Rookie Rankings, Week 21: Gorgui Dieng’s Late-Season Surge

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Gorgui DiengWe have reached the point of the season where teams that are out of the playoff race start giving more playing time to their younger players to see what they may have.

One of those teams is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who may have something in rookie big man Gorgui Dieng.

New Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders spent the offseason loading his roster with veterans such as Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf in hope of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. While Minnesota (35-35) already has surpassed last season’s win total, break-even ball doesn’t get it done in the Western Conference.

While the veterans got most of the minutes, Dieng and fellow rookie Shabazz Muhammad – both acquired in a draff day swap that sent Trey Burke to Utah – mostly sat and watched. Through the first 64 games, Dieng accumulated 22 DNPs as Turiaf backed up Nikola Pekovic in the middle.

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Fixing the Knicks: Several Trade Ideas That Could Jump Start a Strong Rebuild


Carmelo AnthonySources told Yahoo! Sports on Monday that there is “no chance” the Knicks trade free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony by the Feb. 20 deadline.

Let’s face the facts: even with Anthony, the Knicks are a mediocre basketball team in a horrendous Atlantic Division.

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10 Fun Facts from Last Night’s NBA Games

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Phoenix Suns vs Maccabi HaifaDay 6 of the 2013-14 NBA regular season is officially in the books. While there may not have been feats of historical significance, there were events that helped to re-shape the landscape of the still-young NBA season.

Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s action.

10 Fun Facts From Last Night’s NBA Games

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Phoenix Suns vs Maccabi HaifaThe first day of November featured 26 NBA teams in action in 13 games, 10 of which were decided by single digits. Three teams won by three points or less, and one game went to overtime.

There were game-winning 3-pointers, stunning upsets and uncharacteristically poor performances by some of the best players in the world. Here’s what you need to know about what transpired on November 1.

1. With a 101-100 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Miami Heat have dropped to 1-2. It’s the first time since Jan. 10, 2013 that the Heat have lost consecutive games and the first time since Oct. 26, 2010—the Big Three’s first game together—that Miami is below .500. Did we mention that it’s only been three games?

2. During the Nets’ win over the Heat, LeBron James was 2-of-8 with three turnovers when Paul Pierce was the primary defender and 9-of-11 with two turnovers when he wasn’t.

3. Kevin Durant scored 13 points in 27 minutes during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 100-81 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was his lowest scoring output in a game in which he played at least 27 minutes since December 19, 2009.

4. Kevin Love (24 points, 12 rebounds), Nikola Pekovic (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Ricky Rubio (14 points, 10 assists) all recorded double-doubles for the Timberwolves. It’s the first time that all three have recorded double-doubles in the same game.

5. Wesley Matthews of the Portland Trail Blazers has two career games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. Both of those performances were against the Denver Nuggets, with the second coming last night. The former Marquette star scored 21 points and grabbed 12 boards in a 113-98 win.

6. Sacramento Kings backup point guard Isaiah Thomas scored 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, 3-of-3 from three-point range and 8-of-10 from the line. Starter Greivis Vasquez had eight points on 2-of-5 shooting.

7. Milwaukee Bucks reserve center Zaza Pachulia scored 20 points for the first time since April 10, 2007. That 2007 game was against the Boston Celtics—the same squad he torched last night.

8. DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points during the Toronto Raptors’ 102-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Dating to 2012-13, DeRozan has topped 30 points in three of his past five games.

9. Xavier Henry of the Los Angeles Lakers required nine stitches to cover up a cut on his forehead.

10. Eric Bledsoe hit his first career game-winner to give the Phoenix Suns an 87-84 win over the Utah Jazz. Bledsoe hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock.

Bonus Fact: Both the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers are now 2-0.


Maxwell Ogden is a regular contributor to Follow him on Twitter.


The End of the Movement: An Early Preview of the NBA Futures Market

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moneyThe dust has settled and the NBA offseason has officially hit its conclusion when it comes to the futures market.