Tuesday And-1 links: Who are the best shooters never to win three-point contest?

Leave a comment

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Guy Fieri loves bacon and bad hair.

• Who are the best three-point shooters never to win the All-Star Weekend Three-Point shootout? I think Reggie Miller wins that contest, but there are some good names on the All Ball list.

• Video of James Harden making it rain at a strip club. And no,I’m not posting that video.

• Rudy Gay, John Wall and a great list of players who need to step up this season (including a few who already got paid on potential).

• Mark Cuban says he hopes the eight newcomers to the Mavericks roster will stick with the team for a long time. Which is the right thing to say, but he will kick them all to the curb this summer for a shot at someone like Chris Paul. (As he should.)

• Ray Allen is already down in Miami working on his shot.

• A couple of high-end children’s sporting good shops in Manhattan are going to have 3-D Carmelo Anthonys to help guide people around the store and answer questions. No, I am not making that up.

• How the divorce of the Maloof sister — you know, the one on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — impacts the Kings. Which is not really that much save just more embarrassment for a family that has had plenty of it.

• Dwight Howard’s rehab has reached the point he has stepped on to a court. Expect the Lakers to bring him along slowly, it’s about June not November.

• You can trade in your guns for Memphis Grizzlies tickets. No, you do not get the weapons back if they lose.

• A fantastic, even handed look at what it has taken to get this far with the Seattle plan for a new arena from friend of this blog Kevin Pelton.

• Timberwolves big man Nikola Pekovic has los lost almost 10 pounds this summer and thinks that will help him stay more healthy next season.

• Chris Bosh scooping ice cream for charity. There’s a good joke in there but I just can’t find it. At least he wasn’t hanging at clubs with James Harden.

• Erik Spoelstra says a lot of nice things about the potential of Mickell Gladness. America shrugs.

• The Heat are bringing in Garrett Temple as training camp fodder.

• The Thunder are apparently bringing in Andy Rautins as camp fodder.

• The Knicks are bringing in swingman Mychel Thompson, center Henry Sims and guard Oscar Bellfield as camp fodder.

• Former Celtics first rounder J.R. Giddens has signed with Centrale del Latte Brescia in the Italian league.

• Otis Smith (you last remember him as the Magic GM until he was canned) is going into the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Legends.

• The mother of Pacer and former Tar Heal Tyler Hansbrough may be part of a fundraising scandal at the university.

• It’s not NBA but I find it interesting: The widespread cheating scandal at Harvard has reached into the basketball team.

• Zach Lowe, one of the very best NBA bloggers out there, is leaving SI. This would make me really sad if I was not going to be able to read his stuff at Grantland soon.

• As a final bonus, here is Scottie Pippen talking Phil Jackson, Derrick Rose, superteams and more.

James Harden on recruiting Chris Paul from LA: “He didn’t seem happy”

Leave a comment

One of the most interesting storylines of the first month of this upcoming NBA season will be the Houston Rockets.

The team has paired MVP candidate James Harden with one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, but it remains to be seen whether the two will be able to work together with the kind of efficiency that Mike D’Antoni’s team had in 2016-17.

Harden has been the subject of some chatter already this offseason after a photo of him surfaced on Instagram. In it, Harden looked to have added a significant portion of muscle this summer, which may help him as he moves back to a more off-ball style of play with Paul in the fold.

Harden was also the subject of significant scrutiny at the end of last season, where he failed in the playoffs in spectacular fashion against the San Antonio Spurs.

In a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Harden said his newfound weight gain has been part of his plan to combat late-season fatigue. Harden has also introduced yoga and pilates into his workout routine.

Perhaps more interesting information from Harden’s interview with Amick revealed just how much impact he had recruiting Chris Paul in the trade from Los Angeles Clippers, and Paul’s attitude at the end of the season toward his former team.

Via USA Today:

Harden, who signed a four-year extension this summer and will earn a combined $228 million by the end of the 2022-23 season, had everything to do with the move.

