Gavin Maloof: "We have our LeBron James"

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Thumbnail image for evans_game.jpgYou know who Tyreke Evans is. You know how insanely good he is. You’re smart, obviously, since you read this blog (and probably good looking and rich, that’s just the demographic we roll with here). And at PBT we give Evans an undo amount of love. An almost uncomfortable amount.

Sacramento Kings owner Gavin Maloof has that love too — he knows what his franchise has got. The Kings have the piece you can build around, the hardest part of the rebuilding process to get. But while you and I and Gavin are on the same page, he told KHTK in Sacramento he still has some selling to do to the casual fan.

Often times people off the street will say why didn’t you get Kobe, or why didn’t you get LeBron? We already have a Kobe or a LeBron! We have Tyreke Evans! This guy’s that good! So we’re trying to get home the point how really, really great this kid is now and how great he’s going to be. What his brothers tell me is he’s going to work really, really hard on his jumpshot, he’s going to take some time off after this season probably and then it’s back to work.

Gavin, if I can call you that, we both love Tyreke and his game, so I say this coming from a place of love — don’t compare Evans to LeBron or Kobe. He’s very good, but Kobe has been killing it for more than a decade and has a handful of rings, while LeBron is the best player on the planet today. Love Tyreke, let’s not go overboard here.

But the point is what it’s going to take to get the casual fan back is not just Evans, but also a better team around Evans. A team that goes the playoffs, maybe makes it out of the first round. One that wins. And that takes time to build. Evans has to improve, the team around him has to improve.

But the casual fans in Sacramento and around the league will come around. He is that good. And hopefully the team will too (in Sacramento, nowhere else). 

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.