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Georgia Tech #ProJackets Basketball Report

THE FLATSJose Alvarado talks about new contract and the art of creating steals … Josh Okogie’s selfless season big factor in Timberwolves’ run to the NBA playoffs … Marcus Georges-Hunt and the Skyhawks eliminated from G League playoffs … more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.

PLAYOFF PICTURE – Alvarado and the Pelicans currently projected No. 9 seed, Okogie and Timberwolves No. 7 seed, as Western Conference participants in play-in tournament … Thaddeus Young and Raptors projected at No. 5 seed from the Eastern Conference.

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ALVARADO ON NEW CONTRACT, CREATING STEALS

Jose Alvarado is a perfect example of how quickly life can change in the NBA.

Around Christmas, Alvarado, an undrafted rookie, was on a two-way contract and spent most of his time riding the bench. There weren’t many NBA fans outside of New Orleans who could identify who he was if the Pelicans showed his picture on the video screen at a game.

Just a few months later, he’s turned into one of the most talked-about players on the Pelicans roster. His jersey is being sold at Smoothie King Center during home games, his sneaky backcourt steals have gone viral across several social media platforms and he’s quickly turned into a fan favorite because of his energetic and joyous style of play.

The funny steal videos and dancing on the sideline may convince some people that Alvarado is only a gimmick. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alvarado has game — and he’s been in the news lately because he did something all NBA players love to do: sign a new contract. On March 28, Alvarado and the Pelicans agreed to a four-year, $6.5 million deal that eliminated his two-way status and locked in his spot on the roster for years to come.

Alvarado’s emergence has turned into one of the best stories to come out of this rollercoaster season, and he’s given the Pelicans a steady option at one of the most important positions in the game.

More from The Athletic

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PLANNING FOR ALVARADO, CRAFTY DEFENDER

The NBA is 75 years old, but it can still deliver surprises.

Take New Orleans Pelicans coach Willie Green’s unusual request before tipoff against the Clippers on Sunday that the NBA refrain from featuring one of his players in its highlight packages.

And then there’s the reason for that wish: Jose Alvarado.

“Grand Theft Alvarado,” as the Pelicans’ rookie guard is affectionately known, is playing a innovative version of hide-and-seek that keeps successfully resulting in steals and turnovers.

A steal is part of the game, but the way Alvarado does it, his are more like well-planned heists.

More from the Pasadena Star News

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IN APPRECIATION OF JOSH OKOGIE’S SELFLESS SEASON

Josh Okogie is in his fourth season with the Wolves, the second-longest tenured player on the team behind Karl-Anthony Towns. He is a proud man who participated in the Olympics with the Nigerian basketball team and entered this season with hopes of being a fixture on a playoff team for the first time in his career. After starting the first three games of the season, Okogie had essentially fallen out of the rotation by then, which could have made him surly and irritable.

There was no grumbling. No sighs of exasperation. And when he took the floor that night, he didn’t see any playing time for a fifth straight game. But he went through an elaborate little dance routine with support staff before pregame introductions, remained engaged on the bench and waited for his chance because you never know when it’s going to arrive.

It arrived on Sunday at the end of a long, oddly juxtaposed, four-game road trip in Boston, Toronto, Denver and Houston. Not exactly geographically straightforward. Two days after a thrilling, exhausting victory against the Nuggets, the Wolves came to Houston road-weary and probably weren’t expecting much of a fight from the tanking RocketsPatrick Beverley was given the night off to rest a bothersome ankle, and Chris Finch knew his team would need to find a little boost from somewhere. So he turned to Okogie.

Okogie, meanwhile, got 16:15 of playing time, his first non-mop-up duty in almost a month. He made three of his four shots, scored 11 points, swiped two steals and cut to the basket so hard and effectively that he generated six free-throw attempts, making five.

