If the Hawks can retire Dikembe Mutombo’s number after four and a half seasons in Atlanta, the Nuggets can retire it after five in Denver.
Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:
Mutombo will join the list of people who’ve had a number retired by multiple teams:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lakers, Bucks)
- Charles Barkley (76ers, Suns)
- Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors, Lakers, 76ers)
- Clyde Drexler (Trail Blazers, Rockets)
- Julius Erving (Nets, 76ers)
- Michael Jordan (Bulls, Heat)
- Bob Lanier (Pistons, Bucks)
- Moses Malone (Rockets, 76ers)
- Pete Maravich (Jazz, Pelicans)
- Earl Monroe (Knicks, Wizards)
- Oscar Robertson (Bucks, Kings)
- Jerry Sloan (Bulls, Jazz)
- Nate Thurmond (Cavaliers, Warriors)
Shaquille O’Neal, who had his number retired by the Lakers, will also make the list this season, when the Heat will put his number in the rafters.
Mutombo spent his best years with the Hawks, but he was pretty darn good with the Nuggets, who drafted him No. 4 overall in 1991. He won a Defensive Player of the Year award and went to three All-Star games with Denver. Playing for the Nuggets, he also produced the most iconic image of his career: lying on the floor and clutching the ball in jubilation after Denver became the first No. 8 seed to upset the No. 1 seed (Seattle SuperSonics in 1994):
If the Warriors have been consistent about one thing in the run-up to the coming season it is this: They are not going for a record number of wins again.
From the GM on down they have worked to tamp down expectations about their regular season, saying there is no goal of chasing their 73-win total of last season. This is how Draymond Green put it on media day, via Sam Amick of the USA Today.
Last season Steve Kerr and some of the staff were hesitant to chase the Jordan-era Bulls 72-win record, but it was a push from the players — Draymond Green being at the front of that parade — who wanted it. They pushed, and Kerr let them. They got 73. Was that lack of rest down the stretch the reason they were down 3-1 to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals, then blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals against Cleveland? Certainly not, there were plenty of other bigger factors (hello LeBron James), but it may have played some role. Clearly, the team thinks it did, based on their words and actions.
However, the Warriors still want the No. 1 seed in the West and will make that a goal. The question is, with an excellent regular season team in San Antonio — one that had a better point differential than the Warriors last season, then they added Pau Gasol — how many wins will it take to get the top seed in the West? 65? More? How hard will the Warriors and Spurs push to get home court throughout?
The Warriors aren’t going for the record, but the top of the West is still going to be an interesting place.
James Harden is no longer the NBA’s best shooting guard.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Harden – who averaged 29.0 points and 7.5 assists per game last season – is now Houston’s point guard, though D’Antoni added it wouldn’t be a big adjustment.
D’Antoni, via ClutchFans:
With James, we’ll make a cheap joke. He’ll be a points guard.
We just renamed it. You guys got something to write about.
Harden already controlled the ball a ton, taking primary playmaking and distributing responsibilities last season. This just gets the ball into his hands quicker and should allow the Rockets to play faster, a key component of D’Antoni’s offense.
Of course, D’Antoni’s offense functioned best when Steve Nash – more of a pure passer – ran it with the Suns. Harden won’t duplicate that. His passing ability is more predicated on taking advantage of his scoring threat. But Harden – who, like Nash, is an excellent ball-handler – could make the offense hum in his own way.
Even though D’Antoni is trying to downplay the position switch, it’s a notable shift. Harden fully commanding the offense is a grand experiment with major upside (and potential for a rocky downside).
Then, Colin Kaepernick took the civil discourse to another level by sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutalizing black Americans.
Will LeBron – the most powerful player in the NBA – follow Kaepernick’s method of demonstration?
LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I think you guys know when I’m passionate about something I’ll speak up on it, so me standing for the national anthem is something I will do, that’s who I am, that’s what I believe in,” James said. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing. You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion and he’s doing it in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen someone do something.”
“You see these videos that continue to come out, it’s a scary-ass situation that if my son calls me and said if he got pulled over, that I’m not that confident that things are gonna go well and my son is going to return home,” James said. “My son just started the sixth grade.”
“I don’t have the answer,” said James, who has a track record for speaking out when notable cases of police violence toward blacks occurs. “None of us have the answer, but the more times we can talk about it, the more times we can conversate about it. Because I’m not up here saying all police are bad because they’re not. I’m not up here saying that all kids are great and all adults are great, because they’re not.
“But at the same time all lives do matter. It’s not black or white, it’s not that. It’s everyone, so, it’s just tough being a parent right now when you have a pre-teen.”
To many – seemingly including LeBron – the national anthem (at least the verses we sing) represents what America aspires to be. Kaepernick and those who’ve followed his lead can’t overlook what America is.
Neither approach is wrong.
What’s important: We continue the conversation about police overreach and racism in America. The first step in fixing the problems are acknowledging that they exist.
Kaepernick has brought an incredible amount of attention to the issue. His protest is working.
LeBron will add to the cause in his own way, but Kaepernick kneeling opened the floodgates. Because of Kaepernick, LeBron was asked about this today, and his fears about his son interacting with police will be heard.