John Wall’s shot is off this preseason

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The numbers simply are not good. At all.

John Wall is shooting 35.3 percent this preseason (29-of-82) overall and 11.7 percent (2-of-17) from three. Against Cleveland Wednesday he was 1-of-7, the night before 5-of-11 against the Pistons, and in those games combined he was 3-of-13 outside the paint. (It’s preseason, some advanced stats and shot location data I’d love to add here is not available.)

That would be John Wall, he of the new $80 million max contract (sorry John, but if you struggle this season that number is going to come up a lot). That would be John Wall, the guy the entire Wizards offense and playoff hopes are built around.

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Wall’s shot has regressed this preseason. It’s preseason and he’s experimenting with stuff, but those numbers still send up a red flag.

Wall told J. Michael of CSNWashington.com he’s getting the looks he wants.

“I feel like there are great shots. They’re just not going in right now. I’ve still got the same confidence,” Wall said when I asked him about his accuracy problems after he went 6-for-15 vs. the New York Knicks a week ago. “The same thing I worked on. Just keep shooting. It’s preseason. There are other things to work on. Get your kinks out.”

It’s preseason, we can’t say that enough. Do not reach for the panic button, Washington. The lineups he plays with will settle down and he will get looks he wants. Maybe his shooting percentage when the games matter will climb back up.

But it’s not going to be easy — the Wizards first eight games include on the road at Detroit, at Miami, Brooklyn, at Oklahoma City, at Dallas, at San Antonio. There are some good defensive teams on that list that can make life difficult for a point guard. Especially one struggling with his shot.

It may not be fair that a slow start, or for that matter the entirety of the Wizards season, will be placed on Wall’s shoulders, but that’s what comes with a max contract. It’s his team now. If his shots don’t fall when the games matter that spotlight is going to get brighter.

Magic suspended Mohamed Bamba for being late to walk-through

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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 bypasses open layup for no-look backward bounce pass, leaves Luke Walton staring into abyss (video)

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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:

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LeBron James says he was referring to only arena, not consideration of signing with Knicks

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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.

Kings player after beating Bulls: ‘Uh-oh, another 2 1/2-hour practice for them tomorrow’

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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.

Chicago Sun-Times:

The Bulls are the laughingstock of the NBA right now.

Even the Kings – the Kings!are mocking them.