Andris Biedrins is having the worst season of his career. Just 18 months after he signed a new, six-year contract with the team where they paid him to be a building block.
Tuesday night and then again Wednesday a frustrated Warriors Coach Don Nelson unloaded on Biedrins.
“He’s not the same player this year as the last couple — or the same player that got him the big contract,” Nellie said. “Whatever that is, he’s got to get the passion back. I can’t do that.”
“He doesn’t really have an inside game that you could go to. When I’ve tried to go to it to get his confidence up, he hasn’t delivered. His shot’s not there. There’s a way to be involved in a screen and role, and there’s a way to hide and not be involved. I think he chooses to hide at this point. We’re trying to demand that he get the ball and do things with it and be aggressive.”
Nelson traced it all back to free throw shooting — Biedrins has horrific mechanics on his shot and is hitting 13 percent of his free throws.
“I think it has to do with his free-throw shooting (being tentative on offense to avoid going to the line). I told him today that if I were him, I would be wanting to shoot free throws so I’m not the all-time worst (single-season) free-throw shooter in the history of the NBA. If he could get to the free-throw line and even make five or six out of 10, at least it would be an improvement. I would be looking to get fouled, and I think he’s looking not to get fouled.”
Nelson is right. Criticize Nelson for his lack of passion if you want, for his rotations or even his style of play. That doesn’t mean he is wrong here.
Biedrins averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds a game last year. Last year he averaged 8.6 shots per game and got six of those right at the rim for dunks or layups. This season Biedrins is at the rim 2.7 times again. He shies away.
And that is all something Biedrins has got to want to change. Right now he doesn’t seem to care.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.