Earlier this week Andrew Bynum said he would be practicing with the Sixers soon.
Turns out, soon was Friday.
Bynum took part in a full practice and scrimmage, something first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer and and confirmed by coach Doug Collins to CSNPhilladelphia.com’s Dei Lynam.
Bynum, who has missed the entire season with bone bruises in his knees, took part in a full-contact practice with the Sixers on Friday. It was the center’s first 5-on-5 action with the team.
“We went [5-on-5] and he said, ‘Do you mind if I get in and play a little bit,'” coach Doug Collins said prior to the Sixers’ game against the Heat Saturday night. “So I said, ‘No, go out there and play and see how you feel.'”
Collins admitted that Bynum “looked like a guy who had not played in nine months” and indicated that the center is not on pace for an immediate return.
What is key is how Bynum’s knees react over the next few days. There still is no timeline for his return.
But the Sixers do need Bynum back this season, for two key reasons.
One is that the Sixers remain just 3.5 games out of the playoffs in the East, ground that can be made up but the Sixers need to win a lot of games to rest of the way to have a shot (and they need Milwaukee or Boston to come back to them a little, neither or which is likely).
The bigger issue is that Bynum is a free agent this summer and the Sixers have a lot of questions to answer about both how much to pay him (likely a max, the going rate for All-Star big men) and for how long. They also have to figure out what kind of other pieces fit around Bynum and Jrue Holiday.
If he can get back for 15-20 games, the Sixers can start to make some reasonable evaluations.
With Isaiah Thomas still rehabbing, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had to lean more on Derrick Rose at the point, when he is available (he’s only played in half of Cleveland’s games). More Rose has not been good for Cleveland’s defense, and it’s forced Tyronn Lue to play Kevin Love more at center just to have enough shooting on the floor, so there are driving lanes for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Now we will have to see what Lue and the Cavaliers do without Rose for a couple more weeks. Rose will be out for a couple of weeks with his sprained left ankle, the team announced Friday afternoon.
“Due to continued symptoms, the ankle will be immobilized in a boot for the next week and he will also undergo an extended treatment process over the next two to three weeks.”
Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 47 percent shooting this season in Cleveland.
With Rose and Thomas out, Cleveland has gone with Iman Shumpert technically as the point, although LeBron handles the playmaking duties. He brings some size to the position, but he can’t defend quick point guards well (not that Rose could). This new lineup has won the Cavaliers a couple of games in a row, although that has been far more about their offense making runs rather than their struggling defense (last in the NBA) stepping up.
It’s been tough to get a feel for this Cavaliers team and what they really are this season, in part due to all the injuries. This simply adds to that mess.
The Cavaliers take on the slumping Clippers Friday night.
D'Angelo Russell has played well since being traded across the country and handed the keys to the Brooklyn franchise. He has averaged 20.9 points and 5.7 assists per game, been a more efficient shooter (he’s only hitting 29.7 percent from three, but he is getting to the line more than he used to, is knocking it down from the midrange, and his true shooting percentage is at 53.9, about the league average). He may not look like what teams hope for out of a former No. 2 overall pick, but he’s played well.
Now the Nets will need to get by without him for a while — what was sold as a “knee contusion” by the team has turned out to require surgery, the team announced Friday.
While there is no timetable, it likely means a month to six weeks he is out. It depends on what they found and what was done in his knee, details we don’t yet have.
The Nets are already without Jeremy Lin, who is out for the season with a ruptured patela tendon. Spencer Dinwiddie will start at the point with Russell out, and guys such as Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead will need to carry more of the shot creation load.
Brooklyn is 5-9 on the season, and while not a good team they are better than many projected (and better than Sixers fans were hoping). This is undoubtedly going to be a step back for an offense already 23rd in the league.
Being commissioner of the NFL is a tough job right now. Television ratings are down, which is due to big picture sports viewing trends far, far more than a controversy about players kneeling during the National Anthem. Although a lightning rod issue with the President involved certainly doesn’t help. Then there are real concerns about brain damage in players long term, and how that is keeping participation from younger generations down in the sport.
Not that Roger Goodell has done a particularly good job handling any of it, which in part is why there is a palace coup trying to take place and force him out, led by Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.
If Goodell is forced out – and that’s still a big “if” — the next question becomes who steps in. Someone reached out to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to see if he was interested, reports Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN (hat tip Boogiewonderland13 at NBA Reddit). That went nowhere fast.
The owners, though, have considered other successors. A confidant of one owner reached out to gauge whether Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, would be interested in running the NFL, to which Silver immediately said no.
Silver is too savvy to want to step into that job right now. Silver is, by his nature, a consensus builder as a commissioner — as opposed to the more dictatorial David Stern — and good luck trying to find a consensus among these bickering NFL owners.
Silver is going to ride out a fairly lengthy term as NBA Commissioner, then retire into some fairly healthy consulting/speaking fees. He’s in a good spot. He’s too smart to blow that to try and appease Jerry Jones.
Lonzo Ball‘s shot has become a running gag around the NBA. During pregame warmups this season it looked like LeBron James and Joel Embiid mocked/tried to imitate it. TNT’s Inside the NBA was asking if it was worse than Charles Barkley’s golf swing, and the crew on that show mocks it all the time.
Ball is shooting 30.3 percent overall this season, and 23 percent from three. He’s shooting just 42.1 percent in the restricted area (it’s not just his jumper that is off). He’s shooting 37.5 percent on pull-up jumpers. He’s shooting 22.5 percent on shots when there is nobody within six feet of him (stats via NBA.com).
Is it time to tear down Ball’s awkward release and rework his jumper? Jamal Crawford, a guy who knows something about getting buckets in the NBA, said no, speaking on CBS Sports’ Flagrant 2 Podcast.
“No, I wouldn’t (change his shot). He’s done it his whole life. Even if he struggled, I’m sure he’s struggled, but when he makes 10 in a row you won’t change it then so I’d just keep it consistent.”
Crawford also said he sees a real star in Ball.
“Star. Absolutely a star. I love watching him play. He plays the right way. He doesn’t play for stats. He’ll give the ball up early when he could easily hold it to get an assist. He’s making the right play if it was a hockey assist he’d get 20 a game cause he’s always passing up early. He seems like a great teammate. If you look at all his interviews…he’s always well spoken he’s always about the team.”
Luke Walton has the Lakers players taking and making 100 threes at each practice, and he continues to encourage Ball to shoot his way out of this slump. Magic Johnson has said the Lakers would not change Ball’s jumper during the season.
But if Ball does not find a rhythm and is under 40 percent for the season on jumpers, come next summer the Lakers have some decisions to make. And tearing down and rebuilding Ball’s shot is a long process that will take more than one summer of hard work.