Derrick Rose, using Team USA to test his knees, got off to a great start start this summer. He played well in the Americans’ intra-squad scrimmage, and he excelled in the first exhibition.
But soon enough, injury concerns reemerged.
He sat out one practice and then another. He missed an exhibition game. A report cited knee pain.
Rose returned for Team USA’s exhibition against Puerto Rico and played fine, but he mostly struggled in the final tune-up against Slovenia.
As the Americans prepare to open the World Cup against Finland on Saturday, should they worry about Rose’s health?
Marc Stein of ESPN:
You can probably guess, given the rampant pooh-poohing to this point, what Rose had to say about the state of his health after logging an underwhelming 20 minutes off the bench behind starter Kyrie Irving in which he was clearly looking to pass more than anything.
“I’m past my injuries,” Rose said.
What else is Rose supposed to say? At this point, he’s on the team, and unless he just physically can’t play, anything less than complete confidence in his health would be counterproductive.
Still, it’s reasonable to be concerned. Rose has relied on his explosiveness, so any drop in athleticism could radically alter his effectiveness. Maybe Rose is prepared for that. Maybe he’s not.
Of course, Rose’s bad game isn’t necessarily related to health. Not everyone gets up for an exhibition against Slovenia. There are multiple possible explanations here.
Regardless of the reasoning, Rose seems to have fallen behind Kyrie Irving in the point guard rotation. Rose should still get plenty of playing time, and there will be more opportunities to see whether he’s truly past his injuries. For now, though, it’s fair to remain unconvinced.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.
Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):
This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.
Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.