Jordan tapped to advise, motivate U.S. Ryder Cup team

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Let’s just hope he doesn’t go Steve Kerr and punch Bubba Watson in the face…

Michael Jordan was certainly known as a motivator as an NBA player, although mostly because he was competitive to the point of near insanity (he once told Kerr he had never felt so low as when his team had lost a scrimmage at a Bulls practice). Jordan was the bad cop and nobody played good cop. He yelled drove people, embarrassed them and pushed them. And he has six rings in part because of that.

So it’s interesting that the United States Ryder Cup team captain Davis Love III has reached out to get him as a motivator and advisor, something reported by the Guardian in London (hat tip to SLAM).

Jordan will be at close quarters with Love and his team. The 49-year-old has previously been an assistant captain for Fred Couples – himself part of Love’s backroom team – at the Presidents Cup.

“I’ve talked to him. Michael’s going to be hanging around with Fred probably a lot and be an influence,” Love said. “I told Michael this a couple weeks ago. One of the neatest things I ever saw in the Ryder Cup was Michael riding in the golf cart with Tom Kite. He came out to watch Freddie and I play and I thought that was one of the coolest things.

“So I want my team, like Fred and I did, to get to see Michael. Rather than him sneaking around in the gallery, I want him to be seen and I want him to be in our team room, be hanging around and be a great influence.”

Basically, it’s just cool to hang out with Michael Jordan. Even if you are one of the best golfers in the world.

The Ryder Cup is a three-day golf competition between the best of the USA and the best of Europe, competing for their side. There’s a lot of national (and continental) pride on the line and makes for good television. It begins Sept. 28 and you can see the weekend matches on NBC.

Kawhi Leonard returns Tuesday on minutes restriction

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The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.

Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.

He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.

Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.

However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.

That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?

 

 

 

Pelicans’ Tony Allen out 3-4 weeks with fibula fracture

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The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.

Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.

Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.

Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

Kevin Durant brings fan to tears with autographed shoes (video)

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Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.

Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.