Ernie Grunfeld thinks that John Wall should have won the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year Award last season. That would be a pretty controversial statement if taken out of context, but the Wizards president made it clear that he didn’t think that Wall had a better year than Blake Griffin, who was the unanimous winner of the award. He simply thinks that Griffin, who was drafted in 2009, should not have been eligible for last year’s Rookie of the Year prize:
While discussing the Wizards’ prospects in the draft lottery, Grunfeld expressed his excitement with picking Wall as the franchise cornerstone last summer and said, “He should’ve been rookie of the year…except for the rule of a second-year player being eligible…
Grunfeld said the difference [between Griffin and Larry Bird and David Robinson, who also won Rookie of the Year awards despite not going directly to the NBA] was that Griffin actually spent a year in an NBA environment before making his debut in a regular season game. “Last year, I think Blake did play in a couple of preseason games and he traveled with his team, so he got a feel first. But that’s the rule, and he was deserving, obviously. He had a tremendous year. I thought John had a terrific year, also.”
Obviously, this is essentially pure semantics. Wall had the best year of any player drafted in 2010, and Griffin had the best year of any player who made his NBA debut in the 2010-11 season. Grunfeld seems to get that, both Wall and Griffin are breathtaking young talents, and this isn’t really a controversy. Grunfeld’s Wizards are projected to get the 4th overall pick after the draft lottery tonight, and have an 11.9% chance of getting the #1 overall pick for the second year in a row. Wall will be the Wizards’ draft representative at the lottery.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.