The NBA player rankings have sparked some debate, especially when it comes to superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith was the last to comment on the ESPN roster. James is 6th, Durant is 8th. Smith believes their rankings are relatively low.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics are in the news following the suspension of head coach Ime Udoka. The former Nets assistant will not manage the team for the entire off-season after violating organization guidelines. Udoka entered into a friendly relationship with a Celtics employee.
Here’s the latest buzz surrounding the NBA as of September 23, 2022.
Ime Udoka publicly apologizes after suspension
Ime Udoka will not get a chance to lead the Boston Celtics next season. Heading into his sophomore year, Udoka finds himself in the middle of a controversy that led to the Celtics suspending him for the 2022-23 season.
Udoka had a consensual relationship with an employee of the organization. The Celtics recently announced this officially. Udoka also commented on the situation and issued a public apology to the Celtics, the players, fans and his family.
Here’s what he said:
“I want to apologize to our players, the fans, the Celtics organization and my family for letting them down. I’m sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I have no further comment.”
According to multiple reports, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is set to become Boston’s head coach next season. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics can repeat their success next season without Udoka, who was instrumental in their return to the Finals.
The NBA analyst was stunned by LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s player rankings
ESPN ranked LeBron James and Kevin Durant sixth and eighth in their latest player rankings. Popular TV personality Stephen A. Smith disapproves of her positioning. He believes the former champions deserve a top five finish. Here’s what Smith had to say about the matter on “First Take”:
“There’s no way I don’t have LeBron James and Kevin Durant in my top five.”
James and Durant had a rough run in their teams final season. The former failed to lead the Lakers to a playoff spot. They finished with a 33-49 record and also missed the play-in tournament. Meanwhile, Durant’s nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs against the Celtics.
This may have contributed to James and Durant dropping out of the top 5 in several player rankings.
Ben Simmons criticizes Shaquille O’Neal for not reaching out to him
Ben Simmons called NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal for not reaching out to him. Shaq always mentioned Simmons as one of his “LSU brothers” since both attended college. The four-time NBA champion was one of Simmons’ harshest critics for a time last season before revealing they had had a conversation.
During a recent appearance on The Old Man & The Three podcast, Simmons spoke about Shaq for not reaching out to him during his rough patch last year, saying:
“He always wants to say, ‘We’re LSU brothers, this and that.’ If you’re my LSU brother, you would have gotten in touch by now.”
Luka Doncic doesn’t need another superstar in his team
The Dallas Mavericks will have to rely on Luka Doncic as the only superstar in the coming season. Doncic has never played with an All-Star in his young NBA career.
He managed to lead the Mavericks to a Conference Finals appearance last season. Many believed another superstar on the team could have reached the finals next year. However, they haven’t inducted a true All-Star into their ranks. Doncic believes the current squad is capable of making a championship run. Here’s what he said ESPN as for that:
“I think we have great players in our team. There are a lot of very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more. … I think we have a great team.”
Kawhi Leonard cleaned to play 5v5
LA Clippers fans will be in for a treat when GM Lawrence Frank recently announced that franchise star Kawhi Leonard was cleared for 5v5 practice. Leonard has not played since April 2021. He suffered an ACL injury in this year’s playoffs.
Leonard’s absence cost the Clippers a post-season trip into their final season. You’re going into the new season as one of the top favorites to win the Western Conference. If Leonard stays healthy, LA could have a good chance of making their first NBA Finals appearance.