The Magic can’t seem to get a string of good things going for them. They managed to survive all this drama throughout the season with Dwight Howard demanding a trade, then rescinding the request, then changing his mind twice before signing a waiver, and subsequently getting into an awkward situation where his coach admitted that management told him Howard had told them he wanted Van Gundy fired. And through it all, they’ve managed to win enough to cement a spot in the playoffs. After all that, Dwight Howard hurt his back and now things get even scarier.
With Howard suffering a herniated disc in his back, the Magic have set a 10-14 day window of rest for the All-Star center. But considering the nature of the injury, and with only a handful of games in two weeks before the playoffs begin, Stan Van Gundy admitted Sunday that Howard’s availability for the playoffs is far from a sure thing. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Needless to say, if Howard’s out for the playoffs, that would be all she wrote on the Magic’s season. Even after a win Sunday against the tanking-without-tanking Cavs, the Magic know they won’t be winning a first-round series against anyone without their MVP candidate. But they have no choice because of the desperate scenario they’ve put themselves into by not trading Howard. So with a coach they have a complicated relationship with, with their star maybe or maybe not coming back, with a beat up roster facing a losing end to the regular season and an impossible first-round matchup, the Magic go once more in the breach.
In a crazy season, it has been craziest for the Magic.
I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.
But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.
He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.
The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.
Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.
He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):
We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.
The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.
But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.
Not that Lin cares what I say.
When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.
But there were some great blocks.
Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.
Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.