Category Archives: Fake NBA Jerseys

James Singleton Jersey Signed

NBA Rumors: Knicks Sign Solomon Jones, Not James Singleton; Waive Kurt Thomas

Solomon Jones is the newest Knick, acting as a frontcourt insurance policy.
Solomon Jones is the newest Knick, acting as a frontcourt insurance policy.Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports
In an effort to become more able-bodied for the postseason, the New York Knicks are being forced to cut ties with an old friend.

According to Howard Beck of the New York Times, the team is adding 28-year-old big man Solomon Jones and cutting injured veteran Kurt Thomas.

This contradicts reports from earlier in the week that had the Knicks agreeing to terms with forward James Singleton. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that deal fell through due to issues with his contract in China.

Jones stands at 6’10″ and is a six-year NBA vet, having played on four different clubs. He provides depth at the center position that New York so desperately needs as the playoffs draw closer, and with Tyson Chandler still struggling to find the hardwood with his neck issue.

The health of Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Kenyon Martin are all huge question marks as well—so much so, that the Knicks started rookie Chris Copeland at the center spot Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls.

Jones has never received impact NBA playing time—his career-high was 17.8 minutes in 11 games with the New Orleans Hornets last season—but is a healthy big man, which is something New York has none of. He’s averaged 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes for his career, so his shot-swatting ability should help the small-ball Knicks size up with bigger teams like the Indiana Pacers.

Jones’ career rebounding marks aren’t overly impressive, but solid nonetheless. He isn’t a lock-down defender in the paint, either, but the presence of a 6’10″ body alone is an improvement from the Knicks’ current situation.

Offensively, Jones has shown an ability to occasionally assert himself in the paint, and can throw down a flashy jam every so often. He’ll shoot the occasional perimeter jumper, but it doesn’t fall at a very high percentage. In 2010-11 with the Pacers, Jones’ jump shot was wet 29.4 percent of the time, or 20-of-68.

Cutting Thomas loose was a painful move for New York, but one that was a no-brainer. His last game as a Knick—likely the last of his career—was a warrior-like display. Thomas logged a season-high 27 minutes and led the way with firm defense on younger Utah Jazz bigs, namely Al Jefferson.

It was the first triumph of the Knicks’ recent 13-game winning streak.

Over two stints in New York, Thomas played eight seasons in a Knicks uniform.

Once it was announced that rehabbing the stress fracture in his foot was no longer possible and surgery was needed, waiving the 40-year-old Thomas was the only logical move to make.

Via Alan Hahn of MSG Network, here was what Glen Grunwald had to say about Kurt’s departure:

Once it became clear that he would not be able to return this season, and due to a rash of injuries to our big men, we felt that it was important for us to free up a spot on our roster. We thank Kurt for all that he has done. I have the utmost respect for Kurt as a player and as a man.

Kurt’s contributions to the Knicks have been immeasurable. From the first day of training camp to the last game against the Utah Jazz, Kurt has been a key contributor to our team. The team’s success this season has been driven by veteran leadership on and off the court — it is something that cannot be quantified or read in a box score.

Knicks’ Health Situation

In a utopian Knicks world, Jones will simply be an insurance policy for the veteran big men. Unfortunately for Mike Woodson, the myriad of uncertainties in the frountcourt may lead you to believe that Jones could receive more minutes than the coach desires heading into the postseason.

Amar’e Stoudemire is still rehabbing his knee after the debridement procedure he underwent weeks ago. The original six-week prognosis would have him slated to return at the start of the postseason, but STAT took eight weeks to return from the same procedure on his other knee last fall.

Tyson Chandler is dealing with a bulging disk, and likely won’t be back to 100 percent health this season. He’s missed 12 of the Knicks’ last 16 games, and is listed as day-to-day.

Kenyon Martin was battling knee issues, but was forced into action when Tyson Chandler’s back flared up again on April 9 against the Washington Wizards. In that game, Martin rolled his ankle and suffered a sprain. He, too, is listed as day-to-day.

Marcus Camby has played in just 24 games this season courtesy of plantar fascia problems in his left foot. He’s been in and out of Mike Woodson’s lineup this season, but hasn’t played in April with the injury.

Wally Anderzunas Jersey Signed

OMAHA, Neb. — When the 2019-20 NBA season starts tonight, Creighton University will have five alumni in the NBA at the same time for the second straight year when Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver, Doug McDermott, Justin Patton and Khyri Thomas continue the school tradition of Bluejays playing at pro basketball’s highest level.

