David Cobb: Mike Conley planned for an uneventful Thurs…

David Cobb: Mike Conley planned for an uneventful Thursday night as All-Star reserves were announced. “I probably won’t pay too much attention to it honestly,” he told me. Who can blame him? commercialappeal.com/story/sports/2…

More on All-Star Selections

"Rudy Gobert should absolutely be an All-Star," Snyder told ESPN. "He's one of the most impactful players in the league. This is clear, not subjective, and shows the the process of selecting All-Stars is flawed. We talk about defense being valued, but when we have an opportunity to reward it, we reward scoring again and again. Rudy is the best defensive player in the league and an offensive force when you consider his screening, his finishing and the spacing he creates with his presence."
After six-plus years of nearly constant losing, the Magic finally celebrated something big. Vucevic became their first All-Star since 2012, and they also beat the Indiana Pacers 107-100 at Amway Center. “It’s a great night,” Vucevic said later, water dripping from his hair. “It’s obviously one of the best nights that I have ever had in my professional career.”
“(It was) special night for us as a team, not only Vooch but us as a team,” Augustin said. “It’s well-deserved. Vooch has been playing great this season. He’s been carrying us this season. I’ve been playing with Vooch for three years now, and he feels like a brother to me. So to see him get such a great award and accomplishment, it means a lot to me personally.”
RJ Marquez: Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge on being named an #NBAAllStar for 7th time, says he’s honored and “thankful for these guys, that’s why I’m going.” LA also set record straight on ASG team selections saying he doesn’t care and won’t let that turn into a negative. #KSATsports #NBA pic.twitter.com/nzNFUtLZUS
"I just want to thank the players, coaches, fans and media for voting for me, it's most appreciated," said Victor Oladipo. "I am honestly speechless just knowing I have the support of my peers, people I look up to and admire, as well as the fans. All I can say is thank you and I am working on coming back stronger not just physically, but mentally as well.”
Tom Osborn: Asked about being left off the All-Star team, DeMar immediately turned the conversation in LA's direction: "Congratulations to LA. One guy makes it from a team, we all make it. You can't make it without your teammates." #Spurs
Will Barton: Congratulations to my lil bro Jokic aka “Big Honey” on his first & much deserved all star selection. Proud of you big fella! Happy to watch you grow from ya rookie season to the best center in the league! Keep going kid you have no ceilings!
Marc Stein: When it comes to injury replacements, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver typically chooses the player next in line in the coach voting. If he sticks with that formula, Victor Oladipo's replacement will be the player who finished eighth in balloting among East coaches
Joining Westbrook as reserves in the Western Conference player pool are San Antonio Spurs forward-center LaMarcus Aldridge, New Orleans Pelicans forward-center Anthony Davis, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns. Jokić has been named an NBA All-Star for the first time.
The Eastern Conference reserve pool includes three first-time NBA All-Star selections: Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, Philadelphia 76ers guard-forward Ben Simmons and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vučević. They are joined by Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.
Bobby Marks: Rudy Gobert will miss out on a $1M bonus for not being selected to the All-Star game. He will not receive the bonus if selected as a replacement player.
Bobby Marks: Kyle Lowry will have to appear in 65 games in order to earn a $200K bonus for being named to the All-Star game. The bonus does not impact his cap hit based on the incentive being deemed likely from the prior season.
"I don't really set goals like that," Siakam told ESPN. "For me, I don't put a cap on what I can accomplish, right? I just work and continue to do whatever I can do to get to the highest level I can get. "If that's an All-Star? Sure, I'll take it. But I don't have my mind set on that."
The Orlando Magic have endured six full seasons without placing anyone in the NBA All-Star Game. That wait may finally be over. Nikola Vucevic, the center who replaced Dwight Howard, will learn Thursday if he will be the Magic’s first All-Star since Howard made the Eastern Conference team in 2012.
