Geoff Petrie

Geoff Petrie has the Kings all wrong

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The last thing that any sports fan wants to read or hear is that their team’s leadership — owners, coaches, GMs, etc. — doesn’t seem to know something that they obviously should. With that in mind, I’d encourage all Kings fans who planned on feeling good about their team’s direction today to move along and look for rosier content elsewhere.

In a meeting with Kings season ticket holders, Geoff Petrie, the team’s President of Basketball Operations, apparently conveyed that Sacramento’s biggest struggles lie on the offensive end. That inspired Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty to bust out an array of statistics as a counterpoint, along with an embedded worry over the fact that Petrie’s evaluation was so misguided:

On the season, Minnesota is averaging 100 points per 100 possessions. In two games against the Kings, the Wolves have produced 113 and 102 points per 100 possessions. The Cavs produced 114 points per 100 possessions against the Kings, and just 104 against eight other teams. The Raptors: 105 against the NBA, 120 against the Kings. Memphis: 103 against the league, 108 against the Kings.

And the real coup de grace, the magnificent capper in what felt like a huge game for the immediate future of the Sacramento Kings: the team managed to hold the Detroit Pistons, they of the 104 points per 100 possessions average on the season, to a completely understandable … 116 points per 100 possessions. The Pistons shot 54% from the floor, by the way. On the season, they have shot 44%.

But defense isn’t the problem for the Kings? #RUKIDDINME?

At some point, most of the people who make decisions in the NBA will be forced to answer public questions in order to either assess or justify those decisions. That leads to a lot of cliché-obscured sound bites, but in some cases, we get this: just a blatantly wrong evaluation by someone who needs to know better. The Kings are the worst defensive team in the league, and Petrie really wants to pawn off the idea that offense is the problem?

Even if Petrie is dumbing down his message for his audience, that only makes this a bit less worrisome and a bit more sinister. When asked point-blank about the regard in which a team is struggling, we should expect every coach, executive, or owner to give a straight answer. The intent matters, but there’s no way around viewing this as a negative for Petrie and the Kings. Either Petrie is willingly attempting to deceive all of us on the outside for his own purposes and amusement, or he doesn’t fully understand why his team is bad. If forced to choose, I suppose misdirection is less depressing than incompetence, but neither suits Petrie particularly well.

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.