The first linkwrap of 2017 here at DBB! Let’s get to it:
Jeff Teague has Pacers' offense clicking
The Pacers are on a two-game winning streak, yet they have not won more than two consecutive games this season. Will they finally get that third consecutive victory against the often lackluster Pistons this Tuesday? Probably an easy bet for those of you out there that like to flash around some money.
The past two games offer evidence they've found a niche. Substituting Glenn Robinson III for Monta Ellis in the starting lineup puts the ball in Teague's hands more often, and has produced a more consistent and balanced offense.
"We've had ball movement (in the past), but then there's times we get thirsty and take quick shots, where guys start to feel, 'I haven't had a shot or a play call for me,' and they're looking to get involved in the game through the offensive end of the floor," McMillan said. "We haven't seen that the last two games.
About guys feeling thirsty — sounds too familiar, doesn’t it?
(Editor’s note: Try to imagine Nate McMillan’s children having to explain proper slang usage of “thirsty” without laughing. It’s impossible.)
Bucks emerging as team to beat in East
Sure, the bold headline just above might not get you too riled up and looking for a link, but you really should. Just believe me, here is an excellent read from Steve Aschburner at NBA.com about the Eastern Conference and some Milwaukee Bucks Kool-Aid that is ready for gulping.
From Antetokounmpo (22) and Parker (21) to Middleton (25), John Henson (26), Greg Monroe (26) and rookie guard Malcolm Brogdon (24), many of the Bucks’ key players are under 26. They’re learning as a group now, with a sweet spot anywhere from two to five, perhaps six, years out.
“Let me tell you something: When I hit the jumper today in the second quarter, I feel like Kobe,” Antetokounmpo said. “Shot it and was like, ‘Ko-be!’ But no, it’s great to hear a teammate compare you to that. I think I’m not there yet but I’m going to work as hard as I can and take the right steps.”
Brogdon was the revelation Saturday, starting for the second consecutive game in Matthew Dellavedova’s absence (strained hamstring) and winding up with a triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists). Not bad for the 36th pick in the 2016 draft. The former second-round pick ranks first in assists, second in minutes and fourth in points among rookies.
No such Kool-Aid about the Pistons, or any of the other Eastern Conference teams for that matter. Here’s how Aschburner sees Detroit:
The Orlando Magic may never get traction. Detroit’s players might put coach Stan Van Gundy in traction before the Pistons max out their potential.
Kris Dunn being cruel and unusual to Shabazz Napier
Kay Felder showing good things when given minutes
The Cavs have been without Kyrie Irving recently due to injury, which means playing time galore for super-quick, talented rookie Kay Felder, the Detroit native and former Oakland University Golden Grizzly. The last two games Irving has been sidelined have seen DeAndre Liggins get the starting nod with Felder seeing around 20 minutes per game off the pine, supplying quite pleasant shooting numbers (11-17 from the floor). Monday night against the Pelicans the Cavs were without Irving and only had Kevin Love for half the game (food poisoning), so who better to step up than Felder:
I’ll have more on Kay Felder tomorrow, but he has been a different player since his one-day trip to Canton. Can one game in the D-League really make that much of a difference? Felder has been aggressive searching for his shot, attacking the basket and running the offense. It’s far too early to say he has solved their backup point guard dilemma, and he still has a long way to go to earn the trust of Lue and the front office for critical games that really matter, but he’s at least developing.
Central Michigan Chippewas are representing, and just maybe have NBA caliber player on their hands
While Kay Felder led the NCAA in assists during his last college season in 2015-16 (and was known more for his ability to score — third nationally), Central Michigan University guard Marcus Keene (another dynamite sub-5’10 player) is currently leading the NCAA in scoring at over 30-points per game. CMU isn’t half bad either, sitting at 10-3 on the season. The Detroit Free Press had a nice piece on Marcus just yesterday:
If the season were to end today, Keene said he expects to return for a final year with the Chippewas to continue developing his game and become one of the top point guards in the country.
He doesn't doubt that he has the ability to overcome his height disadvantage and play in the NBA one day, especially after playing against former Oakland guard Kay Felder, who was taken in the second round of the NBA draft, and watching Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas excel in the NBA the past five years.
First day of work in 2017 for many of you out there... Hang on! You can do it!