Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.’s surprise return to the court

In surprising news, it was announced earlier this week that star freshman forward Michael Porter Jr. would return to the court for the Missouri Tigers for the SEC tournament. The former no. 2 overall recruit in country and the McDonald’s All-American Game MVP returned to the hardwood after only playing 2 minutes all season. He injured his back in the first game of the year, and many pundits and scouts thought that he wouldn’t return at all and make sure he was ready to go by the NBA Draft in June.

It was announced on March 3 that Porter Jr. would return for the Tigers in the SEC tournament game versus the Georgia Bulldogs.

Although Michael Porter Jr. didn’t start the game, he entered the game with a little more than three minutes gone in the first half. His impact was immediately felt, as he grabbed a defensive rebound, tossed an outlet pass to his brother Jontay Porter, who slid him a pocket bounce pass right back to him for the easy fast-break lay-up. It was something Missouri and basketball fans across the country have been waiting to see the entire year. There is only so many highlight videos on Youtube that you can watch on the phenom who averaged 37 points and 14 rebounds-per-game in high school.

After that first bucket, the rest would be what you would expect out of someone who have missed basically the whole season and by his own account “at 65-70% health wise” according to the SEC Network telecast. He was rusty in his return, finishing 5-17 from the field for 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. This much was to be expected, no matter how talented a player Porter Jr. is. Nobody should be sweating his poor shooting performance.

All this goes to show that the talent is clearly there and the secret of Michael Porter Jr.’s game is no more. He is clearly lottery pick on potential and talent alone, despite the poor shooting game. I would not be surprised if he goes top seven in the 2018 NBA Draft. Fully healthy, I think he is an All-Star caliber wing who fits right into today’s style of play in the NBA.

Featured Image: Bleacher Report

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

James Harden Wesley Johnson

R.I.P. Wesley Johnson 1987-2018

Wesley Johnson’s NBA career officially ended on February 28, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. He died by crossover, a painful death that I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemies. The murder was committed by the notorious James Edward Harden Jr., whomst has committed multiple murders before.

Example #1: Ricky Rubio

Example #2: Enes Kanter

Example #3: Austin Rivers

Example #4: Lance Thomas

How a man who has ended four career’s is still roaming our streets free is beyond me. This has lead to this moment. The moment where Wesley Johnson’s life came to an unfortunate end.

Analysis of Wesley Johnson gets crossed into next year

This is the moment Wesley Johnson realized he was being murdered. He looks as if he is falling off a toilet seat.

James Harden Wesley Johnson

(ESPN)

At no point in time should a player be looking like this on the court. There is 10 plus feet between them after James Harden stepped-back. That is NEVER a good sign.

James Harden Wesley Johnson

(ESPN)

The bench has now realized what they have seen. Trevor Ariza and PJ Tucker are standing up ready to exclaim. Even my mans in the first row is already yelling and Wesley Johnson has just hit the floor.

James Harden Wesley Johnson

(ESPN)

James Harden and Boban both looking at Wesley Johnson’s soul leaving his body. This is what y’ll MCM look like in the twitter DM’s. Couldn’t be me.

James Harden Wesley Johnson

(ESPN)

Trevor Ariza then proceeded to run all the way to half court.

James Harden couldn’t even keep a straight face when asked about the move after the game.

There is no way Wesley Johnson can step on a basketball court again. And if he does, it has to be fade on sight when anyone says anything about the move. Can’t get any more disrespected than this right here.

Where were you the day James Harden eviscerated Wesley Johnson from our earth???

Featured Image: Wikipedia Screen Grab

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

 

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard return on the horizon

Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the league when healthy. The 6-7 small forward for the San Antonio Spurs has only played in nine games on the year because of a right quad injury. When playing, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP is arguably the best defensive player in the league, capable of shutting down people big or small. He has won the Defensive Player-of-the-Year twice already in his seven-year NBA career. He was an All-Star Starter for the Western Conference the previous two seasons before this year. He has made four All-Defense Teams and two All-NBA teams.

