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


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

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.

Andrew Bogut takes veiled shot at Dwight Howard


The Rockets and the Warriors had a somewhat chippy Western Conference Finals matchup, if not one that was overly-physical — at least in Andrew Bogut’s eyes.

Bogut and Dwight Howard had plenty of battles in the post, and Howard even got away with whacking Bogut in the face without being ejected or suspended.

Howard did end up earning a one-game suspension for the total number of flagrant foul points he amassed during the postseason, which prompted Bogut to take a veiled shot at Howard when he was asked about the physicality of the series against the Rockets the day the suspension was announced.

From Rusty Simmons of

On the day that Dwight Howard was suspended for a game without pay for collecting his fourth flagrant foul of the postseason, Andrew Bogut took a parting shot at the Houston center.

“There was some physicality there (with Houston), like any playoff series, but the Memphis series was more physical,” Bogut said after Friday’s practice. “This was more about ducking and weaving and getting out of the way of aired fists and elbows.”

There’s a clear difference between a physical battle where players put their bodies on the line to give their all for their team in an effort to win, and one in which guys are simply taking cheap shots whenever they get the chance.

Howard appeared to be doing the latter plenty against the Warriors, which makes it difficult to disagree with Bogut’s remarks.

James Harden says he ‘definitely’ wants Rockets to add a playmaker this offseason


James Harden had an incredible 2015 season for the Houston Rockets, one that rightfully had him neck-and-neck with Stephen Curry in the race for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

He did everything possible from an offensive standpoint to carry the Rockets for the bulk of the year, as Dwight Howard missed significant time, and key role players in Patrick Beverley and Donatas Montiejunas were lost well before the playoffs after suffering season-ending injuries.

Despite the lack of depth, Houston was still able to make it to the Western Conference Finals — and it was all thanks to the brilliance of Harden. As the Rockets look to improve their chances for next season, the team’s primary (and perhaps only) legitimate playmaker says he’d like some help offensively, so he doesn’t have to consistently do it all by himself.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Rockets guard James Harden made the familiar case for continuity the Rockets have never had since he’s been in Houston. He spoke of the strengths of a roster that won 56 games and reached the Western Conference Finals. He cited the difference between the Warriors and Rockets, pointing quickly to his own turnovers.

Yet, when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey puts together his shopping list, Harden had a suggestion.

He said he “definitely” would like to see the Rockets add another playmaker to take some of that responsibility out of his hands.

“That’s one of the conversations me and Daryl are going to have (and) the coaches,” Harden said. “That’s one of the pieces to add, but that’s later conversations. We’ll be all right. We’re very confident in the group we have. This summer we have to work hard and be ready for next year.”

The Rockets have plenty of decisions to make this summer. Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Jason Terry were all part of the playoff rotation, and all three were on extremely inexpensive deals, but are now unrestricted free agents heading into next season. Beverley is a restricted free agent, and will command a fairly large sum on the open market which the Rockets may or may not decide to match.

Harden, Howard and Trevor Ariza are all locked up on multi-year deals. Beyond that, in terms of what the roster in Houston might look like next season, things get murky pretty fast.

Stephen Curry and LeBron James were born at same hospital in Akron, Ohio


We’re all well aware that LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio. It is, after all, why he feels such a kinship with the city of Cleveland, and the primary reason he returned to the Cavaliers after playing in Miami for the last four seasons.

But did you know that Stephen Curry was also born in Akron?

Not only is that true, but Curry and James were, somewhat incredibly, born in the very same hospital.

Check out the video clip above from the folks at the Warriors, which explains this incredible coincidence.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha says police incident damaged his reputation


Thabo Sefolosha was supposed to provide elite defense and three-point shooting off the bench for the top-seeded Hawks during their run through the postseason, but a late-night incident with police in New York city put an end to all that before the playoffs got started.

Sefolosha was ruled out for the season after suffering a leg fracture while in police custody, and said in no uncertain terms that his injury was caused by the police.

Now that Atlanta has been eliminated from playoff contention, Sefolosha went into a little more detail about what he’s been going through since the unfortunate encounter took place.

From Kevin Arnovitz of

“I was injured in the hands of the police, and it took away a lot from my everyday life,” Sefolosha said during an interview at his home. “From being able to help put the kids in bed, going up and down the stairs.

“We are talking about the stress that it has brought to the entire family, you know, my mom and dad in Switzerland, my brothers and sisters, my wife. Also, the damage to my reputation. I’ve had people texting me about what they saw in the newspaper and things like this. Every aspect of my life was affected by something like this, and I think putting light on the aftermath of something like this, I think that’s also something that’s important.”

There’s more that Sefolosha shared, including (needlessly) defending himself for being out so late when the incident took place.

It’s honestly shocking that this wasn’t a much bigger national news story that carried with it an extended shelf life. While not a household name, Sefolosha was a key reserve on the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Imagine, for example, if a role player for the Warriors or Cavaliers suffered a comparable fate — with all the attention surrounding Stephen Curry and LeBron James, it’s hard to believe a scenario like this involving one of their teammates would be similarly swept under the rug.