“It would mean everything, man,” Vucevic said. “I try not to think about it, but it’s pretty hard. Obviously, everybody mentions it to me. Everybody keeps asking, ‘Are you going to make it?’ (They’re asking me) like I know it, but I don’t know. I’m waiting just like everybody else is waiting. But it would mean everything to me. Obviously, I’ve been through a lot here, and our team has been through a lot. I know I’ve been respected around this league, and I know people respect my game and know what I’m capable of. But I think getting selected as an All-Star would really take me to the next step. So hopefully the coaches recognize that. It’d mean a lot to me. We’ll see. It’s right there. I’m hoping for the best. I really do think I deserve it because of my play all year long and what I mean to this team.”
Eric Walden: Kyle Korver recalls making the 2015 All-Star Game: "That had never even been on my radar. I don’t really consider myself that level of player. … It was an unbelievable experience for me — another thing in my career that I never could have imagined." pic.twitter.com/SwjAszRoy0
Sirius XM NBA: 🔊 @Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer shares why he thinks Khris Middleton should be a @NBAAllStar reserve. For a chance to win a trip to All-Star Weekend, go to siriusxm.com/nbaallstar for official rules & to enter by Feb 1st. Click here to listen to NBA Radio-bit.ly/SXMNBAASG pic.twitter.com/55G2JqKDV2
Rod Boone: On a conference call, Kemba said the love from his peers in player voting for the All-Star Game is what he really appreciates most. "It means a lot to me. The guys I go up against each and every night, to have their respect I think that's huge. That's what I care most about."
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is doubtful his team will get four players voted into next month's All-Star Game in Charlotte. "I doubt it," Kerr said prior to Thursday's game against the Washington Wizards. "I don't think so, to be honest with you. I don't think it's been that kind of a season. It's been rocky, at least until the last few weeks. I think the way Draymond [Green] has played over the last three weeks, for sure, he's been playing at an All-Star level. And he would be the first to tell you he was not playing at an All-Star level for the first couple months. So my guess is he won't make.”
Kerr said that while the process is always difficult once voters get to the end of the roster, identifying the top-of-the-line All-Stars is pretty easy. "I think it's fairly obvious," Kerr said. "When you see an All-Star, you kind of know it. You know James Harden's an All-Star, you know he's going to start. You know Steph Curry should start. What gets difficult is when you're picking the last couple guys. To me there's usually maybe eight, nine guys who are sort of automatic. And then three or four guys who come from a pool of 10 or 15, and that's really difficult. I like to reward winning.”
Thompson, who is averaging 26.8 points a game in January and has helped fuel the Warriors' eight-game winning streak, is confident he will join Curry and Durant in Charlotte. "I want to be there," Thompson said after Wednesday's practice. "If we keep winning, we're in first place, I feel like we probably deserve to be there because of our performance the last five years at the top of the standings. It's not easy; I don't know how many times it's ever been done so -- if I don't make it, it's not the end of the world. I'll go to the beach and enjoy myself."
Shams Charania: 2019 East All-Star starters: Boston’s Kyrie Irving Charlotte’s Kemba Walker Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain) Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid
Shams Charania: 2019 West All-Star starters: Golden State’s Stephen Curry Houston’s James Harden Lakers’ LeBron James (captain) Golden State’s Kevin Durant Oklahoma City’s Paul George
Matt Velazquez: Asked about potential picks if he’s an all-star captain, Giannis said he already knows who he’s going to pick. Since he’s “a lover, not a fighter” he wants to make sure Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook are both on his team.
Jared Dudley: Man we just keep getting better! Learning how to win in the crunch time is the hardest thing to do for a young team in the NBA! Never been on a team thats learned more quickly on the fly then this group here in Brooklyn! Oh btw my boy @D'Angelo Russell is an ALL STAR!!!!!!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥
The 2019 NBA All-Star starters are set to be announced on Thursday and Wizards guard Bradley Beal is not optimistic he will be chosen. That is despite a growing number of supporters in the media, but Beal understands their votes only count for 25 percent of the equation. Fan voting makes up 50 percent and NBA players the remaining 25 percent. With Beal in a distant 10th among Eastern Conference guards in the fan voting rounds that have been made public, he has set his expectations accordingly.
