John Wall carries so much expectation with him. Drafted out of the John Calipari school of top picks and elected to save the Wizads, Wall has every set of abilities you could want in a point guard. Except he hasn’t put those abilities consistently together yet. He plays too breakneck to the rim, he hasn’t been able to drag the rest of the knuckleheads on his team to efficiency, if such a thing were possible, and he’s struggled to make significant improvements. His assist rate is down, his turnovers are up, and hasn’t made a significant leap in any area (though his PER is significantly up). So he hasn’t been playing great. Oh, yeah, and in a related story, his team is downright awful.
As a result, he plummeted this week when Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal divied up the top rookies and sophomores for the Rising Stars challenge. And Wall is not happy about it. From the Washington Post:
“It’s a joke to me,” said Wall, who is averaging 16.9 points and 7.5 assists in his second season. “If they think there are 11 guys better than me, then that’s their decision. But I know what I think in my mind and all I can do is go out there and play basketball the way I know how to play.”
via John Wall on being 12th pick for Rising Star Challenge: “It’s a joke to me” – Wizards Insider – The Washington Post.
“I’m not upset, just let me tell you how much I do not respect this decision and how wrong it is. But again, don’t care.”
Wall did go low. But this wasn’t a serious process. There’s nothing riding on this game and most of the process is about star power. Right now, Wall’s star power is very low. He’s a much better player than Jeremy Lin, but Jeremy Lin is immensely popular right now and so was picked higher.
But you know what? Wall needed something like this. He’s gotten so much positive reinforcement over the past two years, he needs something as motivation. Now if he could just motivate his front office into moving Andray Blatche and getting some actual helpful offensive firepower around him, he might be getting somewhere. We’ll see how Wall responds to the slight.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).