Mikhail Prokhorov Introductory Press Conference

Prokhorov refers to James Dolan as “the little man”


If nothing else this season, I’m going to enjoy watching the Knicks and Nets go back and forth at each other like four-year-old girls fighting over a Barbie doll. The battles will be both on the court — the Knicks are the Nets first home game in the Barclays Center — and in the media. And it should last — they both should be playoff teams in the East (man I am hoping for a first-round matchup).

There will be petty sniping back and forth at each other because the Nets are trying to establish themselves in Brooklyn and the New York market.

There’s a long, detailed piece in New York Magazine about the Nets move, mostly a reminder that the Barclays center is part of a real estate deal and the Nets were just a cog in that to make sure it happened. But the petty sniping between owners — the Nets Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and the Knicks James Dolan — found its way in.

(Prokhorov told me back in December that he plans on attending a quarter of the regular-season games and “all the playoff ones.” He also made sure that I heard him call Dolan “that little man.”)

“The little man.” Petty. But I find it amusing nonetheless, and wait for the Knicks to fire back. The Knicks can afford to take the high road — they are the established team in the market, they have the built up generations of loyal fans, they are the icons — but still there is tension between the teams you can feel.

This will be fun to sit back and watch.

Lucky? Klay Thompson reminds Doc Rivers which team lost to Rockets

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There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.

The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.

Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.

– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”

Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.

If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.

They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.

All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.

Dwyane Wade serious as mentor, teaching Justise Winslow post moves

Third day of Miami Heat camp 10/1/2015
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Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.

Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.

Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.

“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.

“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”

This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.

It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.