Former KU forward Thomas Robinson waived by NBA’s Atlanta Hawks; SI.com lists Lawson

Thomas Robinson was taken in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Kansas. | File photo

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Former University of Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson was cut by the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, the team announced.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Robinson, 27, averaged 3.3 points and 5.7 minutes per game in three exhibition contests for the Hawks. C.J. Anderson and R.J. Hunter also were waived on Saturday by Atlanta.

“At the outset, it appeared at least possible that Robinson would have a chance to make Atlanta’s roster, particularly given the team’s injuries and lack of frontcourt depth,” writes Brad Rowland of peachtreehooops.com. “However, the former No. 5 overall pick (in 2012 draft) appeared in only limited duty in three preseason games, leaving very little room to make an on-court impression.”

Robinson, a native of Washington, D.C., has played for six teams (Sacramento, Houston, Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Los Angeles Lakers) in five NBA seasons. He averaged 12 minutes a game in 48 games in 2016-17 for the Lakers, then spent last season playing for BC Khimki of the Russian United League.

It is possible Robinson could wind up playing for the Hawks’ G-League team in Erie, Pa., according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team opened training camp with 15 guaranteed contracts, which made some wonder why Robinson signed a training camp contract with Atlanta.

Lawson on player of year list

Kansas junior forward Dedric Lawson is listed as the fourth-leading candidate for national college basketball player of the year honors by Sports Illustrated.

Luke Maye of North Carolina is No. 1, followed by R.J. Barrett of Duke and Carson Edwards of Purdue.

“A transfer hasn’t won player of the year since Larry Johnson in 1991. Lawson is a legitimate threat to change that,” writes Will Ragatz of SI.com. “The former Memphis star will get to showcase his incredible array of skills on a national scale as the best player on what should be an outstanding Kansas team. He’s a dominant scorer and rebounder on the interior, but also has guard-like handles and the ability to hit mid-range shots, something he’ll get plenty of opportunities to do with Udoka Azubuike clogging the paint.

“Lawson has reportedly been working on his three-point shot. If he can improve on his career mark of 30 percent from deep, the sky is the limit,” Ragatz adds. “Expect Lawson to be the focal point of the Jayhawk offense right away. The concern with Lawson is his lack of elite athleticism, which is harder to overcome against frontcourts in the Big 12 than in the AAC.”

SI.com ranks Caleb Martin of Nevada at No. 5, followed by Syracuse’s Tyus Battle, Duke’s Zion Williamson, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, Indiana’s Romeo Langford and Marquette’s Markus Howard.

Svi, Devonté finish preseason

Former KU guards Devonté Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk presented strong cases for meaningful regular-season minutes on Friday in the final preseason games for the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers respectively.

Graham, a 6-foot-2 Hornets rookie from Raleigh, N.C., scored 15 points off the bench in 18 minutes in Friday’s 123-118 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. He hit 5 of 6 shots and was 2 of 3 from three with four assists.

Mykhailiuk, a 6-8 rookie from Ukraine, scored 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting (2 of 5 from three) with four assists in 31 minutes off the bench in the Lakers’ 119-105 road win over the Golden State Warriors.

“We started Devonté the second half. He ran the team well, made some big shots, made some big plays. Great experience for him. Overall good preseason for the young guys,” Hornets coach James Borrego said after Friday’s game as quoted on the team’s website.

Graham, who averaged 6.6 points on 54.5 percent shooting (12 of 22 overall; 4 of 10 from three) and 1.8 assists in five preseason games, likely will start the 2018-19 season as the Hornets’ No. 3 point guard behind Kemba Walker and Tony Parker. It’s still possible he could spend some time with the G-League’s Greensboro Swarm.

Mykhailiuk, just like Graham, averaged an identical 6.6 points (1.4 assists) in five preseason games for the Lakers. He hit 11 of 30 shots for 36.7 percent and was 3 of 12 from three for 25 percent. He had just five rebounds total in five games.

