<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Denver Nuggets Media Day

Nate Robinson drains 40-foot turnaround jumper (VIDEO)


This is what Nate Robinson does.

For all the flaws in his game he is just fun to watch and is at the top of the list of guys in the league likely to hit the ridiculous shots. Like a 40-foot turnaround jumper as the clock expires.

I feel kind of the same way about the Nuggets as we head into the season, I don’t know how good they really are but they will be fun.

Even at age 38 in a pro-am league, Jason Williams is fun to watch (VIDEO)

jason williams kings

White Chocolate still has plenty of playground in his game.

These are some video highlights put together by the fine folks at Home Team Hoops of Jason Williams at the Orlando pro-am. He’s not playing as fast, obviously the explosion goes with age, but he still has the moves.

I’d still pay to watch him play.

Russell Westbrook says it’s about team: “I can’t win games by myself”

Russell Westbrook, Jameer Nelson

There was a very small sample size of minutes Russell Westbrook played without Kevin Durant on the court last season, but one thing was clear: Westbrook took a lot of shots.

That’s the expectation of many as the Thunder will now have to go at least the first month of the season (and more likely closer to Christmas) without Durant, the league’s leading scorer and reigning MVP. There are a lot of questions around about what this means for the Thunder.

The feeling among some is it will all Westbrook all the time.

Except Westbrook says that’s not the case. Coach Scott Brooks said the same thing. Here are the quotes, via Royce Young of ESPN.

“It’s not about me. It’s about our team. I can’t win games by myself. I can’t do anything by myself,” Westbrook said Monday. “I kind of want to take the attention off me and put it more on the team. Everybody keeps asking what I’m going to do and how I’m going to change. I think it’s more about our team and what we can do.”

Asked how his role might change, Westbrook responded simply, “It doesn’t.”

“One of the things I’m smart enough to realize is we’re not going to replace Kevin’s offensive efficiency, his scoring, his playmaking, his defense,” Brooks said. “But what we can do as a group is get better, so that when he does come back, when he’s ready to come back, we can be a better team.”

What else did you expect them to say?

Westbrook is right he can’t do it all himself — Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka, Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb among others are going to have to step up. The question is how much will Westbrook let them and how much will he just try to take over in key spots?

The Thunder have shown flashes of better ball movement in the preseason, the kind of plays they need to make whether Durant is on the floor or not to create better, easier looks for themselves all season and heading into the playoffs. More like that team that knocked them out of the postseason last year.

If the Thunder start to show that they become much more dangerous whenever KD does come back. If not… well, the Westbrook show is still very entertaining and will win a lot of games.

Bucks reserve center Johnny O’Bryant likely out 6 weeks at least with knee sprain

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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Johnny O’Bryant was already going to struggle to get minutes in Milwaukee. Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia and John Henson will soak up most of the minutes at the four and five spots, where O’Bryant is trying to fit in.

But this is a still a setback for the rookie second round pick out of LSU.

He has a grade III sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee, the Bucks announced. The team would not put a timetable on his return, but usually 6-8 weeks is the norm with this kind of injury.

That has O’Bryant out until early December at best. It’s hard for rookies to find minutes once the season gets going as it is, this has him starting farther behind.

O’Bryant has the physical tools to play in the NBA, the question was how he’d adjust, especially defensively, and could he maintain his focus (a concern coming in). He’s going to answer most of the questions about him in practice anyway, if he does well there he’ll get some run.

CJ McCollum (who had same injury): Don’t be surprised if Durant is out longer than expected

Trail Blazers Media Day

CJ McCollum has been there.

During his senior year of college at Lehigh he suffered a Jones fracture — the one to the bone on the outside of the foot above your little toe, the one Kevin Durant suffered.

McCollum’s story shows why this can be a tricky injury. He had the surgery, a screw placed in his foot (as is expected to happen with Durant) but during training camp last season McCollum re-fractured the same foot. This thine he went through a non-surgical procedure to get back on the court.

McCollum spoke with Mike Tokito of the Oregonian about what Durant is going through.

“I feel bad for him, honestly,” McCollum said. “It’s something I’ve been through twice. You never wish injuries on any player, but if anybody can get through it, I’m sure he can. They’ve got a great medical staff out there. It seems like he caught it early enough to where it hasn’t become too severe….

“There are methods you can do besides getting surgery, but it’s his first break, so I’m sure they’ll probably recommend surgery,” McCollum said. “Either way, it’s a tough injury to recover from, depending on if it’s broken through all the way, the placement of the screw. There’s a lot of things that go into it, but if they say four to six (weeks), it’s probably more like eight to 10.”

The longer time frame makes sense in the Durant case, especially when you consider the Thunder have traditionally (and wisely) been cautious with bringing their young stars back from injury. This is early in the season, even if it costs them some spots in seeding the Thunder need to think about the long tern and about the playoffs.

Hopefully Durant’s recovery goes more smoothly than McCollum’s, but that is the biggest scare in all of this: Foot injuries are tricky.