JaVale McGee can throw it down. He and John Wall showed a connection during Summer League because Wall likes to run and throw ally-oops and McGee loves to run and catch ally-oops.
But Wizards coach Flip Saunders knows a little secret — you can’t get out and run if somebody doesn’t grab the defensive rebound.
Okay, not much of a secret. But with Andray Blatche sitting out the start of the season McGee was expected to start at the five so he could run with Wall. But Saunders told Michael Lee of the Washington Post there needs to be more.
“Hilton Armstrong’s had a really solid camp,” [Saunders] said. “He’s actually played better than JaVale has through camp right now. We’ve got to get JaVale defensive rebounding right now. With him, we need more substance than style. He has a tendency – he’s always been a style guy, and we got to get some substance out of that position.”
When asked if Armstrong would be the starter, Saunders said, “That’s what preseason is going to do. I don’t decide who is going to play, the players tell me.”
McGee said he has made a concerted effort to get better with defensive rebounding. “I feel like I’m doing better. I’m boxing out, trying to find bodies. If I’m not getting the rebound, I’m just making sure my man is not getting the rebound. That’s what I’m trying to do,” McGee said. “I just don’t want anything for them to be like, ‘Oh, he’s not doing this. He’s not doing that.’ I’m doing every thing they say and try to throw my little stuff in, as long as I’m doing what they want me to do.”
This may be more words than substance — get the player to do what you want by talking to the media and embarrassing him. Phil Jackson coaching 101. McGee’s defensive rebounding numbers are not that bad (he grabbed 18.7 percent of the available defensive boards when he was on the floor last season).
The fact remains that McGee is a better player than Armstrong right now and a better fit with what the Wizards want to do. If McGee doesn’t start, he will have played his way out of the job.
Caris LeVert‘s injury last night looked so severe, his Nets teammates cried and the Timberwolves prayed.
Thankfully, that all turned out to be an overreaction. (Or, if you believe, the compassion and prayer worked.)
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert returned to New York with the team last night and was evaluated today by Nets’ Team Orthopedist Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Following the evaluation, LeVert was diagnosed with a subtalar dislocation of the right foot.
“Fortunately, tests performed this morning revealed that there are no fractures and only moderate ligament damage,” said Dr. O’Malley. “While the optics of this injury may have appeared to be more severe, surgery will not be required. Caris will begin a period of rehabilitation with the Nets’ performance staff, following which he is expected to return to full strength and resume all basketball activities without any limitations this season.”
This is fantastic news. LeVert is one of the NBA’s up-and-comers and well-liked by nearly everyone who knows him. People all around the league wished him well in the wake of this injury.
It’s still unclear how much time LeVert will miss. A dislocated foot is a small matter only relative to the feared severity of LeVert’s injury. This will probably derail his Most Improved Player campaign.
But LeVert returning to the court this season will be a joyous occasion on its own.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia.
Carmelo Anthony is in Houston, but not for much longer.
And the Lakers have Tyson Chandler and a three-game winning streak — there is never a dull moment in the NBA. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports welcomes in Eric Pincus, who covers the Lakers for Bleacher Report plus is a salary cap expert you have seen on NBA TV, to talk about it all. The pair talk about what the Sixers need to do next to capitalize on their window with Butler, are there landing spots for Carmelo Anthony, and then a deep dive on the Lakers: What is the team doing right? Does Lonzo Ball fit with LeBron James? What about Brandon Ingram? And who is the next big star the Lakers will be able to add to their mix?
We want your questions for the podcast, and your comments, email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com. As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.
Markelle Fultz has had few more vocal backers than Drew Hanlen, who trained the 76ers guard over the offseason.
Hanlen said Fultz would be an All-Star this season if 100%. With Fultz still struggling to shoot, Hanlen said Fultz wasn’t fully healthy.
But Fultz contradicted that, calling himself generally healthy. Fultz also rebuffed Hanlen’s assertion Fultz had the yips, as Fultz stressed his problems were due to injury.
Apparently, they became even more divided.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:
Hanlen brought himself plenty of fame through his work with Fultz. This moves Hanlen back closer to the anonymity of most trainers.
More importantly, it suggests Fultz needs yet another plan for fixing his shooting form.
Many in Houston are convinced Carmelo Anthony is done with the Rockets.
If so, where will he play next?
Like when he was a free agent just a few months ago, speculation has centered on teams with his banana-boat buddies. Chris Paul and the Rockets already tried. But LeBron James‘ Lakers and Dwyane Wade‘s Heat seem viable.
Marc J. Spears on ESPN:
I am hearing that not the Lakers. I think the Lakers are done.
The Lakers already have scoring power forwards in Kyle Kuzma and Michael Beasley, and LeBron can obviously play that position. I’d rather have the incumbents than Anthony.
So how about Miami? Wade has been Anthony’s most outspoken backer, after all. But the Heat also have a superior offensive power forward in Kelly Olynyk, and Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. provide a fair amount of depth at the position.
Really, this is probably the wrong conversation. Maybe there is a bad team or two with a deficiency so glaring, Anthony is worth a roll of the dice. But he might just be finished as an NBA player, regardless of the fit.