Team USA’s 78-game win streak snapped after loss to Australia

The USA Basketball’s Men’s National Team knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk as it pursued a third straight FIBA World Cup championship.

Against host Australia, which was buoyed by a thunderous crowd, the Americans found out their path will indeed be treacherous.

With Patty Mills – who plays for U.S. head coachGregg Popovich with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs – scoring his team’s final 10 points, Australia knocked off the U.S. 98-94 Saturday before 52,079 spectators at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The U.S. beat Australia 102-86 two days earlier.

Mills finished with a game-high 30 points, including two clinching free throws with 11 seconds remaining. It was the first victory for Australia – ranked 11th by FIBA – over the U.S., which had won 78 straight in major international tournaments and exhibitions entering Saturday’s game.

“The Aussies gave us a great lesson as far as where we have to be and how we have to play in this kind of competition,” Popovich said. “So we’ll get used to that and hopefully learn.”

USA captain Kemba Walker came off the bench to score 22 points to lead the Americans, while Harrison Barnes had 20 points and six assists. Donovan Mitchell was the only other U.S. player to reach double figures with 12 points.

For Australia, Andrew Bogut had 16 points and nine rebounds, while Joe Ingles had 15 points and seven assists and Aron Baynes had 13 points. Mills, Bogut, Ingles and Baynes are among a half-dozen NBA players on the Boomers’ roster.

“Just watch tape and get more comfortable with our system,” Barnes said of what the U.S. needs to work on. “I think when you look at international play, every team that has been here for a long time but they kind of have their calling card on what they fall back into the system, sets. For us, we’re still getting to that point, we have some comfortability with it but it’s just continuing to be better at that.”

Following the game, the U.S. traveled to Sydney, where it will practice Sunday and play its final exhibition game before the World Cup. The U.S. will face Canada, ranked 23rd in the world by FIBA, on Monday. The Americans will have one more practice in Sydney before heading to China for the World Cup. The U.S., which currently has 13 active players, must make one more roster cut before the World Cup.

“The loss means that we need to play better,” Popovich said. “It’s a measure of who you are. Nobody wins forever. This is a group of guys that’s worked very hard, like I said, to get to know each other and get to know a system. And whatever comes, we can handle. Our job is to try to get better every day. We learned some things tonight. We’re actually a better team now than at the start of the game because of the knowledge from the game, so now we move on.”

The U.S. faces the Czech Republic to open the World Cup on Sept. 1 in Shanghai. Japan and Turkey are also in Group E. The U.S. needs to finish in the top seven to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games.

After clinging to a 49-48 lead at halftime, the Americans extended their advantage to 68-58 before the Aussies dug in. While acknowledging the Americans have pieces of their game to work on, Popovich credited the Aussies for playing an inspired game and earning a split of the two-game exhibition series.

“It’s really a testament to how long they stuck together to get this accomplished tonight,” Popovich said. “So, I’m going to give them credit at both ends of the court. They executed really well and they came up with the victory.”

Guard Marcus Smart, who had not played in either of the previous two exhibitions due to a calf injury, started for the U.S. The Boston Celtics star played nine minutes, 12 seconds and scored seven points, while grabbing one rebound and handing out three assists.

Advertisements

Eagles’ Schwartz on Hall: ‘He has good speed, he’s long, he fits our stuff that way, and he’s really been tough’

Philadelphia Eagles DE Daeshon Hall has been a revelation for the team this summer.  In two preseason games, Hall, who was selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers in the 2017 NFL Draft, is the NFL preseason leader in sacks(3.0), and last Thursday against the Jaguars, Hall had two sacks and a forced fumble.

The Eagles are deep at the defensive end position, with guys like Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry, but Hall is doing whatever he can to make a mark on this team.

“I’m just trying to control my controllables and do what I can to make this team or make another team,” Hall said after the Eagles’ win over Jacksonville last Thursday. “I’m working hard; we’ve got a great group of D-ends, everybody works hard, and everybody plays hard. I feel like I’m getting better because I’m getting pushed by this group of D-ends.”

The 24-year-old Hall was an outside linebacker when he was with the Houston Texans last season. When the Eagles signed Hall off the Texans’ practice squad late in the 2018 season, he had to transition back to defensive end, which he played in college at Texas A&M, and at this point, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz sees a player who is comfortable at the defensive end position.

