Posts Tagged ‘Jonas Jerebko’

Morning shootaround — Jan. 25


VIDEO: Highlights from Saturday’s NBA action

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Aldridge 1, injured thumb 0 | Pistons fear Achilles worst for Jennings | Waiters believes he has grown | Lakers didn’t treat Bryant properly?

No. 1: Aldridge 1, injured thumb 0 — Black was going to be the color of the night heading toward the Portland Trail Blazers’ home game against Washington Saturday, the proper attire for the sort of mourning already going on over forward LaMarcus Aldridge‘s injured left thumb and the six-to-eight weeks Aldridge likely was going to miss recuperating and rehabbing. But then Aldridge surprised Blazers fans by announcing that he would postpone surgery and try to play with the torn ligament. And he did just that in Portland’s 103-96 victory, putting the “triumphant” into his return with 26 points, nine rebounds and one splint. Here’s some of the quotage from the Blazers’ locker room:

Head coach Terry Stotts: “Well it was a win that we needed to get. Understatement: it was good to have LA back. I’m glad he had a good game with the thumb and the splint. It was very encouraging.”

Blazers guard Wesley Matthews: “He was big time. Even if he didn’t have the monster game that he did, I think just his presence and his sacrifice of his own body and for him to recognize how special this season is and can be and continue to be, for him to give that up to be out there with us in the trenches, it speaks volumes. … He can’t sit out. He doesn’t want to sit out. He loves this game and figures if he’s got something to give, he’s going to give. I can relate to that.”

Aldridge: “I felt okay. There was a few moments where I got it hit or whatever, and it was kind of tender. But for the most part, it was okay. … I was just trying to work with it. I kind of figured it out as the game went on, how to use it or whatever, and I kind of played with it.”

More Aldridge, on the Moda Center crowd reaction: “It was humbling. I thought they definitely showed me love and they respected what I was doing at that moment, trying to play through it, so that was humbling.”

 

Not all was sweetness and light on the injury front in Portland, however. Wing Nicolas Batum sat out Saturday’s game after aggravating a right wrist injury Thursday against Boston. He initially hurt it when he took a spill in Milwaukee Dec. 17. Here is an update from The Oregonian:

Batum missed the next game, Dec. 19 at San Antonio, then played in the next two games before sitting out the Dec. 23 game at Oklahoma City. He said he has aggravated the injury several times – usually when he falls to the court. On Thursday against Boston, it was a third quarter fall that took him out of the game and ultimately led to him missing Saturday’s 103-96 victory over Washington.

Batum, who is wearing an immobilizing brace, said he is unsure whether he will rest and let the wrist heal, or continue playing through discomfort during the Blazers upcoming trip at Brooklyn, Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee.

He is averaging 9.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 38 games. He is shooting 38.7 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from three-point range, figures he largely attributes to his ailing wrist.

“It’s my shooting wrist,” Batum said.

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No. 2: Pistons fear Achilles worst for Jennings — The pain in which Brandon Jennings writhed on the court at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee Saturday night — you could almost feel it. The way the Detroit Pistons’ point guard grimaced and banged the floor with one hand, while grabbing at his left ankle with the other, was palpable. Jennings, who had been rejuvenated along with the Detroit Pistons since they reconfigured their attack in a post-Josh Smith world, suffered a serious injury when he took a defensive step back on an inbounds play, and most who saw the replay and its aftermath immediately began to think of a torn Achilles tendon. That included teammate Caron Butler, as chronicled by the Detroit News:

“I saw him in pain, just the way he was. It was the second time I’ve seen something like that,” Butler said after Saturday’s game.

If Jennings didn’t know exactly what it was at the time, Butler had a good enough idea, remembering a former teammate Pistons fans should be familiar with.

Chauncey Billups,” Butler said, his face cringing at the memory of Billups’ Achilles tear in 2012 when both were members of the L.A. Clippers.

“It happened in Orlando. We were playing good basketball, Chauncey was playing great. I was right next to him. He asked, ‘Did you kick me?’ I said, ‘Nah, I didn’t touch you.’ He was on the ground grimacing so he got up and went back down because he couldn’t move. He just started hopping.”

The Pistons know how important Jennings has been, averaging 19.8 points since Smith was released. They were expecting a medical update Sunday, with backup D.J. Augustin poised to step into a bigger role again this season the way he did in Chicago when Derrick Rose got hurt early last season.

Like a quarterback, Jennings touched the ball every single play he was on the floor, the most improved player in the last 15 games. Averaging 21.3 points and 7.5 assists on 44-percent shooting tells only part of the story.

“He’s tapped into a part of his DNA that says he’s a star and he’s got to that place,” Butler said. “And we were riding him out. Greg and Andre and everybody’s gonna have to raise the bar.”

“He’s been the guy who’s been our catalyst offensively,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He’s been averaging 20 a game, high-assist, low-turnover, playing at the highest level of his career. Was a huge factor in the previous 15 games so, it’s a major, major loss.”

A Pistons teammate who suffered a shared his experience with the Detroit Free Press:

Jonas Jerebko, who tore his Achilles in 2010 in the first preseason game of his second season, said he had a chance to talk to Jennings.

He wouldn’t say what was discussed, but recalled his injury.

“It was like learning to walk again,” Jerebko said with a slight chuckle. “You really started off there, but you know we have the best in the business with [physical therapist] Arnie Kander.”

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No. 3: Waiters believes he has grownDion Waiters was back in Cleveland with his new team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in anticipation of Sunday’s clash with the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. He’s the shooting guard traded a couple of weeks back in the deal that delivered New York’s J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland, part of a roster makeover credited – along with LeBron James‘ spa-shutdown of two weeks to heal and invigorate – for the Cavs’ boost in play. Waiters didn’t sound like an eager participant but he did submit to and answer questions from the media, including ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin, on topics such as being scapegoated and his rapport with star teammates past and present.

“I ain’t really care what nobody say. It ain’t affect me. I slept good every night. I slept good every night. So, I mean, that’s what comes with the territory. That’s what comes with it when you got somebody like LeBron who brings all that attention around the team when we wasn’t used to having that. So the littlest things that you do, they be like the biggest. It’s so crazy. But it is what it is. I’m not in that situation anymore. Over here it’s still the same situation, but it’s different. I’m happy, I’m comfortable already two weeks in and I feel like I’ve grown. I’ve grown in a short period of time as a player and off the court.”

Waiters is averaging 11.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.8 steals on 39.8 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent shooting from 3-point range in eight games with the Thunder. His production is nearly identical to the 10.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals on 40.4 percent from the field and 25.6 percent from 3 that he averaged for Cleveland this season before the trade.

The difference is in the win-loss column. The Thunder are 5-3 since acquiring Waiters. The Cavs are on an upswing as well, winners of five in a row.

“Both teams are doing great — winning,” Waiters said. “Everybody seems at ease now and that’s what it’s about, just being happy, being comfortable and having fun, getting an opportunity. That’s what it’s about.”

While his relationship with James has apparently ended, Waiters explained why reigning MVP Kevin Durant has embraced him.

“From the outside looking in, he probably saw how things were looking or how I’m always the odd man out and things like that. How it was going, how my name was always in something and half the time it probably never was me,” Waiters said. “I was that guy who you point the finger at, but I was fine with it. I could take it. I didn’t have no pressure on me. I didn’t have no pressure on me. My job is to go out there and play basketball, get as many wins as we can as a unit and unfortunately, it didn’t work out. And I think the organizations made great decisions on the moves and it’s helping both teams.”

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No. 4: Lakers didn’t treat Bryant properly? — We return now to our regularly scheduled injury news – notice a trend in these daily reports? – and to the suggestion by ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Baxter Holmes that the Lakers, and specifically coach Byron Scott, could have handled the early days of Kobe Bryant‘s shoulder injury better. Instead, by letting Bryant continue to play after an overload of early-season minutes, Scott’s decision might have contributed to the torn rotator cuff on which they’ll all be updated Monday.

In hindsight, these issues appear greatly troubling, because just as Bryant must treat every aspect of his health, training and diet so seriously at this age just so he can perform, so too must the Lakers, and especially Scott, be ever so cautious with him.

That’s all the more true because Bryant is the Lakers’ sole attraction during an awful season, the lone reason for fans to tune in or attend games, all they really have to look forward to until the draft lottery. From a business sense, Bryant is their cash cow — their extremely well-paid cash cow — and thus missteps are extremely costly.

Where does blame lie? Certainly some falls on Bryant. He’s as powerful as any figure within the Lakers’ organization and as powerful as any player within any NBA franchise. If he wanted to play fewer minutes, he could have. If he wanted to get his shoulder examined earlier, he could have. The only person who could’ve stopped Kobe was Kobe, but he didn’t, because Kobe is Kobe. He believes he will overcome.

So the blame truly falls on Scott, who hasn’t been shy about admitting his fault in the issue. And, to a greater degree, the blame truly falls on the entire organization for not stepping in at some point earlier on when Bryant was playing all those minutes.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Washington’s John Wall wants Ray Allen to join the Wizards, but the All-Star point guard is busy enough without adding recruiting duties. … Brooklyn’s players and coaches admit they were shocked to learn of forward Mirza Teletovic’s season-ending condition … Houston’s Jason Terry still intends to play until he’s 40, and he’s surprised Shawn Marion won’t. … The photographer who first snapped Michael Jordan in that iconic, soaring pose is suing Nike over its use of the Jumpman logo. … Charlotte’s Marvin Williams did suffer a concussion when he took that elbow from New York’s Jason Smith.

