Connect with us

NBA

Draymond Green says Warriors ‘nowhere near a championship team’ right now, but ‘could grow to be that’

Published

on

LOS ANGELES — As the Golden State Warriors ready for the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, they do so with the renewed optimism of a team that hopes to rise back to the top of the Western Conference standings after failing to qualify for the playoffs in each of the past two years.

Warriors veteran forward Draymond Green is hopeful the young team can come together nicely, but he offered an honest assessment prior to Tuesday’s regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

“I think this team could be very good,” Green said of the Warriors. “But I think this team has to grow. We have to put it all together. Is there aspirations to winning a championship? Absolutely. But this team is nowhere near a championship team. I think we have a lot of pieces that could grow to be that, I don’t doubt that at all, but we also can’t get fooled by 5-0 in the preseason and say, ‘Oh man, we’re a championship team.’ We’ve got a long f—ing ways to go.”

Green has taken a softer stance than usual compared to years past, as the organization heads into an uncertain season that will be defined in large part on whether or not former All-Star Klay Thompson (ACL/Achilles rehab) and 2020 No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman (meniscus rehab) can return to the floor and contribute at a high level.

Green believes in the talent within the group, but also noted the “focus” and “dedication” needed for any team to come together at the highest level.

“You don’t just win a championship because you think the pieces fit,” Green said. “You don’t just win a championship because you think you got good talent. You got to make that s— work. And so do I think we have a good chance to be a really good team? Absolutely. But to say we can win a championship, we’re so far away from that — as is just about every other team in this league except maybe the Milwaukee Bucks because they’re coming off that. Everybody else has a long ways to go and we’re right there in that group that’s going to be trying to create separation to be one of those teams that can contend in June.”

Green admitted that after two straight disappointing seasons, he hopes the organization is feeling some more heat to turn things around.

“I think there better be some pressure on us,” Green said. “You can’t keep missing the playoffs. [We’ve] missed it two years in a row now. I could make a damn about making it to the playoffs. It’s never my goal. It’s not going to start being my goal today. You get in the playoffs you’re trying to compete for a championship. So that’s just the first layer; I hope that’s not this organization’s goal is to make the playoffs because it’s for damn sure not my goal.”

The Warriors came up just short of qualifying for the postseason last season, but dropped play-in games to the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies that ended their season sooner than anticipated. Green, who won his second gold medal for Team USA at the Tokyo Games earlier this summer, said he didn’t think about the play-in losses at all.

“It didn’t motivate me at all actually,” Green said. “I didn’t think about it one time like, ‘Damn, that play-in game, we f—ing lost.’ I’ve lost way more important games [than that]. It didn’t motivate me one bit. It didn’t motivate me no more than just losing. I hate losing so that one didn’t stick out more than any of the other ones. I just hate losing.”

Source link

NBA

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis a game-time decision vs. Miami Heat on Sunday after 16-game absence

Published

on

MIAMI — Anthony Davis, out for the last five weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, has been upgraded to questionable for the Los Angeles Lakers‘ game against the Miami Heat on Sunday and is considered a game-time decision, according to the team.

Davis missed the last 16 games since the Minnesota TimberwolvesJaden McDaniels collided with the Lakers All-Star’s knee and L.A. went 7-9 without him.

“Whenever AD is ready, we’re going to love that, that’s for sure,” LeBron James said of Davis on Friday. “I mean he’s one of our biggest guns that we have, and having him on the floor, it just creates so much for us offensively and defensively, able to do so much more. But his health is what’s most important, and once we know that he’s healthy, he knows that he’s healthy, we get him back on the floor, and then we start getting his wind and his rhythm.”

Davis was averaging 23.3 points on 52.1% shooting, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals this season prior to the injury. His jump shot, however, had been off. Davis is shooting just 60-for-185 (32%) on shots outside the paint this season, according to NBA.com.

Davis has used the rehabilitation to work on not only his knee but his shot mechanics as well, sources told ESPN.

Davis had been eyeing the Lakers’ six-game road trip to return, as ESPN reported last week, and his presence could certainly help his team that has absorbed reports about Frank Vogel’s job security and Russell Westbrook‘s role in his absence.

If Davis makes his return against Miami, it could evoke warm memories for the Lakers big man. Davis averaged 25 points and 12.8 rebounds in the 2020 NBA Finals, downing the Heat in six games en route to his first championship.

