Kobe Bryant

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where Andrew Bogut’s one arm is better than the Lakers

Leave a comment

What you missed while watching the Jib Jab year in review video

Bucks 98, Lakers 79: The Milwaukee Bucks came into this game averaging 100.2 points per 100 possessions — the worst offense in the NBA. They were without Brandon Jennings, Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden. They were on the second night of a back-to-back. They had to play a Laker team whose defense has gotten better since Andrew Bynum’s return.

So can you explain that score to me? For one night the Bucks offensive rating was 119.5 points per 100 possessions.

Kobe Bryant was so frustrated he got ejected late (I think he can afford the coming fines). There are a litany of excuses the Lakers could use — looking ahead to the Heat, first game back after a long road trip, it’s been raining for days in Los Angeles and that throws everybody in the city off — but they just didn’t care.

And credit to the Bucks who did. They fought for rebounds and grabbed the offensive board on 39.4 percent of this missed shots. Earl Boykins dropped 22 and was a force in the fourth. Boykins provided some of the shot creation (mostly for himself, not others) and outside shooting the Bucks will miss with Jennings out. At least for one night.

Dallas 105, Magic 99: Entertaining game as both teams were on fire for stretches — Dallas a little more so shooting 46 percent from three on the night. And that’s what happened most of the night, Dallas was just a little bit better at most things.  When did Caron Butler learn to hit the three like that? He is shooting 43 percent on the season from beyond the arc, quite the jump from 29 percent last season or 32 percent for his career.

Stan Van Gundy is still experimenting — Hedo Turkoglu started and Brandon Bass came off the bench — but JJ Redick seems to thrive with this new look and find more space to shoot (he had 21). Dwight Howard played fantastically — he has had 20 or more rebounds in three straight — but overall the Mavs were just a little better.

Thunder 99, Bobcats 81: Two teams headed in opposite directions. If you haven’t noticed over the last 10 days to two weeks, Kevin Durant has his swagger back. He is an efficient scoring machine again. Proof? He had 32 points on 8-of-13 shooting and was 14-of-16 at the free throw line Tuesday.

Meanwhile, how desperate is Larry Brown in Charlotte? Kwame Brown started.

Nets 101, Grizzlies 94: Sometimes the box score can’t really tell you what happened in a game. And sometimes it tells you the Nets shot 52.6 percent, the Grizzlies 39.8 percent, and that is all you really need to know. Sasha Vujacic had 16 on 6 of 8 shooting.

Bulls 121, Sixers 76: When Kurt Thomas has 12 points and 5 blocks, you know it’s a thumping. This is the fourth game in a row the Bulls have won by as much as 17 points. This time it was against a Sixers team that had been playing pretty well of late but they took Tuesday off to finish their Christmas shopping, apparently. Sixers coach Doug Collins pretty much gave up on his guys in the fourth. The Bulls are 8-3 since Carlos Boozer returned.

Warriors 117, Kings 109 (OT): Oh, the Kings were so close to a win. The Kings were up 16 with 9 minutes to go and yet a Warriors team on the second night of a back-to-back went on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and a 5-0 run to close out the game and send it to overtime. Vladimir Radmanovic had the open catch-and-shoot three to send the game to extra time. NBA teams need to find a new level of execution late in games and the Kings get worse when pressured that way. They turned the ball over or missed good looks. They twice fouled guys taking threes late in the game. Just bad execution.

Watch Amar’e Stoudemire’s top 10 career plays (video)

1 Comment

When Amar’e Stoudemire retired, I said history will treat him better than present-day analysis — maybe even to the point he gets legitimate Hall of Fame consideration.

Get past Stoudemire’s injury-caused decline with the Knicks and his wayward years with the Mavericks and Heat, and Stoudemire was a heck of a player with the Suns (and in his first year in New York).

Thanks to the NBA, the process of remembering Stoudemire for his peak can begin immediately. I was blown away by the first few highlights before realizing they were just the introduction for the top 10.

Kings GM Vlade Divac: DeMarcus Cousins is ‘most dominant player in the whole world’

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 26:  DeMarcus Cousins #12 of the United States Men's National Team dribbles the ball up court against the China Men's National Team during the first half of a USA Basketball showcase exhibition game at ORACLE Arena on July 26, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
2 Comments

Vlade Divac isn’t calling Rudy Gay with trade-talk updates.

So, how is the Kings general manager spending his time?

Watching DeMarcus Cousins with Team USA.

