When is being out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee good news?
When you are about six weeks out from the playoffs and you thought you were going to lose an important contributor through the postseason.
The Washington Wizards were concerned starting big man Nene could be gone for the season but an MRI Monday revealed only a strain, reports Ben Standig at CSNWashington.com.
Nene, who injured his knee in the Wizards win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, will miss approximately six weeks with a sprained left MCL, the Wizards announced Monday evening….
Should Nene miss the full six weeks, he would be out until the week of April 7. The Wizards final regular season game takes place in April 16.
Barring an outright collapse, the Wizards will make the playoffs in the East (they are currently the five seed, five games ahead of nine-seed Detroit). But if they are going to need Nene and more than just his 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds a night, they need his defensive presence.
Check out the numbers. When John Wall and Marcin Gortat are paired the Wizards are +7 per 48 minutes, or +6.5 per 100 possessions. When Nene and Wall are paired Washington still looks good at +5.4 per 48, or +5.3 per 100 possessions.
But when Nene, Wall and Gortat played together they were +10.1 per 100 possessions and allowed only 95.7 points per 100 possessions (the only team with a better defensive number than that is the Pacers). With those three healthy the Wizards are a team with a shot at the second round (so long as they stay out of the seven or eight seed).
And they should have all three for the playoffs (*knocks on wood*)
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.