Luis Scola has reached the “I just want to win” phase of his career.
Scola was shipped from the rebuilding Phoenix Suns to the contending Indiana Pacers this summer and will be part of a much deeper bench for the Pacers.
Scola (like everybody) would love more time on the court but said he is ready to accept his new role if it means winning, reports Michael Pointer of the USA Today.
“I’m 32 years old,” Scola said. “I don’t know how many more years I’m going to play. We all know the older we are, the more you know, and we all know it’s about winning. People won’t care about all the numbers you have if you play on a bad team. It’s all about winning. I know that. The older I am, the stronger I believe that.”
“It’s not my choice, but I am going to embrace my role,” he said. “It’s a different role, but I think we’ve got a bunch of new players that can make a difference in the role they play. I will try to be one of those players.”
Indiana has one of the NBA’s best starting fives last season (and into the playoffs) but the drop when you got into their bench was steep. This summer they added Scola, Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson and they get Danny Granger back, which means either he or Lance Stephenson will come off the bench, too. Add in a few minutes for Ian Mahinmi and you have a solid second five, one that can keep the starter’s minutes under control.
The Pacers are serious title contenders next year — they won 49 games last season (that will go up), they had the best defense in the NBA and their size is a real matchup problem for Miami. If Granger and Paul George can meld, they are a serious threat to win it all.
The No. 28 pick, R.J. Hunter became the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to fall out of the NBA when the Celtics waived him.
He won’t be out of the league for long.
The Bulls, the only team with an open roster spot, appear close to adding him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.
Gerald Green was drafted by the Celtics and spent two seasons with them before being traded (in the Kevin Garnett deal).
After stints with the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns and Heat, he signed with Boston this summer.
Think he’s happy to be back?
Abby Chin of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Joel Embiid couldn’t endear himself by playing in an NBA game, because he’s been too injured to do that in two pro seasons.
He’s had to resort to witty nicknames, practice-gym dunks, fun-loving stunts, attention-seeking tweets and self-deprecating humor.
Embiid is scheduled to make his NBA debut tonight, when the 76ers play the Thunder. Soon, we’ll judge him more for what he does on the court.
But, first, Embiid went out with one last bang of a quote.
Embiid, via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
“You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
LeBron James might be the greatest athlete in NBA history.
But even he has shown signs of decline at age 31.
He has gotten multiple back injections and even took a break during the season to rehabilitate in Miami. The forward has treated the last two regular-seasons as glorified warmups for the playoffs.
Just where does LeBron stand physically?
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue gave quite the answer.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Lue said James, at 31, “had a chance to get tested this summer and they said he had a body of a 19-year old. Maybe he’s getting younger. Benjamin Button.”
It was a little perplexing because neither James, nor his personal trainer, Mike Mancias, nor general manager David Griffin had any real idea what test Lue was talking about.
This reminds me of Derrick Rose attributing the Knicks and Warriors being super teams to “They’re saying.” Who is they, and what are they smoking?
That LeBron, Mancias and Griffin won’t cop to knowing is quite revealing.
LeBron does not have the body of a 19-year-old. Years of other-worldly play and long playoff runs has taken a toll.
Because he’s declining from such a high peak, LeBron should remain elite for a while. His athleticism might even fluctuate as it trends downward overall.
But Father Time is undefeated, and LeBron didn’t just get a mid-career reset to his rookie physical form.