There were all sorts of whispers (and in some corners, some very loud talking) last season about how Dwyane Wade is getting old and starting to slip.
I’m not sure why — his points per game dropped three to 22.1, but he set up teammates more and turn the ball over less, and his PER went up. He missed a few games due to injury, but that happens. Let’s put it this way: Is a guy who averaged 22.8 points per game in the playoffs on a knee that needed surgery after the season really looking old and diminished?
None the less, people are whispering and Wade is being asked about it, but he told Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel he was done talking about it.
“You know what I’ve decided,” Wade said recently. “I’ve just decided not to comment on it any more.”
Well, except for the part where he told you how much that talk pissed off the 30-year-old, who missed 16 of 66 games due to a variety of injuries.
“Any time someone questions you, it’s going to bother you if you have any kind of competitive nature,” Wade said. “It fuels you. You want to see what you’re made of in a sense. You want to come back and not only answer the bell, but do a little bit more than expected.”
Wade’s style of play — few sacrifice their body like him — leads to him getting little nagging injuries over the course of the season. Which for the Heat means they are going to rest him more, they are not playing for February. But to suggest that means he is slowing down is a leap it would be a mistake to make. When healthy, or even close enough to get on the court, he can dominate games. Just because he chose to defer to LeBron James more last season doesn’t mean he’s fading. Make that call at your own risk.
In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.
DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.
Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.
Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.
“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”
“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”
The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?
In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.
I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.
Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.
The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:
The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
Clean, simple, cool — I like it.
That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)