Author: Kurt Helin

Jeff Taylor

Conflicting reports lead to doubts about reported second arrest of Hornets’ Jeff Taylor

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Thursday nights reports started to hit the Internet that Charlotte Hornet swingman Jeff Taylor was arrested for a second time in 24 hours, but an attempt to confirm the details of this second arrest leave a lot of room for doubt.

Here is what we know for sure: Taylor was arrested early Thursday morning in East Lansing, Michigan, on a domestic assault charge at a local hotel. This was the first (or maybe only) arrest. Part of that was a second charge of malicious destruction of property.

The Ingham County jail confirmed to ProBasketballTalk what NBC affiliate WILX had previously reported — that Taylor was arrested and brought to them for the second time in one day, that he arrived in their facility at 7:30 p.m. and was released on bond just before 9 p.m. They say he was arrested on a malicious destruction of a building charge, although WILX says it was for less than $200 in damage. The address for this arrest given by WILX is about a mile from the hotel where the first arrest took place.

However, the East Lansing Police Department says there was no second arrest. They confirmed to PBT there was no second contact with Taylor after the first arrest early Thursday morning. The Lansing Police Department said the same thing to other news outlets, that they had no arrest record.

With the second charge of the original arrest (malicious destruction of property) being so close to what the second arrest allegedly was for (malicious destruction of a building) it seems as if it is possible this is a mix up at the jail.

It’s just not clear, but police departments tend to know who they arrest.

Meanwhile, both the Hornets and NBA league office are investigating the situation of the first arrest on domestic assault charges.

The Hornets released this statement on Taylor’s first arrest:

“The organization is in the process of gathering more information and doing our due diligence. This is a matter that we take very seriously.”

Taylor missed most of last season after a ruptured Achilles tendon, but he was expected to be back and ready to go when training camp opened next week. He was going to be fighting for minutes on the wing, but he’s got much bigger issues in front of him now.

Sixers Michael Carter-Williams not cleared for contact as training camp opens

Michael Carter-Williams

Just after his Rookie of the Year effort ended, Sixers point guard Michael Cater-Williams had shoulder surgery to fix the labrum in his right shoulder. He didn’t miss games at the end of last season, but he was playing through some pain.

That was in May (days after he win the award). Training camps are set to open next week at the end of September and Carter-Williams has still not been cleared for contact, and will not be for the start of camp.

That according to coach Brett Brown, reports Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Oh, and for everyone on off-season muscle watch…

If watching Nerlens Noel sit out all of last year (and Joel Embid will get the same this season) has taught us one thing it’s that the Sixers will be incredibly patient with Carter-Williams. They really do not care if they lose a bunch of games in the process, in fact that’s the plan (and why the league owners are looking to tweak the lottery starting this season, but that’s another story).

That said, Carter-Williams will be ready to go if not by opening day then not long into the season.

And seeing MCW and Noel together is one of the things I am most looking forward to this season.

Charlotte’s Jeff Taylor arrested on domestic assault charge

Jeff Taylor mug

I wrote earlier this week that, unfortunately, Adam Silver would be put to the test on a domestic abuse case with an NBA player sooner rather than later. This was sooner than anyone expected, but Mr. Silver welcome to the spotlight.

The Charlotte Hornet’s Jeff Taylor has been arrested on a charge of domestic assault, reports NBC affiliate WCNC of Charlotte. The arrest took place in East Lansing, Michigan.

Taylor is charged with one count of domestic assault, assault and malicious destruction of property. His bond was set at $5000.

There are not many details on the case yet, as we get them we will bring them to you.

This is the second high-profile domestic violence athletic case in the Charlotte area: The Panther Greg Hardy is awaiting trial on charges against him.

Taylor missed most of last season with a ruptured Achilles, but he was going to be back for Hornets training camp, which opens next week.

Earlier this week Silver said the NBA would review its domestic violence policies. Those policies allow the NBA a lot of flexibility to suspend a player convicted in a domestic violence case, he would face a minimum 10-game suspension (1/8th of the NBA season, which is what the NFL gave Ray Rice with a two-game suspension) but the league has the flexibility to go much higher.

