That’s one for the thumb.
Already eliminated from the playoff chase, the Jazz weren’t focused for Kobe Bryant’s final game. They ceded 60 points to the over-the-hill superstar.
How locked in was Kobe?
“I was actually at the office until 4 or 4:15 editing a bunch of short stories, and lost track of time,” Bryant told the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman. “And I looked at my watch, ‘Oh…I better go home. I got my last game to play.’”
Kobe clearly summoned a will to compete by the time he reached the arena. That was a sendoff for the ages.
But this is another sign he was ready for the next chapter in his life.
Michael Jordan’s most famous moment in collective bargaining came when, as a Bulls player in 1998, he told Wizards owner Abe Pollin to sell his team if he couldn’t turn a profit.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
“Let me just single out one owner in particular, Michael Jordan,” Silver said during his upbeat update on CBA negotiations this week following the Board of Governors meetings in Manhattan.
“I think having Michael Jordan as part of our negotiating committee, the unique perspective he brings to the bargaining table because of his playing career, having been, of course, a superstar player. Now for players to see him in that position, it doesn’t mean that if Michael says it, it necessarily means that they accept that as the position they should take. But I think that’s really added a special element unique to this league.”
I don’t know to what degree Silver is just crediting the biggest-name owner vs. someone truly influential.
But if this is the formula that achieves historic labor peace, I don’t care.
Let’s hope Jordan takes the exact same role and gets the owners and players to compromise just as quickly next time, too.
Sevyn Streeter said the 76ers stopped her from singing the national anthem last night because she wore a “WE MATTER” jersey.
The 76ers said they use their games to bring people together.
Jan Carabeo of CBS3 (hat tip: CSN Philly):
This has been taken by some as proof Streeter was in the wrong. But the 76ers have a right to determine who uses their platform and how. That legality of the 76ers’ actions isn’t in question.
What should be questioned is the message they sent.
That they’re against any and all political statements defies belief. They have allowed their invited guests to display political messages on the court before. If Streeter wore a shirt that said “Support our troops” – no less of a political statement – would she have been barred from performing? You must believe the answer is yes to believe political statements themselves, not the specific content of Streeter’s, were the problem here.
There’s also something troubling about “WE MATTER” being a political statement, but in the reality of America, the jersey is undoubtedly political. The 76ers silencing Streeter will keep it that way.
The Bulls’ 2016-17 opening-night starters combined to make 133 3-pointers last season.
Twenty-nine players made more themselves.
Chicago was always going to face questions about floor-spacing with Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler starting on the perimeter. But Fred Hoiberg intensified the concern by naming Taj Gibson the Bulls’ starting power forward with Robin Lopez at center.
No NBA team has started a season with such a meager 3-point-shooting lineup in years.
Here’s how many 3s each Chicago starter made per game last season:
- Rondo: 0.86
- Wade: 0.09
- Butler: 0.96
- Gibson: 0.00
- Lopez: 0.00
Grand total: 1.91.
Sixty-three players made at least two 3-pointers in their 2016-17 debut.
Obviously, we don’t know how players will shoot this season – especially for the Bulls, who open their season against the Celtics tonight. So, to get a rough estimate, let’s assume each 2016-17 opening-game starter makes the same number of 3-pointers per game he made last season. Here’s how each team would rank. (Because the Clippers, Wizards and Hawks have also yet to play this season, I projected their starters.)
Keep in mind: These rankings give zero made 3s to anyone who didn’t play in the NBA last year, and 2016-17 starters who were in smaller roles last season get no adjustment upward.
That the Bulls are starting five players who started last year and still rank last speaks volumes.
This rough projection gives the Bulls’ starters 1.91 3-pointers per game, but we don’t need to project for previous seasons. We know how many aggregate 3-pointers per game each prior team’s opening-game starters produced that season.
The last team with so few was the 2012-13 New Orleans Hornets with 1.58 – and it had been two years before that since another team had less than Chicago’s projection. Those Hornets went 27-55, though their offense ranked 16th in the league.
These Bulls are truly a throwback to a different era. Teams have come to understand the value of 3-pointers, both for their efficiency themselves and the floor-spacing they provide. There’s a reason no other team dares to start a lineup like Chicago’s.
The Bulls essentially have their full roster available, and they opted for this lineup – even though there are other options. The simplest would’ve been starting Nikola Mirotic, a stretch four who seemed certain to start given Chicago’s constraints. Gibson might be a better player. He ‘s definitely a better defender and offensive rebounder. But Mirotic’s fit seemed so natural.
Hoiberg can stagger minutes, and Mirotic and Doug McDermott should play key roles as floor-spacers. But the Bulls are committing to starting each half with several minutes of this non-shooting lineup.
Of course, it doesn’t have to go as poorly as history would suggest.
Wade has shown an improved ability on 3-pointers in the preseason. Butler has been up and down from beyond the arc, so it shouldn’t be assumed last year’s poor outside shooting is truly representative.
But Rondo is coming off the best 3-point season of his career, and it seems it might be a fluke outlier. Gibson and Lopez have shown no proficiency from downtown.
Still, there other ways to space the floor. Rondo passes extremely well. Wade excels as a cutter. Butler’s drives demand attention. Gibson can out-muscle opponents to spots. Robin Lopez is exceptionally quick around the paint for a big man.
But 3-point shooting is the simplest and most direct method for creating space. The Bulls will be working from behind there – years behind.