Some of the big names of the 2011 NBA Draft have had a busy summer. Josh Selby was turning a few heads at the Impact Basketball Series in Vegas the last couple weeks. Jimmer Fredette was throwing his own rookie game in Utah. Derrick Williams has been working out with Kobe Bryant. Jonas Valanciunas has looked good playing for Lithuania at EuroBasket.
No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving has been nowhere to be seen.
And that’s just what the Cavaliers wanted for the Duke star who raced back from a foot injury to play in the NCAA Tournament, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN.
During the single week that the Cavs were allowed to have contact with Irving between the time they drafted him and July 1, when the lockout’s iron veil dropped and severed any communication between players and teams, the team’s medical personnel and management met with Irving. They couldn’t really set too many terms — Irving hasn’t even signed a contract or accepted a check yet — but they strongly suggested that Irving shut it down for the summer to let his foot continue to heal….
“It was the hardest two months of my life,” Irving said. “It was hard to sit on the sidelines. Especially with the amount of exposure everyone was getting in playing in those pro-ams and being everywhere. That was different for me, not being able to work out and get better. Summertime is when my game has gone to a different level every year and that’s happened throughout my entire life. It was a learning experience.”
That foot injury — essentially turf toe — kept Irving out most of his freshman season and he only way it really heals is rest. So that’s what the doctors ordered.
But he’s good now and ready to go… if only the league were ready to go. But he might start to pop up at some events now.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.
The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR
In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”
Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.
The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.
I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.