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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Rudy Gobert provides health update, says he has lost sense of smell and taste

Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert is offering an update on his health and on one particular struggle that he is facing amid his coronavirus diagnosis.

The Utah Jazz center took to Twitter on Sunday to reveal that he had lost his sense of smell and taste, adding that he has not been able to smell anything for the last four days.

Gobert, 27, was the first confirmed NBA player to test positive for the virus. His diagnosis on Mar. 11 led to the immediate suspension of the NBA season.

While the two-time Defensive Player of the Year’s reckless behavior before his positive test led to significant criticism, he has since gone out of his way to try to educate the public about the reality of the coronavirus.

Spencer Dinwiddie fires back at alleged shade from Tobias Harris

Spencer Dinwiddie

The NBA season may be suspended, but beef season is still in full swing.

In a post to his Instagram page this weekend, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie fired back at some alleged shade thrown his way by Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris. For his part, Harris had lately been posting and commenting about his team’s games as if the season was still going.

In his own post, Dinwiddie said that he had gotten wind of a comment Harris had made about his ability to go left. The 26-year-old guard used a picture of him posterizing Harris in what he called “the actual last time I went left.”

The dunk in question took place during a game betwen the Nets and the Sixers on Dec. 15, one that Brooklyn wound up winning by the final of 109-89.

Last time around, it was the New York Knicks that Dinwiddie was dunking on. This time around, it is the Sixers he is (literally and figuratively) dunking on.

Bud Black open to playing doubleheaders when season begins

Bud Black

Bud Black is willing to get creative amid the reality of a drastically altered MLB calendar.

During a conference call this week, the Colorado Rockies manager said that he would be open to playing doubleheaders whenever the season finally begins.

“In theory, yeah, I think all of us would be up for some sort of doubleheader situation,” said Black, per ESPN. “The thing that’s going to be in front of all of us is it’s going to be the same for everybody. It’s got to make sense for the clubs and the players.”

With the start of the 2020 season being pushed back from the end of March to at least mid-May due to the coronavirus pandemic, extensive doubleheaders will almost certainly be on the table. The practice of playing multiple games in one day is already fairly commonplace in baseball when scheduled contests are rained out or otherwise postponed, so the thinking makes perfect sense.

That said, the season could still be delayed even further, so the league will have to come up with a solution that is workable for all 30 teams.

Andre Drummond says he ‘never had a problem’ with Joel Embiid

Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid have somewhat of a history with each other, but the former insists that there is no legitimate bad blood.

During a Bleacher Report AMA session this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers big man received a question asking if him and Embiid were “good now.”

“We never had a problem,” he said of his Philadelphia 76ers counterpart. “It’s basketball, I talk a lot of trash. He does it on social media, I do it in the game.”

The supposed beef dates back to Drummond’s time with Detroit, most notably a 2018 game against Embiid and the Sixers that saw Drummond get ejected and Embiid then brag about owning “a lot of real estate” in his head.

Indeed though, Embiid loves to trash talk any opposing big man that he faces, and there is probably another one that he has closer to actual animus towards.

Ben Simmons does not think Rudy Gobert is a top 5 defender in NBA

Ben Simmons

Rudy Gobert may be the reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year, but that still is not enough to win over Ben Simmons.

The Philadelphia 76ers star was streaming a “Call of Duty” video game session on Twitch this week when the discussion turned to who he thinks are the top five defenders in the league. While offering his list, Simmons made a point of saying that the Utah Jazz center Gobert did not make the cut.

“I look at AD [Anthony Davis], and I think he’s a better defender than Gobert because he can defend guards at times,” he said. “I didn’t say Rudy [for my list] … I play ball. I’m looking at guys that can defend 1 through 5, man.”

Simmons eventually clarified that his list consisted of Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Marcus Smart, and Sixers teammate Joel Embiid.

While the 7-foot-1 Gobert might not have the mobility to be the NBA’s best one-on-one defender, he could very well be the best team defender in the league. His elite rim protection provides a stout back line of defense for his teammates and can greatly alter the gameplan of an entire opposing offense.

Simmons’ list seemed to be exclusively those currently in the East and/or those that he has faced in the playoffs in the East. The former No. 1 pick’s slight history with the Jazz probably shouldn’t be discounted either.

H/T Deseret News

Davante Adams says Keenan Allen is WR he would most like to play alongside

Davante Adams has one fellow Pro Bowl receiver that he would want to team up with in a perfect world.

During a Twitter Q&A session on Friday, the Green Bay Packers star replied to a user who asked him “What other WR in the league would you wanna have on the other side of 12 [quarterback Aaron Rodgers]?” Adams pointed to Los Angeles Chargers wideout Keenan Allen.

Indeed, the 27-year-old Allen has become one of the more underrated receivers in the league, pulling down 1,199 yards and six touchdowns last season despite the uneven quarterback play of an aging Phillip Rivers. He is also entering his final season under contract with the Chargers.

While the Packers do seem confident in their other receivers besides Adams, he can still dream, especially with a clear-cut No. 2 target for Rodgers yet to truly emerge.

Ex-Warriors teammate gives encouraging Kevin Durant update

Kevin Durant

Quinn Cook is providing an encouraging update on the Kevin Durant front.

Appearing Friday on NBC Sports Washington’s “Wizards Talk” podcast, the Los Angeles Lakers guard said his former Golden State Warriors teammate Durant is “doing great” in the wake of his positive test for the coronavirus.

“He’s good. He’s good,” said Cook. “His spirits are good. K is in great spirits, still being K, man. Low, mellow, chill, moving at his own pace.”

“He’s just encouraging social distancing, staying inside and don’t expose others,” Cook added about Durant. “For him to step up to the plate and use his platform to spread awareness, it’s brave. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s fine. He’s doing great.”

Cook, who was teammates with Durant on the Warriors for two seasons in a stretch that netted two Finals appearances and one championship, is currently on 14-day quarantine with the rest of his current Lakers teammates. Durant was one of four Brooklyn Nets who tested positive for the disease, and they faced the Lakers in their final game before the suspension of the NBA season on Mar. 11. The Lakers have since had two unnamed players test positive for the coronavirus as well.

The two Maryland natives have been called “best friends,” so Cook’s update about Durant is especially weighty and reassuring.

Sixers say three in organization tested positive for coronavirus

Philadelphia 76ers logo

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the NBA continues to grow.

The Philadelphia 76ers announced in a statement on Thursday that three individuals in the organization have tested positive for the coronavirus. The team adds that the tests were secured and processed privately after they received the recommendation that certain individuals, including players, coaches, and staff, be tested.

The news comes after the Denver Nuggets announced earlier in the day that they had one member of their organization test positive for the disease as well.

In their final game before the suspension of the NBA season over a week ago on Mar. 11, the Sixers played the Detroit Pistons, who had one of their players also test positive for the coronavirus.