The San Antonio Spurs have the Western Conference’s best record and are trying very hard to get even better right now.
But their latest news has them going in the opposite direction.
Spurs guard Danny Green underwent an exam on Monday in San Antonio that included both an X-ray and an MRI on his left hand. Results revealed he has a nondisplaced fracture of his second metacarpal. Green suffered the injury in the first half of the Spurs-Timberwolves game on Sunday night. He is expected to miss approximately four weeks.
Manu Ginobili has missed the last couple games with hamstring tightness, but as long as he returns soon, San Antonio will be more than fine at shooting guard. Ginobili is having a renaissance year, and Marco Belinelli is playing the best basketball of his career, even replacing Green in the starting lineup for a while.
Ginobili’s and Belinelli’s playing time has been rising at the expense of Green’s. Here’s the cumulative minutes per game of Ginobili (black), Belinelli (silver) and Green (pink) throughout the season:
For those who haven’t paid attention to the Spurs since the NBA Finals, when Green made 27-of-49 3-pointers, that hot streak proved unsustainable. Green has made just 38.4 percent of his 3-pointers this season, an above-average mark but not an elite one for a player whose top skill is outside shooting.
Belinelli, on the other hand, has made 62-of-124 3-pointers this season. Making half his shots beyond the arc might be unsustainable for the career-39.8 percent 3-point shooter, but that’s why Green providing depth will help the Spurs in the long run.
But they should get by without him in the short run, because their other shooting guards are playing so well.
Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.
What next for Boston?
In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.
Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.
What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.
At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.
And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.
Joel Embiid‘s minute limit of below 20 bummed out everyone (especially Embiid).
But good news could be on the way.
Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:
The 76ers look like a borderline playoff team, Embiid’s health the biggest variable. There’s a direct correlation between his ability to stay on the court and Philadelphia’s postseason chances.
Plus, he’s just so darn fun to watch. The more he plays, the bigger victory it is for every viewer not rooting for the 76ers’ opponent that night.
John Henson was on the trade block. Greg Monroe seems permanently affixed there.
Another player the Bucks apparently want to deal? Rashad Vaughn, who was the No. 17 pick in 2015.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Milwaukee has been working to trade several players to clear salary-cap space, including guard Rashad Vaughn and center John Henson, league sources said. The Bucks have been willing to attach a second-round pick in offers for Vaughn, league sources said.
It’s unclear whether the Bucks are still as motivated to move Vaughn. They slid under the luxury-tax line by stretching Spencer Hawes. One-time target Richard Jefferson already signed with the Nuggets. A roster vacancy and cap savings might not matter as much anymore to Milwaukee.
But Vaughn has struggled in two NBA seasons. The Bucks might be better off trying to develop someone else, even a D-League player, over the 21-year-old Vaugh.
Vaughn is due $1,889,040 this season. He faces a $2,901,565 team option for next season, which his team must decide on by Oct. 31. It seems unlikely that will be exercised.
This is what happens when you draft players for the wrong reason.