After the most recent Pacers loss coach Frank Vogel said he thought his starters looked tired. This was a team that put a premium earlier in the season on getting the No. 1 seed in the East and they have faded lately, they have looked mentally disinterested (save vs. Miami) so maybe there is something to the burnout talk.
So, with four games left, the Pacers are going to rest guys – Paul George David West specifically asked for it. You can bet Roy Hibbert will be in that mix.
That’s what coach Frank Vogel told media members Tuesday, including Scott Agnes of pacers.com.
I agree with Vogel that this is not the lone problem, the Pacers have a series of overlapping issues that have led to their recent collapse.
However, rest — physical and mental — is part of what is needed. The Pacers need to step back, catch their breath and then come at their problems. There is a reason Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra, Doc Rivers and a host of other quality NBA coaches rest guys down the stretch (or at various points during the season).
The Pacers should do it if that means accepting the No. 2 seed in the East.
In 2016, both the Pistons (who agreed to trade for him) and the Rockets (who agreed to match his offer sheet from the Nets) failed Donatas Motiejunas on physicals. He finally signed a prorated minimum contract with the Pelicans for 2016-17. He has spent the last two seasons in China. It has been rough for him.
Now, Motiejunas is somewhat surprisingly returning to the NBA.
The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to a deal with veteran Donatas Motiejunas, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
San Antonio needed another big man after buying out Pau Gasol, who signed with the Bucks. Motiejunas provides depth behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl.
The 7-foot Motiejunas is capable inside and out. But NBA centers have gotten so good at 3-point shooting so quickly. I’m not sure Motiejunas remains ahead of the curve on the perimeter.
Whatever his current ability, he should at least fit well with the Spurs. They maximize skilled bigs.
The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.
He missed more than five weeks.
Maybe he should have sat even longer.
Karen Joubert, via Complex Sports:
Maybe LeBron returned too soon. This injury allowed that, even if it put him at risk of reaggravation if not fully recovered.
Maybe LeBron just healed especially quickly. Even among world-class athletes, he is an elite athlete.
Maybe Joubert is exaggerating. People tend to do that with LeBron’s body.
There’s plenty of room for interpretation, but it sure looked like LeBron was still hobbled.
What does this mean for LeBron and the Lakers going forward?
The pessimistic spin: LeBron did lasting damage to his body by returning so soon. This (failed) attempt to get the Lakers into the playoffs this season will undermine him in the future.
The optimistic spin: LeBron has still been excellent these last few weeks. If he gets fully healthy during his longest offseason in 14 years, he should be even better next season.
Kyrie Irving spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers. He developed into a star with them. He won a title with them, even hitting the championship-winning shot.
With Irving’s Celtics playing in Cleveland tomorrow, Irving reflected on his time there.
Jared Weiss of The Athletic:
Irving is so clearly over the Cavs.
He was probably over the Cavs even while playing for them.
The Lakers have had a rough season.
Last night went pretty well, though – especially for one fan.
The Lakers beat the Kings, and this fan swished a halfcourt shot to win $45,000.
The Lakers need more outside shooting. Maybe they could turn to some of their fans.