NBA

NBA Slideshow

Tiki and Tierney: Sekou Smith talks LeBron James

NBA analyst Sekou Smith joins Tiki Barber to discuss whether Lebron James is playing too many minutes this season.

Tiki and Tierney: Sekou Smith talks LeBron James

NBA analyst Sekou Smith joins Tiki Barber to discuss whether Lebron James is playing too many minutes this season.

Tiki and Tierney: Sekou Smith talks LeBron James

NBA analyst Sekou Smith joins Tiki Barber to discuss whether Lebron James is playing too many minutes this season.

Tiki and Tierney: Sekou Smith talks LeBron James

NBA analyst Sekou Smith joins Tiki Barber to discuss whether Lebron James is playing too many minutes this season.

LaVar Ball on Luke Walton: “They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son.”

Luke Walton is a modern NBA coach. LaVar Ball is old school. Walton

LaVar Ball on Luke Walton: “They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son.”

Luke Walton is a modern NBA coach. LaVar Ball is old school. Walton

LaVar Ball on Luke Walton: “They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son.”

Luke Walton is a modern NBA coach. LaVar Ball is old school. Walton

PBT Podcast: Breaking down rookie class’s start to NBA season

We talk Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and more.

PBT Podcast: Breaking down rookie class’s start to NBA season

We talk Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and more.

PBT Podcast: Breaking down rookie class’s start to NBA season

We talk Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and more.

Michael Porter Jr.'s Injury Craters Missouri's Hopes for a Dream Season

Every year, about 4,000 teenagers enroll as freshmen at the University of Missouri. Another 75,000 or so babies are born to families in the state. Many of those poor young people are doomed, in the sense that by virtue of their birthplace or their college admittance they will cheer for the Missouri Tigers.

I was both born in Missouri and chose to attend graduate school at Mizzou. I am twice cursed. I don’t remember the Fifth Down Game—I was about to turn three—but I lived through Frank Haith’s tenure as basketball coach and the loss to Norfolk State, the checkered career of former No. 1 football recruit Dorial Green-Beckham and Gary Pinkel’s revelation of a cancer diagnosis days after he’d managed his team through a divisive boycott. Really, even the good moments at Missouri often turn out poorly. In 2007, after its best season in program history, the football team was denied a BCS bowl bid that was given instead to Kansas—which it had beaten two weeks earlier. Quin Snyder, one of the NBA’s most talented coaches who was once the hottest name in college basketball, got his start at Missouri—where he embarked on a crusade of NCAA infractions and left the program in dire straits.

That is to say: I was totally prepared for Tuesday’s news about Michael Porter Jr. In fact, the minute I heard he tweaked his hip in warmups before the Tigers’ opening game against Iowa State, this scenario played out in my mind. Sure, I didn’t consider an L3-L4 disc issue—we Missouri fans are scarred, not clairvoyant—but that night I couldn’t help but explore worst-case scenarios.

And here we are. Porter, a former five-star recruit who had a case to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NBA draft, had surgery Tuesday. He’ll be out for three to four months—so until February or March. That’s a nice way to say that the most exciting player in the history of Missouri basketball is finished playing for the Tigers exactly two minutes, two rebounds and two points into his career. (Please, I ask you, do not contemplate the idea that Porter might return to college basketball next year. I will plug my ears and hum R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.” It’s too much to contemplate. He’ll still be a top pick even after missing the season.) It’s been five years since the Tigers made the NCAA tournament, and what seemed like a given with Porter, his younger brother Jontay and Jeremiah Tilmon anchoring this year’s team now looks like a stretch. Sure, Cuonzo Martin is a massive step up in the coaching department, but without Porter, the Tigers are going to have to work to find a consistent scoring threat.

Last Thursday, I ate dinner with three friends who also attended Missouri. Because the establishment where we chose to dine did not carry the Pac-12 Network, we weren’t able to watch the Tigers’ game against Utah. We were only able to watch on Gamecast as Tilmon registered his first foul 37 seconds into the game and proceeded to foul four times before scoring a point. The team lost to Utah and then four days later managed to win by only five points over the mighty Emporia State University Hornets. Thanks to that game being broadcast only on a platform known as the SEC Network Plus, many eyeballs were also spared this affront.

