It always seemed pretty much impossible that Kobe Bryant would be back from his ruptured Achilles tendon in April in time for the NBA’s opening night. But because he’s Kobe Bryant we all looked at it differently — this guy played with a broken finger on his shooting hand and just adjusted his shot to make it work. He’s the Black Knight from Monty Python (‘Tis a flesh wound) and you just couldn’t write him off.
Now, it seems Mike D’Antoni is writing him off from opening night. Almost.
At his postgame press conference in Beijing after the Lakers fell to Golden State Tuesday morning, D’Antoni was asked about the chances of Kobe playing opening night Oct. 29 against the Clippers and he was honest in his response (via Zach Harper at Eye on Basketball).
“No. I don’t think so. We’ll see. I think it’s an ongoing process but that would be tough.”
That first reaction — “no” — is what Mike D’Antoni really thinks. That second comment about “process” and it “would be tough” is D’Antoni remembering Kobe is the guy with the power in their relationship and he wants that door open.
Kobe has yet to practice with the team. He is running — he ran around the arena in Beijing while his teammates practiced — but that is very different from sharp stops, cutting and all that comes with playing in a basketball game.
Like a hamstring, an Achilles needs to be fully healed and not pushed too much after an injury because it is prone to setbacks. It is not a situation where it is as simple as “if Kobe just works harder and ignores the pain he’ll be fine.” If it were a matter of will he’d be back.
The Lakers need him back but more importantly the Lakers need him back right — any hopes of a playoff spot in the West hinge on him not only returning early in the season but also being pretty close to his old self. This Lakers team is not one with a lot of margin for error. They can wait a few weeks to get him right.
Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. – maybe the top contender to supplant European guard Luka Doncic as the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft – had his campaign undercut after it barely began.
Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Dallas, Texas. The procedure, a microdiscectomy of the L3 and L4 spinal discs, has a projected recovery time of three-four months and will likely cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Michael is expected to make a complete recovery
With that timeline, it’s possible Porter returns late in Missouri’s NBA season. But as an elite draft prospect stuck in a cartel system that caps his compensation well below market value, he should probably be cautious.
Porter will likely still go high in the draft – if his medicals check out. This is is a serious injury, and teams will be wary off long-term effects.
But he’s a top talent, and the forward shouldn’t slip far. In fact, in a strange way, this injury could even help him. There were questions about Porter’s ability to handle physicality and tight spaces when the game slows down, challenges he would have met frequently in college basketball. Now, scouts can’t pick apart those aspects of his game. Logically or not, NBA teams tend to favor the unknown in the draft, and Porter is on his way to being one of the biggest mysteries near the top of the 2018 draft.
Kevin Durant said last season playing the Thunder is “never going to be a regular game for me.”
Now, the Warriors star, who’s questionable for tomorrow’s game in Oklahoma City, is singing a different tune.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
Just a regular game for me now. I learned how to tune out the crowd. I learned how to tune out the bulls— and just play. Just keep at basketball, and I’ll be alright.
Durant is entitled to change his mind, and maybe that’s all that happened.
But this strikes me as yet another chasm between how Durant actually feels and how he wishes he felt – all while facing immense public scrutiny.
Durant spent eight years in Oklahoma City. Many of his former teammates, including Russell Westbrook, are still there. Durant might want to move on, but how could there not be a different feeling when playing the Thunder, especially in Oklahoma City?
DeMarcus Cousins got ejected from the Pelicans’ win over the Thunder last night for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head.
Afterward, Tony Allen came to his New Orleans teammate’s defense.
Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:
Did Cousins elbow Westbrook in the head? Yes. Did Westbrook create and/or embellish the contact? I don’t know.
Westbrook stuck his head in close, and he might have been baiting Cousins into a foul. But that doesn’t give Cousins carte blanche to commit a foul.
And even if Westbrook were baiting Cousins, the elbow still might have hurt. Westbrook’s reaction could have been genuine.
Did Cousins’ reputation as a flagrant fouler influence Westbrook’s strategy and how officials perceived the play? It’s much easier to convince me of that.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Retired NBA star Ray Allen believes he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.
Allen says Bryant Coleman “pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in” him. In documents filed Tuesday, Allen acknowledges he communicated with who he thought were those women and that he eventually entered into an agreement with Coleman to not disclose details of those conversations.
Allen says that agreement was violated.
It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found. Coleman told the court in a filing Monday that Allen is stalking him; in Allen’s request for an injunction, he says “the reverse is true.”