Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching the Jimmy Fallon/Emma Stone lip synch battle….
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner. He aced his first test. With players ready to mutiny and sponsors pulling out, Silver came in and dropped the hammer on Clippers owner Donald Sterling — a lifetime ban, a $2.5 million fine and the league will try and force Sterling to sell the team. Silver stood up to Sterling and basically said “if you want a legal fight, bring it on.” That’s something David Stern never did with Sterling. Bravo Adam Silver, bravo.
Nene, Washington Wizards. He was back from his one-game suspension and he was back to making life miserable for Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah — Nene was 7-of-13 from the midrange, 3-of-4 in the paint and put up 20 points to help lead the Wizards to a win over the Bulls, and into the second round. Check out his shot chart.
With Nene the Wizards defense improves, their offense becomes more fluid and confident. I look at that Pacers/Hawks series and think we are likely to see the Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Mike Miller, Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis was putting up points on the Thunder surprisingly easily in the first half (the Grizzlies played more quickly and that allowed them to get deeper into sets, which led to defensive breakdowns and good looks). But when the second half rolled around a desperate Thunder team cranked up their defense. That’s where Miller comes in — he had 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. He hit big threes in overtime when the team needed him most. He was a huge boost to them and a key reason the Grizzlies are up 3-2.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers. That is the DeAndre Jordan we have been waiting for. All series the Warriors have had some success going small against the Clippers so Warriors coach Mark Jackson started that lineup the last couple games, with David Lee at the five and Draymond Green at the four. Tuesday night Jordan made the Warriors pay for that — 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks. That is the Jordan the Clippers need to contend.
Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.
What next for Boston?
In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.
Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.
What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.
At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.
And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.
Joel Embiid‘s minute limit of below 20 bummed out everyone (especially Embiid).
But good news could be on the way.
Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:
The 76ers look like a borderline playoff team, Embiid’s health the biggest variable. There’s a direct correlation between his ability to stay on the court and Philadelphia’s postseason chances.
Plus, he’s just so darn fun to watch. The more he plays, the bigger victory it is for every viewer not rooting for the 76ers’ opponent that night.
John Henson was on the trade block. Greg Monroe seems permanently affixed there.
Another player the Bucks apparently want to deal? Rashad Vaughn, who was the No. 17 pick in 2015.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Milwaukee has been working to trade several players to clear salary-cap space, including guard Rashad Vaughn and center John Henson, league sources said. The Bucks have been willing to attach a second-round pick in offers for Vaughn, league sources said.
It’s unclear whether the Bucks are still as motivated to move Vaughn. They slid under the luxury-tax line by stretching Spencer Hawes. One-time target Richard Jefferson already signed with the Nuggets. A roster vacancy and cap savings might not matter as much anymore to Milwaukee.
But Vaughn has struggled in two NBA seasons. The Bucks might be better off trying to develop someone else, even a D-League player, over the 21-year-old Vaugh.
Vaughn is due $1,889,040 this season. He faces a $2,901,565 team option for next season, which his team must decide on by Oct. 31. It seems unlikely that will be exercised.
This is what happens when you draft players for the wrong reason.