NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: D-Will’s return date still unknown — Since spraining his right ankle during an offseason workout in his Utah home, Nets All-Star guard Deron Williams hasn’t played in a preseason game and has minimally increased his participation in practice as well. He has missed all of the Nets’ preseason games and his status remains day-to-day, which has some concerned about his status for the season opener next week, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:
One month after the Nets first announced Deron Williams had suffered a sprained right ankle, it still remains unclear when the star point guard will return to the floor.
Williams has increased his workload during practice each of the past two days, according to coach Jason Kidd, and Paul Pierce went as far as to say the team “had a chance to see [Williams] get his feet wet a little” during the two practices, which could be taken as a positive sign in his recovery.
That has been the basic stance the Nets have taken on this injury since it was first announced the day before Williams hosted his charity dodgeball tournament on Sept. 19, which he attended wearing a walking boot. Williams said that was a preventative measure after an MRI exam showed “a little inflammation” after he sprained the ankle and suffered a bone bruise during a workout in Utah early last month.
“They have me in [the boot] now so I don’t have to worry about it when the season starts,” Williams said that day. But he also said then that “I’ll be ready” when the season starts, and that his plan was to be able to fully participate in training camp.
Instead, Williams has been limited, at best, in practice since training camp began Oct. 1, and the Nets only have said he is “day-to-day,” and his status for opening night is up in the air.
“That we’re taking it day by day,” Kidd said when asked if anything had changed to keep Williams out this long.”
Kidd did say Williams looks like he’s getting better.
He worked out [Saturday and] he looked good, so I think he’s going in the right direction,” Kidd said. “He’s doing everything that the doctors and the trainers have asked him. … It’s a process, and he got better [Saturday].”
No. 2: Young calls Clips’ move to cover up Lakers’ banners ‘disrespectful’ — Maybe you missed it over the weekend and maybe you didn’t, but for brevity’s sake, here’s the quick version: Clippers coach Doc Rivers is having all of the Lakers’ banners — championships, retired players, etc. — covered up during Clipper home games so that the Staples Center has more of a Clipper feel to it. New Lakers swingman Nick Young, who is an L.A. native, took exception to the move and called it out as ‘disrespectful’, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“He can do that?” Young said after Lakers practice Sunday, the team’s first since returning from China. “For real? That’s disrespectful. We got to talk to Doc. He can’t have that. We got to do something about that.”
The Clippers revealed their Staples Center redecoration during a preseason game Friday, as they plastered giant posters of players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick over the Lakers’ 16 championship banners and 10 retired uniforms.
“That’s a lot of pull y’all are giving Doc,” Young said, somewhat facetiously. “I think he shouldn’t come in and have so much pull like that. He’s got to earn his keep.”
When a reporter argued that Rivers’ championship resume from his time with the Boston Celtics should give the coach the credence to do so, Young retorted, “But he didn’t win no title in L.A. That’s where it’s at. Look at all these banners in here, you can’t shadow those up.”
The Lakers and Clippers have shared the Staples Center since it opened for the 1999-2000 season, making them the only teams in the league to have such an arrangement.
“I guess if you were in the Clippers’ organization you probably want to do that, too,” Lakers point guard Steve Nash said. “It’s their arena on their night, so I would try to make it feel like home.”
No. 3: Magic likely to ditch a.m. shootarounds — The Orlando Magic have one of the younger teams in the league as only Jameer Nelson, Jason Maxiell and Ronnie Price will be 30 or older come opening night. That means coach Jacque Vaughn has a lot of teaching to do and, as such, may be trying to make things easier on his youthful crew by eliminating morning shootarounds, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
This preseason the Magic have done away with morning shootarounds, choosing instead to hold afternoon shootarounds on their Amway Center practice court before home exhibitions and afternoon walkthroughs in hotel ballrooms when they’ve been on the road.
It appears that coach Jacque Vaughn made the switch to improve players’ retention of specific gameplans and to keep his players fresh.
Vaughn wouldn’t discuss his specific reasoning prior to Sunday night’s exhibition against the Detroit Pistons, but some other teams — typically teams loaded with experienced players — in recent years have shifted away from morning shootarounds.
“Have I made a conscious effort to not have some shootarounds? Yes,” Vaughn said. “And will that continue throughout the course of the year? Probably yes. I took a scope of all the things that we did last year — what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I thought was efficient. And that’s what I’m about. I’m about being efficient.
“I don’t have to stroke my own ego and check boxes off [a practice plan]. I just don’t. I don’t have to do what other coaches do. I’m fine with doing what I think is best for my team.”
NBA teams almost never hold morning shootarounds on the second day of a back-to-back, and the Magic didn’t hold morning shootarounds on those days last season, either.
No. 4: Blazers’ Robinson learns from many trades — Big man Thomas Robinson was the No. 5 pick of the 2012 Draft by the Sacramento Kings, but by the end of this summer, he had been shipped from the Kings to the Houston Rockets at last season’s trade deadline and, in the offseason, traded from Houston to Portland in a cap-saving move by the Rockets. All those dealings have had their effect on Robinson, who told CSNNW.com’s Chris Haynes that he’s learned from many of his first year mistakes:
Yes it was only a preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, a team going through a rebuild and transformation process. But for Thomas Robinson, it meant so much more.
Sacramento is the team that drafted him, and they are the team that traded him to Houston a few months later. Not often is the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft presented with such a short leash.
The Rockets didn’t waist time shipping away the athletic forward, either. However it’s the trade from Sacramento that stung the most and he’s still not over it.
Tonight, it was redemption time.
“It got to a point where I had to calm myself down before the game and remind myself that it’s just a game,” Thomas told CSNNW.com. “I just needed to relax and tell myself that it’s just business. It’s not personal. But at the end of the day, if I get the chance to go up against them, I’m not going to hesitate to give it to them.”
Trading Robinson might have been a business decision for Sacramento, but Robinson isn’t going to let them off the hook for that.
“I use that trade and the negative articles that I got saved from last year where people were writing me off. I use that as motivation,” he said. “It’s all good, though. It’s not how fast you do your business, it’s how long. And as long as I’m still here 10 years from now, I couldn’t care less what anybody thinks about my first year.”
It was a total team effort. For Robinson, it was extreme joy.
The NBA season is long and a preseason performance is not going to erase a year that wasn’t worthy of a top-5 pick. Robinson knows that. That’s why he going about things differently this time around.
His mindset is to not worry about touches, he’s just staying on the attack and being the aggressor. All the time.
As a top draft pick, he admitted to feeling entitled to a certain amount of touches and playing time while being a member of the Kings. That thinking is out of his system now. Three teams in two years tend to do that to a player.
He says that doesn’t change the fact that Sacramento gave up on him too soon, though.
When times on the court get rough, the power forward says he thinks back to when he played in Northern California and that motivates him more than enough to get out of that rut, knowing he’s not trying to go back to that feeling.
“It was great to just play a good game today,” Robinson said. “I know that the mistakes that I made when I was in Sacramento, the mindset that I had there, is completely different now. The mindset that I have now is where it will remain. When my mind is messed up, then it just looks like I’m playing bad like what happened in Sacramento. I’m not going back there.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Days after locking up young big man Derrick Favors with an extension, the Jazz are in discussions to do likewise with Gordon Hayward … Spurs reserve big man Jeff Ayers says the Heat were trying to take out his knees … Rookie Steven Adams continues to impress with his rebound work for OKC
ICYMI Of The Night: Who isn’t excited to watch Ricky Rubio make these kinds of passes on a nightly basis? …