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.
LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.
He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.
Enter Elfrid Payton.
During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.
Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.
That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.
Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.
For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.
In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”
Well, today is that day.
Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.
Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.
This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.
Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.
NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.
Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.
The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.
Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.
My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).
There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.
That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.
Bring on February!
LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.
During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.
The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.
I mean, that’s just … insane.