Author: Kurt Helin

Washington Wizards Media Day

Wizards’ Glen Rice Jr. leaves game with ankle sprain, will miss time


The Wizards already lost their starting two guard and up-and-coming star Bradley Beal for the start of the season due to a broken wrist (he will be out at least six weeks).

That thrust second-year man Glen Rice Jr. into the starting lineup. Last season he played in just 11 games but he was the Las Vegas Summer League MVP and looked ready for a bigger role. He was looking pretty good in preseason, on Wednesday night in an exhibition against Maccabi Haifa he was 5-of-11 shooting for 11 points.

Until he had to leave the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.

There is no timeline yet for how long he’ll be out, there will be more tests Thursday, but after the game he had to leave on crutches and wearing a walking boot, reports J. Michael of

The question is will he be ready for Oct. 29 when the Wizards open the season.

They need him. With Beal and Rice out the Wizards will likely give big minutes to Rasual Butler at the two. Martell Webster could play there some but he is coming off back surgery.

It’s been a rough preseason for the Wizards… or really just their shooting guards.

Steve Nash has another setback — from carrying his bag

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

We all kind of thought it might come to this, didn’t we?

Personally I still want to see Steve Nash get back on the court and play his way — holding the dribble, working in curving “S” patterns, seeing the play develop and making the right play at precisely the right moment. I want to see one of the best, hardest working, most entertaining players of his generation leave the game on his terms.

But his body just will not let him.

Nash didn’t practice Wednesday after another setback with his back/leg/nerve issue, and he is not expected to play in the next couple Lakers preseason games (Thursday then Sunday). Most concerning is this setback came from something pretty minor according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

New Lakers coach Byron Scott is veteran friendly, he wanted to start Nash and have Jeremy Lin come off the bench, but his hand is being forced. Lin has been out with a sprained ankle but is expected to return to the Lakers rotation for this Sunday’s preseason game. Who knows when Nash will be able to go.

The Lakers publicly are not anointing Lin the starter when the season tips off Oct. 28 against the Rockets, but you know Scott understands where this is headed. Check out his quote from practice Tuesday.

“I have no doubt in my mind that if I went to Steve and said tomorrow, ‘You know what, I’m going to start Jeremy and the games that you’re available, we’re going to bring you off the bench,’ he’s such a professional that I don’t think it would be a problem whatsoever,” Scott said.

Lin can start, the question is can Nash even be healthy enough to be a backup? Nash has yet to even speak to the media in LA about this latest setback.

The Lakers kept Nash on the roster this year rather than use the stretch provision to release him and lessen the pain financially (he will make $9.7 million this season) not because of what he might bring on the court but rather to bite the bullet now on his price now so they have more financial freedom going forward. Some Lakers fans have grand plans of being able to use Nash’s contract in a trade to get something of value, but if you think that you haven’t paid attention to the league trade patterns the last few years. Teams are not taking on big expiring deals much anymore.

I still just hope we get to see some vintage Steve Nash at points this season. That guy was a joy to watch.

Rodman himself says J.R. Smith is the Dennis Rodman of a new generation

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks

It all started with Phil Jackson saying of J.R. Smith’s level of maturity, “He might be one of those guys that’s a little bit like Dennis Rodman that has an outlier kind of side to him.”

While the rest of us tried to picture Smith with Rodman’s multi-color hair, Smith took Jackson’s comparison as a compliment: “Last time I checked Dennis Rodman’s got what three, four rings? I’m not offended by that. It’s an honor. He’s a Hall of Famer. And to be put in the same words as a Hall of Famer is something special. So I’m not offended at all.” (For the record, it’s five rings.)

Now Rodman himself is down with the comparison.

Here’s the thing — Rodman was a great fit for Jackson’s triangle. He would do the dirty work on the glass, plus in his prime he was a lockdown defender. Rodman brought energy, moved the ball and moved off the ball. (people tend to forget just how athletic Rodman was).

J.R. Smith has been a ball stopper on offense his entire career, and while he has the skills to get points that way it is the death of the triangle to stop the ball and look for isolations. His traditional game is a poor fit for the triangle.

Maybe he changes. People deserve that chance. But Smith has a long way to go to be Rodman.

Dirk Nowitzki joins Erik Spoelstra saying length of games not issue, number of games is

Dirk Nowitzki

Let’s get my bias out in the open here — I think the NBA season is too long. Too many regular season games, which leads to too many back-to-backs (or four games in five nights) which in turn hurts the quality of play. It’s not going to change, too much money is on the line, but I think a season-length change matters more than the idea of shortening games.

Turns out I’ve got a couple people on my side. We already told you what Erik Spoelstra said, now Dirk Nowitzki has joined the chorus.

Miami’s Spoelstra and other coaches discussed the shorter game idea at a recent coaches meeting in Chicago. Spoelstra told Zach Harper of CBS’ Eye on Basketball he was interested in the shorter game experiment but again it was the volume of games that were the issue.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of how long the game is,” Spoelstra said. “I think there’s too many games, to be frank. I think if there’s some way to find a way to cut out some of the back-to-backs so there aren’t 20-plus of them. I think that’s the bigger issue, not shaving off four minutes in a particular game. But I’m open to seeing what happens with that.”

Nowitzki made a very valid point speaking to ESPN — you really don’t need this long a season to figure out who are the best teams in each conference.

“I think you don’t need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference,” Nowitzki said Wednesday. “That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it’s about money, and every missed game means missed money for both parties, for the league, for the owners, for the players. I understand all that, and that’s why I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon.”

How fast can you find out?

On Christmas Day last year all six of the teams that would win their division at the end of the season were already on top of their division (Portland was tied with Oklahoma City in the Northwest at the time). In the East six of the eight ultimate playoff teams were would have made the cut (Chicago and Brooklyn had rough starts but came on late) and in the West seven of the eight teams would have been the same (Memphis got Marc Gasol back and passed Phoenix). This was 28 games into the season for most teams. By the All Star game came around mid-February the standings were basically finalized in both conferences, save for Memphis was still chasing Phoenix in the tough West.

You don’t need 82 games to figure out the best teams for the playoffs, you can do that just fine in 72 or even 66.

But you need 82 to make the most money, which is why nothing is going to change about the length of the season. So, we’ll see about the length of games.

NBC Sports World officially launched, brings longform writing, video


We always need more good storytelling in sports media. There are just so many stories to tell.

To do that right often takes space, it takes time to craft the story properly. It takes longform writing and someone willing to give that piece the time and space it needs.

That’s what NBC Sports World brings.

NBC Sports World just launched today and it will bring to you fantastic long-form journalism, with the incomparable Joe Posnanski leading the way. There will be a lot of other writers you know from around NBC Sports, plus you will get a lot of video — not highlight packages, rather video storytelling.

Here is Posnanski explaining what NBC Sports World is.

Already there is great content up.

Go read Eric Angevine on the impact of YouTube on sports.

Fellow soccer fans, read Joe Prince-Write on the winding road through the soccer coaching world of Bob Bradley (former US Mens Team coach).

There’s a great video piece (first run during the Olympics) by Tom Brokaw on the 1950s-60s “space race” between the USA and USSR.

Bookmark it and go back often. NBC is investing a chunk of time and money into this because of the understanding we needed a new platform to really highlight this style of writing, this kind of storytelling. We’re going to bring you some of the best writing on the Web there. Go back often, you won’t be disappointed.