There’s nothing wrong with taking time to deliberate a purchase, whether that purchase is a big screen TV, a new car, or the services of D-League All-Star point guard. So the Oklahoma City Thunder brought Shakur in for a 10-day contract, didn’t re-up him for a second, stewed over the decision for a few days, and have officially inked him to a deal for the rest of the season.
Shakur was not the most productive guard in the D-League, but he was certainly up there. In 43 games for the Tulsa 66ers this season, Shakur averaged 20.4 points per game (14th among qualified guards) and 7.1 assists per game (5th among qualified guards). Not too shabby at all, but it’s Mustafa’s abilities — not just his production — that should have scouts drooling. Sometimes when a player looks like an NBA point guard, sounds like an NBA point guard, and smells like an NBA point guard, they’re probably an NBA point guard.
That’s the case with Shakur, who has big-league size and skills, but was only missing a legit opportunity to make an NBA roster. This could be Shakur’s big break, and though he isn’t likely to get much playing time behind a pretty decent guard rotation in OKC, it’s a start. The confidence from the Thunder franchise is the important thing, and being able to add call-up legitimacy to his resume should help Shakur net a full-length guaranteed gig in the future.
A good rule of thumb: If LeBron James is getting few breakaway dunks, the other team is in trouble.
Enter the Toronto Raptors, who got to watch a dunking clinic by LeBron as he had multiple breakaways during the Cavaliers’ 38-point win on Wednesday night. LeBron played well, and the Cavaliers got a balanced attack from their stars — 25 points from Kevin Love, 23 each from LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Watch LeBron’s night above. Toronto needs to find a way to keep him from having another game like this Friday.
After a beatdown at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 — a loss where he was just 5-of-12 shooting, a loss that has the Raptors on the brink of playoff elimination — Kyle Lowry did what he had to do and went in front of the media to answer questions and try to explain that loss.
But really, his face when he walked into the interview room and saw the box score summed up the Raptors night perfectly.
Lowry and the Raptors need to turn it around and win at home Friday night to keep their playoff dream alive another day.
The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.
It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.
Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.
Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.
Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.
Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.
Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?