Rivers ceded authority over personnel

When Griffin arrived at Staples Center for his free-agency pitch meeting on July 1, he found the Clippers had erected something of a maze for him with temporary walls. Griffin walked his 3-year-old son, Ford, through the art gallery-style corridors, and found photos hanging at each turn: Griffin on his green Huffy bike with his brother, Taylor, when they were kids; Griffin playing in college; Griffin as a Clipper.

Ballmer stocked the front office with smart new hires — including Jerry West. They weren’t well-positioned to rebuild, anyway; Rivers had frittered away too many draft picks, and whiffed on fringe signings. They would build again around Griffin — and maybe Jordan.

That gave Watson 168.86 fantasy points for the season through seven games, the most by any quarterback through that many contests since at least 1950. In fact, only Eric Dickerson (200.5) and Marcus Allen (174.38) had more using PPR scoring through their first seven career games among players at any position during that time span, and Dickerson (176.5) was the only one with more using non-PPR scoring.

There are only so many shots to be created for this squad, overachievers as they are. The Heat have only one rotation player with a positive net rating — Josh Richardson at plus-0.1. At No. 27 in rebounding rate, the Heat desperately need Hassan Whiteside to return from a knee injury. He returned to practice on Friday, but was a no-go in Saturday night’s loss to Boston.

The good news for the Hornets? A league-average defense last season has vaulted to seventh with the arrival of Dwight Howard from Atlanta. The bad news? A league-average offense last season has tumbled to 21st. Now Charlotte faces a week when they’ll play three tough road games at Memphis, San Antonio and Minnesota, along with a home date against Team Giannis.

He gave Bellinger’s rookie season a Level Nine rating — one of 47 such seasons in major league history. James wrote that 30 percent of those players are in the Hall of Fame or nearly certain to get there.
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