He is a force to be reckoned with when on the court and makes the San Antonio Spurs so much better when he plays.The Spurs are survived without him, sitting in the third seed in the Western Conference with a 36-25 record. They need him back to make any sort of noise in the playoffs.

Hopeful Return

“Leonard has returned to San Antonio from New York, where he spent three weeks seeking further consultation on a right quad injury that has sidelined him for most of the season, league sources said. Leonard isn’t expected to immediately start engaging in full five-on-five practices with his teammates, but the goal is to advance toward that level of engagement in the near future, league sources said.”

Michael C. Wright and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

After a previous report a few days ago stating that Kawhi may be shut down for the year, this is promising news out of San Antonio.

The Spurs need the player who has averaged 23.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals and one block per game the last seasons before the injury riddled year this year. They miss his scoring and defense, especially when matched up against the West’s elite such as the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. With the report saying that Kawhi is targeting March, that is not only good news for Spurs fans, but NBA fans in general. In a season in which too many stars have been bit by the injury bug, this is great news to say the least. Hope to see Kawhi back on the court soon.

Featured Image: USA TODAY Sports/Soobum Im

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Mo Bamba Bulls

Why the Chicago Bulls should target Mo Bamba

The Bulls are in full-on tank mode for the final 25 games after the All-Star break. They decided to bench veteran Justin Holiday, Robin Lopez and Jerian Grant down the stretch. They made this decision so David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne could play extended minutes. The point of this move is not just to blatantly lose games, but to also see how young players respond to playing more minutes and carrying more of the load.

Currently, the Chicago Bulls sit in 8th in the draft order for the first round if the season ended today. They also hold the New Orleans Pelicans’ first round pick that they acquired in the Nikola Mirotic trade. That pick will likely be a middle-round pick because the Pelicans are in the playoff hunt.

Here’s the number one player the Bulls should target in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Mo Bamba

Mo Bamba hammers home a dunk from the sky (ESPN screenshot)

Bamba is a 7’0, 225 pound center for the Texas Longhorns. He has a whopping 7’9 wingspan, which is 0.5 inches longer than Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert. He is freakishly athletic and anchors the number six defense in the country for Texas. When Bamba is on the court, Texas allows an absurdly low 82.7 points per 100 possessions. This is very good indeed.

He is averaging a double-double on the year with 13.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.9 blocks-per-game. He is shooting 60.8 percent from the field and has shown some semblance of a 3-point shot, shooting 28 percent on the year. He also has multiple highlights like the one below.

In Chicago, he could slide right in next to rookie power forward Lauri Markkanan. Markkanen has a fabulous offensive game and a beautiful jumper for a 7-footer, averaging 15.1 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc. His offensive ability would fit nicely with Bamba’s defensive prowess. Bamba would have the ability to focus on what he does best, which is defense and rebounding, while continuing to improve his offensive game but not having the pressure of being the number 1 or 2 option.

Hopefully the Lauri-Mo frontcourt will be tearing up the United Center next season.

Featured Image: SBnation

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Jimmy Butler All-Star

Jimmy Butler was the real winner of NBA All-Star Weekend

Quavo won the the Ruffles Celebrity All-Star game MVP. Spencer Dinwiddie won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Devin Booker won the JBL Three-Point Contest. Donovan Mitchell won the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. LeBron James won his 3rd All-Star Game MVP dropping 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. All that stuff is great.

The real winner is Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Butler was an All-Star this year for fourth year in a row. He is averaging 22.4 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.9 steals. He is one of the best two-way players in the league, capable of scoring 30 points while locking up the other teams best wing or guard at the same time.

None of those points are why Jimmy Butler is the real winner. He is the real winner because he didn’t have to do ANYTHING during All-Star weekend. He got to be in Los Angeles, CA where the weather was in the 70s over the weekend.

He got to clown around with TNT reporter David Aldridge and Toronto Raptors’ All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

He got to practice handshakes with a young fan before the game.

