What do LaMarcus Aldridge and a hula hoop have in common?
They both need great hips to work correctly.
Blazers assistant coach Bill Bayno spoke with The Oregonian about Aldridge’s offseason development plan. In the interview, Bayno spoke about the work Aldridge has put into his game, including adding muscle without losing quickness, post-moves and the importance to put the inside shoulder into the defender, and counter-moves to create space for his pull-up jumper (one of the stronger parts of his game). Of course, he also mentioned the importance for Aldridge to work on his physical, ahem, assets in the post. From the Oregonian:
“I think it’s not so much — he plays in the post, it’s just adding some
more moves to that post game. It’s all predicated on being physical and
using his body. In the post ups, I call it ass-hips. Where he’s
stepping into the defense and really putting his butt and his hips on
the defender to get him to either react or commit one way or the other.”
It makes sense. You’ll notice that Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, all the dominant post-players played using their lower half to dominate the opponent. But it’s most notable that Aldridge has put this kind of work in to his game. With Greg Oden a gigantic, neon, flaming question mark and Brandon Roy taking a step back last season, if the Blazers are going to return to being considered a rising contender, they need Aldridge to take a step forward and become a higher-level player.
All of that starts with working on the physical tests he has to overcome. And to do that he needs to pass hips first.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.