Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls

Bogut says he may miss preseason games, will be ready for season

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What is the single most important key to the Golden State Warriors making the playoffs is a healthy Andrew Bogut. They need him in the middle. And not just him, but the him of three years ago before his elbow injury and surgery, the Bogut that was one of the better young centers in the game.

So, that means this from is not ideal:

“That’s my goal,” Bogut said when asked if he thought he’d be fully back by the Phoenix game. “I definitely want to be ready for training camp, and I think it will be close. But I think I’ll definitely be ready for the first game. So the immediate goal with all of this is to be ready for the first game, whether that means only playing in only half the preseason games or whatever or just being smart.

“It’s about being smart with my ankle. There’s no point in trying to get ready for October 1st, when another week might significantly help. I’m trying to get ready for camp, but my main goal is to be 110 percent for the first game of the season.”

That is all very sensible. And Bogut talks about the progress he’s made. The only concern is that the ankle surgery caused him to miss the end of last season and then the Olympics this summer, so this has not been a quick process. Again, it would be smart not to push Bogut and his ankle too hard in the preseason, but they need him out there some in training camp because this is a very different Warriors roster this year and they don’t have a big margin for error.

Bottom line for me — if the Warriors don’t get 70 games out of Bogut and Stephen Curry the Warriors dreams of the playoffs are dead. And even if they get those games it will be tight.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.