According to Darnell Mayberry, James Harden could be out for the next four weeks after straining his right hamstring.
Harden’s injury has some pretty significant playoff implications for the Thunder, though it shouldn’t affect their claim to a post-season berth; OKC is a full six games ahead of 9th place Memphis, meaning it would take a serious slide by the Thunder to fall out of the playoff picture altogether.
But the next few weeks are crucial for playoff squads still looking to fine-tune their rotations and establish some momentum headed into April. That definitely applies to OKC, a team which not only has to deal with the normal pressures and trials associated with post-season basketball, but must also conquer their inexperience (though they refuse to show it on a nightly basis), a factor which could certainly affect their performance come playoff time.
This is certainly an important time for the Thunder, and though Kyle Weaver recently returned to the team from a stint with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers (in which he averaged 12.4 points, 7.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks in 42.6 minutes, per Royce Young of Daily Thunder), the biggest problem isn’t replacing Harden’s production now. It’s whether or not he’ll fit seamlessly back into the rotation in a month’s time, and whether or not he’ll be healthy enough to contribute to the Thunder’s playoff run.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.