Now that Danny Ainge has finally let go of the past, the Celtics can begin an uninhibited rebuilding process. Rajon Rondo may have been part of the present for too long in Boston, but at least now we know he’s no longer the future. Read More. Written by Andrew Perna on Dec 18, 2014
Kyle Lowry and LaMarcus Aldridge have been named the NBA's Players of the Week for games played between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7.
Lowry led the Raptors to a 2-1 week behind an NBA-best 29.3 points. He handed out 8.7 assists, grabbed 3.0 rebounds and recorded 1.3 steals as Toronto won road games in Sacramento and Utah on back-to-back nights. On Dec. 3, when the Raptors topped the Jazz 123-104, Lowry recorded a career-high 39 points (13-of-22 field goals) and added five rebounds and four assists.
Aldridge helped the Trail Blazers to a 3-0 week, which included road wins at Denver and New York. He ranked third in the league in scoring (27.0 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (11.7 rpg). Aldridge posted a point-rebound double-double in all three contests, including a 39-point, 11-rebound effort on Dec. 2, as the Trail Blazers beat the Nuggets 105-103.
Damian Lillard and LeBron James have been named the NBA's Players of the Week for games played between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16.
In wins over Charlotte, Denver and Brooklyn, Lillard averaged 28.0 points (58.8% FG), 4.7 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.33 steals.
James led Cleveland to a perfect 3-0 record this past week, averaging 35.0 points on .594 shooting, including .500 (8-16) from beyond the arc, 7.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.0 block in 36.7 minutes per game. He posted one double-double and topped 30 points in each game, including a season-high 41 points on November 14 vs. Boston. Among all NBA players this past week, James led the league in points per game, while also being the only player to average at least 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Meyer Leonard was unsure of himself in his first two NBA seasons, when he was asked to be a traditional "brute" and back-to-the-basket center.
This season, Leonard has shown development in his shooting and has a more defined role as a shooting big man who can stretch the defense.
"There are a lot of things I feel like that have gone against me,'' Leonard said. "And people are like, 'What the heck? We took him early (11th pick in 2012), we're expecting a lot' ... and I think it's just taking a little bit of time.'
"I think people see a 7-footer ... pretty strong ... big ... wide shoulders ... and everyone thought I was a five,'' Leonard said.
Leonard scored seven points and grabbed 12 rebounds in place of LaMarcus Aldridge in the Portland Trail Blazers' 97-87 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. He was able to pull defenders away from the paint due to his shooting.
"It was kind of me,'' Leonard said of the shift in philosophy. "There was no point in trying to impress people in something that I was not that great at. I wanted to continue to work on defense and rebounding, but also be what they brought me in to do: Be skilled. Run the floor. Shoot the ball when you are open. Be athletic.'
"Once coach started to see me shoot more threes after practice, and shoot them during camps, and in games and summer run ... that's when coach realized 'He can really help us.'"
The Portland Trail Blazers have exercised team options on the contracts of center Meyers Leonard and guard CJ McCollum.
Portland exercised its fourth-year team option on Leonard, who holds averages of 4.4 points (52.2% FG), 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 14.3 minutes in 109 games over two seasons with the Trail Blazers. The team selected Leonard with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft out of Illinois.
The Trail Blazers picked up the third-year team option on McCollum. The 10th overall selection in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft out of Lehigh, McCollum averaged 5.3 points (37.5% 3-PT), 1.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 12.5 minutes in 38 games during his rookie 2013-14 season.