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Morning shootaround — Oct. 23


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Oct. 22

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Clarkson injured in finale | Noah OK with bench role | Johnson unlikely to start for Pistons | Why ‘Jimmer Mania’ never caught on in NBA

No. 1: Clarkson injured in preseason finale; Scott expects Bryant to go in opener — The Los Angeles Lakers are just days away from a fresh season that, hopefully, can help them erase last season’s disastrous campaign. One of the few bright spots from last season was point guard Jordan Clarkson, an eventual All-Rookie First Team performer. Clarkson will be counted on heavily this season, which made last night concerning for the Lakers. He left the team’s preseason finale against the Golden State Warriors with a right shoulder sprain that will require an MRI today. Lakers stalwart Kobe Bryant missed the preseason close-out game, but on a bright note, he’s expected to go in the season-opener.

Here’s a look at how/when Clarkson’s injury occurred …


VIDEO: Jordan Clarkson injures his shoulder vs. Warriors

ESPN.com’s Baxter Holmes has more on what’s next for Clarkson and Bryant:

Lakers coach Byron Scott said he still expects the 37-year-old Bryant, who is in his 20th season with the Lakers, to play in the team’s regular-season opener Oct. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.

“There’s no doubt in my mind [that he’ll play in that game],” Scott said before his team faced the Warriors on Thursday. “Talking to him [Thursday], he said he’s just gearing up for Wednesday. I said, ‘Good, because that’s what I’m gearing up for as well.’ There’s no doubt in my mind. It will take a whole lot to keep him out of that game.”

However, starting guard Jordan Clarkson’s status for the opener is now in question after he left Thursday’s game in the second quarter with what the team called a sprained right shoulder. Clarkson did not return to the game and was scheduled to receive an MRI on Friday.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Scott said, although Clarkson said he expects to play Wednesday.

Scott said he first noticed Clarkson was favoring his shoulder early in the game, and so Scott asked Lakers trainer Gary Vitti to examine Clarkson.

“[Vitti] basically told me [Clarkson’s shoulder] came out and went back in, whatever that means,” Scott said.


VIDEO: Jordan Clarkson talks about his shoulder injury after Thursday’s game

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No. 2: Bulls’ Noah OK with bench role — Two years ago, the idea of making Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah a sixth man would seem ludicrous. But it’s funny how time — and other changes — can alter the perception on a supposed crazy idea. Two days ago, the notion was floated by Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg that Noah may be a sixth man when 2015-16 gets rolling. While nothing has been decided yet, Noah is playing the part of good solider and says he’d be OK with such a switch, writes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com:

While new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg hasn’t officially said that Joakim Noah will come off the bench in the team’s opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, the former All-Star center seems resigned to the fact he will be out of the starting lineup early in the season.

“It’s definitely an adjustment,” Noah said after Thursday’s practice. “But at the end of the day, it’s still basketball. I got to go out there, bring energy, and do what I do.”

Hoiberg said the Bulls will use the same lineup in Friday’s preseason game against the Dallas Mavericks in Lincoln, Nebraska, as they did Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers, when Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell, Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol opened the game.

“We’ll start the same way,” Hoiberg said. “If it looks good, [that’s] a pretty good chance that’s the way we’ll go on opening night.”

The hope within the organization is that injured point guard Derrick Rose(orbital) will be able to return against the Cavaliers. That still leaves Noah, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013-14, on the outside looking in.

“We’ve talked,” Hoiberg said of discussing the possibilities with Noah. “We talk about everything that he’s done. He was great, he was excited about playing with Taj [Gibson] last game. I think those two have a very good chemistry out there together. And [Noah] was the one that talked to me about that, about how well he feels he and Taj play together out there on the floor.”

“I’ve played well with Taj in the past,” Noah said. “We just got to keep building. This isn’t about me, it’s not about Taj, it’s about what we can do to make this team better. It is what it is, and we got to go out there and find ways to make it work.”

“Jo’s a pro,” Hoiberg said. “All our guys are at the end. Whatever we decide to do on the 27th, it’s not necessarily what we’ll do on Nov. 1. It’s just start [of the season]. It’s not an easy [decision]; however, we start on Tuesday, but it’s not an absolute. We’ll continue to play different lineups out there, combinations, and see what we like best.”

 

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No. 3: Johnson unlikely to start for Pistons — Detroit Pistons rookie forward Stanley Johnson created quite a buzz for himself after a standout showing in the Orlando Summer League. Since then, he’s vaulted to the top of the Rookie Ladder on this very site and remains a darkhorse candidate to win Kia Rookie of the Year honors. If he’s going to realize that goal, he’ll likely have to do so as a reserve. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports that coach Stan Van Gundy favors veteran Marcus Morris as the starter for now:

The starting lineup you see tonight against the Charlotte Hornets — with Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris at the forward spots — likely is the grouping that coach Stan Van Gundy will roll with when the Detroit Pistons open the regular season Tuesday at the Atlanta Hawks.

That means the people’s champion — rookie small forward Stanley Johnson — probably will start the season coming off the bench.

Van Gundy cited veteran presence and size as part of his reasoning for going with the 6-10 Ilyasova and 6-9 Morris.

