Lance Stephenson tried to tell us he was “born ready,” the nickname he picked up at the legendary Rucker Park playground games in New York.
Pacers coach Jim O’Brien tried to tell us he was ready.
But until we saw it for ourselves, we weren’t convinced. We’re stubborn like that.
We’re convinced. Lance Stephenson is ready and going to get some burn for the Indiana Pacers this year.
Most people projected him as a two guard, a slasher — the guy has been able to create his own shot since he was a high school sensation in New York. He was a top recruit who went to Cincinnati and… faded. He was a strong 6’5″ guard who just overpowered people in high school, then seemed to struggle with that in college. He didn’t look like a great athlete. That’s why he fell to the second round.
But in the run-and-gun Pacers system, O’Brien saw Stephenson playing the point, getting the ball in his hands as a scorer in transition.
One Summer League game counts about as much as the Electoral College votes from North Dakota, but if that is a bellwether it looked like O’Brien was right. And Stephenson was right about himself. Stephenson had 21 points on 8 of 10 shooting, plus he got to the line eight times.
He’s a scorer, but he made some smart passes as well. A guy who could come in off the bench and provide a scoring spark and quickly become a fan favorite. A guy who still has a little of that Rucker Park flash to his game (which also led to a couple poor decisions, you can bet O’Brien is not going to tolerate many of those moves).
But in a Summer League game – where guys should be busting it hard as they are playing to get noticed by scouts, both NBA and from Europe — Stephenson’s energy stood out.
Being a Summer League star is no indication of success. But it’s something, a sign of potential. And Stephenson has that. He could be a big boost to a Pacers team that lacked much spark at all last season.
Kings’ general manager Vlade Divac took a parting shot at DeMarcus Cousins‘ character when he spoke to the media about the deal.
Cousins could be challenging in the locker room, but he was committed to Sacramento in ways most teams wish their star would be. He was active in the community, did charity work, and was not one of the players that alerted the media and dragged along a video crew when he did. Cousins loves Sacramento.
You can see it as he tears up when saying goodbye to those close to him in this video.
On the court, the trade to New Orleans and the chance to play next to Anthony Davis could be a huge boost for Cousins’ career. We’ll never know what could have been if the Kings knew how to draft or stuck with a system/coach.
But off the court, Sacramento will miss him. And he will miss them.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA All-Star game drew an average audience of 7.8 million viewers, making it the most-viewed All-Star broadcast since 2013.
Turner Sports announced the numbers on Monday. The number of viewers peaked at 8.5 million and the total audience was up 3 percent from last year’s game.
The hype surrounding the game centered on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook playing on the Western Conference team together. Durant left Oklahoma City last summer to join Golden State, leaving his longtime teammate Westbrook behind with the Thunder. Westbrook did not hide his dissatisfaction with Durant, which ratcheted up the intrigue heading into the game on Sunday.
The two shared the court for just 81 seconds and Oklahoma City posted the highest local market rating with a 10.9.
The Timberwolves — 3.5 games and five teams out of playoff position — have made reaching the postseason this year a priority.
So, within that nonsensical goal apparently comes a nonsensical idea: Trading for Derrick Rose.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached out to the Knicks recently to discuss potential trades for New York point guard Derrick Rose, sources told ESPN.
The Timberwolves, sources say, are among several teams to reach out to the Knicks asking about potential trades for Rose.
Rose, of course, played for Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls. That makes this report both plausible and something the Knicks would leak to drum up interest.
I can’t imagine a market especially eager to acquire Rose, who will become a free agent next summer. His $21,323,252 salary is difficult to match in trades without sending out too valuable of players. Rose has become a good downhill driver, but the rest of his game is lacking after years of injuries.
The Timberwolves have nearly $13 million of cap space, which could be useful in facilitating a deal. But they also have three intriguing point guards: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones.
If Minnesota really wants Rose, it could just sign him this summer. His Bird Rights shouldn’t matter much. Who would give the 28-year-old a five-year contract?
Rubio for Rose straight up works financially, for what it’s worth. The Timberwolves shouldn’t do that, but we don’t know enough about Tom Thibodeau running a front office to assume they won’t.
After their trade today, the Pelicans have the NBA’s most dynamic big-man tandem: Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Davis and Cousins are tall, athletic and skilled in a combination we might have never seen from any power forward-center duo since Charles Barkley-Hakeem Olajuwon. New Orleans’ two could thrive together, and while they develop chemistry, they’ll each likely get minutes without the other.
That doesn’t leave much playing time for someone like Terrence Jones.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
Jones settled for a one-year minimum contract after an injury-plagued and inconsistent tenure with the Rockets. His inconsistency remains, but considering his salary, his highs more than justify dealing with the lows. At just 25, Jones could still figure out how to reliably contribute.
Jones’ contract dictates he be rental, which will lower his trade value. But he could help teams trying to win down the stretch — including New Orleans.
Dante Cunningham seems more favored at power forward, and Donatas Motiejunas can fill in. But the Pelicans could still use Jones.
Shopping him might be a favor to the player, but we’ll see whether an actual trade is part of the gesture.