Nazr Mohammed was doing so well, too

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For starters, it should be noted that at least the players are willing to talk about these things. They’re brave enough to go on Twitter, to talk to reporters, to have conversations about the state of the lockout and the potential end of the season. Their position is obviously as biased as it can be, but while they’re taking to social media and media outlets, the owners are hiding behind limousine windows. The response to that is “They’ll get fined!” but that belies what we’ve seen and heard, which is that David Stern is beholden to the owners. So which is it? He’s helpless against their insatiable desires or he rules them with the iron fist?

But I digress.

Nazr Mohammed was discussing the owners’ latest offer on Twitter and doing a pretty decent job. He won’t speak to specifics but continues to rail against the owners and explaining why the players will likely opt for decertification over a vote on Monday. But then, well, he went too far.

 

If this deal is accepted…I advise guys to stay in school and get ur degree, Master’s if possible. U might be able to make more $ that…Sat Nov 12 18:53:57 via Twitter for iPhone

…way than playing in the NBA in ur 1st five years. Being the 1st pick of the draft would mean nothing. #NBALockoutSat Nov 12 18:55:51 via Twitter for iPhone

 

That… was NOT what you wanted to say.

OK, so here’s what he’s talking about.

Everyone freaked out yesterday about a single 140-character tweet from Ric Bucher yesterday about a proposal element that would give teams the right to send a player to the D-League for the first five years of their career and pro-rate them at $75,000 while they’re down there. Now, I can tell you having covered the D-League for the past four years, the goal of the league is not to serve as some sort of Siberian prison camp for players to punish them. If that proposal did make it in, it would be used only for players who clearly weren’t ready. When they were, they would come up. If you draft a top draft pick, you’re not sending him to the D-League for five years to keep costs down. You want him up. The guys this would impact would likely not be part of the union long-term anyway. And we don’t know any of the surrounding details of the proposal. Oh, and what’s that? One more thing? Oh, yeah.

It’s not in the proposal anymore. It’s gone. It’s dead. It’s over. But players are still reacting to it.

NBPA COMMUNICATION = FAIL.

But just for kicks, let’s say that Mohammed’s right. That this could happen.

Via Wikipedia, the average salary for a graduate of a Master’s program several years ago, prior to the recession, was $63,000. Now subtract student loans. Now consider that most MA’s aren’t going to be in fields that yield significantly higher than that. Now consider how many MA’s you know who are working in service-industry jobs right now because of the economy. Now consider the per-hour rate of most MA’s vs. NBA players (who work very, very hard, make no mistake).

Yeah, that was not the best thing.

What’s worse is that this is the kind of thing the players don’t need right now. Even though winning the PR war will do nothing for negotiations, the players just don’t need something similar to Patrick Ewing’s famous “We spend a lot, too” comment. The players don’t necessarily have to have a high awareness of the job market outside the NBA. In a lot of ways many NBA members have a greater awareness of the poverty conditions in this country than most. But they don’t need to be talking about any NBA player being put in a bad situation. They’ll be put in a worse situation than they were under in the last CBA. But their lives overall will still be pretty great.

 

Kevin Durant gets into Twitter debate with reporter over White House comments

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Kevin Durant became the latest Warrior — joining Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston, that we know of — to say he would not visit President Donald Trump’s White House as NBA champion. Which is all kind of moot because it’s unlikely the White House invites them and outspoken Trump critic/Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his players any way. (The White House’s biggest concern should be that Kerr accepts the invitation and uses that platform to challenge the president’s policies and style in front of him.)

Durant’s comments led to plenty of talk on sports talk radio and around the sports world online about whether a player or team should decline an invitation from the president. It’s not a new debate, Tom Brady denied that politics is why he didn’t visit Barack Obama’s White House (although I’m not sure many believed him), but KD’s on a big stage now so it became a talking point.

Former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry questioned a player not visiting the White House, and Durant responded, leading to a little Twitter back-and-forth.

Durant had previously Tweeted in response “by doing the opposite, I am inspiring more people” but that Tweet was deleted.

There is no one correct way to protest a person/policy/action, McHenry may see things differently, but Durant has chosen to stay away. That’s valid — traditionally these “champions to the White House” things are tedious photo ops with a few bad jokes thrown in. Having a hoops fan/player in Obama in the White House made the NBA visits more entertaining the past eight years, there was some trash talk, but still, they are largely just a public relations moment. If KD doesn’t want to play the PR game with Trump, that’s a legitimate response.

This has all been a tempest in a teapot. Until/unless the White House actually invites the Warriors to come, it’s all kind of moot.

Dwight Howard on Hornets’ coach Clifford: “It’s a great feeling when somebody believes in you”

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Dwight Howard‘s game is much better than his reputation among fans.

He’s not the Defensive Player of the Year/All-NBA/MVP candidate level player he was back in Orlando, but Howard is still one of the best rebounders in the game, he’s strong defensively, and he’s an efficient scorer inside. He’s a quality center, if he plays within himself and is used well. His perception as a guy who does not take the game seriously and held back Houston and Atlanta in recent years has validity (he plays better in pick-and-roll than on the move, but wants the ball in the post), but the idea he is trash is flat-out wrong. He’s still good.

Howard wants to change his reputation, rewrite the final chapters of his career, and told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that Steve Clifford’s Charlotte Hornets are the place that is going to happen.

“The other places I was, the coaches didn’t really know who I am,” Howard told ESPN. “I think that they had perception of me and ran with it. Cliff knows my game. He knows all the things that I can do. I’m very determined to get back to the top. It’s a great feeling when somebody believes in you. They aren’t just saying it; they believe it. It really just pushed me to the limit in workouts: running, training, everything. I want to do more.

“In Orlando, I was getting 13-15 shots a game. Last season, in Atlanta, it was six shot attempts. It looks like I’m not involved in the game. And if I miss a shot, it sticks out because I am not getting very many of them. But I think it’s all opportunity, the system. I haven’t had a system where I can be who I am since I was in Orlando.”

Howard averaged 8.3 field goal attempts per game in Atlanta, which is about five a game below his peak. Last season 75 percent of Howard’s shots came within three feet of the rim — is is not there to space the floor, however, he can still move fairly well off the roll and is a good passer for a big.

Last season, 28 percent of Howard’s possessions came on post ups, and he averaged a pedestrian 0.84 points per possession on those. On the 21 percent of shots he got on a cut, he averaged a very good 1.36 PPP. When he got the ball back as a roll man (again on the move), it was 1.18 PPP. The challenge long has been Howard is better on the move but doesn’t feel involved unless he gets post touches, and if he doesn’t feel involved and engaged he’s not the same player.

Maybe Clifford can make this all work with some older plays where Howard feels comfortable.

Charlotte, with Howard in the paint and on the boards, should get back to being a top 10 NBA defensive team, not the middle of the pack as they were last season. Clifford is better than that as a coach, and Howard is an upgrade in the paint (on both ends). Charlotte should be a playoff team again in the East.

But it all will come back to Howard. Fair or not. And Wojnarowski is right, this is Howard’s last best chance to write the ending he wants to his career.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.