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Ball Durham 18 August, 2021 - 03:41pm 21 views

Who won the NBA summer league?

2021 NBA Summer League: Sacramento Kings crowned Summer League champions after defeating Boston Celtics. The Sacramento Kings become the first team in NBA history to win multiple Summer League championships after a comfortable 100-67 win over the Boston Celtics in the championship game. NBA CA2021 NBA Summer League: Sacramento Kings crowned Summer League champions after defeating Boston Celtics

Who won the Summer League 2021?

Kings win Las Vegas Summer League with rout of Celtics; Louis King named championship game MVP. The Sacramento Kings have won the 2021 Summer League championship by defeating the Boston Celtics, 100-67, on Tuesday. The win marks the second time the Kings have won Summer League, as they did so in 2014 as well. CBSSports.comKings win Las Vegas Summer League with rout of Celtics; Louis King named championship game MVP

As for how these decisions were made: The criteria for these teams are admittedly inexact, which is what happens when you have a one-person committee. I was in Vegas all last week watching games live. I factored in stats, but the box score can’t be the only aspect of gauging performance and context. I also tried to recognize players on winning teams when splitting hairs, but at Summer League, so much is arbitrary that these decisions are mostly left to the eye of the beholder. To simplify the process, players had to appear in at least three games to qualify for the first or second team. Standouts who played fewer than three games were eligible for honorable mention. Again, this is Summer League we’re talking about—it’s not that serious.

My 2021 All-Summer League teams are as follows.

Duarte was the oldest player drafted, but that may be a minor aside to a bigger story: He made big contributions in his four games and appears very much as advertised. He averaged 18.3 points, shot 48% from three on more than seven attempts and filled up the box score with four rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.8 steals in his four games. Duarte appears ready to help the Pacers this season and should be able to step into Doug McDermott’s vacant minutes without much trouble. The 24-year-old plays with poise befitting his age and showcased why he was a target for a number of teams on draft night. He’s crafty, can do a little bit of everything on both ends and looks supremely confident.

Green played three games before the Rockets opted to hold him out due to his sore hamstring, but he was quite good when active, averaging 20.3 points on 51.4% from the field, a scalding 52.6% from three-point range and 92.9% from the foul line. The No. 2 pick looks ready to make an impact as a rookie, and, while this type of efficiency obviously isn’t sustainable, Green was clearly one of the standouts in Vegas. Not many guards can make it look as easy as he does, and if he can improve his handle and diversify his approach to scoring, the results could be scary. Green’s value is intrinsically tied to his shooting workload, and he has work to do to become a more complete player, but when so many of his shots are going in, well, it’s hard to be too critical.

Mitchell’s counting stats weren’t particularly special, but his notorious on-ball defense made a huge impact for the Kings on their surprising run to the summer league title. He also shot the ball well from distance and made plays for teammates, delivering on his reputation as a winning player. Mitchell notably smothered James Bouknight head-to-head, as well as shutting down Payton Pritchard in the championship game. The Kings took some flak for picking him at No. 9—they certainly didn’t need more guards—but his defensive-minded approach and relentless motor may wind up translating in a significant way. It may come at the expense of others, but Sacramento is going to have to find minutes for him.

Murphy’s all-around contributions were at the center of the Pelicans’ success in Vegas: He averaged 16.2 points, seven rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 55.8% from the field and 44% from three-point range. While not a naturally creative player, Murphy took care of the ball and showed off quality standstill passing ability to go with his catch-and-shoot game. He added value defensively, as well, drawing tough assignments and holding his own. While Murphy was plenty effective at Virginia last season, the late-blooming forward has been even better than expected and could be a viable bench option for New Orleans in short order. He continues to make impressive strides.

It’s a good summer to be Payton Pritchard: He averaged 20.3 points, an event-high 8.7 assists and just 1.3 turnovers in three strong games at Summer League. He then left town and scored 92 points in the Portland Pro-Am before returning to play for the Celtics in the title game. He was terrific overall, and the experience he gained in Boston last year has clearly paid off. Pritchard proved a lot of people wrong as a rookie, with toughness and shot-making skills that cover for his lack of size and justified Boston’s decision to pick him in the late first round. And while it’s still fair to wonder whether he’ll be more than a quality backup, he clearly belongs. He could be in for a larger role next season, even with Dennis Schröder joining the Celtics.

