LAS VEGAS — The overall quality of play in Saturday’s Summer League game between the Suns and the Blazers was among the best we’ve seen over the event’s first couple of days, and a quick look of the rosters makes it easy to understand why.
Phoenix started four players that played heavy minutes in the rotation a season ago in Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and P.J. Tucker, and Portland similarly rolled out legitimate NBA players in Thomas Robinson, Meyers Leonard, and Will Barton.
While the Suns looked much stronger and more dominant, particularly in the second half, the most impressive individual performance of the game went to Blazers’ rookie C.J. McCollum, who finished with a game-high 22 points, to go along with three rebounds and four assists.
McCollum did a nice job of getting into the lane, and scored on shots like the one you see in the video clip above more than once. None of them came after a sequence as crazy as this, however, as McCollum lost control of the ball, before regaining it and then using a dynamic dribbling display to get away from the defenders and into the paint to convert the pretty floater inside.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
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