The Lakers have been decimated yet again this season, with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle being the most prominent to suffer season-ending injuries.
Nick Young may be in the same situation, though the team has yet to officially rule him out the rest of the way, even though he’s missed the last 19 games with a knee injury and Byron Scott has been favoring using lineups that feature more unproven players.
The latest blow came on Thursday, when it was revealed that Wayne Ellington, too, will miss the remainder of the year due to injury.
The official release:
Lakers guard Wayne Ellington, who was injured in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans at STAPLES Center, had an MRI exam today which confirmed a grade 1 shoulder separation. Ellington will miss the remainder of the season.
In 65 games (36 starts) this season, Ellington averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 0.5 steals in 25.8 minutes per game. The six year NBA veteran set single-game career marks in points (28), rebounds (10), assists (six), and field goals made (12) in 2014-15.
With eight games left to go in the regular season, the Lakers are just one loss shy of tying last season’s franchise-worst mark for futility. For one of the league’s most storied franchises, April 15 can’t come quickly enough.
If they hadn’t applied for a disabled-player exception for Nash, which went unused, they could have sought – and likely would have received – cap relief by getting Nash’s injury deemed career-ending on the one-year anniversary of his last game (April 8). But it’s one or the other between the DPE and career-ending injury qualification.
1) DeMar DeRozan out Hardened James Harden. What James Harden does better than anyone is relentlessly attack. He’s going to get to the line, he’s going to hit a couple ridiculous shots, he’s going to put the pressure on your defense. He did all that against the Toronto Raptors Monday on his way to 31 points — but DeMar DeRozan did them better. He got to the free throw line 17 times; he hit a couple ridiculous turn-around jumpers, and in the end he put up 42 points. More importantly, his struggling Toronto Raptors picked up an important win. (Memphis would like to thank him as well, as they move back to the two seed.
2) Kyle Korver is a T-2000 terminator sent from the future to shoot threes and destroy the NBA. How else do you explain his 11 points in 65 seconds?
3) Avery Bradley helped Boston stay right in the playoff mix. Boston picked up a key win in their drive to make the playoffs Monday dropping 116 points on Charlotte — Boston had an offensive rating of 129.5 (points per 100 possessions). The key was Boston had fantastic ball movement for the night, and that plays right into Avery Bradley’s game — he moves better off the ball and finds space better than he sometimes gets credit for. He was finding that space at the top of the key area and on wing threes. With the win, Boston moved back into the eight seed in the east past Brooklyn for a night in a battle that will go on right up until the final night of the season.
4) Jordan Clarkson hits game winner to the frustration of Lakers’ fans. This is Adam Silver’s nightmare: The Lakers and Sixers faced off Monday night, and large swaths of both fan bases were rooting for their favorite team to lose. It’s all about the lottery balls; the Sixers had the third-worst record in the NBA while the Lakers were fourth. If Philly had won just one game would have separated the two, but instead Jordan Clarkson hit the game winner in OT, and the Lakers picked up the road win. With that, LA has a three-game lead over Philly and is going to finish with the fourth worst record. (If, after the lottery, the Lakers have top 5 pick they get to keep it, if not it goes to Philly, all stemming from the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers have about an 80 percent chance of keeping that pick as fourth worst.) Both of these franchises should just be glad right now the NBA doesn’t have relegation like European soccer.
“They need a center with a big butt to hold space,’’ Rosen told The Post. “They didn’t have anybody like that. It takes away a major portion of what you can do with the triangle because then it really becomes just a perimeter offense.’’
He suggests Greg Monroe would be a better fit than drafting someone like Karl Towns out of Kentucky.
First, Rosen isn’t wrong in that the Knicks need a presence inside. Although I would suggest what the Knicks need more than anything is talent upgrades pretty much anywhere they can get one, getting a presence inside is part of that.
Second, it brings up another question discussed around New York (and parts of the NBA): Can Phil Jackson’s version of the triangle still work and still win in the NBA? That triangle looked great when the ball could just be thrown into Shaq in the post, but will that still work in a zone-defense/overload world where before Shaq gets the ball on the block the double team is already there? NBA defenses have changed and if you haven’t adapted — as the Spurs, Hawks, Warriors and other teams have done — you’ll struggle. Will that slow down the Knicks’ recovery?
Hard to tell until they get more talent on the roster.