Andre Iguodala avoids surgery, but can the Golden State Warriors stay healthy?

1 Comment

This has been a brutal week in the NBA for injuries, but telling that to the Golden State Warriors is like preaching to the choir.

The Warriors had already lost key rotation players in Toney Douglas and Jermaine O’Neal to minor injuries, and that’s in addition to being without backup centers Ogjen Kuzmi and Festus Ezeli.

Losing Andre Iguodala, who has been remarkably durable over his 10-year career, is the biggest blow for the Warriors yet.

The good news is, Iguodala’s hamstring strain suffered on Friday night will not require any surgery, according to the Warriors team site. Iguodala is listed as being out indefinitely.

It’s a shame, because Iguodala has been playing the best basketball of his career with Golden State. He’s been distributing and defending like he usually does, but his jumper has been on point as well.

While it’s not nearly time to sound the alarm, this is a little scary for the Warriors. Stephen Curry has already sprained his ankle once this season, and we know that’s an issue that can spring up at anytime. Andrew Bogut, meanwhile, has only played in 44 total games over the last two seasons. Much of that has been the cause of bad luck, but Bogut isn’t exactly the picture of perfect health.

Every team takes on the risks of injury, but the Warriors are particularly all-in with this group. Bogut, Iguodala, Curry and David Lee are all on long-term deals, and the Warriors gave up two future first rounds picks (and left them unprotected) in a trade with the Utah Jazz.

Point being, there isn’t much of a safety net for the Warriors if things go bad. Perhaps more importantly, the playoff race in the Western Conference looks heated, and even a few games could make all the difference.

We’ve  seen health issues ruin potential dynasties in the past (Portland, for example), but we’re a long ways away from something on that scale. Iguodala should be back in action soon enough, as well as some of the other pieces in Golden State.

At full-strength, Golden State is capable of some truly beautiful basketball. Here’s hoping we get to see that again sooner rather than later.

Watch Michael Jordan’s best highlight from each of his playoff runs (video)

Leave a comment

I’ve become a sucker for this highlight format.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
Leave a comment

LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
4 Comments

NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.