There are various players with no plans to suit up for their teams in the bubble in Orlando later this month. But for all of those guys sitting, there are still plenty that will be playing for their respective club. Keep reading for the decisions of several players.
Howard Opts In
Dwight Howard is planning to play in Orlando, which is a big piece of news for the Los Angeles Lakers. A team that thrives on its breadth of big men will have them all available to play.
Howard has opted in to playing, and this is a big move for the Lakers. Playing a bench role for the first time in his career, Howard has looked good with his new situation.
The only things he has to do now are rebound and protect the rim. He isn’t looked to for big double-doubles anymore, just cleaning up misses around the basket.
This has been great for him coming off a season in which he only appeared in nine games. He’s won every award but MVP in his career and earned all other accolades except a ring.
This year is his best chance to get his first title in this league. And he’s playing, so he’ll have a chance to be on the floor to help his squad claim it.
Hardaway Jr. Playing
There is not a more inconsistent player in the game than Tim Hardaway Jr., who can give you 30 points one night, and then go 1-for-12 the very night. But he gets hot, and he can make a significant difference for the Mavericks. The Mavs pride themselves on having an endless supply of quality role players behind Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
Hardaway can knock down the three effectively and is a tough guy for wing players to cover. He got the “heating up” gene from his star father, Tim Sr. He’s had minimal playoff opportunities in his career to date, so this will be a great chance for him to shine on the big stage.
He will need to score the rock for this team when the game really matters. The stars can’t do it all. And now that he is officially playing after some uncertainty, Hardaway has to be prepared.
In an ideal world, he’ll average 14-18 points per game for the Mavs during the extended regular season/playoffs.
Miller’s Season is Over
He is not as well-known as the other two players, but Darius Miller is going to be missed for New Orleans after he’s opted out of playing. He spent 2012-2015 with the Pelicans before spending two years playing overseas.
They re-signed him ahead of the 2017-18 year. He has made 280 threes, and averaged eight points per game over the past two years.
An ACL tear kept him sidelined for the entirety of this season. And while there was some optimism that he would come back with the extra time off, he’s opted to sit this one out. New Orleans will miss his ability not only as a shooter but as a terrific perimeter defender.
The Pelicans have more depth this year than they have had in the past, but still, he brings a lot to the table. For added depth, they have brought in former Clipper Sindarius Thornwell. He’s likely to play very few minutes.
What’s Up with Washington?
They are playing in Orlando, but there are no expectations for the short-handed Wizards. No John Wall and no Davis Bertans. They don’t have much in the playmaking realm. And now comes word that Bradley Beal won’t be playing due to a shoulder injury.
With Beal sitting, the Wizards’ best player will be Thomas Bryant, who was on a minutes restriction for the majority of this year. Unfortunately, a 1-7 or 0-8 record may well await this team.