The NBA knows what you want. That’s why it’s FANtastic! So when Commissioner Stern searched through the deepest, darkest recesses of the collective fan unconscious, and has given every basketball enthusiast what they really, truly desire: a ton of Washington Wizards game in as short of a stretch as possible.
Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
…eventually, the Wizards were going to have to deal with the hoopocalypse — a grueling avalanche of games that finds them playing five times in six nights in four different cities. After playing their rescheduled game against the Hawks on Thursday at Verizon Center, they will face Detroit in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Friday and host the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Then, after playing a rare back-to-back-to-back set, the Wizards will travel to play back-to-back road games in Utah and Denver.
“The rock star tour,” Saunders joked. “We’re going total AAU basketball after this. Games every day.”
No team has been forced to play this many games in such a close period of time since the lockout-shortened season in 1998-99, when the league had to cram a 50-game schedule into four months.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.