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.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings — this season the team gets outscored by 10 points per 100 possessions when he is off the court — and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).