The bar is set in Minnesota and it’s clear — playoffs or bust.
They were on the bubble last year until Ricky Rubio’s ACL decided to tear. Now this year Minnesota has added real, veteran depth — Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma and Russian rookie Alexey Shved — to the roster.
And now team leader Kevin Love is made the plans clear — Minnesota is going to the playoffs. He was clear speaking to the Portland Tribune.
“It will be a big surprise to me if we didn’t make a huge leap this year and make it to the playoffs,” the Lake Oswego native told me Wednesday…
“We’re going to have a chance to be very good,” Love said. “We’re hoping Brandon can stay healthy through 82 games. Kirilenko is a big addition. Shved hopefully is going to be a big deal for us.
“We’ll have more firepower in terms of veterans. Brandon and Andrei will help our locker room and on the court. It will make Coach Adelman’s job a lot easier. If everything is put together, if Ricky comes back healthy, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Their biggest challenge is what they learned last year the hard way — there is no margin for error in a deep Western Conference. The Thunder and Lakers are considered the conference co-favorites, but just a step behind them you have the Clippers and Spurs. Memphis was the four seed last year and is very good; Denver was the six seed and got a lot better with Andre Iguodala. That’s six pretty much playoff locks. To get into the post season, Minnesota is going to have to get by pretty good teams in Utah or Dallas. No easy task.
But you have to like Love’s attitude. This is his team, and he picked up hanging around the other Olympians this year what it will take for him to get Minnesota over the hump. And that is not to accept less from them. Set the bar high — say you are going to make the playoffs — then get them to reach for it.
The #DriveByDunkChallenge has been a fun distraction this summer. If you don’t know what it is, it essentially involves NBA players jumping out of their cars to dunk on regular folks on community basketball hoops.
Players like Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown have led the charge in the social media video fad, and now it appears that Houston Rockets guard James Harden is setting a new trend.
That trend? Doing the #DriveByDunkChallenge from dang boat.
I can’t think of anything more baller than dunking on somebody from a speed boat, so congrats to Harden for winning the NBA offseason.
I suppose it will take some time to get used to seeing Gordon Hayward in a Boston Celtics jersey. This photo is the first step on that journey.
In a photo posted to Hayward’s Instagram on Wednesday, many of us got our first look at the former Utah Jazz forward in his new digs.
Specifically, the new Celtics Nike jersey in green with the GE patch on the left shoulder.
There are still some serious doubts about whether the Celtics will be able to unseat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, but perhaps they won’t need to wait for long. Rumors are starting to trickle in about LeBron James leaving Ohio, so maybe by the time we are used to seeing Hayward in Celtics green next season they will have less competition out east.
It appears as though Houston billionaire Dan Friedkin will have some competition if he decides to bid for the Rockets. Namely, former NBA big man Dikembe Mutombo.
Mutombo played in the NBA from 1991-2009, ending his career with five seasons in Houston. The franchise apparently made an impact on the Hall of Fame center, as he is apparently looking to buy the franchise per an interview with USA Today.
Speaking with Adi Joseph over at FTW, Mutombo would not give out names of his partners but said that he will be able to make a bid in the coming weeks.
“I’m putting together a group to buy the Houston Rockets, and we’re getting close,” he said. “Getting close in the next couple weeks, maybe I’ll have a chance. Lot of people, lot of people and good people with a lot of money.”
With Leslie Alexander’s decision to sell the team, it certainly would be interesting to get another NBA player as part of team ownership in this league.
The NBA’s top-10 highlight packages have been pretty enjoyable. This one is oddly specific – but still dizzyingly fun.