John Wall, Wizards, Heat

With John Wall out for a while, what is Plan B in Washington?

5 Comments

By Thanksgiving, maybe Washington can get back to what they pictured their offense would look like this season — John Wall running the break, Wall passing to Nene on the block, Wall driving and kicking out to Trevor Ariza, and of course Wall scoring a lot.

But due to a stress fracture on his patella (kneecap to you) Wall is out for a couple months, and with him gone the hub of the Wizards offense melts away.

So, now what?

Expect A.J. Price to get the starting point guard job with Wall out. Price spent the last three years behind Darren Collison in Indiana and last season played less than 13 minutes a game, in part because he shot 33 percent on the season. Total, not from three (that was 29 percent). Price can make passes but he turns the ball over a little more than you would like.

The reason you can expect Price to get the job is he is the best option the Wizards have. They tried Shelvin Mack at the point at Summer League, but that was a failed experiment. Same with having just-drafted Bradley Beal at the point, it didn’t look good running this summer either. Their other options, like Jordan Crawford, are not point guards.

The Wizards can take other steps — like run more of the offense through Nene, who passes well for a big man.

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld will be watching the waiver wire, looking for someone to pick up to fill in short term. But because it is short term it is going to have to be the right guy, the right fit.

Most likely, the Wizards are going to try and ride it out. The problem is Washington had a very small margin for effort to make the playoffs, and now they start in a hole. Coach Randy Wittman said what you would expect a coach to say, via CSNWashingon.com.

“It’s not going to be about one player taking over for John. It’s going to be about a whole team effort,” Grunfeld said on a conference call with reporters following the injury announcement.

That’s a nice sentiment, but they are really going to miss John. They don’t have a Plan B.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

1 Comment

Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

2 Comments

Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

Leave a comment

Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

2 Comments

Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.