Chauncey Billups, Brandon Jennings, Maurice Cheeks

Brandon Jennings to miss start of season with tooth injury

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It seems the Pistons suddenly have a bigger backcourt problem than deciding their starting shooting guard.

Combo guard Rodney Stuckey is already out with a broken finger. Though Maurice Cheeks hopes Stuckey will return in time for the Oct. 30 opener against the Wizards, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, that seems unlikely, even if just by a small margin.

But Stuckey is small potatoes compared to Brandon Jennings.

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Stuckey could very well start at point guard, though as I said before, it seems unlikely he’s unavailable when the season begins.

Chauncey Billups is probably the Pistons’ starting point guard to open the season with either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Kyle Singler starting at shooting guard. Or perhaps, Will Bynum starts at point guard with Billups remaining at shooting guard.

The Pistons hired Cheeks, in part, for his ability to handle guards, and now the first-year coach has his work cut out for him just to set a rotation. But if that’s where the issue ends, Detroit will likely came out OK.

More than most teams, the Pistons need to develop chemistry due their unconventional lineup. If these injuries delay that, the implications could be larger, perhaps enough to cost Detroit early games, and eventually, a playoff bid.

Jennings is a crucial piece piece to the Pistons’ season, and simply, it’s unlikely they can afford to miss him for long.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.