He got courtside seats to watch some of the best athletes in the world duke it out in the most competitive All-Star game in recent memory. Mind you, Jimmy Butler was picked as an All-Star reserve. He wasn’t just there to watch the game. He was picked to PLAY in the game. Yet Jimmy Butler played exactly the same amount of minutes as I did. And you know what, that is entirely ok. He got $25,000 to sit on the bench and cheer on Team Steph. Absolutely nothing but respect for that finesse. He did it all without playing a single minute.

During the game they mentioned he was a “bit under the weather.”

Twitter was not buying it.

Jimmy Butler got to do what everyone else was doing on Saturday night in LA. He went out on the town and had a good time. He came into “work” the next day and said I’m not feeling too hot you go ahead and do this without me.

He probably told Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, who was coaching Team Steph for the game, something along the lines of, “Be a REAL shame if I didn’t play any minutes in the All-Star game, a real shame.”

Although officially listed on the Box Score as DNP – Illness, it really should have said, DNP – Hungover, took to many shots of Moscato.

Lou Williams, the standout shooting guard for the Los Angles Clippers who had the numbers to make the All-Star team but was one of the snubs, was none to pleased when he saw Jimmy Butler play exactly  zero minutes in the game.

Much like the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles’s nightlife is confirmed undefeated.

Featured Image: AARON LAVINSKY/Star Tribune

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Mbah a Moute

The Fresh Prince of Cameroon

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the stalwart defensive combo forward for the Houston Rockets, is a prince. Let me repeat that: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is a PRINCE. Now LeBron may call himself the King, but he isn’t a prince. I watched the Rockets play the Cavaliers on ESPN on Saturday, February 3rd, and ESPN displayed a graphic that stated that Mbah a Moute is a Prince in his home country of Cameroon. I was shocked, as I feel like this is something that should be discussed more in length as it’s not everyday that you find out an NBA player is also a prince. It is time to put some respect on Prince Mbah a Moute’s name.

Mbah a Moute was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 1986. Although he was raised and lives in Yaoundé, he has a really close relationship with the town of Bia Messe. This is the town where his father, Camille Moute a Bidias, is the chieftain and where Luc is a Prince. His father is also a government official who is the General Manager of the National Employment Fund of Cameroon. Being a prince isn’t all that what you might expect, Mbah a Moute says.

Mbah a Moute

The family of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute cheers him on at a UCLA game in 2007 (Wally Skalij/Getty Images)

“I don’t really have any power, I just go to different meetings and traditional events, I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to make any decisions. That’s all my Dad.”

Mbah a Moute per ESPN

He grew up playing soccer, and didn’t touch a basketball until he was twelve years old. He taught himself how to shoot and dribble by playing at a street hoop on a lamp post. After playing for a little over two years, he made the Cameroon national youth team at 15 years old.

After being discovered while playing for the inaugural NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in Africa, he was able to get noticed enough that he got a scholarship to go play at Montverde High School in Florida. He then received a scholarship to go play at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. There, he played with fellow successful NBA players Russell Westbrook, Aaron Afflalo, Jordan Farmer, Kevin Love and Darren Collison. He accomplished the rare feat of starting in three straight Final Four’s in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08.

When he came over to America, he knew only a few words of English and still had a very raw offensive game. This didn’t stop him from excelling on the defensive end, usually guarding the other teams best player while at UCLA. He also led the Bruins in rebounding his freshman year. The Bruin fans loved his energy and passion, and even dedicated a fan section to him by calling themselves the “Cameroon Crazies”. This is a knockoff of the Duke Blue Devils fan section and dedicated to his home country of Cameroon.

He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the seventh pick of the second Round of the 2008 Draft. As a second round pick, he wasn’t expected to contribute much, if play at all. He quickly became a fan favorite in Milwaukee for his defensive effort and his rebounding ability. After sending his first 5 years with the Bucks as a great wing defender, he bounced around in the 2013-2014 season playing for the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves, not getting much playing time with either team. He signed with the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2014-2015 season. Even though they were one of the worst teams in the NBA, he had a career year scoring the ball averaging 9.9 points per game while also gathering 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He then spent two years with the Los Angles Clippers. This is when he finally developed into a serviceable three point shooter, shooting 37.3 percent from three over those 2 seasons.