More from The Athletic

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SKYHAWKS ELIMINATED FROM G LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

Despite 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from Marcus Georges-Hunt, the College Park Skyhawks lost to the Capital City Go-Go, 131-122, in a one-game elimination quarterfinal of the G-League playoffs Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Justin Tillman led the Skyhawks with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Sharife Cooper added 19 points and 13 assists. They were two of seven players in double figure scoring with Georges-Hunt, A.J. Lawson (11 points), Langston Galloway (14 points), DaQuan Jeffries (16 points) and Malik Ellison (10 points).

The College Park Skyhawks wrapped up their first complete season in the G League with a 20-13 regular-season record, that included an 11-game win streak to clinch their first playoff berth. Georges-Hunt scored a team-high 23 points, the fifth time he has scored at least 20 points this season, to help the Skyhawks clinch the playoff berth in a win over the Grand Rapids Gold. He matched his career high with five made threes.

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James Banks and Moses Wright with Texas Legends

Photos by Anthony McClellan

#ProJackets on Social Media

#PROJACKETS IN THE NBA/G LEAGUE IN 2023-24

PLAYERDATANUMBERSTEAM
JOSE ALVARADO
Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Number: 15
NBA Experience: 3rd year
Years at Georgia Tech: 2017-21
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Status: Active
6-0, 179 lbs
2023-24 Stats
7.0 ppg
2.2 rpg
2.0 apg
40.6% FG
Record: 47-32
Standing: 6th place, -8.0 GB
Streak: W2
Last 10: 5-5
JAMES BANKS III
Team: Maine Celtics
Number: 5
G League Experience: 3rd year
Years at Georgia Tech: 2018-20
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Status: Active
6-10, 250 lbs
2023-24 Stats
5.5 ppg
5.3 rpg
1.7 bpg
54.2% FG
Record: 21-13
Standing: 2nd place, -1.0 GB
Streak: W1
Last 10: 8-2
MICHAEL DEVOE
Team: Memphis Hustle
Number: 10
G League Experience: 2nd year
Years at Georgia Tech: 2017-21
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Status: Active
6-4, 183 lbs
2023-24 Stats
14.8 ppg
3.8 rpg
3.0 apg
47.4% FG
Record: 15-19
Standing: 12th, -9.0 GB
Streak: W1
Last 10: 3-7
DERRICK FAVORS
Team: Windy City Bulls (G League)
Number: 14
NBA Experience: 12 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2009-10
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Status: Active
6-9, 265 lbs
2023-24 Stats
5.6 ppg
4.6 rpg
0.7 bpg
66.7% FG
Record: 15-19
Standing: 13th place, -7.0 GB
Streak: L1
Last 10: 4-6
JOSH OKOGIE
Team: Phoenix Suns
Number: 2
NBA Experience: 5 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2016-18
Hometown: Snellville, Ga.
Status: Active
6-4, 213 lbs
2023-24 Stats
4.7 ppg
2.6 rpg
1.1 apg
41.4% FG
Record: 46-33
Standing: 7th place, -9.0 GB
Streak: L2
Last 10: 6-4
THADDEUS YOUNG
Team: free agent
Number: 30
NBA Experience: 16 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2006-07
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Status: Active
6-8, 235 lbs
2023-24 Stats
4.3 ppg
3.2 rpg
1.8 apg
60.6% FG
Record: 46-33
Standing: 7th place, -9.0 GB
Streak: L2
Last 10: 6-4

Georgia Tech #ProJackets Eurobasket Report

Courtesy of Eurobasket LLC

Adam Smith (6’1”-PG-1992, graduated ‘2016, plays pro in Israel) led Hapoel UNET Holon to a victory over the seventh-ranked Hapoel Tel-Aviv (11-11) crushing them 99-77 in the Israeli Winner League on Monday night. He was MVP of the game. Smith recorded 38 points (!!!) and grabbed 4 rebounds in 33 minutes; quite an impressive performance considering it’s only his first season in pro basketball. Hapoel UNET Holon (14-8) is placed third in the Winner League. The Regular Season already ended. Smith has relatively good stats this season 13.2ppg, 1.7rpg and 1.5apg.

