Ask any of the player development people, the coaches, the people around Tyrus Thomas and it was never about the physical stuff. In a league filled with athletes he is one of the elite ones.
It was about wanting it, being aggressive. Playing through the contact. It was a focus issue. His teammates in Charlotte were frank in saying as much to the Observer.
“I think he’s still a little immature,” small forward Gerald Wallace said. “But at the same time, when he focuses on playing the game the right way, and not worrying about the referees or worrying about getting fouled or getting hit, he’s amazing.”
Added shooting guard Stephen Jackson, “All he has to do is keep his mind in the game, and you’ll see a lot of good this season.”
Bobcats coach Larry Brown could be the one guy who could make that happen. Brown is still a teacher at heart, and a guy who has seen everything. Twice. He has forged a real bond with Brown, saying this is the best relationship he has ever had with a coach.
Brown is not soft, but he listens and cares. He talked to Thomas about things other than basketball, about family and issues that really matter.
“When you’ve got a guy who cares about you as a person, it makes it easier to take” the critiques, Thomas described. “So when he curses me out, or he’s fussing at me or just riding me the whole practice, I know it’s for a reason.
“And maybe sometimes it’s not for a reason, but that’s just how L.B. is. After (the harangue) he’ll come give you a hug and tell you exactly how to get better.”
There is a Chinese proverb that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Maybe Brown is the guy that can get Thomas to really bring his incredible talent nightly. Maybe that is more because of Thomas maturing than Brown.
Bottom line is if he does, the Bobcats become a much better team.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings — this season the team gets outscored by 10 points per 100 possessions when he is off the court — and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).