Late in the third quarter of a tight game between the Bulls and the Pacers on Saturday, Lance Stephenson got ahead of the pack on a fast break.
Nate Robinson, wanting to make Stephenson earn those points at the free throw line as opposed to getting an uncontested dunk, caught up with him, and grabbed him from behind with both hands around the shoulders and neck area, causing Stephenson to fall awkwardly to the ground.
The right call was made by the officials; the play (seen at about the 30-second mark in the video clip above) was ruled a flagrant-two foul, and Robinson was ejected from the game.
The league should really make this a point of emphasis with its teams, because saving two points isn’t worth risking the health of a player over multiple games. While Robinson’s intent was likely only to prevent the easy bucket, the play he made was a dangerous one.
Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.
In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).
Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.
Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury
The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.
After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.
Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).