As we told you before, Utah’s Dante Exum tore his ACL playing for the Australian National team last month, in what was a friendly game against Slovenia. Thursday he underwent surgery on his knee, the Jazz announced. From the official press release.
Exum underwent successful surgery today to repair the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. The surgery was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic following consultations with Jazz physician Dr. Travis Maak and University of Utah Health Care as well as Dr. Brian Cole of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago. Jazz head athletic trainer Brian Zettler accompanied Exum. Once he is cleared to travel, Exum will return to Salt Lake City to begin his rehabilitation.
The Jazz would not give a timeline, but don’t expect to see Exum this season.
Utah is everyone’s favorite team to climb into the crowded playoff picture in the West, based on their 19-10 record after the All-Star break last season. I don’t think that changes with Exum out.
Trey Burke will become the starter, and his defensive numbers when paired with Rudy Gobert are still impressive — they gave up 99.7 points per 100 possessions, which would have been fourth best as a team in the NBA (and just 1.7 per 100 worse than the Exum/Gobert pairing).
The bigger challenge with Burke is on the offensive end — Exum didn’t make a lot of shots, but he didn’t take a lot either (usage rate of 13.8). Burke struggled with his shot and shot selection but he takes a lot more (23.9 usage rate). Every time Burke is dominating the ball better players like Gordon Hayward do not have the ball in their hands. Burke’s growth is key to the Jazz.
That and Exum getting right for the long-term.
Andre Drummond is a rebounding machine — he is the only player in the last 17 years to grab more than 100 offensive and 100 defensive rebounds in a month. Last season, Drummond grabbed 437 offensive rebounds, the most in the NBA by a wide margin (Rudy Gobert was second but 40 back). He grabbed a ridiculous 18.3 percent of the Pistons’ missed shots last season, also best in the NBA by a healthy range (DeAndre Jordan was second at 16.2). Drummond’s offensive rebound rate was 11th best in NBA history. He had 337 putback shots off misses last season. He’s a physical force of nature on the boards.
He’s also got a little trick, a little gift that helps him out — he gets a lot of his own misses.
This isn’t new news, look what Drummond told MLive last season when asked if he rushes shots knowing he might miss and grab his own board:
“Yeah, I’d say sometimes I do,” Drummond said, when asked if he indeed plots some misses directionally. “I’m not going to lie. I do sometimes. I know I can go get it and put it right back in.”
As noted in a great piece by Scott Rafferty at The Sporting News, this is an old Moses Malone trick and it’s not about racking up stats, it’s about practicality.
It’s not that Drummond deliberately misses shots for the sake of padding his rebounding numbers; He rushes them knowing his second jump is far quicker than most opponents. Malone did the same over the course of his career. As soon as the ball left his fingertips, he’d use his size and speed advantage to fight for positioning while his defender was still in the air.
Check out this video to get an example — Drummond hurries his shot but knows he can just move Gobert out-of-the-way and get his own board.
(Drummond gets fouled here, and as a guy who shot 38.9 percent from the stripe last year he can expect to see more of that. It’s a valid strategy against him.)
It will be interesting to see if Drummond can keep up these numbers as Stan Van Gundy brings in shooters — it’s not just that there may be fewer rebounds to grab, but the rebound of a missed three-point shot often caroms a long way out from where Drummond is around the rim.
But consider this something to watch next season. As the NBA trends smaller, Drummond is an old-school big man who can do this to a lot of teams.
New Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry has big plans for Alexis Ajinca. In the coach’s up-tempo offense, Ajinca’s athleticism makes a good fit behind and next to Anthony Davis. With that, Ajinca is expected to see an increased role and minutes (even though the team did bring back Omer Asik). That’s why they signed him to a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason.
Ajinca has been playing this summer with the French national team as they prepare to defend their EuroBasket title and earn a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, a week before the tournament starts, the Pelicans have pulled him out, reports eurohoops.net.
The player felt pain in his Achilles tendon since the start of the preparation period at the 20th of July. His condition remained unchanged, however the New Orleans Pelicans decided to forbid him from playing in the Eurobasket.
This was not a situation that was so bad New Orleans said he couldn’t even consider playing for his country; it was a relatively minor issue. But as it hasn’t improved, the Pelicans decided not to risk anything with a guy they just agreed to lock down for four years.
This is a blow to France, but they remain one of the deepest teams at EuroBasket and one of the favorites. They still have Rudy Gobert at center, Tony Parker at the point, plus guys like Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier on the roster. They could defend their crown, but that task just got a little harder.