Kurt Helin

Derrick Rose says he’s still battling blurred vision

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There were some encouraging things to take away from Derrick Rose‘s opening-night performance against Cleveland. At the top of the list, this was the most we’ve seen him attack the paint in a long time — he took 15 shots in the paint and just two from beyond the arc.

On the flip side, he shot 8-of-22 overall and was just 3-of-10 at the rim in the game.

Part of the reason for the shooting woes is he’s still battling double-vision from the fractured orbital bone he suffered at the start of training camp, which required surgery to repair and has Rose still wearing a mask. Here is what Rose said about the issue, via ESPN.

“I wish it was a blink, but it’s all the time,” said Rose, who played 32 minutes and scored 18 points. “Like right now, I see two of you…

“When I’m out there playing, I’m only using one of my eyes,” Rose said. “I close my left eye whenever I’m out there. So I just got used to it from practice.”

“I think I’m all right,” Rose said. “A couple of layups I could have hit, but I think that I’m careful when I’m out there. I’m just trying to get back [to] playing. I miss this game too much.”

At one point Hoiberg said he wasn’t going to play Rose if he had double vision. However, the team doctor’s cleared him for full contact and he is out there. So long as he’s not at undue risk for further injury, it should be his call.

Rose has more lanes to drive in Fred Hoiberg’s motion offense, where Nikola Mirotic helps space the floor with his extended minutes. The ball moved better Tuesday night, and there were plenty of reasons to be optimistic if you’re a Bulls fan.

Rose just has to get to the point he can finish. He’s physically not there yet.

Jazz to start rookie Raul Neto over Trey Burke in opener

Trey Burke
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While Rudy Gobert and the defense deservedly get most of the credit for Utah’s late surge last season (19-11 after the All-Star Break, allowing 89 points per game), another key change was Dante Exum taking over starting at point for Trey Burke. It put a pass-first point guard at the helm of the offense, which meant more shots for efficient shooters such as Gordon Hayward. The ball movement improved.

With Exum out for the season with an ACL injury, Burke spent the preseason trying to prove he should be back in the starter’s role. However, for the Jazz’s opener tonight against the Pistons, coach Quin Snyder is going with Brazilian rookie Raul Neto at the point, reports Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.

Burke averaged 15.3 points a game on 50 percent shooting in the preseason, but he was his usual self hunting for his own shot and averaging 2.5 assists per game. Neto is a pick-and-roll point guard who looks to pass first (and his shot will need some work against NBA defenses). Expect a lot of drive-and-kick, based on what we saw in the preseason — with Haywood and Rodney Hood starting that could work well. There are questions about how well Neto can defend at the NBA level.

Neto is not a better player than Burke, but he is a better fit with the starting lineup.

Burke can come in gunning with the second unit and have the green light.

Wizards’ Martell Webster may need season-ending hip surgery

Martell Webster
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He wants to try every alternative first. Or maybe just try to play through it.

But the bone spur in Martell Webster‘s hip that has sidelined him through the Wizards’ training camp until his first practices Tuesday — the thing that has kept him from trying to find his place in Washington’s new small ball style — could mean the end of his season.

Webster may need surgery, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.

“When it gets to the point that nothing’s happening, the hip’s not getting better … I don’t know just go back to the drawing board and see if surgery is the best solution after exhausting all avenues,” Webster said Wednesday from the floor of Amway Center, where the Wizards will make their regular-season debut tonight vs. the Orlando Magic.

“I played the whole practice yesterday. Felt good. Literally on my last shot, after practice when we were getting up our spot shots, my last shot is when it started to flare up again. (Expletive) I probably could’ve given 10 minutes tonight if that hadn’t happened.”

Surgery would sideline him 4-6 months, very possibly ending his season. Could hip surgery spell the end of Webster’s 10-year career? He doesn’t see it that way.

“Yeah, of course,” Webster said when asked if he again thought about his career ending before he reaches 30… “But I don’t think me not playing again is in the foreseeable future, like in the next year or two. Now I could still play. If I got this surgery it’s not a career-ending surgery. It’s just a bone spur that’s rubbing up against my labrum. If I got the surgery, just go in and shave it off so that it doesn’t rub up against my labrum anymore. It’s not something that’s going to end my career. I’m not worried about that. I’ve got a lot of basketball left in me.”

Injuries have plagued Webster’s career, including limiting him to 32 games last season — and when he did play he was not good (his PER of 5.9 is a good way to sum that up). In theory Webster could be the kind of 3&D guy Washington could use, but if he can’t get healthy he can’t prove it.

The Wizards can buy out his contract for next season for $2.5 million, and even if he were healthy a team looking to land a big name free agent — *cough* Kevin Durant *cough* — would likely send him packing to free up the cap space. If Webster is going to land anywhere and play again, he needs to get and prove he can stay healthy.

That just may mean season-ending surgery.

Quote of the Day: Kerr’s advice Walton basically don’t screw it up

Luke Walton, Stephen Curry
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“Don’t worry, we won 67 games last year and I didn’t know what I was doing at all.”

—Golden State Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton on any final advice he got from Steve Kerr, via ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss.

Funny line, and with a hint of truth — this is the same core players in the same system that won 67 games and an NBA title last season. They already know how to win, just don’t screw it up. 

So far so good, Stephen Curry dropped 40 and the Warriors looked good on opening night.

It’s official, Lance Stephenson to start at three for Clippers

Lance Stephenson, Festus Ezeli
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This was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers back in June, just after the team traded for Lance Stephenson, making it clear this was more of a move about the bench:

“I don’t know if I made the trade for him to be a starter, per se, I look at him really more to be a utility player that can come in and play literally three different positions for us…. In the worst case and it’s not a bad case [Lance starts], and I still think that Lance is an upgrade at that position even if we wanted to start him. But I’m planning on doing more things this summer without saying much.”

This was Doc Rivers Wednesday morning of the Clippers’ season opener up in Sacramento, via James Ham of CSNBayArea.com.

The idea here is to reduce the load on Paul Pierce, who will play with the second unit but likely finish close games. While Rivers talked up starting Wesley Johnson for a while, that idea never had legs once Johnson got on the court.

Stephenson is the Clippers’ best perimeter defender of the guys in the mix for the three, but he’s struggled working off the ball on offense in the preseason — he shot 6-of-14 inside eight feet and 1-of-9 from three. He’s going to have to get used to it because Chris Paul and Blake Griffin should be the hubs, and we know DeAndre Jordan will get more touches now (especially early in games). If the Clippers are going to bring Pierce off the bench, Stephenson is the best option to start off the guys on the roster, and if his minutes are limited it may not be much of an issue.

Is this an upgrade over Matt Barnes is another question entirely.