Cunningham was his usual self in Vegas, and while his Pistons team didn’t entirely light it up, his three games certainly showcased why he was the top pick in the draft. He turned in a strong showing head-to-head against Jalen Green, made 50% of his threes on 8.7 attempts per game, and made big contributions as a decision-maker, defender and vocal communicator on the court. Cunningham’s basketball smarts remain his strongest selling point, and while he could be more efficient in the paint and struggled to get to the line, those things should come in time. Expect much better results on the assist-to-turnover front if Detroit gradually assembles a quality roster around him.

McDaniels teamed with Jaylen Nowell to lead a successful stint in Vegas for the Wolves, and he looked like a much-improved player with a chance to become a real piece for Minnesota. He averaged 16.3 points on 49% shooting to go with six rebounds, and he led the way for his team on both ends, with his skill and size beginning to manifest into more legitimate matchup versatility. McDaniels is still a project, but he’s turned out to be a terrific value pick at No. 28 in last year’s draft and a potential developmental win for the Wolves’ organization.

It was great to see Nesmith looking healthy and comfortable, and he certainly looks ready to help Boston as a floor-spacing threat next season. He spurred the Celtics to the championship game with a run of consistent shooting and is on his way to becoming a viable rotation piece. Nesmith was much more impressive on the whole than teammate Romeo Langford, and he looks like he deserves the inside track to wing minutes behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He has more all-around game than he gets credit for, and his catch-and-shoot skills should eventually make him a key piece for the Celtics.

Şengün created a good deal of buzz with his play at Summer League, and he was unsurprisingly quite productive after dominating in Turkey as a teenager. He shot just 43% from the field in four games, but averaged 14.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, three blocks and 1.3 steals, frequently finding his way to the foul line and making a big difference for the Rockets. Şengün has a diverse enough skill set to be a real piece of Houston’s future, and it’ll certainly find minutes for him as the rebuild gets moving this season. He showed much more mettle defensively than expected and has the chops to overcome his lack of great mobility and quickness. He was arguably the most impressive true big to take the court in Vegas.

It should not surprise astute observers that the trigger-happy Thomas led summer league in scoring, averaging 27 points in four games on 42% percent shooting. There’s no question Thomas can pile up points, and it’s a positive sign that his ability to draw fouls translated strongly in Vegas (84% from the line on nearly 10 attempts per game). He dropped 36 on the Spurs and also nailed a pair of clutch shots against the Wizards, hitting a step-back to force overtime followed by a difficult, one-legged game-winner. The real test for Thomas will come when he’s asked to adjust his style of play to fit alongside Brooklyn’s stars. But he may be closer to helping the Nets’ bench units than expected, and he landed in a good situation for his long-term success.

Maxey played just two games at Summer League, which relegates him to honorable mention here, but he averaged 26 points on 50% from the field and did a little bit of everything, making plays on both ends of the floor, showing off some playmaking ability and functioning as the centerpiece of Philly’s offense. Maxey is still a streaky three-point shooter, but he’s made strides in terms of his composure and all-around contributions, and figures to be a big part of the 76ers’ rotation this season. He could be a huge boost to Philly’s bench if he turns a corner.

Bane also played just twice, but he averaged 24 points in those games and made nine of his 13 three-point attempts. He was a terrific find for Memphis in the 2020 draft and looks ready for an increased role spacing the floor. While not a massively impactful defender, Bane plays a smart, opportunistic style on the perimeter, and as long as he keeps knocking down shots, he’ll be just fine.

Yurtseven has come a long way in the past couple of years and looks like a real candidate for backup center minutes in Miami. The Heat recently gave him a two-year deal, and the 23-year-old has started to hit his stride, averaging 20 points and 9.7 rebounds through three games and turning in active, valuable minutes. He’s always been skilled with good size for his position and comes with legitimate pedigree as a prospect. Notably, Yurtseven’s jumper has started to come along as well. If he can better hold his own defensively, he may be Miami’s next unheralded find.

While Tillman’s contributions don’t always blow up a box score, all you have to do is watch him closely to understand the different ways he can impact a game. He’s a stellar defender and brings a positionless mindset on the offensive end as a screener and playmaker, totaling 14 assists and 12 rebounds in his two Summer League games. How much his individual offense can expand remains to be seen—he’s still not a great shooter—but in his brief two-game stint, he was clearly one of the better players in Vegas.

Hyland acquitted himself well at Summer League, showcasing his shot-making skills and making fairly good decisions, averaging 19.8 points in four games and making 40% of his threes on nearly nine attempts per game. The Nuggets are enthralled with his creative, unorthodox game, and he could be another find—it was actually his passing skills that stood out the most in this setting, and he’s a much more unselfish, capable playmaker than he showed in college. While it may not be this season, he has a legit chance to be a useful bench scorer at some point.

