The Nets have been doing just fine without Kevin Garnett, posting a record of 11-4 since he’s been sidelined with back spasms after last playing on Feb. 27.
But obviously, having him back at some point before the playoffs would be a huge boost to their postseason chances because of the way Garnett is still able to impact the game on the defensive end of the floor.
Speaking to reporters before Friday’s win over the Cavaliers, though, Jason Kidd hinted that we may not see Garnett return for the rest of the regular season.
From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
In fact, Kidd said prior to the tipoff against the Cavs that Garnett doesn’t have to play again in the regular season to start the playoffs in shape or in rhythm.
“He’s played this game. It doesn’t change. If he gets to play before the playoffs, that’ll be great. If he gets to practice before the playoffs, that’ll be great. And if he had no practice or no games, for him being on the floor (in the playoffs) would help us dramatically. So however you look at it, him playing with us will help us. And game shape? He plays at a high level so he’s going to get tired no matter what.”
A large reason for the Nets not losing their stride without Garnett has been the play of Mason Plumlee, who has been able to hold things down for the 20 minutes per game usually reserved for Garnett in the starting lineup.
It would be tricky to mess with things by immediately placing Garnett back into that role if he isn’t truly ready, but it sounds like whenever he is, Kidd won’t hesitate to reinsert him into the lineup — even if by them the playoffs have already started.
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.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.