Russell Westbrook, for reasons I struggle to comprehend, took a lot of flak for Game 2. Magic Johnson called it the worst performance by a point guard in the Finals. People have blamed the entire loss on him. As if, without Westbrook, the Thunder would have magically created his 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Was it efficient? Of course not. This is a series against one of the best defenses in the league. Efficiency is a commodity. He needs to get the efficiency up. He could have played better. But part of this is the role that Westbrook plays in the Thunder offense.
Someone has to soak up possessions. “It should be Kevin Durant!” you say. Durant will never shoot 28 times or more in a game, unless it’s in overtime. It’s not who he is, it’s not who he has ever been, it’s not how he’s made. He’s an efficient shooter who lets the game come to him. Someone has to take those shots. And when they’re falling? Westbrook can drop 40 with the same amount of effort. Shots didn’t fall. He still made plays, and his defense was light years ahead of Durant’s in Game 2. But no one will talk about that.
Whatever the case, Westbrook is having none of it, and he’s going to get grief for that, too. From media availability today:
Well, that’s going to go over great.
Outside of the double-negative which actually indicates he’s going to make an adjustment, this is the same kind of bold response you have to expect here. If athletes adjusted their games based on media pressure, LeBron would play in the post more and Dwight Howard would have a reliable hook shot. OK, those are bad examples. But it’s not the time for Westbook to be upending his game. He needs to do what he does. Westbrook needs to be Westbrook. The Thunder can win that way. But the Thunder have to play better defense. Westbrook can take five shots and Durant 40, and it won’t matter if they don’t play better defense. But by all means, let’s keep blaming Westbrook, the LeBron of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.
The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.
The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.
The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.
Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.
Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:
The Bulls will now have most of them.
Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.
In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.
But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.
The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.
New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.
But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.
Detroit will take advantage.
The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.
Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.
The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.
Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.
But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.
The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.
Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.
All because of a mysterious health issue.
The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.
Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.
Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.
But Bullock must get healthy first.
At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.