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Kia Rookie Ladder: Lay of land in chase leads to Doncic’s drop



For now, Young keeps the top spot, based mostly on Doncic’s most recent two games — which saw him go 10-for-34 from the field (2-for-13 on 3-pointers). Doncic, who remains the frontrunner for ROY based off the season on a whole, had one of his worst games of the season Tuesday, scoring 12 points while committing nine turnovers (the second time in the last three weeks he’s had that many) in a 112-105 loss to the Spurs.

Young had struggles of his own, but he picked up his first triple-double and led the Hawks to two wins to barely — just barely — hold off Doncic. 

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1. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks


Trae Young logged his first NBA triple-double in a loss to the Nets last week.

Last week:  No. 1

Young had the first triple-double by a rookie in Hawks history Saturday, which was one of the highlights of his week. But to be fair to what I said above about Doncic’s clunker, Young also had a dud of a game this week, going 2-for-14 from the field (0-for-4 on 3-pointers) against the New Orleans Pelicans. However, Young also had 10 assists (five in the fourth quarter) and helped facilitate a 128-116 win when his shot wasn’t falling (he missed his first nine attempts). Coach Lloyd Pierce was impressed by Young’s ability to handle the rough shooting night. ”He came in the fourth quarter and played 12 straight minutes and shifted to just a playmaker,” Pierce said. ”I think it’s a sign of maturity. I think he’s going to have those games from time to time and understand he can still impact a game.”

2. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks


Luka Doncic reflects on his rise to stardom in his first season in the NBA.

Last week:  No. 2

To Doncic’s credit, the rookie wasn’t even sure he’d play in the embarrassing loss to the Spurs, in which he went 1-for-9 from the free throw line. “Just in my head, I’m thinking I’m going to miss it. I’ve just got to work on that. I’ve got to think I’m going to make every shot.” Doncic had suffered a knee strain against the Rockets, but fought through the injury, which is admirable considering the Mavs’ position in the standings. “Honestly I wasn’t 100 percent, but I want to play. I want to play always. Even though we’re not playing for that much right now I just want to play every game.” You’ve got to love the attitude.

3. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers


The Cavs upset the Raptors behind a monster game from Collin Sexton.

Last week:  Not ranked

Sexton has had his ups and downs this season, but he said this week “the game is starting to slow down a little bit.” And it shows. In three games this week, the point guard averaged 27 points on 58.2 percent shooting, hitting 57.9 percent of his 3-pointers. Sexton was huge in the Cavs’ surprise win vs. Toronto, scoring 28 points with four rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers. He was 10-for-18 from the field, and afterward coach Larry Drew said it might have been his best game of the season. “I really thought tonight was probably as complete of a game as I’ve seen Collin play in regards to him scoring, getting us into an offense and his decision-making. … He played a terrific all-around game.” A night later, he nearly willed the Cavs to a win in Philly, scoring 26 points on 11-for-20 shooting. It’s clear he’s becoming more confident running the team and finding his scoring spots.

4. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns


DeAndre Ayton comes up with a block against the Jazz on Wednesday.

Last week:  No. 3

Ayton was crucial to the Suns’ surprising upset of the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the 115-111 win. But Wednesday’s loss to the Utah Jazz was a different story. Going against Rudy Gobert, Ayton finished with two points on 1-for-9 shooting in 32 ineffective minutes. Ayton didn’t hold back on his performance. “Overall, I give myself an F-minus,” Ayton told reporters. “This was a bad game. I definitely put this loss on me. I just wasn’t locked in. I don’t know what’s happening. The shots I took were pretty bad. This is definitely the worst game I’ve ever played.”


5. Landry Shamet, LA Clippers

Landry Shamet has made 46.9 percent of his 3-pointers with the Clippers.

