Shayok named to All-NBA G League Third Team, All-Rookie Team

The NBA G League announced today that Philadelphia 76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok has been named to the 2019-20 All-NBA G League Third Team, as well as to the NBA G League All-Rookie Team, while 2019-20 NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year Christ Koumadje has been named to the NBA G League All-Defensive Team. The players earned their respective honors in a vote by the league’s 28 head coaches and general managers.

Shayok, the No. 54 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, appeared in 35 games (33 starts) with the Delaware Blue Coats this season. He averaged 23.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 30.0 minutes per contest.

The Ottawa native finished third in the league in scoring average and led all rookies in total points (805) and field goals made (309). In November, he was tabbed as the first NBA G League Player of the Week for the 2019-20 season, and was later named to the Eastern Conference Midseason All-NBA G League Team in February. Shayok is the first player in Delaware franchise history to receive All-Rookie honors.

Koumadje, a Chad native, became the first player in Delaware franchise history to receive NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year honors on June 17. The 7-foot-4 rookie appeared in 33 games (23 starts), averaging 11.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and a G League-best 4.0 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game. His 133 blocked shots were 37 more than any other G League player and marked a Delaware single-season franchise record.

On Feb. 1, Koumadje recorded the only triple-double with blocks in the NBA G League this season, posting 18 points, 20 rebounds and an NBA G League season-high 12 blocks in a 111-103 road victory over the Erie BayHawks.

Below are the complete All-NBA G League Teams, the All-Rookie Team and the All-Defensive Team.

2019-20 ALL-NBA G LEAGUE TEAMS

FIRST TEAM

Jaylen Adams – Wisconsin Herd

Jarrell Brantley – Salt Lake City Stars

Devontae Cacok – South Bay Lakers

Frank Mason III – Wisconsin Herd

Jarrod Uthoff – Memphis Hustle

SECOND TEAM

Donta Hall – Grand Rapids Drive

BJ Johnson – Lakeland Magic

Josh Magette – Lakeland Magic

Johnathan Motley – Agua Caliente Clippers

Tremont Waters – Maine Red Claws

THIRD TEAM

Justin Anderson – Long Island Nets

Dusty Hannahs – Memphis Hustle

Jemerrio Jones – Wisconsin Herd

Vic Law – Lakeland Magic

Marial Shayok – Delaware Blue Coats

2019-20 NBA G LEAGUE ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

Jarrell Brantley – Salt Lake City Stars

Devontae Cacok – South Bay Lakers

Donta Hall – Grand Rapids Drive

Marial Shayok – Delaware Blue Coats

Tremont Waters – Maine Red Claws

2019-20 NBA G LEAGUE ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Tacko Fall – Maine Red Claws

Trae-Deon Hollins – Grand Rapids Drive

Christ Koumadje – Delaware Blue Coats

Sir’Dominic Pointer – Canton Charge

Kenny Wooten – Westchester Knicks

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Hawks on Vince Carter: ‘It’s an honor to the Hawks organization that he completed his Hall-of-Fame career wearing Atlanta across his chest’

After 22 years of amazing basketball, and at the age of 43, Vince Carter has decided to call it quits. Carter announced his retirement on The Ringer’s podcast ‘Winging It‘ on Thursday. 

The eight-time All-Star played the last two seasons of his career with the Atlanta Hawks. In Carter’s final game against the Knicks after the NBA announced it was suspending the season because of COVID-19, Carter hit a three in the final seconds of the game, which turned out to be the final points of his career. 

Ending his career with a three was fitting when you consider that Carter was not only a great athlete and dunker, but he was an excellent shooter. Carter ends his career with 2,290 made three-pointers, which is sixth all-time in NBA history.

Carter, who put on maybe the greatest dunking exhibition in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, will go down as one of the greatest dunkers in league history.

In 1998, Carter was drafted fifth overall by the Warriors and was traded to the Raptors in a draft-day trade. Carter would win the 1999 Rookie of the Year with Toronto. He would go on to play for the Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Kings, and Hawks. Carter is the only player in NBA history to play 22 seasons and play in four different decades.

Expect Carter to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer!

After Carter announced his retirement, the Hawks released a statement.

