It is as big a March tradition as picking Murray State to win in the first round of the Big Dance only to be let down — NBA teams tanking for more lottery ping pong balls.
And the Philadelphia 76ers are just 2 and 8 in their last 10, so they must be tanking, right? No, apparently they just really suck that much. And will admit that to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“It’s impossible,” (Rodney Carney) said. “You get out there, your natural instincts are to try to compete to win the game. Rather than, ‘Oh, I’ll miss this shot.’ No way.”
Carney added: “You hear about it, but you don’t want to do it. We want to win every game we can, regardless of some higher draft pick we could get. We don’t worry about that, and we don’t want to think about it, either.”
Rodney, my man, it is not impossible. All a team needs to do is play the raw rookies more — “we’re just trying to see what we have with them” — and make sure players who have started setting tee times for the summer get key minutes. Happens all the time. Occasionally it’s even more blatant than that. Trust us it happens.
How much this year, when the Nets have the most ping-pong balls locked up? Hard to say. But it’s nice that the Sixers don’t have to worry about that. They are just so flat out bad when then do try that is enough.
Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.
He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.
Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.
Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.
General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.
McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.