The Major Reason Why Anthony Davis Could Be A Problem For The Lakers

Eddie Bitar | FADEAWAY WORLD

Anthony Davis is unquestionably one of the best big men in the league. His size and skills are almost unmatched in his position, and many regard him as a top 5 player in the NBA.

There are very few players in history who possess the size and skill set that AD has. He grew up as a guard and just kept growing to the size of an NBA center. Luckily, his guard skills never left him and he is still a fantastic overall player. Davis can shoot from the perimeter, handle the ball, and pass really well.

He also possesses the skills of a traditional big including inside scoring, rebounding, and especially defense. He is a shot-blocking machine who has improved his post defense tremendously over his career. In a nutshell, he might be the ultimate power forward talent in NBA history.

As soon as the Lakers made the trade for Davis, they immediately are in top contention for the NBA title. Yet, many people fail to realize how AD can be a major problem for the Lakers’ title chances – albeit indirectly.

There is one major factor that NBA fans have overlooked, and it only takes a brief look at AD’s time in New Orleans. While many will point to the fact that he never achieved anything there, there is a bigger issue at hand that must be acknowledged.

As good as Davis is, he might be a liability and here is the main reason why.

Anthony Davis Is Injury-Prone

Anthony Davis, for whatever, has seemed to have gotten a pass for being in and out of lineups throughout his career. While not his fault, per se, Davis has simply been one of the more fragile superstar players in the league for some time now. Don’t believe me?

Here is a list of ALL the body parts Davis has injured over the course of his relatively young career.

Back

Chest

Hand

Elbow

Foot

Head

Groin

Ankle (Both)

Knee (Both)

Toe (Both)

Hip (Both)

Quad (Both)

Thumb (Both)

Shoulder (Both)

Finger (Multiple)

(No superstar in the league has suffered more minor injuries. Across his short seven-year career, Davis has already suffered more than 40!)

Clearly, Davis has an issue with keeping his body free from any sort of pain or damage. It may even be the reason why he prefers to play the power forward position over the center position. He simply cannot take the beating and keep healthy every night and always seems to have a problem with something, and he has missed significant time in the past.

He consistently fails to complete an 82 game season, and this is not a good sign.

He was very young when he experienced these injuries, and this will likely not improve as he gets older. In fact, there is a chance that it might worsen. Even this season, Davis seems to have a lingering shoulder issue that is deeply troubling even if most don’t realize it yet.

According to Davis, “There’s really never a play I don’t feel it. “I try not to let it affect my game. I just play through it and then worry about taking care of it after the game.” Clearly a troubling claim, we can see Davis with heating pads on his shoulders when he is on the bench. Even if it is a minor injury now, it could potentially develop into something worse.

He is probably the most important player for the Lakers this season. With LeBron James hitting 35, AD needs to take over most of the regular season while James has his rest as much as possible. Davis simply must keep healthy.

If he suffers from injuries again this year, the Lakers are in deep trouble, to say the least. Davis cannot be banged up as the Lakers approach the playoffs, or they risk another failure of a season. At the same time, AD needs to be healthy for most of the regular season so he can lead the Lakers to a top seed in the West.

The West is simply too difficult for both Davis and James to miss games. Davis was brought in to take charge, play the majority of the season, and completely dominate the league. This is supposed to be his moment, and he must take advantage.

James has earned the right to miss games, after a long history of remaining injury-free with a lot of mileage on his body. As much as Davis has had to carry in his career so far, LeBron has had to carry more. This means that James needs to miss a few games this season to keep his body fresh and prevent burnout as he approached his late 30’s. If Davis cannot lead the charge while LeBron is out, then he will be the biggest problem for the Lakers this season.

The Lakers will go as far as AD and LeBron take them, and the latter simply cannot handle the physical load much longer. If AD keeps up his injury-prone history, LeBron will be forced to end his career with 3 rings while the Lakers will have to move forward having sacrificed their entire core of young players that were shipped off last season. Lakers fans all over the world waited patiently for Davis to be a part of their team, and they expect great things from the team this year.

Lakers fans better hope Davis remains injury-free, or it’s bad news for Lakers Nation.

Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein is more than meets the eye

Willie Cauley-Stein’s love of art fuels his play on the court

The Golden State Warriors big man gives The Undefeated a peek at his paintings

‘I want people to look at me, think I’m some thug and then talk to me and realize this dude is intelligent.’

MARC J. SPEARS | THE UNDEFEATED

SAN FRANCISCO – Willie Cauley-Stein is used to being judged by his appearance. He has ink all over his 7-foot body, including tattoos under his eyes. He wears a headband over his braids. And he sports expensive jewelry and, occasionally, ice grillz.

But the Golden State Warriors newcomer hopes his fans will discover he is more than meets the eye.

“With the face tats and all the jewelry and swagger, it just intimidates people,” Cauley-Stein told The Undefeated. “I’m a shy dude, believe it or not. I’m not going to go be the first one to talk to you, even if I wanted to. … Most of the time I got this look on my face like I really want to talk to you, but I don’t know how to talk to you. It’s mutual.

“They don’t know how to come up to you either. They say, ‘Man, you got tattoos on your face.’ The first thing that they see. They’re not even looking in your eyes. They’re looking at the tattoos on your face. I made that perception on me because I felt like that’s part of my movement. I want to look like the ’hood but … I want to get past the perception of what people put on people. The stigma that they put on, on people that look like me.”

Cauley-Stein, who changed his middle name a few years ago to “Trill,” which means true and real, is a native of small-town Spearville, Kansas. Fans can catch him riding the streets of San Francisco on an electric bicycle and bringing a silver briefcase to work at the Chase Center. And, in his free time, he enjoys painting street art.

The fifth-year NBA veteran recently sat down with The Undefeated to talk about his personal movement, his struggles with the Sacramento Kings, and his fresh opportunity with the Warriors.

What do you see in your own tattoos?

It’s a timeline of what’s going on in my life. Sometimes I got to look in the mirror and remember, like, ‘Damn, I went through some s—.’ I see it on me. I’m looking at it every day, like, ‘Oh, this is why I’m here. This is what I got to do.’ It became like a constant daily affirmation. …

I had some tattoos [at Kentucky], but I hadn’t really gone crazy. And my mom was like, ‘You don’t go crazy.’ She knew all the things that come with having tattoos. She’s more tattooed than me, so she gets the stigma on it. And, to me, I want that. I want people to look at me, think I’m some thug and then talk to me and realize this dude is intelligent. Just completely different than what we thought. And that’s my whole movement. You can’t look at me and already put some tag on me and then not even have a conversation and confirm your tag.

Why did you sign with the Warriors last offseason?

In Sacramento, they put a tag on me that I wasn’t invested or I didn’t care about hoops like that. A lot of stuff that this platform exited out. You can’t go to one coach or one trainer in that facility and say I don’t work hard. But that’s one thing that they used to say. ‘Oh, he don’t work hard enough, blah, blah, blah.’ Dude, you don’t know how hard I’m working. So, that was like the biggest thing for me was the clout that this team has. The championship. Got wins. But most importantly, they get it. They get it from a perspective that some teams can’t even get close to touching. …

If I wasn’t invested in hoops, I would not come to the Warriors. The stage is too hard. Everybody’s looking at this. If I didn’t really like hoops, I’m going to go get a bag somewhere else. A little pretty bag.

Why did you take the Warriors’ bag?

I wanted to prove that I’m invested in this game. Yeah, I’m here for the money. But I’m also here to try to win something. I ain’t never won nothing. This is a perfect place for me to try to win something, given all this stuff that’s happening. There’s still next season. There is still years after that. I feel like I walked into a door into the league. Like I finally get a real introduction into the league by being a Warrior.

What is it like being on a team with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green?

When you are on the same page … and you got these three guys carrying this and you see how they move, you see how they work. Like, damn, I ain’t doing nothing compared to them. So, what’s the difference? The stage. The chemistry. The coaching staff. The upper management. It’s all got to go together or you are not on the same page.

What do you think of the Warriors’ mass injuries?

We still got our personnel. It sucks because I thought it was going to be different when I signed. But also, I wasn’t signing to come play with Steph, Draymond and Klay because of what they did. I wanted to be part of a winning program, regardless if them dudes were here or not. This is still a winning program, and they run it like a winning program whether we lose every game or not. The fans and the coaches are still going to be on some winning s—. That matters, man. I will run through a wall for coach [Steve] Kerr just based off of the last month of me conversing with him every day. You can’t say that about a lot of other teams, that you would run through a wall.

