Mason Plumlee

Pacific Notes: Klay, Plumlee, Theis, N. Powell, Bol

It has been a disappointing first half of the season for Warriors wing Klay Thompson, whose average of 16.7 points per game is well below his career mark. His 42.0% shooting percentage on field goal attempts and 37.7% rate from beyond the three-point line would be career lows.

While Thompson’s slow start has affected his demeanor on and off the court, he said on Tuesday that a recent conversation with head coach Steve Kerr has helped him “relax a lot” and adjust his mindset, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Sometimes I forget just how successful and how lucky I’ve been to be part of a championship team, All-Star games, gold medals,” Thompson said. “You want to get back to that level so badly you can kind of get in your own way. Rather than forcing it, we had a conversation about enjoying the last chapter of my career, how lucky I truly am to still be playing this game, doing it at a high level, being a better mentor for these young guys, leading by example, having my energy right every game.

“He helped me realize if I do have negative energy how that affects the team in a poor manner. So we had a great conversation that helped me change my whole mindset and forget about shooting splits or points per game or All-Star games and just to enjoy being in this Warriors uniform and appreciate what we’ve built. Because it’s such a rare opportunity for a professional athlete to be a part of so much success and to pass that torch to the young guys and keep this thing going.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers center Mason Plumlee was active on Monday for the first time since going down with an MCL sprain on November 6, but he didn’t see any action, as Janis Carr of The Orange County Register writes. “He is available, but we still want to make sure we are doing the right thing and making sure that we’re taking the slow (road) and ease him back in,” head coach Tyronn Lue explained. Fellow reserve center Daniel Theis said he hasn’t been told by the coaching staff how his role will be affected by Plumlee’s return.
  • With the Clippers healthier this year than in recent seasons, Norman Powell is averaging just 25.6 minutes per game off the bench, his lowest mark since 2018/19. However, the veteran wing says he’s willing to sacrifice some playing time and accept a reduced role if it’s the right move for the team as a whole, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “This year with the way the team is constructed and the moves that we made, I’ve been taking a step back and not being so upset that my role isn’t going to be where I would like it to be, or where I want it to be or how I view myself, and accepting how the team is built, what the team is looking for and what we have to do to win,” Powell said.
  • Bol Bol made just eight appearances and logged only 19 total minutes in his first 32 games with the Suns, but he finally got an extended opportunity in Monday’s win over Portland and took advantage of it, putting up 11 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes. “I haven’t been able to show it, but I still have all the same confidence,” Bol said before the game, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I know what I’m capable of doing when given a chance.” Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the victory that the team was “really happy” with Bol’s performance and hinted that his opportunities to play non-garbage-time minutes may be more frequent going forward.

Pacific Notes: Leonard, Plumlee, Huerter, Kerr

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was back at practice Sunday after missing four games with a bruised left hip, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Coach Tyronn Lue said Leonard was able to participate “fully” in the practice session, but didn’t commit to his availability for tonight’s game against Miami.

“We’ll see tomorrow,” Lue said. “Yeah, we’ll see how he comes out of this, but he is practicing today.”

Leonard’s health is always an issue for the Clippers, and it was encouraging that he was able to appear in the team’s first 27 games before hurting his hip. With Leonard returning to practice, Lue installed some new wrinkles to the offense, according to Turner.

“With Kawhi back, today is a good time to add a couple of things here and there,” Lue said. “But we do have to extend our package offensively, especially when we get down to the end of the season going into the playoffs. You have to be able to lean on some different things. You just can’t do the same thing every single night. And, so, if our pick-and-roll game is not going, we got to be able to do something different. If our post-up game is not going, we got to be able to do something different. If our iso game is not going, we got to be able to do something different. And they understand that. So, now we got to start adding and start getting better offensively.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Mason Plumlee has been upgraded to questionable on the Clippers‘ injury list for tonight’s game, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. L.A.’s backup big man has been sidelined since November 6 with an MCL sprain, causing the team to add free agent Daniel Theis to provide depth in the middle.
  • Coach Mike Brown made a change to the Kings‘ starting lineup Sunday in Memphis, replacing Kevin Huerter with Chris Duarte, per Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. Huerter, who exited Friday’s game with an injury to his left hand, came off the bench for the first time since being traded to Sacramento in the summer of 2022. He was part of Brown’s first round of substitutions and scored nine points in 17 minutes.
  • The Warriors are searching for answers after completing the 2023 portion of their schedule with a 10-point loss to Dallas, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. It marked the team’s eighth defeat at home, which matches its total from all of last season. Coach Steve Kerr refused to blame the absence of Draymond Green, who remains on indefinite suspension, but said the team lacks the “grit” that it needs to be successful. “We’re not competing through the tough parts of the game,” Kerr said. “There’s an intangible, there’s a feeling, there’s a vibe when you fight, where everyone’s energy is right. We don’t have that right now.”

