Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Clippers

Baron Davis says playing for Clippers almost killed his love of the game

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Right now, the Los Angeles Clippers are the most entertaining team to watch in the NBA. They are athletic, fast paced, smart thanks to Chris Paul at the helm. They are learning to be contenders. There is a buzz around their games that is reminiscent of that other team in Staples Center — the building is full, it’s loud (louder than Lakers games) and there are a lot of people showing up to be seen in the lower bowl.

But the history of the Clippers still looms over this success — owner Donald Sterling is keeping an arm’s length from this team. Which is a good thing. Because he is the person most capable of killing all that momentum.

For an example of how, we bring you part of a must-read Baron Davis Q&A with the New York Post, where Davis recounts how Sterling used to heckle him from courtside.

And the other lowest point is when I played for the Clippers. … I just stopped liking basketball. And then you dribbling down the court and having the owner like cuss at you and call you an idiot. I didn’t even look forward to coming to the games, and if the owner [Donald Sterling] came to the game, I definitely was not gonna have a good game because it was just like, how do you play when the main heckler in the gym is the owner of the team, and he’s telling you how much he hates you and calling out your name?

Make no mistake, Davis was frustrating to Clippers fans. His injuries often stemmed from his conditioning early in the season, he seemed to be focused only every third game or so, and he fell in love with the pull-up three with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. Plus, a key reason they wanted to trade him was to get his attitude and work ethic out of a locker room where Blake Griffin was changing the culture.

But it’s a big jump from there to the owner sitting courtside and heckling one of his own players. It is right out of bad management 101. And we’re not going to get into the laundry list of other issues around Sterling. There are fantastic, hardworking people in the Clippers organization who have made smart moves to get them where they are. Let’s hope the man at the top doesn’t screw that up.

Back to Davis, he also talks about Jeremy Lin, UCLA, Steve Lavin, John Wooden and much more. Here are some comments on Lin and how their games mesh, but go read the whole thing.

He’s an attack, attack, attack, attack. Like he’s speed and fast. I’m more so kinda shifty and at a different pace than his. I’m more like pass first than I am scoring. … He plays like north-south … straight lines. … I play like … in squiggly lines. Jeremy sets the defense up because he attacks, attacks, attacks and gets in the paint and puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Then when they’re used to that pressure, when I come in, it’s like, “Oh, he’s not going all the way to the basket. He’s stopping, and he’s finding.”

Report: With Joffrey Lauvergne trade, Mitch McGary likely done with Thunder

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 16:  Mitch McGary #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on March 16, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.

Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.

McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.

McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.

Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to improve his free throw stroke

Dwight Howard
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If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?

Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.

It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.

The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.

The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.

But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.

Report: Veteran big man Jason Thompson agrees to deal in China

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 15:  Jason Thompson # 34 of Sacramento Kings in action during the 2014 NBA Global Games match between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings at MasterCard Center on October 15, 2014 in Beijing, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.

Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.

Report: Veteran big man Kevin Seraphin working out for Pacers, getting pursued by Barcelona

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01:  Kevin Seraphin #1 of the New York Knicks reacts after he is called for a foul in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden on April 1, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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After five years in Washington, French forward Kevin Seraphin signed a one-year deal in New York last offseason. He played 48 games for the Knicks, averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11 minutes per game and wasn’t a big part of their rotation. Now, as a free agent, he’s looking for a new NBA home, and Yann Ohnona of L’Equipe reports that he’s worked out for the Indiana Pacers and has interest from the Spanish club FC Barcelona.

The translation of that tweet reads:

Kévin Seraphin, always courted by Barcelona, is in the United States for a trial with the Pacers of Indiana

With Barcelona in pursuit, Seraphin appears to have a solid fallback option if he can’t land a spot on an NBA team. He can be useful as a fourth or fifth big, it’s just a matter of a team having room.