Bad news on the thumb injury Miami Heat sharpshooter Mike Miller suffered in practice — he will be out until January, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
The injury was a fluke — Miller’s thumb just got caught in another player’s jersey and got pulled. He underwent a 45-minute procedure Friday to repair both a broken bone and torn ligaments. His hand will be in a cast for a month followed by a splint. Followed by plenty of rehab.
“It’s good to finally have a resolution about his injury, and now a course of action to make it better,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before what was scheduled to be his team’s exhibition finale, a Friday game in Tampa eventually canceled due to a slick court surface above the ice used by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lighting. “I feel bad for Mike. I know how badly he wanted to get this season started in the right way. He’s down right now, but it’s the unfortunate reality of our profession. I knew this season wasn’t going to be easy.”
This is a blow to the Heat, and another setback in efforts to build the cohesion with the team’s core. Miller is supposed to be the sharpshooter off the bench for the Heat, although during the preseason he has started several games due to Dwyane Wade’s strained hamstring. His ability to stretch the floor will be missed. He is the most consistent three-point shooter on the team and has hit 38.5 percent of his long balls this preseason, after hitting 48 percent last season.
How key is he? Miller was one of the first free agents the Heat went after once the Big Three were in place because they realized they needed a pure shooter to stretch the floor. They signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.
With Miller out, the less consistent but capable Eddie House will step into that role.
The Heat are now looking at options for depth at the three, including bringing in unsigned veteran Jerry Stackhouse, according to Winderman. If you think that is a good thing, you haven’t seen Stackhouse play for a couple years.
In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.
DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.
Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.
Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.
“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”
“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”
The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?
In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.
I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.
Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.
The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:
The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
Clean, simple, cool — I like it.
That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)