Shootaround (Aug. 9) -- Stephen Curry a fan of NBA's roster shuffling in offseason
This morning’s headlines:
- Curry: Roster changes ‘great for the league’
- McLemore’s injury another in same vein for Grizzlies
- Wall wants to keep stars-and-stripes unis
Curry ready for restocked West — Golden State has received high marks for its solid offseason, both around these parts and in other media as well. But that doesn’t mean Warriors star Stephen Curry and his crew aren’t taking notice at how drastically the Western Conference has been shaken up this summer. Curry commented on that and more in a recent interview, writes Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Fast forward eight weeks and the West now features Chris Paul in Houston, Paul George in Oklahoma City and Jimmy Butler in Minnesota. Golden State’s rivals are loading up as much as possible to confront Curry, Durant & Co.
“You look around the Western Conference, and the amount of talent up and down the board is going to be crazy,” Curry said. “… Everybody is trying to make moves to become championship contenders. Before our first Finals appearance, we were doing the same thing — trying to load up and put together the right combination of guys to take our team to the next level.
“It’s great for the league that there’s that much movement and shuffling of the deck, and teams taking chances to try to get better.”
One of the most intriguing makeovers will take place in Houston, where the Rockets hope to blend the talents of Chris Paul and James Harden. They have combined for 14 All-Star appearances in 20 NBA seasons collectively, with only one trip to the Finals (Harden with the Thunder in 2012).
Paul and Harden present a fascinating tandem, given Paul’s long history at point guard and Harden’s successful transition to the position last season. Ever-creative Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni no doubt has a plan for his new-look backcourt, and Curry is eager to see how it unfolds.
“I’m very curious, because I have to play against them four times at least,” he said. “We’ll have to see how they work together, and we’re going to have to figure out how to beat them.
“I guess it may seem like it’ll be a little different, but they’re two high-IQ guys who know how to play the game. They should know how to adjust to each other if they have to.
“That’s part of the whole Western Conference equation — you’ve got Minnesota, Houston, San Antonio trying to make some moves. All the teams at the top have gotten better, I think.”
Injuries of similar nature pile up for Memphis — The Grizzlies have been quiet this summer, with their most notable offseason moves coming more in the order of who left (Zach Randolph and Vince Carter) than who came to town. One of their additions was swingman Ben McLemore, who will now miss 12 weeks with a broken bone in his right foot. Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal has more on how foot injuries seem to be a trend for the Grizzlies of late:
Now that Zach Randolph is gone and Tony Allen seems to be going, the Grizzlies may need to find a new slogan.
Out with “Grit & grind.”
In with: “He is expected to make a full recovery.”
The Grizzlies could give out commemorative walking casts. For in-game entertainment, they could ask fans to match the player with the lower extremity injury or medical procedure.
Free agent guard Ben McLemore will be out 12 weeks after surgery to repair a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.
“He is expected to make a full recovery,” said the Grizzlies.
Will all that fit on a growl towel?
And, yes, we laugh because what other choice do we have? The Grizzlies claim McLemore’s injury occurred “when he landed on another player’s foot after driving to the basket” but we know it occurred “after signing a contract with a franchise that is the Golden State Warriors of lower extremity injuries.”
Which Grizzlies player suffered a non-displaced Type II fracture of the navicular bone?
Which player’s career never took off because of cartilage and then meniscus damage in his right knee?
Which two players had their 2015-16 seasons ended by Achilles injuries?
Answers, in order: Marc Gasol, Jordan Adams, Mario Chalmers and Mike Conley.
It’s a bummer, really. The Grizzlies expected McLemore to slide into Allen’s starting spot at shooting guard. He’s not the defensive player Allen is, but he was expected to add shooting and the ability to make a layup.
Instead, the Grizzlies could turn to old friend Tyreke Evans. But Evans has his own extensive injury history, with three knee surgeries in the last two seasons. So Evans may be best coming off the bench, where he can provide some of the scoring the Grizzlies used to get from Randolph.
That leaves Wayne Selden. Who once missed the NBA combine because of surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. Remember that, just in case the Grizzlies ever adopt that fun-filled injury-guessing game.
But Selden is fine right now. At least, last we checked. If so, he’s likely your opening night starter and (sorry!) sole survivor.
Wall plans to lobby for stars-and-stripes unis — Days ago, the Wizards unveiled two of their new-look Nike uniforms for 2017-18. Two remaining editions will be released later this fall and star guard John Wall is going to do all he can to ensure the “stars-and-stripes” uniforms are part of the mix. Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post has more:
The fan campaign to bring back those stars-and-stripes jerseys the Wizards wore at home during the playoffs now has the best possible advocate.
(Well, second-best. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis would be best.)
“We need to make those as the home ones,” John Wall said on CSN last week, after signing his super-mega-extra-big-gigantic extension. “I’m going to try to push for that. I don’t know if I can make that happen, but I’m going to really try, because those are the dope-est white ones. I think they should make stars and stripes with white and red, [home] and away.”
Nike is replacing Adidas as the league’s uniform supplier this season, and while the visual tweaks to Washington’s uniform are minor, Wall said the physical change is significant.
“Dope,” he said, when asked about the new uniforms. “They’re so much lighter, so much lighter I feel like I didn’t even have a jersey on. In the past, I would have to change jerseys at halftime because I sweat so much. This one I’ll be like, I’m cool. They’re dope.”
Here he is, talking to 106.7 the Fan’s “Grant and Danny Show” about why he had no interest in leaving Washington and its fans.
“They showed nothing but loyalty to me from Day One, so I show the same back to them,” he said. “I’m not one of those guys that wants to chase rings. I don’t give a damn about all that. … My thinking is I want to win it here, you know what I mean? I promised that I want to win a championship here in D.C., so I would be going back on my words if I go to another team and win one. I want to win one in D.C.:
And here he is, talking to ESPN 980’s Bram Weinstein about why he considers Washington a second home.
“The city stuck behind me when I dealt with injuries earlier in my career,” he said. “This is my city. I mean, I love being here, I love playing for this city. Every time I put that Washington across my chest, I play for that. It’s important for me, just like my last name on my back. … I want to be the greatest Wizard player of all time and have my jersey retired, and I just want to see a big parade here one day. That’s all I want is a championship coming down by the White House, and a big parade going. With floaties.”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: ICYMI, our mid-summer edition of the Power Rankings dropped yesterday … The Starbury shoes are officially coming back … Anthony Davis’ first basketball camp in New Orleans went off great … The Knicks were busy yesterday, signing former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley, backup guard Ramon Sessions and re-signing guard Ron Baker … Draymond Green looks back at how The Dream Team impacted basketball and the world …