Josh Smith should have been an All-Star. He has stepped up his play with Al Horford out and is giving the Hawks 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game, and the Hawks are your four seed in the East at 18-10. Hard to look the other way.
But the reserve All-Star forwards in the East are Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala and Paul Pierce.
Smith is staying home and he’s not happy about it. This sums up his feelings, via the twitter of Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (via Eye on Basketball).
“I guess I don’t know the right people or kiss enough [butt].”
Or there is this from his story in the paper.
“You’ve got to factor in there is a lot of politics involved in the All-Star selection,” Smith said Friday.…
“I can’t really point a finger and blame anybody because, at the end of the day, when you leave it up to certain people that still have ties to their agents, [and] players in this game today probably [are] just putting in a bid over the phone, or however they do it,” he said. “You have to factor that in.”
I could make a case for why Smith should be in over Deng or Pierce, but the fact is those are not bad selections. I would have gone with Smith over Deng, but this isn’t a terrible decision. Just too many good players and not enough spots. It’s not all politics.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.