UPDATE 3:38 pm: Lopez will not play in game one, saying there is too much weakness in his leg, according to Paul Coro. He did practice and has said he hopes to return later in the series.
No Lopez is a plus for the Spurs, who will try to slow the game down and pound the ball into the paint.
8:32 am: Against a team with Tim Duncan and the suddenly and the rejuvenated Antonio McDyess, the Phoenix Suns are going to need some size to complete.
Enter Robin Lopez.
The injured center went through a second full court practice on Sunday and should be activated for Monday night’s game one, as the Arizona Republic reports.
“He was fine,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “He’s just making progress. Baby steps. He’s better this week than he was last week so I think that’s a positive.”
Asked if he played any full-court action today, Gentry said, “He did some. As I said, he made some progress. I wouldn’t count on him playing 30 minutes tomorrow, no.”
It all depends on how he feels Monday morning (doctors will take a look at him then). If he is a go any time on the court would help in a game where the Spurs game plan will be to pound the soft underbelly of the Suns inside.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.