Korver signed with the Milwaukee Bucks in the off-season, while McDermott embarks on his second season with the Indiana Pacers. Tolliver returned to the Portland Trailblazers as a free-agent in the offseason after spending last year with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Justin Patton spent time with the Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers organizations a year ago and is now part of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Returning for his second year as part of the Detroit Pistons organization is Khyri Thomas.

Korver played at Creighton from 1999-2003 and was succeeded by Tolliver, who played for the Bluejays from 2003-07. In 2012-13 they were teammates with the Hawks, where they became CU’s first alums who were NBA teammates since 1970, as well as becoming the first Bluejay alums to start an NBA game as teammates.

Korver begins his 17th year in the NBA and first campaign with the Bucks. Known as one of the elite long-distance shooters ever, Korver ranks fourth in NBA history with 2,351 career three-pointers and is ninth in league history with his 42.92 percent marksmanship from three-point range. Korver and Stephen Curry are the only players in league history in the top-17 of both categories.

Korver’s 53.6 percent marksmanship from three-point range in 2009-10 remains an NBA record for a season, smashing a mark held by noted sniper Steve Kerr. In 2013-14, Korver smashed the NBA record (since broken by Stephen Curry) with a 127 game streak with a 3-point basket to obliterate the Hawks franchise mark of 42 and the previous NBA mark of 89 formerly held by Dana Barros. He also led the NBA by shooting 47.2 percent from long-range in 2013-14. In 2014-15 Korver was an NBA All-Star for the first time, was named NBA Co-Player of the Month in January, led the league with 49.2 percent three-point marksmanship, and finished third in the NBA with 221 three-point baskets. Korver became the only player in NBA history to lead the league in three-point percentage four times when he shot 45.1 percent from downtown in 2016-17.

For his NBA career, Korver has scored 11,567 points (second-most among Creighton basketball alumni, trailing only Paul Silas) in 1,174 games (9.9 ppg.). He has also made 87.76 percent of his career free throws, which ranks 17th in NBA history among players with at least 1,200 makes from the charity stripe.

Korver, who was inducted into the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame in August of 2018, wears No. 26 with the Bucks.

Tolliver returns to Portland for the first time since 2009-10 after also spending time with the Cleveland, San Antonio, New Orleans, Golden State, Minnesota, Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, Sacramento and Detroit organizations in his career. Creighton fans who remember Tolliver as an inside force may be surprised to learn of his perimeter game. More than 64 percent of his career shots have come from behind the NBA three-point arc, and he has made 37.6 percent of those shots from downtown. In 2017-18 he made a career-best 43.6 percent of his long-range tries for the Pistons to rank seventh in the league while connecting on a personal-best 159 treys overall. Tolliver has also converted 77.2 percent of his shots at the line and owns 606 career assists (against just 425 turnovers), 202 blocks and 250 steals.

Tolliver went undrafted and spent time in the NBA D-League and Germany before becoming an NBA regular. He wears No. 43 with the Trail Blazers.

McDermott played at Creighton from 2010-14 and left as the most decorated men’s basketball player in school history. He ranks sixth in NCAA history with 3,150 career points and swept 14 National Player of the Year awards as a senior. McDermott was a three-time conference player of the year and became the first male in 30 years to be named a First Team All-American three straight seasons by the Associated Press.

McDermott was selected 11th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, then traded an hour later to the Chicago Bulls. McDermott averaged 7.3 points and 1.4 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game during 77 games with the Pacers last season. He ranks 30th in NBA history with 40.4 percent marksmanship from three-point territory, and in 2018-19 led the NBA with 49.1 percent shooting from three-point range in road games (minimum 35 attempts). The son of Creighton head men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott, Doug McDermott wears No. 20 for the Pacers.

Both Tolliver and McDermott joined Korver in the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame in August of 2019.

Patton signed as a free agent with Oklahoma City in August. He redshirted the 2015-16 season with Creighton before a breakthrough 2016-17 campaign that saw him earn BIG EAST Freshman of the Year accolades. Patton was the 16th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls in June, then traded that evening to the Minnesota Timberwolves with Jimmy Butler for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Patton played in one game for the Timberwolves in 2017-18 and three games a year ago with Philadelphia. Patton wears No. 13 for the Thunder.

