Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“The hip is great,” [Isaiah] Thomas told [The Herald’s] Hewitt at his basketball camp. “It’s a real slow rehab process, but it’s getting better and that’s what it’s all about.”
The injury, described as a “re-aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear” affected Thomas’ hip and it was unclear if he would need surgery. However, it appears that not only has the point guard avoided going under the knife, but he won’t be forced to miss any time.
Isaiah’s hip injury during the Eastern Conference Finals shocked Celtic nation. Some believed the team simply wanted to shut him down. That team couldn’t topple the Lebron-led Cavaliers, so why not give Isaiah an early offseason.
It’s no fake injury. Isaiah’s hip caused recurring problems over the past two years, and while he’s never missed significant time, hip injuries generally don’t lead to immediate pain, but cause long-term issues if not rested/rehabilitated properly.
Jonny Flynn suffered a hip injury after his rookie season with Minnesota. He posted solid numbers, averaging 13.5 points, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steal, starting 81 games and shooting 36 percent from three, but he never bounced back after playing with a partially torn labrum for parts of that season and into his second year.
Timberwolves drafted Flynn with the 6th pick in 2009, one pick ahead of… Steph Curry. Because he never played more than three seasons, and the Timberwolves missed out on Curry (while drafting another point guard, Ricky Rubio, at five), Flynn is considered one of the bigger busts of the past ten years. His performance isn’t the whole story, the hip played a major factor.
It seems like the Celtics are handling Isaiah’s injury with extreme precaution. If he misses parts of training camp/preseason, we can start to worry. For now, all is clear on the injury front.
In other Isaiah Thomas news, he recently linked up with star Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts:
The surging Red Sox have won six straight, and Mookie made it a point to visit fellow star-Boston athlete at his camp. Isaiah continues to endear himself to the top athletes in town.
Here’s a fun exercise. Right now, who are Boston’s top five athletes? This is my list:
1.) Tom Brady
2.) Chris Sale
3.) Rob Gronkowski
4.) Isaiah Thomas
5.) Mookie Betts
It’s hard to argue against Brady after his heroic superbowl performance (and his GOAT status). Sale’s on pace for a Cy Young, and Gronk – despite his injuries – is the best tight end of all time and one of the NFL’s most devastating skill players.
Isaiah get’s the nod over Mookie after his stellar 2016-2017 campaign, as Betts hasn’t replicated his MVP caliber 2016 season. What do you guys think?
Page 2: Where Doc Rivers is Officially Demoted
On Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers announced a restructuring of their basketball operations department. Longtime scout and executive (and former Nets coach) Lawrence Frank was promoted to the new head of basketball operations. Doc Rivers has returned to the role he held prior to the ousting of Donald Sterling three years ago, as just coach.
It’s a demotion. There’s no way of getting around that. The Clippers stressed that Frank and Rivers would continue to work side by side, and that will almost certainly be true. Rivers will be involved in every decision made when it comes to roster and team direction. But three years ago, Rivers was essentially placed into the position of being the single most important guy in the Clippers organization. He was in charge of who was on the team, who wasn’t, trades, free agency signings, how the team played, everything. He still has autonomy over how the team plays, but those other decisions are clearly being moved under Frank’s direction, even if Rivers will have a say.
Had Rivers found some depth with guys with athleticism, they might have helped get the team where it needed to go. Many of the Clippers’ postseason failings can be pointed elsewhere: injury in 2016 and 2017, and bad luck (Josh Smith raining 3’s in Game 6 of the 2015 series vs. Houston), but having other players who could step up and fill roles on cheap contracts might have changed L.A.’s fortune.
And in the end, Rivers was the GM responsible when Chris Paul decided he’d rather be traded to Houston and forgo free agency, cutting a year off his potential raise structure, than stay with the Clippers. Rivers is reportedly a significant reason for Paul’s departure, including a report that Paul grew to “despise” Rivers.
The NBA has increasingly soured on the dual GM/head-coach. Tom Thibodeau, Gregg Poppovich, and Stan Van Gundy represent the only coaches with player personnel responsibilites. Mike Budenhozer is no longer the top executive for Atlanta, and Doc officially lost it this weekend, even if we knew the end was near after the Clippers hired Jerry West.
Rich touched on this during Saturday’s dump. In his final years with Boston, everyone ranked Doc among the NBA’s best coaches. Because of his questionable front office decision-making, his constant complaining to officials, and his nepotism, Rivers is no longer held in such high esteem.
Everyone forgets how his departure from was a huge organizational blow. Brad Stevens makes it easy to forget, but Doc jumped ship on a rebuilding team, and the sentiment surrounding the team was negative throughout Doc’s flirtation with Los Angeles.
He and Danny Ainge always had a good relationship, but Doc had no interest in leading a rebuilding effort. He saw a contender with the Clippers and wanted to steer them to the promised land.
It’s funny how things work out. The Celtics reached the conference finals last season, and the Clippers never made it out of the second round. His decisions as GM mostly involved signing former Eastern Conference guys who peaked between 2009-2011 (Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Spencer Hawes, the list goes on…).
Doc wasn’t happy about the Perkins trade. He was upset when Danny didn’t re-sign James Posey or Tony Allen. The 2012 conference finals – when the C’s took the Heat to seven games – convinced Danny Ainge to retool, not rebuild. He signed Jason Terry and Courney Lee, didn’t trade Rondo, but the team was average at best.
Doc was intrigued with having more power. He only made “win-now” moves, but never achieved greater success than his predecessor, Vinny Del Negro. The dual GM/Head-Coach is going extinct. Van Gundy has an average Pistons team with a bloated payroll, and Budenholzer made a string of head-scratching personnel decisions since the Hawks won 60 games in 2015.
The Celtics have the optimal combination: an elite GM paired with an elite coach, and an ownership group that’s involved but doesn’t meddle with basketball decisions. Other teams, including the Clippers, yearn for this structure.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE published his projected Western Conference All-Stars. He did the same for the East earlier in the week.
Holy shit the West is loaded. These are his all-star picks:
Back-Court: Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, James Harden, Mike Conley, Klay Thompson
Front-Court: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins
The long list of omissions: Chris Paul, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, CJ, McCollum, Draymond Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Paul Milsap. The Western Conference could probably secede from the NBA during all-star weekend, have it’s own game, and we’ll still have snubs.
Meanwhile, I’m predicting Isaiah, Hayward, and Horford each make the Eastern Conference team. Isaiah’s a lock, Hayward’s close, and Horford missed three weeks with a concussion early last season and didn’t have the games/minutes to win over the voters. Here’s to three Celtics playing in the worst game of the NBA season!
The Rest of the Links:
CBS Sports: Isaiah Says the Hip ‘Feels Great’
Clutch Points: Title is ‘Only Goal’