With Dwight Howard out until whenever (likely around the start of the season), the Lakers have been counting on Jordan Hill to soak up a lot of his minutes, both in practice and in games.
But now Hill is out with a herniated disc in his back, reports the Lakers (hat tip to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register). Hill was seen putting heat on his back on the bench at the end of the Lakers Sunday night game against Golden State in Fresno.
Hill will be re-evaluated in a week. As it is the preseason it would mean the Lakers will go slow with bringing Hill back.
If this were to happen in the regular season, Pau Gasol would be playing the five a lot. What it might mean is the rookie Robert Sacre — the Gonzaga big man out of Canada who was the 60th and last pick in the draft — stands a better chance of making the opening day roster. Depends on how everyone else heals up front, because the Lakers depth is nonexistent right now.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.