The Brooklyn Nets have almost a week off between preseason games (they played the Heat last Thursday and next up is Boston Wednesday), so it was hoped Deron Williams could return in that stretch. Not so much, apparently. He is still recovering from an ankle sprain and bone bruise suffered in a pre-camp workout.
The Nets first thought he would be back early in training camp if not when it started, but that ship has long sailed. His teammates are telling him to be patient, to get this right and not to come back until he is 100 percent, but with the start of the NBA season just over a week away, when will that be?
Williams himself has no idea, as he told the New York Post.
“I appreciate your concern for my health. I really do. Thank you for that,’’ Williams said while pedaling on a stationary bike, before playing in a Globetrotter-esque 5-on-0 portion of open practice at Barclays Center. He admitted full-contact is the next step for him, but he had no answers when that will come.
“I would definitely think you’d need to scrimmage before you go out and play an NBA game. I would think. I don’t know, I’m not sure. I would think you’d have to do that, so when that happens I’ll let you guys know.”
It is possible Williams gets in a full contact scrimmage or two and is ready to go opening night, but at this point I wouldn’t put money on that.
The Nets have a lot of new pieces to figure out how to fit together on the court and not having their best player ready to go through training camp can’t have helped that process. We’ll see if and how it hurts them the first couple weeks of the season, until they get him back and up to speed.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.