LeBron James is working on a skyhook? Old-school cool.


It is the most iconic signature shot in the history of the NBA — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would get the ball on the low right block, rock toward the middle to make the defender shift, then roll back to baseline with his left shoulder creating space while his right hand took the ball ridiculously high for the “skyhook.”

It was indefensible.

LeBron James is apparently working on it. From the Heat Index at ESPN.

A year ago, LeBron James adopted elements of Hakeem Olajuwon’s Dream Shake. This time around, the Miami Heat star forward is implementing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s patented skyhook….

James vows to add the traditional hook shot to his game, and he could test it out when the Heat play a pair of exhibition games this week in China against the Los Angeles Clippers. (Heat assistant coach Bob) McAdoo proudly acknowledges that James is continuing to build a foundation of post moves that took root two summers ago in Houston with (Hakeem) Olajuwon.

James’ hook, if he breaks it out that often (my guess is LeBron will fall back on power moves mostly when he posts up) will not look like Kareem’s for reasons even James can’t match — Kareem had an insanely high release point on his skyhook that was paired with a feathery soft touch. There’s a reason he’s scored more points than anyone in NBA history.

But some things can be the same. What made the skyhook work for KAJ was that if you overplayed it he had a quick spin to the middle and he could finish at the rim with either hand, and his footwork was fantastic. The skyhook was the signature, but it wasn’t the only post move you had to stop. It is the same with LeBron, who has some of Olajuwon’s Dream Shake (which was really a series of moves and counters). There isn’t just one move, there is a variety. You can’t stop LeBron one-on-one on the block because of it and once the double comes he can pass out to open shooters.

But man, I would really love to see LeBron break out an old-school sweeping hook shot. I love the throwback moves.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.