LeBron is to Cleveland as Wade is… not to Chicago

8 Comments

Wade_okay.jpgLast week we discussed how the fine folks of Chicago cannot muster the hate for Dwyane Wade that Clevelanders have so easily tapped into for LeBron James.

Why is that? He is a born-and-raised Chicago guy who flirted with the city before deciding to stay in Miami (and join forces with LeBron and Bosh). Why not hate?

A couple things hold it back, from the sports attitudes in Chicago to Wade himself. We asked your friendly neighborhood Bulls blogger, Matt of Blog-a-Bull — one of the longest-running and most-respected bloggers out there — about Wade and Chicago.

He said the LeBron and Cleveland dynamic was very different than Wade in Chicago, in large part because Wade wasn’t Chicago’s to lose.

‘Chicago’ and the ‘Bulls’ aren’t entirely in sync. The Bulls are a worldwide fandom (thanks to Jordan, of course), yet will always be an afterthought in Chicago sports behind the Bears and baseball. There are many Bulls fans who aren’t from Chicago and don’t care about the city aspect of it.

Also, Wade wasn’t a major star when he was a high school player here. He was definitely good, but famously was under-recruited before going to Marquette. So it was more of seeing his star blossom elsewhere and being a returning hero than the homegrown version.

…which of course brings to mind someone who WAS a star through high school here, and that’s Derrick Rose. Basically, if there are any special feelings toward a hometown superstar (and there are), they’re given to Rose, and Wade is then an afterthought…

I believe most fans feel that Wade was at best merely giving the Bulls a courtesy, but at worst leveraging his family situation to throw the Bulls off and help Riley with his master plan… But even so, he’s not nearly as reviled as LeBron or Bosh, maybe as at least some kind of respect for a guy working for his franchise. We’d be alright with Rose doing the same to help the Bulls recruit free agents. So Wade will be booed upon his return, but that’s just because of his jersey. I think the ties to his home are personal and separated, and that’s probably healthiest for us as fans anyway.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

Leave a comment

Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

9 Comments

Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

Getty Images
12 Comments

NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.