Last season, New Orleans made the playoffs for the first time since trading away Chris Paul in 2011. They were swept in the first round by the eventual champion Warriors, but the Pelicans enter the season widely expected to make a leap and become a factor in the postseason this year. Having Anthony Davis, a 22-year-old MVP candidate and destroyer of worlds, helps. But a lot of the Pelicans’ success this season will depend on health, and so far the signals on that are mixed when it comes to a few of their key players.
Starting point guard Jrue Holiday had leg surgery this summer, and head coach Alvin Gentry tells John Reid of the Times-Picayune that he’ll be cleared to practice when training camp starts, albeit with some limitations:
New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday has made enough progress in his recovery from offseason surgery in his lower right leg that he’s expected to be cleared for training camp later this month.
But Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said on Friday that Holiday is likely going to be under restrictions involving practicing just once a day when two-a-day practices are scheduled during camp, which is set to open on Sept. 29 at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
Quincy Pondexter, meanwhile, will take a little longer to get healthy after undergoing knee surgery in May. Gentry says he won’t be available until November:
The outlook, however, is a little more bleaker for starting small forward Quincy Pondexter. It’s looking like the Pelicans may have to wait until this upcoming November for Pondexter to fully recover from undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in May.
The Pelicans didn’t do much this offseason in terms of additions, and they’re banking on a more offensive-minded coach to help them take a step forward after last year’s relative success. In order for that to come to fruition, they will need everybody to be healthy, and hope for no more setbacks to Holiday, Pondexter, or anyone else.
From the moment it became clear Carmelo Anthony was going to join the Rockets — which was a long time before he actually signed the contract on Monday — the questions started:
Would he accept a reduced role with the Rockets? Maybe come off the bench? Be Olympic ‘Melo and blend in with the team?
Coach Mike D’Antoni said he spoke with Anthony and said the player is open to coming off the bench, but he’s not sure what ‘Melo’s role will be. When ambushed by TMZ trying to walk to his car, Anthony said basically the same thing.
“Let’s just let it play out, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just signed, let it start first.”
Anthony coming off the bench, being the fulcrum of the offense when James Harden and Chris Paul are on the bench makes some sense (CP3 and Harden are better and more efficient shot creators than Anthony at this point). It’s a chance for Anthony to get his touches and help the other two rest. However, the idea of Anthony starting the first and third quarters and getting heavy touches then but sitting more later is not out of the question.
At the end of close games, D’Antoni is more likely to lean on James Ennis — a long, switchable defender who can shoot threes in the Trevor Ariza mold — than Anthony. It will be just a better fit. Will Anthony roll with that? Will it cause problems in the locker room?
Let’s just let it play out.
Remember when the NBA cracked down on hazing?
It was 2013, and the Miami Dolphins were in the midst of a bullying scandal. The NBA wanted to avoid similar problems.
But enforcement of the NBA’s guidelines was clearly fleeting, a temporary overreaction to the Dolphins’ issues.
By the very next season Andre Drummond and the Pistons were hazing rookie Spencer Dinwiddie.
Kristian Winfield of SB Nation:
Thankfully, Dinwiddie appears to take this in good fun. Context matters, and if the team welcomed him overall, this could be just a harmless prank.
And Dinwiddie has gotten revenge – flourishing with the Nets, including hitting a game-winner at Detroit last season.
LeBron James sent Magic Johnson an ardent happy-birthday tweet last year. Then, LeBron eventually provided the best gift imaginable – signing with Johnson’s Lakers.
I think Johnson is having a good 59th birthday today. But I can’t say for certain – because the video he posted is pixelated and has distorted audio:
That prompted Lonzo Ball to tweet:
That’d be a pretty nice gift. But I don’t think it’ll endear Ball over LeBron.
There’s reportedly friction between Jimmy Butler and his Timberwolves teammates, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
It’s not hard to see why. Butler pulled himself up from the bottom and has developed an understanding of how he got here. He has shown little patience for those who don’t match his work ethic and competitiveness. The younger Wiggins and Towns are former No. 1 picks who seem too content at times.
Anyway, Butler posted this photo to Instagram:
Butler appears to be talking – almost certainly in jest – about his trainer (Chris Johnson), agent (Bernie Lee) and chef (Christian Bowman). After all, those three are behind him in the picture.
A commenter brought up Wiggins and Towns, saying Butler should lead those two, and Butler shot back:
This has gotten spun into evidence of strife in Minnesota. I don’t see it. That strikes me as a retort to the commenter, not a shot at Wiggins and Towns.
Besides, if you’re looking for evidence of the Timberwolves’ internal problems, there’s more than enough elsewhere.