The Spurs‘ Kawhi Leonard is battling blurred vision brought on by conjunctivitis, reports Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “My right eye, the vision’s not all the way back yet,” Leonard said. “Hopefully I can heal up soon. I’ve just got to keep competing so I can get used to it and get my rhythm going.” The MVP of the 2014 NBA Finals, who has been plagued by poor shooting early this season, said his eye goes cloudy at times. He said doctors have told him the condition has to “run its course” and should improve in time.
Also in the Western Conference:
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich blames effort, not injuries, for the defending champs’ 2-3 start, tweets Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News. “We need to start playing with (the) same intensity people bring at us who want to kick out butt,” Popovich said after Saturday’s loss to the Pelicans.
- Pain can be part of the NBA lifestyle, which is why the Nuggets‘ Nate Robinson tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post he’s not letting knee rehab and a hamstring injury keep him out of the lineup. With starting guard Ty Lawson sidelined by a sore ankle, Robinson played 26 minutes Friday in a loss to Cleveland. “I want to play through injury; I don’t care,” Robinson said. “But I want to be here for the long run, I want to be here for the rest of the season, so I don’t want to tweak anything else. Just take it day by day.” Robinson joined the Nuggets in July, signing a two-year guaranteed deal worth $4.1MM.
- Former Nuggets coach George Karl says Lawson’s bum ankle explains a lot of Denver’s 1-4 start, Dempsey writes. “I don’t see Ty playing at a high level,” Karl said. “I think he’s their engine.” Karl, now an NBA analyst for ESPN, guided the Nuggets for eight years before being let go after winning Coach of the Year honors in 2013. He offered some advice for his successor, Brian Shaw. “One thing I think Brian is kind of caught up in a little bit is he’s playing too many players,” Karl said. “I don’t think he can play three centers. I don’t think he can play that many big guys on the court when your team plays well when it’s fast and small.”
- The Jazz are thinking long-term on lottery reform, writes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, like many teams, voted against changing the current system because of its small market status. “We looked at the long run, and how this may affect us and teams like us,” GM Dennis Lindsey said. “We think that we have a chance to outperform expectations. But we voted no because we were looking at the next 30 years — not now or in the short term.”
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.