’s about as “yikes” as “yikes” gets.

The battle for the frontcourt spots are going to be no less brutal, even with Kawhi Leonard effectively out of consideration having missed so much time at the beginning of the season. The Spurs will have an All-Star anyway, though, which makes LaMarcus Aldridge all but a lock.

Towns, who is averaging a 20/12 with over two assists and 1.5 blocks per game on one of the West’s top teams, also feels likely to get in. That means Draymond Green and Nikola Jokic are the two guys expected to battle over that last frontcourt spot, and both deserve real consideration. Green’s importance is less obvious to this Warriors team with Durant on the roster, but he’s no less essential even if his offensive numbers are down. Jokic, meanwhile, has kept Denver in the playoff hunt even without Paul Millsap, and is the best passing big man in the game.

The most likely scenario in terms of Western Conference reserves has Butler and Westbrook getting voted in at guard, Aldridge, Towns and Green voted in as frontcourt players, and Thompson and Lillard voted in as the wild cards.

That means the most likely Western Conference snubs will be: Chris Paul, Paul George, and Nikola Jokic.

Paul has missed 17 games this season, which is just too many when there are so many other great guards from which to choose, and George’s usage has dropped massively in Oklahoma City. As for Jokic, somebody has to get snubbed, and the other reasonable possibility is that he be named a wild card player at the expense of Lillard, and no NBA fan should have to see that happen yet again.

The 2018 NBA All-Star Reserves will be announced at 7:00 p.m. EST on January 23 on TNT.

Tune in Tuesday night to see which players will make the team, and which will inevitably be snubbed.

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NBA DAILY

NBA Daily: Rockets Might Be Formidable Challenge For Warriors

If nothing else, the Rockets gave everyone, including the Warriors, something to think about by beating the champs.

Moke Hamilton

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For those that had any lingering doubt as to the authenticity of the Houston Rockets, Saturday afternoon’s win over the Golden State Warriors should serve as a bit of a wakeup call.

Sure, championships aren’t won in mid-January, but by virtue of the win, the Rockets won their season series against the Warriors, 2-1.

Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season—the year the Warriors won the first of three consecutive Western Conference Finals—they’ve lost a season series to just one other team: the San Antonio Spurs.

A review of the tape suggests that those that believe that Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard are truly the team that has the best shot of beating the Warriors is founded in some fact. In the last three seasons, the Warriors have lost a total of 39 games.

In total, during that span, seven teams have failed to beat the Warriors even once, while 12 teams have beaten them one time. Four teams have beaten the Warriors twice and only the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies have beaten them thrice.

The Spurs, though, have managed to beat the Warriors five times, with Popovich leading his team to a 2-1 regular season series win over the Warriors during the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

It’s safe to say that they have been the only team worthy of calling themselves anything near a worthy adversary to Stephen Curry and company.

At least, that was the case until Saturday night.

* * * * * *

With all due respect to Michael Jordan, if the Warriors win the NBA Finals this season, they can legitimately claim to be the best team in NBA history.

Two titles in three years is nothing to sneeze at, but the claim holds no weight whatsoever without ever having won two in a row, especially when scores of other teams have been able to accomplish the feat.

Aside from the two championships, the Warriors can claim the best regular season record in the league’s history and the distinction of being the only team to ever win 67 or more games for three consecutive seasons.

It is true that the Warriors have been almost invincible since the 2014-15 season, but things have changed now that Chris Paul has joined forces with James Harden.

This season, the Mike D’Antoni coached team ranks 12th in points allowed per 100 possessions, a marked improvement over last season’s rank of 18th.

With Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela, Luc Mbah a Moute, they have four defensive stalwarts, one of whom (Ariza) who wasn’t able to suit up due to being suspended.

At the end of the day, beating a team in the regular season doesn’t really count for much, especially when you consider the greatest irony: in each of the seasons the Spurs beat the Warriors in their season series, the Warriors won the NBA Finals. The obvious asterisk there is that the Warriors didn’t play the Spurs in the 2015 NBA Playoffs and only managed to sweep them once the Spurs lost Kawhi Leonard in 2017.

Still, beating the defending champs in any game, much less a season series, has got to feel good. Whether they want to admit it or not, Saturday’s game against the Warriors was one that the Rockets wanted to get, that’s probably why Mike D’Antoni opted to reinsert James Harden into the game after he surpassed his 30-minute playing restriction.

In the end, Harden logged 35 minutes and ended up making what was the game’s clinching three-pointer.

Poetic, indeed.

* * * * * *

With the season a little more than halfway over, the Warriors still appear to be head and shoulders above those competing for their throne. Of the other contenders, the Rockets and Boston Celtics, at least for now, appear most formidable.

At the end of the day, what the Warriors have to fear more than anything is their own arrogance. As a unit, the team believes that it’s the best at playing small ball and that no other team can beat them as their own game. While that may be true, there have been a few instances over the past few years where that belief has ended up costing them.

What the Warriors seem to struggle with is understanding that not every possession can be played the same way, and as some possessions become more and more valuable, it would be wise for the team to play more conservatively and traditionally.

For example, when the Cavaliers beat the Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving made one of the most incredible shots we’ve ever seen, but it was Stephen Curry who helped leave the door open for the Cavs with a pitiful final five minutes of the game.

Among the worst atrocities he committed was an ill-advised turnover that came as a result of an off target behind the back pass to Klay Thompson. In such a situation, any second grader could have and would have known that a simple bounce pass to the flashing Thompson would have sufficed.