Getty Images

You have a player option for next season, but it appears you love it with the Warriors.

I love the guys. I love the environment. I love the city. And I haven’t been in a city like this. It’s all new and energizing in a way. And there is a lot of opportunity to grow in life, period, not just hoops. And that all comes from just being around these group of guys and the group of coaches, the atmosphere around the city.

What was the best and most challenging part of your time in Sacramento?

My best part about Sac was the city in itself and the relationships I made. And the most challenging part was definitely trying to play up to their standards of hoops.

You are big into art and painting. What advice would you give a kid who is an aspiring painter?

Keep creating. At all costs, create something. I don’t care if you’re good at it or if you think you’re good at it, because it’s perception. Somebody ain’t never drawn before goes and draws a picture of something. There’s a billionaire over here that’s going to buy it for a million dollars just because of how abstract it is, and you ain’t never painted before. That’s how powerful art is.

What does the game of basketball mean to you?

All this that we’re doing is fueling from a ball bouncing on the ground. It’s incredible to me. Financially free to move how we want. We can post what we want, we can make what we want, we can create anything that we want because now this ball bouncing gives us the opportunity to do that. And that became a lifestyle. And everybody in my campaign knows that hoops is what’s driving this.

Absent Kyrie Irving taunted in Boston, then speaks out on social media

Malika Andrews | ESPN

BOSTON — No time was wasted. As the lights dimmed and the player introduction video began to roll on the giant screen in TD Garden, the heckling began. The chants were loud, the booing was relentless, and signs denouncing the Boston Celtics‘ former star were abundant.

“Where is Kyrie?” Celtics fans chanted.

“Kyrie sucks!” they screeched nearly every time Jarrett Allen went to the free throw line.

The target of the taunting, Kyrie Irving, was hundreds of miles away. Irving has missed the past seven games because of a right shoulder impingement and did not make the trip with his Brooklyn Nets teammates to face his former team. He did, however, respond after the game in a lengthy social media post.

“It happens all the time and Tonight just shows how Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive,” Irving said at the start of a lengthy post via an Instagram story. “It’s one big SHOW that means Very VERY little in the real world that most people live in because there are Actually things that matter going on within it.”

While Irving didn’t receive the jeering in person, the remaining Nets players served as his proxies.

“It was better than I thought,” Allen said. “They could’ve booed us every time we touched the ball. If Kyrie was here, it probably would’ve been 10 times worse.”

Added Nets coach Kenny Atkinson: “I didn’t give a second thought” to the chants.

In the fall of 2018, Irving told an arena full of Celtics fans that he intended to re-sign with Boston during his 2019 free agency. Instead, he chose the Nets alongside Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. On media day in Brooklyn, New York, Irving said he meant it when he told fans he would re-sign. But then his grandfather died, basketball became less important to him, and over time, the Celtics’ locker room grew fractured and chilly.

“I failed those guys,” Irving said in September. “In terms of me being a leader in that environment and bringing everyone together, I failed.”

It seems that the Celtics organization has largely forgiven Irving. The franchise has stuck to diplomatic talking points when speaking about his tumultuous Celtics tenure. If the team had retained Irving, Boston would not have signed Kemba Walker, who has quickly become a fan favorite and has presided over the Celtics’ 13-4 start to the season, including Wednesday’s 121-110 victory over the Nets. Walker scored a season-high 39 points on 13-of-24 shooting, including 6-of-10 on 3-pointers.

“I’ve said many times that I really enjoy Kyrie and wish him nothing but the best,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the game.

That nuance was unimportant on Wednesday. Outside the arena, fliers with the word “coward” stamped across Irving’s face were plastered on telephone poles. Another leaflet depicted Irving as the cowardly lion from “The Wizard of Oz.”

In the arena, fans held up signs that said “Kemba > Kyrie.” Another poster had Irving’s face superimposed over a photo of Waldo from “Where’s Waldo?” Other fans had “Kanter” painted over where Irving’s name had been on a No. 11 jersey.