James Ham of CSN California on Cousins:

He’s primed to show the world what both he and plenty of others around the basketball world already believe — that he is the best big man in the world.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said from his courtside seat. “He’s the most dominant player in the whole world. And being from Serbia, I have to root for Serbia, but I feel bad for them. He’s going to kill them.”

If we take Divac’s statement — “He’s the most dominant player in the whole world” — at face value, nope. LeBron James is. Other players like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are also better than Cousins, but big men can dominate in a way perimeter players can’t

If Divac meant just among big men, there’s a case. When Cousins is fully engaged, it’s one I’d definitely buy. He’s a load to handle inside, and his defense can be top-notch.

There are just too many times Cousins checks out. It’s a fine line, because Cousins’ emotions carries him to his highs. But he hasn’t yet found an ideal equilibrium point. His lows are still too low and too frequent.

That said, no center nears Cousins’ peak dominance. DeAndre Jordan and Draymond Green, when he plays the position, need too much help from teammates to be considered truly dominant. Andre Drummond isn’t polished enough. Even with his flaws, Cousins is probably already the NBA’s most dominant center.

Most dominant player, though? No. That’s a step too far.

 

NBA’s 2017 London game to feature Pacers and Nuggets

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 10:  Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 10, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
1 Comment

The NBA has held regular-season games in London the last four years.

The league isn’t exiting England now.

Pacers release:

Indiana Pacers will travel to London, England to face the Denver Nuggets for a regular season game to be played at The O2 on January 12, 2017.

 

The game will be designated as a home game for the Nuggets.

This could be a solid matchup.

The Pacers had a highly touted offseason, trading for Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young. Both players should fit better with the up-tempo style Larry Bird wants to play. And, of course, Paul George will be the best player on the floor.

The Nuggets had a quieter summer, but they nailed the draft with Jamal Murray, Juancho Hernangomez, Malik Beasley and Petr Cornelie. Add that to a young core that already includes Nikola JokicEmmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris and Jusuf Nurkic, and Denver is cooking. Veterans Danilo Gallinari,Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Will Barton allow the possibility of a quick rise. With Michael Malone coaching, it seems like only a matter of time.

Both teams should be intriguing in January — gaining chemistry and still in the playoff hunt.

 

Report: Celtics to pay second-round pick Demetrius Jackson more than 10 first-rounders next year

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 25:  Demetrius Jackson #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers with a score of 56 to 61 during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Wells Fargo Center on March 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Celtics became the first team to pay a second-round pick more the season immediately following the draft than some first-rounders received. Last year, No. 37 pick Jordan Mickey had a higher salary than four 2015 first-rounders.

Now, Boston is pushing the envelope even further.

No. 45 pick Demetrius Jackson will make more than the last 10 (!) 2016 first-rounders can earn in the NBA next season.*

*At least two players picked in that range, No. 23 pick Ante Zizic and No. 26 pick Furkan Korkmaz, will play overseas next season. Their salaries with their foreign teams might be higher than they could’ve gotten in the NBA.

Jackson’s salary will be $1,450,000, according to Yahoo Sports. No. 21 pick DeAndre’ Bembry will get $1,499,760 from the Hawks next year, and following first-rounders will fall in line behind him.

The issue is the antiquated rookie scale, which was set well before new national TV contracts pushed the salary cap north of $94 million. With all this new money flooding the system, everyone can grab a share — except first-round picks, who are tied to the scale.

That leaves even more money for second-rounders, and Jackson is the second to cash in in this major way. No. 31 pick Deyonta Davis will get $1,275,917  next season — more than the last six first-rounders. But the Grizzlies also guaranteed Davis’ first three years.

Jackson’s contract becomes much more team-friendly after this season. His salary the following three years is slated to be lower than this year’s: $1,319,500, $1,384,750 and $1,319,500. Yahoo’s wording is ambiguous, but it appears none of those seasons have any guaranteed compensation.

So, the Celtics are getting something in exchange for paying Jackson more now — flexibility in later years. The bargain works for them, because with the salary cap suddenly so high, they had little other use for that 2016-17 money. They essentially bought a better deal later by spending more when they were overrun with cap room.

And Jackson gets a bigger payday as he enters the pros. If he plays well, he’s stuck with a lower salary — though, for the next couple years, it’s still higher than a few first-rounders. If he doesn’t play well, he can be waived at no more cost. This is the opposite of betting on yourself, but that’s totally fine. Jackson will earn a lot of money this year in exchange. He got something significant with his bargaining power.

Projected by some to be a first-round pick, Jackson fell to the middle of the second round. Predictably, that probably turned out better for him.