Young NBA stars slow out of the gate

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — It’s been a bumpy ride for Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young.

The No. 5 overall pick out of Oklahoma has struggled in NBA summer League action. He made just 12 of 52 shots in three summer league games in Utah, and now, he’s shooting just 29 percent in two games Las Vegas. After showing signs of figuring things out with a 21-point, 11-assist performance against New York this past Saturday, he suffered a minor right quadriceps injury on Sunday against Portland.

It’s still just July and the sample size is small, but Young’s early struggles reflect the concerns about him being too frail, short and undisciplined to succeed in the NBA. He’ll have more chances to silence his critics, possibly on Tuesday against Chicago if he can play through his injury.

Young isn’t the only high profile rookie point guard struggling in Las Vegas, though. Second-round pick Jalen Brunson, The Associated Press National Player of the Year for Villanova, is averaging just seven points and shooting 19 percent from the field in three games for the Dallas Mavericks.

Meanwhile, Cleveland’s Collin Sexton has been on point. The eighth overall pick out of Alabama is averaging 16.7 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the field in Las Vegas.

Other rookie point guards have been shining in Las Vegas.

n Los Angeles Clippers newcomer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the 11th overall pick from Kentucky, is averaging 19.7 points and shooting 45 percent.

n Houston’s De’Anthony Melton, the 46th overall pick from USC, is posting 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 steals per contest.

n Indiana’s Aaron Holiday, the 23rd selection from UCLA, has averaged 15 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.7 steals.

Trouble for ex-player

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former NBA player Kermit Washington has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in charity donations on vacations, shopping sprees and plastic surgery for his girlfriend.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that the 66-year-old Las Vegas man was also ordered Monday to pay nearly $970,000 in restitution after pleading guilty in November to making a false statement in a tax return and aggravated identity theft.

Washington played for several NBA teams in the 1970s and 1980s. He is best known for throwing a punch that fractured Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich’s face and left him unconscious during a 1977 game. Washington was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers at the time.

Prosecutors accused Washington of using his position as representative of the National Basketball Players Association to refer professional athletes to Ronald Jack Mix, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and San Diego lawyer who specialized in workers’ compensation cases. Mix filed workers’ compensation cases for the athletes then donated about $155,000 to Washington’s charity, The Sixth Man Foundation, which did business as Project Contact Africa. Donors were told the charity was supporting work in Africa, including a medical clinic for needy families and HIV-positive children.

Players keeping Roberts

LAS VEGAS — Michele Roberts was unanimously re-elected Tuesday to another four-year term as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.

Roberts first moved into the role in 2014, about two years before the players and the league agreed on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The extension means that Roberts will almost certainly be deeply involved in negotiating whatever the next CBA will look like.

“She has been nothing short of amazing,” union president Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets said.

The union was without an executive director for more than a year before Roberts got the job, and she said overcoming the skepticism of players — who were reeling after the way Billy Hunter’s term as director came to a turbulent end — was critical to her success.

Her second term will end in 2022, when both the players and the league can decide to opt out of the current CBA. She said the union is already preparing for what the next CBA will look like.

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