Everyone steals moves in the NBA the way novelists openly admit they steal techniques and ideas from other writers. The key — if you’re going to steal, steal from the best.
Which is what Brandon Jennings has been doing this past summer.
In an effort to boost his field goal percentage — a career best but overall pedestrian 41.8 percent last season — he is trying to steal some moves and shots from two-time MVP Steve Nash, Jennings told the Journal-Sentinel (hat tip to SLAM).
“It’s the one-leg floater in the lane,” Jennings said. “When you play against a guy like that, you just see the different ways he can score.
“It’s not easy what you can take from him. But if you put time into it, I really wanted to perfect some of the things he does. A lot of his buckets are easy.”
A lot of Nash’s baskets look easy, because he made them look that way. There’s a difference.
There are certainly lessons to be learned watching Nash. Jennings is quick enough to get into the lane, but he’s got to finish at a higher rate. Last season he averaged 6.9 shots per game inside of nine feet, but made just 3.5 of them (50.7 percent). When you’re in close you have to knock down the looks.
Nash is a master at that, with a floater and a quick pull up jumper and moves that get him layups. Part of what Jennings can do is emulate those shots. But the other thing Nash does very well is choose when to pull out what weapon in his arsenal. That is the key. That is what Jennings really needs to emulate.
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.
This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.
Here was his January try:
As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.
But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.
This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.
At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.
So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.
What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:
Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.
“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”
‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.
But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.