"I'm not going to be a starter so it doesn't matter," he quipped after Wizards practice on Wednesday. "I'm positive. Let's just be honest. Right? We all can be honest, right?" ... Basically, Beal has a lot of competition. He gets it and insists he isn't losing sleep over the pending announcement. "Even then I don't let it consume me. It's not like a goal of mine like 'oh, I've gotta be an All-Star.' If I am, it's great. It's even more motivation to continue to get better. Even if I'm not an All-Star, I'm not going to be mad or upset," he said.
Why stop at one? Kenyon Martin thinks the Denver Nuggets are deserving of three representatives at the NBA All-Star Game next month in Charlotte. “I don’t know how many All-Stars they would get, but (among) guys that deserve it, they probably could have three,” Martin, the Nuggets’ star power forward and enforcer from 2004-11, said at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night before his old club hooked up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. “But who knows? But (are they) deserving of that? Yeah … they’re playing well, can only get better. If they keep it together and guys continue to get better and grow. You’ve got guys that haven’t played yet: Isaiah (Thomas) and Michael Porter. So just imagine. Then you add some of that caliber of talent to the mix, it can only get better. Guys buy into just winning not ego, (it) could be great.”
Thaddeus Young finds the question of Oladipo being an All-Star or not easy to answer. "All day. Every day. We all know he’s an All-Star," Young said. "He’s more than deserving. He’s put us on his back time after time. I don’t think there’s any shooting guard in the East who is more deserving than him."
In the most recent returns, Oladipo was fifth in the fan vote among Eastern Conference backcourt players, trailing Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, Kemba Walker and Ben Simmons. “It would be a hell of an accomplishment,” Oladipo, who has the Pacers as the No. 3 team in the conference at 29-15, told IndyStar. “It would be a great for me and my career. Do I think I deserve it? For sure.”
With five days remaining in the fan vote for the All-Star Game, back-to-back NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and reigning NBA MVP James Harden remain outside of the Western Conference starting five. Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George remains ahead of Durant in the West's starting five in the most recent fan voting results, the league announced Thursday. George joins Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic in the conference's frontcourt.
With the Clippers jostling for playoff position in the Western Conference standings on a nightly basis, Harris and Gallinari each made their case to be All-Stars when speaking to The Athletic earlier this month. “Honestly, I think if you look at our team and how well we’ve been playing, when you look at my game over the years of development and where I’m at now, I believe so,” Harris, who leads the Clippers in points (20.8), rebounds (8.0) and minutes (34.2) per game, said. “In the Western Conference, I think if you go down the list, God willing, I should be one of the guys.”
“I think so, especially considering the record the team has,” Gallinari, who leads the Clippers in 3-point percentage (.453), said. “Definitely. Usually, the team has to do well in order to be considered in the All-Star picks. We’re doing well, and we’ve got to keep doing well. I’ve always thought that the winning has to be rewarded and the best teams have to be rewarded with that.”
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Wade, a 12-time All-Star, said of the possibility of playing in the Feb. 17 game in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’ve been around great players for a while in my career. One last hurrah is not going to make or break what I feel about my career. “I’ll be down there anyway, will be around some of the guys anyway, so it’s really not a big deal for me. It’s cool from a fan perspective that they have some of their favorite players, that no matter what they will always see them on that stage. But you want the guys that deserve to be in the All-Star Game, who had the best first half of the season, to be able to go live out a dream. I had that opportunity multiple times, so you want those guys to be able to do it.”
Anthony Puccio: Asked if he’s an All-Star this year, D’Angelo Russell, without hesitation, said “For sure.” Russell led Brooklyn to a 109-102 victory over the Boston Celtics, finishing with 34 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
Steven Adams has acknowledged how much it would mean to his enormous base of fans back in his native New Zealand if he were to take the court in Charlotte next month. "I do like my All Star break," Adams told ESPN. "It's a tough season. But I think a lot of people would like to see me there, and I think it'd be really big for the country in New Zealand. If I'm being selfish mate, I'd probably like a wee break."
Micah Adams: LeBron James has passed Kobe Bryant for the most All-Star votes in NBA history. Kobe had 30,260,939. LeBron is now at 31,038,131.

