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.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.