That said, this isn’t a lost season—the team looked good against Iowa State and Wagner, even without Porter, and it can be competent thanks to his supporting cast and Martin—but the dream of the Tigers making a deep tournament run and setting the tone for a new era of basketball in Columbia effectively died on Tuesday.

Through four games, two players from last year’s Missouri team are among the Tigers’ top three in scoring: Kevin Puryear (13.3 points per game) and Jordan Barnett (9.0). The team’s second-leading scorer, Kassius Robertson (13.0) is a graduate transfer from Canisius, and suddenly this Missouri team that was supposed to be powered by underclassmen looks a lot like one that’ll rely on veteran talent. With Martin’s experience, it’s possible to imagine the team still taking a step forward, and if Tilmon can control his fouls and Jontay Porter can be even half the player his brother is forecast to be (which he should), this will still be watchable basketball. And that’s all very nice, but it doesn’t change the fact that this was a horrendous day for Missouri sports.

The football team is bowl eligible, though, after starting the season 1-5. This is very good news, and it’s lovely that the school’s second hiring of a beloved graduate this decade might not end in despair. Missourians, shift your focus back to football! There’s hope!

…Until Drew Lock declares a year early for the NFL draft.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) slumps to the court after New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) elbowed him in the head, resulting in Cousins' ejection, in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)

New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) elbows Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) in the head, drawing an ejection from the game, in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry and center DeMarcus Cousins (0) watch the replay of Cousins elbowing Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) in the head in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. Cousins was ejected for the play. The Pelicans won 114-107. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)

Star NBA draft prospect Michael Porter, Jr. likely out for season with back injury

Potential top pick in 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter Jr. will likely miss entire freshman season

Potential top overall pick Michael Porter Jr. will miss his entire freshman season after undergoing surgery.

Gilbert Arenas: Steph Curry is not a Top 5 point guard

Calm down Warriors fans.

Gilbert Arenas is just looking to make headlines (and it worked).

On the most recent episode of his show "Out of Bounds," Arenas unveiled his Top 5 point guards in the NBA:

1) Chris Paul
2) LeBron James
3) John Wall
4) Damian Lillard
5) Ben Simmons

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. to miss 3-4 months

The No. 2 overall recruit and highly-touted NBA prospect will undergo back surgery, putting his college season in jeopardy.

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. to miss 3-4 months

The No. 2 overall recruit and highly-touted NBA prospect will undergo back surgery, putting his college season in jeopardy.

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. to miss 3-4 months

The No. 2 overall recruit and highly-touted NBA prospect will undergo back surgery, putting his college season in jeopardy.

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. to miss 3-4 months

The No. 2 overall recruit and highly-touted NBA prospect will undergo back surgery, putting his college season in jeopardy.

Michael Porter Jr. to Undergo Season-Ending Spinal Surgery

Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. will undergo surgery on his back that will likely cause him to miss the remainder of the season, the university announced. Porter will undergo a microdisectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs, which has a projected recovery time of three to four months.

"I really appreciate the support of my family & program as I begin this process," Porter said in a statement. "I’m thankful for the kind words & messages I’ve received from fans. Those mean a lot to me. I cannot wait to be completely healthy and playing the game I love, once again."

He also posted the following image on Instagram:

Porter left the Tigers' season opener against Iowa State after tweaking his hip two minutes into the game and finished the day with just two points. He did not play in Missouri's game against Wagner on Monday as coach Cuonzo Martin said that Porter was resting his leg. Porter did not travel with the team to play against Utah.

2018 NBA Mock Draft: First-Round Projections

Martin issued the following statement on Tuesday:

"Our top priority as a program is the well-being of our student-athletes, so Michael beginning this process to be 100% healthy is important to all of us. Our focus has been on Michael’s well-being, just like every other player in our locker room. We will continue to work every day to build Mizzou Basketball into a program to be proud of. We’re preparing now for a trip that is a tremendous opportunity. I’m excited to get after it in Orlando."

Porter was projected to be a potential lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, if he decided to leave after his freshman year. He was No. 4 on Jeremy Woo's Big Board, which was released on Monday.

Missouri will play on Thursday in the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando.