This past off-season, Mbah a Moute signed with the Houston Rockets, where he has continued his development into a 3 and D player. He has hit a career high 1.1 threes a game and has made them at a 36.5 percent clip. He has helped Houston turn into one of the better defensive teams in basketball with a 106.9 defensive rating, while also having the best offensive teams in the league with a 115.6 offensive rating. The Rockets are currently 2nd in the Western Conference behind the Golden State Warriors.

Mbah a Moute at a Basketball Without Borders Camp practice (CNN)

Mbah a Moute has career averages of 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.9 steals per game on 45.3 percent from the field and 33 percent from downtown.

Mbah a Moute is the 2nd player ever to play in the NBA from Cameroon. The first was 7-0 center named Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. He played only 44 games over three years for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2001-2004 before fizzling out the league. In his work with the Basketball Without Borders program, he helped discover Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center and social media icon Joel Embiid and Toronto Raptors power forward Pascal Siakam, both of whom are also from Cameroon.

Mbah a Moute has one of the most interesting backstories in the NBA, and no matter how it turns out, he still is a Prince. Not many people in the world can say that.

 

Featured photo by: Getty Images

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

 

 

NBA Trade Deadline

NBA Trade Deadline deals recap

The NBA Trade Deadline yesterday was absolute madness. Trades were happening left and right. Twitter was blowing up just as much as the Cavs roster. Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Sharania were dueling back and forth to see who could break news first. My colleague Ben Hendricks broke down the Cavaliers trades in another piece so if you want to read up on those go check his article out. Below are all of the minor trades that took place in the hours leading up to the trade deadline at 3pm Eastern Time.

*season stats in parenthesis 

Elfrid Payton to the Suns

Magic receive: 2018 2nd Round Pick from Memphis

Suns receive: point guard Elfrid Payton (13 ppg, 4 reb, 6.2 ast, 1.5 stl)

3-Team Trade involving Emmanuel Mudiay

Nuggets receive: point guard Devin Harris (8.5 ppg, 1.9 reb, 1.9 ast) and Knicks 2018 2nd Round pick

Knicks receive: point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (8.5 ppg, 2.2 reb, 2.5 ast)

Mavericks receive: small forward Doug McDermott (7.2 ppg, 2.4 re, 0.9 ast)

Nets and Pelicans swap players

Nets receive: small forward Dante Cunningham (5.0 ppg, 3.8 reb, 0.5 ast)

Pelicans receive: shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (2.7 ppg, 0.8 reb, 0.5 ast)

Bulls get Vonleh

Bulls receive: power forward Noah Vonleh (3.6 ppg, 5.1 reb, 0.4 ast), cash considerations

Trailblazers receive: rights to Serbian center Milocan Rakovic

Wizards try to get under the Luxury Tax

Hawks receive: shooting guard Sheldon Mac (3.0 ppg, 1.1 reb, 0.3 ast) *will get waived

Wizards receive: future 2nd round pick that is heavily protected

Luke Babbitt is heading back to Miami

Heat receive: combo forward Luke Babbitt (6.1 ppg, 2.2 reb, 0.7 ast)

Hawks receive: small forward Okaro White (3.3 ppg, 1.8 reb, 0.3 ast)

Bruno gets shipped to Sacramento

Kings receive: small forward Bruno Caboclo (0.0 ppg, 0.5 reb, 0.5 ast)

Raptors receive: shooting guard Malachi Richardson (3.5 ppg, 1.3 reb, 0.5 ast)

Pistons shore up point guard position

Pistons receive: point guard Jameer Nelson (5.1 ppg, 2.2 reb, 3.6 ast)

Bulls receive: rights to swap 2022 2nd Round picks, center Willie Reed *will be waived

Pistons get a 3 and D bench player

Pistons receive: small forward James Ennis III (6.9 ppg, 3.5 reb, 1.1 ast)

