The Heat were blown out Friday night by a superior Nuggets team. They were outgunned, outran, out-hustled, outsmarted, and oh, yeah, out-clutched by a Denver team firing on all cylinders.
And that wasn’t even the worst news of the night.
Dwyane Wade suffered a severe ankle sprain in the second half and did not return. He’s listed as day-to-day but will need more evaluation when the Heat return to Miami. Wade confirmed after the game that the ankle was not broken and that X-Rays were negative. However, Wade also said it’s the worst sprain of his career.
That’s not good for anyone.
The injury occurred when Wade and Al Harrington scrambled for a loose ball. The injury is in addition to a sore foot Wade has been dealing with, and Lebron James said Friday night that Wade also had a calf strain this week. That’s three leg and foot injuries for Wade inside of a week. For a player that has dealt with injury issues his entire career and with a brutal schedule, that’s about as bad as it comes. The Heat play San Antonio and the Lakers this week and are coming off a three-game losing streak.
So, no, things are not great in Heat land right now.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.