Team USA Practice Session

Damian Lillard: ‘I haven’t thought about stepping away’ from USA Basketball in wake of injury to Paul George


The horrific leg fracture suffered by Paul George at Friday night’s USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas has raised questions as to the future of the NBA allowing its stars to participate in international competition.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks it’s insane for league owners to risk their investments like that, and has felt that way for many years. While teams and owners may use George’s injury as a catalyst to have a serious dialogue on the subject, it remains to be seen whether or not the players themselves will have a change of heart.

Damian Lillard, who is participating in USA Basketball this summer, says that we can count him among those who have no intention of abandoning the international competition anytime soon.

From Chris Haynes of

“Any time you have superstar in this league go down like that, it’s something you don’t ever want to see again,” Lillard said to via phone Saturday night. “It was tough to see, very emotional. Unreal, but out of respect for P.G. and his family, I think we just need to stay away from that topic. We don’t want them reliving that terrible incident.” …

Despite George’s gruesome leg fracture that will likely keep him out the entire 2014-15 season, Lillard says he has given thought of removing himself from consideration for Team USA’s 12-man roster headed to the World Cup in Spain at the end of the month.

“Nah, It’s a part of the game unfortunately,” he said. “It’s a risk any time you step out on the basketball court. I haven’t thought about stepping away [from Team USA]. I’ll stay in.”

Lillard’s response is extremely level-headed, especially coming so quickly after the incident that he was on the court to see happen in person.

But as Cuban and others have noted, players have nothing to risk because their NBA contracts are 100 percent guaranteed against injury — whether it happens in international play, or in a pickup game somewhere else.

Until that part changes, the majority of players already involved with USA Basketball will likely share Lillard’s stance. The only thing that might change that is players choosing to value their NBA legacies above all else.

76ers owner: Brett Brown deserves an ‘A’

Brett Brown
Leave a comment

Only one person in NBA history has coached as many games as Brett Brown and had a worst winning percentage.

The 76ers coach, who sports a 37-127 record, is trumped by just Brian Winters. Winters went 36-148 with the expansion Grizzlies and during interim stint guiding the Warriors.

Brown is entering the third season of his four-year contract, and Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie has been mum about an extension.

76ers owner Josh Harris is taking a similar approach, but he also says a lot of nice things about Brown.

Harris, via John Finger of CSN Philly:

“It’s probably not appropriate for me to talk about specifics about what the negotiations are with him,” Harris said during a media conference on Thursday at the team’s training camp at Stockton College.

“I give Brett an A for the job he’s done,” Harris said. “He’s been an incredible player development person, which is what we need at this point in time. He’s a great person to be around. He’s enthusiastic and he’s a born coach and a leader of men. I’m very impressed with Brett and I hope and expect Brett to be around the team for a very long time.”

Brown has done a fantastic job keeping this team engaged through losing and developing its young players. It’s not his fault Philadelphia stinks. Tanking is an organizational decision.

But the 76ers aren’t tanking forever, and soon, they’ll require a different type of coaching.

Is Brown up for it? No idea. He hasn’t had any chance to prove it.

After all he’s done, though, he probably deserves a chance to find out.

Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty

Thabo Sefolosha
Leave a comment

Thabo Sefolosha clearly believed in his innocence.

The Hawks wing rejected a plea deal of only day of community service and six months probation. That probably would have been easier than a trial.

But Sefolosha opted to fight the charges – misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Today, he was vindicated.

Robert Silverman:

Sefolosha, who missed the playoffs due to a leg injury that seemingly occurred during his arrest, has made his case clear: New York police targeted him because he’s black. Given everything else we know about policing habits, that’s certainly believable.

We’ve also seen video of multiple officers literally pulling Sefolosha in different directions and one striking him in the leg with a nightstick. We don’t know what preceded that video, but especially given the information revealed at trial, it’s difficult to justify that use of force.

This verdict probably sets up Sefolosha’ to sue the NYPD.