http://twitter.com/HowardBeck/status/1083439288094781440
“A lot has to go my way to be elected,” Wade said, acknowledging the fact he also needs to finish among the top vote-getters on the players’ and media’s ballots to have a real chance to start in this year’s All-Star Game. “But like I said, it’s humbling from the fan’s standpoint. It’s different now with the other votes that come in from the players and [the media]. But I appreciate more so than anything, I appreciate the fan votes. “It always means a lot because they’re the ones that make this game as big as it is. I know a lot of people are saying we need to take the fans’ votes away, but they’re the ones who want to see who they want to see.”
Jon Krawczynski: Derrick Rose was emotional talking about All-Star returns: "I don’t sell myself to people. It’s not me. That’s not my character. I don’t have an Instagram. I don’t have any of that. It comes from me being in people’s minds for some reason and people really caring."
Seems subtle, but the assertiveness illustrates a player who wants something and, this time, won’t be timid about his demands. “I would love to be a two-time all-star. I feel like I deserve it,” Beal said. “Granted, we definitely have to win more games. It’s definitely a goal of mine. It’s definitely something I want to be part of. I’ll probably be more active in pushing myself and promoting myself.”
DeRozan’s all-around outing in L.A. bolstered his case for a trip to Charlotte in February. He can gain more steam for a berth in the elite game with strong outings in a pair of high-profile home games against the Boston Celtics at 6 p.m. Monday and his former team, the Toronto Raptors, at 7 p.m. Thursday in perhaps the season’s most anticipated game. “There is not one player in this league that doesn’t want that accolade on their belt,” DeRozan said of his desire to earn a spot on an All-Star roster for the first time as a Western Conference performer. It’s always an honor whenever you get mentioned (as a candidate), let alone be in the actual game. It’s something you always look forward to, something you dream about your whole life.”
Although he makes no secret of his desire to land a spot, DeRozan isn’t sweating it. “Every time I’ve made the All-Star Game, I never thought about it,” he said. “I just go out there and play. I never felt pressed that I had to go out there and do extra.” His teammates believe it should be a no-brainer. “Name three other people that are playing better at that position. I can’t,” Gay said. “He brings a lot to this team. That’s our All-Star.” “He’s going to be in, for sure,” LaMarcus Aldridge said.
Jay King: Brad Stevens today called it “a joke” that Mike Conley has never made an All-Star team. “He's just a winner, and that's all that really has ever mattered to him.”
Marc Stein: NBA All-Star Voting starts today ... pic.twitter.com/UgArVx5roR
“I look for respect and to try to earn the respect of a lot of people,” Conley said. “If you make the all-star team and you get the label next your name, for whatever reason, people will think, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s good now.’ But if you don’t have it, it’s, ‘Well, he’s never made it, he’s never done anything, so why would you think he’s any better than this guy or the next guy.’ It kind of keeps me under this glass ceiling that I’m trying to bust through.
“It’s gotten more frustrating as I get older,” Conley said. “I’m 31 now. I’m 12 years in. At some point, you know the game will have to end for you. Hopefully, it’s seven, eight years from now, but at the end of the day, when I look back on it, and all that I’ve accomplished in my career and you think about all of those things and there are so many missed opportunities for recognition, in different ways. And that’s been eating at me, for a while.”
He left little room for interpretation during the first week of training camp, however, when he was asked about his personal goals playing alongside James. “I want to be an All-Star,” he told The Athletic. “I want to be an All-Star this year.”
"A goal of mine is to be an All-Star," Turner says. "I think that is one thing that every NBA player dreams of." "I know I feel different," he adds. "Just my movements on the floor ... I feel more, I don't think 'majestic' is the word for it, but I feel better, not as wobbly. I feel a lot stronger overall."
“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year and the first rookie [since Blake Griffin] to be an All-Star,” Ayton told Yahoo Sports. “Just putting that pressure on me so I can go hard everyday. I won’t necessarily say it’s pressure. I’ll just say it’s one of my goals or one of the achievements I hope to accomplish. It’s no pressure at all, it’s just, you’ve got to be in the gym, you’ve got to work, because if you don’t, it’s going to be exposed.”
“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year and the first rookie [since Blake Griffin] to be an All-Star,” Ayton told Yahoo Sports. “Just putting that pressure on me so I can go hard everyday. I won’t necessarily say it’s pressure. I’ll just say it’s one of my goals or one of the achievements I hope to accomplish. It’s no pressure at all, it’s just, you’ve got to be in the gym, you’ve got to work, because if you don’t, it’s going to be exposed.”

