This happens every year right before the Final Four. Some loudmouth says that the best college team in the land could beat the worst NBA team.
This year’s loudmouth is Charles Barkley. Guess we shouldn’t be shocked by that. Here is what he said, via our sister (brother?) blog CollgeBasketballTalk, which you should be reading anyway.
“Nobody can beat this team. The Toronto Raptors can’t, the Bobcats maybe. But there’s nobody in this NCAA tournament that can beat this team.”
No. No they could not.
And for the record, Charles, Toronto is better than Charlotte.
Kentucky is immensely talented, no doubt. Anthony Davis will be the No. 1 overall pick with good reason, he can develop into a special player. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is maybe my favorite player in this draft because while every year at the draft we talk about “what a great motor” some player has Kidd-Gilchrist actually has one and lives up to it. Terrance Jones, Doran Lamb, the list goes on and on with guys who are going to get a shot in the pros. They are going to get a chance to develop.
But it would be men against boys. The strength of NBA players, the level of execution is far superior. Even on the Bobcats. Kemba Walker ate up college players last year and he is much better now. You think there is a college kid strong enough to stop Corey Maggette on the drive? Bismack Biyombo would be swatting shots into the third row. Gerald Henderson would have his way. Look at it this way — Tyrus Thomas was the No. 4 pick overall and he struggles to make it work in the NBA. The talent level is just far superior across the board.
Best of seven series, maybe Kentucky wins one. Maybe. Now, if you have a time machine and can keep this Kentucky team together when they are all 25 and they play these Bobcats, that could be interesting. But right now, boys against men.
And Barkley knows that, but he gets paid to be outrageous.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.