John Wall’s growth stunted by lack of veterans around him

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John Wall was everybody’s pick to have a breakout season, so much so that during preseason prediction season it felt like you had to choose someone else and not take the obvious route.

So far the Wizards are 0-4 and Wall has been pedestrian. He’s only shooting 32 percent on the year — not only is his jumper off he’s not finishing at the rim like he used to — and his assist percentages are down as the Wizards offense looks stagnant.

With the Wizards playing the Celtics back-to-back, you can see the veteran influence that having Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce around him have made on Rajon Rondo. The kind of learning that Wall lacks, A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com points out.

The average Celtic is 28.5 years old, while the average Wizards (0-4) player is 25 years old. The gap is even wider when you compare the C’s starters are 32.6 years of age compared to 25.4 for the Wizards.

“Rondo really developed his first three years,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders. “You hope that John can continue, as far as doing those things….

“Rondo came into a situation with 3 Hall of Fame players,” Saunders said. “(Ray) Allen, (Kevin) Garnett and (Paul) Pierce are all going to be hall of fame players. John didn’t walk into that type of situation. John has more pressure on him.”

Wall’s pressure is that he has to force things and create more offense than Rondo did, Rondo just had to distribute and play smart. He has learned how to do that well and incorporate his own shots into the Celtics offense. Now Rondo is the guy running the show there. He dominated Wall on Sunday, putting up a triple double.

I still expect Wall to get there. But right now, it is tough. He could use some veteran guidance.

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.