We know for a fact Mark Cuban watches every Dallas Mavericks game. He sees how they are playing. He’s smart. He can’t be impressed.
But he has an interesting theory, one he expounded upon on Jason Terry’s radio show (via ESPNDallas) as to why the Mavericks can win the West.
“Half the teams are sucking wind, and half the teams are playing well,” Cuban said. “… The Lakers are getting torched at home worse than we’ve been the last few games. Oklahoma City has been playing well, but they haven’t had an injury yet — literally, not one single injury of any consequence — so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep that up. Utah is playing well, but not as well with [Andrei] Kirilenko out. Denver is struggling. San Antonio is playing well most of the time, when Manu [Ginobili] scores 40.
“You look down the list, and nobody’s afraid of anybody. Nobody looks at us and says, ‘We’re afraid of them.’ Look, if we dial in, we know we can kill anybody. It’s just a question of focus.”
Right now the only two people high on the Mavs are Cuban and Dirk, but they are the two voices that count in that organization. So we listen.
The thing is, it’s just a question of focus for eight teams in the West. A healthy focused Denver, dangerous. A focused Jazz team, dangerous. A Lakers team focused three quarters of the time, dangerous.
It is wide open in the West. There will be an upset or five. But in the end, as it always it, the outcome will be about matchups and execution. Call that focus if you like.
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.