While you have been busy mocking him Anthony Bennett has shown some signs of improvement — in his last 15 games he has averaged 6.7 points a contest, shot 47.5 percent and played 15 minutes a night. No, even so he is not exactly living up to his No. 1 overall pick billing from the last draft, not by a long shot. And yes, those numbers declined a little in recent games. Still, he has had a couple double-doubles and finally started to get into shape, enough so that maybe you can start to see a rotation player in there. Maybe. Which is better than his insanely poor start to the season, one of the dominoes that helped get Cavaliers GM Chris Grant fired.
However, now Anthony’s nightmare season continues — he will be out at least three weeks with a patellar tendon strain in his left knee, the team announced Monday.
He will miss more than 10 games. If your thought is “they should just shut him down for the season” they might, but for this guy every bit of on-the-court time can help mature his game, so if you can safely get him back in the final handful of games you likely do it.
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Bennett’s role and minutes have been reduced as the Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown has put a lineup with Spencer Hawes, Tristan Thompson and Luol Deng out as much as he could. Bennett (along with Tyler Zeller) has gotten some minutes off the bench. Now you may see more Alonzo Gee.
Bennett needs a lot of run in Summer League and through the next training camp — he needs to commit to conditioning and work on his game, then we’ll see just how big a mistake this pick really was.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.