Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“We are trying to figure that out. We just haven’t played hard,” Marcus Smart said. “They got easy transition baskets on us because of our mistakes. We just got to turn it around. Like I told everybody, it’s part of the game, you are not going to play perfect, the game is not going to be perfect, you are going to have games, we got a lot of basketball left. Just fix it, got to figure it out. Hopefully we figure it out sooner than later.”
Are they willing and able to do the things necessary to make it through this part of the schedule? Are the players on this roster willing to do the hard things when these slumps hit, or are they going to give lazy, false efforts that makes it seem like they’re trying but they’re really not.
We can tell the difference.
“You’re not going to win ’em all; you’re not going to lose ’em all,” Smart said. “You’re going to win some games you’re supposed to lose. You’re going to lose some games you’re supposed to win. That’s part of it. But you can’t be negative. You can’t go around with our heads down, because it’s only going to continue to be a domino effect. So we’ve got to change the narrative ourselves.”
I like Ryan Bernardoni. I don’t think there’s a dozen people outside the league that understand the CBA better than he does.
But those takes are silly.
You flat out are not going to win championships with the Jays and one other good player. I don’t care how good they get, they’re not going to be that good.
You know what will be good for the development of the Jays? Teaching them how to play with other All-Star caliber players.
This notion that keeping Hayward around is stunting their development is balderdash. They need to learn how to play with complementary players, and if they can’t figure out how to do that, then guess what? They’re never going to be great players.
I think that, and their play earlier this season is evidence for this, they can play well as a team. They just need to get back into a good routine.
Rather than take Bernardoni’s advice and start shopping Hayward for who-knows-what, the team needs to listen to Marcus Smart.
Just fix it
Look, last night was the C’s fifth game in seven nights, and three of those games were on the road.
Fatigue is an issue, but even more than that, self-discipline is an issue.
Again, I don’t mean to be picking on Bernardoni here. I’m just grabbing these tweets to show how, at least the way I see it, a smart guy can come up with a take that is just completely specious.
Yes. Jaylen and Jayson are young, and that means that their best years are ahead of them. But that also means that neither one of them are fully mature basketball players. And part of their development includes learning how to maintain self-discipline when the schedule bogs down.
The problem isn’t Hayward. And it isn’t Kemba Walker. It’s two young guys who, faced with the fatigue that the schedule imposes this time of year, are taking the easy way out. They’re getting away from offensive play that works and settling for stuff that requires a good deal less effort.
See, I agree with Bernardoni’s main point: You want to maximize the Jays’ potential.
Thing is, if you trade Hayward, you’re not addressing the problem that the past few games illustrate: These guys need mental toughness, not more freedom to play bad basketball.
John Karalis hits the nail on the head with this line from the MassLive piece quoted above:
Are they going to give lazy, false efforts that makes it seem like they’re trying but they’re really not.
The cure for that is not reducing the amount of talent on the team. It’s figuring out the most constructive way of dealing with the fatigue that the NBA season causes.
And if this team is as bent on improvement now as they were at the beginning of the year, they’re going to get plenty of opportunities to show that they’ve developed better ways of coping with the regular season grind, as they’ve got 18 games in the 34 days between now and the All-Star break on February 13.
Page 2: Where Embiid has a torn ligament
There was a tremor in the Eastern Conference with the diagnosis that 76ers mega-center Joel Embiid suffered a torn radial collateral ligament of the fourth metacarpal in his left hand in Monday night’s win over Oklahoma City.
There are reports that he will undergo surgery on Friday, with an evaluation on a timetable for a return to follow. Similarly located injuries can vary greatly, but Gordon Hayward was expected to miss about six weeks following his November surgery and was back in four.
Embiid dislocated his finger in the first quarter of a game against the Thunder and returned a few minutes later. Based on what Embiid said afterward, that he felt a snap before dislocating his finger, he tore that ligament before he went to the locker room, not after. And while the additional stress that he put on that joint by continuing to play might not have made the injury worse, it most assuredly didn’t make it better.
This debacle hardly helps the perception of the Sixers’ training staff as being less than top-notch.
Yeah, a lot of Celtics have missed a lot of games. But I’d also like to think that their trainers have been smart enough to catch stuff like this rather than saying, ‘oh, no broken bones? Well, you’re good to go. Connective tissue injuries are really easy to fix and never require surgery and never have long recovery periods.’
Finally: Where Kendrick Perkins & KD had a little twitter war
For a moment I thought about screencapping these tweets, but I’m pretty sure half the NBA’s internet community already did that.
Everybody loves Kendrick Perkins’ schtick right now.
But think about all the ex-NBA guys that drive you nuts with their shoot-from-the-hip takes. How many of you guys groaned when you realized Reggie Miller was the color commentator last night?
People like Perk now because he’s still connected enough to the game to have some spicy takes, and he’s not afraid to make them.
The problem comes when years go by and he’s still beating that same drum. Like Charles Barkley, for instance.
Perk is on a path to become one of those ‘the game was better in my day’ chumps who fill up the daylight hours of sports networks, or, even worse, a guy whose opinions are sought on a variety of sports, even though he only played one of them (looking at you Cris Carter).
And then you’ve got Durant.
You know, sometimes I don’t think he’s really very happy.
He certainly doesn’t act like it—and along with Kyrie, I worry that he’s not taking care of his mental health the way he should. I mean, this beefing with fans, ex-teammates, etc., that’s not healthy. And he’s been doing that for years now.
Yeah, he’s won two titles and he’s made a pile of money. He hasn’t been traded—he’s been able to control his destiny in the league the way nobody outside of LeBron has done.
But at the end of the day, all that stuff is external. It stops at the outside of your skull. If you think more money, more fame, more championships, more whatever will make you happy, then nothing is going to make you happy.
I look at Jerry West. He’s the second best executive that the NBA has ever seen. His profile has been on every piece of NBA merchandise that’s been sold over the last 50 years. And he was profoundly unhappy until he got help.
Jaylen Brown wants to do a lot for the guys playing the game, well, he’s in a prime position to help destigmatize mental health problems.
The rest of the links
Boston Herald: Celtics run out of gas, get run out of Philly
MassLive: Kemba Walker ‘just jammed’ his thumb, Boston Celtics ‘feel like we dodged a bullet’ | Boston Celtics fall to Philadelphia 76ers 109-98 despite Joel Embiid’s absence as Sixers claim season series