Horace Grant says Bulls’ Boozer needs to be like Pippen

6 Comments

It’s no real secret that the Chicago Bulls need to add some versatility to their offense. Our own John Krolik talked about that in his post about what the Bulls need to do when the lockout ends — when LeBron James locked down Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter of playoff games, Chicago had no real “Plan B.”

Horace Grant knows what Plan B should be — Carlos Boozer.

In an interview with ESPNChicago.com, Grant joined Bulls fans across the Windy City to call for Boozer to step up his game.

“Boozer needs to be, for lack of a better phrase, Scottie Pippen to a Michael Jordan,” Grant said Friday morning after a breakfast at Dandenong Stadium (in Australia)….

“You have scorers. You have Rose. You have [Luol] Deng. You have guys coming off the bench,” Grant said. “[Boozer] needs to be a combination of being that physical presence down low. He has the body to do it. He can score whenever he gets himself in the right position. And the Bulls need another second-tier rebounder. [Joakim] Noah has done a great job. Taj Gibson when he’s in there. But they need that extra guy.”

Jazz fans are laughing right now, saying “good luck with that.”

Boozer can score but what Pippen really brought to the table that helped the Bulls was defense. Boozer doesn’t bring that. Pippen also could create shots for others in a way Boozer can’t — he has great skills and touch around the basket but he’s not a classic shot creator.

Boozer has his role on this team, a key role bringing points inside, but the Bulls need another guy who can create his own shot and create shots for others, ideally from the wing. That is not Boozer. Or Deng. Nobody is going to be Rose, but they need another creative option on the offensive end.

Because I’m not convinced Boozer can ever be Pippen.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

Leave a comment

Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

7 Comments

Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

Getty Images
12 Comments

NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.