Al Jefferson has gone from the constant rebuilding project that is Minnesota to the most stable organization in the league in Utah. From the flatland to the Rockies. He went from Jonny Flynn at point to Deron Williams.
Jefferson gets how lucky he is, and who D-Will is, as he told the Salt Lake Tribune. (via Slam)
And like I’ve been saying, D Williams is Batman. He’s Batman. He’s the captain. He’s the guy, you know. And I’m Robin. So I’m willing to do whatever. I’m not worried about jelling with him. I’m going to adjust to him. Whatever he needs me to do is going to be done. Because the first thing he said to me when I talked to him is, ‘I’m going to make you an All-Star.’ And when he said that to me, I believed him. He wasn’t just talking. He wasn’t just saying it because it sounded good. He really means that.
I never had the opportunity to play with a point guard like D Williams. … I’ve got the offense coming to me. Now, I’m in a situation where I don’t have to have the ball the whole time. I don’t have to worry about the double team the pushing out. This offense has been so good for so many years, all I’ve got to do is be ready to catch the ball.
As far as the pick and roll, I like the option of me picking and rolling, and also of picking and popping. I think I can do both. It’s something I’m going to work with in D Williams in training camp to get that down pat, because I know he’s going to be looking to pass that ball. I’ve got great hands, so I’ve got to be ready to catch it. And I think I can do a good job with that.
As far as my offense, I can catch the ball in the sweet spot. I don’t have to work as hard to score now. I can catch the ball in the sweet spot and offense is going to put me where I need to be to score the basketball. The offense is perfect for me.
How Jefferson fit in with Utah will determine if they take a step back with Carlos Boozer gone. Things will be different in Utah this year.
But if Batman is leading the way with a good sidekick, things will be safe and secure for the franchise. Stable as ever.
Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.
Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.
This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.