Khyri Thomas bypassed his senior year at Creighton to turn pro in 2018 and last year averaged 2.3 points in 26 games with the Pistons. A two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, Thomas was a Second Round pick in the 2018 Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, then traded to the Detroit Pistons. Thomas wears No. 13 for the Pistons.

Including 2019-20, Creighton has now had an NBA player in 36 of the last 37 years, and 53-of-56 seasons since 1964-65.

Before 2017-18, Creighton last had four NBA players at the same time during the 1969-70 season, when Paul Silas, Neil Johnson, Bob Portman and Wally Anderzunas were active simultaneously. Last year was the first time the Bluejays had five products in the NBA at the same time.

The five NBA players listed above are among 21 former Creighton products that are playing professionally, including this list generated by EuroBasket.com.

Melvin Turpin Jersey Signed

There is a beginning and an end to everything. Eventually, everybody has to (will) die when their time comes. Having said that, it hurts and stings that much more when somebody calls time on their own lives. There might have been deeper reasons, that many might not even know off, as to why that person felt motivated to end his life.

And although years after, we still might not know the many (or one) reason why the person decided to do so, we could take a look back at those people. So here are five NBA players that committed suicide:

#5 Melvin TurpinMelvin Turpin (Image courtesy: behindblondiepark.com)
Melvin Turpin (Image courtesy: behindblondiepark.com)

After four noteworthy years at the University of Kentucky, Melvin Turpin was drafted sixth overall in the famous 1984 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Washington Bullets but it was immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After three seasons with them, he played a year with the Utah Jazz and then called the curtains on his career in 1990 after a season with the Bullets.

In 361 career games in the league, he averaged 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. However, his career was only limited to six seasons because of the weight issues he faced and battled.

In the 2000′s, Turnpin worked as a security guard for his livelihood. At the end of that decade, courtesy of what is said to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Turpin died on July 8th, 2010.

Dick Holub Jersey Signed

The original draft class for the New York Knicks goes back to 1947 when the franchise made 10 selections.
The New York Knicks have found their fair share of success in the NBA Draft. From franchise standouts to Pro Basketball Hall of Fame talents, they landed players who made grand impacts on the game of basketball.

This sport’s history dates back decades, however. Not as far as Major League Baseball, but enough to evaluate the 1940s, when the Knicks first participated in an NBA Draft.

1947 brought the Knicks 10 picks. Most of them did not suit up, and their players combined for fewer than 200 career games. Who were these prospects at the time?

Round 1, Pick 5: Dick Holub, C, Long Island University
Slash Line: .295/.633
Career Averages: 10.5 PPG, 0.8 APG, 2.4 FTM

Few stats were available at the time to evaluate NBA players. Points, assists and the standard field goal percentage were available, but not much else. The game was primitive.

With the fifth overall pick, the Knicks chose Dick Holub from Long Island University, now a Division II school in Long Island, NY. He was also a 6-foot-6 center. That and LIU never happen for a pro prospect in the modern-day NBA.

Holub lasted just the 1947-48 season, playing 48 games for New York’s basketball team. His stats were modest, and he never made another appearance.

No draft record: Andy Duncan, F/C, College of William & Mary
Slash Line: .408/.596
Career Averages: 5.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.7 APG, 1.2 FTM

Andy Duncan was a Knicks draft pick in 1947, but he never played for them. Instead, he played for the Rochester Royals and the Boston Celtics across three seasons, contributing in 136 career games from 1948-50.

Wat Misaka was the only other Knicks draft pick to play a game from the 1947 class, but it happened over only three appearances.

Lloyd Batts Jersey Signed

Through seven decades in six conferences, Cincinnati basketball has established itself as one of the reliable power programs in the country.

From Ed Jucker’s back-to-back national champs to Bob Huggins’ string of 14 consecutive NCAA berths, the Bearcats have been a team to be reckoned with on the national stage.

The players who have earned those victories have gone on to everything from the NBA Hall of Fame to the major league pitching mound.

Although contemporary fans are used to the Bearcats’ string of great power forwards—whether it’s Danny Fortson, Nuggets standout Kenyon Martin or current campus hero Yancy Gates—Cincinnati’s great players have come in all sizes and positions through the program’s illustrious history.

Read on for a look at the 50 best players ever to don a Bearcat uniform.

