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Pelicans’ Trey Murphy (knee) could make season debut next week

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy could make his 2023-24 season debut next week, according to sources. Murphy, 23, underwent surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee in September.

After surgery, it was reported that Murphy would return to basketball activities in approximately 10-12 weeks.

Over 11 weeks later, the 6-foot-8 wing is close to returning to game action. Although Murphy is unlikely to return this week, there is optimism he could play next week.

Referring to a couple of NBA betting sites, the New Orleans Pelicans hold 14th-ranked odds to win this season’s championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

After hosting the Philadelphia 76ers (12-5) on Wednesday and San Antonio Spurs (3-14) on Friday, the Pelicans are at Chicago (5-13) this Saturday and play at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-14) next Monday.

Murphy was selected 17th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2021 NBA Draft out of the University of Virginia. Memphis then traded him to New Orleans. The North Carolina native made one start in 62 games played of his rookie 2021-22 season.

He averaged 5.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 13.9 minutes per game with New Orleans, while shooting 39.4% from the field, 38.2% beyond the arc, and 88.2% at the foul line.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy (knee) could return, make 2023-24 season debut next week

In the 2022-23 season, Murphy made 65 starts in 75 appearances with the Pelicans. The Virginia product averaged career highs of 14.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 31 minutes per game. Plus, he shot career bests of 48.4% from the floor, 40.6% from downtown, and 90.5% at the free throw line.

Furthermore, Murphy ranked fifth in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers in the league last season, per Second Spectrum data. He’s the only Pelicans player in franchise history to record nine 3-pointers in a game more than once.

In New Orleans’ 127-110 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on March 12, 2023, the forward recorded a career-high 41 points, seven boards, one assist, one steal, and one block in 30 minutes as a starter.

He finished 13-of-20 (65%) shooting from the field and 9-of-14 (64.3%) from 3-point range.

Additionally, Trey Murphy increased his scoring average by 9.1 points from his rookie to sophomore season  the second-largest increase in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Only Utah Jazz wing Lauri Markkanen, the 2023 NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award recipient, made greater progress.





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Jamal Crawford offers advice for Klay Thompson in his new bench role

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Right before the All-Star Break, Klay Thompson came off the bench in the Warriors’ 140-137 victory over the Jazz. This was the first time the veteran wasn’t in the starting lineup since his rookie season, and surprisingly produced a game-high 35 point-performance, his best of the season. 

In a recent episode of Draymond Green‘s podcast, Jamal Crawford dedicated some advice for the shooting guard. The former basketball player is a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, so you could say he knows a thing or two about coming off the bench and impacting the game.

The 43-year-old talked about the adjustments that Klay will have to make to be truly effective when entering the court. “I actually reached out to Klay before he came off the bench because we talked about it on TV,” Crawford shared. “Everybody is trying to bury Klay. I’m like, he’s still averaging 17 points. I said, ‘The fight is with himself because he’s been so legendary for so long.

“Klay’s battle is that, and obviously the injuries and everything. With him, I’d tell him to embrace it. I can give him a whole other wind. We don’t see legendary players like that who have had four-time champions and averaging 17 points be like, ‘I’m gonna come off the bench.’”

According to the former Clippers star, there are many benefits from playing a reduced role, as the offense will run through him when he gets on the court, and he will be able to play with less pressure around him.

“You’re the focal point of the offense when you do that,” Jamal explained. “It gets you in a rhythm. Forget off the bench or starting. You’re gonna have better numbers doing this than you’re doing it right now. You may have more fun. Enjoy this s–t. … Enjoy it because it goes so fast, and you’ve earned that.”

Once the game against Utah came to an end, coach Steve Kerr gave praise to Thompson by saying he handled the situation like a true professional and took the best out of the situation.

The Warriors coach will continue to play Thompson off the bench even though it isn’t a permanent solution

Now that the All-Star Weekend is out of the way and teams are preparing to return to action this Thursday, coach Kerr was asked if Klay will remain in his new bench role. The Golden State tactician revealed that the move isn’t permanent, but he wants to continue to try it out for as long as it works.

“Kerr said he plans to keep Podziemski in the starting lineup and Thompson off the bench after the All-Star break, saying the move isn’t “permanent,” but he wants to give it a healthy look,” wrote insider Anthony Slater.

Co-star Stephen Curry, who say down with Malika Andrews during the All-Star Weekend, said that he was surprised about his coach’s decision, but praised his teammate.

“It was weird,” Curry told the ESPN reporter. “I’ve come off the bench a couple of times and seen him start, so it was weird to switch roles. For him, there’s only one way for him to respond: the way that he did. I think there’s been a lot of narratives around his season and since he’s come back from his injuries – a lot unfair.”