By the fourth quarter, “Kyrie sucks” chants were not reserved for the Nets. It became a rally cry when the Celtics shot free throws and during dead balls as well.

“I had no preconceived notions,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said about the crowd reception in Boston. “Whatever they had to say, he heard it through the TV I am sure, but … he’s not even here.”

KYRIE IRVING

Davis delivers 41 in return, LeBron becomes 4th player to surpass 33,000 career points

Jack Baer | Yahoo Sports

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that Anthony Davis is no longer a popular man in New Orleans.

We got our first decent clue of that back in February when New Orleans Pelicans booed the star while he was still on the team after his very public trade demand, but his return to the city on Wednesday left no doubt.

New Orleans fans boo Lakers’ Anthony Davis

The boos rained, heavily and consistently Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers star returned to New Orleans to face his former team. They started as soon as he hit the court and reached a peak as he was introduced in the Smoothie King Center for the first time as an opponent.

Perhaps wisely, the Pelicans reportedly held off from airing any sort of tribute video for Davis.

AD gets the last laugh vs. Pelicans

The boos continued into the game, with the the crowd jeering Davis whenever he touched the ball and cheered his misses and turnovers. The Lakers responded by feeding Davis the ball in the first quarter, with him posting 11 of the team’s 22 field goal attempts for 14 points.

Davis eventually got the last laugh, posting a season-high 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting and killing the Pelicans’ shot at a last-second game-winner by stealing an in-bounds pass in the final seconds of a 114-110 Lakers win.

That point total also meant a bit of history for The Brow, becoming the first player in NBA history to score more than 40 points in his first game against a former team, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Davis also appeared to escape injury after sitting for part of the fourth quarter with an apparent right arm injury. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis was fine after the game.

Pelicans fans’ reaction was expected

None of the reactions in the Smoothie King Center were a surprise for Davis, who told ESPN he expected almost exactly that treatment:

“I’m pretty sure every time I catch the ball, it’s probably going to be boos and stuff like that,” Davis said. “Obviously they’re fans of the Pelicans. And I understand why they feel that way, but it’s all love on my end.”

That’s logical enough from Davis, who made few friends in New Orleans after publicly requesting a trade and essentially sabotaging trade talks with the Boston Celtics, the Lakers’ biggest competitor for his talents. Had the Pelicans not lucked out and won the draft lottery to get Zion Williamson, a situation that included their general manager getting fired, things could have been a lot worse for the team.

Davis ended up getting his wish, and now he’s on the Lakers and a major part of their NBA-best 16-2 record. He never got the kind of support in New Orleans that he now has in Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean the majority of Pelicans fans will forgive him anytime soon.

Lakers’ LeBron James Becomes 4th Player Ever to Score 33,000 Points

SCOTT POLACEK | BLEACHER REPORT

Add another accomplishment to LeBron James‘ illustrious resume.

James became the fourth player in NBA history to score 33,000 career points during Wednesday’s 114-110 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. There is a Los Angeles Lakers flavor to the top four scorers, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant are the only other players to reach the milestone:

James reached the 33,000-point club with a contested three-pointer in crunch time during the fourth quarter:

As if there was any doubting James’ status in league history, he is ahead of Michael Jordan (fifth) and chasing three of the greatest to ever lace them up in the NBA. Bryant is well within his sights, which will set up an interesting dynamic with Lakers fans who idolized Kobe and now find themselves cheering for the King.

James is already a three-time champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time league MVP, 15-time All-NBA selection, six-time All-Defensive selection and 15-time All-Star who has little left to accomplish at this point of his career.

Rather than winding down entering the twilight of a legendary career, he is focused on getting better.

“I just want to be able to not have any weaknesses,” he told reporters following Monday’s win over the San Antonio Spurs.

It is hard to find any, and one of the league’s best scorers, passers, leaders and champions joined elite company in another category on Wednesday.

Clippers stall the Luka Doncic hype train with dominant win over Mavs

Jason Owens | Yahoo Sports

Luka Doncic’s breakout sophomore season is the story of the NBA.

But the Los Angeles Clippers might the league’s best team. They looked like it on Tuesday in a smothering performance in Dallas that saw them control the game from the opening tip of a 114-99 win over the Mavericks.

Doncic still filled up the stat sheet. But the Clippers made him work for it as their trademark defense zoned in on the 20-year-old superstar.

