Mitch McGary declared for the NBA draft rather than serve a year-long suspension for marijuana in college. The Thunder big man was suspended twice – for a total of 15 games – this offseason for violating the NBA’s marijuana policy.
Oklahoma City has 16 players, one more than the regular-season roster limit, and McGary appears to be the odd man out. He has one guaranteed season remaining on his contract, but his overall behavior hurts his chances of getting a second shot with another NBA team.
In this backdrop, McGary tries to make a case for himself.
McGary, via Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:
“I would love to stay here and play here with new guys coming in; it would be very tough for me to get minutes here,” McGary said. “I’d love to stay with this organization. This is hands down like the best organization that had treats for you, cares for you, does everything for you, pretty much hand-feeds you. I’ve known that from guys around the league have said this is the organization to be with, so obviously I don’t want to leave.”
“If someone is willing to give me an opportunity to play, I just want to play ball, that’s it. Enough with the shenanigans. Hey, I messed up in my career in college, and now I’m kind of messing up my career here. But I’ve always gotten over that adversity and that’s what makes me a stronger person, and I think I’ve grown from this, even though it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve gotten handed the other suspension.
Said McGary: “Everybody is going to make mistakes. But I just don’t want to let this define me as a player.
McGary has been suspended for at least 720 minutes (15 games). He has played 557 minutes in the NBA.
That has to be a little disappointing for Noel, who didn’t ask to be drafted by a franchise more preoccupied with asset accumulation than producing a winning fit and has an injury that lends itself to taking guaranteed money now.
Brett Brown, via Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:
Brown wants him to focus on running rim to rim, scoring around the basket and being a defensive stopper.
“Personally, I don’t care if he ever makes a jump shot for the rest of his life,” the coach said. “I mean that. That’s not how his bread is buttered.”
“Nerlens has got elite gifts,” Brown said. “He’s as athletic and quick off the floor and quick rim to rim as anyone that I’ve coached, as any big man in the league.”
“Do your job and we will help you,” he added. “The league will reward that. The 76ers will reward that. He will be rewarded for playing like that.”
Brown is right. There’s no better way for Noel to earn money than by playing well. That means playing energetic defense, protecting the rim and hounding guards on hedges, and actively seeking easy looks near the basket on the other end.
If the 76ers trade him or Okafor before the season, Noel might even still get an extension. Absent that, he’ll head into restricted free agency.
If he’s coming off a year of playing to his strengths, it will be much more lucrative.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Wizards guard John Wall will be limited at training camp after undergoing knee surgery over the summer and the team has no timeline for his return.
The 26-year-old All-Star says he’s feeling great and has been able to play 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 with teammates. Coach Scott Brooks doesn’t know if Wall will play in any preseason games.
Wall and Brooks insist they’re “in no rush” with the focus on the point guard getting fully healthy. In May, Wall had a procedure on the patella tendon in his left knee and an arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
The Wizards open training camp Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia. Brooks says Wall will participate in segments of each practice as he works to get back to 100 percent.
If the Hawks can retire Dikembe Mutombo’s number after four and a half seasons in Atlanta, the Nuggets can retire it after five in Denver.
Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:
Mutombo will join the list of people who’ve had a number retired by multiple teams:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lakers, Bucks)
- Charles Barkley (76ers, Suns)
- Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors, Lakers, 76ers)
- Clyde Drexler (Trail Blazers, Rockets)
- Julius Erving (Nets, 76ers)
- Michael Jordan (Bulls, Heat)
- Bob Lanier (Pistons, Bucks)
- Moses Malone (Rockets, 76ers)
- Pete Maravich (Jazz, Pelicans)
- Earl Monroe (Knicks, Wizards)
- Oscar Robertson (Bucks, Kings)
- Jerry Sloan (Bulls, Jazz)
- Nate Thurmond (Cavaliers, Warriors)
Shaquille O’Neal, who had his number retired by the Lakers, will also make the list this season, when the Heat will put his number in the rafters.
Mutombo spent his best years with the Hawks, but he was pretty darn good with the Nuggets, who drafted him No. 4 overall in 1991. He won a Defensive Player of the Year award and went to three All-Star games with Denver. Playing for the Nuggets, he also produced the most iconic image of his career: lying on the floor and clutching the ball in jubilation after Denver became the first No. 8 seed to upset the No. 1 seed (Seattle SuperSonics in 1994):