NEW YORK — Andrew Bynum didn’t make the trip to New York for Wednesday night’s game against the Knicks, and the move to hold him out wasn’t simply precautionary the way it was on the first night of a back-to-back when Indiana played the Sixers on Friday.
Bynum is injured at the moment, and after experiencing some swelling which required him to have his knee drained, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said he’s not sure how much time his new big man will miss.
“He played in the Detroit game, aggravated a previous condition and had some swelling in there,” Vogel said. “He’s going to be out for a little while.”
Bynum has looked good in the two games he’s played for Indiana — he finished with eight points and 10 rebounds in a 16-minute debut against Boston, and followed it up with 15 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes in Detroit four nights later.
But Bynum’s ability to still put up numbers wasn’t really the question when the Pacers signed him; it was whether or not he could stay on the floor. Knee issues have plagued him for well over a year now, and they seem to be showing no signs of disappearing any time soon.
A healthy version of Bynum in the postseason would be a huge boost to Indiana’s chances. But does Vogel know yet what level of production he can count on from Bynum this season?
“We don’t,” Vogel said. “You know, obviously if he’s healthy it gives us one of the best centers in the league. He’s proven that in the short time [he’s been with us] in the two games that he played here. It’s just going to be a matter of how healthy he can be.”
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.
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.