LeBron James listens to a question at a news conference during media day at the Miami Heat's home arena in Miami, Florida

LeBron on not winning Defensive Player of the Year: ‘It sucks.’


LeBron James finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year balloting this season, losing out to Memphis Grizzlies big man Marc Gasol.

Jams finished second in the voting with 12 less first place votes than Gasol, and ahead of the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka.

Gasol was a fine choice, considering he was the anchor to a Grizzlies defense that finished second in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. Miami finished seventh in the league in the same category, and lineup data showed that Memphis was much weaker defensively as a team when Gasol was on the bench.

James is as competitive as they come, so maybe the fact that he took a less diplomatic route when speaking about the award was something we should have seen coming.

From Ethan J. Skolnick of The Palm Beach Post:

“It sucks,” James said. “It sucks. It sucks.”

James was asked if his candidacy for other awards — notably the MVP — hurt his chances.

“I don’t know,” James said. “It definitely sucks, though. Finishing second? Who wants to finish second?”

Was this his best defensive season?

“Probably,” James said. “I mean, I guard everybody on the floor. I don’t know if there’s one player in NBA history who’s guarded one through five (positions). It’s over with now, but that’s cool.”

James has a point, as the effort he puts in on a nightly basis can often go unnoticed when he’s handling the bulk of his team’s scoring and dominating in so many other areas.

While Gasol’s defensive prowess is largely built around rotational play and rim protection that enhances the team defensive effort, James is known as more of an on-ball defender, and this award typically recognizes big men as opposed to wing or perimeter players.

James is going to win his fourth career MVP this season, so it’s not exactly as if he won’t be recognized for his stellar season. And besides, he seems to have a sense of humor about the whole thing — the part about “finishing second” was likely a playful shot at Kevin Durant, and the quotes that were attributed to him in a recent Sports Illustrated piece.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taken to hospital after shoulder injury

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.

Derrick Rose expected to rejoin Bulls on Wednesday

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CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.

“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”

Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.

“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”

The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.

Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.