When this Olympics ends there is going to be a discussion among a bunch of rich lawyers in suits about what is best for basketball players. What could go wrong with that?
David Stern, pushed by NBA owners, wants to see the Olympic basketball tournament become an under-23 tournament, as is done with men’s soccer. That conversation will get pushed harder after the London games. USA Basketball President Jerry Colangelo said he had talked with Stern about it and said that it would be a very political decision involving FIBA and countries around the world.
The players pretty much hate the idea.
Kobe Bryant summed it up directly, speaking to Reuters (via SLAM) as Team USA landed in England for a game against Great Brittan Thursday (which will be another rout).
“It’s a stupid idea, stupid,” Bryant, 33, told reporters on Tuesday ahead of Team USA’s Olympic friendly against Britain on Thursday. “It should be a (player’s) choice…
“The Olympics is really about putting the best athletes out there to compete against the best. That’s what it’s about, put the best out there,” said Bryant. “From a basketball standpoint, (an age limit) would lessen the Olympics, absolutely.”
Soccer fans, feel free to jump into the club vs. country debate you’ve had for decades. Owners of teams have huge investments in players, investments that are risking injury and wearing down their body during the offseason and they want it to stop. The players just want to play and compete at the highest levels. The shoe companies like the idea of their biggest stars on this global stage. FIBA wants its World Cup to be like the soccer World Cup and not a secondary tournament to the Olympics.
So, lots of old lawyers in suits arguing about what basketball players should do in the offseason. That’s always how the best decisions get made.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.