It’s not a coincidence that the same franchises seem to win year after year in basketball (both NBA and college).
Talent is part of that, true. But even as talent changes over year after year, decade after decade, certain teams rise to the top. They have a culture of winning, something that runs from the team owner to the kid wiping the sweat off the floor during the game.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski told the Associated Press he is trying to build that at USA Basketball, which is why this summer with this team is important.
“We’re not going to get the same guys over and over, like the guys who were on the Olympic team – and we think a lot of those guys will come back for London, a number of them but not all of them. So we’re trying to develop a culture,” Krzyzewski said. “A lot of these guys have played on our select teams, or in our youth program, but it’s not the veteran team like we had in Beijing.”
The days when the USA could win any international event it entered based on talent alone are gone. Spain, Argentina and other nations have caught up, if not in the depth of talent then in the top players needed to fill out a national team.
To combat that, Team USA needs that culture. Part of it came with the “Redeem Team” of the last Olympics — a team that made playing for you country cool again. The top players are doing it. Right now, the top young players are doing it.
Now Krzyzewski and crew need to create a culture that keeps that talent coming back. Winning would help that. Winning is always fun. Gold medals are fun things to bring home. But the young American team is going to have to really earn that this time around.
This has got to put a damper on the whole DeMarcus Cousins trade thing for New Orleans Pelicans fans. According to multiple reports, Omri Casspi — who was part of the trade that sent Cousins to Louisiana — has broken his thumb. The sharp-shooting forward will be out 4-6 weeks.
It’s disappointing news for the Pelicans, who could certainly use Casspi’s 3-point shooting ability. Casspi is shooting 38 percent from deep this season, and while the Pelicans make enough threes per-game they are near the bottom-third in percentage.
Casspi would have been a real help for Alvin Gentry’s offense, but for now it appears they’ll have to make do without him. Casspi should continue to occupy a roster spot for New Orleans, given his expiring contract and the fact that even if the Pelicans make a run for the playoffs they won’t be in a situation to add to their lineup since they won’t expect to get very far.
The good news out of New Orleans on Thursday night? Despite a loss to the Houston Rockets, Cousins nearly dropped a 5 x 5.
The race for the No. 8 seed is on.
New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee should have known better than to try to dunk this. Everyone in the arena knew better than to try this on LeBron James.
Then again, if players stop trying to do things like this, we won’t get videos of incredible chasedown blocks by Mr. James.
It’s a real catch-22.
Actually, you know what? Keep it up. Keep trying this on LeBron. I want to keep watching dudes get rejected.
I’m getting tired of writing this story.
Or this one.
Or this one.
Draymond Green — an excellent basketball player who has an unstoppable, basal need to kick everyone near him — has once again let his feet do the talking.
Let’s take a look at the tape to see what sort of hijinks ol’ Dray has got himself into this time.
In the last nine months, Green has hit or kicked James Harden, Marquese Chriss, Kyrie Irving, Allen Crabbe, and Steven Adams (twice).
The league has decided not to act with any strength on most of the incidents, the most recognizable of which came when Green hit LeBron James in the NBA Finals, causing him to miss Game 5. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any consequences for Green, which is the exact reason why we keep seeing him kick dudes.
It’s wack, I’m tired of seeing it, and you should be too. See you all here the next time Green kicks at somebody. I’m sure it won’t be before too long.
DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and the New Orleans Pelicans will take some time to mesh together. In his first game with New Orleans, Cousins saw a difficult opponent and massive deficits against the Houston Rockets. But there was some glimmers of hope.
Cousins, for example, had a productive statistical evening. The former Sacramento King put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks — just one swat shy of the rare 5 x 5.
Plus, he had this sweet block on Rockets star James Harden:
The Pelicans lost to the Rockets, 129-99, but it’s going to be fun to watch New Orleans battle it out for the 8th seed in the West.