Remember way back to the start of the season, when John Wall missed a handful of game due to a foot injury? Probably not, because when he came back he was pretty impressive. Good enough to be second in the Rookie of the Year balloting. Dude dropped 22 assists at the All-Star weekend Rookie Challenge (including a bounce-pass ally-oop to Blake Griffin that may have been the best highlight of the weekend).
But Wall was never right.
Speaking with the Washington Post, Wall said he was never fully healthy and that held him back this season.
If he could’ve done anything differently last season, Wall said he would’ve taken his time before coming back from a foot injury he claims “was the downfall for me.” Wall sprained his left foot while contesting a jumper by Chicago’s Derrick Rose on Nov. 13, but he returned after missing just four games, only to suffer a more debilitating bone bruise in his right knee in his first game back. When asked why he rushed back from his initial injury, Wall said, “I didn’t want to disappoint anybody….”
He came off the bench in his first game back against the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 23 and led the Wizards to an overtime win, but it came at a cost. Wall tried to get into the lane, but his sore foot kept him from making the move that his mind wanted him to make, so he wound up colliding with another player. Sixers reserve Marreese Speights fell on him, contributing to a deep bone bruise in his right knee that Wall said limited him to being no better than “85 percent” the rest of the season.
We may see Wall take a big leap next season. Point guard is one of the hardest spots to learn in the NBA, and Wall got a real education out of his rookie season. Combine that with him being fully healthy and a little more explosive, and we could see a lot more Wall highlights.
Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Game 3 dunk over Aron Baynes was great.
Antetokounmpo’s Game 4 dunk over Al Horford (seen above) is even better, because of the fantastic mean mug that followed.
The rise of Antetokounmpo is no accident. He worked hard to develop his on-court skills. And that includes all aspects.
Suns forward Jared Dudley, who played with Antetokounmpo on the 2014-15 Bucks:
This is the inside info we need.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’
Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.
But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.
When Kristaps Porzingis returns is the biggest variable. But Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke are all in their primes. Atlanta is much thinner.
The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.
The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.
Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.
So he is going home.
Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.
Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).
At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.
Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.
Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.
Never change Lance. Never change.