Wizards reportedly to sign Drew Gooden

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Since acquiring Nene two years ago, the Washington Wizards have gone 60-61 when he plays and 8-34 when he doesn’t. In their scheme, he’s a steadying force on both ends of the floor, practically essential to their success.

Needless to say, with Nene out four to six weeks, the Wizards will almost assuredly use their open roster spot on a big man. They can’t just skate by on what they have.

Most likely, it seems that big man will be Drew Gooden. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

NBA free-agent forward-center Drew Gooden is expected to sign a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards following the loss of Nene, sources told Yahoo Sports.

J. Michael of CSN Washington confirmed Gooden is the most likely free agent the Wizards will sign, but Michael also says Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin will be more instrumental in replacing Nene. Booker started when Nene missed games earlier this season, but Seraphin played every meaningful minute after Nene got hurt in the third quarter of Washington’s win over the Cavaliers on Sunday, and Booker played none of them.

Michael:

Seraphin can produce the offense lost without Nene, who averaged 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, but where the Wizards tend to suffer without him is their basketball IQ as they like to play through the Brazilian in the low post.

Booker can provide better defense and make the hustle plays, such as drawing charges, but he is undersized. Wittman likely will have to mix and match his lineups and hopefully find the personnel that works best.

With Washington’s other starters – John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gorat – the lineup has meshed with Nene, underwhelmed with Booker and excelled with Seraphin (albeit in extremely limited minutes).

Nene (37 games 482 minutes):

  • Offensive rating: 106.4
  • Defensive rating: 95.7
  • Net rating: +10.7

Booker (25 games, 242 minutes):

  • Offensive rating: 101.9
  • Defensive rating: 105.4
  • Net rating: -3.5

Seraphin (5 games, 18 minutes):

    • Offensive rating: 117.0
    • Defensive rating: 52.5
    • Net rating: +64.5

There’s no clear-cut best option for Washington. Gooden provides another chance for someone to click, but he was terrible with the Bucks last season. At 32, he can no longer be counted on.

The Wizards are 28-28, and homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs was definitely within their grasp before Nene’s latest injury. Overtaking the 29-26 Bulls – and holding off all challengers – will be an uphill battle now.

Figuring out when to play Booker and when to play Seraphin will be key for the Wizards down the stretch. If Gooden provides anything, that’s just a bonus.

Really, Washington is treading water until Nene returns – hopefully in time for the playoffs.

Gordon Hayward breaks leg against Cleveland in first game with Celtics

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The Boston Celtics season has taken a turn for the worse.

During Tuesday’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, new Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward broke his leg after landing following a leaping back cut to the basket.

It became immediately apparent to those in the arena, and the broadcast angle of the left leg injury was not pretty.

Just be warned here, the resulting photo and media is pretty disgusting. I let out a big yell when I saw it live, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Via TNT:

This is just the most awful way to start the NBA season, for all of us. Get well soon, Gordon.

Kings’ rookie De’Aaron Fox commits California mortal sin, slams In-N-Out

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We Californians take a few things seriously. Surf reports, for one. Winemaking/tasting. Tech toys. Coming up with potential blockbuster movie franchise ideas, getting a star to buy in, then maybe or maybe not worrying about getting a decent script.

Also, In-N-Out Burger. If there is one thing all Californians can agree on, it’s that In-N-Out is the best burger chain in the world. It’s not up for debate.

Apparently Kings’ rookie De'Aaron Fox did not get that memo. He did a Q&A with Rolling Stone’s Seerat Sohi and crossed a sacred line.

“All I gotta say, you can tell everybody that lives in the state of California this: In-N-Out is not good.”

What’s your beef with In-N-Out Burger?
“Their burgers are overrated. They’re OK.”

Even Animal Style?
“Yes. People always say, you haven’t tried this. You haven’t tried that. I’m like, “Yeah, I looked up the secret menu. I’ve tried it all. It’s just not good.”

That’s controversial. What’s the best fast food spot then?
“Honestly, for me, I don’t count Chick-fil-A, because it’s way too good to be considered fast food. So I’m gonna say Wendy’s. Fat Burger in L.A. is better than In-N-Out.”

It’s this simple: Fox is flat-out wrong.

First off, Chick-fil-A is wildly overrated, so we know the taste of the 19-year-old point guard is off. Fat Burger is legit. But Wendy’s? Come on now, that’s just average.

If Fox had tried to argue Five Guys, I would have let it slide — I don’t think they’re as good, but I will admit a California bias. But Wendy’s? You lose the entire argument right there. It’s like saying Pixels was the best movie ever.

In-N-Out is the best. Fox needs to get on board with this.

Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic hospitalized after practice fight with Bobby Portis

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It was going to be a difficult season in Chicago if everything went right — and two days before the first game of the season things have gone horribly wrong.

Bulls’ starting forward Nikola Mirotic got into a shoving match with Bobby Portis, and Portis turned and sucker-punched him, according to multiple reports.

The Bulls have confirmed the fight and have announced Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures in his face — the upper jaw and nasal cavity area — which likely will require surgery. He is going to miss weeks of time.

Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had more details.

Mirotic was taken to the hospital Tuesday after their shoving altercation during practice ended with an alleged cheap shot from Portis to Mirotic’s face, league sources told The Vertical. Mirotic is undergoing tests, but is expected to be out for the foreseeable future, league sources said.

Mirotic will miss weeks, according to a source, and you can be sure severe discipline from the team is coming down for Portis.

In the short term, this likely means more run for rookie Lauri Markkanen as well as just re-signed Cristiano Felicio.

LeBron James will play in opener against Celtics

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Did we really expect anything else?

LeBron James was a game-time decision for the season opener in Cleveland against Boston and Kyrie Irving due to a sprained ankle. We expected he would go, but ankles can be tricky and are easy to re-injure once sprained, so the Cavs wanted to be careful.

He’s going to play. Coach Tyronn Lue made it official.

LeBron is the best player on the planet, but he can coast through the regular season at times. What teams try to avoid is giving him extra motivation… say bringing in a guy who left the team last summer on opening night. Expect full force LeBron tonight.