Last week:  No. 4

Shamet is going to play a big role in the Clippers’ run toward the playoffs. He’s getting 28.5 minutes per game in L.A. (he got 20.5 mpg with the Sixers), averaging 12.1 points on 44.1 percent shooting. He’s knocking down 46.9 percent of his 3-pointers with the Clippers, easily leading rookies in 3-point shooting on the season. If you haven’t seen a Clippers game yet, Shamet is worth checking out. His ability to come off screens and get his shot off quickly is a thing of beauty. 

Just missed the cut: 

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
Brunson has scored in double figures in five straight and had his best game in the Mavs’ loss to the Spurs. The second-round pick scored 34 points and averaged 23.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 5.7 apg while shooting 65 percent overall (and 41.7 percent on 3-pointers) this week. “He’s probably grown more than any player,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “If you go back to the Summer League in July, if you’d seen him play then and you saw him play tonight, you’d say ‘Wow.’ “

Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks
The young sharpshooter scored 27 in the Hawks’ 128-116 win over the Pelicans on Sunday, going 11-for-18 from the field (4-for-7 on 3-pointers). On a night Young struggled to find his shot, Huerter was needed and the Hawks kept looking for their other rookie. ”My teammates started finding me,” Huerter said. ”They started running plays for me almost every possession down the court.” Huerter followed that up with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists in Wednesday’s win against Memphis.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers
Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 12 ppg in three games and was his consistent self from the field, shooting 52 percent overall (and 3-for-4 on 3-pointers). He helped L.A. get wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics before seeing their five-game win streak end Tuesday against Portland. The Clippers are winning while starting two rookies, so if watching rookies is your thing, they might be worth adopting down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans
Jackson has been mentioned in this space a few times this season, but he’s really blossomed over the last few weeks. He’s scored in double digits in six of his last eight games and averaged 19 ppg and 46.4 percent shooting in his last three games while filling in for Jrue Holiday. “I think with him, it’s all about confidence,” coach Alvin Gentry said of Jackson’s improvement. “I think the more he plays, the more confidence he gets. The big thing for me is that he’s not duplicating mistakes. You tell him something and then he takes that out of his game and tries to take a step forward. That’s the big thing.”

* * *

(All stats through Wednesday, March 13)

Send any questions or comments to my email or find me on Twitter @drewpackham.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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Report: Trail Blazers, Terry Stotts agree to contract extension



Just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, the Trail Blazers and coach Terry Stotts have agreed to a multiyear contract extension, according to ESPN sources.

The Portland Trail Blazers and head coach Terry Stotts have agreed to a multiyear contract extension.

The Blazers announced the extension Tuesday but did not disclose terms.

Stotts has led Portland to six straight playoff appearances in his seven seasons at the helm, holding a 325-249 record.

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Griffin says Pelicans are ‘very optimistic’ about Anthony Davis situation



David Griffin has been clear since his first day with the New Orleans Pelicans that he believes the team can convince Anthony Davis to stay on board this summer.

Griffin reiterated this belief on Tuesday during a conference call to introduce newly hired GM Trajan Langdon. Griffin said the team plans to sit down with Davis and his agent Rich Paul in Los Angeles at some point soon. 

“I think that’s the next step — really to look each other in the eye and talk about what’s important to us,” Griffin said on Tuesday. “And we’re very optimistic from previous conversations with Rich Paul, his agent, and with all of the people here that know Anthony and know what he’s about. We’re very confident that we have a compelling situation for him here.

“And if winning is what he is indeed all about, which we have every reason to believe, we feel confident that we can create — and are creating — the right environment for Anthony and frankly for high-caliber players of all types to want to be a part of. This is something that we hope creates an energy that recruits itself, and Anthony would just be one step in that process.”

While Griffin and the Pelicans may be confident, there has been no public indication from Davis that he wants to remain with the team. The six-time All-Star told the Pelicans in January that he desired a trade and did not plan to re-sign with the team next offseason when his contract expires. 


David Griffin talked with NBA TV after the Pelicans won the No. 1 pick.

