Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

James Harden: ‘I’m the best all-around basketball player in the NBA’

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James Harden certainly doesn’t lack self-confidence.

Self awareness? That’s another question.

Harden via NBA 2K15 Uncensored  (hat tip: Royce Young of Daily Thunder):

I’m the best all-around basketball player in the NBA.

Harden is an incredible scorer and exceptional offensive player. He could maybe turn the ball over a little less, but there’s little point in quibbling about his shortcomings on that end of the court. He’s awesome there.

Defense, though… yikes – and that’s why I’m drawn to Harden’s use of “all-around.”

If the Rockets are going to overcome their depleted depth this season and become a legitimate championship contender in the long term, Harden must improve defensively. He has the tools to defend better, even if he never reaches an elite level.

The biggest issue right now is effort. Harden conserves energy for offense, and while that tradeoff might be somewhat reasonable (but probably isn’t), it definitely limits his contributions. It certainly keeps him far short of the best-all-around-player debate currently occupied by only LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Harden is confident, which can be to his advantage. But does he also realize how much work he has left to do?

It’s a fine line, and though statements like this can be a little off-putting, Harden improved throughout his career. He deserves the benefit of the doubt he won’t rest on his laurels as the self-appointed “best all-around basketball player in the NBA.”

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taken to hospital after shoulder injury

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.

Derrick Rose expected to rejoin Bulls on Wednesday

Derrick Rose
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CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.

“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”

Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.

“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”

The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.

Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.