Daily Gossip, Thursday 2/4/15

The NBA’s wide range of international players has grown again and a new country can now be added to the growing list of nations boasting players.

SIM BHULLAR INKS 10-DAY CONTRACT WITH KINGS

Toronto-born Sim Bhullar has signed a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings but according to the team’s official release, becomes the first player of Indian descent to feature on an active NBA roster.

Via Kings PR:

The Sacramento Kings announced today that the team has signed Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. Bhullar becomes the first player of Indian descent to be on an NBA team’s regular season roster.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team when he inked a contract with the Kings on August 15, 2014. The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center was a member of the Kings squad that captured the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League title in Las Vegas.

Bhullar played for the Kings D-League affiliate Reno Bighorns and averaged 10.3 points (.727 FG%, .600 FT%), 8.8 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 25.8 minutes per game in 39 games, of which he started 17. He led the D-League in field goal percentage and blocks per game. Bhullar recorded 11 double-doubles this season and had a triple-double with 26 points (12-15 FG, 2-5 FT), 17 rebounds and 11 blocks on February 22 versus the L.A. Defenders.

On February 26, 2015, Bhullar became the first NBA D-League player to make a guest appearance on a late night talk show when he joined the “The Late Late Show” with guest host Kunal Nayyar of “The Big Bang Theory.”

In his two seasons at New Mexico State, the Aggies standout averaged 10.2 points (.633 FG%, .496 FT%), 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.9 blocks and 25.3 minutes per game in 65 career games. Bhullar was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP, helping the school reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014. As a freshman, he was named WAC Freshman of the Year after accruing averages of 10.1 points (.621 FG%, .465 FT%), 6.7 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 24.4 minutes per game for the Aggies. He set a single-season school record for most blocked shots with 85 and his .621 field goal percentage ranked fourth on the NMSU single-season list and first in the WAC in 2012-13.

MKG SECURITY: TO SUIT YOUR NEEDS 

In a bid to get Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the All-Defensive Team this season, the Charlotte Hornets have begun a campaign … MKG Security at your service.

IS OKC’S DEFENSIVE WOES A WEAKNESS?

ESPN asked if defence would be the reasoning behind Oklahoma City Thunder’s possible absence from this year’s NBA Playoffs.

I don’t think there’s a doubt about it.

Via ESPN:

Steven Adams hobbled out of the shower, dragging behind his right leg. Adams, the latest victim of the Thunder’s never-ending injury virus, sprained his right ankle on the second-to-last play of the game Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks. 

“Just going to see how it goes,” Adams said. 

What probably hurt more, though, was Adams’ pride after watching the Mavericks shred the Thunder for 135 points on 61.5 percent shooting — in regulation.

Informed the Thunder gave up 72 points in the paint, Adams was legitimately stunned.

“Seventy-two?” he said, looking at a Thunder official for confirmation. “Jesus. That’s some stuff.” 

The Thunder’s 135-131 loss to the Mavericks essentially ended any lingering aspirations of catching Dallas for the seventh seed and avoiding the Golden State Warriors in the opening round. But it also cast some more doubt back into the Thunder’s overall playoff situation, allowing the New Orleans Pelicans to claw back to within a game in the loss column (the Pelicans own the tiebreaker). 

But more disconcerting than the loss was yet another disturbing defensive performance that has been an ongoing issue the past two months. Adams chalked it up to poor communication. Thunder coach Scott Brooks suggested it was effort-based.  

Russell Westbrook copped out by saying he wanted to see the film.

Whatever the reasons are, though, it appears difficult to fix. One clear answer seems to lie in the current personnel. The Thunder are missing their defensive anchor in Serge Ibaka, who has led the league in blocks the past four seasons. They’re missing Nick Collison, who’s still one of the premier pick-and-roll defenders and communicators in the NBA. 

They’re missing Andre Roberson, who’s a rangy, versatile wing defender. 

And of course, they’re missing Kevin Durant, who for all his offensive brilliance, is quietly a high-level defender because of his size, length and versatility. 

“There are a lot of good defensive players that are not on the floor right now,” Brooks said. “But there’s no excuse. You still have to do it. We have to have everybody committed to that end of the floor and you have to do it every time down. And if you don’t, you get scored on.” 

“I don’t agree with that,” Westbrook said of the struggles being a byproduct of missing players. “I think everybody can defend at a level that’s comfortable and best for our team. That’s it.”