Grizzlies receive: power forward Brice Johnson (1.8 ppg, 1.4 reb, 0.1 ast), future 2nd Round pick

Hornets pick up another Center

Hornets receive: center Willy Hernangomez (4.3 ppg, 2.6 reb, 0.8 ast)

Knicks receive: power forward Johnny O’Bryant (4.8 ppg, 2.6 reb, 0.4 ast), 2020 2nd Round pick, 2021 2nd Round pick

The 2018 NBA Trade Deadline was an exciting one. It will be interesting to see how all these new pieces fit into their new teams.

Featured photo by: Yahoo Sports/The Vertical

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

Three-Point Contest

2018 JBL Three-Point Contest preview

The upcoming JBL Three-Point Contest will take place during NBA All-Star Weekend on February 18th in Los Angeles, CA at the Staples Center. It was originally introduced in 1986 with Boston Celtics legendary small forward Larry Bird winning the inaugural contest. He is also tied with former Chicago Bulls shooting guard Craig Hodges for the most wins in the event with three each.

The rules of the event are pretty simple. Eight contestants compete against each other to see who the best shooter is. There are five shooting racks placed around the three-point arc. Four of these five racks contain four regular basketballs worth one-point and one multi-colored ball worth two points. One rack is filled with all multi-colored money balls, called the “money rack”. This rack is placed at the shooters discretion at one of the five locations on the arc. All of these balls are worth two points. Each shooter gets one minute to shoot as many of the 25 balls as they can, starting from one side of the court all the way to the other.

The order of the shooters is selected randomly, the only exception being that the returning champion will go last. The top three scores from the first round advance to the finals, where they shoot again to see who the winner is.

Now let’s meet our eight contestants:

Eric Gordon

Houston Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon will try to repeat as champ after winning last year contest over Boston Celtics’ point guard Kyrie Irving. The nine year veteran out of Indiana is one of the best bench scorers in the NBA, averaging 19.1 points per game.

The 2016-2017 Sixth Man of the Year winner has made 146 three’s on the year, which is sixth-most in the NBA currently. He is shooting 33.6 percent on three’s this year for the Rockets, who are second in the Western Conference currently.

Devin Booker

The Phoenix Suns’ shooting guard is currently putting up career high numbers, averaging 24.1 points per game. The third-year player from Kentucky is one of the best scorers in the league, currently 12th overall, ahead of ahead other stars such as Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, and Victor Oladipo.

Last year he had a 70 point game in TD Garden in a loss to the Boston Celtics. He was the 11th player of all-time to score 70 or more points in a game.

The young star is making 2.6 three’s a game while shooting 38.1 percent from deep. He previously competed in this contest as a rookie in 2015-2016, losing in the final round to Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Klay Thompson

The two-time NBA champ is back competing in the JBL Three-Point Contest for the fourth year in a row. The 2015-2016 winner is one of the best two-way shooting guards in the NBA. He routinely guards the best guard on the other team while also averaging 20.3 points per game. He is leading the association in three-point percentage at 45.2. He is averaging 3.3 three’s a game for the pace and space Golden State Warriors. He is second in the league with 170 three’s made, only trailing Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

He has already cemented himself as one of the best shooters of all time with his picture perfect stroke and will try to win another trophy. He is tied for the record for most points scored in a round with teammate Stephen Curry with 27 out of the possible 34 points. He did that back in 2015-2016.

Bradley Beal

The star shooting guard for the Washington Wizards is back in the contest for second time, originally competing in the 2013-2014 contest that Italian legend Marco Belinelli won. He is averaging a career high in points this year, scoring 23.8 points per game for a Wizards team that has somewhat struggled so far this year.

He is shooting 37.4 percent from the three-point line so far this season, and has made a total of 126 three’s. Beal is also a first-time All-Star this year in now his sixth season out of Florida.

