Nuggets guard Smith celebrates a three-point shot in their NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Denver

J.R. Smith learning the good, bad of playing in China


The Chinese Basketball Association has an insanely high turnover rate for Western players who sign on. The basketball is different, but more so it’s the radical culture change that players struggle with, things like the food.

J.R. Smith is getting some of that, but he’s adjusting.

A fascinating post over at breaks down the good and the bad of being Smith, the most famous — and best — player in the Chinese league.

The good:

As the biggest name in team history, Smith also gets the best treatment. The team has hired a cook and two translators especially for him. For his relocation, Smith brought about 20 pieces of luggage, and the club arranged a room especially for those bags.

The bad:

Smith’s initial experience in China was not that good. The first problem was the time difference. On his first day in China, Smith woke up at 2 a.m. and found himself in such a strange environment, he didn’t know what to do.

He wanted to send a Twitter update, but encountered problems because Twitter is blocked in China. At last, he found a way to tweet through his Blackberry: “Dear China, the fact that u won’t let me work my Skype on my desktop or twitter is really pissing me off.” Then another one: “Not even YouTube wow this is ass!”

Smith is not going anywhere. His goal, he says, is to go Oscar Robertson and average a triple-double on the season. What’s more, when there is an NBA season Smith gets to come back as a free agent who could tip the balance of power. Well, let’s just hope there is a season to come back to.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.