NBA News & Rumors: KG, Westbrook, Jackson, Bynum/Odom, Miller and Millsap

Garnett’s knee is just fine. It has been a concern in camp, but apparently KG has his explosion back. In a recent practice, he caught an alley-oop and slammed it home. The Celtics’ fortunes depend heavily on the health of Garnett’s knee. Without him at full strength, they’ll have a tough time competing with the Cavs and Magic. As an NBA fan, a healthy KG is good for the league.

Is Russell Westbrook turning into a dependable point guard? The Oklahoman reports that is A/T ratio in the preseason is 5.4. Last season it was 1.6, which is quite bad. It’s a small sample size, but if Westbrook can get his A/T ratio above 3.0, it will reap dividends for the Thunder. From a fantasy perspective, if he were to cut his turnovers in half and have the same number of assists (which would result in a A/T ratio of about 3.0), then he’d be the 15th most efficient point guard (just below Mo Williams) instead of the 21st most efficient.

Stephen Jackson will play for the Warriors, but he’s not happy about it. There’s a good chance the Warriors will acquiesce and try to fulfill Jackson’s wishes to be traded, but the 31 year-old has three more years remaining on his contract at the tune of $9.3 per season, so there’s no guarantee that a playoff team would be willing to make a move for him. Miami could move Michael Beasley, but Jackson’s contract would ruin the Heat’s financial flexibility next summer. The Suns could use Jackson to replace an aging Grant Hill, but they’re in financial trouble. The Hornets probably make the most sense, but are they willing to spend?

Who will be on the court to finish games — Bynum or Odom? This seems to be the annual question with the Lakers. When is Bynum’s game going to mature enough that it demands that he be on the floor to finish games? Odom is the better player right now, and although he’s flaky at times, he shows up when it counts. Bynum has been erratic, and he’s going to have to produce consistently to convince Phil Jackson to go with a “twin towers” approach. Odom can face the basket, which helps the Lakers spacing. When Bynum is on the floor with Pau Gasol, the lane gets clogged and Kobe doesn’t have as much room to penetrate.

Andre Miller isn’t happy being a backup. If I were Miller, I wouldn’t be happy backing up Steve Blake either. But the simple fact of the matter is that Blake is more suited to running the Blazers if they continue to grind-it-out offensively. Blake is a 39% 3PT shooter (Miller is a career 21% shooter from long range), and if Portland continues to play at a slow pace, then they’ll need Blake’s accuracy on the floor to create penetration lanes for Brandon Roy. Miller can post up, which is one way that Nate McMillan could use him in the half court. But he’s a point guard that thrives on the break, and in recent years, the Blazers just don’t push the ball all that much. This will be one of the more interesting storylines to follow this season.

Paul Millsap doesn’t worry about whether or not he’s starting. And he shouldn’t, because he’s still not quite as good as Carlos Boozer. Millsap should just put his head down and go to work, because he will be the starting power forward in Utah soon enough. The team made it clear by the commitment it made in the offseason. Boozer probably won’t be in Utah next season.

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