The Lakers’ injury woes definitely qualify them for hardship – four players missing at least three games and continuing to miss games – and the ability to sign a 16th player. Depending on Young’s timeline for return, the Lakers could even petition for a 17th player.
This reunites Missouri’s backcourt from last season, as Jordan Clarkson is already the Lakers’ starting point guard. Clarkson has shown promise, and Brown gives the Lakers another young player to develop down the stretch.
Shane Battier says peer pressure is more valuable than coaching in the NBA
BOSTON—Shane Battier doesn’t believe coaching is the most important factor for success in the NBA, it’s peer-to-peer accountability. At least, that’s what he said on Friday morning at a panel on basketball analytics at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
The panel, which was moderated by ESPN’s Pablo Torre and also featured former Lakers, Knicks and Suns coach Mike D’Antoni, WNBA star Sue Bird and Celtics executive Mike Zarren, covered a wide range of topics from the evolution of defense to the debate on the elimination of conferences.
“Peer-to-peer pressure is the most powerful force on a sports team,” Battier said. “All the great organizations have it. The peer pressure of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is more important than anything Gregg Popovich could say.”
There is a lot to be said for the presence of proven, respected veterans in a locker room. In addition to the Spurs’ trio of superstars, Battier pointed to players like Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett as examples of the kinds of players who influence the others to work as hard as they do.
This is why Kendrick Perkins remains a valuable player to have on your roster even though he’s not much of a contributor on the court anymore. And it’s telling to hear Battier, a player who embraces analytical methods as much as anyone, reflect on this now that he’s done playing.
Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: The basketball injury gods are heartless and cruel
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while wishing the Starbucks near you served beer…
1) The basketball injury gods are heartless and cruel. Paul George. Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook. Kobe Bryant. Kemba Walker. Steve Nash. Blake Griffin. Dwight Howard. Carmelo Anthony. Jabari Parker. Chris Bosh. Now Derrick Rose. Every one of those stars has missed significant time this season due to injury. Enough already. We are setting up for a what should be a brilliant playoffs, I’m sick of injuries potentially ruining that. Yes, all the injuries should lead to a discussion of the wear and tear the NBA regular season puts on players’ bodies — Adam Silver is already trying to do something about that — but some of this is just bad luck. A statistical anomaly, if you will. But I’m weary of it and sickened by it. Enough is enough. Just let the guys play the game.
2) Stephen Curry is back and doing ridiculous Stephen Curry things. At least one star is healthy and showing it — Curry missed one game with a sore foot, but returned to the lineup Tuesday to drop 32 points (including five three-pointers) plus dish out eight assists against the Wizards. On top of all that he did a good job defensively on John Wall when assigned to him. If you had any questions Curry was fine, check out this ridiculous tear-drop floater.
3) LeBron James passed Scottie Pippen for most assists ever by a forward — and did it in style. Playing in the social media era has opened LeBron to more — and more public — criticism than any of the game’s all-time greats. And make no mistake, LeBron is going down as one of the game’s all-time greats (exactly where on that list is yet to be determined). He is arguably the most gifted player ever to play the game, but don’t let that distract you from the long hours he’s put in to grow his game. One thing he has always done well — pass. Midway through the third quarter LeBron hit Kevin Love with a behind-the-back dish setting up a three that gave LeBron five assists on the night and 6,136 dimes for his career, passing Scottie Pippen on the list. (LeBron had 11 dimes on the night.) LeBron will set more records before he walks away, but this one will have meaning for him.
4) Kevin Love can still drain the three, in case you forgot. You just saw one of Love’s threes on the night, but he found his groove from three on Tuesday night and drained eight threes, tying his career best. Not sure this means he’s comfortable in the offense yet, but he was feeling it Tuesday.
5) Russell Westbrook’s triple-double reminder he is in the MVP race now. Oklahoma City didn’t have too much trouble with Indiana, despite Kevin Durant being out, and that is thanks to Russell Westbrook, who notched 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Westbrook is simply putting himself in the MVP race with his play since returning from injury — 26.1 points, 8 rebounds and 6.7 assists a game. Nobody else in the NBA is putting up better across-the-board numbers. Maybe he missed too many games to win the MVP, but he needs to be in the discussion.
Ronnie Price out for rest of season with elbow injury
Los Angeles Lakers backup point guard Ronnie Price will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery Wednesday to remove a bone spur in his right elbow, Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters after practice at their facility Tuesday.
Steve Nash is a favorite whipping boy of some frustrated Lakers fans who see him as a guy the team spent a lot of money on but has barely played for the team. It speaks to the depth of knowledge of said Lakers fans who: 1) Don’t blame management for bringing in a guy pushing 40 and saying he’s a foundational piece; 2) Do blame one of the most well condition and hard working players in the game because an injury did knock him out.
Nash got called out by one of these “brilliant” Lakers fans on Twitter — and he had the best comeback.
Nash has been out all season with a nerve issue that runs from his back down into his leg. He worked hard at both rehab and trying to train his body to move differently and not aggravate the injury, but to no success.
Nash was on Twitter live-tweeting the big Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Manchester City.