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Shocking news: Matt Bonner more considerate than Kobe Bryant


Kobe Bryant is the fiercest competitor in the NBA, and a relentless offensive force. It’s that drive that makes him one of if not the best player in the NBA, and that force which drove him to hang out for over an hour shooting baskets in American Airlines Arena following the Lakers’ loss to the Heat.

Which, when you think about it, was kind of a jerk thing to do.

I mean, beyond the fact that it reveals Bryant’s relentless devotion to the game, his tireless desire to get better (if by better we mean focusing on trying harder to make shots which are low percentage, poorly decided and squander the endless potential of the Lakers’ offense), and his unequaled work ethic. Bryant held up staff having to watch him hoist jumpers after that game. Sure, the media was more than happy to bask in the dramatics of watching a 33-year-old man go through a shootaround at 11 p.m. at night, but there were also security guards, facility maintenance, league officials, team officials, arena officials, and other people waiting to go home. People who aren’t wrapped up in the story of the Lakers’ drive for a sixth championship with Bryant, and for whom Thursday was just another day at the office.

This is going to come off as nitpicking Byrant, so I’m going to go all boldy to make this clear.

A. It’s not a big deal.

B. This would have been a jerk move had it been LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Darko Milicic, Eddy Curry, Kevin Durant, or the cast and crew of “Juwanna Mann.”

The ball boys who got to feed Bryant got a great story. The media got a great story. But the officials at the arena probably just had a longer night and lost more time to themselves. I don’t know about you, but time’s a pretty important commodity to me. Bryant took it because he was feeling bad about himself. Anyway, not a big deal, but another way to look at it. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take the word of a shooting expert. From the San Antonio Express-News:

Bonner said he was frustrated enough to shoot like Bryant after a game only once in his competitive career. It came after a struggling performance when he was in college at Florida and it was after a home game.

“I’ve had times when I was disappointed and I would come back to the training facility and shot the same night,” Bonner said. “But not on the road and make everybody wait.”

“It was a poor shooting night and it was frustrating,” Bonner said. “When I did  it, it wasn’t to get my shot back. It was more therapeutic mentally, to feel good about myself again.”

via Spurs Nation » Bonner knows why Kobe was shooting so late last night.

So that’s a well-balanced approach. Bonner admits that he’d do the same, while also pointing out he wouldn’t do it on the road, because, well, that’s just inconsiderate and rude. Two things Bryant has never really cared about being portrayed as. Also, similarly, Bonner wouldn’t work on what he actually needed to, in his case defending power forwards, particularly on the baseline, while Bryant’s case should have been, oh, I don’t know, passing to one of the seven footers with considerable matchup advantages who were shooting over 50% for the night. Just to take a guess.

But hey, it’s over, and it made a great story.


Byron Scott isn’t thinking about next year’s draft

Byron Scott
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A month into the season, the Lakers the only team in the Western Conference that can absolutely be written out of any hopes of playoff contention. They’re in an awkward position with the upcoming draft: they still need talent long-term, and they owe their pick to the Sixers if it’s outside of the top three. Not surprisingly, Byron Scott isn’t thinking about it at all.

Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick?

“I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”

The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade.

“It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”

Given Scott’s mentality, it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t thinking about the draft. But with his insistence on playing Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams more crunch-time minutes on this dismal Lakers team than D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, it’s pretty laughable that he talks about wanting to develop their young players.

Scott may not be thinking about the draft, but with the position the franchise is in and the likelihood that they lose their pick, he should be.

Report: Jahlil Okafor stopped for driving 108 MPH three weeks ago

Jahlil Okafor, Derrick Favors

Jahlil Okafor‘s first month in the NBA has been eventful for all the wrong reasons. Early Thanksgiving morning, he was caught on video getting into a fight with a heckler in Boston. Then, a report surfaced of another altercation from October, in which Okafor apparently had a gun pulled on him. Now, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor was recently pulled over in Philadelphia for driving 108 miles per hour:

Four sources independently confirmed to The Inquirer the 76ers center was pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge around three weeks ago for 108 miles per hour. Anything over 40 m.p.h. is considered reckless driving.

108 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone isn’t a minor speeding infraction—it’s incredibly dangerous. It might be possible to write off any of these incidents by themselves—particularly the one where he had a gun pulled on him, which doesn’t seem to have been his fault at all. But together, the Boston incident and this speeding report aren’t a good look at all for Okafor. He’s had a solid start to the year for the Sixers, but off the court has been another story.

Harrison Barnes could be out “a few weeks” with ankle injury

Harrison Barnes
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The Warriors’ Friday night 135-116 win over the Suns was bittersweet: Harrison Barnes suffered a sprained left ankle in the third quarter and left for the remainder of the game. He missed Saturday night’s blowout win over the Kings as well, which extended the Warriors’ best-ever start to the season to 18-0.

Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton didn’t have an answer for how long Barnes will be out, but he said it could be a few weeks.

Via ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss:

“He’s being evaluated [Saturday]. We haven’t gotten the results back yet,” interim head coach Luke Walton told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week.

“We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.”

Losing a starter is never good news, but the silver lining for the Warriors is that they have enough depth and enough of a cushion to be able to take their time and not rush Barnes back. Saturday night, Walton opted to keep Andre Iguodala in his usual sixth-man role and instead start the little-used Brandon Rush in Barnes’ place. Rush responded with a 16-point performance, shooting 4-of-5 from the three-point line. If they can keep getting that kind of production out of their reserves, the Warriors will be able to withstand the loss of Barnes just fine.

Emmanuel Mudiay with the no-look, behind-the-head assist (VIDEO)

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Emmanuel Mudiay is still a work in progress on the court — he’s a rookie, what did you expect? — but he has the court vision and flair you cannot teach.

As evidence, I present this pass from Saturday night, where in transition Mudiay goes with the no-look, behind-the-head dish to Darrell Arthur for the dunk.

The Nuggets dropped this game to the Mavericks 92-81 and have lost six in a row.