Michael Beasley

A 200-word summation of Michael Beasley, by Kevin Love

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Kevin Love, cult icon, borderline religious figure, and rebounding savant, has begun blogging for GQ. These are exciting times.

In Love’s second post, he introduces those surely to be blog regulars: his teammates. Jonny Flynn, Darko Milicic, and Wesley Johnson area all introduced to Love’s audience, but his true masterwork as a writer to date is his quintessential description of Michael Beasley:

Michael Beasley is new to our team, but he’s old news to me because we’ve been friends for so long. I’ve known Mike since I was 13 or 14 years old. We played against each other on lots of [traveling] teams. Even then he was always real loud, the guy at the back of the bus who’s screaming and yelling and goofing around, and the coaches in the front are always yelling at him to knock it off. And now? It’s like he’s 22 years old going on eight.

When our team trainers are giving us our vitamins—Vitamin D, all that kind of stuff—he’s like “Oh, no, I’m not eating that. I gotta have Flinstones vitamins.” He’s that kind of guy. He still loves Spongebob Squarepants. You’ll be hearing a lot of crazy stories about him. On the floor, he’s adapting great to our team. He’s a sexy superstar type of player. People come to watch him. They’ll get up on their feet even for some of his mistakes, because even his mistakes are so exciting. He’s a great player and he really gets the crowd involved.

I’m not sure anyone has better encapsulated Beas in 200 words to date. That sounds like the caricature that we all hope/fear Beasley is and will be, but Love’s finale is just as telling. Even with all of his mis-steps, Beasley is still a tremendous talent, and he still captures our attention. He was traded to what could be the worst team in the league, and yet he’s still every bit as intriguing as he ever was. Love’s right. Beasley is a sexy superstar type player, even if he’s not a sexy superstar.

Hat/tip to Trey Kerby/Trez Kirby/Tré Kerbé of The Basketball Jones.

Byron Scott doesn’t care about exhausting Lakers in preseason

Byron Scott
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The Warriors use wearable technology to track players and have rested them when the data revealed fatigue. Gregg Popovich is holding relatively healthy Spurs out of practice. Heck, Popovich doesn’t even send himself to every preseason games.

Meanwhile, with the Lakers…

Lakers coach Byron Scott, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

“I don’t necessarily care about tired legs in preseason,” Scott said. “I think everything that we’ve done thus far will pay off at the end of the day. You’ve got some guys that might have tired legs and [are] a little worn out, but all the running as far as getting into that physical condition that we need to get into, I think in December and January, it will pay off.

“So I’m not necessarily worried about guys having tired legs in preseason. They’ll just have to kind of fight through that fatigue part of it. And I think mentally it gets them a little stronger anyway.”

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

The Lakers coach has a reputation for demanding a lot of running in the preseason. It’s important in his mind because the Lakers will be better conditioned than other teams down the road.

Players, predictably, aren’t as enthused about it.

Bresnahan quotes just two players, Brandon Bass and D'Angelo Russell, and neither expressed much resistance to Scott’s methods. But I trust Bresnahan to read the team’s pulse.

I also think Scott is right: Fighting through fatigue builds mental toughness. But it also makes players tired, and it’s not the only way to instill toughness. The Warriors are tough. The  Spurs are tough. They didn’t have to run their players into the ground to get that way.

Scott loves to project himself as old-school and anti-analytic. Thankfully for the Lakers, his actual methods aren’t as bad as he conveys. For example, he said the Lakers would take an absurdly low 10-15 3-pointers per game last season. In reality, they hoisted nearly 19 per game, 25th in the league. That might not have been enough for that roster, but at least it wasn’t leaps and bounds below the norm.

So, I’m not convinced Scott is pushing the Lakers as hard as he wants everyone to believe. But he’s  clearly giving them a bigger workload than many teams.

If the Lakers are playing relevant games late in the season, this could come back to bite them. On the bright side, they probably won’t have to worry about that problem.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.