Iguodala was frustrated in Philly, which somehow is news

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Somehow, the fact Andre Iguodala was never quite comfortable or happy in Philadelphia, especially the last couple years, has become a story. I’m not sure how this is news to anybody, but here we are.

Iguodala has a unique set of skills but he was always mismatched in the Sixers offense, and he was never a favorite of fans in Philly who thought he didn’t produce enough to warrant his contract. Iggy saw it differently, saying he was asked to facilitate on offense, not score.

That’s not at all where Matt Moore, writing for CBSSports.com, went with his interview with Iguodala, he talked mostly about a player whose contributions often are undervalued. But when Iguodala talked about that, he talked about his frustrations in Philly.

“I haven’t really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years,” Iguodala said. “Last year was a big year for us, but it was just draining for the criticism to be there every single day….”

“Once again, you get that perception that you’re just a defender, you’re just an athlete, blah, blah, blah,” Iguodala said. “I think that’s what the perception was based on my last two years in Philly because I was the facilitator. They didn’t want me to go out there and get 20-25 (per game) because when I got that, they said we couldn’t win….”

“So in Doug Collins’ first year, I didn’t shoot threes because he was like, ‘I don’t want you shooting threes, I don’t want that shot.’ Last year, I said, ‘I’m shooting it.’ And what happened? Shot 38 percent from three, top-25 in the NBA from three and I’m supposed to be a non-shooter. You put so much work in, and then to be told, ‘Don’t do what you worked on all summer.'”

Of course, there are plenty in Philly who are not going to pass up another chance to take a swing at Iggy.

Fortunately for us, Doug Collins wasn’t one of them. He took the high road talking to CSNPhilly.com.

“My feeling is I had a wonderful two years with ‘Dre,” Collins said. “I look back and I think he made me a better coach….

“Our first year, we were plus-14 wins and he was second-team All-Defense. Our next year, we go to the seventh game of the conference semifinals, and he makes the All-Star team and wins a gold medal. So I feel great about our time together.”

I think the guy that may make the most sense is Evan Turner talking to CSNPhilly.com.

“I think ‘Dre, whether he was frustrated or not, he still came out and played every night. He played hurt. You can’t really knock his opinion. It is his opinion and I am not going to knock him for how he feels because that is a personal thing. At the end of the day, it is about what the team needs from you and what the coach asks you to do. In Andre’s defense, he always did both. Last year, he was an All-Star, won a gold medal and got us to the second round.”

Philly never ran an offense that really played to Iguodala’s strengths, Denver does. Fast tempo, lots of touches, lots of chances to turn defense into offense and a green light to shoot any open shot. Use him right, like Team USA did in the Olympics, and he can be a force. Iguodala is the most George Karl of players, and he could have a monster year in Denver.

And he seems happy. Which clearly he was not the past couple years. I’m not really sure how that’s a surprise.

Lonzo Ball will never be as good as this fan-made video of him destroying people in 2K17

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Ultimately, nobody has any idea how good Lonzo Ball will be as an NBA player. Franchise cornerstone? All-Star? Above average starter? Rotation player? He will fall somewhere on the scale, but even for NBA teams it’s a guess as to where. (His dad apparently thinks he will end his career compared to Jordan, I seriously doubt that.)

However good he ends up being, he may never be as good as he looks in this 2K17 fan video made by Shady00018. The Lakers should pray he does: Dropping Stephen Curry on a crossover, dunking over Rudy Gobert, throwing no-look passes like beads at Mardi Gras? It’s impressive, if unrealistic.

Then again, reality Lakers fans don’t always intersect.

 

LeBron James on the Finals: “I feel good about our chances. Very good.”

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If there is one team in the NBA that can knock off the Warriors in a seven-game series, it’s the Cavaliers. They are the best team in the NBA at creating mismatches and isolating them, and in Kyrie Irving and LeBron James they have two of the best isolation scorers in the game. Cleveland is strong on the boards and is capable of impressive defense. Also, they have the best player on the planet.