Griffin also spent time on Tuesday talking about the team’s plan for the 2019 NBA Draft. The Pelicans beat the odds during the draft lottery to receive the No. 1 pick in this year’s Draft, which is headlined by top prospects Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. After New Orleans won the lottery, reports circulated that Williamson would need to be convinced to join the Pelicans. Griffin was quick to dispel those reports on Tuesday.

“I’m certain that’s a false narrative relative to the players that could potentially be the No. 1 pick,” Griffin said. “We’ve sat with multiple players that we’re looking at for that first pick. In fact, in the case of Zion Williamson, Alvin Gentry and I sat with he and his parents the night of the lottery. […] And Alvin and I were also together in interviewing Ja Morant in Chicago as well. And I think because we sat with those kids, who are both incredible human beings and all about all the right things, we know unequivocally that either one of them would be thrilled to join us in New Orleans. And they’re both very much excited about the concept.”

Griffin also discussed his early impressions of Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, who took control of the team after the passing of her husband, Tom, last year. Griffin credits Benson for empowering the team to pursue top-level talent — like Langdon and longtime Phoenix Suns trainer Aaron Nelson — to New Orleans

“It’s become something that it’s very clearly her baby, and the Pelicans matter immeasurably to her. And literally in all these hirings, she’s putting her money where her mouth is and she’s empowering us to go and attract the best and the brightest,” Griffin said. “And I think when you win the lottery in the midst of all those other things, it starts to really lend itself to changing a narrative.”

Griffin and Langdon previously worked together with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the championship 2015-16 season.

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Young, Doncic lead 2018-19 All-Rookie First Team



NEW YORK — Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young have been unanimously selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Dončić and Young both received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots to finish with 200 points each.  They are joined on the NBA All-Rookie First Team by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (195 points; 95 First Team votes), Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. (159 points; 60 First Team votes) and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (156 points; 56 First Team votes). 

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team is composed of the top five picks in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm®: Ayton (No. 1), Bagley (No. 2), Dončić (No. 3), Jackson (No. 4) and Young (No. 5).

This marks the first time since the 1984-85 season that the top five picks in the previous NBA Draft have all been selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team (there was no All-Rookie Second Team that season).  Thirty-four years ago, the NBA All-Rookie Team honorees were Hakeem Olajuwon (No. 1 pick in 1984), Sam Bowie (No. 2), Michael Jordan (No. 3), Sam Perkins (No. 4) and Charles Barkley (No. 5).

Dončić, Young and Ayton are the three finalists for the 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award.  The winnerwill be revealed at the2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.  The third annual NBA Awards, honoring this season’s top performers, will take place at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (138 points), Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (132), Clippers guard Landry Shamet (85), New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (77) and Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (45).

The NBA All-Rookie Teams were selected by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.  The media voted for five players for the NBA All-Rookie First Team and five players for the Second Team at any position.  Players received two points for each First Team vote and one point for each Second Team vote.

Complete voting results by media member will be posted at the night of the 2019 NBA Awards presented by KiaClick here for the list of 100 media voters for the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Teams.   

Below are the voting results for the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Teams.  The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

* * *


Player, Team | 1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points

Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks | 100 | –– | 200

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks | 100 | — | 200

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns | 95 | 5 | 195

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies | 60 | 39 | 159

Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings | 56 | 44 | 156



Player, Team |  1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers | 40 | 58 | 138

Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers | 39 | 54 | 132

Landry Shamet, LA Clippers | 3 | 79 | 85 

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks | 3 | 71 | 77

Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks | 1 | 43 | 45


Below are the other players who received votes for the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Teams.

Player, Team | 1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points

Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns | 1 | 29 | 31

Kevin Knox, New York Knicks | — | 22 | 22

Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves | 1 | 10 | 12

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks | — | 10 | 10

Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks | — | 10 | 1

Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets | — | 9 | 9

Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls | — | 7 | 7

Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets | 1 | 4 | 6

Bruce Brown, Detroit Pistons | — | 2 | 2

Harry Giles III, Sacramento Kings | — | 2 | 2

Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic | — | 1 | 1

Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers | — | 1 | 1

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