Read below:

“Over the last two years, Vince Carter has been a committed leader, respected mentor and influential example on the court, in the locker room and in the Atlanta community. Throughout his historic 22-year journey covering an unprecedented four different decades, his evolving career arc was perhaps like none other in league history – from Top 5 Draft Pick to Rookie of the Year to Slam Dunk Champion to superstar and eight-time All-Star to Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year and valuable role player. It’s an honor to the Hawks organization that he completed his Hall-of-Fame career wearing Atlanta across his chest and representing our city.”

Spurs sign Tyler Zeller

San Antonio Spurs sign center Tyler Zeller, the team announced today. 

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Zeller’s deal is for the remainder of the season and includes a non-guaranteed second year in 2020-21. 

With LaMarcus Aldridge out for the season, San Antonio needs frontcourt depth, and Zeller does that for them.

Zeller, 7-0/255, holds career averages of 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 17.6 minutes while shooting .509 from the field in 412 total games. The former UNC Tarheel was selected by Dallas with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft before being dealt in a Draft night trade to Cleveland (2012-14), where he spent his first two seasons.

A seven-year NBA veteran, Zeller, has also spent time with Boston (2014-17), Milwaukee (2017-18), Brooklyn (2017-18), Atlanta (2018-19), and Memphis (2018-19). In 2014-15, his first year with the Celtics, he averaged career-bests in scoring (10.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 RPG) while playing in all 82 games.

 

Pacers’ Brogdon tested positive for COVID-19

Indiana Pacers G Malcolm Brogdon announced today that he has tested positive for COVID-19.  

Here is a statement from Brogdon:

“I recently tested positive for the COVID virus and am currently in quarantine,” he said. “I’m doing well, feeling well, and progressing well. I plan to join my teammates in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season and playoffs.”

Not having Brogdon would be a massive loss for the Pacers. In 48 games, the third-year player is averaging career-highs in points(16.7), assists(7.1), and rebounds(4.7) per game. Brogdon injured his quad in March, but he announced in April that he was healthy. 

The 27-year-old Brogdon joined the Pacers last offseason in a sign-and-trade with the Bucks and signed a four-year, $85 million deal with Indiana. 

The NBA s expected to get underway on July 30. Teams will arrive in Orlando on July 7. 

Lakers’ Bradley opts out of NBA restart

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lakers G Avery Bradley will not join the team in Orlando.

According to Wojnarowski, one of Bradley’s three children has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses and would’ve been unlikely to be medically cleared to enter the NBA bubble with his family, which was a huge reason Bradley decided to opt-out.

Bradley told Wojnarowski the following on Tuesday:

“As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organization as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family. And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.”

Bradley, along with Kyrie Irving, were leaders of a players coalition who talked about possibly not coming to Orlando for the NBA restart.

With Bradley out of the mix, the Lakers are said to be interested in free agent J.R. Smith, according to Wojnarowski. Smith would be reunited with LeBron James. The two won a title together with the Cavaliers in 2016. 

The 29-year-old Bradley is a significant loss for the Lakers. Bradley is a solid defender and was a starter for Los Angles. In 49 games(44 starts), Bradley averaged 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a contest. 

Obviously, with COVID-19 out there, players will have to weigh the costs of playing in Orlando. It should be interesting to see who else will opt-out. Players have until June 24 to inform the NBA of their decision.

 

Mavericks’ Lee suffers calf injury

Dallas Mavericks G Courtney Lee suffered a left calf injury during the NBA hiatus, the team announced today. According to the Mavericks, the 34-year-old Lee will not be available when the team resumes organized workouts on July 1. 

No timetable for his return has been set at this time. 

In 24 games, Lee averaged 4.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game. Lee played well in March before the shutdown. He averaged 6.6 points per game, including shooting 46.7% from three-point land. 

The NBA is expected to resume on July 30 in Orlando.

 

Atlanta Hawks make Juneteenth a company holiday

The Atlanta Hawks have announced that for the first time in the history of the franchise it has designated Juneteenth as a permanent paid company holiday for all its employees. The decision comes as many organizations are identifying specific ways to thoughtfully recognize and honor the full experience of African Americans in the shadow of the country’s on-going racial tensions.

According to juneteenth.com, this holiday is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery on January 1, 1863.

“I am proud of the decision our organization has made to recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday this year and going forward,” said Camye Mackey, Chief People, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena. “This is one of many steps we’ll take to support the positive change we need to see in society.”

