Carmelo Anthony and the wonders of threat construction


Carmelo Anthony feels wronged. It fuels him in practice, keeps him hungry, and serves as a constant reminder that he has to hit the court every night in an effort to prove someone wrong.

Wronged by whom, you ask? Why, the ever-ambiguous media bogeyman, of course. From Chris Tomasson of NBA FanHouse:

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony still claims his team isn’t getting any respect. “We still feel disrespected,” Anthony said after the latest dispatching of an NBA heavyweight, 114-105 Sunday over Boston at the Pepsi Center. “We still go out there with a chip on our shoulder. That chip is not going anywhere.” Wait a minute. Who’s disrespecting the Nuggets these days? “You guys that write,” Anthony said, referring to the media, although he didn’t have any specific examples to offer.

Forget the fact that the Nuggets have been considered the only non-Laker contender in the Western Conference all year long, and stand as the nearly-unanimous #2 in the conference hierarchy. Never you mind that Carmelo Anthony was generating legitimate MVP buzz at the start of the season, or that Denver had two representatives in the All-Star Game. Everyone on the planet is out to get the Nuggets, and they don’t like it one bit.

Players and coaches use all kinds of motivational tactics to give themselves the strength to face an 82-game regular season. Plus, regardless of what you think of Anthony’s assertion, it’s hard to argue the results; the Nuggets have been rolling all season long despite injuries to prominent members of the rotation, and most recently they bested the Boston Celtics on national television.

If you look hard enough, you can find a media member to represent just about any perspective. I’m sure there are writers out there who don’t believe the Nuggets to be an elite team, and have written as such, just as you could find writers who genuinely believe that the Lakers aren’t good enough to win the West, LeBron James isn’t the MVP, or that the Cavaliers trading for Antawn Jamison was a mistake. There are countless voices out there with just as many perspectives. But hey, if Carmelo needs to use the big, bad media as a reason to play some beautiful and effective basketball, just as the Nuggets have all season long, then that’s just fine. 

Sixers to retire Moses Malone’s number next season

Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone

Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.

There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.