Pacific Notes: Wiggins, Kuminga, Green, Lakers Lineup, Theis

The Warriors have a specific lineup issue that’s impacting both this year’s outlook and the future prospects of the team, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Golden State has to determine whether Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga — the team’s two most athletic players, in Kawakami’s view — can share the court together, especially with the trade deadline looming.

Kawakami writes that if Wiggins and Kuminga figure out how to play with one another, it would unlock the Warriors’ offense due to the fact that the two forwards make Golden State faster and more athletic. So far, that pairing hasn’t had much success.

In 106 minutes together on the floor this year, the duo has a minus-21.4 net rating, the worst on the team (of lineups that play often) by a large margin. They also have the worst defensive rating and rebound percentage among those lineups.

It’s something we will try with maybe some new people around them,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Their numbers are not good together, frankly. They’re very redundant. So the tape and the numbers haven’t been great.

While this lineup wrinkle is just one question for a roster full of them, it has major implications. If the pair doesn’t figure things out, Kawakami writes the Warriors will likely have to choose between them, especially with Kuminga due for an extension on the horizon. If they do end up working well together, however, it could phase out minutes for Golden State’s other veteran pieces.

Kawakami also writes that while the Warriors previously may have been reluctant to move Wiggins in a trade after he signed a bargain contract specifically to stay with the team, he hears that may no longer be the case.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors are keeping quiet on the timetable for Draymond Green‘s return from his indefinite suspension, writes Jon Schultz of the San Francisco Chronicle.The Draymond stuff, everything is just private,” Kerr said. “That’s behind the scenes and I really don’t have anything to comment on that front.
  • The Lakers switched up their starting lineup on Saturday, replacing D’Angelo Russell with Jarred Vanderbilt in an effort to augment the defense. However, that hasn’t worked out just yet, with the new starting lineup posting a 125.0 defensive rating in their 18 minutes together, The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price writes. “We’ve just gotta buckle down defensively,Anthony Davis said. “We’re not really a switching team but now we’re getting to it because of our lineup. We’re able to do that. Miscommunication is kind of there. Offensively, we can be fine. But we have to do a better job on defense.
  • The Clippers acquired Daniel Theis to help address their frontcourt when Mason Plumlee went down with an MCL sprain in November. As Plumlee approaches his return to play, the Clippers haven’t yet determined how they’ll balance Theis and Plumlee when both are healthy, tweets Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.

Pacific Notes: Plumlee, Kawhi, Lakers, Warriors

Clippers center Mason Plumlee is making progress in his recovery from the knee injury that has sidelined him since November 6, head coach Tyronn Lue said over the weekend. As Janis Carr of The Orange County Register relays, Plumlee has played “a little 1-on-1” and has taken part in limited 3-on-3 drills as he inches closer to a return, which is expected to come next month.

“He’s feeling pretty good,” Lue said. “Still has a couple of boxes to check before he gets back on the floor, but he’s trending in the right direction. The last couple of workouts he’s had (there hasn’t been any) pain in his knee so it’s feeling pretty good.”

While Plumlee acknowledged that he’s very eager to get back on the court, he suggested that the Clippers’ recent nine-game winning streak helped alleviate his anxiousness.

“It was hard to watch at first when they were losing, but it became a joy to watch them,” the big man said. “You always want to play, but it was good to see the team turn the corner. James (Harden) looks so good playing with everybody now.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After missing the past two games – both Clippers losses – due to a hip contusion, star forward Kawhi Leonard is considered questionable to return on Tuesday vs. Charlotte, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Leonard was also listed as questionable before the previous two games, so it remains possible that he’ll miss additional time.
  • The sample size is tiny, but the Lakers‘ new starting lineup – featuring Jarred Vanderbilt in place of D’Angelo Russell – hasn’t gotten off to a good start. The five-man group has a 105.0 offensive rating and a 125.0 defensive rating, which would both rank dead last in the NBA, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha notes that the competition (Oklahoma City and Boston) has been tough and the lineup has played only 18 minutes so far, but says the group doesn’t make sense together and doesn’t look competent on either end of the floor, arguing that the team needs to make another change.
  • While Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has said he doesn’t want to play Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga together, he may have to rethink that approach in order to maximize both players, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Thompson also explores Golden State’s rotation, wondering if the team might actually have too much depth to get regular minutes for all the players who deserve them once Draymond Green and Gary Payton II return.

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Paul, Wiggins, Reddish, Plumlee

The Kings‘ NBA G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, are trading for the rights to forward Stanley Johnson from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat‘s affiliate, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

Johnson had auditions with Golden State and Phoenix during the offseason but was unable to get a contract offer. Johnson has played for five organizations since being picked in the lottery by Detroit in 2015. He saw action in 30 games off the bench for the Spurs last season.

The Kings have an open roster spot, so this could be an opportunity for Johnson to work his way back into the NBA.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins are probable to play on Wednesday against Portland, according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Both participated in practice on Tuesday, Kendra Andrews of ESPN tweets. Paul has been out since Nov. 28 due to a lower leg injury. Wiggins has also missed the last two games due to a finger injury.
  • Cam Reddish has endured a rocky start to his NBA career but he’s flourishing with the Lakers as a hustle player, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. He’s become a favorite among fans and teammates alike. “Cam is great,” LeBron James said. “He has a knack for just being around the ball, getting deflections. I guarantee in the minutes that he’s played, he’s probably one of the league leaders in deflections, steals. Anything around the ball, he’s just really good.” Reddish was averaging 23.7 minutes in 17 games, including 10 starts, heading into Tuesday’s tournament quarterfinal.
  • Mason Plumlee has a long way to go before returning to action, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The Clippers big man isn’t practicing 5-on-5 or running full speed yet as he rehabs from a knee injury. Plumlee, who is on a one-year, $5MM deal, hasn’t played since Nov. 6.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Wiggins, Kerr, Green, Plumlee

All-Star Suns guard Devin Booker continues to progress from his right calf strain injury, which has sidelined him for the past four games, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. He could return at some point this week.

“[Booker is] increasing his work on the floor with his shooting, the intensity, speed and intensity of it, but still not ready yet,” Phoenix head coach Frank Vogel said.

Phoenix has struggled without Booker in general, but has really had difficulty during the minutes All-Star forward Kevin Durant has sat. As Rankin notes, the Lakers went on a 19-2 run against the Suns on Friday with Durant on the bench, en route to an eventual 122-119 comeback victory.

Although Phoenix is just three weeks into the 2023/24 season, the team’s issues are already at least somewhat concerning, writes Doug Haller of The Athletic. Phoenix has blown three fourth quarter leads already this year, and fissures seem to be appearing with regards to the team’s chemistry among its new players, plus its lackluster defense. Booker remains doubtful for Sunday’s matchup against the Thunder, Rankin writes in a separate piece.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Despite forward Andrew Wiggins early-season struggles, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will not consider removing the swingman from his starting five, reports Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Through 10 games, the 6’7″ swingman is averaging just 11.0 PPG on .411/.167/.529 shooting.
  • The Warriors were frustrated by a retroactively called technical foul that caused the ejection of power forward Draymond Green in a 118-110 loss to the Cavaliers, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Referees assessed Green his second technical foul minutes after a confrontation with Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell. “I am the same person that got suspended from the [2016] NBA Finals for flagrant fouls that were all called from after the game,” Green told Andrews. “Nothing surprises me.”
  • Clippers reserve center Mason Plumlee will be reassessed in four weeks as he continues to recover from an MCL sprain, per Mark Medina of The Sporting Tribune (Twitter link). The 6’11” big man is reportedly expected to miss “multiple months” with the ailment.

Clippers Notes: Harden, Rotation, Westbrook, Plumlee

The Clippers are winless since trading for James Harden and P.J. Tucker on November 1 and they don’t appear close to having a cohesive rotation, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Greif notes that Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook are still figuring out how they’ll work together after being primary scorers throughout their careers.

Coach Tyronn Lue made an adjustment Friday in Dallas, Greif adds, taking George and Westbrook out of the game earlier than usual in the first quarter and having them replace Harden and Leonard later on. A lineup with George, Westbrook, Tucker, Norman Powell and Terance Mann was outscored by nine points in two minutes, but Lue indicated that he wants to give that combination more opportunities to succeed.

“At some point it’s going to work and nobody’s going to talk about the rotations and guys on the floor and personnel,” George said. “And at some point we’re going to figure it out.”

Harden also remains confident, telling reporters, including Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link), “For me individually, this is only my third game. I didn’t have a training camp, I didn’t have a preseason, so everything is still moving fast speed for me. I need about a 10-game window then kind of see where I am from there.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Lue believes he needs to keep a center on the court to maximize Harden’s pick-and-roll abilities, but Mann, a 6’5″ swingman, started in the middle ahead of Ivica Zubac to begin the second half Friday, Greif adds. Lue dismissed it as a desperation move, saying he wanted to try something different with a 30-point deficit. L.A. is missing its normal backup center, Mason Plumlee, who is expected to be sidelined for a significant part of the season with an MCL sprain in his left knee.
  • Westbrook has been most impacted by the addition of Harden, Greif observes. He’s averaging 32 fewer touches in the three games that Harden has played, compared to 14 fewer for Leonard and seven fewer for George. In a full story, Murray suggests that Lue is unlikely to remove Westbrook from the starting lineup, so it might be up to the front office to determine Westbrook’s future with the team.
  • Before being injured, Plumlee talked to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about why he decided to re-sign with the Clippers this summer. “I feel like in the whole time I’ve been in the league, there’s been one team (Denver in the 2020 Western Conference Finals) I’ve been on where I felt like we had a chance to win the whole thing,” Plumlee said. “This was another one of those chances. It took a little bit of sacrifice to choose to come back here, but it’s been well worth it and makes it fun to come in each day.”

Mason Plumlee To Miss “Multiple Months;” Clippers Interested In Daniel Theis

Mason Plumlee will be sidelined for “multiple months” with an MCL sprain in his left knee, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). The Clippers are optimistic that Plumlee will be able to return sometime before the end of the season, Charania adds.

The team is considering several veteran big men as potential replacements, Charania hears, including Pacers backup center Daniel Theis. He states that Indiana isn’t “rushed” to make a move with Theis, but is willing to listen to offers.

Plumlee suffered the injury Monday when Knicks forward Julius Randle hit his knee while diving for a ball. Plumlee couldn’t put any weight on the knee and had to be helped off the court by two members of the team’s training staff.

The 33-year-old center had appeared in all six of L.A.’s games before the injury and was averaging 5.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 minutes per night. The Clippers acquired him from Charlotte in a February trade, and he re-signed with the team this summer.

Theis, who hasn’t played yet this season, expressed unhappiness with his situation in Indiana last week. He is currently fourth among centers on the Pacers’ depth chart and doesn’t appear to have a future with the team.

After playing just seven games last season, Theis was hoping for an expanded role following his performance with Germany in the World Cup this summer, but it looks like a trade or buyout is the only way that will happen.

Theis makes $9.1MM this season, and his contract includes a $9.5MM team option for 2024/25.

Injury Notes: Harris, Rozier, Middleton, Plumlee, Rose, Hachimura

The Pistons, who have been hit by a wave of injuries in the early going, got some more bad news on Tuesday. Joe Harris has an AC sprain in his shoulder and will be reevaluated in 10-to-14 days, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

Detroit had six other players out on Monday against Golden State due to injury or illness. Harris, acquired from Brooklyn during the offseason, has averaged a modest 3.4 points in 14 minutes this season. He’s in the final year of his four-year, $75MM contract.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Hornets starting guard Terry Rozier will miss at least the next two games. He underwent an MRI which confirmed a left adductor strain, the team’s PR department tweets.
  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton will have the night off against the Pistons on Wednesday due to right knee injury management, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets.
  • Clippers backup center Mason Plumlee has been diagnosed with a left knee MCL sprain, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski. Plumlee is undergoing further evaluation, but he’ll miss at least the next two games.
  • Derrick Rose has missed the last three games due to left knee soreness and he’s “week-to-week,” according to coach Taylor Jenkins, as Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal relays. He’s among eight Grizzlies players who will be sidelined when Memphis faces Miami on Wednesday, the team’s PR department tweets. John Konchar (hip strain) is listed as doubtful.
  • Rui Hachimura is listed as probable by the Lakers for their contest against Houston on Wednesday after missing four games while in concussion protocol, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register tweets.

Pacific Notes: Harden, Plumlee, Davis, Santos

James Harden‘s debut with the Clippers was spoiled by the Knicks, who pulled out a 111-97 win on Monday in New York. But Harden said after the game that he sees “unlimited possibilities” for what he, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook can do together, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Harden, who admitted that he felt “kind of weird out there” playing in his first game since the spring after not having a training camp with his new team, scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and handed out six assists in 31 minutes of action.

As Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports writes, it looks like Harden will defer primary play-making duties to Westbrook to open games, then sub out early before returning to spearhead the team’s second unit. Despite Monday’s loss, head coach Tyronn Lue was pleased with what he saw from his club’s newest guard.

“He did a good job his first game in a while,” Leonard said, per Youngmisuk. “And it takes time to get his legs under him as far as conditioning. But he did a great job to me, got everybody involved running pick-and-roll very well.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers reserve center Mason Plumlee had to be carried off the court by a pair of team staffers following a collision with Julius Randle on Monday, Youngmisuk notes. The original diagnosis for Plumlee is a left knee sprain, but he’ll undergo further evaluation on Tuesday before the team officially announces a recovery timeline.
  • Lakers big man Anthony Davis dealt with spasms in his left hip on Monday and had to leave the team’s loss to Miami late in the first half. However, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, Davis said he’s “very optimistic” that the hip issue won’t force him to miss additional time. “Everything’s going to be fine,” Davis said. “I’ll be ready to go for Wednesday, for sure.”
  • Although he’s getting a three-year deal and a spot on the Warriors‘ standard roster, forward Gui Santos is expected to continue spending much of his time in the G League with Santa Cruz, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN, who says Santos will split his team between the NBA and NBAGL squads.