http://twitter.com/AlexKennedyNBA/status/967212206168428545
Jonathan Feigen: Harden on the Rockets have one All-Star: "Obviously, everybody knows Chris Paul is with the Rockets. The Rockets have the No. 1 (record). How does that happen? It’s frustrating. I know he’s frustrated. He never brings it up. That’s why I said what I said."
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge said he wasn't surprised to learn he was the last pick in the inaugural 2018 NBA All-Star Draft. "I'm not a flashy player," the six-time All-Star said. "That's OK." Aldridge was the last player chosen by LeBron James' team, and Boston Celtics power forward Al Horford was the last pick by Stephen Curry's team, league sources told ESPN's Chris Haynes. "We're all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here," Aldridge told ESPN. "Picked first, picked last, it doesn't matter. We're all competitive, too. It won't be the easiest thing to be picked last, but at the end of the day, you're just happy to be here."
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge said he wasn't surprised to learn he was the last pick in the inaugural 2018 NBA All-Star Draft. "I'm not a flashy player," the six-time All-Star said. "That's OK." Aldridge was the last player chosen by LeBron James' team, and Boston Celtics power forward Al Horford was the last pick by Stephen Curry's team, league sources told ESPN's Chris Haynes.
"We're all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here," Aldridge told ESPN. "Picked first, picked last, it doesn't matter. We're all competitive, too. It won't be the easiest thing to be picked last, but at the end of the day, you're just happy to be here."
Dragic made it and will have the chance to participate in the league’s annual, opulent celebration of its best talent. Dragic has been named to an All-NBA team — a much more exclusive distinction that recognizes 15 players instead of 24 (this season 28 made the All-Star team because of a rash of unfortunate injuries). But he wanted the midseason honor because people remember the spectacle, the game, not some list that’s announced after the regular season is over. “I was really happy because this was my wish for a long time. As a kid, you’re always dreaming about those moments. And I put a lot of work in,” Dragic told Yahoo Sports. “I mean, for me, All-NBA was probably a higher honor. It’s kind of big but maybe the All-Star gets more recognition. Maybe because of that, people are more into it. But it’s an awesome experience, a lifetime experience that I’m going to embrace and try to have fun.”
Why do you think your teammate Ben Simmons wasn't chosen to be an All-Star? Joel Embiid: I think he should've been an All-Star because Goran Dragic got picked to play and John Wall. At the time, Miami had the fourth-best record in the East and they didn't have any All-Stars, so I feel like that was the reason they didn't pick him (Simmons), and then Drummond, he's in the playoff race and his numbers are insane and I could see why they picked him because Detroit didn't have an All-Star either. The only one I didn't really understand was Kemba because we have the better record. Ben's numbers are better than all those guys … defensively he's one of the best defensively in the league. I don't know. I wouldn't say there's anything against rookies in the league, but it's hard. That's a hard decision Adam Silver has to make. Starting next year, Ben is going to have many opportunities to be an All-Star, but he should've been an All-Star.
But now it seems like we may have found the culprit behind why it wasn’t televised. Commissioner Adam Silver joined The Jump on ESPN and blamed Curry for it not being televised. He claimed Curry told him: “Give us a break, we changed the format for the first time. Let’s see how it goes and then we can talk about televising it.”
Only six players have been named to five All-Star teams before age 25 (Kevin Garnett would’ve made it seven, if not for the 1999 lockout). The other five — Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — are either in the Hall of Fame or will be first-ballot inductees once eligible. But what those other players have on their resumes — playoff success and championship rings — is something Davis is eager to add. Cousins’ presence wasn’t going to carry the Pelicans to be a contender, but he possibly would’ve helped Davis do better than the first-round sweep he encountered in 2015. Without him, the challenge of simply getting into the postseason — even with the Western Conference a little wobblier than usual after Golden State and Houston — is that much greater. “We’re trying to find our groove again. A lot of guys are playing out of position. I’m playing a lot more five now. We’re asking a lot from everybody and we just have to step up as a team and find a way to win,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I just tell them, ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Keep believing in each other. Right now is not the time to separate. We’ve got to stay together.’ We’ve got a lot of games left. Nobody is really taking off, fourth [seed] through 10th. We’re going to always stay in the fight, as long as we keep giving ourselves a chance. We’ve got to play hard and keep having fun.”
This season was supposed to be different with the game’s best headed to Los Angeles for another flamboyant and decadent display. The New Orleans Pelicans finally found Davis a running mate in DeMarcus Cousins, a peer who could relieve him from so many gargantuan performances and serve up a few of his own. For once, Davis would show up to the festivities with another Pelican by his side. “Not anymore,” Davis told Yahoo Sports with an exasperated chuckle, reflecting on what’s been lost this season.
Towns expressed appreciation for Horford, former NBA player Charlie Villanueva and other Dominican basketball stars who paved the way for him. “It’s an amazing, amazing time to see two Dominicans strive to play basketball at the highest level,” Towns said. “Al is one of the pioneers who showed how you can really make it if you push your talent and put your mind to something. I’m just trying to follow the leader.”
Storyline: All-Star Selections
More HoopsHype Rumors
October 20, 2021 | 9:48 am EDT Update