50. Brian Williams, 1974-77
1 OF 50
Although Brian Williams was a solid scorer—12 points a game in each of his three seasons in a Cincinnati uniform—it was his defense that really stood out. Williams set a school record (later tied) with 66 steals in a season in 1976-77 (the year the stat became official).

Williams (not to be confused with the Nuggets forward of that name who was later known as Bison Dele) went undrafted and never appeared in the NBA.

Image from gobearcats.com

49. Roland West, 1964-67
2 OF 50
A versatile 6’4” swingman, Roland West led Cincinnati in assists in his first season of varsity ball. The next year, he averaged 9.4 rebounds a game to lead the team in that category

West managed to get picked in the 20th round of the draft, back when there was such a thing, but played only four NBA games for the Baltimore Bullets (now the Wizards).

Image from gobearcats.com

48. Phil Wheeler, 1953-56
3 OF 50
Typical for his era, 6’4” Phil Wheeler was an outstanding post player who averaged 10.4 rebounds a game for his Bearcats career. His bigger legacy, though, was his scoring, as he became the first Cincinnati player to average 20 points a game for a season.

Although Wheeler was drafted by the Warriors in the fourth round, he never made an NBA roster.

Image from gobearcats.com

47. Lance Stephenson, 2009-10
4 OF 50
One of the few one-and-done players in Bearcat history, Lance Stephenson made an immediate impression with his athleticism. The 6’5” SG averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game in his lone season in Cincinnati.

As a rookie with the Pacers last season, Stephenson appeared in only 12 games, but he did average 1.8 assists in just 9.6 minutes a night.

46. Field Williams, 2000-04
5 OF 50
Field Williams wasn’t the most physical guard—at 6’7”, he averaged just 2.4 rebounds in his best season—but he certainly knew how to shoot. Williams holds the career record at Cincinnati with a .401 shooting percentage from three-point range.

Williams’ one-dimensional style evidently didn’t appeal to NBA scouts, as he went undrafted and never played in the league.

45. Tony Bobbitt, 2002-04
6 OF 50
A dangerous player on both ends of the floor, juco transfer Tony Bobbitt drained 127 three-pointers in just two seasons as a Bearcat. He also tied a school record with eight steals in a game against Coppin State as a senior.

Bobbitt went undrafted out of school, and the sum total of his NBA career consisted of two games as a Laker in 2004.

44. LaZelle Durden, 1992-95
7 OF 50
LaZelle Durden was a fairly one-dimensional player, but what a dimension it was. The designated sniper stands fourth in school history in three-pointers made (260) and third in shooting percentage from beyond the arc (.385).

As sweet as Durden’s shooting stroke was, the rest of his game couldn’t cut it with pro scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

Image from gobearcats.com

43. Donald Little, 1999-02
8 OF 50
Donald Little wasn’t the player to turn to for a clutch basket, considering that he averaged a paltry 5.0 points per game in four years at Cincinnati. On defense, though, the 6’10” Little was a rock, finishing fourth in program history with 153 career blocks.

Unfortunately for Little, the NBA wasn’t as tolerant of his lack of scoring ability, and he never played in the league.

42. Keith LeGree, 1994-96
9 OF 50
The rare player who transfers to one of his team’s fiercest rivals, Keith LeGree arrived in Cincinnati after two seasons at Louisville. He made a splash with his new team, racking up 189 assists in his senior year (the highest total for any Bearcat not named Oscar Robertson).

LeGree went into coaching after the NBA showed no interest in him. He served as a Cincinnati assistant under his former coach, Bob Huggins, for five seasons.

41. Darnell Burton, 1993-97
10 OF 50
Darnell Burton may not have been quite the defensive force that many Bearcat guards have been, but he could certainly score.

The 6’2” guard is 11th on the school’s all-time list with 1,584 points, and he ranks second in both three-pointers made (306) and three-point percentage (.394).

Despite his impressive career totals, Burton never averaged more than 14 points a game as a Bearcat. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he went undrafted and never appeared in the NBA.

40. Wayne Stevens, 1955-58
11 OF 50
Though he was just 6’3”, Wayne Stevens was an impressive rebounder as a power forward. He led the Bearcats with 13.9 boards a game in 1955-56, and his inside presence helped Cincinnati make its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1958.

Like many Bearcats, Stevens landed with the hometown Cincinnati Royals (now the Kings) as a pro. Unfortunately for him, he lasted just eight games in the NBA.