“He got to us midway through last year, and he was in the transition of going from outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end,” Schwartz said on Monday. “He had been asked to lose weight in Houston, but he was gaining weight here, so he was a little bit of a work in progress there. But he’s come back, had a really good spring, and he’s stacked a good training camp on top of that. He has good speed, he’s long, he fits our stuff that way, and he’s really been tough. He plays physical football for us, and that’s what we are looking for.”

Because of the play of defensive ends, fourth-round pick Shareef Miller and second-year player Josh Sweat, it might be tough for Hall to make the team, but if he continues to play well, he should get an opportunity somewhere in the NFL.

Haney-Abdullaev, Hunter-Kuzmin, Roman-Akhmadaliev, Serrano-Hardy set for 9/13 at MSG

Devin Haney can take a giant leap towards World title glory when he faces fellow unbeaten star Zaur Abdullaev in a final eliminator for the WBC World Lightweight title on Friday September 13 at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Haney (22-0 14 KOs) made an electrifying debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN in May, destroying Antonio Moran with a KO of the year contender in the seventh round of their clash in Maryland. The 20 year old fights in the Big Apple for the first time in his career and the Las Vegas native, ranked #2 with the WBC, hits Manhattan for his biggest fight yet in association with DHP Promotions and Titov Boxing.

Abdullaev (11-0 7 KOs) is ranked #3 with the WBC having landed the Silver Lightweight strap in just his ninth pro outing in April 2018, and the highly rated and dangerous Russian registered his 11th pro win and seventh inside the distance in February, stopping Humberto Martinez in Ekaterinburg, and now fights outside his homeland for the first time in his career.

The WBC crown will be in the hands of either Vasiliy Lomachenko or Luke Campbell MBE when the clash at The O2 in London on August 31, with Haney and Abdullaev keenly observing that clash from their training camps become locking horns on September 13.

“It always feels good when I get the official date,” said Haney. “I stay in the gym because I’m a dog and I love to fight. I want the world to see me rise to my competition. The better they are the better I am. I’m fighting an undefeated fighter at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

“New York fans are some of the most loyal fans in sports and I’m looking forward to really putting on a show for them. Abdullaev likes to apply pressure and I expect nothing less on September 13. I’ve seen him fight and he’s a hungry fighter, there’s no doubt he is my toughest opponent to date. This fight is one step away from a World title fight so we both have a lot on the line.

“Abdullaev doesn’t have a big name, but he’s ranked #3 for a reason, and I’m not ducking him or anyone else that stands in my way. I’m blessed to have tremendous support from DAZN and Eddie Hearn. With this partnership I have an opportunity to fight the best in the world. I encourage everyone in NYC to buy their tickets or get the DAZN App and watch my growth into the next superstar in boxing. This fight is going to be lit!”

“I’m delighted that the fight is happening,” said Abdullaev. “I was panicking when I saw some posts from Haney on social media that nobody wants to fight him at 135-pounds and he might have to move up in weight. I kept biting my nails and really wanted to get engaged but been told to stay patient. Allah the gracious has delivered this fight and now its reality.

WBA and IBF World Super-Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman leads a stacked undercard in a mouth-watering chief-support bout as he takes on lethal WBA mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Roman (27-2-1 10 KOs) unified his WBA crown with the IBF strap of Irishman TJ Doheny in a fight of the year contender at home in Los Angeles in April, a fifth World title win on the bounce a fourth inside 14 months for the 29 year old.

Roman’s fifth defense of his WBA crown pits him against dangerous Uzbek talent Akhmadaliev (6-0 5 KOs) – the highly decorated amateur has looked fearsome in ending five of his six pro outings to date inside the distance, with the 25 year old’s last win coming on the same LA bill as Roman’s dust-up with Doheny. Roman vs. Akhmadaliev is brought to you in association with Thompson Boxing and World of Boxing.

“Anyone that knows me understands that I’m a real fighter,” said Roman. “I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me. Akhmadaliev is hungry, but so am I. It wasn’t that long ago [2017] when I challenged for the WBA title so we’re not going to give it up. I’m here to fight and defend the WBA belt once more. I have two belts [WBA and IBF], but I want more. My goal is to get all of them so by no means am I overlooking Akhmadaliev. He has that amateur pedigree, can punch with power and likes to come forward. The second you underestimate someone, that’s when bad things happen. I’ll be ready for whatever he brings.

“As a unified champion, I understand that I have a target on my back. That’s why I’ve been in the gym, staying sharp like I always do. There’s no time to relax and look back at what I’ve done because my work isn’t finished.”

“Danny is among the most committed and disciplined World champions out there,” said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing Promotions. “He relishes challenges and at this point in his career, he only wants the toughest and biggest fights. Akhmadaliev is a young and dangerous opponent, but Danny has all the tools to continue his reign as the best talent in the division. We’re confident that he’ll deliver another excellent performance and retain his WBA title for the fifth time.”

“I am very glad that Daniel Roman took this fight,” said Akhmadaliev. “I know that we are both warriors and this will be a real war! Don’t miss this fight!”

“We have been waiting for this fight for some time,” said Vadim Kornilov from World of Boxing. “I believe with the will, character, and power of both of these guys, this fight will be a fight of the year candidate.”

There’s more World title action on the bill as record-breaking seven-weight World champion Amanda Serrano challenges WBO World Featherweight champion Heather Hardy in an all-Brooklyn affair, brought to you by DiBella Entertainment in association with Matchroom Boxing USA.

Serrano (36-1-1 27 KOs) conquered her seventh weight class at the Hulu Theater in title in January when the Puerto Rican destroyed Eva Voraberger inside the opening round to claim the vacant WBO Super-Flyweight title.

Serrano held the WBO Featherweight strap in 2016 before vacating it then her sister Cindy picked it up later that year. Hardy (22-0 4 KOs) was next in line to win the vacant title in October in a rematch against Shelley Vincent in the Hulu Theater. Hardy put boxing on hold to return to MMA in June with an outing at Bellator 222 at Madison Square Garden but returns to boxing to go head-to-head with her fellow Brooklynite.

“We found out in February that as a super-champion Amanda could call out any champion in any weight division and she would be the next defense — and she chose me. I didn’t get this far in the boxing game to not know how it works, they’re hyping up a big fight between her and Katie Taylor and this is the second of Amanda’s three-fight deal.

“It will be my first time competing as an underdog even as the current world champion but I’m excited as hell. Everyone knows I have the balls for it. I grew up with a tough mamma, trust me – nobody scares me.”

“I’m very excited to be back in the ring and excited to be fighting Heather Hardy,” said Serrano. “Heather is 22-0 for a reason, she always finds a way to win. We’ve sparred in the past and I’ve never had an easy day with her.

“So many of the other champions vacated their belts to avoid fighting me but Heather is a true world champion who will not give up her belt.

“We know each other well and I’m honored to fight her for her World title. It’s nothing personal, just business for two girls from Brooklyn in the ring.”

“On Friday, September 13, seven-division world champion Amanda ‘The Real Deal’ Serrano will attempt to wrest the WBO Featherweight title from undefeated champion Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy in what promises to be an explosive matchup,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Neither Hardy nor Serrano have ever been in a bad fight, both Brooklynites have passionate fan bases and are tremendous ambassadors for women’s boxing. This is a must-win fight for both boxers and will steal the show.”

The Heavyweight landscape remains a hot one and there’s a great 50-50 clash on the card as Michael Hunter challenges Sergey Kuzmin for the WBA Intercontinental title. Hunter (17-1 12 KOs) holds the International strap with the WBA having KO’d Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo in November and defended that with a second round KO of Fabio Maldonado in Maryland in May. The 31 year old is rapidly rising in the rankings and can take a huge leap towards World title action with a win but faces a crunch challenge in the form of Kuzmin (15-0 11 KOs).

The unbeaten Russian puts the strap he won at Wembley Stadium in London in September against David Price and first saw off LaRon Mitchell and then Joey Dawejko in successful Stateside defenses. With Kuzmin ranked #5 and Hunter #8 with the WBA, the victor in New York will be knocking on the door for a title shot, raising the stakes in this pick’em match-up, in association with World of Boxing.

“I’m excited to be fighting Sergey,” said Hunter. “I know that this is not going to be an easy fight, but I am definitely up for the challenge and I want to show people that I am the best in the division.”

“I have worked very hard for this opportunity,” said Kuzmin. “I am here to win this fight and go after the World title. It doesn’t matter to me whether this fight is in the USA or in Russia, I am very confident in my victory. I know my opponent very well, he’s a good boxer, but only one of us is going to be victorious.”

“This is a fight between two top ten prospects, both hold regional titles,” said Vadim Kornilov of World of Boxing. “This fight will hopefully be an eliminator for the World championship mandatory.”

Pascal: ‘Canada has Drake, the NBA Champions, and now I’m bringing the belt home’

The co-main event saw former world champion Jean Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs) earn a narrow technical decision over previously unbeaten Marcus Browne (23-1, 16 KOs) to capture the WBA interim light heavyweight title after an accidental headbutt ended the fight in round eight.

“Boxing is boxing,” said Pascal. “We clashed heads, but at the end of the day, I was winning the round. I dropped him three times. It was a close fight, but I believe I was winning.”

Browne appeared to be in control early, using his jab effectively and finishing his combos with power punches. Throughout the fight, Browne would land 52% of his power punches according to CompuBox.

In round four, Pascal broke through landing a perfect right hand that connected with Browne as he threw his own right hook. Browne hit the canvas for the third time in his career, but was able to make it through the round.

Watch Pascal score the knockdown HERE

Browne looked to have regained control of the fight until late in round seven when Pascal again connected on a powerful right hook that caught Browne during an exchange. Pascal jumped on Browne after he got to his feet and knocked him down a third time right before the bell ended round seven.

Montreal’s Pascal was looking to finish Browne in round eight, while Browne looked to effectively navigate the ring while recovering from the previous round. It was midway through the round that Pascal hit Browne with an accidental headbutt on the ropes that opened a cut over Browne’s left eye.

Referee Gary Rosato halted the bout 1:49 into the round, on the advice of the ringside physician, meaning the fight went to the scorecards. By winning the shortened eighth round on all three judges’ cards, Pascal won the fight by the score of 75-74 three times.

“I could hear my daughter ringside and that was motivation for me,” said Pascal. “She was yelling my name all night long. I’m going to go home and talk to my team to see what is next.

The co-main event saw former world champion Jean Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs) earn a narrow technical decision over previously unbeaten Marcus Browne (23-1, 16 KOs) to capture the WBA interim light heavyweight title after an accidental headbutt ended the fight in round eight.

“Boxing is boxing,” said Pascal. “We clashed heads, but at the end of the day, I was winning the round. I dropped him three times. It was a close fight, but I believe I was winning.”

Browne appeared to be in control early, using his jab effectively and finishing his combos with power punches. Throughout the fight, Browne would land 52% of his power punches according to CompuBox.

In round four, Pascal broke through landing a perfect right hand that connected with Browne as he threw his own right hook. Browne hit the canvas for the third time in his career, but was able to make it through the round.

Browne looked to have regained control of the fight until late in round seven when Pascal again connected on a powerful right hook that caught Browne during an exchange. Pascal jumped on Browne after he got to his feet and knocked him down a third time right before the bell ended round seven.

Montreal’s Pascal was looking to finish Browne in round eight, while Browne looked to effectively navigate the ring while recovering from the previous round. It was midway through the round that Pascal hit Browne with an accidental headbutt on the ropes that opened a cut over Browne’s left eye.

Referee Gary Rosato halted the bout 1:49 into the round, on the advice of the ringside physician, meaning the fight went to the scorecards. By winning the shortened eighth round on all three judges’ cards, Pascal won the fight by the score of 75-74 three times.

“I could hear my daughter ringside and that was motivation for me,” said Pascal. “She was yelling my name all night long. I’m going to go home and talk to my team to see what is next. Canada has Drake, the NBA Champions and now I’m bringing the belt home.”

After the fight, Browne was taken to NYU Lutheran Medical Center due to the cut.

 Photo/courtesy: Nabeel Ahmad/Premier Boxing Champions

Jags’ Marrone on Ramsey’s armored truck arrival: ‘Those Adidas people know how to market’

When Jaguars CB Jalen Ramey arrived at training camp, it was not your typical arrival, and here is why. Ramsey, 24, wants a new contract, and In April, Jacksonville exercised the fifth-year option on Ramsey’s contract, which means he will be under contract until 2020. Ramsey is scheduled to make $3.6 million in 2019.

