LaMarcus Aldridge‘s surprise decision to play through an injured thumb, that was reportedly going to sideline the power forward for six to eight weeks, was partially made with the team in mind, as he tells Mike Richman of The Oregonian. “With me not being out there and not having [Nicolas Batum] definitely hurts us even more. So I just wanted to do some things today. Things went well. And I did some things yesterday late and it felt decent so we feel like we have a little plan to wrap it and strap it in and we’ll see, ” Aldridge told Richman. Aldridge played 36 minutes in his first game back from the injury and accumulated 26 points, nine rebounds and two steals in the victory over the Wizards on Saturday night.
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- The time has come for the Wolves to start looking to next season and maintain their good lottery odds, opines Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Zgoda takes a look at the top prospects in the upcoming draft including Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. Minnesota is 7-35 on the season, which puts the team atop our reverse order rankings. If the season ended today, the Wolves would be guaranteed a top four pick in the 2015 draft.
- Ty Lawson remains in the Nuggets‘ future plans at the present time, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Lawson will return to the court after sitting out Friday’s game against the Celtics because of his arrest for suspicion of drinking and driving. The Nuggets sit at 18-25 on the season and remain a long shot, at best, to make the playoffs. Some of the Denver’s key players have been discussed in trade conversations with an eye on the future, including Wilson Chandler, who our own Chuck Myron looked at as a trade candidate.
- Kendrick Perkins is an advocate of his new Thunder teammate Dion Waiters, writes Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. “It doesn’t matter what you heard [in the media],” Perkins said of Waiters. “I’ve been impressed with his ability on the defensive end. The way he gets physical on the defensive end. The way he locks in. I have been more impressed with that. We already know he can score the ball. But I have been impressed with the commitment he’s shown on the defensive end.” Oklahoma City is 5-3 since Waiters’ arrival and in my latest poll, Hoops Rumors readers believe the move was the least impactful of the major Western Conference trades this season.