Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard named NBA Players of the Week
The accolades for Philadelphia 76ers rookie Joel Embiid continue to grow, as this week Embiid and the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 22.
The resurgent 76ers were 3-0 with Embiid in the lineup (3-1 for the week) as the 22-year-old center averaged 22.0 points, 10.3 rebounds (tied for sixth in the East) and an NBA-leading 3.67 blocks. He made 29 free throws to match the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler for the most in the East.
Embiid posted two double-doubles to raise his season total to a rookie-best nine. He also tied a season high with five blocks against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 16 and equaled a season high with five assists against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 20.
Leonard led the Western Conference in scoring (36.3 ppg) and added 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists as the Spurs went 3-0. The 6-7 forward shot 56.5 percent from the field, 43.8 percent from three-point range and 96.0 percent from the free throw line. In a 118-115 overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 21, Leonard notched a career-high 41 points.
Leonard has now scored at least 30 points in six consecutive games, the first Spurs player to accomplish the feat since Mike Mitchell during the 1985-86 season.
Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris, Golden State’s Kevin Durant, Miami’s Goran Dragic, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, and Utah’s Rudy Gobert.
In other NBA news and notes . . .
2017 All-Star Reserves Named, Clippers Jordan makes first All-Star team
Two-time reigning NBA All-Star MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and first-time All-Stars Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers, and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets lead the list of 14 players selected by the NBA’s head coaches as reserves for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.
This is Jordan’s first All-Star Game appearance. He is first in the NBA in rebounding (14.0) and field goal percentage (.690), while averaging 12.5 points and 1.79 blocks per game.
“I’m truly honored to be selected by the coaches to play in my first All-Star Game,” Jordan said. “I am excited to represent the Clippers in New Orleans.”
The 2016 First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defense member is averaging 16.7 rebounds per game for the month of January, and has notched a league-leading eight games with at least 20 rebounds.
The Clippers franchise has now been represented in the All-Star Game a total of 27 times by 12 different players (DeAndre Jordan-2017; Blake Griffin- 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015; Chris Paul - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016; Chris Kaman - 2010, Elton Brand - 2002, 2006; Danny Manning - 1993,1994; Marques Johnson - 1986, Norm Nixon - 1985, World B. Free - 1980, Randy Smith - 1976, 1978; Bob McAdoo - 1974, 1975, 1976 and Bob Kauffman - 1971, 1972, 1973).
Joining Jordan, Westbrook, and Hayward as Western Conference reserves are DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.
With Green and Thompson earning spots alongside West starters Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the NBA-leading Warriors (39-7) have matched a league record with four All-Star selections.
In addition to Walker, the East reserves are Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks, Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, and John Wall of the Washington Wizards.
“I am humbled to receive my fourth straight All-Star selection,” said Wall. “I want to thank my coaches, my teammates and the Wizards organization for helping me reach this goal and our fans for their tremendous support. I'm looking forward to representing them all in New Orleans and then getting back to work for the second half of the season.”
Love joins East starters Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to give the East-leading Cavaliers (30-14) three All-Stars, tying a franchise record last reached in the 1992-93 season.
Westbrook, who led the West to victories in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games, is the only player in league history to win the NBA All-Star MVP Award outright in back-to-back years. Now a six-time All-Star selection, Westbrook (30.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 10.4 apg) is on pace to join Oscar Robertson of the 1961-62 Cincinnati Royals as the only players to average a triple-double for an entire season.
Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves:
· Paul George, Pacers: George, who is averaging 22.2 points and 6.0 rebounds this season, scored 41 points and sank a record nine three-pointers in the 2016 All-Star Game.
· Kevin Love, Cavaliers: Love (20.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg), who earned his fourth All-Star selection, is the only player in the East averaging at least 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.
· Kyle Lowry, Raptors: An All-Star for the third year in a row, Lowry is averaging a career-best 22.4 points and ranks fourth in the NBA in three-pointers made with 143.
· Paul Millsap, Hawks: Millsap (18.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.8 apg) is making his fourth consecutive trip to the All-Star Game since joining Atlanta in 2013.
· Isaiah Thomas, Celtics: The 60th and final pick of NBA Draft 2011 presented by State Farm ranks second in the NBA in scoring with a career-high 29.1 points, helping him secure his second All-Star berth in a row.
· Kemba Walker, Hornets: Walker, who is averaging a career-high 23.0 points, becomes Charlotte’s first All-Star selection since Gerald Wallace in the 2009-10 season.
· John Wall, Wizards: An All-Star for the fourth straight year, the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December is averaging a career-high 23.1 points and ranks third in NBA in assists (10.1 apg) and second in steals (2.23 spg).
Western Conference All-Star Reserves:
· DeMarcus Cousins, Kings: The NBA’s fifth-leading scorer (28.0 ppg) has been named an All-Star for the third consecutive season.
· Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: Now a three-time All-Star, the Spanish center is averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 4.2 assists to go with 64 three-pointers made; he entered the season with 12 threes made in his first eight seasons combined.
· Draymond Green, Warriors: An All-Star for the second straight season, Green ranks 19th in the NBA in rebounding (8.5 rpg), eighth in assists (7.5 apg) and third in steals (1.93 spg) for a team that leads the league in offensive and defensive rating.
· Gordon Hayward, Jazz: Averaging career highs of 21.8 points and 5.7 rebounds, Hayward is Utah’s first All-Star selection since Deron Williams in the 2010-11 season.
· DeAndre Jordan, Clippers: A first-time All-Star in his ninth season, Jordan leads the NBA in rebounding (14.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (69.0).
· Klay Thompson, Warriors: Named to his third straight All-Star Game, Thompson owns the NBA’s highest-scoring game of the season (60 points vs. Indiana on Dec. 5) and leads the league in points on catch-and-shoot plays (10.6 ppg) for the third time in four years.
· Russell Westbrook, Thunder: The NBA scoring leader has posted 23 triple-doubles in 2016-17, putting him on pace to equal Robertson’s single-season record of 41 in 1961-62.
The 14 reserves were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences – two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at either position group. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.
The 66th NBA All-Star Game is set for Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. ET.
Larry Bird, Pacers president: “I think [Indiana second-year center Myles Turner] has got a chance to be one of the best players or maybe the best player [in the franchise’s history]. You’ve still got Paul [George] with a bunch of time left, too, and you had Reggie [Miller] here with all the other great ones. But being a 20-year-old and doing what [Turner] is doing just blows my mind.”
Neil Greenberg, Washington Post: “[Washington’s John] Wall is setting career-high averages in points, steals and assists per game, and in some ways he is even comparable to those being mentioned for the league’s most valuable player award.”
Keith Pompey, Philly.com: “The Sixers are the talk of Philadelphia and are creating a huge buzz around the NBA, with just cause.”
Rudy Gobert, Jazz center: “Did you watch me when I was playing in Europe? I was catching the ball before I came to the NBA. But when I got here, I was nervous. I was always thinking about what I was going to do with the basketball before I caught it. I wasn’t strong enough, so people were pushing me off my base. But the game has slowed down for me.”
Kerr to coach West All-Stars
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his staff will coach the Western Conference All-Stars in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. ET in New Orleans. Kerr earned the honor for the second time in his three seasons as an NBA head coach, having led the Western Conference to a 163-158 victory over the Eastern Conference in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game.
By virtue of the Houston Rockets’ 127-114 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 23, the NBA-leading Warriors (38-7, .844) clinched the best record in the West through games played on Sunday, Feb. 5 among the 14 conference teams with a head coach eligible to participate in the 2017 All-Star Game.
The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich is ineligible for the honor because he coached the West in last year’s All-Star Game.
The East All-Star coach will be determined by the best record in the conference through games played two weeks before the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
Jodie Meeks has surgery on thumb
Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks underwent surgery to repair his right thumb this afternoon, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced. He will be out indefinitely and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation.
Meeks sustained the injury on January 18 at New Orleans. After conducting a follow-up exam, it was determined that surgery was the proper course of action.
Meeks (6’4”, 210, 8/21/87) has played in 24 games (nine starts) this season with Orlando, averaging 8.9 points, while shooting .404 (36-89) from three-point range and .905 (38-42) from the free throw line. He was acquired on June 29 from Detroit in exchange for a future conditional second round draft pick.
Originally selected in the second round (41st overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Meeks has played in 442 career NBA regular season games (203 starts) with Milwaukee, Philadelphia, the L.A. Lakers, Detroit, and Orlando, averaging 9.8 ppg., 2.2 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 24.1 minpg., while shooting .375 (675-1,802) from three-point range and .883 (754-854) from the free throw line.
Vince Carter turns 40
Grizzlies guard/forward Vince Carter is still going strong in his 19th NBA season, despite turning 40 years old this week.
The NBA’s oldest active player remains a key contributor for a Memphis team that is pursuing its seventh consecutive playoff berth. Carter is averaging more points (8.2) and minutes (23.8) than he did in either of the previous two seasons. The last player to average eight points or more for a season when he was at least 40 years old at any point was Karl Malone in 2003-04 (13.2 ppt).