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Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 30 PPG, 60% FG this season

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Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average at least 30 points per game and 60% shooting from the field in a single season.

Through 54 games (all starts) this season, the eight-time All-Star forward is averaging 30.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, a career-high 6.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 35 minutes per game.

Antetokounmpo, 29, is also shooting a career-best 61.6% from the floor, 25.5% beyond the arc, and 65.3% at the foul line. His true shooting percentage (65.1%) is a career high as well.

Per a few NBA betting sites, Antetokounmpo holds fourth-best odds to win MVP this season. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Luka Doncic.

Antetokounmpo leads the NBA this season in points (1,662), field goals (626), 2-point field goals (602), 2-point field goal attempts (923), and free throw attempts (591).

Additionally, he recorded a career-high 64 points on only 28 field goal attempts in Milwaukee’s 140-126 win over the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 13, the most points scored with fewer than 30 field goal attempts in a game in NBA history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 64 points vs. Pacers, broke Michael Redd’s record

The 2021 NBA champ broke the team record of 57 set by Michael Redd in 2006 in a 113-111 loss to the Utah Jazz. His previous career high was 55 in a 123-113 win over Washington in January 2023.

Furthermore, the two-time MVP became the Bucks’ all-time rebounds leader during a 128-119 win over the Houston Rockets on Dec. 17, surpassing NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

He broke Abdul-Jabbar’s record with a rebound of Tari Eason’s missed shot with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter. The Greek Freak has amassed 7,497 rebounds across his 11-year career with Milwaukee.

In six seasons in a Bucks uniform, Abdul-Jabbar grabbed 7,161 boards.

Antetokounmpo owns almost every Bucks’ franchise record. He joined Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), and Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) as the only players to lead a franchise in points, rebounds, and assists.

Although he continues to add individual records and accomplishments to his NBA résumé, the Bucks are still struggling to win games this season under coach Doc Rivers since going 30-13 with Adrian Griffin.

Moreover, Milwaukee is 3-7 under Rivers and sit in third place in the Eastern Conference standings at 35-21, 8.5 games behind the first-place Boston Celtics.





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Charles Barkley is criticized for saying Kevin Durant isn’t a leader

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Charles Barkley’s feud with Kevin Durant is of common knowledge within the basketball world, as the legend has always been overly critical of the Suns veteran, who always seems to react to criticism. During this All-Star Weekend, it was no exception as the broadcast shot a dart at KD, saying he’s never been a leader. 

“No disrespect to Kevin. Kevin’s a follower. He’s not a leader. He’s proven that on all his stops,” the Hall of Famer said on Sunday. “[Devin] Booker’s a hell of a player, also. I think he’s going to have to take the initiative and take this Suns team to the next level. … But I said the same thing with Boston: One of your guys has to step forward, he has to step forward, and for me, for Phoenix to be successful, it has to be Booker.”

In the past, Chuck has expressed his disappointment after Durant’s departures from teams and lack of collective success. Last year he claimed the forward was “part of a generation that can’t be criticized.”

In a recent interview for Durant’s owned Boardroom, a media platform, agent Rich Kleiman asked his client about his thoughts over Barkley’s comments and his reputation around the NBA.

“I don’t feel like I want people to call me a leader, but I also don’t want people to say I’m not one either, because they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes of what I talk about or my intentions or relationships that I’ve built with my teammates and my support staff,” the Phoenix star said.

The 35-year-old simply dismissed Charles’ criticism and said that many people are “not being aware” of his leadership style. His own coach Frank Vogel also defended his pupil.

“He definitely leads by example, but he also speaks up when he needs to. Not every player is going to be a rah-rah type,” expressed the Suns tactician. “Every player leads in their own way. You have to lead within your personality. I learned that as a coach a long time ago, that I can’t come in and try to be Rick Pitino, as much as he inspired me to get into coaching. Our personalities are different.”

Durant acknowledged why these types of questions about his leadership come up, but he addresses them as misunderstandings

During the same interview on Boardroom, the Phoenix veteran recognized why these questions about his leadership arise, but explains why people don’t think he is charismatic.

“I’m not as charismatic as my peers; I don’t have a personality that’s fit for TV like my peers,” KD shared. “You’ve got to sell what you’re doing as well, and I haven’t sold it enough. I don’t feel like I need to, I don’t feel like I need people to call me a leader, but I also don’t feel like I want people to say I’m not one either.”

When asked about the GOAT conversation and why he should be considered part of this debate, Kevin told his agent that he’s aware of the things he’s accomplished and is convinced he’s worthy of such mention.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished things on a court and been in situations that the greatest have seen, so I feel like I can have a conversation about basketball with the Michael Jordans or the Kobe Bryant or the LeBron James, not about bragging about how much we’ve done, but what did you see out there, and did I see the same things,” he said.





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