Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics

Report: Rajon Rondo plans return Jan. 17 against Lakers


Boston is 13-23 this season and has been a solid defensive team — signs that Brad Stevens can coach at the NBA level (Brandon Bass told PBT he was impressed with the young mentor).

The question has been: How good will the Celtics be with Rajon Rondo in the lineup?

We may find out sooner rather than later. Rondo is targeting a Jan. 17 return from ACL surgery in a game against the rival Lakers, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports.

Rajon Rondo is targeting the Boston Celtics’ Jan. 17 home game against the Los Angeles Lakers for his possible season debut, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

“I feel like I’m ready now, but I’m not in shape,” he said. “I can go out there and I can give the team 10 minutes. I want to be productive out there. I don’t want to limp or drag behind because of my cardio. That would be hurting the team.

Earlier in the day Rondo had said he planed to return before the All-Star Break, reports

Rondo said that he is feeling confident, but that he needs to get his conditioning up to par. While there had been talk of him doing a rehab assignment with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League that seems to have faded.

Boston could use Rondo’s playmaking and skills on the court.

“We’re really looking forward to getting him back on the court,” Brandon Bass told ProBasketballTalk. “I think he’s huge for the team. He’s a veteran player, he’s been on winning teams, he’s won a championship, and he’s one of those pieces that when you add him to your team he simplifies things. He makes things easier for everybody. On good teams everybody doesn’t have to make all the decisions, Rondo simplifies things like he did for Hall of Famers and like he’ll do for second and third year players. And ninth year players like myself.”

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.