We should all be careful trying to read too much into preseason stats, but so far both watching him and looking at the numbers, Rashard Lewis has looked rusty for the Heat. He has hit 4-of-13 shots overall, 2-of-6 from three.
Some rust is to be expected, knee injuries and circumstance have left Lewis playing spottily the past three seasons — he has been in just 85 games total the past three seasons.
So the Heat are not worried about the preseason numbers, they want to go slow. That’s what coach Erik Spoelstra told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“Rashard Lewis is coming back from an injury situation where he’s been out effectively almost two straight years,” he said. “There will be an adjustment period. He’s simply thrilled and we’re thrilled that he’s out here healthy, and we’ll commit to the process.
“It may take a little bit of time for him to get his rhythm back, but I think he’ll fully be able to play at an efficiency that he played two years ago when he was in Orlando and healthy.”
If Lewis can get healthy and get anywhere near his old form, he is the kind of stretch four that are going to make the Heat such a challenge to defend. They have LeBron James who can post up or slash into the paint and is a more-than-willing passer, they have Dwyane Wade who loves to drive and dish, and they have guards like Mario Chalmers who can find him as he stretches the floor.
But the Heat have been looking for guys to do that for them for a couple seasons now and only got it in spots. They added Lewis and Ray Allen to give them some depth in the stretch the floor role, but both are having to adjust a little. Which is both expected and what preseason is for.
Things just can’t go as slowly once the games matter.
The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.
We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.
To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.
Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.
hat tip: reddit user cjsplash
Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.
As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.
Duke announced Tatum’s decision.
Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?
Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.
This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).
However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.
Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).
I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.
It was obvious this was coming. Get in a shoving match “fight” in the NBA and you get a fine. However, actually throw punches and…
Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Chicago’s Robin Lopez each have been suspended for one game by the NBA “for throwing punches at one another during an altercation,” the league announced. What that works out to is a $120,715 hit for Lopez and a $111,364 ding for Ibaka.
Also, Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire earned a $15,000 fine shoving the Bulls Nikola Mirotic and “acting as other than a peacemaker as part of the same altercation.”
This all came out of what seemed a rather innocuous play. Ibaka and Lopez were battling for rebounding positioning, it went on for a second after the ball went through the hoop, Ibaka caught Lopez with a little chicken wing elbow in the back, Lopez spun, and, boy, that escalated quickly. Lopez’s punch missed, while Ibaka’s caught Lopez in the hair more than the body.
Both men got technicals and were ejected.