Here’s what Jalen has been told: These people don’t love you, they just love what you’re doing, he said. They don’t care about you because they don’t know you. … You’re always going to have people cheering for you, and those are the people who know and care about you. And you’re going to have some people come watch you play every game to hope you fail.
Jones has been on the injury report eight of the last 10 weeks, along with two other weeks early in the season.
None of the injuries were serious enough to keep him from playing, but they did require plenty of tender loving care to make sure there were no setbacks. That’s why, over the course of the last four months, the injury report has listed him as limited or out of practice more times than he’s fully participated.
Game day is a different story.
If you say you’re gonna go, go. Don’t bring it up in the middle of the game, he said. We know it hurts. Don’t let your mind be negative. Just stay positive. If something’s hurting or anything like that, I never relay it back to (the sideline). I know it hurts. You don’t want to talk about it and bring that stuff up during the game. If I suit up, I’m going. I’m not saying anything about it.
A turning point in Jones’ pain threshold came during his sophomore season at Alabama. He broke his left hand in a game, had surgery the next day and was cleared to play the following week.
The first voting update is due Thursday, so we’ll soon find out where Oladipo stands among the fans. ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus views Oladipo as an All-Star as he ranks 10th in the NBA — fifth in the East — in RPM. — Micah Adams
The Heat rank 27th in the NBA in points in the paint (40.4) and free throw attempts (18.9) per game despite ranking third in the league in drives (50.3) per game. For a Miami team that’s top-10 in the league in making 3s — something that hasn’t happened since 2012-13 — being able to complete plays in the paint will give this offense some more diversity. — Vincent Johnson
The Pelicans are perfectly average: 18-18 on the season, 9-9 at home, 9-9 on the road, 4,002 points scored and 4,004 points allowed. In games that are decided in the final five minutes with the score within five, they’re 11-11. Making this team’s performance much more head-scratching is that with All-Stars DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, a duo the league has no answer for, the Pelicans are still so exceptionally ordinary. — Vincent Johnson