Which is the bigger risk:
Andrew Bynum’s chronic knee problems or Dwight Howard’s back coming off surgery?
Bynum has had knee issues throughout his career and while he played in the 2010 finals and 60 (of 66) games last season, he has had to take the summer off to recuperate and has yet to start practicing with the Sixers (and got another injection Monday). Howard has been ironman healthy over the course of his career but had back surgery after the season that he is still recovering from fully, and backs can be tricky things.
The Lakers GM Mitch Kupchack had that choice and said injury wise it was a toss up when speaking with Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com Tuesday.
“Whatever concern we had (with Bynum’s knees) was offset by Dwight coming off offseason back surgery,” Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Tuesday. “Our doctors were able to look at (Howard’s medical records) but not until after the trade, which was conditional on him passing a physical.”
The biggest question for the Lakers is if the back surgery slowed Howard’s mobility — maybe his greatest strength at both ends of the floor is how quickly he moves for a man his size. Reports out of practice are that Howard has looked like his old self, but he has yet to play in a game.
Bynum is expected to return to practice Oct. 24, one week before the Sixers open the season.
Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)
So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.
Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.
The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.
But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.
Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.
He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.
Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.
But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.
The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.
It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.
Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.
After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.
Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.