Mourning: "they don't have any shot-blockers anymore"

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There are some spectacular blocked shots in the NBA with guys flying in from the weakside and sending shots three rows deep. But there are precious few guys who own the paint and intimidate. Plenty of guys who can block a shot or two , few who alter more shots than they block. Few who make point guards think twice about entering the paint.

Alonzo Mourning owned the paint. Owned it. And he has noticed the current trend, something he talked about it with Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie (read the whole interview, you’ll be glad you did).

Well you know, they don’t have any shot-blockers anymore. And, to tell you the truth, most of the big men are playing on the perimeter. It’s amazing now, our perimeter-orientated game. One thing I was never afraid of was contesting shots, that’s how I made my living. I led the country my freshman year in blocked shots. As a freshman. And in high school I averaged a triple-double in blocks; 10 blocks a game in high school.

It’s a mentality. It’s a mentality you have to develop, and when you’re playing down in that painted area, the instincts just take over. That’s your painted area, and you want to guard it…

They don’t block shots, they don’t post up anymore, they’re just shooting a lot of jumpers. That makes all the difference in the world. It’s amazing – if I came into the NBA now, like I came back into the NBA in ’92, I’d probably be averaging 30 a game.

The center position (and the idea of position) in the NBA is evolving. But who was in the NBA Finals last year — Orlando and Dwight Howard, the Lakers with Andrew Bynum (and Pau Gasol). Cleveland was missing a piece, they went out and got Shaq. Notice a trend here?

In the end, basketball is a simple game — put the ball in the hoop. A center who can own the paint makes that job a lot harder for the other team. It makes a team much, much better. And while the idea of a center evolves, there will always be room for a guy who played like Mourning.

C.J. McCollum ejected for flagrantly fouling Gordon Hayward (video)

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I’m not sure C.J. McCollum meant to grab Gordon Hayward‘s neck. The 6-foot-8 Hayward elevated, and the 6-foot-4 McCollum just might not have been able to get high enough to make a play on the ball.

But McCollum did grab Hayward’s neck.

It was a dangerous and unnecessary play, especially in the preseason.

Report: Mavericks may be team interested in Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders
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The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.

Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.

His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.

He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.