Brandon Knight has been avoiding going head-to-head in workouts against the other top guards in the run-up to next week’s NBA draft. If you want to see how he looks against Kemba Walker, pull out the take of the Kentucky against UConn Final Four matchup, because you will not be seeing it in a workout.
So it comes with a bit of irony that the day after Walker and Jimmer Fredette went at it head-to-head so the Utah Jazz could watch, Knight came to town to work out for the Jazz. Alone. He really looked good spinning around the chair on the floor, and if the Celtics go to that on defense Knight is going to put up big numbers.
Then Knight called out Kyrie Irving, essentially saying Irving was ducking him, according o the Salt Lake Tribune (via SLAM).
“The guy I’m trying to work out against is Kyrie Irving,” said Knight, referring to the former Duke point guard widely expected to be taken No. 1 overall by Cleveland.
Irving is not working out for anyone but the Cavs and not against anyone else. You know why? He’s the No. 1 pick. The clear No. 1 pick despite what comes out of Derrick Williams camp. Workouts only hurt him, don’t help. Him not working out is a smart strategy.
Knight… there are questions. He can score but there are questions about him at the point — he is more Tyreke Evans score-first than John Wall pass-first. A lot of people think he’s a combo guard. His left hand is questionable.
But honestly, it’s a smart strategy for him not to go head-to-head either. He’s not as strong physically as Kemba Walker and it would show up in workouts. His passing skills would be put to a difficult test. Again, there’s a bigger chance he gets hurt by workouts rather than helped. So his agent tells him to take the safe road.
That’s one reason the Jazz are still expected to take Knight No. 3 (that and the Jazz need a point guard now).
That’s fine. It’s part of the game. But you can’t call out Irving for the same thing. Unless you enjoy irony.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.