Kurt Helin

john wall

John Wall playing one-on-one, progressing toward five-on-five

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It may be the most underreported story of the offseason: John Wall had surgery on both knees after last season (which ended with the Wizards missing the playoffs). This was more than a simple cleanup scope job; Wall has said he was not sure he would be back for the start of this season.

It sounds like he’s making progress, according to Chris Miller of CSN MidAtlantic.

More important than if Wall be ready to go opening night or a couple of weeks later is this: Do the Wizards get vintage, explosive Wall? He says yes. He’s one of the best athletes playing the point in the NBA when he’s healthy — and the Wizards need that Wall, and better chemistry between him and Bradley Beal, if they want to make the playoffs in the East.

Suns’ forward P.J. Tucker out 6-8 weeks following back surgery

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P.J. Tucker, who brings a physicality and strong defense to the Phoenix Suns’ starting five, likely will miss the start of the season following back surgery, the team announced Thursday.

The Suns announced Tucker “underwent a successful low back microdiscectomy procedure.” While the Suns did not provide details, this procedure is traditionally done to relieve nerve pressure and fix a herniated disc. The Suns are less than six weeks out from the start of the NBA season, but Tucker shouldn’t miss extended time. This is a contract year for Tucker.

On an injury-plagued Suns team last season, Tucker played in all 82 games and was the one thing the coaching staff — now headed by Earl Watson — could count on. He’s not a great shooter (33 percent from three last season), but he’s good enough that opponents can’t ignore him.

With Tucker out, T.J. Warren likely will get more run at the three, and start. Which makes this tweet from him about his foot injury worth noting.

Report: Cavaliers to give David Blatt a championship ring

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After taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals the season before, then leading them to a 30-11 record to start last season, the Cavaliers fired David Blatt. It is example 1,562,947 that in the NBA the players have more power than the coach, and if the players don’t buy in and want the guy in the suit gone, he’s gone.

However, the Cavaliers are going to give Blatt a lovely parting gift (in addition to the millions in salary he was still contractually owed) — a championship ring.

From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Blatt was fired at the midpoint of the Cavs’ championship season, but the team has ordered a ring for him, too, multiple sources confirmed to the Beacon Journal. He is now the head coach of Darüsşafaka Doğuş in Turkey.

That’s the right move by Cavaliers. Whatever you think of Blatt the coach, who the Cavaliers are to this day is part him. He did help lay a foundation that Tyronn Lue worked to build upon.

Of course, Blatt isn’t coming to the ring ceremony and banner raising in Cleveland Oct. 25. And I doubt he puts the ring on very often, but he will have a story about the other rings he won coaching in Europe and how they mean just as much.

Steven Adams, Andre Roberson show off (limited) football skills

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What happens when a New Zealander and a skinny 6’7″ wing play some football?

It’s one of life’s eternal questions. But we may have an answer thanks to Steven Adams and Andre Roberson of the Thunder, who attended practice at Heritage Hall (hat tip 24/7 Sports).

Adams threw a wobbly, slow spiral. He should still expect a call from Jeff Fisher and a chance to try out for the Rams.

Coach Brett Brown expects Joel Embiid to be ready for training camp, be defensive anchor

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After two seasons of dominating empty gyms, Joel Embiid is expected to step on an NBA court in a couple of weeks.

What does Sixers coach Brett Brown want out of his rookie center? First, to be on the court. Second, to be a defensive anchor, and from there just let the offense come to him.

Brown had a media luncheon Thursday and here is what he said about Embiid, as reported by Brian Seltzer of the Sixers website and Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

Embiid himself expects there will be restrictions placed upon him early, but he wants to play. Embiid has had two foot surgeries over two years, so the team will bring him along slowly.

One other interesting note from the luncheon: Brown seems to be leaning toward starting Jerryd Bayless at the point and bringing Sergio Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell (if he makes the team) off the bench.