“I just think that’s our best lineup right now,” Van Gundy said. “It gives a little bit more size, a little more experience. That’s where my comfort level is right now, but we’ll see how it goes early in the year, or even these (last) two preseason games.”

Johnson is third in the NBA in preseason scoring (13.8 points per game) and is shooting an encouraging 44% from three-point range. He stands 6-feet-6.

But Johnson looks to be the team’s sixth man, and Van Gundy will use his all-around skill as a human utility belt. Johnson has played three positions this preseason and added a fourth at Tuesday’s practice, when Van Gundy used him at power forward.

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No. 4: Why ‘Jimmer Mania’ never caught on in NBA — He was a college scoring sensation, a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft and a player whose shooting skills figured to be some kind of a fit in the NBA. While Jimmer Fredette was all of those things, he’s also — as of this morning — a former NBA player. He was cut by the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, marking his fifth team since that Draft night in 2011. So why did ‘Jimmer Mania’ flop so quickly in the league? Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports has a great story on it:

The problem for Fredette – and his devoted collection of fans stretching from upstate New York to the middle of Utah – was the continued expectation that the craze would find a home of some kind in the NBA, where short shooting guards with slow feet and no ability to adjust aren’t long for the league.

The San Antonio Spurs were the latest team to take a shot on and eventually cut bait with a player whose college career was so legendary and so filled with hype, magazine covers and unadulterated hero worship that the Sacramento Kings decided to trade down in order to draft him 10th overall in 2011 – directly ahead of All-Star Klay Thompson and five spots ahead of 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. But Fredette was cut on Wednesday in a move that could very well serve as the end of his uninspiring NBA career, unless he alters his game and his belief that he could recapture that old college magic if only somebody was willing to let him.

“Jimmer thinks everybody is stupid,” said an NBA assistant who worked with Fredette. “He thinks everybody needs to come and just turn over their offense and let him shoot it anytime he wants. That’s not how the league works.”

The Kings cut Fredette before the completion of his rookie deal and he quickly found a home in Chicago, finishing out his third season on a playoff team. Fredette spent last season in New Orleans, where the Pelicans hoped he would be a viable replacement for sharpshooter Anthony Morrow after connecting on more than 40 percent of his career shots from long distance at that point. But not only did he prove an unreliable 3-point threat (9 for 48, 18.8 percent), Fredette was also unwilling – or unable – to assume playmaking responsibilities for a team that desperately needed help at point guard after Jrue Holiday sustained a serious leg injury.

The Pelicans tried Gal Mekel, Russ Smith, Nate Wolters and then Toney Douglas, signing most to brief in-season contracts, before they finally made a deal for Norris Cole. Fredette’s lack of versatility and the liability he presented on defense made it difficult to justify any more than sporadic minutes. The latter was especially damaging since speedy reserve combo guards routinely treated Fredette like a revolving door to buckets.

“His foot speed at that position isn’t on par with those guys. That’s a big deal,” the NBA assistant said. “I think the big thing for Jimmer is not offensively but defensively.”

After squandering his opportunity in New Orleans, Fredette was admittedly surprised last summer when he was working out in Denver and the Spurs called to offer him a half-year guaranteed contract. The situation seemed to be his last best chance to stick around in a selfless Spurs system that has revived a few stagnant careers. But the NBA assistant coach never expected the partnership to go anywhere.

“He won’t adjust his game for it,” he said. “He’ll tell you, ‘This is what I did at BYU.’ Well, BYU, that’s a long time ago.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Interesting tidbit — Russell Westbrook says he has never shavedMetta World Peace says the Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs this season … Coach David Blatt isn’t putting a whole lot of stock in all these title predictions for his Cleveland Cavaliers … Giannis Antetokunmpo could play every position for the Milwaukee Bucks this season … Jordan Clarkson of the Lakers suffered a sprained right shoulder last night vs. the WarriorsDavid Stockton, the son of Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, was waived by the Sacramento Kings yesterday … Nike is opening a Michael Jordan-only store in the Chicago Loop this weekend … Brooklyn Nets point guard Jarrett Jack can definitely seem himself as a coach someday

ICYMI(s) of the Night: Glenn Robinson III seems to hang out in the air for a while before putting down this alley-oop with authority …


VIDEO: Tobias Harris helps mop up a spot on the Amway Center court

… and here’s Stephen Curry tossing up a halfcourt, underhand alley-oop to Andre Iguodala. No big deal, guys … 


VIDEO: Stephen Curry finds Andre Iguodala for the alley-oop

3 Comments

  1. Art says:

    Gasol should be paired with Gibson & Noah with Mirotic. Gasol & Mirotic – not much defense, Noah & Gibson – not enough offence. Also Snell should come off the bench and play defence when Butler is resting & Brooks substitutes Hinrich.

  2. Dennis says:

    I can see if someone better than Noah was starting. But Mirotic? He has no defense! Please, Hoiberg do not do that

  3. Harriethehawk says:

    I think its important for any team to have a solid, preferably veteran heavy bench. I can see it as a good thing for the Fakers to retain Metta World Peace and Chicago’s Jokim Noah coming off the bench. Sounds like a plan to me.


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