PJ Tucker on not re-signing with Bucks: 'I was pretty surprised'

Tucker declined to discuss the offer he received from the Bucks in free agency. “I was pretty surprised,” Tucker said of not ending up back with the Bucks. “You win a championship and you’re part of winning something special like that, you would expect that. A chance of it not happening? There’s a chance. It didn’t happen. Does it happen a lot? I don’t think so, not in that situation, not in those situations. You watch role guys in series in the past, usually those guys go back. So I’ll take my situation as just that, a particular situation. I move on from it and keep it going.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 39 more rumors
Tucker was successful in helping the Bucks win a championship in July, but just three months later he’ll be facing his former team as a member of the Heat. “I don’t even want to talk about it,” Tucker said when asked about specifics regarding his departure from Milwaukee. “It’s that far removed from my mind now. Like it’s something that happened. Everything worked out. I’m happy where I’m at. And I move on.”

PJ Tucker on not re-signing with Bucks: 'I was pretty surprised'

But Thursday’s matchup against the Bucks feels somewhat personal for at least one player on the Heat’s roster, and he actually won an NBA championship with Milwaukee last season: Veteran forward P.J. Tucker. “I mean, come on, we’re competitors. I was part of that,” Tucker said this week of facing his former team on Thursday at FTX Arena (8 p.m., Bally Sports Sun). “To not be back? For sure. You know it’s like natural human behavior. Definitely, I want to win this game better than I want to win any other game. Yes, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t.”

Zion Williamson expected to play on minutes restriction when he returns

There’s an expectation that Williamson will resume play under a minutes restriction when he does take the floor, sources said, typical for stars returning from injury. But with Williamson, who bristled at the training wheels Pelicans officials placed on his reintegration from a torn meniscus injury as a rookie, it could be a higher-stakes game of poker.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 175 more rumors
When he joined the Pelicans’ recent preseason trip to Minnesota, several league personnel on hand were struck by his heavier appearance than his listed playing weight last season of 284 pounds. “I know Zion at 280, and he was not 280,” said one observer. “These are the injuries you have to be the most concerned about, a foot injury for a guy with noted weight issues,” said one Western Conference executive.
Before Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin addressed reporters last Thursday, word was already circling around the league that Williamson was unlikely to make his 2021-22 debut before November, at the earliest. It was even known in rival front offices that Griffin planned to speak on the matter rather than issue a press release. This all comes after league figures raised a collective eyebrow when Griffin blamed Williamson’s season-ending finger injury on poor officiating.
Storyline: Zion Williamson Injury
Tatum’s post-COVID-19 recovery ramp-up saw him turn into one of the league’s top free-throw machines, drawing 7.6 a night in the final 18 games of the regular season. It started with his 53-point explosion against Minnesota on April 9, which seemed to be his springboard to the next level of his game. That would have ranked him seventh in the league for the season, right between fellow Hanlen client Bradley Beal and James Harden. He was averaging just 4.4 free throw attempts per game up to that point but kept it going in the playoffs with four double-digit free-throw attempt nights in six games (including the Play-In Tournament game against Beal’s Wizards) and going 62 of 66 overall in those games.