The fourth-year corner said the following during OTAs back in June about his contract:

“As far as I know, I’ve been let know that I will not be getting a contract extension. I will not be getting a contract extension this year,” Ramsey said. “You all take that however you may want to take that, but I’m excited to be … As long as I’m a part of this organization, as long as I’m part of Duval County, I’m going to give the city and the players all I’ve got.”

Well, on Wednesday, here is how Ramsey arrived at training camp:

Today, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone addressed Ramsey and the armored truck:

“Yeah, I think that—of course. I was like, ‘Those Adidas people know how to market.’ You know what I’m saying? That’s the one thing, I mean you do something and everyone else talks about it, it’s good,” Mattone said. “But I’ll say this, and this happens a lot, what people see on the outside, they’re going to form an opinion. But I can tell you, as soon as he crosses into our building, it’s all about doing what’s best for the team and doing everything from that nature.

“So again, I look at this profession now as it’s a business, you know what I’m saying? They have agents, they have marketing people, they have so many things that go on that you’re not going to micromanage the business part of their lives from that sense, but as long as that player shows – and Jalen’s done a good job of coming in here, communicating with his coaches all through the year, working hard, in great shape, ready to go, and he talks about team in here. That’s what my concern is. What happens on the outside—as long as our players are good husbands, good fathers or giving back to the community and I can do anything to help them, that’s what my concern is. The other stuff, again, it’s become part of it.”

Ramsey recently signed with Adidas after starting his career with NIKE and Team Jordan.

Hate him or love him, Ramsey knows how to have fun, and he knows how to send a message. We’ll see how well the Jaguars receive the message as the season goes on.

Evan Holyfield, son of Evander Holyfield, signs with Main Events

On Wednesday, in front of a packed crowd of family, friends and fans, at the Fighter Nation Boxing Gym in Houston, Texas, hot boxing prospect Evan Holyfield announced his new promotional deal with Main Events. After talks with several promoters the 21-year old son of Hall-of-Famer Evander Holyfield decided to sign with the company that launched his father’s historic career.

 The middle child of the Holyfield children, Evan, amassed over 80 amateur fights including the Semi-Finals for the US Team. The 6’1.5″ junior middleweight is a boxer-puncher with lightning fast speed and hard-hitting power.

“This is really a dream come true,” said Evan. “I have been doing this for more than 10 years and it’s not really a job if you really enjoy it. Life is always better when you have a dream you can strive for and work towards every day. I am eager to get started and excited to begin this next chapter.”

 Evan Holyfield has teamed up with Maurice “Termite” Watkins as his trainer/manager. After a 61-5-2, 42 KOs professional boxing career Termite headed to Iraq to work as an exterminator for the military camps. While serving in Baghdad he formed an Iraqi Olympic boxing team. Watkins now runs Fighter Nation Boxing Gym in Houston and works with more than 200 young fighters.

“Evan is very coachable and hungry to create his own name,” explained Watkins. “We have assembled a great team to help him achieve that goal. 1. We have Main Events. They are the ones who took Evander to the top. 2. He’s got me. I’ve had over 65 pro fights. 3. He’s in one of the best training climates in the world. That’s why athletes come here, because it is hot, humid and they can lose weight. 4. We’ve got Tim Hallmark. In my opinion, he is the best of the best of the strength and conditioning coaches and he is the one that took worked with Evander throughout his career. He is heading up our strength and conditioning team.” He continued, “Evan is the whole package: he can box, he can punch, he is very elusive in the ring and he has incredible timing. This makes for a winning combination and we plan on going all the way. We are ready to fight!”

Holyfield’s team also includes Tim Hallmark the strength and conditioning coach with over 35 years of experience who is best-known for working with Evander Holyfield throughout his professional career. In addition to extensive roster of high-profile clients Tim has also designed the SymmetriCore® and CenterForce® training equipment that have been used by some of the world’s top professional and Olympic athletes.

