Let’s travel back in our minds to 2003, when at the movie theater we were all Finding Nemo and at the NBA draft the Detroit Pistons went with Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony. We wince now (we winced then, too), but Detroit went on to win the NBA title the next season thanks to stifling defense and a team led by Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.
But dreams of what might have been if Anthony had been part of that team in 2005 and beyond still haunt Piston fans. How many titles? For sure they would still be relevant rather than rebuilding.
Now, the three-team trade talks between the Nets, Pistons and Nuggets could unite in New Jersey what Detroit fans dreamed of — Billups could move with Anthony from Denver to New Jersey, and Hamilton would join them out of Detroit.
It’s Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, who is pushing for Billups and Hamilton to go to Jersey, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. The reason is simple: Anthony does not want to take a step backwards by going to a New Jersey team that is still rebuilding, he wants to go there and be competitive in the East. We can have a debate about whether bringing in 34-year-old Billups and 32-year-old Hamilton — while sending Devin Harris and Derrick Favors out — is really smart or makes them competitive in the East, but that’s their thinking.
However, Ken Berger of CBSSports said this Detroit dream scenario is dead for now because the Nets asked Detroit to also give up a pick while taking on Johan Petro and his two-year deal. That may well have shut off talks, but there are so many scenarios and offers out there we’re hesitant to think any option could not be revived.
Berger adds that there have been talks with Minnesota to be the third team, and they are not the only team being approached. But the bottom line has not changed — Denver is taking its time and likely will drag this entire thing out until close to the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Don’t expect anything soon.
The Spurs are counting on Danny Green to regain his top-flight “3&D” form this season and give them another defender and weapon when they go up against that potential juggernaut out West. And the Clippers, too.
But that comeback is getting off to a slow start, the team announced Friday.
This likely means a little more run for Manu Ginobili and Kevin Martin to start the season, plus some funky lineups from Gregg Popovich.
Green played great defense last season but struggled from three (where 60 percent of his attempts are taken). Green shot 33.2 percent from deep on the season, which is well below his career average of 40.3 percent (and last year’s down numbers were buoyed by a red-hot January, he was much worse the rest of the season).
It’s something for Spurs fans to monitor, they need to get his legs right before his shot can return.
The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.
Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.
In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.
During the ProBasketballTalk podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown, you could hear the frustration in his voice. He has all these talented young front line players — Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor — but he can’t begin to figure out how they all fit together if he can’t get them on the court at the same time.
That problem just got worse.
The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:
During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.
The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.
That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.
This was flat out incredible.
After a back-and-forth, even series between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, it came down to the final seconds (although maybe it shouldn’t have, the WNBA admitted Friday the referees missed a call with 1:14 left, giving the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike a bucket on a shot after the shot clock expired).
The biggest stars took over at the end, as you can see in the video above: L.A.’s Candace Parker drives and scores with 19 seconds left putting the Sparks up 75-74; Minnesota responded with a Maya Moore jumper to take the lead back, then it came down to Ogwumike (the WNBA’s 2016 MVP) getting the ball after a block by Sylvia Fowles and following it up with a fadeaway bucket that gave Los Angeles the title.
Congrats to Candace Parker on the win, after how she’s been overlooked on the awards circuit in the WNBA this season, this is some sweet revenge.