The Nuggets played the Wizards in D.C. on Friday, marking JaVale McGee’s first time back in the District basketball-wise since being traded to the Nuggets before the start of the season.
Washington beat Denver 119-113, and McGee finished with nine points, four rebounds, no turnovers, and two blocked shots in 20 minutes off the bench. He’s now an an important player on a winning team, as head coach George Karl said afterward, but was known as a bit of a joke during his first few years in the league with the Wizards.
It’s not surprising, then, that McGee wasn’t exactly feeling warm and fuzzy about returning to Washington to play against his former team.
From Ben Hochman of the Denver Post:
McGee received a smattering of boos, and some cheers, when he came off the Nuggets’ bench. He is known for a variety of things in Washington — potential, bonehead plays, highlight-reel plays and losing. He opened up a little more, saying in the losing team’s locker room: “It really wasn’t emotional at all. For some reason I have a selective memory, so I remember stuff I want to remember. So it wasn’t like I was having flashbacks, stuff like that. It wasn’t really that special to me.”
It’s hard to blame him for feeling this way.
McGee has developed into a serviceable big off the bench, and while he still makes some of those plays that make you want to bang your head against the wall because the decision-making process required to get there at times seems unconscionable, he’s flourishing with the Nuggets, whereas he was simply flailing with the Wizards.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.
The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR
In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”
Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.
The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.
I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.
The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.
Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.
Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).
But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.
Could those issues derail his career?
Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”
On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.
But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.