There have been good vibrations in Indiana since the Pacers picked up Darren Collison to be their new point guard, but Lance Stephenson has just created an unmistakable cloud over the franchise. According to John Lauinger of the New York Daily News, Stephenson has been arrested for an altercation involving his girlfriend, and charged with third-degree assault:
Coney Island basketball star Lance Stephenson – a second-round Indiana
Pacers pick in the June NBA draft – was busted yesterday for pushing
his girlfriend down a flight of stairs, cops said.
Stephenson, 19, a legendary player at Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln
High School, roughed up Jasmine Williams, 21, in the stairwell of her
Brooklyn apartment building about 5 a.m., according to police. The 6-foot-5 rookie point guard’s blows sent Williams tumbling
head-first down 10 steps, requiring her to be treated at a hospital for
injuries to her head and neck, cops said.
While Stephenson’s horrible decision-making does affect the Pacers, this isn’t a basketball story. It’s one that involves a basketball player, mind you, but it’s a sad bit of news regarding a reprehensible criminal act. Any responsibility for punishment should come through the legal system rather than the source of his paychecks, which means the only decision left to make for the Pacers organization is how to proceed with Stephenson’s current employment. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, but Lance is in a fair bit of trouble, regardless.
How do the actions of Indy’s reserve point guard affect the team’s plans? Table it for now. Stephenson may think he was Born Ready for the NBA, but it’s clear that before he can begin tackling his weaknesses as a player, he should take a long look at Lance Stephenson the person. Maybe it’s a maturity issue, or maybe something worse, but incidents such as these suggest something awfully concerning about Stephenson.
Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.
Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.
This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.