Image from gobearcats.com

39. Damon Flint, 1993-97
12 OF 50
Damon Flint arrived at Cincinnati with a tough act to follow, succeeding Nick Van Exel at the point for the Bearcats. He made the most of his opportunity, though, leading the team in blocks (once) and steals (twice) in his four seasons and dishing out 407 assists, fifth-most in program history.
Lloyd Batts Jersey Signed

Despite his versatility, Flint wasn’t considered an NBA-level athlete at the PG position. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

Chris Robinson Jersey Signed

The Dribble podcast: Boomers coaching switch too harsh on Andrej Lemanis, says Greg Hire
Staff writers
PerthNow
November 21, 2019 3:26PM
TOPICS
Perth Wildcats
Plenty of basketball fans were rejoicing this week at reports NBA mentor Brett Brown will return as Australia’s national team coach.

But was the move too harsh on incumbent Andrej Lemanis?

Former Perth Wildcats favourite Greg Hire thinks so, discussing the switch less than a year out from the Olympics on The Dribble podcast.

LISTEN TO THE DRIBBLE PODCAST IN THE PLAYER ABOVE

Hire queried where the move would fit in with the Boomers’ playing group’s brotherhood and values, citing the example of a current NBL player who had disrespected the national team culture and never been recalled to the squad again.

MORE BASKETBALL: Simmons hits first career three-pointer

IN THE BONUS: Sunday, bloody good Sunday

Hire and Chris Robinson also discuss where each NBL team fits in the league’s set of tiers, why the Wildcats aren’t keen on recruiting a Next Star, the mess in New Zealand, and plenty more.

Full episode rundown:

The time a chef yelled at Greg at a Stitch In Time gala dinner (1:14)
Jesse Wagstaff and Damian Martin aren’t done with yet (7:35)
Why aren’t teams playing to the end for percentage? (16:15)
Ranking the NBL’s tiers of teams (22:41)
What’s going on in New Zealand? (32:12)
Greg’s thoughts on the imminent Lemanis / Brown coach swap at the Boomers (39:06)
How can we use replay better in the NBL? (45:34)
Why the Wildcats are steering clear of Next Stars (48:53)

Eddie Owens Jersey Signed

He ran his hand over the top of the bar, as if to rekindle a memory or two or a hundred. Or perhaps it was to check for his DNA.

The bar tops and other furnishings at Hardway 8 at 46 S. Water St. in downtown Henderson are reclaimed wood made from bleachers at the old Las Vegas Convention Center — home of the “Hardway Eight,” UNLV’s first Final Four basketball team, as nicknamed by former UNLV sports information director Dominic Clark.

Robert Smith, that 1977 team’s point guard, was asked how much of his blood, sweat and tears might have been absorbed into that bar top, those old bleachers.

“Probably a lot,” said the still fit 64-year-old. “I hit those bleachers quite a few times although Glen (Gondrezick, the team’s star forward known as “Gondo” for his hell-bent style) probably hit them more than me.”

It has been more than 40 years since the first of Jerry Tarkanian’s four NCAA Final Four squads stormed into the national consciousness with frenetic pace and swagger and a one-point loss to North Carolina in the national semifinals at The Omni in Atlanta.

The proprietors of the recently opened sports bar still were decades from being born when the Hardway Eight made their run. But they’ve heard the stories, because people still remember the team that transformed Las Vegas into a sports town.

Chills redux

“Just looking at these pictures, this brings back a lot of old memories,” said Smith, the Rebels’ present day broadcast analyst, who averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 assists and was one of six players from that iconic team drafted by NBA clubs. “And then to see the 0ld Convention Center (bleachers) — when I used to pass by that area, I would get chills.

“This is great to have something like this. What a great idea.”

The bar and grill, which has an industrial, open-air feel with exposed beams and a concrete floor and enough room to run a fast break, not only is an homage to the Hardway Eight but recognizes a lot of Las Vegas’ sports history from that era.

There are posters and framed photographs from the George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle slugfest at the old Caesars Palace sports pavilion, the Caesars Palace Grand Prix and Andre Agassi, when he had a mullet and a bare chest. There’s even a section dedicated to jai alai at the old MGM Grand.

The bar owners are millennials named Lyle Cervenka and Bryant Jane, whose first nod to Las Vegas’ history was rekindling the retro vibe at Starboard Tack off east Sahara. Cervenka is from Philadephia, Jane a native Las Vegan. Both are basketball fans.

