If you want a nice perspective on where this whole lockout thing stands, just go ask the reigning 3-point champion. I know that sounds odd. But James Jones in a recent interview with the AP put things nicely in perspective about the difference between the owners and the players.
“They’re holding fast to what they want and what they’ve asked for,” Jones said, speaking of owners. “We’ve made some concessions and agreed to move it in the right direction. But moving in the right direction isnt enough. They want it all.”
via Heat’s James Jones is realistic on lockout – NBA- NBC Sports.
That’s pretty much where the lockout is at. Public sentiment is going to be against the players. That makes more sense on the surface than most hardcore hoops guys would think. Your average guy working your normal 9-5 job simply isn’t going to have any sympathy for the players he watches on television getting paid to play a game. I’ve certainly got little sympathy for a guy having to sell one of his five cars with my busted Pontiac needing a new battery. It’s a normal response.
But this lockout really is on the players. In the past I’ve been pro-owner, depending on the issue, but here, there’s little room for wiggle. The players aren’t asking for more (though they would if they were afforded the opportunity). They just don’t want to lose everything. And James is correct in that the players have made compromises in their proposals. The owners? They took a hard line, then took a softer hard line and called it compromise.
This has become something worse than just a business negotiation, which is all it should be. It’s an ideological battle over control, over the players’ control over setting their market value, over the owners’ ability to guarantee a profit. And ideological conflicts aren’t settled with compromise. They’re settled with figurative bloodshed. Unless the players can figure out a way to swing the control of this to their side (Europe, exhibitions, overwhelming public sentiment), the owners may get what they want… all of it.
Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.
Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.
Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.
“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”
He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.
The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.
Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.
He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.
“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”
All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.
New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.
JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.
He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.
But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.
I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.
At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.
But not right now. He remains silent.
This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.
In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.