Chauncey Billups is 35 years old and wasn’t really the guy anyone pictured leading a high-octane offense when he was 25. But there he will be whenever next season starts, as the point guard for Mike D’Antoni’s New York Knicks.
That was hampered last season by a strained left knee that made it harder and more painful to play at the pace the Knicks were expected to be at.
Chauncey Billups says the knee is “completely healed.” Says he has been working hard on it for two or three weeks.
The Knicks are going to be an interesting team to watch next season. They could have used a full training camp to really meld, something that didn’t happen last season. (What, you think camps will not be condensed? We told you not to take the red pill.) They could have used a full training camp to get used to playing Mike Woodson’s defense. We have no idea what they will (or can) do in free agency but they need a big to protect the rim on defense and grab some boards. They have a long way to go to catch the Heat and Bulls, or even the Celtics.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
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