Carmelo Anthony is not a good defensive player. That’s not just me talking, after ‘Melo was traded from Denver to New York Nuggets coach George Karl told TNT his team would be much better on defense now that they didn’t have to “handle what Carmelo gives you” on that end.
Anthony took exception to that then. He takes exception to people calling out his defense now.
He did that with Sports Illustrated when the Knicks star sat down with them Wednesday. (Go read the whole Q&A, it’s good stuff.)
“Look, defense is about energy and focus at the end of the day. I can’t see any team or any coach just coming out and saying, ‘Oh, we’re just gonna come out and run every play at Melo.’ I never saw that before. I think [Karl] was being strategic in what he did and what he said. In Denver, we weren’t always known for being a defensive team, but that’s because we were running up and down the court. Like I said, I take it for what it’s worth. I store it in the back of my mind.
SI.com: What about the Knicks? As a team, what do you guys have to do better to improve defensively?
“As a team, we’re on our way. You gotta remember, you talking about a group of guys who never played a day with each other and were used to a system that they had already — and that actually was working a little bit for them. And then you get four or five guys who were key components on that team, and they leave and they only get two guys in return — it’s a totally different situation for the guys who came in and the guys who stayed.”
Convinced? Neither am I.
Mike Woodson has brought in to New York make sure they play defense (and to be there to step in if Mike D’Antoni gets axed, but that’s another matter). The problem is neither Melo nor Amar’e Stoudemire are great defenders and the Knicks have no big man in the paint who can play the role of rim defender. They need someone to be their Tyson Chandler or Andrew Bynum or Kendrick Perkins in the paint (to name the bigs from the last three NBA champs).
Knicks fans will get over the novelty of their two stars fast if the wins don’t start to come. And if defense is the issue, ‘Melo’s going to hear about it. A lot.
Joel Embiid is officially 7’0″ tall and 250 pounds, although when you see him in person now that number seems low, he looks thicker and stronger.
Justin Beiber is a 5’9″ waiflike person.
So of course, they arm wrestled at the club Hyde in Los Angeles. It went about as you’d expect. Here is some video, hat tip to Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie (arguably the best arm wrestler in the NBA media).
If you’re about to make an “at least Embiid didn’t get hurt” joke, be more creative.
Hopefully, we get to see what Embiid can do on the court this fall, where the competition will be a lot tougher than any Canadian pop star.
Larry Sanders is talking about getting back into the NBA. He walked away in 2015 to say he needed to deal with anxiety and depression, to find a balance in his life. Recently he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders this:
“But I feel like I’m in a much better place right now and I’m equipped to be able to put myself in that situation again.”
But where? A lot of teams could use an athletic big who averaged 1.4 blocks per game over the five years he was in the NBA, although with the conservative nature of NBA front offices they will not want to take much risk (Golden State reportedly thought about it and decided not to offer him a contract).
Sanders decided to ask Twitter where he should go, putting Twitter’s poll feature to good use.
The question becomes, where is there mutual interest from any of these teams?
If Sanders and his agent can win a team over in an interview, the contract will be small and the number of guaranteed years is not exceeding one (if even that). From the perspective of an NBA team, Sanders has to prove himself again.
But never underestimate how many chances big men get in this league.
(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)
Anderson Varejao was spending the past couple days helping his nation prepare to host the 2016 Olympics in less than two weeks, including carrying the Olympic flame.
But now he is on his way back to the United States to have his chronically bad back examined. Again. From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.
The Warriors re-signed Varejao on a one-year, veteran minimum contract where he will make $980,431. He is expected to back up Zaza Pachulia at the five spot, although his run would have been limited (which is good, he’s not terribly effective anymore).
A variety of injuries — back, Achilles, wrist — have meant the most games Varejao has played in a season since the 2010-11 season is 65. Last season that number was 53, the final 22 of it with the Warriors.
If Varejao can’t go or is limited, the Warriors may look around at other options. But the pickings are slim at this point.
Hopefully, this does not develop into something chronic.
After a promising rookie season and an impressive Summer League in Orlando where he averaged 18.8 points per game, Thunder second year player Cameron Payne had surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, the team announced Monday. Here it is from the Thunder’s press release.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Cameron Payne underwent a successful procedure today to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
The team is optimistic he will be ready to go by the start of the season (there is usually a 6-8 week timetable), but Payne and the Thunder need to be patient here. The fifth metatarsal is the bone that runs from the base of the little toe up to the ankle on the foot. While surgery can repair it, healing can be slow because that is not an area of the foot with great natural blood flow. The Thunder were down this road before with Kevin Durant, he came back eight weeks after the surgery but ended up needing a couple more to get everything fixed and missed 55 games because of it.
Payne played well as a rookie and is expected to see a healthy bump in playing time next season as a scoring guard off the bench behind Russell Westbrook. He just needs to get right first.