Paul George sets the pace

Meanwhile Paul George continued to thrive in his seventh game since joining the Clippers lineup after offseason shoulder surgery, pacing the team with 17 points in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles opened a 34-27 lead. He hammered home a transition tomahawk dunk late in the quarter as if to announce that his shoulder is just fine.

George finished with 26 points, four rebounds and six steals, but was far from the only Clippers player to thrive. Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams also posted big numbers as the Clippers three-headed monster on offense continues to look like one of the league’s most formidable.

Leonard tallied 28 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Williams was his normal productive self off the bench with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Rough sledding for Doncic, Mavericks

But as will likely be the case throughout the season, it was the Clippers defense that made the biggest imprint on Tuesday.

After scoring 137, 143 and 142 points in each of their last the games, the Mavericks managed just 99 against Los Angeles while shooting 38 percent from the field. It was the first time all season they failed to score 100 points.

Doncic tallied 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but hit on just 4-of-14 field goal attempts. The Mavericks threatened to close the gap the second half when backup point guard J.J. Barea got hot en route to 15 points. But there was little else to like about Dallas’ offense against a stifling Clippers defense.

There’s nothing to be worried about in Dallas, which snapped a five-game winning streak with the loss and is well ahead of schedule with an 11-6 start.

But it’s evident the Mavericks ran into the better team on Tuesday.

Danny Ainge blames himself, not Kyrie Irving for last season’s shortcomings

Probably to the dismay of Celtics fans, the Celtics President of Basketball Operations didn’t throw Kyrie Irving under a bus in a recent interview.

Greg Dudek | CELTICSBLOG

With the Brooklyn Nets getting set for their first matchup of the season with the Boston Celtics, albeit without star guard Kyrie Irving who is nursing a shoulder injury, it’s tough not to think back to last season and where it all went wrong.

Last year’s shortcomings were a central topic for Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge when he sat down with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols for an interview and Ainge gave his insights on the disappointing year.

But if you were expecting a Kyrie bashing from Ainge after Irving had a tumultuous last season in Boston before signing a 4-year, $141 million deal with the Nets this offseason, you won’t get it.

Instead, Ainge tried to take the blame off Irving’s shoulders and put it on his own.

“Kyrie for his first year-and-a-half was terrific for us,” Ainge told Nichols. “I really liked and was hopeful that it was going to be a good marriage going forward, but he really wanted to go home and that’s his choice. I don’t know why he gets all the blame. I’m the one who should be blamed for last year. We put a team together that the pieces didn’t fit. We had a lot of talent, a lot of expectations, but it’s certainly not Kyrie’s fault.”

In the interview, Ainge expressed that he wished he did some things differently last season, most notably tweaking the roster.

Ainge said the Celtics had at least eight players who all viewed themselves as equal to each other — Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the C’s to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 with Irving and Gordon Hayward sidelined with injuries contributed to that dynamic — and that made it difficult to define roles.

“In hindsight, I wish I would had cleaned out the roster a little bit to make it easier for Brad (Stevens),” Ainge said. “We had a deep roster. We were built for a longer run. We had a lot of young guys that had a lot of success without Gordon and Kyrie and the guys that had success without those two guys felt it was their time for the spotlight. It just didn’t mesh.”

This season with the C’s prized offseason acquisition in Kemba Walker running the point, Ainge can see a difference in the team.

And not necessarily in the level of talent that the C’s still possess, but the enjoyment the team is clearly exuding on the court.

“You can see the joy. We didn’t have that last year,” Ainge said. “Even when we were playing well, we didn’t really find the happiness in playing and the joy with playing with one another.”

This absurd NBA chart shows Luka Doncic’s MVP impact on the Mavericks

Charles Curtis | USA TODAY SPORTS

We’re running out of superlatives for what Luka Doncic is doing this season.

We can at least confirm that he’s doing stuff that’s nearly unheard of in NBA history. As ESPN Stats and Info noted, his 30-point triple-double average over the past 15 games is tied with that Michael Jordan guy for the fourth-longest streak. And they tweeted he’s the second player to total 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists before game No. 90 in their career. The first, of course, was Oscar Robertson.

And now, let’s turn to the impact he’s having on the Dallas Mavericks with his play. We don’t need words for this awe-inspiring chart that shows how, well, off-the-charts Doncic and the Mavs are on offense right now:

WOW.

Per Basketball Reference, Doncic is shooting better at the rim (72.5 percent versus 63.7 percent last year) and of course he’s better from three (34.7 percent over 32.7). There’s over a 10 percent difference in his free-throw shooting, too. And let’s give some credit to the presence of a healthy Kristaps Porzingis for the Mavs’ offensive success.

But what Doncic is doing has made this team a nightmare to defend. And that chart tells the whole story.

Joel Embiid held scoreless for 1st time in career as Raptors beat 76ers

Associated Press

TORONTO — Joel Embiid returned to Toronto and had another night he’d rather forget.

Pascal Siakam scored 25 points, Fred VanVleet added 24 and the Raptors held Embiid scoreless for the first time in his career in a 101-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

“I can’t have this type of production,” Embiid said. “I would have never thought I would be here talking about zero points in an NBA game, but it is what it is. Some nights you make shots, some nights you don’t. Some nights you’re hot, some nights you’re cold.”

It was the first meeting between the teams since Kawhi Leonard‘s dramatic buzzer beater that bounced off the rim four times before dropping, the winning basket in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs in May. Toronto went on to win its first NBA title, before Leonard left for the LA Clippers.

Embiid, who was left tearful after that postseason defeat, didn’t do much Monday to erase those bad memories.

Still, his teammates didn’t seem worried about their star center’s scoreless outing.

“Everyone has down games,” Sixers guard Ben Simmons said. “No one is Superman. It happened tonight to Jo, but he’s going to be good.”

Embiid shot 0-for-11, missing all four of his shots from 3-point range and going 0-for-3 at the free throw line. He finished with a game-high 13 rebounds.

“Defensively, they’re everywhere,” Embiid said of the Raptors. “They’re so long and they make sure they pack the paint.”

Toronto’s Marc Gasol scored just three points, but played a large part in controlling Embiid.

“I think you give Marc Gasol, a former Defensive Player of the Year, credit,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “It was a long night for Jo.”

Embiid was playing for the fourth time in six days, but he denied feeling worn down by Philly’s schedule.

“I didn’t look fatigued, and I was definitely not fatigued,” he said.

Kendrick Perkins says Kyrie Irving is faking injury to avoid return trip to Boston

Ryan Young | Yahoo Sports

Kyrie Irving will miss the Brooklyn Nets’ next three games with a lingering shoulder injury, including a highly anticipated matchup against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday — which would have been his first game back in Boston against his former team.

At least one former NBA star, however, thinks that Irving is faking in order to get out of the trip that was sure to draw a lot of hate from Celtics fans. 

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins — who spent 14 seasons in the league with the Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans — broke out an extremely hot take via Twitter on the news about Irving’s injury on Friday night.

Given Irving’s history with the Celtics, it’s easy to see why this take would come up. 

Irving spent the past two seasons in Boston after he was traded to the Celtics from the Cavaliers, and publicly told Celtics fans that he was going to sign with the team again in free agency this past summer. He eventually reneged on that promise, however, and signed a four-year, $136 million deal with the Nets instead.

The 27-year-old was sure to be met with a loud chorus of boos at TD Garden on Wednesday, if nothing more, and understandably so. 

Perkins’ take, though, seems to lack any substance whatsoever. 

Irving has missed the last four games with a right shoulder impingement that he first suffered against the Utah Jazz earlier this month, and hasn’t practiced all week. He’s undergoing daily treatment, too, and Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said on Thursday that both Irving and their training staff doesn’t feel like he’s at the point where he can play yet. 

Missing seven games in total while faking a shoulder injury seems like a lot of work to get out of a single game, especially when Irving is averaging an impressive 28.5 points and 7.2 assists per contest so far this year. If he actually did want to get out of it, there are surely easier ways out there to go about it.

Irving doesn’t have a history of skipping games against his former teams, either. He played in the Celtics’ season-opener against the Cavaliers in 2017, his first game with Boston after being traded away by Cleveland.

So unless Perkins knows something we don’t, his take simply reads like it’s coming from a bitter Boston fan still upset about losing Irving this past summer.