It’s been obvious for some time now that Robin Lopez is quite important to the Phoenix Suns, but he’s even more so after the Suns took a 3-2 series lead over the Blazers last night. With just one win between Phoenix from the second round of the playoffs, I think it’s a bit natural to look forward and see what could be ahead for the Suns.
Hint: it’s big and bad, black and silver, and beats up Phoenix on the regular.
Should the Phoenix-Portland and Dallas-San Antonio series’ go to the teams that currently have the advantage, the Suns will find themselves again matched up with the Spurs. Oh yeah, and those Spurs? They happen to have a hall-of-fame power forward/center (whatever) that will be able to pick the Suns apart from the inside if Phoenix can’t shore up their interior defense pretty quickly.
A month after coming out of a game because of a twinge in his back and numbness in his legs, Suns center Robin Lopez was on the court Monday, taking his first contact since then.
Another checkup for Lopez’s rehabilitation for a bulging disk cleared him for more work this week after a good week of running and jumping on the court. Lopez will not return this series but is a possibility to play if the Suns advance. “As long as there’s no setback, which there haven’t been, you continue to ramp it up,” Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said. “The biggest thing is for him to respond well to the activity.”
Considering that Lopez is still recovering, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Portland to win Game 6. Or Dallas to win Games 5 and 6. Or a series of other bizarre events to transpire that would somehow hold off the second round until Robin is ready to make his return. Phoenix shouldn’t necessarily like their odds against San Antonio with Lopez, but without him? Things could get awfully messy.
Report: Danny Ferry not expected to supplant Dell Demps as Pelicans GM
Don’t look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.
I’m skeptical. Nobody wants to acknowledge an internal coup before it’s executed. Doing so would create a terrible workplace environment until it happens or if it doesn’t.
The Pelicans’ ownership situation makes this a little more tricky. There’s an apparent desire in New Orleans to win quickly for an aging Benson, and that directive has limited Demps’ flexibility.
Still, Demps’ plans have mostly busted. Eventually, he’ll run out of chances to try new ones.
If that happens soon, when the Pelicans search for a replacement, Ferry will be right there with an impressive record building up Atlanta and no stains that make him unhirable to New Orleans. Would the Pelicans, who thought enough of him to hire him once already, really not consider promoting him?
Report: Potential top-10 pick, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, undergoes season-ending knee surgery
Indiana Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby will undergo right knee surgery and miss the rest of the NCAA season, sources told The Vertical.
The 6-foot-8 small forward is a versatile defender. He has grown as a shooter, and there’s hope he could become a 3-and-D player – or, given his athleticism, maybe more.
Anunoby wasn’t in the top tier of prospects in a loaded 2017 NBA draft, but he was headed toward the lottery, maybe even the top 10. How he recovers from this injury will factor significantly into his draft stock now.
On the bright side, this is less opportunity for scouts to pick apart his raw offense (though it’s also less opportunity for Anunoby to develop).
NBA: Mavericks got away with key late foul in win over Bulls
Curry (DAL) clamps the arm of Lopez (CHI) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
A correct call would’ve put Dallas in the penalty and sent Lopez – who has made 66% of his free throws this season and and 76% for his career – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only was Lopez denied his free throws, he committed a frustration foul on Dirk Nowitzki – who grabbed the rebound with help of Curry – moments later. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws.
We’ll never know how the rest of the game would’ve played out after a correct call, but a swing of 1-to-3 points is pretty big in a one-point game.