LeBron James was a huge reason the United States took home the gold in Bejiing. Makes sense, since he’s the best basketball player on the planet and all. It was a great experience for him, for the team, for the country, and the banner yet waived. But this summer? It’s a whole other deal.
LeBron has one of the biggest summers of his life coming up, as his personal brand reaches a zenith. Beyond the obvious decision of where he’ll make his kingdom over the prime of his career, James has an ever-expanding business empire, personal appearances, and of course, a family. He’s also filming a movie. You know, like you do.
So some things might have to take a back seat to the itinerary. Like Team USA. James told reporters today that the prospect of him playing for Team USA in the World Championships in Turkey was “very, very shady.”
It’s a hornets nest trying to make an evaluation of this decision. On the one hand, you’re playing for your country, representing it against the rest of the world’s best, an opportunity every American should cherish. On the other, a component of his place in this world is the limited amount of time he has, and he quite obviously does not have time to do everything, nay, much of what he really wants to do. If this were the Olympics? He’d be a definite.
We’ll have to see who ends up actually going to Turkey this summer with so many stars making similar decisions as James.
So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.
But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.
But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.
When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.
Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.
Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.
Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.
Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.
New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.
I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.
But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.