Goran Dragic on reason for Suns early struggles: ‘Because there’s only one ball and we’re all point guards’

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The Suns were 28-15 last season when Eric Bledsoe was in the lineup playing alongside Goran Dragic, and even though he missed 39 games due to injury, Phoenix still managed to finish the season with 48 wins, and came within a single game of making it to the playoffs.

In the offseason, the team seemed to bolster its backcourt options even further, by adding another dynamic point guard in Isaiah Thomas, who was coming off of a year in which he averaged 20.3 points per game, primarily as a starter for the Sacramento Kings.

The adjustment period has been a bit rocky, however, with the Suns getting off to just a 6-5 start. Dragic believes that having too many players who are all used to being primary ball-handlers has been a main factor in the team’s slower-than-expected start.

From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

The Suns system is designed to find the closest point guard to start a fast break, with the other running ahead. In the half-court sets, the ball is supposed to move crisply to emphasize which side of the court has a mismatch.

Why has that not clicked?

“Because there’s only one ball and we’re all point guards,” Dragic said. “That’s an easy answer.

“It’s hard. That’s sacrifice. If Isaiah’s playing well, he’s going to stay in. Me and Eric, it depends who is playing better and who is going to be on the court. The other guy is going to be on the bench. It’s the way it is. We need to embrace that.”

The distribution of minutes isn’t drastically different with Thomas in the fold; both Dragic and Bledsoe are down only slightly in that category in terms of their per-game averages from last season.

A bigger factor in the team’s early struggles may be the loss of Channing Frye in free agency, who spaced the floor offensively with his ability to knock down the three-point shot, thereby opening up lanes for whomever was handling the ball to create opportunities with dribble penetration.

It’s not a bad thing to have three playmakers getting heavy minutes in the rotation, and the Suns are likely to eventually figure things out. But there will be an adjustment period, as Dragic (somewhat candidly) mentioned.

WNBA suspends Riquna Williams 10 games for domestic violence

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NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.

The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.

The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Report: Bulls signing Luke Kornet for guaranteed $4.5M over two years

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Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:

The Bulls will now have most of them.

Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.

In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.

But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.

Pistons claim Christian Wood off waivers

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The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.

New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.

But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.

Detroit will take advantage.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.

Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.

The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.

Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.

But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.

The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.

Knicks: Reggie Bullock has spine injury

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Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.

All because of a mysterious health issue.

The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.

Knicks release:

Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.

Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.

But Bullock must get healthy first.

At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.