Jose Alvarado (6’0”-PG-1998, graduated ‘2021, plays in the NBA) could not help the New Orleans Pelicans (34-43) in their last game. Despite Alvarado’s very good performance the New Orleans Pelicans (34-43) lost107-103on the road to the San Antonio Spurs. He was the second best scorer with 23 points. Alvarado also added 5 rebounds and 5 assists; not bad, considering it’s only his first season in pro basketball. This year Alvarado averages 6.0ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.7apg and 1.3spg in 49 games he played so far.

Joshua Heath (6’1”-PG-1994, graduated ‘2017, currently in Belgium) was the main contributor in a Stella Artois Leuven Bears’ victory against the closely-ranked Groningen (2-3) 72-68 in the BNXT League last Saturday. He was MVP of the game. Heath scored 20 points, made 6 passes and 3 steals in 39 minutes. It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Stella Artois Leuven Bears (4-1) is placed third in the BNXT League. It was his team’s third consecutive victory in a row. Heath has relatively good stats this season 14.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 6.4apg and 1.7spg.

Gani Lawal (6’9”-F/C-1988, graduated ‘2010, plays pro in France) was not able to help Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (1-1) in their last game. Despite Lawal’s very good performance Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket lost90-80in Levallois to the higher-ranked (#4) Metropolitans. He was the top scorer with 26 points. Lawal also added 5 rebounds and made 2 blocks. Lawal has relatively good stats this year 13.0ppg and 5.9rpg in 25 games. He is a naturalized Nigerian.

Alade Aminu (6’10”-F/C-1987, graduated ‘2009, plays in Iran) contributed to Chemidor’s victory against the third-ranked Kerman (11-9) 81-71 in the Iranian Superleague in Saturday night’s game. He recorded 12 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 26 minutes. It was the game of the round between two top 3 ranked teams in Group E. Chemidor Tehran (18-2) is placed first. It was his team’s sixth consecutive victory in a row. Aminu has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages 15.9ppg, 9.8rpg, 1.2apg and 1.4spg.

Thaddeus Young (6’8”-F-1988, graduated ‘2007, currently in the NBA) contributed to a 3-point Toronto Raptors’ victory against the Boston Celtics 115-112 in the NBA last Monday. Young scored 12 points, had 8 rebounds, passed 3 assists and added 3 blocks. This year Young averages 6.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.6apg and 1.2spg in 20 games.

Moses Wright (6’9”-F-1998, graduated ‘2021, plays pro in the NBA G League) was the major contributor in a Texas Legends’ victory against the Austin Spurs 106-99 in the NBA G League on Saturday night. He recorded a double-double by scoring 25 points and getting 13 rebounds in 38 minutes. This season Wright has very high stats. He averages 22.8ppg, 10.5rpg, 1.7apg and 1.3bpg.

Ben Lammers (6’10”-C-1995, graduated ‘2018, plays in Germany) contributed to an ALBA Berlin’s victory against the closely-ranked Fenerbahce 66-57 in the Euroleague in Tuesday night’s game. Lammers scored 6 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. This year Lammers averages 6.8ppg and 3.2rpg in 24 games.

Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”-F-1994, graduated ‘2016, currently in the NBA G League) contributed to a College Park SkyHawks’ victory against the Lakeland Magic 140-136 in the NBA G League last Tuesday. Georges-Hunt scored 27 points (!!!), had 5 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 33 minutes. Georges-Hunt has relatively good stats this season 12.8ppg, 5.2rpg and 2.7apg. He is a naturalized Virgin Islander.

Brandon Alston (6’5”-G-1995, graduated ‘2019, plays pro in Czech Republic) helped Decin win their game against the fourth-ranked GBA Fio banka 87-73 in the Czech Republic NBL on Wednesday night. He recorded 17 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. Alston has very impressive stats this year 16.3ppg, 3.7rpg and 2.7apg in three games.

 

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