Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki plans return mid-December, wants to play to 2016


When Dirk Nowitzki underwent knee surgery during training camp, he was expected to be out until December, but Mavericks officials were hopeful he could be back closer to Thanksgiving.

Turns out the original timeline was even a little optimistic.

Nowitzki spoke with the media Tuesday and said it would be close to a month, mid-December before he suits up to play in a Mavs game. He once again said rehab is not going as fast as he hoped, and he wants to be fully healthy before he returns.

The reason he is taking his time is he wants to play through 2016. All this from the Dallas Morning News.

“Well, unfortunately not as soon as we all hoped, I think,” Nowitzki said when asked when he might return to the court.

“I think originally when the last statement we put out was it’s going to take six weeks before I do any basketball activity. Unfortunately, I tried, but I couldn’t cut the time down….

“Saying all that, I think I’m still about two weeks out before even getting on the court and start working out, start running, start shooting,” he said. “That would put me right at six weeks before I get on the court. By that point, I’m assuming I need a good week or two to get in halfway decent playing shape running and shooting and doing all sorts of stuff.”

As for taking it slow to make sure he is fully healed.

“I’m hoping maybe after these two years (of his current contract) to play a couple more years. So it would be the wrong thing now to push it and come back too early and maybe make something worse for the long term.”

Dallas is 6-6 without Nowtizki on the season.

Some injuries heal faster than others (don’t ask Sixers fans about that right now) and Nowitzki is right to take his time and make sure he is healed before stepping on the court. The Mavericks are working hard to rebuild a contender, they have cap space the next couple years and the chance to play and win with Nowitzki is one of the draws.

So Nowitzki and the Mavericks are doing the right thing. As frustrating as that may be right now to Mavs fans.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi

Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.