Over the next few days there will be a lot of talk about the biggest draft busts ever (great list here from Hoopism). It’s a fun exercise, for reasons I’ve never fully understood we as a species enjoy watching others struggle and fail. The latest NBA finals seems even more proof of that.
Being the bust, that can be hard. Devastating.
Meet LaRue Martin, the top pick overall of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1972. Before Sam Bowie and Greg Oden there was Martin. He played just four seasons and his best one he averaged seven points and five rebounds a game in 17 minutes of action. Then the Chicago Native was gone from the league.
His tale of what happened and how he got back — he is now an executive with UPS and well adjusted — is an interesting one that HBO’s Real Sports will tackle Tuesday night. Below is a taste. I think it’s worth watching, and remembering that these are 19-year-olds who now have a lot of pressure on them. And not all will be able to deal with that.
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.