When Curry sprained his right ankle in early December, an injury that would sideline him for a little more than three weeks — including his much-anticipated homecoming in Charlotte — he remained a present contributor.
In need of point guard depth, the Warriors immediately called up 6-foot-2 guard Quinn Cook from the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors. Curry was back home in Charlotte, but sporting a walking boot. The fans were disappointed: no pregame routine to witness and no circus shots to clamor over.
Meanwhile, Cook wasn’t simply being called up to provide an extra body; he was making the first start of his NBA career. He was anxious and nervous not only about his opportunity, but about being the replacement for a superstar in his own backyard.
He’s close to being fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in Jacksonville’s first game last season. He had a monster 2015 campaign as a big-play and red-zone threat before cooling off in 2016. He is the only true No. 1 outside wideout available, but the Jaguars have the cap room to bring him back post-injury.
Keenum still has some intriguing value, but the Garoppolo trade, the Smith trade, Cousins’ and Bradford’s free agency and the depth of first-round QBs take away his shine, especially after his shaky NFC title game. Keenum should be viewed as more of a stopgap in front of a young franchise passer. He also will be on the older side and comes with major inconsistency issues.
He then set a career-high with 19 assists against the Hawks a couple of nights later and averaged 30.5 points, 9.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds in his first two games with George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. The Cavaliers won all four of those games and were back to destroying their opponents with James on the court before dropping two of their last three games.
James could close the gap if the Cavaliers find themselves in the running for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference by the season’s end. It just might not be enough for him to win over voters and actually surpass Harden.
If you thought Ball’s inconsistencies as a scorer would prevent him from making an impact on offense, you’d be wrong.