Gordon Hayward is the most underrated star player in the NBA — at 19.7 points a game and the focal point of the Jazz offense, he is an efficient scorer carrying a heavy load in the Jazz on that end of the floor. He is the go-to guy on everybody’s pick as a breakout team this season (they also were last season until injuries did them in). He could be an All-NBA player this season, he’s on the cusp.
Except, now he’s going to miss some time to start the season due to a dislocated and broken ring finger on his left hand. Chris Haynes of ESPN broke the news, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News added to it, and eventually the Jazz sent out a press release confirming it.
The good news is that is off hand. The Jazz confirmed that it was the ring finger on his hand, and treatment options — including surgery — are being considered. Other reports said Hayward’s hand got caught up in a teammate’s jersey, which led to the fracture.
Six weeks means he will miss at least some of the start of the season (he will be re-evaluated in three weeks).
This is a setback for Utah, they will likely use a combination of Joe Johnson and Chris Johnson to fill in (maybe some small ball lineups with Alec Burks), but neither of those are the shot creators and threat that Hayward has become. The Jazz do have more stability and depth on offense this season after adding George Hill at the point (and getting Dante Exum back from injury), plus veterans such as Johnson who can step in and contribute now. But the Jazz need Gordon to make the entire thing work. He will be missed.
Plus, Gordon is in a contract year, so you know he wants to be out there.
Carmelo Anthony was throwing shade at Brooklyn after Knicks practice Friday.
Or at least it came off that way. Anthony was asked about Brooklyn’s offseason signing of Jeremy Lin to a three-year, $36 million deal, and he seemed surprised that the former (and much-loved) Knicks was now back in New York, a subway ride away. He seemed surprised the Nets brought him in as the face of the franchise — then it sounds like he tries to soften that edge. Via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“He is the face of their franchise – believe it or not,’’ Anthony said after Friday’s practice. “He came up, they paid him. Now the ball is in his hands. Now he’s one of the franchise players over there. I don’t know what you want me to say about that. I’m happy for him, excited for him to see how it’s going to turn out over there.’’
I’m not sure why it’s a surprise — the Lin signing makes a lot of sense for both sides.
For Lin, he gets to start and gets the ball in his hands, something he hasn’t had consistently since the Linsanity days (at least until Anthony got healthy and returned to that team, that duo had poor chemistry). He’s going to be able to run the high pick-and-roll with Brook Lopez, attack downhill, find shooters (such as they are in Brooklyn), and play to his strengths. Lin looked good in a 21-point preseason debut for Brooklyn (outside one Shaqtin’ a Fool blown layup). The Nets aren’t going to be very good, but Lin should have a solid season as a starter, maybe a good one.
For the Nets, point guard was a black hole last season and Lin is a quality upgrade. Plus, he should help sell some tickets to a team that is trying to rebuild but is probably still at the base camp of that Everest.
This deal made sense for both sides.
It just seemed to catch Carmelo off guard.
Tim Duncan is gone.
Well, not entirely, he’s shown up at Spurs training camp, but Duncan is no longer a member of the Spurs going through the daily grind of getting ready for the NBA season. This is Kawhi Leonard‘s team now, and to a lesser degree LaMarcus Aldridge‘s team. But Leonard is the younger player who came up through the Spurs system. He’s the long-term future.
So how do Duncan and Leonard’s leadership styles compare? Pretty well if you ask Manu Ginobili.
Manu told the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion that a lot of things feel different in the Spurs locker room this season (hat tip to Hoopshype, who did the translation as well).
“I feel we will miss (Duncan) more as the season progresses, though. Now everything is new and we’re focused on playing well. Anyway, making it to the locker room and seeing another person in his place is, without a doubt, odd. It’s been 15 years together; his presence brought a lot of different things. But I insist it’s going to be felt more during the course of the season. It also feels strange not having Boris (Diaw) and Matt (Bonner), who were key too. Those are big absences. Boris’ is felt on and off the court. Matt’s more off the court because he played less. Those two players made me feel comfortable on a day-to-day basis and everything was enjoyable. I could talk with them about things not related to basketball. I’m going to miss them a lot from a personal standpoint.”
Manu is the old guard of the Spurs, a team that is different this season (although not terribly younger or more athletic). Ginobili had friends who have moved on, but he has one more run in him.
And even though things feel different, this should be one deep run with the Spurs.
It’s good to be the King.
The NBA’s official app — which is pretty much essential if you’re an NBA fan — got an upgrade before the season started. And like every upgrade ever, it had some people complaining and a few bugs.
LeBron James rightfully didn’t love the new box score layout on the app, which isn’t terribly user friendly. Like a lot of us having customer service issues, he complained on Twitter.
Unlike the rest of us, when LeBron complains there is a response with action.
It’s good to be the King.
Kevin Durant is a member of the Golden State Warriors. You don’t have to like it, we can theorize about ways this new superteam might go sideways and spin off the road, but in the end, we all know what is happening — they are clear-and-away the team to beat in the NBA, the title favorites. You watch them in the preseason and think, “How can they be guarded?” Ask yourself this: Who would you take to win the NBA title, Golden State or the field?
DeMarcus Cousins remains in Sacramento, which is only 90 miles from Oracle Arena but is an ocean away in terms of organizations. Ethan Sherwood Straus of ESPN caught Cousins’ reaction to Durant after the two teams played Thursday, and it was perfect.
Cousins speaks for a lot of people here.