Jrue Holiday out with sprained foot

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Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday isn’t sure how he sprained his foot, but we should be able to safely eliminate “bowling injury” from the list. Holiday has been an absolute workhorse for the 76ers this season, leading the team in scoring (19), assists (9), and minutes (38.5). That type of court time is creeping into Luol Deng territory, and although Holiday is an incredibly durable player, it sounds like he may miss at least a few games with this injury. Here’s Dei Lynam from CSNPhilly.com with more on the injury:

“Sixers starting point guard Jrue Holiday has a sprained foot and will not play Friday night against the Pacers.

It’s Holiday’s first missed game of the season and the first game he’s missed because of injury since his rookie year.

Holiday played 40-plus minutes Wednesday against the Bulls and scored 26 points. He has no exact knowledge of when or what he did to cuse the sprain. His left foot is now in a walking boot.

“I really don’t,” Holiday said. “I actually have to go back and look at the tape. I remember mid-third quarter I felt it, but I really don’t know. The rest of that game I felt it a little here and there, but it didn’t affect the way I played.”

“It is pretty tender so I am just trying to rest it and get treatment and see what happens” Holiday continued.”

From CSNPhilly.com | Dei Lynam

The Sixers depend so heavily on Holiday offensively, and for the 18th best offense in terms of efficiency, being without Holiday for any extended period of time would be a major blow. Holiday is the only players on the Sixers roster who can break down a defense and create off the dribble, so Doug Collins will have to get awfully creative and attempt to feature Thad Young a little more without Holiday in the lineup. Young has been extremely good on both ends of the floor this year, but he’s not the type of guy you isolate twenty times a game and expect good things to happen.

Although it’s obviously not ideal to have your young rising point guard in a walking boot, the Sixers do have the opportunity to experiment with Evan Turner at the point guard for really the first time ever. Turner’s mid-range game has been a revelation this year, and his shooting and scoring numbers have spiked largely off those shots. Is it dangerous to get Turner out of his groove and shift his role from scorer to distributor? Possibly, but Doug Collins will likely go point-forward by committee, giving Dorell Wright some ballhandling responsibilities and backup point guard Maalik Wayns some run as well.

There aren’t many coaches better suited to keep the ship afloat than Collins, but let’s be real here. The Sixers should be in a year-long battle for a playoff spot out East just like last season, and with Andrew Bynum out indefinitely, they can’t afford to be without their best distributor and scorer for very long.

Chris Paul playing cornhole. Luka Doncic trick shots. Welcome to life in the NBA bubble.

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Teams have emerged from quarantine in the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, getting some run in on the court, and are starting to explore life in the NBA bubble.

Then they are documenting it on social media.

For example, Chris Paul and Darius Bazley played some cornhole.

Dallas’ Luka Doncic was hitting trick shots on the court.

Then Doncic and Boban Marjanovic were doing Disney Channel ads.

Complaints about the food by players have died down, in part because they are out of quarantine and get a choice of restaurants, in part because they saw the backlash and realized the complaints looked elitist. Or maybe it’s just the Mickey pancakes.

Everyone is out and exploring the campus and having fun…

Well, except for Robin Lopez, who sees no reason to leave his room.

Zion Williamson “just went back to square one” with quarantine workouts

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Zion Williamson looks cut — like he spent the entire quarantine doing workouts — and ready to be a force at the NBA restart in Orlando.

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Built for this 💪

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What workouts did Zion Williamson do during the break to get that look? He took everything back down to step one and built it up again working out with his stepfather Lee Anderson, Williamson told reporters on Friday (hat tip Andrew Lopez of ESPN):

“It just felt like I was 5 years old again,” Williamson said Friday. “Just went back to square one, tried to get my body where it needs to be, get my fundamentals back to square one and start from there. So yeah, it was just like starting over at 5 again. It was a great process to learn it all over.”

Williamson did a little more than that. He also had approval from the league to go to the Pelicans practice facility throughout the quarantine and get treatment on his knee, the one that kept him out the first 45 games of the season. So he stayed healthy.

He also worked on other aspects of this game, such as his jump shot. Williamson took 76.7% of his shot attempts at the rim this season, and while getting to the rim is critical to his game, he’s going to have confidence in his shot and knock down jumpers to reach higher levels in the league.

The Pelicans enter the bubble 3.5 games back of Memphis for the eighth seed in the West, and with the softest schedule of any team in Orlando (matching their schedule before the interruption), they have a legitimate chance of forcing a two-game play-in series. It’s not easy, but there is a path to the playoffs for New Orleans (setting up a Zion vs. LeBron James first-round showdown that league broadcast partners are drooling over).

A stronger, improved Zion could help get the Pelicans there.

Paul George: “I feel great again,” says Clippers finally fully healthy

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Paul George symbolized the Clippers’ health all season long. George missed the first 11 games of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, then all season long it was still a lingering issue — until the suspension of play gave him time to heal.

“The whole season, all the way up until maybe a month or two ago, I had to always do shoulder rehab stuff, warming the shoulder up,” George said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “Just so much went into stuff I had to do before I actually took a foot on the floor. Now I feel great again.”

It wasn’t just Paul George, the Clippers had Kawhi Leonard managing his knee/thigh issue and an assortment of other injuries that didn’t give Doc Rivers the full arsenal at his disposal. That was until around the All-Star break — after that break Los Angeles went 7-2 with a +11.5 net rating that was best in the league by far.

The season being shut down may have halted that momentum, but it also gave a banged-up Los Angeles roster a chance to get healthy.

“For this team, man, I think our aspirations, again, this time off has given us what we needed,” George said. “We had some guys that was banged up, nagging injuries. The more time gave us more time for us to aid those injuries and to get back to 100.”

Health matters — which is why Montrez Harrell brought his own personal, portable sauna, a secret Reggie Jackson let out of the bag.

Health matters to Rivers, too, but what he wants more is that team chemistry back — and the Clippers have a long way to go on that end in Rivers’ eyes.

“This is not a normal way of starting back,” Rivers said of the mini-training camp all 22 teams at the NBA restart will get in Orlando. “Usually going into training camp, guys have been scrimmaging for three and four weeks, they’ve been playing, shooting on hoops. That’s not happening. This is a group, some of the guys have not touched a basketball or seen a gym until two weeks ago. We got a lot of work to do on both ends.”

The Clippers are not alone, every team is going to take time to find its rhythm again. Pick-and-roll combos need to get used to reading each other (and the defense) again at full speed, defensive rotations will be a step slow, and a few passes are going to head into the bench rather than the player in the corner.

When the Clippers get that rhythm back, with a healthy roster — finally — they again become a legitimate threat to win it all.

First, they just need to navigate the bubble. And maybe borrow Harrell’s sauna.

Atlanta G League affiliate promotes Tori Miller, first female GM in league

Tori Miller
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The Atlanta Hawks aren’t just talking about progress and giving Black women a chance. They are acting.

The College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G-League affiliate, has promoted Tori Miller to general manager. She is the first female GM in the G-League.

Miller, who grew up in Decatur (a city next to Atlanta), had worked for the team in Erie (when they were the Bayhawks) and followed the team with its move closer to its parent franchise. Miller served as an assistant GM last season before being promoted.

G League front office positions can be a stepping stone into an NBA front office.

The Hawks progressive move comes just as the team’s WNBA franchise, the Dream, has players trying to oust co-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican Georgia U.S. Senator, because she advocated against the league supporting Black Lives Matter. Loeffler has said she will not sell. It’s a problem not going away anytime soon.