Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to recover from the surgically repaired fractured left foot that caused him to miss nearly half of the 2021/22 regular season and Dallas’s first-round 4-2 defeat of the Jazz. It certainly doesn’t sound like he will return in time for these playoffs. He has yet to be cleared to run yet, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).
“He’s shooting the ball, but from my eye, he hasn’t done any running or anything yet,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said in discussing Hardaway’s progress. “So that’s more of a medical question, but right now he’s out.”
Dallas officially announced (Twitter link) that Hardaway would miss the first game of the Mavericks’ second-round matchup against the Suns. Across 42 healthy contests for the Dallas, the 6’5″ shooting guard out of Michigan averaged 14.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.2 APG this season, on .394/.336/.757 shooting splits.
There’s more out of the Southwest:
- A left calf strain to Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic allowed his starting backcourt mate Jalen Brunson to step up his own offensive game, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson has earned rave reviews from his former Villanova teammate Mikal Bridges, whose Suns will face off against Brunson’s Mavericks in their upcoming second-round matchup starting Monday. “He’s been hooping all year,” Brunson enthused. “When Luka went out and he had to step up, he was ready for it. “I’m watching games and I could . . . just tell. I know what shots he’s going to make. I just know. I know how talented he is and how hard he works and how much of a dog he is.” While with Villanova, Bridges and Brunson won two NCAA titles.
- Pelicans team president David Griffin projects his forthcoming contract extension discussions with 2021 All-Star forward Zion Williamson could be difficult, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Clark notes that the Pelicans could offer Williamson a maximum extension worth up to 25% of the salary cap, with 8% yearly raises. “Obviously, that conversation is going to be one that will be a challenge,” Griffin said. “When it’s time to have that, we’ll have it. And right now what we’re focused on is him being healthy, and (being in) kind of elite condition to play basketball and we’ll start there.” Williamson recently indicated he hoped to remain with the Pelicans and get a deal done. Injuries have limited Williamson to just 85 healthy games across his three seasons of NBA action. The No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2019 has been quite productive when available, with career averages of 25.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG and 0.9 APG.
- The Grizzlies, currently in the midst of their first playoff game against the Warriors in a 2-3 second-round matchup, might have a “death lineup” of their own, writes Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian. For Memphis All-Star point guard Ja Morant, breakout second-year shooting guard Desmond Bane, swingman Dillon Brooks, forward Brandon Clarke, and big man Jaren Jackson Jr. could give the Warriors’ ultra-small, shooting-heavy lineups plenty of trouble in their first-round matchup.