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Friday, August 23, 2019

Basketball

Markelle Fultz still has no timetable for return

Markelle Fultz

The waiting game continues for Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz.

Speaking this week with Roy Perry of the Orlando Sentinel, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said that the 21-year-old is making good progress but still has no timetable for a return.

“I’m not going to put a timetable on it, as we haven’t before,” said Weltman. “But he continues to work hard and make progress, and he’s in a good place working with the coaches and rehab guys.

“We’re not going to put timelines or expectations on how that all unfolds. It will come as it comes,” he added. “As I’ve been saying, he continues to be in a good place and get better and improve. I can’t predict exactly how that’s going to look when it unfolds, but we’re very excited about the progress he’s made.”

Fultz, who was acquired by Orlando at the February trade deadline, has made just 36 total appearances in the two years since he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick. The former Washington Huskies star has been plagued by wrist and shoulder issues (possibly in addition to the shooting yips as well) and has yet to play in a single game for the Magic.

On the bright side, video surfaced this month of Fultz with a much-improved shooting form. But it may still be a long time before we even see him take the floor for Orlando.

PJ Tucker latest USA player to withdraw from FIBA World Cup

Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker is reportedly the latest USA player to withdraw from the FIBA World Cup due to injury.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Tucker has an ankle injury and will withdraw from the team, preferring to heal and prepare for training camp with the Rockets.

The list of American players who won’t be involved in the World Cup continues to grow. Many players withdrew because they preferred to focus on preparations for the upcoming NBA season, while others, like Tucker, are simply not healthy enough to play in the tournament.

Rachel Nichols, Maria Taylor replacing Michelle Beadle as ‘NBA Countdown’ hosts

Rachel Nichols Giannis Antetokounmpo

ESPN has officially begun the process of revamping its “NBA Countdown” crew, and Michelle Beadle is being replaced as the show’s host.

Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor will be named the new hosts of “NBA Countdown” for the 2019-20 NBA season, according to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic. Nichols will also continue hosting the popular ESPN show “The Jump.”

Deitsch adds that Jalen Rose is expected to return to “NBA Countdown,” while Chauncey Billups will move to a role as a studio analyst and Paul Pierce’s duties remain up in the air.

SportsbyBrooks.com reported last month that Beadle could be out as the host of “NBA Countdown” and moved to an on-air role with ABC. Beadle left ESPN’s “Get Up” roughly a year ago after she spoke out against the sport of football and expressed anger over former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer not being fired amid the Zach Smith scandal. She became the host of “NBA Countdown” after leaving “Get Up.”

There has also been talk that ESPN is upset with Beadle for not fulfilling her responsibilities off the air, so her future with the network remains murky.

Anthony Davis not expected to play big minutes at center despite Cousins’ injury

Anthony Davis Lakers

Don’t expect Anthony Davis to play big minutes at center for the Los Angeles Lakers in the upcoming season even after DeMarcus Cousins’ injury.

Cousins, who was signed by the Lakers over the summer, was set to split minutes with JaVale McGee at center in the upcoming season. Now that Cousins has suffered a torn ACL and may miss the season, the Lakers could use some help in the middle. Davis could slide in there, but that’s not his preference.

NBATV’s Jared Greenberg says it’s not expected that Davis will play big minutes at center.

Davis made clear at his introductory press conference with the Lakers that he didn’t want to play center.

The Lakers only have McGee set to play center and will likely have to address the matter. Their options on the market will be slim.

Rockets GM: It’s ‘fact’ that James Harden is better scorer than Michael Jordan

James Harden

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is known for having controversial opinions and making bold statements, and he is going to stir things up with his latest comments.

Morey joined “Selfmade with Nadeshot” for an interview. They talked about several subjects, including James Harden. Morey has long been a huge proponent of Harden and even says that the data shows Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan.

“It’s just factual that James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan,” Morey said. “You give James Harden the ball, and before you’re giving up the ball, how many points do you generate? Which is how you should measure offense, James Harden is by far No. 1 in NBA history. And he was No. 1 even with the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was just a little more hidden. So you needed good data to suss that out. So we knew he had that amazing skill to be a scorer.

“Now the counter argument is reasonable. They say if you put Michael Jordan on a team now, he would do more than James Harden. That’s possible. But if you’re just saying, NBA history, if you give this guy the ball, how much does this guy score before the other team gets the ball? It’s James Harden.”

The funny thing about numbers is: if you know how to use them, you can make almost any argument you want. Morey is choosing a specific metric for how he measures scoring, and that one indicates Harden is the best. Does that mean Harden is a better or more complete player than MJ? No, but for that particular stat, Harden stands above all others.

As smart as Morey seems to be, even he admits he didn’t think Harden would become as good as he did.

Video shows DeMarcus Cousins suffered torn ACL on non-contact play

DeMarcus Cousins

Video has emerged of the play where DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL.

News was first reported Thursday that Cousins had suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a 5-on-5 pickup game in Las Vegas on Monday. Testing conducted later on Thursday confirmed the torn ACL, which led the Los Angeles Lakers big man to begin exploring surgery.

TMZ Sports obtained video of Cousins’ injury, which took place on a non-contact play.

Why wasn’t news of Cousins’ injury reported earlier if he got hurt on Monday? The Los Angeles Times says Cousins did not think the injury was serious at first. It wasn’t until the next day that he thought there were some problems.

Cousins suffered a torn Achilles tendon in January 2018, a torn quad during the NBA playoffs in April, and he has now suffered a torn ACL that could cause him to miss the entire season. Cousins signed with the Lakers for $3.5 million in the offseason.

Patrick Patterson agrees to one-year deal with Clippers

Patrick Patterson

The LA Clippers have added some frontcourt depth to their roster.

The Clippers and Patrick Patterson agreed to a one-year, $2.3 million deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday, proving that there was something to all the rumors.

Patterson exercised a $5.7 million option with the Oklahoma City Thunder in May. The two sides reached a buyout earlier this month, which allowed the veteran to become a free agent.

Patterson, 30, is entering his 10th season in the league. The forward averaged 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game last season. He was originally drafted by the Houston Rockets, was traded to Sacramento, then to Toronto, and he has spent the past two seasons with the Thunder.

Now he joins an NBA championship contender in the Clippers, who added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George over the offseason.