Steve Kerr believes Klay Thompson (concussion) will be ready for start of NBA Finals

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Klay Thompson didn’t return to the Warriors’ series-clinching win over the Rockets after being kicked in the head by Trevor Ariza. But he was cleared to play at the time, which in hindsight is extremely troubling.

Thompson suffered concussion symptoms later that night, which included dizziness and vomiting. But he wasn’t officially diagnosed with the concussion until two days later.

Concussion symptoms often times take hours to appear, but the league doesn’t have any mandate against players returning to action after a blow to the head unless the symptoms are present and identifiable at the time.

That’s something which should probably be addressed. In the meantime, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr seems just as cavalier (no pun intended) about Thompson’s concussion as the team’s medical staff was the night it actually occurred.

From Ethan Strauss of ESPN.com:

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson is expected to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to coach Steve Kerr.

“He’s doing well,” Kerr said after practice Saturday at the team’s facility.

“I’m anticipating he’s going to be there.” …

Asked if he is preparing for Thompson’s absence, Kerr said he was planning only for Thompson to be in the lineup. Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers is Thursday.

“I expect him there,” Kerr repeated.

That seems like an incredibly irresponsible statement from Kerr, at least on the surface.

In order for Thompson to return to action, he must pass the league’s concussion protocol, which is fairly complicated to ensure a given player’s safety. From the NBA:

  • The return to participation protocol involves several steps of increasing exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.
  • With each step, a player must be symptom free to move to the next step. If a player is not symptom free after a step, he stops until he is symptom free and begins again at the previous step of the protocol (i.e., the last step he passed without any symptoms).
  • While the final return-to participation decision is to be made by the player’s team physician, the team physician must discuss the return-to-participation process and decision with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the Director of the NBA’s Concussion Program, prior to the player being cleared for full participation in NBA Basketball.
  • It’s important to note that there is no timeframe to complete the protocol. Each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.

That last part is perhaps the most important, here, as we try to interpret Kerr’s remarks.

Unless Thompson had already advanced through multiple stages of the protocol before Kerr met with reporters, which is obviously highly unlikely, then Kerr should have little reason to make such a pronounced declaration.

The long-term health of the players should be at the forefront of the team’s concern. Kerr placing this expectation on Thompson to play, whether he’s ready or not, seems to go against what should be a common-sense approach.

Marcus Smart announces he recovered, cleared of coronavirus

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Marcus Smart stepped forward and self-identified as having tested positive for the coronavirus. He wasn’t showing any symptoms and went into self-quarantine, and last we heard was doing well.

Sunday, Smart said that two days ago he was cleared and has fully recovered from the virus.

Most importantly, this is excellent news for Smart and his friends and family (and, by extension, the Celtics). His health is the most important thing in this story.

The NBA has asked recovered players to donate plasma because scientists are hoping to use the blood — which has developed immunities — to help create a vaccine or medicine to slow COVID-19. It’s optional, but the league is encouraging players to help.

There have been 10 players and five NBA off-court staff — including Knicks owner James Dolan — who have tested positive for the disease. Fortunately, none of them have shown any advanced symptoms that required hospitalization.

Colorado junior forward Tyler Bey declares for NBA Draft

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University of Colorado forward Tyler Bey has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The junior averaged 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for the Buffaloes. Bey shot 53% from the field overall and 74.3% at the free throw line.

Bey also extended his range a bit in his third year at Colorado. He knocked down 13-of-31 three-pointers (41.9%) on the season. At just six-foot-seven, he’ll need to be able to score from behind the arc to find a place in the NBA.

Most draft analysts have Bey pegged as an early second-round pick. Some thought he could play his way into the back-end of the first-round with strong pre-draft workouts. With the pre-draft process up in the air, NBA front offices may have to make their decisions based on what they’ve already seen in person and on tape.

Stephon Marbury has arrangement to procure 10 million medical masks for New York

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Former NBA player Stephon Marbury told The New York Post that he’s arranged a deal to deliver 10 million N95 medical masks to New York. These masks are much-needed among healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marbury is having the masks produced at cost in China, where he played the last seven years of his career.

Although Marbury currently lives in Beijing, China, he said “At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn. This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

While growing up, Marbury starred at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and on New York City’s famed playgrounds. After one year at Georgia Tech, Marbury left for the NBA. The high-scoring guard played for five teams during his 13-year NBA career, including his hometown New York Knicks.

After sitting out for two seasons, Marbury signed to play for the Beijing Ducks in 2011. The move was initially seen as a way for Marbury to prove he could still play at an NBA level. Instead, Beijing became home-away-from home for the New Yorker.

Marbury averaged 21.6 points per game in 271 contests spread over seven seasons with the Ducks.

Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung told ESPN Jonathan Givony that he’s declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

McClung first came to national prominence when his high school highlights blew up on YouTube:

In his second season at Georgetown, McClung averaged 15.7 points and 1.4 steals per game. A foot injury in late-January kept McClung out of the lineup for nearly a month. He returned for one game in late-February, but played just eight minutes off the Hoyas’ bench.

The six-foot-two guard is known for his deep shooting range and his highlight dunks. McClung’s shot is inconsistent however, as he shot under 40% in each of his first two seasons at Georgetown. McClung’s defense also needs work.

McClung projects to be a point guard in the NBA, due to his size. To make it as a lead guard, he’ll need to work on his ballhandling and playmaking. With those question marks, McClung is seen as a stretch to be drafted in the second round.

McClung stated he’s signing with an NBA/NCAA approved agent. That will allow him to keep his college eligibility as he goes through the pre-draft process.