Jrue Holiday with Eric Gordon could be one of the more interesting backcourts in the NBA. Throw in an improved Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans at the three, Ryan Anderson to space the floor and suddenly that is a potentially dangerous team in the Big Easy.
The question is how much Gordon can do? He wasn’t horrible last season scoring 17.3 points a game, but he shot just 40.2 percent overall and 32.4 percent from three, well off his career averages. He wasn’t healthy and it showed. After battling knee issues for more than a season he had his ankle scoped in May.
He sounds like a guy who could still be a little slowed when camp opens, reading into what he told the Boston Globe.
“Health-wise, I’ve been doing pretty good, been taking it slow but moving around really well,” he said. “As long as I get to the 100 percent point before training camp, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
When the Pelicans got Gordon he was the centerpiece of what was coming back to them in the Chris Paul deal. But injuries and at times an attitude on the court that made him look like he wanted to be anywhere else has held him back. Now with a good team there, will things be different? Pelican fans hope so.
Gordon sounds like a guy who wants to move forward.
“It’s not like I’ve been playing terrible, I just haven’t been fully effective to where I should be,” he said. “I look forward to that this year.”
If Gordon is back to his pre-injury self, New Orleans is going to be a team to watch this season. They may be anyway.
Joel Embiid could be the best player on the Philadelphia 76ers in a couple of years — many scouts had him the highest rated of all the first-round draft picks the Sixers have had in recent seasons.
But after two foot surgeries and two seasons sitting on the sidelines, we don’t know how good Embiid can be. We should find out starting in October when Embiid is part of the Sixers training camp. Embiid says he feels 100 percent, but he expects there will be restrictions on him at first, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com during the Sixers Beach Bash community event this weekend.
This is the smart move by the Sixers — they are not competing for a title, the games in November have minimal meaning long term, bring him along slowly and make sure he can make each step along the way. Let’s see what he can do, then worry about how much run he can get in games that matter.
It’s going to be interesting to watch how Embiid, Ben Simmons, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor all fit together up front — and which one of them gets traded this season.
Avery Bradley was first-team NBA All-Defensive team last season, and his coach Brad Stevens lobbied for him to get the honor. Bradley picks up guys full court, pesters, and plays physical — we can debate if he is as good defensively as his reputation, but guys like Damian Lillard think he’s tough to go up against.
Bradley, for his part, says he has no fear going up against the best. Here is what he said to Tom Westerholm of Masslive.com.
“I love the challenge,” Bradley said on Friday, making an appearance at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “I love going up against the best players. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care about getting embarrassed. I don’t care. Kyrie Irving, none of those guys scare me. I know some players in the NBA probably get butterflies before the game, but not me. I’m licking my lips. I come excited. They need to prepare for me at the end of the day. That’s how I think.”
That’s exactly the attitude you want an elite defender to have.
Bradley injured his hamstring in the first game of the playoffs last April and sat the rest of the Celtics’ one series. Then this summer his name came up in potential Jimmy Butler trade rumors (that deal never actually came close to getting off the ground). Expect Bradley to put that all behind him by the time training camp opens.
LeBron James was dominant — the clear best player on the planet — when the Cleveland Cavaliers needed him most. That’s the reason Cleveland got its first major sports title in 52 years.
It’s the dead part of the NBA season — training camps don’t even open for a month — so why not enjoy a look back at LeBron’s amazing run to a legacy-defining NBA ring. Like you don’t have 15 minutes for this. What are you going to do, watch more preseason football?
It’s a summer tradition — tall NBA players swatting away the shots of young kids at camps/clinics.
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has yet to step on an NBA court — this fall, finally? — but he is part of the youth tradition now, destroying this young man at the Sixers Beach Bash event Saturday.
This summer Embiid has arm wrestled Justin Bieber and looked good working out in an empty gym, and to add to that list here is Embiid overpowering an average guy at Beach Bash then throwing it down. The man at least provided a little more resistance than a chair.