This is the nightmare scenario, for both teams and players.
Nuggets swingman J.R. Smith has apparently suffered a knee injury in his first game for his Chinese team, Zhejiang. It was a non-contact injury as he cut into the lane. We do not yet know the extent of the injury (you can watch the video below) but according to NuiBBall.com he could not walk on his own and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Smith would have been a free agent after his stint in China and would have been sought after as probably the best scoring guard available in this free agent class. The Nuggets were expected to try to keep him but a lot of teams could use a potential sixth man of the year like Smith, so he would have been in demand.
If this is a serious injury, it could keep him out for most if not all of this coming season. It also would put a real damper on his ability to get that big next contract, what likely would have been the biggest of his career.
It is the risk players have going overseas (and why them getting insurance for their deals has been a big deal). It’s the risk owners run as more and more players look overseas, key cogs in their future could be injured and set back.
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.