Paul George

One of the best small forwards in the NBA, Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder seem to have figured things out after a rough start to the year, sitting in 5th place in the Western Conference. George is currently leading the league in steals with 2.2 per game while also continuing to score well, averaging 21.7 points per game. He is fourth in three-pointers made with 160, and is 15th in percentage at 42.3 percent.

He has been one of the best swingman in the league since getting drafted 8 years ago from Fresno State in the 2010 NBA Draft. This will be his second time competing in the contest.

Wayne Ellington

Wayne Ellington has been known to be one of the best bench three-point specialists in the league since entering it in 2009 as a 1st round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the past two years with the Miami Heat, the ninth-year shooting guard has really exploded.

After making career high 149 three’s last year, Ellington has already broken it with 159 threes this year, fifth overall in the NBA. He is also averaging a career high 11.3 points per game while shooting 39.8 percent from beyond the arc. He has been a very good role-player for a surprising good Miami Heat team, who are currently sitting seventh in the East.

Kyle Lowry

The four-time All-Star point guard for the Toronto Raptors will be competing in his third straight three point contest. He has lost the previous two years, in 2016 to Klay Thompson and last year to Eric Gordon. Kyle Lowry has steadily improved his game over his 12 year career, going from back-up to starter to star.

The all-around point guard is averaging 16.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from deep. He has made a total of 140 three’s on the season. He and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan have helped lead the Toronto Raptors to 2nd place in the Eastern Conference so far this year.

Tobias Harris

The recently acquired small forward for the Los Angeles Clippers is having a career year, averaging 18.2 points per game between the Clippers and the Detroit Pistons. He is also shooting a career high 41.1 percent from downtown. He is also a player who has improved more and more each year at different aspects of his game.

After riding the bench his first year and a half in the league with the Milwaukee Bucks, he was shipped to the Orland Magic in the J.J. Redick deal. The Magic put him in the starting lineup and he has become a really good small forward since. He has made 116 three’s on the year, which is already a career high. This is his first time competing in the contest.

Luca’s Prediction: Wayne Ellington

Three-Point Contest

Waynee Ellington celebrates after hitting a 3 (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

This might seem like a surprise pick in a stacked field, but Wayne Ellington has a quick release and shot to win this contest. I believe he will continue adding on to a career year and take home the 2018 JBL Three-Point Contest trophy.

 

Featured photo by NBA.com

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Rasual Butler

Rest in peace Rasual Butler

The NBA community suffered a tragic loss as former NBA swingman Rasual Butler was killed in a car accident early Wednesday morning. Butler was driving with his wife, former American Idol star Leah Labelle. Labelle, 32, was an R&B singer who became famous after appearing on the third season of American Idol. This happened at around 2 a.m. in Studio City, California, when he lost control of his Range Rover and crashed into a wall.

Butler, 38, was a second round pick by the Miami Heat in the 2002 NBA Draft out of La Salle University. He starred at La Salle for 4 years, averaging 19.3 point-per game over his college career.

He was known as a 3 and D guy throughout his journeyman career, making stops in Miami, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago, Toronto, Indiana, Washington and San Antonio. He had various stops in the D-League along the way and also participated in the Big 3 league started by Ice Cube.

In the 2012-2013, Rasual Butler found himself out of the NBA. He worked hard to fight his way back, playing the whole year with the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA D-League. That effort earned himself a contract for the next season with the Indian Pacers. The year looked like it might be his last.

The next season he only received a training camp invite for the Wizards in 2014. His chances of making the team were slim to none. After an impressive preseason shooting the ball and a wrist injury to Bradley Beal, he made the team. He quickly became one of the top options off of coach Randy Wittman’s bench. He hit 91 three’s and shot 38.7 percent from distance that year, becoming one of the best three-point options off the bench that season. He retired after the 2015-2016 season with the San Antonio Spurs.

Although Rasual Butler never had a huge impact on the court, only averaging 7.5 points per game over his 13-year NBA career, he was known to reporters, coaches and teammates alike as one of the nicest and caring guys in the league. He was known for his locker-room presence and mentoring younger players. He had those intangibles you just couldn’t measure with a stat. Many former players and teammates sent condolences on twitter after the news came out.