Steve Kerr’s message to his team, though, is to play like themselves and not overthink their execution.

While that’s fair, it does at least leave room to wonder if the Warriors will have the humility to play conservatively when the game is on the line.

Curry himself admitted to playing too aggressively and making poor reads and decisions down the stretch versus the Rockets. The team passed up wide-open two-point shots for three-pointers that didn’t fall, and those botched opportunities played a direct role in causing the loss.

Fortunately, for the Warriors, not much was at stake, but their performance and decision-making in those tight minutes leave us to wonder what will happen if and when they find themselves in another tight moment or two…

And by virtue of the Rockets becoming just the second team to take a season series from the Warriors since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, we can also fairly wonder whether they truly have what it takes to take down the Golden Goliath.

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NBA

G-League Watch: 10-Day Contracts

David Yapkowitz looks at five potential G-League callups for 10-day contracts.

David Yapkowitz

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Since Jan. 10, NBA teams have been able to sign players from the G-League to ten-day contracts. A few have already been signed, such as DeAndre Liggins with the Milwaukee Bucks and Kyle Collinsworth with the Dallas Mavericks.

Once a ten-day contract expires, teams have the option of signing that player to another ten-day contract. After the second ten-day, teams must either sign the player for the remainder of the season or release that player.

Some players have used ten-day contracts to essentially jump-start their careers. Bruce Bowen was once a ten-day contract player before becoming a key piece of multiple championship teams in San Antonio. Famed New York Knicks enforcer Anthony Mason also got his first chance in the league off a ten-day contract.

With a few guys already being called up via ten-day as well as the NBA’s new two-way contracts, here’s a look at some of the remaining names who might be next in line.

1. Christian Wood

Christian Wood was once a highly touted prospect coming out of high school. He played two college seasons at UNLV before declaring for the NBA draft in 2015. Despite being projected to be drafted late in the first round or early second round, he did not hear his name called on draft night. He’s spent some time in the NBA since then, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets, but he currently plays for the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers G-League affiliate.

His 22.0 points per game are tied with James Young for top scorer on the team. He’s shooting 53.9 percent from the field, and he’s also displayed a nice outside touch for a big man at 35.2 percent from three-point range. He leads the team in rebounds at 9.6, as well as in blocked shots with 2.0. He’s very mobile and could certainly help a team as a stretch big man who can play defense and crash the glass.

2. Jameel Warney

Jameel Warney has been a candidate for an NBA call-up for quite some time. The former Stony Brook standout had a big summer with Team USA basketball. He was the tournament MVP of the 2017 FIBA Americup and was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year for 2017. He got as far as training camp/preseason with the Dallas Mavericks in 2016, and he’s currently playing for their G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

With the Legends, he’s fourth on the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game. He’s second on the team in rebounding with 10.4, and he’s tied with Johnathan Motley leading the team in blocked shots with 1.5. He’s shooting 52.5 percent from the field. What could be hindering his NBA chances is his lack of an outside shot, especially with the way the game is being played today. Nonetheless, he’s still one of the G-League’s top players and he deserves a shot in the big leagues.

3. Melo Trimble

After a solid three years at the University of Maryland, Melo Trimble was one of the best players not selected in this past summer’s draft. He played well for the 76ers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, which in turn earned him an invite to training camp with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He ended up being one of their final cuts at the end of preseason, and he went on to join their G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves.

He’s third on the Wolves in scoring with 18.5 points per game. He’s shooting 44 percent from the field, and a decent 34 percent from beyond the arc. He’s also leading the team in assists per game with 5.7. He’s got the potential to be a decent backup point guard, and if he can get his shooting numbers, especially from three-point range, up a little bit, there’s no question he’s NBA caliber.

4. Joel Bolomboy

Joel Bolomboy is a name that should be familiar to Utah Jazz fans. He was drafted by the Jazz in 2016, and although relegated to mostly end of the bench duty, he showed a bit of potential and flash here and there. The Jazz cut him after a year, and he ended up in Milwaukee before they too cut him to make room for Sean Kilpatrick. He’s currently playing for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks G-League affiliate.

At the recent G-League Showcase that took place from Jan. 10-13, Bolomboy had one of the best performances of the event. In the two games played, he averaged 25.5 points per game on 73 percent shooting from the field and 13.0 rebounds. He was named to the All-Showcase First Team. He’s had eight double-doubles so far in the G-League this season. He’s already gotten his feet wet in the NBA, and if he continues putting up similar production, it won’t be long before he finds himself back on an NBA roster.

5. Jeremy Evans

Jeremy Evans is a name that should be somewhat familiar to NBA fans. He’s spent six years in the league with the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. He also participated in two dunk contests in 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately for him, dunking was probably the one thing he was known for. It might be why he found himself out of the league after only six years.

With the Erie Bay Hawks, the Atlanta Hawks G-League affiliate, his 15.9 points per game are good enough for fourth on the team. His 62.3 percent shooting from the field is a team-high, as is his 10.3 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks. Not known as a shooter during his time in the NBA, he’s only shooting 25.6 percent from three-point range in the G-League. If he can get his outside shooting percentages up, he has a shot at getting an NBA call-up and keeping that spot permanently.

Although there’s no guarantee that any of these guys get NBA call-ups on ten-day contracts, they have some of the best shots out of anyone in the G-League. Don’t be surprised if, by the end of the season, all of these guys finish it out on an NBA roster.

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