Andrew Wiggins

Wendell Carter Jr. joins some insane teenage company after 28-point, 3-block outing


Wendell Carter Jr. joins some insane teenage company after 28-point, 3-block outing

The best way to break out of a slump? Put up numbers that only five teenagers in NBA history have ever reached.

Wendell Carter Jr. posted the best performance of his young NBA career on Friday against the Pistons, scoring 28 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. The seventh overall pick was a monster on both ends of the floor, especially in the third quarter when he posted 17 of the Bulls' 25 points and blocked two shots, For the moment it kept the Bulls in a game they'd eventually lose by 19 points, their fifth straight.

The damage Carter inflicted on the Pistons put him in some seriously elite company. At just 19 years old (he won't turn 20 until after the regular season), Carter joined LeBron James, Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins as the only teenagers in NBA history with 28+ points and 3+ blocks in a single game.

Towns and Wiggins both accomplished the feat in 2015, Durant did it twice in 2007 as a rookie, James reached those numbers early in his second season in 2004 and Garnett was finishing up his rookie season in 1995 when he posted his mammoth line.

Now Carter's on that list. And for what it's worth, Carter accomplished the feat in 32 minutes, fewer than any of the other teens.

He displayed his full offensive repertoire, with the Pistons having no answer for him and Zach LaVine's pick and roll action. Carter also scored a pair of buckets in post-up spots, an area he's struggled in during his rookie season.

Carter was far more aggressive than he had been during his recent mini-slump. Perhaps it was Zach LaVine's off-night (8 points on 3 of 12 shooting) or the Bulls being unable to get anything going from beyond the arc (3 of 21), but Carter attacked the basket, took open shots when he had them and didn't back down from the All-Star Drummond.

The performance came after he had averaged just 9.0 points on 40 percent shooting over the previous six games and went to the free throw line 17 total times. It wasn't necessarily a cause for concern, but it was nice to see him bounce back in a road setting against one of the tougher frontcourts in the NBA.

He stayed out of foul trouble and actually drew two fouls on Drummond in the first quarter, getting to the free throw line four times to begin his historic night.

Defensively, the three blocks were the most he had recorded since Nov. 10 against the Cavaliers. Though the Bulls were unable to slow down the Pistons from beyond the arc - they made 13 of 34 attempts, including a career-high six from Reggie Jackson - they didn't have as much success inside with Carter in the game.

He was poised, picked and chose his spots to avoid foul trouble and helped the Bulls get out and run when they did make stops.

Chalk it up as another performance for one of the most promising players in a star-studded 2018 NBA Draft class.

Carter's just beginning his run as the foundation piece of the Bulls' defense, and his efficiency on offense will only improve once Lauri Markkanen returns to space the floor.

Until that happens, we'll just have to marvel at the company he joined on Monday.

How did Twitter react to reported trade of Jimmy Butler to 76ers?


How did Twitter react to reported trade of Jimmy Butler to 76ers?

Jimmy Butler's wish for the Timberwolves to trade him was finally granted on Sunday, with Minnesota agreeing to send the All-Star guard to the 76ers.

The deal concludes what has been a turbulent chapter in the Timberwolves' season. Between the trade request itself, head coach Tom Thibodeau's reluctancy to trade Butler and Butler going nuclear at Timberwolves practice, Minnesota's 2018-19 season has gotten off to a...unique...start.

Naturally, Twitter had a field-day when reports on the trade happening came out. First, the reports themselves from The Athletic and ESPN:

But then, the fun started. 

For reference regarding the next two tweets, Butler reportedly targeted Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins during his profanity-filled practice tirade in early October.

And then there are the tweets that come at the expense of the 76ers.

Butler and Timberwolves third-stringers reportedly beat the team's starters in the same practice as his tirade.

Simmons, the 76ers' 6-foot-10 point guard, has not attempted a three-point shot this season. Fultz (30.8 percent) has not shot the three at a successful rate and missed much of last season with "the yips."

It looks like Butler has some competition for the face of Philadelphia professional sports, too.

In the end, though, the Warriors are still 10-2 and hold one of the best rosters in the NBA, even with the Butler trade.

Twitter never seems to disappoint, huh?

Zach LaVine doesn't give a damn about ESPN's new list


Zach LaVine doesn't give a damn about ESPN's new list

Zach LaVine was noticeably absent from ESPN's list of best 25 players under the age of 25, which came as a bit of a surprise to him.

"Did it have something to do with my injury?" he queried, referencing to the ACL injury he suffered last February as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The list was published last week and based on future potential, not necessarily on accomplishments to date.

Lauri Markkanen made the list at No. 19, but the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler trade didn't make any of the three panelists' Top 25.

Usually cool, LaVine flashed a little bit of incredulousness once he had a chance to gather his thoughts.

"You guys (media) don't think I'm better...Top 25 players under 25? If I'm not in the Top 25 of that, then I obviously haven't done what I'm supposed to be doing out here," LaVine told "I don't worry about that. I know I'm a lot better than what they think. Random people talking."

MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis headlined the list, followed by Joel Embiid, one-time LaVine teammate Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic rounding out the Top 5.

"I don't give a damn, man," LaVine said. "I motivate myself. I go out there and play for my team and family. I couldn't care what they think. There's a lot of people that know what I do."

Former teammate Andrew Wiggins also made the list, tied at No. 23. As a third option last season before his injury, LaVine averaged 18.9 points on 46 percent shooting and 39 from the 3-point line. This season, LaVine is averaging 17 points and nearly four rebounds with three assists in 27.5 minutes for the Bulls, having played in 22 games since making his debut in January. 

His shooting this season is down — at 39.5 percent — as he works himself into a new system on a changing team in addition to feeling out his body.

"Zach, right now, he's still working himself back into shape," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Having a year off, I don't think people understand how hard it is to get back into top form when you're almost off for a calendar year. He's shown some really good flashes and played really good basketball."

He's had some signature games, such as outdueling Butler last month in a 35-point showing that capped off a career-best streak of four straight 20-point games. There's been games where he looked dead-legged, an expected side effect from his recovery.

He called the 1-for-11 showing against the Boston Celtics last week "the worst game of my career."

"The Minnesota game was cool. I was just hyped for that game," LaVine said. "I felt good in the Portland game, I felt good in the Sacramento game. There's games I came out and felt really good. And then games I haven't, where it was like 'this is bad.'"

At his position, Washington's Bradley Beal (No. 8), Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Phoenix's Devin Booker (tied at No. 9), Denver's Gary Harris (No. 11) and Boston's Jaylen Brown (No. 22) checked in ahead of LaVine. 

Beal is blossoming, leading the Wizards in the absence of John Wall. Mitchell is a sensational Rookie of the Year candidate, helping Utah surge toward a playoff spot in the West. Booker had a 70-point game last season, but Phoenix is the league's second-worst team. Harris doesn't wow anyone statistically but is a darling of the advanced stats crowd and solid across the board. Brown has helped the Celtics thrive in the absence of Gordon Hayward.

LaVine is getting his first real chance at being a starter, and has had to do it under the circumstances of an injury recovery for a team that is looking toward the long play as opposed to contending in the moment.

"I'm just trying to get in a rhythm and get better," LaVine said. "Each game I try to go out and do better than I did the day before."

Considering he's up for restricted free agency this summer, he's had to resist the urge of going stat-hunting to stay inside the construct of Hoiberg's system, while at the same time trying to find his new footing.

"You have to be (aggressive). Sometimes, it gotta come within the flow of the game," LaVine said. "We have so many different lineups out here, it might not be your night, too. It's gonna be a process going forward with it."

Already supremely motivated, LaVine probably found something else to guide him for the rest of the season and beyond.