Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan

Popovich says Duncan may only miss 4-5 games

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Basically, we have no idea when Tim Duncan is coming back.

After spraining his ankle Monday night Duncan himself said two weeks. Then after looking at the MRI the team said it was between a grade 1 and 2 sprain, which would mean more like three weeks. The official diagnosis was expected when the swelling went down Thursday or Friday.

Then before the Spurs took the court Wednesday night coach Gregg Popovich made it sound like it might not be that long at all, Chris Tomasson reports on twitter.

Popovich on Tim Duncan’s ankle: “I’m hoping it won’t be that long (2 weeks). I think it will be a good four or five games for sure.”

Popovich was asked if there’s any reason to believe his injury could hamper him start of playoffs. “No, no, no,” Popovich said.

Four or five games would have Duncan back around the start of April. Whether that is accurate or not, the belief that he will not miss any playoff games is really the key point. I expect the Spurs will be extra cautious in bringing him back, but they will want him once the playoffs begin.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.