Joel Embiid has fun with Nerlens Noel during warm ups prior to a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 10, 2016. At long last, from the sound of things, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers might this season — possibly, potentially, with a little bit of luck, maybe — actually get a look at that rarest and most imagination-captivating of theoretical beings: a fully healthy Joel Embiid. The 7-foot-2 Cameroonian prospect, whom the Sixers selected out of Kansas with the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft despite pre-draft fractures in his lower back and foot, was front and center during the Sixers’ Beach Bash in Avalon, N.J., this weekend.
Marc Gasol missed the final two months of last season and Olympics with a foot injury. When will the Grizzlies center return? Gasol in L’Esportiu, as translated by Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype: On his foot injury: “I’m really well and looking forward to starting (the season). I miss the competition, playing and enjoying basketball. All indications are that the foot is fine. I’ve practiced with the (Girona basketball club) juniors all I could, especially half-court sets.” On almost making it to the Olympic Games: “I was a couple of weeks away.” After hurting his foot, it always seemed highly improbably Gasol would play in the Rio Games. But maybe he wasn’t that far off. It’d be a huge boost to Memphis
There are 1,230 NBA games in a season, and decent amount of those come down to which team executes better in a close game late. (By the way, the best teams don’t win the most close games, the best teams have the most blowouts and aren’t in as many close games.) What that means is there are a lot of game winners, a lot of clutch shots every season. The folks at NBA.com compiled them for you, and what else do you have to do on a Sunday night but watch 13 minutes of them. Yes, there is plenty of Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook in this one, but the clutch shot of the season belonged to Kyrie Irving.