Carter is approaching two significant milestones as well. The eight-time All-Star (24,288 career points) needs 81 points to pass Hall of Famer Allen Iverson (24,368) for 23rd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Carter also needs four three-pointers to become the fifth player in NBA history with 2,000 for his career, joining Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Milwaukee’s Jason Terry and the LA Clippers’ Paul Pierce.
It is fitting that Carter is close to cracking an exclusive shooting club alongside Terry and Pierce. Carter, Terry and Pierce are three of the six active players who were drafted in the 1990s, a group that also includes San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Metta World Peace.
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs: The All-Star starter has scored at least 30 points in each of his last six games, the second-longest streak in the NBA this season behind Russell Westbrook’s eight-game run in November.
Philadelphia 76ers: Despite Saturday’s loss to Atlanta, the Sixers’ 8-3 record since Dec. 30 is the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference during that stretch.
George Hill, Jazz: In Saturday’s win over Indiana, Hill scored 30 points against his former team – matching the second-highest-scoring game of his career – as Utah extended its winning streak to six and improved to 17-4 this season with the 30-year-old point guard in the lineup.
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors, who lead the NBA in offensive and defensive efficiency, are outscoring teams by an average of 19.4 points during their current seven-game winning streak.
Miami Heat: Miami has opened 3-0 on its four-game homestand, with the finale tonight against the Warriors.
Second-Year Standouts: Phoenix’s Devin Booker (nine straight 20-point games), Denver’s Nikola Jokic (23.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.8 apg in his last 11 games) and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns (28.6 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 64.1 percent shooting in his last seven games) are among the second-year players who have been on a tear lately.
Sam Dekker, Rockets: Another second-year player, Dekker scored a career-high 30 points while making his first career start in Houston’s victory over Memphis on Saturday.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets: During Charlotte’s active three-game winning streak, Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 11.3 points and 10.0 rebounds. For the season, he has grabbed at least 10 rebounds a team-leading 14 times.
Seth Curry, Mavericks: Curry is averaging 15.5 points and shooting 64.9 percent from the field in his last four games.
Marcus Morris, Pistons: His game-winning, buzzer-beating tip-in against Washington on Saturday capped a three-game stretch in which Morris averaged 20.7 points and 10.0 rebounds as Detroit went 3-0.
Gregg Popovich, Spurs: He is five wins from passing Jerry Sloan for the most victories with one franchise by an NBA coach. Sloan won 1,127 games with Utah; Popovich has 1,123 victories with San Antonio.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder: With his next triple-double, Westbrook (58) will tie Larry Bird (59) for fifth place on the NBA’s career list.
Doc Rivers, Clippers: The LA coach (782 wins) needs three victories to pass former Clippers coach Gene Shue (784) for 15th place on the NBA’s all-time wins list.
Zaza Pachulia fined
Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has been fined $15,000 for striking Miami Heat forward Luke Babbitt in the face, it was announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred with 6:51 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 105-102 loss to the Heat on Jan. 23 at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Towns, Embiid featured in Rising Stars Challenge
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, last season’s unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, who has won both NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month awards this season, highlight the list of 20 players selected by the league’s assistant coaches to play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 during NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans.
For the third consecutive year, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the U.S. against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world.
Towns, who helped the U.S. Team defeat the World Team 157-154 in last year’s Rising Stars Challenge, is one of two NBA players averaging at least 22.0 points and 11.0 rebounds this season (the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis is the other).
The U.S. Team also features the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, who is averaging 20.6 points and has scored at least 20 in each of his last 10 games, and the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner, who ranks third in the NBA in blocked shots (2.30 bpg) to go with 15.7 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Joining Towns, Booker and Turner on the U.S. Team are Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquese Chriss of the Suns, Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, Frank Kaminsky of the Charlotte Hornets, Jahlil Okafor of the 76ers, and Jonathon Simmons of the San Antonio Spurs.
The World Team is anchored by Embiid (Cameroon), who leads all rookies in scoring (19.8 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg) and blocks (2.47 bpg), as well as two members of the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team in Serbian center Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets (15.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.9 apg this season) and Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks (18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.92 bpg). Jokic is one of three Nuggets players on the World Team, along with Emmanuel Mudiay (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Jamal Murray (Canada).
Rounding out the World Team are Danté Exum (Australia) and Trey Lyles (Canada) of the Utah Jazz, Buddy Hield (Bahamas) of the Pelicans, Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Dario Saric (Croatia) of the 76ers.
Aaron Gordon featured on "Inside the Magic"
Prepare for liftoff w/ @Double0AG as we premiere "Inside the Magic: Air Gordon" following Magic vs. Bulls tomorrow night on @FOXSportsMagic! pic.twitter.com/zphDaSh3Ay— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) January 23, 2017
FOX Sports Florida visited Magic forward Aaron Gordon in his home state of California for an all-access look on “Inside the Magic: Air Gordon.”
The youngest of three, Aaron was raised in a basketball family through and through, as his father, Ed, played at San Diego State; brother, Drew, played at UCLA and University of New Mexico; and sister, Elise, played at Harvard.
The sibling rivalry between the Gordon children made them better players and closer siblings as they grew up together in San Jose. Some heated games took place at the backyard basketball hoop and still do to this day.
Aaron attended Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose where he played for Head Coach Tim Kennedy. A starter all four years, he helped lead Mitty to a pair of Division 2 California state titles as a sophomore and junior.
After high school, Aaron chose to attend the University of Arizona. The Wildcats made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament during his only season at Arizona. After his freshman year, Gordon made the decision to forgo his final three years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.
In 2014, Aaron was drafted fourth overall in the first round by the Magic. It was at last year’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest where he made a national name for himself, as alongside Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach Levine, they helped reinvigorate the competition with a series of spectacular dunks.
Viewers will watch as they get a front row seat to Gordon participating in a Pro-Am game at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, which had a personal touch - the first game Aaron and Drew ever played together on the same team.
The episode wouldn’t be complete without our cameras rolling July 10, 2016 at a dunk contest on Venice Beach, where Gordon hosted and contributed the $5,000 grand prize. The competition set attendance records with over 2,000 visitors to the famous courts.
Stephen Curry, Warriors top NBA merchandise list
The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors remain in the top spots on the NBA’s Most Popular Jersey and Team Merchandise lists, respectively.
Rounding out the top five are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (No. 2), the Warriors’ Kevin Durant (No. 3), the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (No. 4) and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (No. 5).
The Warriors hold on as the top-selling team, followed by the Cavaliers at No. 2, the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 3, the Chicago Bulls at No. 4 and the New York Knicks at No. 5.
Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
4. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
6. Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls
7. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
8. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
9. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
10. Derrick Rose, New York Knicks
11. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
12. James Harden, Houston Rockets
13. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
14. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
15. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
1. Golden State Warriors
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Chicago Bulls
5. New York Knicks
6. San Antonio Spurs
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Boston Celtics
9. Philadelphia 76ers
10. Toronto Raptors
Following the recent injury to Pau Gasol, the San Antonio Spurs announced that they have signed Joel Anthony to a 10-day contract.
Anthony (6-9, 245), was in training camp with the Spurs earlier this season where he appeared in six preseason games, averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.9 minutes before being waived on Oct. 22.
A nine-year NBA veteran, Anthony most recently played with the Detroit Pistons during the 2015-16 season. The UNLV product has also played for the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, where he spent his first six-plus seasons and won back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.
Anthony has appeared in 471 career games, averaging 2.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.11 blocks in 14.7 minutes.
Anthony will provide some depth on the Spurs frontline while Gasol is out.
Washington assistant coach Sidney Lowe fined
Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe has been fined $5,000, and the Wizards’ organization has been fined $15,000, for Lowe’s standing on the playing court and potentially impacting game action during Washington’s 113-110 win over New York on Jan. 19 at Madison Square Garden, it was announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
Abdel Nader named D-League Performer of the Week
Abdel Nader of the Maine Red Claws today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Jan. 22.
Nader (6-8, Iowa State) led Maine to a 2-0 week, averaging 26.0 points (eighth in the league) on 48.6 percent shooting to go with 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal. He connected of 7-of-14 attempts from three-point range and was named to NBADLeague.com’s 2017 All-Showcase First Team. On Jan. 19, he scored 29 points and connected on 6-of-10 three-point attempts in a 122-117 win over the Canton Charge. On Jan. 21, he recorded 23 points, six rebounds and six assists in a 112-107 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Nader is averaging 22.4 points on 48.6 percent shooting and 6.0 rebounds on the season. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 58th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft presented by State Farm.
Other top performers considered included Austin’s Cory Jefferson, Canton’s Quinn Cook, Delaware’s Devondrick Walker, Erie’s Gabe York, Grand Rapids’ Jordan Crawford, Iowa’s JaKarr Sampson, Los Angeles’ Josh Magette, Maine’s Jalen Jones, Northern Arizona’s Johnny O’Bryant, Oklahoma City’s Dakari Johnson, Raptors 905’s Edy Tavares, Santa Cruz’s Dennis Clifford, Sioux Falls’ Patrick Miller, Texas’ CJ Williams, Westchester’s Courtney Fells and Windy City’s Will Bynum.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services