Why the Knicks felt the need to play Toppin 35 minutes per game at Summer League is beyond me, but he was productive and improved his play as the week went on. It’s unclear how much of a role he’ll be able to assume on a team built so heavily around Julius Randle, but Toppin gets credit here for his production and consistency, even with his long-term upside coming into a bit of question based on his play here.

While there are still some doubts about Jones’s upside—he profiles as a backup, at best—he was stellar in his four games, averaging 22.8 points, shooting 50.7% from the field, and looking like an improved jump shooter. You can always count on Jones to compete defensively, and he did a good job of making plays and running the team for the Spurs. He’s blocked in San Antonio by a number of other young guards, but it won’t be surprising to see him eventually get a real crack at backup minutes somewhere.

While teammate Sharife Cooper got more attention for his flashy playmaking, Johnson was highly productive in his four games, averaging 19 points and 9.5 rebounds and looking very comfortable for a player who hasn’t had a ton of game action in the past two years. He’s a terrific passer and versatile frontcourt piece who can play in transition, add value on the glass, and made good use of his opportunities. He gets the slight nod over Cooper here due to his consistency, and if he can continue to make threes at a reliable clip, Johnson could be a real value for the Hawks at No. 20.

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Manny Pacquiao is a politician whose life is nonstop chaos. Why is he boxing again?

NBA 16 August, 2021 - 05:30am

He is a legendary boxer, about to fight in his 82nd professional match. He is one of just 12 senators who govern the Philippines. And if that isn’t enough, he is an almost certain candidate for the country’s presidency on May 9, 2022.

His cup runneth over. His life is nonstop chaos. He is, daily, pulled in nine different directions before he can get his socks on. A main Olympic storyline in recent weeks was about athletes succumbing to demands on them, to the pressure of expectations. If the same were applied to Pacquiao, he should, by now, be a puddle of water.

Saturday, at the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, he will step into a boxing ring again. At least that part should be simple. One venue, one opponent, let the fists fly. But like everything in boxing, and in Pacquiao’s life, the uncertain reigns.

Tuesday, he and his camp got word that the fighter he was to meet, highly regarded and unbeaten Errol Spence Jr., had to pull out. Spence had a torn retina in his left eye, a serious injury that might not have merely spoiled Spence’s big payday against Pacquiao, but also his career. Pacquiao, with the veteran poise of an air traffic controller, immediately issued a politically correct and sympathetic statement that said, “Thank God that the tear in Errol’s eye was discovered before it could be damaged further.”

Then he and his team got to work on a reclamation project. The fight. There would be another one, there would be a storyline and there would remain an opportunity for people to go to Vegas and buy tickets or sit at home and fork over the pay-per-view price. In the cash flow arena, boxing has a way of ending up on its feet.

Ugas is from Cuba. He won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. His record is 26-4, with 21 knockouts. With slightly more than a week to recalibrate the hype machine, the new mantra became: Stolen title now needing to be claimed for real in the ring.

With Spence, his youth and size and unbeaten record had become the tease for wagers that Pacquiao would lose, especially since Pacquiao is 42 and should be worn and vulnerable by now. But then, that’s what drove the betting on Thurman, who was put on the canvas twice, once on a body shot. Now, Spence’s replacement, with a title by default and a resume that seems less than ready for prime time, is only seven years younger than Pacquiao.

The other storyline being pushed is that Spence is a lefty, Pacquiao was preparing for a lefty in sparring, and Ugas is right-handed, so Pacquiao might be underprepared. Go ahead. Take that to the betting window.

The only real story is that Pacquiao is fighting again.

All this began for him at age 16, fighting and winning at 108 pounds. He had no trouble making weight because he seldom had enough to eat. Well before that first pro fight, he left home because he had become just one more mouth to feed. He scrambled as a street urchin, taking home what he could and boxing wherever they would hand him a few pesos.

Now, after winning 12 titles in an unprecedented eight divisions and starting to slip into the conversation about best boxers of all-time, he will put himself out there again. Which raises the obvious question: Why?

“Boxing is my passion,” he says, answering the same question the same way for the 14,296th time, while smiling and looking around the walls of the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. There are pictures of him everywhere, with scores of celebrities and a like number of trophies and title belts. There are three giant flags on the west wall — Mexico, the United States and the Philippines. Around him, younger boxers slug the heavy bag and exhale with a noise at each contact that would send your house pet scurrying to hide under the couch. Bells clang to halt sparring. Then more to start it. The smell of sweat is overwhelming, and that’s just from the photographers.

