Big men have played until they turned 40 in the NBA — Shaquille O’Neal wants to do it now, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish have done it among a number of others.
With guards, that’s much harder. Michael Jordan played until he was 39 and you notice that Washington Wizards Jordan didn’t end up in the new NBA 2K11. With good reason. John Stockton got there, but he was an exception to the rule of guards’ skills dropping off the table in their mid-30s.
Jason Kidd told FanHouse he wants to play until he is 40. No, that did not happen two years ago like you thought, he is just about to turn 38. Which means two more seasons after this one.
“I would love to follow in those footsteps,” Kidd said in an interview with FanHouse about being as effective at that age as Stockton, who averaged 13.8 points in the season he hit 40 and 10.8 and 7.8 assists in his final season of 2002-03 after turning 41. “He’s the best. If I could come close to doing what he did at his age, I would be very happy.”
Kidd is still effective on the offensive end — he has a PER of 17.2 last season — because he’s become more efficient. He has taught himself how to knock down the three (he shot below 30 percent in 2001, 42 percent last season) and turns the ball over less than he did during his late 20s, when he was leading the Nets to the NBA finals. The Mavericks need that scoring.
But more than that — right now the Mavericks need his mind. They have guys like Jason Terry and Shawn Marion who can still score but cannot create their own shots like they used to. Kidd is the guy who can get them the ball in spots where they can score other than some simple wing isolation that they are no longer good at.
The mind will still be there when he is 40. The question is will his body allow him to keep playing this well? The most important guy — the guy that signs the checks — thinks so.
“I don’t see why not,” [Mavericks owner Mark] Cuban said of Kidd playing into his 40s. “It’s not like he’s a high-flyer and he’s losing his (leaping ability). He’s got a very special skill and he knows how to use it. He gets smarter and his hands are just as quick. His shooting has improved dramatically. … So he continues to add weapons. … He’s just a genetic freak.”
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.