Kurt Helin

Getty Images

Hornets’ Ramon Sessions has knee surgery, expected to miss 4-6 weeks

Leave a comment

Having lost seven games in a row before edging by the lowly Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night, the Charlotte Hornets could use all hands on deck. And on the bright side, they should get Cody Zeller back in the next couple of games.

However, backup point guard Ramon Sessions is going to miss at least a month following surgery on Wednesday, the team announced. His injury had been known before, but the extent and treatment were not known. From the official press release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Ramon Sessions has undergone successful surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NY. Sessions is expected to miss approximately four to six weeks.

That timeline has him back in the second half of March, in time to get his conditioning and feel back before the playoffs start. If the Hornets can climb back into the playoffs.

Sessions has been a solid, shot creating (although mostly for himself) backup point guard behind Kemba Walker this season, a veteran who can hold things down while the All-Star gets some rest. Basically, Sessions has been exactly what should have been expected of him. He’s not bringing what Jeremy Lin did a season ago, but he’s been fine scoring 6.2 points per game.

With Sessions out, Brian Roberts has been getting more run behind Walker.

Reports: Suns’ rookie Dragan Bender done for season due to ankle surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Phoenix Suns took Dragan Bender with the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft, and like much of the top of this draft class he’s not come around quickly (not one of the top 10 picks in the draft started opening night for their respective teams).

On paper, the 7-foot forward fits the direction NBA bigs are going because he showed off a three-point shot overseas, plus has good court vision and passing skills. He was also very raw and not physically strong enough, and that showed as he tried to adjust to the NBA. Bender played in 38 games for the Suns, averaging 3.2 points a game on 37 percent shooting 32.1 percent from three), with a PER of 5.9. He’s got a long way to go before we know if he’s an NBA rotation player or not.

This setback is not going to help.

Bender is done for the season due to an upcoming ankle surgery. These reports are from overseas (Bender is Croatian ) but reliable sources. From Sportando then David Pick:

Dragan Bender is done for the season, according to Croatian journalist Bernard Djurisic. The Croatian rookie will need ankle surgery and miss at least three months of action.

This isn’t going to impact the Suns on the court, Bender had played in just one of the last eight games for the team and was getting limited minutes before that.

However, it’s a setback in the efforts to develop the young forward.

John Wall, Bradley Beal thank Wizards fans for support

Getty Images
2 Comments

Monday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers it felt like a playoff game inside the Verizon Center. In part because the Washington Wizards were pushing the Cavaliers to overtime in a chippy, hard-fought game. And in part because the crowd was loud and into it. It sounded like a playoff game.

That hasn’t always been the case in Washington D.C., and this season Wizards are 24th in league attendance (also, according to ESPN, fourth-lowest in percentage of the available tickets sold).

So John Wall and Bradley Beal wanted to thank the fans.

Back to work!! #dcfamily

A post shared by Bradley Beal (@bradbeal3) on

The Wizards are 22-7 at home this season, and there is a good chance they will have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs (they would qualify as of today, but seeds 2-5 in the East are separated by 2.5 games, so a lot of things could still shake out). They will need those fans then.

A little positive reinforcement now doesn’t hurt. Plus with the team winning, they are feeling the love in the city.

Report: Bulls’ front office execs Gar Forman, John Paxson’s jobs safe

Getty Images
2 Comments

A month ago, speaking with Sean Highkin of The Athletic about the Bulls on the PBT Podcast, this topic came up: With the lack of direction this Bulls franchise is showing, are the jobs of vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman in any danger? No was the answer. For the Reinsdorf family that owns the Bulls, loyalty matters and that will win the day.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune talked to people inside the Bulls and got the same answer — the Gar/Pax front office is going nowhere.

Despite some outside perception to the contrary, the jobs of executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman are safe, sources familiar with ownership’s thinking told the Tribune. In fact, ownership’s trust in Paxson and Forman remains so intact that they would be retained even if the Bulls miss the postseason for a second straight season, one source said.

It’s well-documented that Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and son Michael, who runs the business side as president and chief operating officer, are loyal and long have favored front-office continuity. But there’s also inherent trust in the roster-building process that Paxson, Forman and their staff have in place.

One internal belief is that this represents the first season in the attempt to open a new championship window after the franchise had ridden out Derrick Rose‘s maximum contract — and myriad injuries — until finally trading Rose with one season left on the deal. There’s also an internal feeling that Forman’s publicly stated goal to remain competitive while overhauling the roster over several seasons to get younger and more athletic is working.

Some Bulls fans are not going to like this, but first off it’s the Reinsdorf’s team and their call, and second they are not wrong about a need for front office continuity. There is no surprise in this report.

If I were a Bulls fan, what would worry me from this story is the idea that ownership believes the process to overhaul the roster and get younger while not tearing down to rebuild is working.

This .500 team is being carried by at-his-peak 27-year-old Jimmy Butler, and 35-year-old Dwyane Wade. After that, which young players do you see on this roster drafted/assembled by Forman and Paxson that you would want to keep as part of this great future? Nikola Mirotic? Bobby Portis? Jerian Grant? Denzel Valentine? They drafted Tony Snell, but moved him for Michael Carter-Williams, who is not a significant part of the future either. Doug McDermott isn’t long-term answer, and Gar/Pax traded two first round picks to get him, picks that both became better players in Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris.

Maybe there is something with big man Cristiano Felicio as a part of a future rotation, same with Paul Zipser. But neither of those picks are game changers.

And that’s not even bringing up the Rajon Rondo signing.

Bottom line here, the Bulls are one of the least athletic rosters in the NBA and the last pick they nailed was Butler back in 2011.

The Bulls are a .500 team, and while we’ve heard their “rebuild on the fly around Butler” plans, it’s difficult to see that being executed.

Hornets’ Marvin Williams got up and threw it down on Nets Tuesday night

1 Comment

Charlotte needed a win, having lost seven in a row. Brooklyn is not exactly a defensive powerhouse, to put it kindly.

That led to a 111-107 Charlotte win Tuesday night, which included one powerful Marvin Williams dunk.

That Brooklyn defense showed its colors when Rondae Hollis-Jefferson watched the ball not his man opening the door for a Williams baseline cut to the rim, and credit Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky for recognizing it and making the good pass. Randy Foye tried to rotate over but this isn’t on him, he had no chance.