Michael Porter Jr. to undergo surgery, expected to miss season

Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on his spine on Tuesday that will cause him to miss the rest of the season, Missouri announced. The procedure is a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs and the projected recovery period will likely end his season. Porter is a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA

Michael Porter Jr. to undergo surgery, expected to miss season

Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on his spine on Tuesday that will cause him to miss the rest of the season, Missouri announced. The procedure is a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs and the projected recovery period will likely end his season. Porter is a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA

Michael Porter Jr. to undergo surgery, expected to miss season

Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on his spine on Tuesday that will cause him to miss the rest of the season, Missouri announced. The procedure is a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs and the projected recovery period will likely end his season. Porter is a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA

Why Skip Bayless Believes Celtics Can Beat Cavs In NBA Playoff Series

Remember when Gordon Hayward suffered that horrific ankle injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Boston Celtics’ season opener? Of... Read More »

By-The-Numbers: Beal on pace to join a 'who's who' of all-time NBA marksmen

White Mamba Minute: Playing fantasy does NOT make you a GM

Brian Scalabrine shares his thoughts on the fans that think they are ready to run an NBA franchise because they play fantasy basketball.

White Mamba Minute: Playing fantasy does NOT make you a GM

Brian Scalabrine shares his thoughts on the fans that think they are ready to run an NBA franchise because they play fantasy basketball.

White Mamba Minute: Playing fantasy does NOT make you a GM

Brian Scalabrine shares his thoughts on the fans that think they are ready to run an NBA franchise because they play fantasy basketball.

White Mamba Minute: Playing fantasy does NOT make you a GM

Brian Scalabrine shares his thoughts on the fans that think they are ready to run an NBA franchise because they play fantasy basketball.

Why Stephen A. Smith Has Celtics Leading Nearly Every NBA Award Race

If the 2017-18 NBA season ended today, the Boston Celtics likely would take home plenty of hardware. Don’t believe us?... Read More »

LeBron James to Star in 2018 Animated Movie 'Smallfoot'

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will voice the character of Gwangi, a yeti, in the animated film Smallfoot, he announced on Twitter Tuesday. The movie is set to release in September 2018.

According to IMDB, the film will detail "A yeti [that is] in convinced that the elusive creatures known as 'humans' really do exist." The Warner Bros. production will featured a star-studded cast including Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez and Danny DeVito.

This isn't James' first journey into the entertainment world. In 2015, he appeared alongside Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson and Colin Quinn in the film, Trainwreck. James is also an executive producer and star of the upcoming Space Jam 2 movie and has appeared on episodes of Entourage and SpongeBob SquarePants.

In 2013, James created SpringHill Entertainment, a multi-platform production company, with longtime friend Maverick Carter. This week, YouTube green-lit a docu-series produced by James and Carter about a team of high-school basketball players learning life skills through basketball, titled Best Shot.

After a slow start to the 2017-18 season, James and the Cavaliers have won five straight games. The 32-year-old is averaging 28.3 points, 8.5 assists and 7.4 rebounds on the season. Despite this being his 15th NBA season, James leads the league in minutes, playing almost 38 minutes per game.

Former NBA star Ray Allen claims in court he was 'catfished'

Allen filed a motion the day after he was accused in court of stalking a man who Allen says passed himself off online as several women.

Former NBA star Ray Allen claims in court he was 'catfished'

Former NBA star Ray Allen claims in court he was 'catfished'

Former NBA star Ray Allen claims in court he was 'catfished'

Former NBA star Ray Allen claims in court he was 'catfished'

NBA Draft 2018 sleepers: Five under-the-radar players who could sneak up big boards

NBA Draft 2018 sleepers: Five under-the-radar players who could sneak up big boards

NBA Draft 2018 sleepers: Five under-the-radar players who could sneak up big boards

NBA Draft 2018 sleepers: Five under-the-radar players who could sneak up big boards

NBA Draft 2018 sleepers: Five under-the-radar players who could sneak up big boards

From potential late first-rounders to second-round potshots, here’s a look at five under-the-radar 2018 NBA Draft prospects.

NBA Draft 2018 sleepers: Five under-the-radar players who could sneak up big boards

From potential late first-rounders to second-round potshots, here’s a look at five under-the-radar 2018 NBA Draft prospects.

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