Billups: "And1 basketball… messed up the game"

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Thumbnail image for Billups_game.jpgChauncey Billups is old — 33, which by NBA standards borders on being a grandpa.
And like any old guy, he knows in his bones the current generation just doesn’t get it, how to play basketball the right way (like he does). Nobody is teaching these kids right. He told Mike and Scott on 104.3 the Fan in Denver as much.

It starts young. You got to get these kids to understand the fundamentals of the game, to understand that it is a team game and not about one guy scoring 20-40 points. It’s about the team effort, the team effort and the camaraderie. You got to start those learning experiences young. Because the And1 basketball that broke the scene six or seven years ago messed the game up. That’s not basketball. That’s fun and that’s cool when you go to the park… I think so many times, the young players today, think that 25 points is dominating the game. 25 points is not dominating the game. That might mean you are scoring. But that’s only one facet of the game. Are you getting stops? Are you getting rebounds? Are you going after loose balls? Are you stopping their man from getting 25? You know, little stuff like that.”

The game is evolving somewhat, but that’s healthy. And it’s not really the fault of And 1, which is really just a logical extension of playground basketball and the parade of dunk highlights on SportsCenter nightly in an evolving media and entertainment landscape. It’s also not a shock that the youth want to do the fun thing and not practice the fundamentals, John Wooden fought the same fight (just ask Bill Walton), so did the man who taught Wooden the game. Naismith’s kids probably practiced trick shots first.

And yet, every generation, fundamentally sound players emerge in the NBA. They are plenty in the league now, although many of the younger ones come from Europe. But American born players evolve into those fundamental players that Billups loves. Kobe Bryant was a brash, gunning dunker, now he is as fundamentally solid as anyone in the league. And that is the pattern, guys learn. And the ones that learn best get rings.

Like Mr. Billups.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.