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.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.
Russell Westbrook has been wearing the new Air Jordan XXX on the court for nearly a month now. Considering he’s averaging a triple-double in his last 10 games — 22 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — I’d say he’s pretty comfortable in them.
Continuing a trend of using the respected Jordan brand name with modern players to sell the shoes, this latest ad for the Air Jordan XXX shoes features a young hypeman who describes Westbrook as “the new Big Bang,” and asks people to “make room – as the man is about to take off.”
The Air Jordan XXX hit retail stores on Feb. 12. Westbrook will be wearing them next weekend in Toronto for the All-Star Game.