Last season was just ugly for Ben Gordon in Detroit.
He had a nagging ankle injury, which is not good for a jump shooter. Due to injuries coach John Kuester’s rotations were all over the place, consistency was out the window. Midseason Gordon had to adjust to coming off the bench again.
The result was five fewer shots a game than the last season in Chicago, and Gordon shot just 32.9 percent on his catch-and-shoot opportunities, 35.5 percent as the pick-and-roll ballhandler (stats from SynergySports). Two key areas of his game.
So how does he fix it? Getting healthy is one, but he told the Detroit News he also needs to just attack more.
“One thing I have to work on is my shot selection,” he said. “I’m so confident in my shot, I settle as opposed to going for a layup. This year, I’m going to be more aware of that and attack more.”
A healthier team would mean more consistent minutes, which Gordon also needs to get in a rhythm. Like all shooters, he needs some consistency of playing time — a stretch of minutes — to really get in the flow of the game. Last year playing time seemed to change game to game.
If Detroit is going to make noise this season, they are going to need the old Ben Gordon to be knocking shots down.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.