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Could a lingering injury impact Victor Oladipo’s chances at snagging an All-Star spot?


Damian Lillard has missed Portland’s last five games with a strained hamstring, but the Blazers have gotten huge shots from unexpected places in his absence. They’re 3-2, with each of their wins decided by one or two possessions. In the final five minutes with the score within five points, Al-Farouq Aminu, Maurice Harkless and Evan Turner are a combined 5-for-5 from deep. — Vincent Johnson

After Rick Carlisle’s rather bellicose comments on LaVar Ball, Steve Kerr came with a thoughtful sermon on ESPN’s priorities, which included shouting out two laid-off ESPN journalists. Meanwhile, I argue that the Lakers are doing everyone a favor by essentially ignoring the guy.

Last bit on this guy, hopefully for a few weeks. I have a Twitter list made up solely of major NBA reporters and columnists from ESPN and other outlets. I check it every morning. With a brief break to laud Alabama’s freshman quarterback, that entire timeline was devoted to LaVar Ball on Monday, despite near unanimous agreement among those reporters with Kerr’s sentiment that reporters are spending too much time talking about Ball.

If you want to stop talking about LaVar Ball…maybe try stop talking about LaVar Ball. (Now I’m going to stop talking about LaVar Ball for a little while. Probably. Maybe.)

So that’s his mindset. He understands it. He doesn’t get caught up in the hype. He’s not going to be eaten by the monster of Alabama. Because he knows at the end of the day, the accolades and all of those things can leave quickly.

As the top-rated dual-threat QB prospect in Texas, Hurts could have easily stayed in Big 12 country and run the same Air Raid system he grew up in. It suited him well, having amassed 51 touchdowns in 11 games as a high school senior.

But Hurts wanted a new challenge. Although he initially wondered whether he was good enough — Saban and all those championships felt like a myth, he said — the phone eventually rang.

Nick Saban just offered me a scholarship? he said. It was like, dang. But then you put your two feet in it and you’re like, ‘Wow, they’re normal.’

Hurts enrolled early in December of 2015 as the Tide were preparing to face Clemson in the national championship game, and his first assignment was to mimic Deshaun Watson for the scout team.

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