John Wall

John Wall goes through first practice with Wizards, coach optimistic


After missing 26 games so far this season recovering from a knee injury, John Wall said Wednesday that he hopes to be back on the court next month.

That became a step closer to reality on Thursday when Wall went through his first practice with the team, reports It was a non-contact, no defense practice but still, he was on the court running drills.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman was understandably excited at the idea of getting Wall back in January, a player who might help his moribund offense.

“God, I hope so,” Wittman said Thursday after watching Wall participate in his first “dummy” practice with the Wizards, in which defenders are not used on the court.

“I’m glad he’s thinking that. He did dummy with us today with the group for the first time. That’s a step forward. Obviously, no contact yet, but he did full speed up and down with the dummy stuff we ran and that’s the first time he’s done that with the team. That’s a step in that direction.”

Both Wall and Wittman need to be patient here — this season is lost. At 3-22 they are not making a run to the playoffs. There is no pressure, so make sure he is 100 percent before he steps on the court.

But it would be good to see him back on the court. And the Wizards want that because this summer they want to offer him an extension to his rookie contract or not. His play when he returns this season will have a big say in that.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.