Darren Collison was the guy. Indiana needed an up-tempo point guard to run Jim O’Brien’s up-tempo offense, so they went out and got the highly-coveted Collison out of New Orleans.
Except that during crunch time, T.J. Ford has been getting the minutes for the Pacers. Against the Hawks last Friday A.J. Price was the guy getting run. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien told the Indianapolis Star why that was.
“I thought our best chance of coming back was with A.J. in the game because he spaces the court, he shoots the 3 and he also needed playing time,” O’Brien said. “I also think he did a nice job.”
So far this season Collison is shooting 41.4 percent from three, Price 25 percent. I understand trying to get Price some run — he has earned it with his play — and he did help cut the Hawks’ lead in half at times. But when that run falters you need your best playmakers on the floor. Your best players finish games and Collison has sat. That has left Collison confused and unhappy.
“I don’t know why I didn’t play,” said Collison, who has started all 19 games he’s appeared in. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. Right now, I’m not used to it. It is what it is.”
The Pacers have slowed it down some — by about 2.5 possessions per game this season — and in the half court Ford has some veteran savvy with execution. He is a little bit better defender than Collison.
Look at the five man rotations and you see that Collison does better with the regular starters (Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts and Roy Hibbert) but substitute Rush for Dunleavy (as O’Brien has done a lot recently) and Ford becomes the much better fit (by 16 points per 48 minutes).
Still the Pacers rotations seem to be a mix and match, which makes it hard to grasp a real identity for this team. They are better — Hibbert has made a huge leap — but we’ll see. Four games this week against the league’s elite will tell us a lot about just where they stand.
For a Sacramento team with playoff dreams, this is a punch to the gut: De'Aaron Fox is going to be sidelined until around the start of seeding games — 7-10 days at least — with a sprained ankle.
The Kings’ announced that their point guard sprained his left ankle in practice Wednesday. While he will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days, he could be out longer. This is the same ankle Fox sprained in November that caused him to miss 17 games.
The Kings’ first game is 16 days away against San Antonio.
Fox, arguably the fastest player in the league with the ball in his hands, averaged 20.4 points, and 6.8 assists this season, playing at a near All-star level once he came back from the sprained ankle. Fox is the engine of the Sacramento offense, it is 5.2 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off the court.
Sacramento comes into the restart in a virtual tie with Portland and New Orleans for the ninth seed in the West, 3.5 games back of Memphis. However, the Kings have not been able to get their stars on the court together: Harrison Barnes and Alex Len and remain in Sacramento, quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus. Richaun Holmes is in quarantine on his Walt Disney World hotel room after leaving the confines of the NBA bubble to pick up a food delivery.
All of which combine to make it an even longer shot the Kings end their 14-year playoff drought this season. The sprained ankle for De’Aaron Fox, if it slows him at all, would be a serious blow to those chances.
The Spurs lost their top big in LaMarcus Aldridge.
Now, they’ll lose Trey Lyles, who often started at power forward next to Aldridge and also played behind Aldridge at center.
Spurs forward Trey Lyles underwent an appendectomy earlier today in Orlando, Fla.
Lyles will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
San Antonio’s last seeding game is scheduled for Aug. 13 – nearly a month away. Theoretically, Lyles could have tried to return by then.
The NBA dodges a complication with the Spurs ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Lyles left the NBA’s campus for his surgery. (Disney World is in Lake Buena Vista. He underwent surgery in Orlando.) That means he faced exposure in Florida, where coronavirus cases are surging. It would have been tricky bringing him back into the bubble safely while not punishing him for requiring medical attention.
The NBA will probably face this conundrum with someone else later. But the league avoids that situation for now.
San Antonio’s problems are more pressing.
Jakob Poeltl is now the Spurs’ top center, but he fits poorly with DeMar DeRozan because they’re both non-shooters from 3-point range. Rudy Gay should see plenty of time at power forward.
Behind them, options – newly signed Tyler Zeller, Drew Eubanks, Chimezie Metu and Luka Samanic – are uninspiring.
Gregg Popovich truly must muster some magic for San Antonio to extend its record playoff streak.
Jrue Holiday isn’t just talking social justice, he’s putting his money where it matters.
Holiday will donate his game checks from the NBA restart in Orlando — which could be as much as $5.3 million — to charitable causes (particularly black-owned businesses hit by the coronavirus) through the new Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund he is about to set up.
The Pelicans’ point guard went on ESPN’s “The Jump” live from his bubble hotel room to explain the decision he made with his wife (Lauren is won two gold medals and a World Cup playing for USA Soccer).
“Honestly when it came down to it, it was me and my wife talking about what we could do to kind of further this movement and progression and being able to help out our community and just being able to help,” Jrue Holiday told ESPN.
“We were just kind of sitting in the house, in the bed, thinking about it, and my wife said, ‘I think you should do this and you should do the rest of your salary.’ That’s a great idea. Because we want to make an impact. God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”
That is walking the walk. Well done by Jrue and Lauren.
Another week, another former NBA player appearing to endorse anti-Semitic messaging.
Nick Cannon got fired from ViacomCBS after making racist and anti-Semitic comments. He then posted to Facebook both apologizing and demanding an apology.
Former Heat star Dwyane Wade tweeted and deleted:
@NickCannon We are with you ✊ Keep leading!
Wade then posted:
I don’t know what Wade meant. I hope he wasn’t endorsing Cannon’s toxic rhetoric. Wade’s explanation is at least plausible.
And, unlike Stephen Jackson, Wade quickly clarified rather than doubling down.
Want to support Cannon in his fight over branding control? That’s fine. But Wade also could have done so in a way that didn’t so easily give the impression he was co-signing Cannon’s racism and anti-Semitism. That’s a reasonable expectation for Wade, who has proven he can be so thoughtful.
Maybe there’s just a small lesson to be learned here about clarity and context while communicating to a mass audience.
If there’s a larger lesson to be learned, I hope Wade gets that, too.