The Hawks organization is encouraging its employees and partners to support the Black community by providing resources to assist in patronizing black businesses, learning more about the culture, participating in local Juneteenth celebrations, and engaging in service opportunities that help to foster equality for all.

The Atlanta Hawks have been at the forefront of the NBA in addressing racial disparities, as the first team in the league to hire a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2014, producing an annual Diversity and Inclusion symposium, Model of Shaping Atlanta through Inclusive Conversation (MOSAIC), and organizing the first-ever UNITY DAY Game in 2016. In 2019, the team was honored with the NBA Inclusion Leadership Award, recognized as the best in diversity innovation and impact in the league.

In response to recent racial unrest, Hawks Principal Owner Tony Ressler stated in part last week, “Black lives matter. There is no in-between. We, as an organization and part of the Atlanta community, are determined to be a part of the solution.”

The NBA is back; what to expect when the league returns

The NBA is back!  The NBA Board of Governors today approved a format to restart the 2019-20 season with 22 teams returning to play and a tentative start date of Friday, July 31.

The league suspended play on March 11 after players from the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are some of the highlights of the NBA’s return:

-The season restart is also contingent on an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to use Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, as a single site for a campus for all games, practices and housing for the remainder of the season.

-The 22 returning teams would be the 16 teams (eight per conference) in current playoff positions and the six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.  Those two groups comprise teams with the NBA’s 22 best records.

The 22 returning teams for the season restart would be the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards from the Eastern Conference and the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns from the Western Conference.

-The season restart would begin with eight “seeding games” for each returning team and include the possibility of a play-in tournament for the eighth and final playoff seed in each conference depending on combined records across regular-season games and seeding games.  Once the 16-team playoff field is set, the NBA Playoffs would proceed in a traditional conference-based format with four rounds and best-of-seven series in each round.  The NBA Finals would end no later than Oct. 12.

-Each returning team would play eight seeding games, as selected from its remaining regular-season matchups.  At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the best combined records across regular-season games and seeding games would qualify for the playoffs.

-If the team with the eighth-best combined record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best record would earn the eighth playoff seed.

-If the team with the eighth-best combined record in its conference (Team A) is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference (Team B), then Teams A and B would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the eighth playoff seed.  To earn the eighth playoff seed, Team A would need to defeat Team B once and Team B would need to defeat Team A two games in a row.

-The 14 NBA Lottery teams would be the eight teams that do not participate in the restart and the six teams that participate in the restart but do not qualify for the playoffs.  These teams would be seeded in the lottery and assigned odds based on their records through games of March 11.  The 16 playoff teams would draft in inverse order of their combined records across regular-season games and seeding games.

-The 2019-20 season would conclude with a traditional playoff format with best-of-seven series in the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals and the NBA Finals.

-If, as tentatively scheduled, the season resumes on July 31, then the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery would be rescheduled for Aug. 25, the 2020 NBA Draft would be held on Oct. 15 and the 2020-21 NBA regular season would likely begin on Dec. 1, 2020.

 

Suns’ Baynes: ‘The pursuit for equality is a global issue’

 Racism has been a huge topic in America after the death of George Floyd, who died last week after an altercation with police officers in Minnesota. 

On Wednesday, Phoenix Suns C Aron Baynes gave his thoughts on racism.

Read below:

“They say ignorance is bliss. I say bullshit. Ignorance is an excuse and a crutch my friends, and it is what will drag this world under if we’re not careful.

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

I grew up ignorant. I grew up uneducated. I grew up as part of the problem – part of the white majority in a small Australian town.

Don’t mistake me. I didn’t dislike any certain individual because of their race or culture. But I didn’t support them either, which was just as bad. I was a silent bystander. I did not have the knowledge or the will to stand up for those who were oppressed or marginalized.

I do not understand firsthand how a lifetime or generations of being oppressed feels. What I do know is it breaks my heart that people would judge my children, or any other child based purely on the colour of their skin. I now understand some of the fear, the anger, the helplessness and the resilience that is the fight for equality. As a father I care more about my children and their happiness than life itself. So Instead of just bottling it up and working towards a goal in my silent way as I have for most of my life. I want to let it out, breathe life into my beliefs through my words and speak on this issue

It was around the age of 16 that I was old enough to understand that racism came in all shapes and sizes. It could be loud and proud, but worse yet it could run as silent as the cool waters of a river quietly swallowing people up.