Source link

Continue Reading

NBA

Damian Lillard, content to ‘make decisions that suit you for the long haul,’ slowly works his way back to Portland Trail Blazers’ lineup

Published

on

During the Tokyo Olympics last summer, when Damian Lillard‘s abdominal injury flared up, Jrue Holiday suggested it was time for surgery.

Lillard finally took his fellow Olympian’s advice and had the procedure Jan. 13. The Portland Trail Blazers‘ star point guard spoke to reporters Saturday for the first time since the injury sidelined him on Jan. 3.

Holiday, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, had similar core surgery during the 2018-19 NBA season when he was with New Orleans. He and Lillard were teammates in Japan last summer on the gold-medal-winning U.S. team.

“He was the first person that pretty much confirmed that I needed to have surgery, because I sat out of practice one day and I was like, ‘I can’t move,’ and I was kind of just holding it. And he just started describing every single symptom,” Lillard said. “And he was like, ‘I had it.'”

Lillard, a six-time All-Star, averaged 24 points and 7.3 assists in 29 games this season for the Blazers. It was clear from the start that the injury — lower abdominal tendinopathy — was bothersome.

“It was just one of those things where I’ve always had control over how I moved and everything, and it had reached a point where my body couldn’t do what my mind wanted it to do and go places that I wanted it to go,” he said. “At some point you’ve got to play chess; you’ve got to make decisions that suit you for the long haul and not just right now.”

While the injury flared up in Tokyo, Lillard said he first felt the abdominal pain in 2015, and it had been gradually getting worse ever since.

The Blazers have struggled without Lillard, the undisputed leader of the team. Playing under first-year coach Chauncey Billups, Portland is 19-26 and in 10th place in the Western Conference.

Anfernee Simons has taken over as Portland’s point guard and has averaged 15.1 points per game. Portland was also playing for an extended period without Lillard’s backcourt teammate CJ McCollum, who had a collapsed right lung before becoming a father for the first time.

McCollum recently returned and had 24 points in Portland’s 109-105 victory at the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

There was no timeline for Lillard’s return, but he’s already been doing yoga. The team previously said he would be reevaluated in six weeks.

“I’m just a week from surgery. We said we’ll reevaluate my situation weeks out, six to eight weeks, and we’ll talk about it then. But I’m not in a rush,” he said. “My No. 1 goal is to win a championship. I’ve got to be in the best form of myself to make that happen and to be a part of that. So I’m not in a rush. We’ll talk about whatever that timeline is when we get to that point.”

The Trail Blazers, as play began on Saturday night, occupied the 10th spot in the Western Conference race. They were two games ahead of the Sacramento Kings.

Lillard was asked if he’d play if the Blazers decided to forgo a playoff push and play for a draft pick.

“I mean, if we’re gonna play for a draft pick, it wouldn’t make sense to me. Because I’m not gonna play for no draft pick. I’m just not capable of that,” he said. “So it’d be best if that was what we were doing, or what was decided, then it wouldn’t make sense for me to play.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading

NBA

Chicago Bulls G Alex Caruso to have surgery for fractured wrist, out 6 to 8 weeks, says team

Published

on

Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso will undergo surgery early next week for a fractured right wrist, the team announced Saturday.

Caruso suffered the injury during the Bulls loss to the Bucks Friday night in Milwaukee. Caruso was fouled hard by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen who was assessed a flagrant two foul and ejected from the game.

Caruso will miss six-to-eight weeks, the team announced

Caruso went up for a layup on a fast break with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter, but Allen hooked Caruso’s right arm, turning Caruso in the air and sending him hard to the floor on his right wrist. Caruso said his wrist was “a little banged up” after the game, but X-rays came back negative.

“Dude just grabbed me out of the air,” Caruso said after Friday’s game. “It’s kind of bulls—. I don’t know what else you can do about it. I’m just glad that I didn’t have any major scary injuries right away.”

Caruso said his wrist continued to bother him in the second half, especially while shooting. He finished 1-of-6 from the field for 3 points in the second half, but said he did not think the injury would linger long term.

Caruso added that Allen did not come to check on him following the play.

The foul particularly irked Bulls coach Billy Donovan, who is normally mild-mannered and rarely singles out players. But following Friday’s game, Donovan called Allen’s actions dangerous and cited his history playing college basketball at Duke.

“For Alex to be in the air and for [Allen] to take him down like that, he could’ve ended his career,” Donovan said. “He has a history of this. That to me was really — it was really dangerous. I hope the league takes a hard look at something like that because that could have really, really seriously hurt him.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending