What do you want out of your role players? Hustle. Energy every night. Guys willing to do the little things to win. Guys who sacrifice themselves and have surprisingly solid games.
So why is Louis Amundson still on the market again?
He did all those things for the Suns last season, showing he can be part of a strong bench (one that was key to helping Phoenix reach the Western Conference finals). Yet he sits unsigned after a parade of names — Kwame Brown anyone — are already inked.
We said yesterday that the Hornets were considered the frontrunner for Amundson, but the Warriors apparently think they have a chance.
Amundson’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, expressed his confusion it took this long NBA.com.
“Teams talk all the time about how they want guys that play hard, that have a great motor,” Bartelstein said. “It’s not until after they lose him that they realize they miss the guy that knocks balls loose to grab offensive rebounds and kick it out for open 3-pointers.
“Those guys are so valuable for winning basketball. Because he’s not the most skilled guy in the world, teams can take that for granted. Players like Louis Amundson win you a lot of games. His numbers don’t justify what he does. If you’re not watching him play every night, you don’t appreciate how good he is. If all you do is look up his stats, you have no idea the difference he makes in game.”
It may well be about the money. There were rumors Amundson was asking for more than the average bench guy, but he is likely to end up in the $2 million a year range (the Warriors can offer $2.1).
But at that price, Amundson — a big man off the bench who brings it every night — is a steal. Someone needs to snatch this guy up.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.