Pacific Notes: Booker, Bender, Gilgeous-Alexander, Lakers

Devin Booker is making rapid progress in his recovery from surgery on his right hand last month, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The Suns‘ leading scorer was shooting with his right hand on Wednesday after having his splint removed. He had an operation September 10 to fix the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint on the hand.

However, Booker still hasn’t been cleared for contact and Phoenix isn’t sure if he’ll be ready in time for the season opener.

“We’re just following the steps,” said coach Igor Kokoskov. “That’s not my jurisdiction. I know nothing about when it comes to medical science. The medical staff, we have one of the best in the league. They’re going to tell us when the next steps are. We’re going to follow those steps being disciplined and wait for him to make the recovery and to play.”

There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:

  • Dragan Bender‘s poor play continued in Wednesday’s exhibition game against New Zealand, Rankin adds in a separate story. The Suns didn’t use Bender until the fourth quarter and he committed a couple of costly mistakes, fouling a player shooting a 3-pointer and mishandling a pass. Richaun Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason deal, got more minutes than Bender did.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a serious candidate for playing time in the Clippers‘ crowded backcourt, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. The rookie made a quick impact off the bench in the preseason opener with 10 points, four steals and four assists in 24 minutes of a win over Sydney. He was L.A.’s only young player to see significant time in the game. “I thought in the first half he was fantastic,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought in the second half he was still catching his breath from the first half. Good lesson for him because they don’t back off, teams keep coming.”
  • The Lakers aren’t a lock for the playoffs despite adding LeBron James, cautions Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. He predicts L.A. will fail to reach the postseason, citing the number of good teams in the Western Conference, the Lakers’ shortcomings at center, defensive issues, injury concerns involving James and the possibility that some veterans will be unhappy with their playing time.
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15 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Booker, Bender, Gilgeous-Alexander, Lakers

  1. Bender is arguably the worst player in the NBA. He should get zero minutes a game. Wasted pick

  2. Boston2AZ

    SO right. And Chriss wasn’t exactly a winner either. The #4 and #8 picks that year and the Suns got nothing of value. The front office should have been canned JUST for that.

    • tatumszn2018

      I think Chriss can be salvaged, but Bender I knew would bust since the mindset was from the Porzingis phenom. I remember being pissed that the Celts were looking at Bender at 3 in 2016 draft.

      • I predict that Chriss turns into a beast in Houston. Being a Suns fan is awesome

  3. Nebrasketball

    I’m very excited to see what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can do this year!

    • Yes he sure looked good last night. Tall lanky with skills. Should be an open opportunity in La for him this year.

    • tatumszn2018

      It’s early, but i see star with him. I don’t know if Robinson will end up being his future backcourt mate be we’ll have to see. Tyrone Wallace can ball though.

  4. tatumszn2018

    This notion that the Lakers will miss the playoffs is baffling to me. I see them falling no lower than 4th seed with a path to the WCF depending if they go higher. I know Jazz and Pelicans are media favorites, but they seem like 5 and 6 to me. And yes I see a trade in the works like every Lebron team come February except the Heat years.

    • Jkolti

      I think this Lakers team while take a while to gel, if they even do. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them under .500 after a few months. Combine that with the much tougher conference, which could again make you get 47 wins to make the playoffs, and I honestly dont see the Lakers getting there. I see them in the 42-44 range, but taking a big leap after an offseason where I believe they land another star. I just dont see it this year, based on how lebron has done recently, in the regular season.

  5. Kenleyfornia74

    The Lakers are not missing the playoffs. Only GSW and for the heck of it Houston can be classified as clear better teams. Im sorry but the Jazz And Thunder can look sexy but they aren’t better than this current Lakers squad. Neither is Portland Denver San Antiono whoever you want. Lebron will do that

    • Who are the Lakers shooters?

      Down 15 and can’t shoot your way back is going to happen too often for the Lakers.

      • But don’t get me wrong. I do like all the guys the Lakers signed and look forward to watching Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo get under the skin of opponents.

        I sincerely hope they make the playoffs just to watch them play the rockets and or Warriors. Should be epic.

  6. AGAVE

    Home court advantage is crucial in the NBA come playoff time.
    A 5-8 portion going into the playoffs for the Lakers wouldn’t be a bad thing.
    It would remove complacency and build the expectation to keep striving to get better by challenging themselves

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