The Knicks are going to miss Iman Shumpert early this season. Of that there can be no doubt. He’s got too much athleticism and defensive ability, and they need some youth on a roster with a world full of older guys.
Shumpert’s out following ACL surgery and his prognosis has put in a wide variety of possible return dates. But the New York Times reports that based on his progress, he could be headed back to the floor before the end of the year.
All signs Saturday suggested that Shumpert’s rehabilitation this off-season has gone well. He will still miss the start of the regular season, but it appears Shumpert could possibly return in December if his recovery is ahead of schedule.
Last week, Shumpert said he hoped to play in December, but that he doesn’t want to come back too early from his injury.
via Shumpert, Walking Without Limp, Says He Is Feeling Fine – NYTimes.com.
A December return would be very helpful for the Knicks since that gives him time to get his conditioning up in time for the playoffs. But Shumpert has so much career in front of him, there has to be a great deal of patience shown. They can’t let the future get ahead of him, but they have the depth with Ronnie Brewer and J.R. Smith to be careful.
If they can get him back even by January, that sets them up well to have him integrated and at least 80 percent by the time the playoff starts. They need all their weapons if they want to reach as high as they have set their goals.
Seven of the top eight picks in the 2018 NBA draft are scoring double-digit points per game.
The exception: Magic center Mohamed Bamba.
Bamba certainly hasn’t been bad. He’s just acclimating to the NBA at a more common rate than peers like Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Deandre Ayton. This is an exceptionally good rookie class.
But this won’t help Bamba catch up. He missed Orlando’s 101-76 loss to the Mavericks last night.
Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel:
Bamba, who was suspended for a game for being late for the team walk-through at the hotel in Dallas on Monday
“It was a violation of team rules,” Clifford said. “It’s just a one-game thing. Mo will play again on Thursday, but that’s what it was.”
“It’s just bad on my part and I just need to be better … just gotta be on time,” Bamba said. “It’s very difficult because you want to be out there and impact the game in any way possible and hope for a different outcome.”
I doubt Magic coach Steve Clifford suspended Bamba for a single instance of tardiness. This was likely a culmination.
Orlando (12-15) is eighth in the Eastern Conference, in the thick of the playoff race. If the Magic are going to take advantage of the low bar for making the postseason, they need all hands on deck – including Bamba.
Lonzo Ball missed a layup early last night. That might have made him overthink later, when he was ahead of the pack on another fastbreak. Instead of shooting the open layup, Ball bounced the ball behind him without looking, leading to a turnover and open Heat 3-pointer.
On the bright side for the Lakers, they still beat Miami.
On the bright side for us, we got this great Luke Walton reaction GIF:
After the Lakers beat the Heat in LeBron James‘ and Dwyane Wade‘s final game together, the stars shared an eyebrow-raising conversation on the court:
- Wade: “I appreciate you letting it end here. I appreciate you bringing us here today.”
- LeBron: “It was either here or at the Garden. That’s it. That’s the only places we could end it at, man.”
That prompted immense speculation about whether LeBron considered signing with the Knicks. After all, how else would he and Wade – who said he’d re-sign with Miami or retire – have played at Madison Square Garden?
Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles
This was always the most likely explanation. The arenas in Los Angeles in New York are the NBA’s biggest stages, and LeBron has repeatedly stated his affection for Madison Square Garden. He didn’t have to think through all the implications to say those were the only appropriate locations.
But I’m still a little skeptical.
LeBron sure was speaking up for the cameras with Wade. And that was after an on-court conversation with Wade a few years ago blew up into a big deal. LeBron also got reminded just last year, with Lonzo Ball, about how much attention those on-court talks generate.
Plus, ever since Phil Jackson bothered him with his “posse” comment, LeBron has repeatedly gone out of his way to tease the Knicks.
Ultimately, I believe the given explanation that this was just about the arena’s allure and nothing more. An offhand remark needn’t completely follow the logic that either LeBron or Wade must play for the Knicks for them to meet at Madison Square Garden. But I’m not completely sold this wasn’t a passive-aggressive dig at the Knicks.
New coach Jim Boylen has ruled the Bulls with an iron fist. His abnormally frequent and lengthy practices nearly inspired a mutiny by his players.
A 108-89 home loss to the Kings last night likely won’t ease attention in Chicago. Especially with the opponent piling on afterward.
The Bulls are the laughingstock of the NBA right now.
Even the Kings – the Kings! – are mocking them.