76ers

NBA Notes: Hawks' DeAndre' Bembry out 4-6 weeks with tricep injury

usa-deandre-bembry-hawks.jpg
USA Today Images

NBA Notes: Hawks' DeAndre' Bembry out 4-6 weeks with tricep injury

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre' Bembry will miss at least a month with a strained right triceps and possibly the start of the regular season.

The Hawks announced Wednesday that Bembry underwent an MRI last week. There was no indication how the injury happened, but he has been working out at team facilities through much of the offseason.

Bembry will be held out of all basketball activities for four-to-six weeks. He will definitely miss training camp this month and likely all five preseason games.

If forced to sit for the full six weeks, Bembry would miss several regular-season games. The Hawks open Oct. 18 against the Dallas Mavericks.

A first-round pick in 2016, the 6-foot-6 Bembry played sparingly for Atlanta in his rookie season, averaging 2.7 points and 9.8 minutes in 38 games.

His playing time figures to increase this season with the Hawks beginning a long-range rebuilding plan.

Heat: Josh Richardson gets $42M deal
MIAMI -- A person with knowledge of the deal says Miami wing Josh Richardson has agreed to a four-year extension potentially worth $42 million to remain with the Heat.

The terms were finalized Wednesday, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced publicly.

The fourth year of the deal will be at Richardson's option.

Richardson is entering his third season with the Heat. He averaged 10.2 points last season, appearing in 53 games and making 34 starts. He shot 46 percent from 3-point range as a rookie, then 33 percent from beyond the arc last year.

The Heat begin training camp Sept. 26.

ESPN first reported Richardson's agreement with Miami.

Jazz: Nate Wolters signs two-way contract
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz have signed Nate Wolters to a two-way contract.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard played for Crvena Zvezda in Serbia last season, where he averaged 8.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Wolters was selected No. 38 in the 2013 NBA draft out of South Dakota State by the Washington Wizards. He averaged 7.2 points and 3.2 assists in 58 games with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2013-14 season. Wolters played 42 games in 2014-15 between the Bucks, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.

New NBA rules allow teams to carry two players with two-way contracts in addition to the 15-man roster. The contract enables players to more easily go back and forth between the NBA and G League.

Report: Sixers still eyeing trade up, but reluctant to include Robert Covington or Dario Saric

uspresswire-sixers-covington-saric.jpg
USA Today Images

Report: Sixers still eyeing trade up, but reluctant to include Robert Covington or Dario Saric

We’re counting down the hours now until the 2018 NBA draft, which means all of the chatter surrounding teams is heading into overdrive.

That includes the Sixers, who are reportedly still attempting to move up the draft board.

Per a report Tuesday by Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer, the Sixers are continuing to make calls about moving into the top five. However, “they have offered packages of picks, but have thus far rebuked including oft-mentioned Robert Covington and Dario Saric,” according to the report.

There has still been no mention of exactly which prospect the Sixers are interested in trading up for since former Cavaliers GM David Griffin made the claim during a radio interview last week (see story).

With six total selections in Thursday’s draft, including Nos. 10 and 26 in the first round, it makes sense that the Sixers would offer draft picks first in any potential trade.

However you feel about the streaky Covington, the team was high enough on the All-NBA defender last season to lock him into a long-term deal while Saric has proven to be a rock-solid contributor that keeps improving every day.

We’ll see if the Sixers ease off those demands as we get even closer to the draft.

NBA draft profile: Miami G Bruce Brown Jr.

usa_bruce_brown_jr_miami.png
USA Today Images

NBA draft profile: Miami G Bruce Brown Jr.

Bruce Brown Jr.

Position: Guard

Height: 6-5

Weight: 195

School: Miami

After his freshman year, Bruce Brown Jr. would have been a no-brainer first-round pick and most likely a lottery selection. Now, it would be a big surprise to see him go in the lottery, and even the first round is far from a sure thing.

There are two main reasons for Brown’s stock falling, the first of which is the regression in his play as a sophomore, especially his shooting. Brown’s three-point percentage dropped from 34.7 percent to 26.7 percent and his free-throw shooting went from 74.4 percent to 62.9 percent. The second reason is the left foot injury Brown suffered in late January, which caused him to miss the second half of the season.

There don’t appear to be any serious concerns about the injury for Brown, who worked out with the Sixers Wednesday. But questions about his shot and why he couldn’t build upon an impressive freshman year are certainly lingering.

Strengths
Brown is an outstanding athlete and competitor. He bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times at the combine, the most by any guard, and that's not at all surprising given the strength with which way he plays. He’s an intense, physical defender with a knack for turning defense into offense. For a guard, he’s an exceptional rebounder, posting 7.1 boards per contest in 2017-18. Offensively, Brown is a solid passer who’s comfortable in pick-and-rolls, which he ran a lot at Miami. He looks capable of being a secondary NBA ball-handler.

Weaknesses
His sophomore shooting dip is obviously a major worry. That 62.9 percent free throw percentage and the fact Brown made only 7 of 46 attempts from NBA three-point range last season are ominous signs. Like his teammate Lonnie Walker IV, Brown was inconsistent on offense. In 19 games last season, he shot 50 percent or better from the floor nine times and 25 percent or worse seven times. Brown has a variety of dribble moves, but his handle isn’t the most tight or fluid. His pull-up game, in terms of shot selection, rhythm and balance, has a lot of room for improvement.  Given how talented an athlete he is, Brown isn’t a great finisher (he shot 58.5 percent at the rim last season) and he doesn’t seem to like using his left hand.

NBA comparison
Brown has said he models his game after Russell Westbrook. He definitely has a little bit of Westbrook in him, especially with his intensity and explosiveness. He also seems to have some Westbrook-like confidence – he thinks he’s the best guard in the draft. And like Westbrook, Brown left college after his sophomore season without a great offensive résumé.

All that said, it’s not fair (or at all realistic) to compare Brown to a player who has averaged a triple-double in back-to-back seasons. Lance Stephenson is a much better comparison. Like Brown, Stephenson is a strong defender, excellent guard rebounder and subpar shooter. It’s important to note, however, that Brown won’t come with any of Stephenson’s notorious, ear-blowing antics.

How he’d fit with Sixers
On the defensive end, Brown will help any NBA team immediately. With his ability to guard one through three at a high level, he’ll have a role off the bench. There’s no doubt Brown’s defense and rebounding would make the Sixers better in two areas where they’re already strong. His athleticism would also be a boost for a second unit lacking in that department last season. 

Draft projection
Because of his injury history and disappointing sophomore campaign, Brown has a slightly wider range than most prospects. He’s expected to be taken in the late first or early second round. He could be an option at No. 26 for the Sixers, or he could be a potential steal at No. 38 or No. 39.  

More on the Sixers