There are a couple of reasons that teams hire full time media relations people and now hire their own reporters for their team Web sites, and driving traffic to those sites (so they can appease sponsors/advertisers) is just a part of it.
The bigger goal is to spin the narrative the way they want. It’s exactly what the Obama and Romney camps will do after Wednesday’s debate, except in our case it’s about the far less important topic basketball.
Reading the tweets out of all the reports at Knicks camp the big spin seemed to be “forget about Jeremy Lin, we’re not talking about him, but look what great shape Raymond Felton is in.”
Felton played pretty well with the Knicks a couple years ago, when he was running the Mike D’Antoni pick-and-roll with Amare Stoudemire all the time. That seems like eons ago. Felton was shipped out, landed in Portland then was unimpressive for the Blazers last year. And he owned up to why, tweeted Brian Mahoney of the AP.
The Knick went with one of the media day cliches — “We’re not talking about the past, we’re looking forward.” Jeremy Lin who? The Knicks are trying to turn the page on him but his popularity in New York makes that challenging. The questions will keep coming (especially if Lin plays well in Houston).
So the Knicks pushed hard on the “look what great shape Felton is in, he’s going to be great for us” angle. I don’t doubt that he comes in ready to play in much better shape.
The question of how good he is for them remains to be answered — Felton’s coming into an offense that ran through Carmleo Anthony last year and now may see more Stoudemire in the post. We need to see if Felton has got his groove back, and if he has how he meshes with this offense. If there is one thing the Knicks need, it is to figure out how to mesh this offense. Felton could be a key for that and if he can get it to work the Knicks look a lot better.
But for now — Felton’s in shape!
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.