Patrick Beverley ‘super excited’ to play with Westbrook, coach adds they may play together

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Feud? What feud?

Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook may have had one of the NBA’s longest-running and nastiest beefs (dating back to the 2013 playoffs), but they are teammates now on the Los Angeles Lakers, and to hear Beverley talk on Tuesday it’s all good now. Nothing to see here, move along. Here is what he said, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Super excited,” Beverley interrupted when asked about his relationship and fit with Westbrook. “… I was asked this question two, three years ago, [about] someone I always wanted to play with and [Westbrook] was the first name. I have [known] Bron since I was a baby, a rookie in this league, so obviously I want to play with him.

“But a player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that nastiness, that grit, to have a running mate like that, I have never had that. So I am super excited to see where it goes. Obviously like any relationship or any marriage, things, we are going to have tough conversations. That is what comes with winning, but I am excited about those conversations, I am excited about the practices. I am just excited to be able to compete with someone like that.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he might even play Westbrook and Beverley together in the backcourt (it wouldn’t be surprising if that combo starts opening night against the Warriors).

“If they play defense,” Ham said. “We’ve got a while. That’s still a ways off, but definitely… But, I’m not scared of that,” Ham added. “It’s definitely a bullet in the chamber. We’re looking forward to it, man, those guys in the backcourt together, man.”

Welcome to the honeymoon part of the preseason, before any practices, any games, and before any tests or adversity. Right now it’s all puppies and rainbows. From Ham at his introductory press conference to team owner/governor Jeanie Buss through Beverley, everyone is on the same page and saying the right things.

On paper, Beverley and Westbrook can succeed as a backcourt pairing, especially working more off the ball because LeBron James should be initiating the offense, and Ham has said he wants to run the offense more through Davis. It works as long as Westbrook is willing to accept that role. Westbrook and Beverley can push the tempo.

But what happens when adversity strikes? What happens the first close game late and Westbrook is asked to be a decoy? What happens when the team losses a few games in a row (which could happen early, the Lakers have a tough first couple of weeks of the season)? How does everyone respond when Westbrook (or Beverley) is on the bench in crunch time?

It’s easy to put aside beefs and have everyone say they are excited to play together before training camp opens. In the next week or so, expect reports from the LeBron-run minicamp about how well everyone is getting along and how great things look. This is the time of the season for optimism. For hope. For everyone to get along.

If the Lakers can stay healthy and carry that into the season they could be a playoff team in the West, but when adversity strikes will be the first test of all the current excitement and love.

Report: Draymond Green facing potential discipline after fight with Jordan Poole

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Warriors practice got heated on Wednesday and Draymond Green reportedly escalated some chest bumping with Jordan Poole and punches were thrown. The team is now considering internal disciple, according to The Athletic.

When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.

There aren’t details of the incident beyond that description (at least so far), although several reporters have confirmed the was a fight and the two had to be broken up. Poole was seen getting up shots after practice when the media was allowed in and reportedly was joking with teammates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tweeted out what feels like the Draymond Green camp spin on the incident.

Warriors elder statesman Andre Iguodala Tweeted out this on the situation, wanting to keep it all in the family, and adding that “it broke my heart… but it fixed my vision.”

There is a history of tension between Green and Poole, including a public flare-up between the duo early last season, but the two talked after and smoothed things over. At least for a while.

What punishment Green will face from the team remains to be seen.

Poole is on the verge of an extension to his rookie contract, one where Tylyer Herro just set the market.

Green had hoped for an extension from the Warriors this offseason but there were limited discussions between the parties. Green can opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent.

Wizards’ Kispert likely to miss start of season due to sprained ankle

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The Washington Wizards made fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league last season. They didn’t take a lot (second fewest) and didn’t make the ones they took (fifth lowest percentage). One goal for Wes Unlseld Jr. this season was to change that dynamic, and second-year player Corey Kispert was a big part of that plan.

Now Kispert is out through at least the start of the season, sidelined 4-6 weeks by a sprained ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

The injury happened on a fluke play in Japan against the Warriors, but Kispert shouldn’t miss much time once the real games start. The Wizards are a little short on the wing right now with Kispert joining Deni Avdija (groin injury) in the training room.

Kispert took 62% of his shots from beyond the arc last season and hit 35% of them, both solid numbers but ones Wizards hoped would improve for the 6’6″ wing this season.

Scoot Henderson says he has skills to be No.1 pick but not hung up on it

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Scoot Henderson came out like a man on a mission Tuesday night against the Metropolitans 92 and Victor Wembanyama — he was in attack mode. He used his explosive athleticism to get to the rim, his impressive body control to get off good shots, and his strength to finish with authority. And if the defender played back, he would drain the jumper over him.

A year ago, Jaylen Brown called him the best 17-year-old he’d ever seen. Scoot is better than that now.

Many years, Henderson would be a clear No.1 overall pick. But, not this year, Wembanyama has that crown because he breaks the mold with his size and skill set (in the NBA, height still wins out).

Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer asked Henderson why he should be the top prospect and got a confident answer.

There will be a lot of people making the Henderson case this season — and with good reason. He could be a franchise cornerstone player for the next decade.

Henderson, however, is trying not to get hung up on No.1 vs. No.2.

There’s a long list of legendary players selected No.2: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Henderson can be one of them.

Unless Wembanyama’s medicals come back with red flags, he is destined to be the No.1 pick next June. That, however, will not be the end of Henderson’s story. Instead, it will be just the beginning.

Doc Rivers says he wants Harden to be ‘a scoring Magic Johnson’

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We’re not in Houston anymore.

James Harden in Philadelphia will not be chasing scoring titles and dominating the game in quite the same way. Instead, he’s been asked to be more of a facilitator — but not too much of one. Doc Rivers told the team at ESPN’s NBA Today he wants scoring to go with the facilitating. Just like one of the all-time greats.

“I think we’ve talked so much about him being a facilitator… I need him to be James Harden too. If I had to combine, I would say a scoring Magic Johnson, I don’t know, but that’s what I want him to be. I want him to be a James Harden, but in that, I want him to also be the facilitator of this basketball team too. So in a lot of ways, his role is growing bigger for our team, and I just want him to keep thinking, ‘Do both.'”

Just play like Magic, no pressure there. For his career, Magic averaged 19.5 points a game (with four over 20 PPG) with 11.2 assists.

Harden can get close enough to Rivers’ lofty goals to make Philly a real threat, so long as defenders still fear his first step and step back. Harden can get his shot and get to the line, and he’s long been a great passer who has averaged 10.5 assists a game over the past two seasons. Now it’s just a matter of finding the balance of when to set up Joel Embiid, when to turn the offense over to Tyrese Maxey, and when to get his own shot.

Philadelphia is a deep team poised to win a lot of regular season games — the Sixers being the top seed in the East is absolutely in play. The questions Harden — and, to a degree, Embiid — have to answer come in May, when the second round of the playoffs start and Harden has faded while Embiid has had poor injury luck. In a deep East with Milwaukee, Boston, and maybe Miami and Brooklyn in the contender mix, there is no margin for error.

A Magic-like Harden would be a big boost for the Sixers in that setting.