No matter what form it took or how clearly it presented itself, I realized the problem was systemic throughout society, and ignorance was not only part of the problem but also an excuse.

As I’ve grown older and I’ve earned great opportunity in life, I’ve worked to educate myself and become a better citizen to all people of the world.

As a father and as a man, I now know that I have a voice to be heard when I see injustice and I will not stand for it. Ignorance is not a crutch.

I’m usually a private person. Most people don’t know that my wife is black, and we have mixed race children. I am grateful for them as they have taught me as much about myself as I have taught them about the world.

I am instilling in them a love for people from all backgrounds and ethnicities. And when they are old enough to understand, it is my duty to educate them on the injustices and inequalities of the world.

Remember what I said about ignorance? Education starts at home and it can’t begin early enough. Our children must learn through words and action not to pass judgement on people based on their colour or background. Judge a man or woman on their character – integrity is afforded to all cultures but not everyone chooses to take it up.

As my four year old son told me yesterday, “Dad, I don’t always like you sometimes, but I love you forever in my heart.” People can change for the greater good, just as their dad has and continues to do.

There are many people much smarter, more poetic and more impactful than me who are speaking up. I appreciate the time you’ve given me to listen to my words in hopes that my lessons can be passed onto others to learn at an even younger age to push ignorance to the side and grab education by the horns.

The pursuit for equality is a global issue, a fight for our human race, our country, our community, our colleagues, our friends. I will do all I can within my own sphere of influence to make sure love, acceptance and understanding are paramount and that ignorance has no place. My family – my wife and my children – they are my world and I will not let the ignorant drag us under.”

Suns’ Monty Williams letter on death of George Floyd

Protests have rocked the United States after the death of George Floyd, who died after an altercation with police in Minnesota.

On Sunday, Suns head coach Monty Williams wrote a beautiful letter about the death of Floyd and more. 

Read below:

I’m angry. I’m afraid. And I’m in pain.

“When I read those words, I feel like I’m channeling one of my kids. These are the words of a teenager lost and looking for direction in a messed-up world, not the sentiment of an NBA head coach and former player.

We’re supposed to have all of the answers.

We’re supposed to be seen as grace under pressure.

We’re supposed to lead by example.

Still, I am angry, afraid and in pain. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the solutions start with love, listening, compassion, service and defending those who can’t defend themselves.

And I have definitely lost my cool over the years in the face of abject racism – dating back to my earliest memories growing up in Colonial Virginia – and likely more in the days to come.

I woke up this morning to our country on fire, AGAIN, and decided the least I can do as so many of us are gripped by anger, fear and pain is to lead by example. Allow my voice – filled with as much conviction as uncertainty – to be heard so that others, whether they have a platform or not, will lift their voices as well.

I pray for those we have lost but more personally for those who have lost – the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many before you. I know how it feels to get that call that someone you love isn’t coming home. The pit in your stomach. The unequivocal feeling of helplessness. Dropping to your knees and imploring God “why?” I feel your pain and can truly sympathize and empathize. I wish no one would ever have to receive that call again.

To my brothers and sisters from around the sports world, and in full transparency, help me. I’m looking for direction. I may not be the most profound or prolific – I know there are others with their own platforms out there telling yourself the same things – but we have an opportunity and I daresay, an obligation. How can we help each other find that direction?

I best sum it up in 1 John 3:17…

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

We have earned positions of wealth and standing in society. We certainly cannot stand idly by.

I’m distraught as I look at my boys – two are African American and one is Caucasian – because too many people see them differently. None of them should have to think about how law enforcement will treat them if pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. None of them should be followed through a department store by security. None of them should feel the sweat rolling down their back when a cop follows them for blocks. Alas, their worlds are different, and something is wrong with that.

Don’t misread me. I have as much respect for most law enforcement as I do disdain for some of the would-be protesters.

To those who have sworn to protect and serve ALL people regardless of color, religion or sexual orientation, I say thank you. We have an institutional problem with pervasive racism. It must end now.

To those who are using the façade of a protest or march by choosing to destroy and tear down, I challenge you to be better. As I tell my players, I’m not calling you out, I’m calling you up. Destruction of property and life is NOT the answer.

“It IS time to raze the institutional foundations of racism and segregation within politics, law enforcement and society at large. It must happen NOW.

Borrowing from C.S. Lewis, “you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

We must be the change now.”