Tuesday And-1 links: Joe Johnson wants the rock more

4 Comments

Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Joe Johnson wants more touches in the Hawks offense. He only had 8 shots in the Hawks Game 4 loss to Boston, but he had 28 in the Hawks Game 3 loss. I see a pattern here….

• Memphis players thought they could grind out wins against the Clippers in the playoffs, but the Clippers have matched them (and have Chris Paul to close).

• For those of you who don’t think Chris Paul flops a lot, here he is flopping when touched by a referee.

• What’s it like to have an ACL injury and go through rehab? Here is a first-hand account from Dan Grunfeld (son of Ernie), who had it happen to him at Stanford.

Bacon on a stick with the other end of that stick in a beer… I have got to take in a game at Camden Yards this summer.

• Fun little stat (unless you’re a Pacers fan) — Paul George is 0-13 from three-point range in the playoffs.

• The Oklahoma City Thunder need Kendrick Perkins to be healthy next round, especially against that Lakers front line.

• Someone already got the new Brooklyn Nets logo shaved into their head.

What lies ahead in the Sacramento arena battle with the Maloofs… does anyone think they are not going to file for relocation? Anyone?

• One of the reasons the Raptors should be more optimistic about next season is they get Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 pick last year, to come to them from Europe. But expect the Raptors to ease him in, not throw him to the wolves.

• Don’t count on Kansas forward Thomas Robinson landing in Washington on draft night.

• How did Nene fit in with the Wizards and where do they go from here.

• The Kings will make a qualifying offer to Jason Thompson, allowing them to keep the young forward.

• DeMar DeRozan got an invite to be part of the USA Select Team this summer (the team of young players there to push Team USA during training camp for the Olympics).

• The Bucks Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has surgery for tendonitis in his right knee.

• Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee, a restricted free agent this summer, is drawing interest from the Phoenix Suns

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

1 Comment

Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Leave a comment

Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
8 Comments

Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.