By Jerry Wein
The Sixers are suddenly hot, and we haven’t heard much of anything from big boss Daryl Morey about trading Ben Simmons.
Of course, it would be nice to ship the overpaid, overrated holdout and get one or two stars in return.
Otherwise, this Sixers season is going to be spent bailing out the water that the Simmons hole has left in the boat:
No real point guard, a diminished defense and a massive cloud to boot.
But the player Morey had once thought would be a match is having his own issues.
The Blazers’ Damian Lillard is out again due to his abdominal injury, and now there may be some concern about what that means for him moving forward.
The Portland star guard missed his second straight game last night with the injury. The abdominal issue already caused Lillard to sit out roughly two weeks of action in December before returning.
Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups gave a seemingly ominous quote about Lillard on Tuesday. He said that the team would have a meeting “soon” to discuss the six-time All-Star’s injury and how it will be handled moving forward, per Blazers reporter Jay Allen.
Portland is quickly dropping like a rock. While they beat Atlanta on Monday, the Blazers had lost four consecutive games before that. At 14-22 overall, the team is currently out of even play-in tournament range in the West. Lillard’s co-star, CJ McCollum, also remains out indefinitely with a collapsed lung.
It is clear that Lillard is not right at the moment. His numbers of 24.0 points per game (Lillard’s lowest since 2014-15) on 40.2 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from deep (both the worst of Lillard’s entire pro career) reflect that. While there is definitely something at stake here for Lillard this season, it sounds like the Blazers may be faced with the tough decision of whether to ultimately shut Lillard down for the season and get him healthy.