John Wall is expected to miss tonight’s game against the Thunder: “Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall is expected to miss his second straight game with left knee soreness Tuesday, as he and the team search for answers to the persistent problem. Coach Scott Brooks said Wall was getting an MRI on Monday and then heading to the Cleveland Clinic to meet with orthopedic surgeon Richard D. Parker, who performed two knee surgeries on Wall in May 2016 and consulted with Wall when he started experiencing inflammation and soreness in November.”
Jonathan Tjarks (Ringer) on the loss of Andre Roberson and the Thunder moving forward: “Jerami Grant will likely see the biggest boost in playing time; he played the last 6:25 of the fourth quarter Sunday with the other four starters. At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Grant is bigger and longer than Roberson and has the athleticism to match up with players at all five positions. Like Roberson, he’s an inconsistent 3-point shooter (24.6 percent from 3 on 1.4 attempts per game this season), but he’s more capable of putting the ball on the floor, making plays off the dribble, and threatening the defense when he’s not in the paint. Grant mostly stayed out of the way on offense during Oklahoma City’s 21–9 run to close out Philadelphia.”
Erik Horne on how Andre Roberson’s loss could be Jerami Grant’s gain: “Since Dec. 17, the Adams-Anthony-George-Grant-Westbrook lineup has outscored opponents by 18.4 points per 100 possessions, the Thunder’s second-best lineup in net rating (minimum 20 minutes). The next best? The standard starters with Roberson. Josh Huestis has been another solid, Grant-like option, able to switch between perimeter and interior defense. His success with the starters (13.4 net rating) has been the best out of Grant, Ferguson (-5.4) and Alex Abrines (-4.0).”
Tim Bontemps (WaPo) discusses the Thunder’s potential moves in his 2018 Trade Tracker: “The Thunder’s ability to replace Roberson via trade is limited. Because of prior deals, Oklahoma City can’t trade any of its first round picks until 2022. Meanwhile, the Thunder already faces a $20 million luxury tax bill which could potentially grow next season if Carmelo Anthony opts into the final year of his contract, as expected, and George opts to re-sign, as the team hopes. Oklahoma City could look to move Roberson in a trade for a similarly-priced wing, but given the nature of his injury along with his offensive limitations, it’s hard to see him bringing back much in value. And while a player like the impressive but raw Ferguson would have value, the Thunder would like to keep him for those very reasons.”
Marc Hinton (Stuff New Zealand) on Steven Adams and his historic season: “When you contain scoring firepower like the Thunder do in Russell Westbrook, Anthony and Paul George, an unselfish do-what-it-takes player like Adams is gold. He may not provide the gaudy offensive numbers of an Embiid, DeMarcus Cousins, or even a Karl Anthony-Towns, but for OKC the wild-haired New Zealander really is the perfect fit. And they know it. In the first year of what is fast turning into a visionary US$100 million (NZ$140m) contract extension from the Thunder, even the numbers are starting to reflect Adams’ value to his franchise.”
The Thunder has climbed to sixth in ESPN’s latest power rankings: “How much will the Thunder miss Andre Roberson’s defense? In 539 minutes with Roberson joining Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams on the floor, the Thunder allowed a measly 95.9 points per 100 possessions. In 402 minutes for the Thunder’s four starters without Roberson, they allow 114.5 points per 100 possessions.”
Micah Adams (ESPN) has Russell Westbrook third in his NBA player rankings: “Russell Westbrook led the NBA in scoring last week, thanks to an approach that can be described only as relentless. Westbrook’s response after Justin Anderson’s “tip-in and flex” sequence on Sunday was to go coast-to-coast, aggressively attack and immediately chirp at the 76ers bench. It perfectly captured the essence of the reigning MVP’s week. Not only did Westbrook lead the NBA in scoring, but he also led all players in fast-break points, points off turnovers and points in the paint. That’s how you deliver a 4-0 week despite shooting just 29 percent from beyond the arc.”
Around the League: Blake Griffin was traded to Detroit yesterday afternoon…. Why the Griffin trade is different than Jimmy Butler and Paul George deals…. Griffin’s (NSFW) 2016 stand-up routine covered his thoughts on being traded….. The Bucks are 4-0 since firing Jason Kidd…. Jabari Parker returns this Friday…. The Knicks are shopping Joakim Noah’s overpriced contract.