Lakers fans could have watched their team’s preseason win over Utah Tuesday night with a sense of optimism. Jordan Farmar looked good in the second half running the offense, Wes Johnson looked comfortable in the system on his way to 14 points, Xavier Henry was attacking, Jordan Hill looked solid in the paint. You could extrapolate out from that things aren’t as bad as some pundits predict for the Lakers.
That’s not what Tracy McGrady saw.
He was watching the Lakers game and tweeted this:
As there should be in the preseason, there is optimism in the Lakers camp… and by optimism I mean thinking they will make the playoffs. I’m not on board that train. Talent wins in the NBA and while fans can talk of improved chemistry and the rest, the best players win the most games in the Association. The Lakers replaced Dwight Howard with Chris Kaman and Metta World Peace with Johnson and Henry. Those are not upgrades. Nick Young is a gunner not an answer.
As I’ve said more than once, I expect Kobe Bryant to come back and not be terribly far from the Kobe we remember on offense — he’s become more of a jump shooter who uses his footwork and fundamentals to get the ball in his spots then get his shot off. That will not change.
The big issue is the Lakers are going to struggle defensively. You could see some of that against the Jazz Tuesday — Steve Blake struggled to defend Gordon Hayward and when he got broken down the Lakers (with Kaman out) just lost all defensive shape and integrity. With a slowed somewhat Kobe the Lakers perimeter defense is in question. The Lakers open the season against Chris Paul (with Steve Nash guarding him) and the West is flush with good, attacking point guards. That defensive integrity will be tested.
By the time he comes back, we all may feel for Kobe Bryant.
Of all the players the Knicks could have shed at the trade deadline — including Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings and Kyle O'Quinn — New York is losing the one it values most.
Kristaps Porzingis sprained his ankle in the Knicks’ loss to the Cavaliers last night, but at least it doesn’t sound too serious.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The Knicks — 23-35, five games and four teams out of playoff position — were already going nowhere. Now, they’ll be a little less watchable while going nowhere.
As long as there are no lasting effects or indications of Porzingis being especially susceptible to injury, this is no big deal.
JaVale McGee hasn’t liked Shaquille O’Neal targeting him, and the Warriors center sure disliked the above video.
Due to the All-Star break, there was no fresh content for Shaqtin’ A Fool. So, TNT ran that spoof video with Shaq mocking McGee lowlights.
After Golden State beat the Clippers, McGee and Shaq engaged on Twitter:
And attention was received by all.
Vlade Divac said the Kings wouldn’t trade DeMarcus Cousins, and then two weeks later, once they dealt their franchise center, the general manager said, “character matters.”
Though he’s clearly trying to move on, Cousins, now with the Pelicans, can’t escape how he was treated in Sacramento.
Cousins, in a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
Is there any part of you that wants to talk to Ranadive or Divac?
Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response. For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with [coach] Mike Malone’s [firing]. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?
When did the Kings tell you that you wouldn’t be traded?
A week before the trade. The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent [Jarinn Akana]. We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and [he] told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.
I got a text from the owner right before I went to All-Star. He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him and making a move. The owner! When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn’t understand.
The Kings might differ on how well they informed Cousins of their intentions as the trade deadline approached, and it’s perfectly reasonable of owner Vivek Ranadive to consult Cousins while his front office explores a trade.
But the Kings stated often enough that they wouldn’t trade him, including offering him a designated-veteran-player extension, that he can rightfully feel aggrieved.
The Kings torched Malone after dismissing him, and Cousins has already gotten similar treatment. There’s little reason for Cousins to expect anything other than a rocky relationship with Ranadive and Divac from here.
The Hawks dealt before the trade deadline with an eye on winning this season.
That mission will start without their starting point guard, Dennis Schroder.
Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schröder has been suspended by the organization for one game without pay for failure to report to the team on time after the all-star break. He will serve his one-game suspension tonight when the Hawks host the Miami Heat.
“Dennis has played an important role for our team and been a significant contributor to our success this season,” President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We are disappointed that he did not return to the team on time and we have discussed this with him. We look forward to him rejoining the team in Orlando tomorrow night.”
Schroder missed Wednesday’s practice, and Budenholzer attributed it to a travel issue. The guard corroborated that with this Instagram post:
Ultimately, the responsibility was on Schroder to get back to Atlanta. Extenuating circumstances might have offered him a reprieve, but the Hawks clearly believed he didn’t deserve a break.