Welcome to your work week, Boston Celtics fans!
Now that the Orlando Summer League has wrapped up, it’s time to turn our eyes to Las Vegas to see how the NBA-hopefuls are doing. Without a doubt, the highlight of yesterday’s action was Doug McDermott’s 31 point explosion against the Denver Nuggets. More interesting to me, though, is how the first-pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Anthony Bennett, is playing out in Vegas.
David Blatt, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ new head coach, was backed up to the concrete-block wall as far as he could go. A semicircle of media folks, with flip-cams, records and the stray pen and notebook, pressed forward Sunday afternoon at the Cox Pavilion.
Made sense Blatt was in high demand. After all, barely 48 hours had lapsed since LeBron James stunned the sports world with his announcement that he was returning to Cleveland. Andrew Wiggins, the intriguing No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft in late June, had just played his second pro game. Then there was Blatt himself, a rookie in this league after building an extensive and impressive reputation internationally, who just learned he would have the planet’s best basketball player at his disposal.
Only, no one wanted to talk about that stuff. The first three or four questions Blatt took all were about a guy who averaged 4.2 points, appeared in only 52 games last season and missed 145 of the 225 shots he launched.
“What is this, the Anthony Bennett Show?” Blatt said, laughing.
Bennett has scored 28 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in two games so far this summer. If Bennett can begin to play at a level that justifies Cleveland’s using the first pick in the draft on him . . . well, that’s a scary thought for the Eastern Conference.
Or maybe he’s only playing well because he’s back in Vegas. Who knows?!?
Saturday I discussed how LeBron James‘ decision affected the Boston Celtics’ pursuit of Kevin Love. It’s pretty much a given: if Cleveland offered Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Love would be a Cavalier. For now, though, Wiggins doesn’t appear to be leaving the great state of Ohio:
Blatt refuted speculation that the Cavaliers could part with Wiggins in a potential deal to land Kevin Love, telling reporters that he is unaware of any plans to trade the No. 1 overall pick.
“There’s no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew’s not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed,” Blatt told reporters Saturday following the Cavaliers’ Summer League practice in Las Vegas.
Of course, what Blatt knows/has been told, and what the Cavaliers’ front office actually wants to do and will do could be two different things . . . .
Some people are giving King James a tough time because he has already switched teams twice during his career. Please allow Shaquille O’Neal to provide some perspective: