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2018 WNBA Rookie Report: Marie Gulich

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Welcome to the 2018 Rookie Report. This initial set of posts will give a brief outlook on members of the 2018 WNBA draft class.

We will discuss the answers these players provide to their new teams along with questions that will need to be answered for them to maximize their potential as a player. We’ll close with thoughts on what will need to happen for each player to get some playing time and offer thoughts on what you should be looking forward right away as you tune in on League Pass. (Advanced stats obtained via HerHoopStats. Read their glossary here.)

Marie Gulich

Round 1, Pick 12 – Phoenix Mercury

Age: 24 – Height: 6’5 – Position: Center

2017-18 stats at Oregon State:

Gulich opens the season as the likely backup to Brittney Griner after generating a great deal of buzz for herself with her outstanding performance in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Answers she provides

  • Experience in a system built around her talling up and defending without fouling
  • Solid repertoire of low block moves
  • Capable midrange shooter

Questions looking forward

  • How she stacks up against bigger, more physical centers
  • Defending out in space
  • How she adds the most value on offense in a half court setting

Path to playing time

The Mercury have shown a great deal of faith in Gulich already, evident in their roster moves ahead of the start of the regular season — Griner doesn’t need to rest much, but they trust the rookie to give them some quality minutes right away.

One thing to watch right now

Will she be able to separate herself with her rim runs and handle now playing at a faster pace? Gulich opened a lot of eyes in the second round of the NCAAs against eventual second round pick Mercedes Russell and the Lady Vols with how smooth she looked getting up and down the floor, even using her dribble to push the ball up after a defensive rebound.

Via Summithoops

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The Game

GameThread: Wings vs. Lynx, Storm vs. Mercury

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DeWanna Bonner goes up and the opponents can only look on ...

In a Wednesday night doubleheader, the Lynx have a chance to get their first win of the season against the Wings in Minnesota. Further west, the Storm seek to even the regular-season score against the Mercury in enemy territory.

It’s a Hump Day doubleheader! First up, the Minnesota Lynx seek their first win of the season after losing to Lady Karma the LA Sparks on Sunday, courtesy of a buzz-beater from Chelsea Gray. In the late game, the Seattle Storm hope to even the season series against the Phoenix Mercury in enemy territory.

Wings vs. Lynx

When: Wednesday May 23 at 8:00 p.m. EST

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN | TICKETS

How to watch/listen: WNBA League Pass (worldwide) | Fox Sports North, BOB 106.1 (Minnesota)

Injuries and absences: Glory Johnson (hamstring) and Theresa Plaisance (knee) are out for the Wings while Ariel Powers is a game-time decision. No injuries have been reported by the Lynx.

What to watch: Although the return of Liz Cambage to the league promises to give the Wings an edge, Sylvia Fowles a headache and fans a fun time, this one is really a battle of the guards. Skylar Diggins-Smith is leading the Wings in scoring and assists with 25.1 points and 5.5 dimes per game. For the Lynx, Lindsay Whalen has been the firepower, averaging 17 points and 9 assists per game. Given the Lynx’s “frustrating” loss against the Sparks on Sunday, it would be no surprise if Maya Moore and Fowles look to show out. The Wings are capable of getting a win over the Lynx. However, an angry wild cat is a thing to be reckoned with so a Dallas win is unlikely.

Storm vs. Mercury

When: Wednesday May 23 at 10:00 p.m. EST

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ | TICKETS

How to watch/listen: WNBA League Pass (worldwide) | Fox Sports North, BOB 106.1 (Minnesota)

Injuries and absences: Diana Taurasi (quad) is probable for the Mercury. No injuries have been reported by the Storm.

What to watch: The Storm may have grabbed the preseason wins against the Mercury, but the experience of Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner turned out to be too much in the teams’ first meeting of the season. Breanna Stewart is averaging 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Storm, with supporting players offering strong contributions. But, so far, there has been no answer for Bonner, who put up a points-rebounds double-double in Phoenix’s first game of the season against the Wings, but who also brings killer energy to the team’s blocking and stealing game. Even if Taurasi has to sit this one out, the Mercury has the edge to walk away with the win.


Enjoy the game!

Via Swish Appeal

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NBA

Houston Rockets to wear patches to honor Santa Fe shooting victims

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HOUSTON (AP)  — The Houston Rockets will wear patches on their jerseys to honor the victims of the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

The patches will read: “Santa Fe HS.” It’s one of several tributes the team plans following Friday’s shooting. Eight students and two teachers died at the school, located 30 miles from downtown Houston.

The school’s high school choir will perform the national anthem. There will be a moment of silence and a video tribute before tipoff.

Santa Fe’s senior class and administrators have been invited to attend the game as guests of owner Tilman Fertitta. The Rockets also will honor first responders on the court.

Proceeds from Thursday night’s charity raffle will go to the Santa Fe Strong Memorial Fund.

Via NBA.com

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NBA

Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis headline 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive first team

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NEW YORK – Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalists Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans lead the 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Gobert was voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the second year in a row, as selected by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.  The 7-1 center from France earned 192 points, including 94 First Team votes.  Davis, a two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection, makes his debut on the First Team.  The 6-11 forward/center received the second-most points (163) and First Team votes (73), behind Gobert.

The two big men are joined on the NBA All-Defensive First Team by Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (136 points), Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (105) and Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (90).  All three players are All-Defensive selections for the first time.

