Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors

Report: Marc Gasol to return to full practice with Grizzlies

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Memphis is four games back of the final playoff spot in the West and they need to jump at least three teams to grab a spot.

Good news that the will get Marc Gasol back soon.

The NBA’s reigning defensive player of the year will go through a full practice with the Grizzlies on Monday, reports well connected Memphis radio personality Chris Vernon. Gasol has been doing light workouts recently but how he responds to this full contact practice will help determine how soon he gets back on the court.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,500. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Memphis is at home Tuesday against Oklahoma City, head up to Milwaukee for a back-to-back, then are home Friday against Sacramento and DeMarcus Cousins. Not sure you’d throw Gasol into a back-to-back to start out, as he needs to get his conditioning back, but after that the schedule is fairly light and it might work.

The Grizzlies have won three of four (the only loss was in overtime to the Spurs) and have been doing it with offense — they have put up more than 100 points in five straight games.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.