However the NBA has traditionally waited for the justice system to play out in these cases before making a move. Those wheels of justice can grind slowly and — take it from a guy who spent part of his journalism career on crime/police beats — with domestic violence cases the charges are often dropped or decreased even in the most obvious of cases (see Ray Rice). Three NBA players who had domestic violence cases pop up in the past year all had their legal cases dropped. The league did not act on any of them.

The NBA can no longer sit back and wait for the legal system, although that likely means investigating cases themselves now. It’s an uncomfortable spot for the league.

Whatever happens here case will put the NBA in a national spotlight on the issue.

Al Horford not cleared for contact as training camp opens, expects to be by opening night

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers

With Al Horford last season, the Hawks were 16-13, an above .500 team that at the time was the third best team in the weak Eastern Conference. After he was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle they went 22-31.

The Hawks need Horford — in those 29 games he averaged 18.6 points a game with a .588 true shooting percentage, both career highs — with him they are in the crowded second tier in the East. He should be ready to go for the start of the season but there is no reason to rush him during the preseason.

Horford has not been fully cleared for contact as training camp is set to open next week, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“He has made good progress. I think we are excited about having him back and healthy. I still think he’s got some hurdles to clear. He is not at 100 percent right now but I think we anticipate by opening night and through camp him getting to where he is totally cleared and ready to go. He’s had a heck of a summer. Al is diligent and works hard and takes care of himself so I think that will all be in a good place…

“He’ll be held out of contact early in training camp. He’ll progress through and get to where he’s got full clearance in everything but at the start of camp there will be some limitations.”

Horford’s a veteran, he doesn’t need the contact and extra drills of camp to be ready come opening night (just time to get some conditioning in).

Atlanta is basically the same team it was last year, just with Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore added for depth. It’s not a contending team, but not a bad one if healthy. But that starts with Horford. He’s the All-Star, the lynchpin, the must.

So no reason to rush him back.

Giannis Antetokounmpo excited about playing some point guard

Otto Porter Jr., Giannis Antetokounmpo
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The Milwaukee Bucks have a starting point guard in Brandon Knight, if they want to be traditional.

However, the Bucks have an untraditional talent — Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s a 6’11” two-guard who runs the floor like a gazelle, plus he has handles, the ability to drive, and good court vision. All that open up a lot of possibilities.

Like Antetokounmpo the point guard (not just a point forward, but playing the one). Jason Kidd tried it out at Summer League (with mixed results, he averaged 17 points a game on 40.2 percent shooting, plus 3.3 assists a game) and now is going to try it out some during the NBA season. The Bucks are so invested in the idea they are bringing in Gary Payton as a consultant to work with him.

Antetokounmpo is pumped about the opportunity he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

“I’m not going to say I was shocked by it,” Antetokounmpo told Basketball Insiders when asked about the move to point guard. “It’s something that I feel comfortable with and I’ll play wherever Coach wants me to play, especially when it’s Coach Kidd who thinks that I can play point guard. That makes me feel like, ‘I can play it. I can play point guard.’ I’m going to try my best and just listen to Coach. I’ll do whatever Coach says to do and I’ll get more comfortable.”

As for Gary Payton and Kidd working with him.

“Oh man, it’s really important and nice, since they’re some of the best point guards in NBA history,” Antetokounmpo said of Kidd and Payton. “Not only are they great point guards, they’re great basketball players and can help us all basketball wise. Whatever they say, that is what I’m going to do. I’m so happy to have guys like them as I figure out the position and to have them teach me. I’m really excited. I’ve talked with Jason Kidd and he’s a really good coach, but he’s also a really great guy. He treats us really well.”

This is the kind of experiment the Bucks need to try — they cannot think inside the box. Simply put, Milwaukee is not the market elite free agents will flock to unless another star is there (and of course, plenty of money). Think Cleveland with and without LeBron and how Kevin Love viewed it. If the Bucks are going to build an elite team they need some big hits in the draft, which they hope Jabari Parker will be.

But Antetokounmpo can be special because of his talents and because he just does not fit the mold. If he is a 6’11” point guard (or even a two guard with the ball in his hands, ala James Harden) that could be a unique piece.

It’s also a process. They can’t just try it a little in camp and abandon it. They need to give it shots during the season and suffer through the growing pains (this is asking a lot of Antetokounmpo).

Good on Kidd and the Bucks for trying it. Good on Antetokounmpo for buying in. It’s going to be interesting to watch