The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of 76ers center Joel Embiid (90 points), Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (86), Boston Celtics forward/center Al Horford (85), San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (80) and Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Jimmy Butler (79).  Like the First Team, the Second Team has three first-time All-Defensive selections: Embiid, Horford and Murray.

Embiid is the third finalist for the 2017-18 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, joining Gobert and Davis.  The winner will be announced at the 2018 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 25 on TNT (9 p.m. ET).  The second annual NBA Awards, honoring this season’s top performers, will take place at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif.

Players were awarded two points for each NBA All-Defensive First Team vote and one point for each Second Team vote.  Voters selected two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly.  Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.

Complete voting results by media member will be posted at pr.nba.com the night of the NBA Awards presented by Kia.  Click here for the list of 100 media voters for the 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive Teams.

2017-18 NBA All-Defensive First Team

Robert Covington, 76ers: The former NBA G League Rookie of the Year and All-Star Game MVP led the NBA in deflections and was tops in defensive win shares among players who appeared in at least 70 percent of their teams’ games.  The 76ers’ defensive rating, which ranked third in the NBA, was 99.0 when Covington was on the court and 107.4 when he was off the court – a difference of 8.4 points per 100 possessions.

Anthony Davis, Pelicans: A 2017-18 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award finalist, Davis led the NBA in blocked shots for the third time (2.57 bpg).  He also finished fifth in the NBA in defending the rim (minimum 250 field goals defended), allowing opponents to shoot only 52.4 percent at the basket.

Rudy Gobert, Jazz: Opponents shot 10.0 percentage points worse than expected on shots fewer than 6 feet from the basket against Gobert.  Utah ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating by allowing 101.6 points per 100 possessions – a number that improved to 97.7 points per 100 possessions when Gobert was on the court.

Jrue Holiday, Pelicans: New Orleans allowed 9.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with Holiday on the court than when he was off the court, the biggest difference for any Pelicans player.

Victor Oladipo, Pacers: A 2017-18 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award finalist, Oladipo averaged a league-leading 2.36 steals per game.

2017-18 NBA All-Defensive Second Team

Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves: Butler averaged a career-high 1.97 steals per game, fourth best in the NBA.  

Joel Embiid, 76ers: Opponents shot 7.8 percentage points worse than expected on all field goal attempts when Embiid was the closest defender, the NBA’s best such mark (minimum 200 shots defended).

Draymond Green, Warriors: The 2016-17 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year was one of four qualifying players to average at least 1.30 steals and 1.30 blocked shots per game.

Al Horford, Celtics: An NBA All-Star for the fifth time, Horford helped Boston lead the NBA in defensive rating with 101.5 points allowed per 100 possessions.

Dejounte Murray, Spurs: In his second season, Murray ranked second among point guards in defensive rebounding percentage (22.0), behind the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (25.4).

Below are the voting results for the 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive Teams.  The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

2017-18 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM

Position | Player | Team 1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points| All-Defensive Selections

Center | Rudy Gobert | Utah | 94 | 4 | 192 |  2 (two 1st)

Forward/Center | Anthony Davis | New Orleans | 73 | 17 | 163 | 3 (one 1st, two 2nd)

Guard | Victor Oladipo | Indiana | 58 | 20 | 136 | 1

Guard | Jrue Holiday | New Orleans | 39 | 27 | 105 | 1

Forward | Robert Covington | Philadelphia 27 | 36 | 90 | 1

2017-18 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM

Position | Player | Team 1st Team (2 Pts.) | 2nd Team (1 Pt.) | Total Points | All-Defensive Selections

Center | Joel Embiid | Philadelphia | 4 | 82 | 90 |1

Forward | Draymond Green | Golden State | 26 | 34 | 86 | 4 (three 1st; one 2nd)

Forward/Center | Al Horford | Boston | 24 | 37 | 85 | 1

Guard | Dejounte Murray | San Antonio | 32 | 16 | 80 | 1

Guard/Forward | Jimmy Butler | Minnesota | 20 | 39 | 79 | 4 (four 2nd)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (All-Defensive First Team votes in parentheses): Chris Paul, Houston, 74 (20); Paul George, Oklahoma City, 69 (22); Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, 43 (15); Kevin Durant, Golden State, 31 (7); Klay Thompson, Golden State, 24 (8); Josh Richardson, Miami, 22 (3); Marcus Smart, Boston, 18 (5); Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City, 17 (3); Jaylen Brown, Boston, 16 (5); Ben Simmons, Philadelphia, 16 (5); P.J. Tucker, Houston, 13 (2); Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 7 (1); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 7 (1); Danny Green, San Antonio, 6 (2); Luc Mbah a Moute, Houston, 5 (1); Ricky Rubio, Utah, 4 (2); Andre Drummond, Detroit, 3; Gary Harris, Denver, 3; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 2; Al-Farouq Aminu, Portland, 2; Avery Bradley, LA Clippers, 2 (1); Steven Adams, Oklahoma City, 1; Will Barton, Denver, 1; Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee, 1; Ed Davis, Portland, 1; Derrick Favors, Utah, 1; LeBron James, Cleveland, 1; DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers, 1; Damian Lillard, Portland, 1; Donovan Mitchell, Utah, 1; Fred VanVleet, Toronto, 1.

Via NBA.com

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