His soulmate, advisor, buddy and strategist is Freddie Roach, who owns Wild Card, has been with him for 21 years and all those titles, and has survived dozens of other advisors, physical trainers, hustlers, schemers and sycophants. Roach is 61, had 53 pro fights — “Ten more than I should have” — and now carries on despite suffering from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

To be Pacquiao’s main cornerman includes doing the mitts, which means putting pads on each hand and moving them for a sequence of hard punches. If Pacquiao gets the sequence wrong, or the mitt isn’t in the right place, Roach gets hit. Roach occasionally spends his evenings with his hands in ice. Sometimes his head. That he can still do this, despite Parkinson’s, is exceptional.

Roach, whose gym business thrives even without Pacquiao around, says that Pacquiao is the “best thing that ever happened to me.” He recalls their first meeting.

“Muhammad Ali had just come in and visited the gym,” he says. “I was thrilled and said something like I hoped someday the next Ali would walk in. Two weeks later, he did. This skinny little kid from the Philippines was looking for somebody to do mitts.”

It was 2000, and very quickly, they got thrown into a title fight as a substitute, going against a bantamweight champion (123 pounds) defending his title. They were told they had no chance. They were told wrong. Pacquiao won with a technical knockout and has never looked back.

Nor has he stopped venturing out. Long before he decided to run for office, Pacquiao’s desire to “help the people” evolved through philanthropy, although not the usual start-a-foundation-and-write-a-check role. He made millions on his fights in Las Vegas and would return to the Philippines, rest a few days and then welcome the gathering of people outside his home in General Santos City, in the southern part of the country. People needed help. He remembered his days on the street. They lined up outside. He gave them food and money.

Manny Pacquiao, 37, is training for his Nov. 5 bout in Las Vegas against World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.

Soon, he heard of problems of the area fisherman. They could no longer row out far enough to get to the fish they needed to catch. So, he bought them outboard motors. Hundreds of them. More recently, he decided to focus on the housing crisis near him. He bought land and built 1,000 homes, then gave them away.

“I went to tell them they had a new house,” he says. “They couldn’t believe it at first. I told them the house was theirs, that they owed no money. They cried and then I cried.”

Now, this magnanimity has taken on a much bigger challenge, one with international implications. The boxer with the big heart, whose second most frequent utterance after “Boxing is my passion” is “I want to help the people,” may become the Philippines’ president.

That of course, like anything in Philippines’ politics — or perhaps politics anywhere — is fraught.

Sen. Pacquiao is one of a handful of people expected to run in the May 2022 election. Polls currently have his prospects of winning rated near the middle or below. The current president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose term will expire, is from the same political party as Pacquiao and has been a longtime ally. That ended recently when Pacquiao called him out for his soft stance on China and on perceived corruption in Duterte’s health services department and its COVID-19 response. Pacquiao says some $10.4 billion in public funds earmarked for virus relief have disappeared.

Duterte responded by calling Pacquiao “punch drunk” and has now floated the idea that he will run for vice president alongside his daughter Sara, who will be the presidential candidate. Nepotism in politics? Who knew?

“I hate corruption,” Pacquiao says, “The only way my country can move forward is to stop the corruption.”

Pacquiao is a boxing senator in a bulletproof vest. He carries on, the ever-present little grin on his face. His working axiom, from Winston Churchill, is on the wall at Wild Card: “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

In the Philippines, they speculate that Pacquiao is fighting again to boost his presidential campaign, both for financial and image reasons. When he stunned the boxing world two years ago by beating the bigger, stronger, younger Thurman, his political stature rose. Beating Spence would have invoked a similar reaction. Beating Ugas, not so much. But in the Philippines, there are those who don’t even think about the opponent. They just wonder how much boxing damage one of their political leaders should risk.

Roach sees past all of that. He has it plotted out.

“I want two more,” he says. “I want this one and one where the president of the Philippines defends his boxing title.”

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Bill Dwyre was a three-times-weekly sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times from 2006-15. Before that, he was sports editor of the paper for 25 years. Dwyre was named national editor of the year by the National Press Foundation in 1985 for the paper’s coverage of the ’84 Olympics and winner of the Red Smith Award in 1996 by the Associated Press Sports Editors for sustained excellence in sports journalism. He was sports editor of the Milwaukee Journal from 1973 to 1981, when he joined The Times. Dwyre was named National Headliner Award winner in 1985, sportswriter of the year in Wisconsin in 1980 and sportswriter of the year in California in 2009.

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