The wait is almost over. We’re three weeks and three days from training camp, and the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season. Basketball is almost back. As we get closer we’ll be bringing you reminders of why this game is awesome, what you’ve missed, and what to look forward to.
I get bugged a lot by highlight shows. It’s not that I don’t enjoy highlights, I love highlights. I grew up in the 90’s in an area without an NBA team anywhere close. Before the late season Sunday games began, highlight shows and newspaper box scores (related: Geebus, I’m old) were how I became obsessed with the league. I don’t mind over-the-top anchors, over-the-top human interest stories, or the way highlights slice apart the best parts of games. Show the flash. I mind when performances that weren’t efficient get tagged with all of the highlights. I mind when the other team who either won or were in it till the end get completely excluded from the package. I mind when simple numbers make something noteworthy, how a 40-point performance is this monstrous thing no matter how shot attempts were taken.
On a completely unrelated note, here’s Kobe Bryant dropping 40 points routinely last season. I will tell you emphatically that these weren’t Kobe’s best games, that often his best games were relatively quiet performances where he simply played so well in the offense, on defense, and helping to make the Lakers the best they could be. But we live in an age where help defense has dramatically decreased the ability of players to drop massive scoring totals like we saw in the mid-to-late 00’s, and dropping 40 is still very much cool. Kobe’s older. But he’s still deadly.
PBT Podcast: Derek Fisher fired, plus your trade questions from Twitter
In this latest podcast, NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman discuss the odd timing of that move — we expect another shoe to drop as to why. It’s not that Fisher was a great coach, but replacing him with Kurt Rambis mid-season is not an upgrade. And Luke Walton isn’t available until this summer.
After struggling to figure out what the Knicks are thinking, Helin and Feldman answer questions off Twitter from readers/listeners on the coming trade deadline including discussions of Blake Griffin, Jeff Teague, the Pistons, the Jazz, the Knicks, and more.
Festus Ezeli has been a rock-solid backup for the Warriors this season, playing almost 18 minutes a night behind Andrew Bogut giving the team 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest. Golden State’s defense is 3.6 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court, and he’s part of the team’s long-term plans.
But he’s going to be out for a while now following knee surgery, the team announced and as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.
The surgery is exploratory, which is why the Warriors say there is no timeline for recovery yet.
The surgery is on his left knee; it was his right one that had reconstructive surgery and forced him to miss all of two seasons ago.
This is a blow to the Warriors’ depth, but little has slowed their march this season. More Mo Speights is not ideal, but the Warriors can just go small more often and run teams out of the building that way.
Ezeli is a restricted free agent this summer and the Warriors would like to keep him on the roster and expand his role, particularly if they do not retain Andrew Bogut. The severity of this knee injury could impact Ezeli’s ability to earn a big contract this summer, but hopefully for him, it’s not that serious.
Russell Westbrook stands behind Kevin Durant, mimics him during interview (video)
I’m skeptical this is significant. Teams discuss trades for many players for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t mean the player is likely to be dealt.
Orlando in particular has a roster of players who cause significant debate about their value. It’s helpful to know what other teams think of Harris, and soliciting trade offers is a good method to learn his worth.
It’s more intriguing the Magic are looking to add experience. They should probably go the opposite route, but they’ve tried (and failed) for years to accelerate their rebuild. At 22-28 – four games and three teams from playoff position – now is not the time to seek shortcuts. Spend the rest of the season developing young players – and probably securing a higher draft pick in the process.
One of Harris’ best traits is his youth. He’s just 23. See what other teams would offer for him, sure. But, in all likelihood, it’s better to let him grow into the veteran Orlando needs rather than trading him for one when the rest of the team isn’t ready to win, anyway.
My guess is that’s what Orlando will do. Remember, always consider who has incentive to leak this information anonymously and what they’d be positioned to know.