The Evening News: Lillard to be named top rookie; SVG and Sampson lead race in Milwaukee; Johnson playing as decoy for Nets

Hello and welcome to the Evening News.

As the playoffs are under way, we’ll keep you updated every evening. What’s happening today?

Here’s the latest news from around the league:

Damian Lillard will be named as the league’s Rookie of the Year

While the official announcement has yet to be made by the NBA, word has been spreading all day that Damian Lillard will win the Rookie of the Year award for the 2012-2013 season.Damian Lillard Wizards guard Bradley Beal tweeted, “Congrats on ROY @Dame_Lillard! Well deserved, keep grindin’ !!”

Lillard has apparently been informed by the NBA that he will win the award because he replied to Beal by saying, “@RealDealBeal23 thanks bra… You too #grindcontinues.”

The news comes as no surprise to many NBA fans. While some advanced statisticians believed Anthony Davis deserved more consideration for the award, Lillard led all rookies with 19.0 points per game and 6.5 assists per game. Meanwhile, perhaps even more impressively, Lillard also finished second in the entire league with an absurd 38.6 minutes per game while playing in all 82 games for the Blazers this season.

Bucks target Van Gundy and Sampson to begin coaching search

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Milwaukee Bucks have already started their coaching search after parting ways with interim head coach Jim Boyle this morning. Atop the Bucks’ wish list are Stan Van Gundy and Kelvin Sampson.

In the eyes of Bucks general manager John Hammond, the team needs a good defensive minded coach who will restore control to a tantrum prone locker room. S-V- Gundy

Van Gundy has told the media that he plans to be extremely selective in choosing his next coaching position. While the Bucks have several question marks for what their team will look like next season, one thing going in their favor for the pursuit of Van Gundy’s services is their apparent commitment to re-sign JJ Redick for a long term contract. Redick was one of Van Gundy’s favorite players in Orlando.

Kelvin Sampson, meanwhile, was an assistant coach with the Bucks under Scott Skiles and currently works on Kevin McHale’s coaching staff in Houston. Sampson has a history of NCAA misconduct with recruiting players as the head coach at both Oklahoma University and Indiana University.

Wojnarowski also reported that Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford and Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone will be considered by the Bucks as well.

Joe Johnson’s injury is limiting him to the role of  “decoy”

According to Mike Mazzeo of, Joe Johnson’s plantar fasciitis in his left foot is afflicting him so badly that he wouldn’t be playing on it if it were the regular season. 

“I can’t really push the basketball if I get a rebound, I can’t really run pick-and-rolls, so basically I’m a decoy, a spot-up shooter, I can’t really do a whole lot,” Johnson said. “Like I told Deron [Williams] and Brook [Lopez], I’ll be the bailout guy. If you get into a sticky situation just try and find me.”

Johnson has had a strong series against the Bulls. He is currently averaging 16.2 points on 44.7 percent shooting and has averaged 39 minutes in the five games so far. The Bulls lead the series 3-2 and will host the Nets for Game 6 in Chicago on Thursday night.

P.J. Carlesimo does not believe he is putting Johnson at further risk by keeping him active, “My doctors and trainers and Joe himself, we wouldn’t put him out there if there was a chance he would injure it anymore. It’s injured. He’s done the damage right now, and playing on it is not hurting it any more.”


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