There are a couple of ways to beat the Suns in a playoff series. One is to simply shut down Steve Nash, and stop his pick-and-roll with Amare Stoudemire. What could be simpler?
Not fond of option one? Well, option number two is to pound the ball inside on offense, score in the paint, and dominate the boards on both ends of the floor. That sounds a little bit easier, doesn’t it?
It’s been even easier with Robin Lopez sidelined as he has been for the last eight games with back problems. The Suns have gone 6-2 in that stretch, but not exactly against the toughest of competition (the Spurs and Thunder were the only real quality teams they faced).
When the playoffs start Saturday, the competition will be tougher. And the Suns are planning for life without Lopez, coach Alvin Gentry told FanHouse.
“He’s going to be evaluated [Monday], then we’ll see from there what happens,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “He’s making some progress, but we have to assume that he’s not going to be with us. And then if he ends up being with us, then that would be a huge bonus for us.”
Lopez is scarcely a part of the Suns high-powered offense. But he is their defensive anchor inside. The guy that makes it hard to just beat the Suns by pounding on them. Robin Lopez is not the most gifted of centers, but he’s tough.
And the Suns need tough. Especially in the first round of the playoffs when they could face Utah or Denver, two teams that love to pound. But the Suns may well have to get by without him, and that may mean an early exit.
Jose Calderon has won three Olympic medals – silver in 2008 and 2012 and bronze this year.
Just three men’s basketball players have won more:
- Carmelo Anthony (three golds and a bronze for Team USA)
- Gennady Volnov (a gold,* two silvers and a bronze for the Soviet Union)
- Sergey Belov (a gold* and three bronzes for the Soviet Union)
Calderon, who turns 35 next month, won’t catch them.
O. Cauchi of Sportando:
Veteran point guard Jose Calderon has officially announced his retirement from Spanish NT.
Calderon barely played in Rio. Spain is stacked at point guard with Sergio Rodriguez, Ricky Rubio and Sergio Llull.
The Lakers aren’t as deep at the position with D'Angelo Russell and Marcelo Huertas. Calderon might have a bigger impact in Los Angeles – especially if he’s not saving himself for Eurobasket 2017.
Craig Sager skipped the Rio Olympics to prepare for a bone-marrow transplant.
As he awaits that procedure, the famed sideline reporter provided an update on his outlook.
Sager, via I.J. Rosenberg at AJC.com:
“I have met life’s challenges by climbing the Great Wall of China, riding with the bulls in Pamplona, sailing the Pacific Ocean with Ted Turner, jumping out of airplanes over Kansas, hang gliding off the cliffs of Mexico, bungee jumping atop a tower in San Antonio, and swimming with the sharks in the Caribbean.
“I have run the bases with Hank Aaron after No. 715, thrown out the first pitch at Wrigley Field, graced the cover of ‘Sports Illustrated’, and received the Jimmy V perseverance Award at the ESPY’s. I have covered eight Olympiads, dozens of Super Bowls, 24 Masters, and NBA games too numerous to count.
“I continue to live life full of love and full of fun the only way I know how.”
Fight on, Craig.
The Pistons will start Reggie Jackson at point guard, and they signed Ish Smith to provide better backup at the position.
The competition for the third point guard spot is heating up.
With Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum already signed to unguaranteed deals, Detroit is adding undrafted Old Dominion guard Trey Freeman.
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Pistons have just 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. The final spot will very likely go to a point guard.
Brown and McCallum should be favored in the competition, because they’re more NBA-ready. A president/coach, Stan Van Gundy is more prone to covet the player who can step in immediately.
Freeman’s partial guarantee is likely designed to entice him to play in the D-League for a low base salary. The Pistons can waive him in the preseason and then assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, though he’d become an NBA free agent.
Freeman is working to become a better distributor after playing as a go-to scorer in college. A solid mid-range shooter, he must extend his range beyond the arc. It’d also help if he got to the rim more, and it seems he has the bounce to do that.
For an undrafted player, he has nice tools. They’ll probably just need to be refined in the D-League.
But even if that’s the intention, Freeman at least gives himself a chance first of upsetting Brown and McCallum in the race for third point guard.
With 32 wins and missing the playoffs, last season wasn’t exactly what the Knicks hoped for. However, last season also came with hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis.
And there were highlights. Check out the team’s Top 10 plays, courtesy NBA.com.
It starts with some Derrick Williams moments, and ends with a Jose Calderon game winner, but there are moments from players the fans actually like in between.