“After looking like a complete steal in at NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League tournament in July, Mykhailiuk fell back to earth in the preseason,” writes Christian Rivas of silverscreenandroll.com. “Hopefully Friday’s game was the start of Mykhailiuk’s road back to the regular season rotation.”

“It is my first year. What I hope is to help the team as much as I can, whether or not I play. But above all, to be a good teammate,” Mykhailiuk told Lakersnation.com. “I do not know how much I’m going to play, I have no expectations..”

The Lakers have depth on the wing with superstar LeBron James, plus Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Lance Stephenson. They are all expected to be ahead of Svi, who could also spend some time in the G-League.

According to spotrac.com, “Graham signed a three-year, $4,069,177 contract with the Charlotte Hornets, including $2,405,316 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $1,356,392. In 2018-19, Graham will earn a base salary of $988,464, while carrying a cap hit of $988,464 and a dead cap value of $2,405,316.”

As far as Mykhailiuk, spotrac.com indicates: “Mykhailiuk signed a three-year, $4,568,407 contract with the Lakers, including $1,487,694 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $1,522,802. In 2018-19, Mykhailiuk will earn a base salary of $1,487,694, while carrying a cap hit of $1,487,694 and a dead cap value of $1,487,694.”

Sioux Falls obtains rights to Ellis

The Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA G-League has acquired the rights to former Kansas forward Perry Ellis from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for the rights to guard Ike Nwamu, the NBA G-League announced recently.

The 6-foot-8 Ellis, however, has no immediate plans to return to the U.S. He’s playing for Oliver Wurzburg, a professional basketball team based in Germany. His pay in Germany is undisclosed, but reportedly much higher than the amount he’d make in the G-League.

Ellis, who was not taken in the 2016 NBA Draft, played 50 games with the Greensboro Swarm of the G-League in 2016-17, averaging 9.8 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. Ellis spent last season with the Sydney Kings in Australia and Red October Cantu in the Italian League. He averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 boards in 27 games for Sydney and 7.1 points and 4.9 boards in 14 games for Cantu. Ellis, a two-time first-team all-Big 12 pick, averaged 16.9 points and 5.8 rebounds a game his senior season at KU.

Newman will play in Sioux Falls

Former Kansas guard Malik Newman signed an NBA G-League contract with the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Wednesday, Adam Johnson of “2 Ways and 10 Days” reports.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard was cut by the Miami Heat last week. He’s designated an “affiliate player” of the Heat if he’s not claimed by another NBA team.

Newman scored four points, grabbed two rebounds with one assist while playing a total of 21 minutes in two Miami Heat exhibition games.

Undrafted, Newman signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on July 2. He was cut three weeks later after averaging 3.2 points in limited duty for the Lakers in summer-league action. It has been speculated Newman’s future in the pros is at point guard, not shooting guard which he played in college.

Robinson-Earl visiting Zona

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl this weekend is making his fifth and final campus visit — this one to Arizona.

Robinson-Earl, a 6-9, 235-pound senior forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., who is ranked No. 10 in the Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, has already visited KU, North Carolina, Villanova and Notre Dame. He’s joined on the Arizona visit by KU recruiting target Zeke Nnaji, a 6-10 senior forward from Hopkins (Minn.) High, who is ranked No. 37 in the Class of 2019 by Rivals.com. Nnaji made an official recruiting visit to KU on Oct. 5-7. He also has UCLA, Baylor and Purdue on his final list of five.

R.J. Hampton, a 6-5 junior combo guard from Little Elm (Texas) High School, who is ranked No. 5 in the Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, attended Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness event on Friday night. He also is considering KU, Duke, North Carolina, Baylor, Memphis and others.

N’Faly Dante, a 6-10 junior forward who is considering KU, Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma State and others, is visiting Oregon this weekend. He’s ranked No. 7 in the Class of 2020 by Rivals.com.


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