We send our deepest condolences to Rasual and Leah’s family.

 

Featured photo by Variety Magazine

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Slam Dunk Contest

2018 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Preview

All-Star weekend is right around the corner, and with that comes the different competitions that take place before culminating with the All-Star game on Sunday February 18th. Arguably the most famous and important competition of the weekend is the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

The Slam Dunk contest will be on Saturday February 17th at 7:00pm on TNT. This year, the event is being held in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center. The Staples Center is home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers of the Western Conference.

The contest features four contestants competing against each other in front of a panel of judges and is two rounds long. In the first round, each contestant gets two attempts to dunk and impress the panel. After each dunker goes both times, the two dunkers with the highest scores will advance. The two remaining dunkers will attempt to out duel each other by getting two more chances to show off their creativity and athleticism. The winner is then decided and a champion declared.

The Dunk Contest was originally introduced in 1984 during All-Star Weekend. Larry Nance defeated the great Julius “Dr. J” Erving in Denver, Colorado in that contest.

The previous three winners of the event will not be competing due to being out for most of the year with injuries. Zach LaVine won in 2015 and 2016, but he just recently returned from an ACL tear. Glenn Robinson III won last year’s event but is out after having ankle surgery in earlier this season.

Let’s meet this year’s dunkers.

Dennis Smith Jr.

 

Slam Dunk Contest

Dennis Smith Jr. dribbles down the court (Zimbio)

Dennis Smith Jr. is a rookie point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. He was picked with the 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from North Carolina State. On the year, he is averaging 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. He is shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three.

He is one of the standout players from one of the best draft classes we have seen in a while. During his pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers, he tied a record by registering a 48-inch vertical leap. That is extremely impressive, considering the fact that his is only 6-2 . He has already proved he is one of the most athletic guards in the league with several nasty jams, including ones against the Spurs and Warriors. Expect him to break out some good ones in the contest. 

Larry Nance Jr.

The second junior we have competing in the event, Larry Nance Jr. is a third year power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was picked 27th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft out of the University of Wyoming. As previously mentioned, his dad Larry Nance won the inaugural dunk contest in 1984, so you can see where he got his hops from.

The 6-9 power forward is averaging a career high 8.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 60 percent from the field. Over the past three years, we has seen his dunks and have wondered why he has not participated/been invited to the event. Now we don’t have to wait any longer as he gets to show off his ferocious ability in this year’s contest. He has sent many players to the NBA graveyard, including David West, Kevin Durant (2x) and Brook Lopez, as seen below.

Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo is fifth year shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers. He was originally drafted 2nd overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, where he spent his first 3 years of his career. He then spent last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder before being traded to the Indiana Pacers in the Paul George blockbuster deal this past summer.

The 6-4 guard has proven that Indiana didn’t get fleeced by OKC, putting up a career high 24.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He is shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three, also career highs.

At the 2013 NBA combine, Oladipo wowed observers with a 42-inch vertical. He previously competed in the 2015 Slam Dunk Contest, where he lost to then-Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Zach LaVine. He had arguably the dunk of the year last year, slamming it on the head of center Dwight Howard.

Aaron Gordon

Last but not least, we have Aaron Gordon. Gordon is a 4th year combo forward for the Orlando Magic. He was selected 4th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft out of the University of Arizona. This year, Gordon is averaging a career high 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He is shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from three.

He is an absolutely electric athlete who can wow you with every dunk he attempts. He competed in the event and lost the past two years, so we will see if he comes up with something new to excite the crowd and impress the judges this time around. Below are his highlights from his epic duel with Zach LaVine in 2016.

Luca’s prediction: Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis Smith Jr. has enough juice to get this done. I believe he has some great dunks up his sleeve and will impress the casual fans who do not yet know how special of a talent he is. He is a smaller guard with a ton of hops and he can play that to his advantage and get the win.

Featured photo by Dan Savage/NBA.com

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Luca

“From Our Haus to Yours”