Lakers D'Angelo Russell said he had a bad rookie season.
But it wasn’t just the season.
It was everything preceding it.
Russell, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
“Last off-season was Looney Tunes,” Russell said Tuesday. “Wasn’t real. I didn’t get nothing out of it.”
“Everything I went through was new, and there was no guidance from the people that were supposed to give me the guidance,” Russell said.
Russell struggled in summer league. He spent most of the summer not calling Kobe Bryant for fear of bothering him. Russell never got on the same page with his first head coach, Byron Scott.
Yet Russell didn’t know what he didn’t know. He said the Lakers would definitely make the playoffs – and they fell just 24 games short.
Russell grew throughout the season, and he’s obviously excited to play for Luke Walton. Just think what Russell can do after his first productive NBA offseason.
Doc Rivers plays to his strengths.
Astute cap and asset management? Nope.
Quality coaching and player relations? Yup.
Facing a hard cap and with no apparent openings on the regular-season roster, the Clippers still snagged Dorell Wright.
Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:
Obligatory note: Wright had an excellent playoff game with the Heat against Rivers’ Celtics in 2010.
Wright is a good 3-point shooter, and he usually holds his own well enough elsewhere for that skill to outweigh a lackluster all-around game. He’s not out of place in a competition for small forward minutes when the other options are Wesley Johnson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Alan Anderson and Paul Pierce.
But those other four players have guaranteed salaries, giving them a major leg up. Wright will have to significantly outplay one to earn a regular-season roster spot unless Pierce retires or the Clippers make a roster-clearing trade.
After trading Tibor Pleiss and clearing a roster spot, the Jazz aren’t just handing it to Jeff Withey, who’s on an unguaranteed deal.
He’ll have to beat out Henry Sims.
The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed free agent center Henry Sims.
Sims has spent four seasons in the NBA, playing mostly for the 76ers. He’s big and and long, but he hasn’t separated himself with any distinct skills at age 26.
I expect Withey to earn the regular-season roster spot and provide depth behind Rudy Gobert. Not only is Withey better, he spent last season with Utah.
The Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s affiliate, already hold Sims’ D-League rights. Utah could give him a small guarantee on his NBA contract to supplement a low D-League salary and entice him to join the Stars rather than going overseas.
But Sims will at least have an opportunity to upset Withey and claim the NBA job.
Michael Jordan said he could no longer stay silent on racial issues.
So, with the police shooting Keith Scott in Charlotte and bringing the spotlight to Jordan’s backyard, the Hornets owner is speaking out.
As usual, he doesn’t take a controversial stance.
Statement from Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan – 9/22/16
“First, I want to express my condolences to the Scott family for their loss. I also wish for a full recovery to those who have been injured.
“In light of the tragic events of the past three days, it is more important than ever that we restore calm and come together, as a community, in peaceful demonstration and conversation, and in constructive and non-violent ways. As part of the fabric of Charlotte, the Hornets organization is committed to working with civic leaders, our elected leaders and law enforcement to foster more trust, transparency and understanding so we can heal and grow together as a community.”
If Jordan wants to bring the community together, he should urge the police to release their videos of their encounter with Scott.
Both sides have too quickly jumped to conclusions, believing one version of events or another. But only police have claimed video supports their narrative. Yet, they’ve declined to release it.
There could be legitimate reasons to keep the video private for now, but unquestionably, more transparency would increase the trust Jordan desires. If that’s his overriding interest, he has a clear avenue to push for it.
Austin Rivers‘ numerous gaffes are so prevalent, even his Clippers teammates make fun of them.
Rivers threw out the first pitch at the Dodgers game the other night, and just waking to the rubber with the ball proved challenging:
But, like with his easily mockable basketball plays, they obscure a better-than-realized substance. Rivers still threw a fine first pitch – especially for someone who said he had never thrown a baseball before: