Derek Fisher

Report: Fisher sent players text saying to be physically ready for season

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If you believe that if there’s smoke, there’s fire, then this post is going to make you pretty happy about the state of affairs in the NBA lockout discussions. If you’re the type that believes if there’s fire, there’s fire, then this will simply give you something else to consider as nothing but white noise.

SI reports that off the heels of last week’s positive news about the CBA negotiations, Derek Fisher sent a text to indicate to the players the tone of the talks and it’s good:

On the heels of Roger Mason’s now-infamous tweet in which the NBPA vice president wrote, “Looking like a season. How u,” but later claimed his account was hacked, one league source claims that union president Derek Fisher text-messaged numerous players last week indicating that some progress had been made and imploring them to be physically prepared just in case the season started on time.

via NBA players storm Las Vegas for Impact League, union meeting – Sam Amick –

So that’s pretty good stuff.

The problem remains, though. The owners haven’t sent a new proposal. Until they do, there’s nothing for the players to evaluate. If the owners elect not to send a proposal on Tuesday, or if they send the same “lay down and submit” proposal they’ve been sending, this thing’s going to fall apart. And if it does, it’s likely both sides will take another prolonged break, this one until possibly October. Which means no preseason and we’re officially in danger of losing games. Text messages are great. Accidental tweets are good. Comments from both sides have been positive, or at least, less negative.

But nothing changes unless a substantive result comes out of talks this week. Otherwise, this is just table-setting on the Titanic.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.