 

Adoption Season: We’re On The Lookout For The Next Hang Time Grizzlies

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Two years ago we adopted the Memphis (Hang Time) Grizzlies and have watched them blossom into one of the league’s most exciting and promising outfits.

Now that they are all grown up, we’re on the hunt for a new team to adopt here at the hideout, another team that might be on the verge of big things in the near future.

With several candidates on each side of the conference divide, our first look is at the Detroit Pistons. They are promising young bunch, led by Lawrence Frank and his staff in their first year in the Motor City.

They’re already out of the playoff mix this year, which means they’ll have a chance to add yet another quality young piece in the June Draft this year to go along with a young cast that includes a potential future All-Star in Greg Monroe as well Brandon Knight, Jonas Jerebko, and Rodney Stuckey (they also have two HT faves in veterans Tayshaun Prince and Damien Wilkins).

They could be close to a breakthrough season, and depending on where they land in the lottery, that could breakthrough could come sooner rather than later for a young crew that’s working hard at it …



Rose Still Needs Help In Chi-Town

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HANG TIME, TEXAS – The Bulls won more games than any other team in the league a year ago. The Bulls have the second-best record in the NBA this season. The Bulls have the President of the United States talking about welcoming them to the White House next year to celebrate a championship. The Bulls have the reigning MVP Derrick Rose playing like he’s ready to go back-to-back.

So are there really any questions about the Bulls?

Well, as our good friend Sam Smith of Bulls.com points out, maybe just one:

But it would be nice, also, if someone could score some points.

Yes, Derrick Rose, despite increasing defensive pressure, had 22 points and eight assists. And Carlos Boozer had one of his best games as a Bull with 23 points on nine of 13 shooting and eight rebounds, including a dive on the floor for a loose ball and aggressive fronting the post on Greg Monroe, which we don’t often see from Boozer.

That sort of play enabled the Bulls not only never to trail in beating the Pistons for the 13th straight time, but with an 18-3 run to start the fourth quarter with mostly reserves playing the Bulls broke open a game they controlled but primarily with leads around 10 points.

The Bulls Monday started their lone three in three nights set and are about halfway through playing nine games in 12 nights with nine of the first 13 of the season on the road. Though everyone has scheduling like that to play through this season.

So it doesn’t fully answer whether this Bulls team can score enough to truly be taken seriously.

(more…)

Wrapping Up A Wild Thursday

 

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Thursday, Dec. 8 was one of the wildest days the NBA has seen in recent memory, as three teams pulled off a trade that would have altered the NBA landscape, only to have the deal squashed by commissioner David Stern. And now, we have to wonder what kind of precedent has been set, and what this means for the future of the players and teams involved.

This was supposed to be the day that the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified. And it was. But that news was completely overshadowed by what happened shortly after the league’s press conference.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

After several days of talks with several teams, the New Orleans Hornets finally reached a deal to get back some assets for Chris Paul, who they clearly believed was going to leave via free agency next summer. They traded Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-way deal that netted them Goran Dragic, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and the Knicks’ 2012 first-round draft pick (via Houston).

Twitter blew up, the league was abuzz, and columns were being filed about the plusses and minuses of the deal. Many were already preparing for the Lakers’ next move. Since they were keeping Andrew Bynum, they were still able to dangle him in front of the Orlando Magic in an effort to team Dwight Howard with Paul and Kobe Bryant.

The first tweet of the deal, from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, came shortly before 6 p.m. ET. Less than three hours later, Wojnarowski reported that “NBA owners have pushed commissioner David Stern to kill the deal.”

Within minutes, other reporters confirmed that the deal was dead. Paul was still a member of the New Orleans Hornets and the Lakers’ dominant frontline remained intact. Training camps were set to open in less than 24 hours and we were all to pretend that nothing happened.

Later, NBA senior vice president of basketball communications Tim Frank issued this statement: “Not true that the owners killed the deal. It wasn’t even discussed at the board meeting. League office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.”

Either way, the situation only leads to more questions, especially since the Hornets were getting back a pretty good haul in the deal.

First, if the league didn’t want the Hornets to trade Paul, why did they allow general manager Dell Demps to waste so much of his time (and the time of other executives around the league) negotiating a deal?

Second, if Demps wasn’t allowed to make this deal, is there any deal (involving Paul) that he’s allowed to make? And if Demps can’t trade Paul, aren’t the Hornets just going to lose him for nothing next summer?

Third, is this just about keeping Paul to help the team get sold? And will it get sold in time for the Hornets to make a deal that will get them something in return for Paul?

In his recap of the night, Wojnarowski reported that Demps considered resigning. And obviously, we haven’t heard the last of this story. ESPN has reported that Paul won’t be showing up at Hornets training camp on Friday.

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The craziness of the day wasn’t limited to the three-team trade. The first wild moment came when we learned that the New York Knicks had put themselves in the mix for Tyson Chandler, shortly after we heard that the Golden State Warriors had offered him $60 million over four years.

The Knicks, with their payroll right at the salary cap line, seemingly had no way to get Chandler. But then CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reported that they were “in the lead” for the center dropping this bombshell: “If the deal goes through, the Knicks use amnesty on Chauncey Billups and move Ronny Turiaf to make room for Chandler, sources say.”

Chandler will obviously help the Knicks defensively, but by waiving Billups, they’re left without a point guard. And by signing Chandler to a long-term deal, they’re seemingly out of the running to sign Paul next summer. They should, however, get plenty of interest from point guards willing to sign for the mid-level exception.

No deal can become official until Friday at 2 p.m., but according to multiple reports, Billups is “irate” about the news and has already gone home to Denver.

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The developments of Thursday crept into early Friday morning when ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Howard “is preparing to ask the Magic to trade him to the Nets.”

The Magic could get Brook Lopez, another player (possibly Jordan Farmar) and picks back from New Jersey. That may not seem like a lot, but the Nets, after waiving Travis Outlaw and renouncing their bird rights to Kris Humphries, would be able to absorb Hedo Turkoglu’s contract in the deal. And that would allow the Magic to wipe $21 million off the Orlando payroll. If they then waived Gilbert Arenas using the amnesty clause, they could start fresh.

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Here’s what else went down on an eventful Thursday, according to reports…

  • Shane Battier decided to sign with the Miami Heat, who will also sign Eddy Curry to a deal.
  • Caron Butler reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers for $24 million over three years.
  • Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko each reached agreements to return to the Detroit Pistons on four-year deals.
  • Tracy McGrady and Jason Collins each reached agreements on one-year deals with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Shannon Brown is leaving L.A. for Phoenix.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks reached an agreement with Mike Dunleavy on a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.
  • The Boston Celtics will acquire Keyon Dooling from the Bucks for a second-round pick.
  • Jeff Pendergraph reached a deal with the Indiana Pacers.
  • Finally, the Toronto Raptors are close to being sold.

All this and the league still isn’t technically back in business yet. So get ready for another wild ride on Friday.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Monroe finishes on high note


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By Drew Packham

LAS VEGAS — Pistons rookie Greg Monroe saved his best for last.

Complete Summer League coverage on NBA.comAfter a slow start to his Summer League, Monroe left on a high.

“I just became more comfortable, settled in and got in the groove,” said Monroe, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Pistons fell 92-80 to the Raptors in their finale. “The main thing is I got better. …  I got more aggressive. I need to work on my rebounding and defensively I need to get better. But I think I’m leaving better than when I came in.”

Monroe, a 6-foot-11 center out of Georgetown known for his slick passing ability, fell to the Pistons at No. 7 in June’s Draft. Detroit’s Summer League coach, Pat Sullivan left smiling over Monroe’s improvement in the five-game period.

“I was just really impressed with the way he got better as the week progressed,” Sullivan said. “I think early on he was just trying to be a passer but as the week went on he was more aggressive trying to score the ball. Today, I thought you saw a variety of ways he can score. He was pushing the ball coast-to-coast, he was facing up and making jumpshots, he hit 15-footers, he got to the line, got to the basket. He did so many nice things scoring the ball. I think everyone knows what a good passer he is, I was just really impressed with the way he got stronger as the week went on. Usually it’s the other way around.”

Monroe started his time in Vegas slowly, scoring in double digits once in the Pistons’ first three games. In the final two, though, Monroe was more aggressive, tallying 20 points and six rebounds Wednesday followed by Friday’s impressive 27-point, 14-rebound finale.

“Every game I’m trying to be aggressive,” Monroe said. “It was just about me becoming comfortable and knowing how to pick my spots and make my plays.”

Teammate Jonas Jerebko, now in his second year, made a splash with the Pistons last season, earning second-team All-Rookie Team honors thanks in large part to his work ethic and aggressiveness.

“Greg’s a great pick for us,” Jerebko said. “Greg is a great passer and when you throw it in there, he’s gonna find you when you’re open and that’s something we really need. He’s definitely going to contribute.”

So what does Sullivan see for Monroe in his rookie season?

“Greg’s obviously a very, very skilled player,” Sullivan said. “Does he have a chance to be great? Absolutely.”