Around the League: Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal Go Down, Chris Webber for Owner?


Oct 10, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) is knocked to the floor during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Howdy folks, I’m the new guy in these parts. You might have seen my work before on Clips Nation or elsewhere, but now you can find me here too filling in and doing some writing. You can also follow me at @brownasthenight if you want to know what I’m doing at all times (hint: you don’t).

I’ll be mostly doing these posts for now, but you might see me taking on a larger role as the season goes. Until then, let’s take a look at what’s going on outside of the Clippers’ nightmare preseason.

Kevin Durant out 6-8 weeks with Jones fracture

This is a big blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it’ll almost certainly affect this season’s title landscape heading forward. His injury, a Jones fracture, is a particularly difficult foot fracture to deal with, and he’s a lock to miss a good 15-20 games to start the season. Oklahoma City got used to playing without Russell Westbrook for large portions of last year, but with all due respect to Westbrook, losing the reigning MVP is in a whole other stratosphere.

And it’s not like this team has had to deal with Durant injuries before — he’s been one of the NBA’s ironmen up to this point, missing a total of five games over the past five seasons. That’s durability.

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  • This is a huge deal with a number of ramifications and repercussions. Internally, there’s a lot more pressure on the Thunder’s young role players. Guys like Perry Jones, Andre Roberson, and Jeremy Lamb will all be seeing more minutes trying to make up for the Slim Reaper’s lost production. Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson will have to take on a bigger scoring load in Durant’s absence, but obviously the brunt of this will now fall upon Russell Westbrook.

    Westbrook finally getting a chance to be the man and the sole superstar on the team is a silver lining in this situation. He’s one of the most exciting players in the league, and perhaps one of the best too. It’s entirely possible that he works his way into the MVP conversation this season, provided he can keep OKC afloat in the Western rat race. Of course, he could end up justifying every critic out there with terrible shot selection and bad decision-making, putting this team in a hole from which it’ll be very difficult to dig out of.

    It’s very possible that the Thunder’s home-court advantage was a significant factor in their close second-round victory over the Clippers, who weren’t far off from the second seed. Home-court advantage also was key for the San Antonio Spurs to take down OKC in the Western Conference Finals. Now that Durant’s out for the first month of the season and maybe more, other contenders like the Spurs, Clippers, and even the Warriors could use this opportunity to gain a lot of ground on OKC, leaving them trailing in the standings all season.

    Injuries are terrible, and hopefully this is only a temporary setback for a player who seems destined to become one of the greats. But the Clippers and every other Western Conference playoff contender should be taking advantage of this opportunity.

    Oct 6, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during practice before the game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Bradley Beal out for at least six weeks

    Durant isn’t the only young star to go down with injury in the preseason. Ace shooting guard for the Washington Wizards Bradley Beal also was hurt recently in an exhibition game. After a hard fall against the Charlotte Hornets, an MRI revealed a left wrist fracture which will sideline Beal for a significant period of time.

    His projected improvement was a huge factor in optimistic expectations for Washington this season, and as such this is a major setback for them. At the very least, he won’t be there right away to show on the court who the league’s best backcourt is.

    The Wizards don’t really have a ton of proven depth to soak up his minutes either. Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr. could be the most likely candidates to replace Beal. The middle of the East looks to be pretty competitive this season, and like with OKC, Washington will need every game from its starters and key players if they want to emerge from that pack and challenge the conference heavyweights.

    Apr 8, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; TNT broadcaster Chris Webber during the NBA game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Chris Webber Wants to Buy the Atlanta Hawks

    After the recent scandal surrounding majority owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry, Atlantans were already wondering who would emerge as candidates for the new ownership. Atlanta’s mayor already came out to say that he hoped Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins would be involved in some way.

    That might still happen, but in the meantime a different ex-NBA star has announced his intentions of trying to buy the team. Chris Webber (currently a TNT broadcaster) is heading the eponymous Webber Group, and they’ve come out with a statement declaring their commitment to giving back to the community and keeping the team in Atlanta forever.

    Webber was a star player for the University of Michigan as part of the Fab Five, before becoming an All-Star power forward for the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings.

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