NBA AM: John Henson’s Big Night
It Was Henson’s Night: Milwaukee Bucks big man John Henson hasn’t exactly blown the NBA up as a rookie, in fact on Tuesday in Miami, he logged just seven minutes of game time and scored two points and grabbed one rebound. That’s pretty much been Henson’s stat line for most of the games he’s played. That is, when he plays, which isn’t frequently.
So last night in Orlando when Henson was tapped to replace Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Larry Sanders, who went down with a back injury, the expectation level on Henson wasn’t very high.
Seventeen points, 25 rebounds and seven blocks later, Henson was just as surprised at his stat line as anyone. After the game, Henson said his seven blocks came from really getting his timing down after watching Sanders this season.
Henson talked with HOOPSWORLD before the game about his season, but after logging a monster game last night, he agreed that we should follow him for the remaining four games on the schedule.
By way of update on Sanders, he said after the game that his back injury was not bad and that he was day-to-day.
We Want To Know:
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Down Goes Davis: The scene wasn’t pretty. Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton was driving to the basket with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter as New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis stepped in to take the charge. Davis collided with Thompson, who fell right on Davis’ left knee. Davis writhed around on the floor for several minutes before being able to limp off the court with the help of trainers.
Initial reports are a sprained knee and Hornets coach Monty Williams said that while a definitive answer wouldn’t come until later today, he wasn’t concerned about a torn ligament.
“He said he’s a little sore,” Williams said to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports. “I’m just glad it wasn’t a buckle or a ligament or anything like that at least. You don’t know that for sure, but usually when somebody lands on it, it could be a contusion. It’s probably more scary than anything else, but we’ve got to let the doctors check him out and make sure. He’s walking around. He’s got ice on it.
“We won’t get back until five in the morning, so I’m pretty sure we’ll rush him right over to our people and get an MRI done so he can get tested.”
Davis is generally considered the second-best rookie in the class, leading all rookies in rebounding with better than 8.1 boards per game. He also leads the rookie class in blocked shots with 1.7 per contest. Davis ranks fourth in rookie scoring with 13.6 points per game.
Now There Is Something To Talk About: Last week in this space, we covered that there was a Dilemma of Process brewing with fight over the future of the Kings.
The way the rules work with the NBA Board of Governors is they can only vote on the issue in front of them, in this case it is an application of transfer from the Maloof family to the Hansen/Ballmer group in Seattle. While there has been a great show support from Sacramento, the truth of the matter is unless the Maloofs agreed to sell the team to a Sacramento group, there is no mechanism that allows the NBA Board of Governors to choose Sacramento, they can simply say ‘Yes’ to the sale to Hansen/Ballmer or they can say ‘No’. They can’t choose Sacramento; the process does not allow for that.
All through this process, what the hope was from Sacramento is that they could make a compelling case to the NBA directly and force a ‘No’ for Seattle. Then, in turn the Maloofs would concede and sell the team to a local group in Sacramento.
The problem there is the Maloofs have been absolutely resistant to even entertaining an alternate offer for the team. That changed this week.
According to Tony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee, the Maloofs have changed their stance and have given the Sacramento group until 5 p.m. on Friday to submit a binding offer that is equal in every way to the Seattle offer.
The deal has to include all of the same sale points, payment schedules and upfront money that the Seattle deal in place already has and the Maloofs have made it clear that if such a deal is not delivered by Friday at 5 p.m. then they will not reconsider a Sacramento offer again.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the offer to sell to a Sacramento group would be contingent on the Board of Governors voting ‘No’ to Seattle, which remains the Maloofs first choice.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke to reporters at half-time last night and said he was unclear what’s been provided to the Maloofs’ directly, as most of the interactions the Sacramento group has had have been through the NBA acting as intermediary.
There is some belief among legal experts that the Maloofs could simply be making a case that they have actually only been presented with one real offer to sell the team, and while everyone involved on the Sacramento side of the fight wants to deal with the NBA, any agreement to sell the team will have to come from the Maloofs.
IN RELATED: The most common question asked about the Maloofs and the Kings is “Why doesn’t the NBA just step in?” The truth is, the NBA can’t.
When a franchise is sold to an owner, they gain tremendous benefits and protections by the NBA’s bylaws, the rules established to govern the partnership owners enter into when they fork over the millions to own a team.
There are some reasons an owner can be forced out of the NBA, and there are some situations in which the Board of Governors can act in the best interest of the league. If a team fails to meet its financial obligations and is facing bankruptcy, there are options. If an owner commits a capital offense and is convicted or if an owner is caught betting on the game of basketball, these are things that could empower the Board of Governors to take over a team both operationally or force an owner out.
Being of questionable character, being bad at business or being bad as a person isn’t one of those reasons. As much as the Sacramento fans despise the Maloof family and how they have handled this situation, there is no mechanism to “take” the franchise from them. The NBA bylaws protect them and their investment.
Now, the NBA Board of Governors can scold them; they can make things tough on them in the room and there are all kinds of pressures that can be applied, but if the Maloofs don’t agree to sell, the Board of Governors can’t make them sell.
So to answer the question: “Why doesn’t the NBA just force a sale?” They can’t any more than your neighbor can force you to sell your house. There are rules every franchise must abide by, and as long as that’s happening whether you like your neighbor or not, think he is managing his house well or not or even if you disagree with how he handles his business, you can’t force your neighbor to sell his home any more than the Board of Governors or the NBA can force the Maloofs to sell.
That’s just how the NBA is constructed.
Shot For Shot: The game happened on the far left coast, and that means a large portion of the basketball world is waking to what could have been the best head-to-head shootout of the season. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant went off in Portland, scoring 47 points on 14-of-27 shooting and a perfect 18-for-18 from the foul line. Toss in eight rebounds and five assists and it’s just another day at the office for Bryant and the Lakers.
What made the game so compelling was that Rookie of the Year frontrunner Damian Lillard almost matched Kobe shot for shot, knocking in 38 points of his own on 12-of-25 shooting and a scorching 5-for-11 from three point range and a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. Lillard also managed to dish out nine assists.
For basketball fans, it was an absolutely amazing showing from Lillard. With less than a handful of game left on the schedule, it was the perfect statement for his Rookie of The Year candidacy and really shows how good Lillard is right now. When you consider Bryant has made a career hanging 40 on almost everyone, Lillard matching him almost shot for shot was impressive. Unfortunately for Lillard and the Blazers, the monster game ends up in the loss column, but the show sure was spectacular.
The Lakers now find themselves a full game in front of Utah for control of the eighth seed in the West with just three games remaining – all three games are at home.
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