They said opening a sports-themed bar was on their short list when they stumbled upon those old bleachers from the Convention Center rotunda where so many cheered Eddie Owens, Reggie Theus, Gondrezick, Lewis Brown, Larry Moffett and the three Smiths — Robert, Sam and Tony, not related.

Bleacher feature

“Honestly, the wood came before everything,” Cervenka said.

He and Jane were strolling around the lumber yard at an architectural design shop called Woodstock when a tarp was pulled back to reveal the old Convention Center bleachers.

“Bryant and I always wanted to open a sports bar,” Cervenka said. “But when we found those bleachers it all kind of came together. This is where this team played, made its name, great story, first Final Four team. That day we gave them a check — you’re not selling these bleachers to anybody else.”

About two years later, Hardway 8 — trendy abbreviation: HW8, as it appears on the marquee — tipped off on Water Street.

“It’s a sports bar, but not an in-your-face sports bar,” Cervanka said, meaning it has 22 beers on tap, including Rolling Rock for the college kids, but also offers more exotic fare, such as the Hardway 8 burger (bacon, sunnyside egg, caramelized red onions, aged cheddar, brandy-mayo ketchup, sesame seed bun) and the Easy Owens (Ketel One Peach Blossom, peach liqueur, lemon, Honey Bubbles sparkling).

“I think you’ll find a Smith-Smith-Smith cocktail coming fairly soon,” Jane said of a concoction that will honor Robert, “Sudden Sam” and Tony.

Perhaps they should call it the Triple Smith, and make it with triple sec.

Like a Hardway Eight fast break, it’s almost guaranteed to make your head spin.

Contact Ron Kantowski at [email protected] or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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Thomas Bryant Jersey Signed

WASHINGTON — Last season, the trade of Marcin Gortat and Dwight Howard’s injury left a consequential void in the Wizards’ offense that no one else on their roster was able to fill.

After Gortat had for years used his wide frame to set some of the most effective screens in the NBA, Wizards guards and wings had to work harder to get their shots. Washington ranked 24th out of 30 NBA teams in screen assists and 25th in points off screens.

COVERAGE FOR THE WIZARDS’ MATCHUP AGAINST THE SPURS BEGINS AT 6 PM ON NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON

With Gortat and Howard out of the picture, Thomas Bryant assumed the starting job at center and became a mainstay in the rotation, but screen-setting was not his strength. He ranked 41st in the NBA in screen assists, tying Ian Mahinmi with only 2.6 per game.

Then at 21 years old, Bryant was learning on the fly what screen setting in the NBA – against the biggest, quickest and strongest basketball players in the world – was truly like. And when his first season in Washington was over, he recognized that part of his game needed some work.

So, he put emphasis on getting stronger and studying the tricks of the trade. So far this year, it has been a much different story. He is currently third in the NBA in screen assists per game, averaging over twice as many as he did last year. His 5.8 screen-assist average is right about where Rudy Gobert was (5.9) when he led the league last season.

On Sunday against the Magic, Bryant recorded 12 screen assists that led to 28 points for the Wizards offense.

“It feels pretty good to have that because we need it,” Bryant told NBC Sports Washington when informed of those numbers.

“I think that’s very good going forward with this team because I know we have so many guys capable of getting shots and getting to the rim. Me freeing them up is going to open things up for me if it doesn’t open things up for the person I’m setting the screen for or for the weak-side getting open shots.”

Bryant gives the Wizards something Gortat never did when it comes to setting screens in that he can not only roll to the basket, he also can pop out to shoot threes. And when he does roll to the rim, Bryant has the size, quickness and touch to cash in for points at a high level. He was fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage last season (61.6) and set a franchise record.

This year, Bryant is shooting 69.5 percent on shots within five feet of the rim. He is 13-for-16 on layups or dunks cutting to the basket.

Setting screens can help Bryant get points, but ultimately it’s about assisting his teammates first and doing the dirty work necessary to help an offense work efficiently. The Wizards are third in offensive rating (112.4) and Bryant’s contributions have been a big reason for that.

“Screen-setting has been a huge part of our offense. We set them all over the floor,” head coach Scott Brooks said.

“We don’t want to stay in one place or one angle, we want to help them find better reads. There’s a way to get guys open, there’s a trick. Depending on who has the ball or who has the guy coming off the screen, you can manipulate the defense to get us the shot we want.”