“I just knew that in the summertime obviously (Paul) was a free agent, and I wanted to see where his head was,” Harden said of Paul, who will now be a free agent next summer. “He didn’t seem happy, so after that we just took it from there.

“Obviously Golden State has been in the Finals and won two out of three, so that’s what everybody is trying to build up against. But we’re right there. We’re right there. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it definitely puts us in a better chance.”

It certainly makes sense that after years of perpetual playoff failure by the Clippers that Paul would want to move on. Harden and CP3 seem to enjoy each other at the moment, and a pairing does seem to make sense on paper. We will see how that plays out over the course of next season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo announces he will not play for Greece in Eurobasket

Getty Images
2 Comments

Giannis Antetokounmpo said had big plans to play for the Greek national team this summer, taking his country back to the top of the European ladder at EuroBasket (they had won the tournament a dozen years ago).

Instead, a sore knee will keep the Greek Freak out of EuroBasket. He made the announcement on his Facebook page.

Antetokounmpo had missed all but one of Greece’s early EuroBasket tune-ups due to a sore knee. That, understandably, concerned the Bucks, especially with his four-year, $100 million contract extension about to kick in next season.

Antetokounmpo is in China promoting shoes, but said he on Facebook he took a physical while there and was not able to complete the exercises due to pain.

“It is by far the biggest disappointment in my career. I must deal with the problem,” Antetokounmpo said in the Facebook post (written in Greek).

Within hours of the post going up, the Greek basketball federation released a statement slamming the Bucks and Antetokounmpo, saying they had done an MRI of his knee and found no damage.

“The simultaneous report by the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo himself, by phone and social media from faraway China, and not by the appropriate official manner, of his inability to join the national men’s team saddens us … but is not surprising… A series of indications … had convinced us of the existence of an organized and well-staged plan by (the Bucks), with the full knowledge if not encouragement of the NBA that put the athlete on the spot and forced him to announce today that he is no longer part of the men’s national team.”

Great, just what the world needs, another conspiracy theory.

While NBA teams generally are not huge fans of their stars playing in national team tournaments (due to the injury risk), teams cannot stop a healthy player from playing. Antetokounmpo said this was his decision because he is in pain and has to think about the upcoming NBA season.

Whatever the Greek Federation believes internally, slamming the player and his team publicly like this is one good way to make sure he will not want to play for them in the future. He’s got knee pain, they are saying “you’re fine, walk it off, ” and that must have Antetokounmpo and the people around him wondering if the Greek Federation has his best interests — or theirs — at heart.

Akron store already selling “Stay Home 23” shirts, hats as LeBron decision looms

Getty Images
1 Comment

We’ve seen this movie before.

There is all sorts of buzz around the league that LeBron James has one foot out the door in Cleveland. While people around LeBron denied he the rumor he is “100 percent” leaving, good luck finding any league source who thinks he is staying put next summer. Nothing is set in stone, his options — including staying — remain open, but we’ve all been down this road before.

The hometown fans are going to do their part to urge LeBron to stay.

Fan sentiment has some pull with LeBron (he came back to win the city a title). However, what matters more is a sense of a plan to keep the Cavaliers as title contenders for the coming years — and that is more than just Dan Gilbert paying the tax. The Cavs did nothing this summer that got them closer to beating Golden State, and while they swung for the fences with Paul George, what they really needed was wing defenders and athletes, and they didn’t get those either. Luc Mbah a Moute signed a one-year deal for the minimum somewhere else. Instead, Cleveland overpaid Kyle Korver.

Despite all that, the Cavs remain the team to beat in the East. If Cleveland gets to the Finals — LeBron’s eighth in a row — and they win or make it close, he may see staying as his best option. A season can be a lifetime in the NBA in terms of shifting attitudes. Still, I wouldn’t bet the rent on it.

Marshall Plumlee gets camp invite, partially guaranteed contract from Clippers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).

That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.