 “This is my 40th year as a sports performance trainer,” said Hallmark. “My philosophy has always been to first get an athlete healthy, then get him fit and then make him more athletic. Evan and I have been together for about 14 months. He has a fitter physique but, most-importantly, his recovery time has improved tremendously.” Hallmark added, “It is all about making him strong mentally. If he is healthier then he going to be able to deal with stress better. Then, it is all about attitude. If he feels better, he will have a good attitude and with the right attitude he can push himself further than he ever thought possible. That is what makes a winner!”

Photo Credit: Hosanna Rull/Main Events 

The boxing world reacts to the death of Maxim Dadashev

Boxer Maxim Dadashev died on Tuesday from brain injuries that he suffered during his fight against Subriel Matias on Friday night at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD. He was 28.

Dadashev took a lot of punishment in this fight, and his trainer Buddy McGirt stopped the fight following the 11th round.

After the fight, Dadashev needed assistance back to his dressing room. According to ESPN, he collapsed before making it to the dressing room and began vomiting. He was taken from the arena on a stretcher and then was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery for two hours for a subdural hematoma — bleeding on the brain. Doctors hoped to relieve pressure on the right side of his brain, where most of the damage was, with the surgery and placed him in a medically induced coma, to allow time for brain swelling to subside.

Here is a statement from Top Rank and Bob Arum:

“Top Rank is devastated to report that Maxim Dadashev passed away earlier this morning due to injuries sustained during last Friday’s bout. Maxim was a talented fighter inside the ring and a loving husband and father outside the ropes. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum: “Maxim was a terrific young man. We are all saddened and affected by his untimely death.”

After Dadashev’s death was announced, the boxing world reacted on Twitter:

Photo: Mikey Wiliams/Top Rank

Vikings waive suspended RB Roc Thomas

The Minnesota Vikings waived RB Roc Thomas, the team announced today.

Thomas, 23, was suspended for the first three games of the 2019 regular season for violating the ‘NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse. The undrafted, second-year RB out of Jackson State was still able to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

According to NFL.COM and Pioneer Press:

Thomas was arrested in January after Dakota County police officers executed a search warrant of his apartment and found over five ounces of marijuana, over 100 grams over the legal limit, per the Pioneer Press. The running back admitted to felony marijuana possession in May, though the charge will stay off his record if he completes his probation.

In Thomas’ place, Minnesota signed Tiano Pupungatoa. He arrives to Minnesota after spending his collegiate playing career at South Dakota State University. A three-year starter at guard for the Jackrabbits, he was named to the AP FCS All-American Third Team in 2018 as a redshirt senior.

 

Spurs sign Trey Lyles

The San Antonio Spurs have signed F Trey Lyles, the team announced today.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year deal.

Originally, Marcus Morris and the Spurs reportedly had agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Spurs, but Morris had a change of heart, and the Spurs signed Lyles. According to ESPN, Morris is expected to sign with the New York Knicks.

Lyles, 6-10/235, appeared in 64 games for the Denver Nuggets last season averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 17.5 minutes. In two seasons with the Nuggets, he averaged 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 18.3 minutes. Appearing in 288 total contests, Lyles holds career averages of 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 17.5 minutes.

The former University of Kentucky Wildcat was a first round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft (12th overall) by the Utah Jazz. Lyles spent his first two seasons with the Jazz before being sent to Denver on draft night in 2017. While with Utah, Lyles was selected to the 2016 and 2017 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

Hawks’ GM: ‘Jabari(Parker) is a highly skilled offensive player and proven scorer’

The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent forward Jabari Parker, the team announced today. According to the Athletic’s Shams Charania, it’s a two-year, $13 million deal.

This past season, in 64 games (17 starts) with Chicago and Washington, the 6’8” Parker averaged 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 26.9 minutes (.493 FG%, .313 3FG%, .712 FT%).

“Jabari is a highly skilled offensive player and proven scorer, and we’re looking forward to incorporating him into our group,” said Hawks General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk. “We think he will fit well on the court and in the locker room, and we’re excited to welcome him to Atlanta.”

The former second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Parker spent his first four seasons with the Bucks.

In 247 career contests (167 starting assignments) with the Bucks, Bulls and Wizards, he is averaging 15.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 29.7 minutes (.491 FG%, .337 3FG%, .739 FT%).

If the 24-year-old Parker can stay healthy, he is a guy that can help the Hawks next season. Parker is still young player and could give Atlanta a boost off the bench.