Setting picks is not the stuff that makes highlight reels or wins players MVP trophies. It isn’t glamorous work, both because it often goes unnoticed and because it isn’t pleasant to do. Bryant has to commit to building a wall that very large opponents will unknowingly run into.

That means elbows, shoulders and chests colliding in all sorts of combinations.

“When you’re setting a screen, you have to go in knowing that you’re going to get hit and that it’s going to hurt sometimes,” Bryant said.

“If you’re trying to get [your teammate] open and get your play off, you’ve gotta expect that you will get hit. When you have that expectation of you getting hit, that makes setting the screen easier because you know that you’ll have that impact and you know you’ll have to set the screen hard or hold it for a second.”

Bryant is picking up all the little things that go into screen setting; how to brace for impact, the timing of holding a screen and when to break away, what he can get away with from referees and how to roll out of them to create his own offense. He says the only way to learn all of those elements is through experience in NBA games.

If his current pace continues, Bryant could establish himself as one of the league’s best screen-setters, much like Gortat was for years before him. There is a long legacy of setting picks in Washington going back to Wes Unseld, who was perhaps most famous for the craft.

Unseld was the size of a refrigerator and, as the story goes, once knocked an opponent out cold with a screen. Bryant has heard of Unseld and his screen-setting prowess but doesn’t want to take it that far.

“I try not to do that. I set good screens, but I don’t ever want to hurt anybody,” he said.

T.J. Leaf Jersey Signed

The Utah Jazz (11-6) take on the Indiana Pacers (10-6) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Allen Iverson Tragedy: From Making $200,000,000 To Not Affording A Burger
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Game Time: 7:00PM EST/4:00PM PST on Wednesday, November 27th

TV: FS-IN

Betting Odds: NBA Odds

Live Stream: Watch the game online with fuboTV (free trial). Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. Local viewers watch the live stream on Fox Sports Go. Non-local viewers watch the live stream on NBA League Pass. You can also follow the game live on the ClutchPoints app.

Jazz Active Roster: Dante Exum, Nigel Williams-Goss, Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr., Joe Ingles, Tony Bradley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic, Emmanuel Mudiay, Ed Davis, Juwan Morgan, Donovan Mitchell, Jeff Green, Georges Niang

Jazz Injured Players:

Nigel Williams-Goss (Day To Day – Toe): The Jazz have listed Williams-Goss as PROBABLE for Wednesday’s game (Nov. 27) against the Pacers.
Rudy Gobert (Day To Day – Ankle): The Jazz have listed Gobert as QUESTIONABLE for Wednesday’s game (Nov. 27) against the Pacers.
Ed Davis (Out – Leg): Davis took part in light drills during Monday’s (Nov 25) practice according to Tony Jones of The Athletic.
Pacers Active Roster: Justin Holiday, Goga Bitadze, Domantas Sabonis, Alize Johnson, T.J. Warren Jr., Myles Turner, Doug McDermott, JaKarr Sampson, Aaron Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, T.J. Leaf, Edmond Sumner, Victor Oladipo, T.J. McConnell Jr., Malcolm Brogdon

Pacers Injured Players:

JaKarr Sampson (Day To Day – Back): The Pacers have listed Sampson as DOUBTFUL for Wednesday’s game (Nov. 27) against the Jazz.
Edmond Sumner (Out – Hand): Sumner is nearing a return from his right hand fracture according to Scott Agness of The Athletic.
Victor Oladipo (Out – Quad): Oladipo is making progress and is starting to train with the team’s G-League affiliate, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. There is no timetable for his return.

Perry Warbington Jersey Signed

Lawrenceville, together with contractor Georgia Development Partners, have begun construction of the 2.2-mile linear park that will connect Georgia Gwinnett College with the city’s downtown district. Road and lane closures are expected for the next several months along Clayton Street, Perry Street and Depot Street in the Downtown and historic Train Depot areas.

“Though traffic will be delayed for a time, with the addition of this roadway, widened lanes in some areas and improved walking amenities, the end result will be a more efficient means of getting from downtown to Hwy 316, the college and other points north and west of the city, said Chuck Warbington, Lawrenceville city manager.

Plans for the 2.2-mile linear park include a two-lane road, multi-use trails, bike paths, roundabouts and landscaping features. The corridor will begin at the intersection of State Route 316 and Collins Hill Road and run parallel to Northdale Road, in between Northdale and North Clayton Streets. Phase One construction is expected to be complete in late fall of 2018.