If nobody else is confident in the Cavaliers chances, he is.

Here is what LeBron James said his confidence level facing the Warriors in a Finals trilogy.

What else is he going to say?

And if anyone should be confident, it’s LeBron. He can change a series.

From the outside, we saw a series last year where everything needed to go right for Cleveland to win — LeBron playing the best ball of his career for the final three games, Kyrie Irving hitting big shots, Draymond Green getting suspended, Andrew Bogut getting injured, Stephen Curry being off (due to injury or fatigue or just a slump). And even then took the Cavaliers seven games and heroics at the last minute. Now the Warriors add Kevin Durant, and it’s hard not to see this ending differently.

However, LeBron James is the one guy who can alter that vision. And he’s confident he can do it, he’s done it before.

Steve Alford: LaVar Ball never meddled with UCLA Basketball

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Is LaVar Ball just a harmless loudmouth, or will he actually undermine the team that drafts his son, highly touted guard Lonzo Ball?

The Lakers, who hold the No. 2 pick, are the most likely team to find out.

President Magic Johnson said LaVar won’t affect whether they draft Lonzo, but coach Luke Walton wants the team to ask UCLA coach Steve Alford about LaVar’s involvement.

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times did just that:

Was LaVar Ball around the team much?

“Zero,” Alford said.

Was he ever at practice?

“Never at practice,” Alford said. “Never at practice; never called me.”

Did he ever try to meddle in your coaching?

“Never,” Alford said.

LaVar has said his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, will play for UCLA. So, Alford has incentive to maintain a productive working relationship with LaVar. The players’ high school coach had a much worse experience dealing with LaVar.

Alford vouching for LaVar means something, but the total picture is more complex.

Still, LaVar would hardly be the first difficult parent of an NBA player. He’s just the most public. Even if he’d try to meddle into the Lakers, they might be willing to handle that to get his talented son.

John Wall: Bench was Wizards’ ‘downfall’

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John Wall left the Wizards’ season-ending loss to the Celtics talking about how badly Washington’s bench got outscored.

Now that he has time to reflect and isn’t just speaking with raw emotion shortly after a devastating loss, how does he feel?

Wall, via CSN Mid-Atlantic

“We need to help our bench,” Wall told CSN’s Chris Miller. “Just to be honest, that was our downfall in each series that we had in the [Eastern Conference] semifinals, our bench got out played.”

It starts from upstairs – just building the right bench guys and building the chemistry. That’s all it is.

I think that’s where they won the game at. I heard Marcus Smart say after the game that I had no legs. He’s basically right. I don’t make excuses. I’m going to play. If I miss shots or make shots, I’ll live with it. I know people will say he finished oh for 11, but I play – I took everything I had in me to keep fighting.

It’s just that their bench guys came in and played well. I think Kelly Oubre could’ve played a little bit more. I wish he would’ve played a little more and Jason. But coach makes the decision, and we stick behind him 100 percent. I feel like those two guys could have really helped us.

Wall – eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension but reportedly unsure about signing one – is clearly telling the Wizards what he wants. Marcin Gortat similarly criticized Washington’s bench earlier in the season, and he apologized. Wall has the leverage not to stand by his assessment.

Both Wall and Gortat were right. The Wizards’ bench was the source of much of their problems.

Washington’s starting lineup outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. Its bench (all other lineups) got outscored 15.5 points per 100 possessions.

Only the Thunder had a similar split in net rating:

image

The Wizards knew their flaw and tried to hide it. Washington’s starters played 34.2 minutes per game together in the postseason – second only to the Pacers (34.5). Wall’s heavy workload contributed to him running out of gas late in Game 7 against Boston, which Marcus Smart noted.

What can the Wizards do to upgrade their bench? Spend.

They sound committed to keeping Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this summer. But that would push them near the luxury tax – so they could scrimp on the bench in a variety of ways:

  • Don’t re-sign Bojan Bogdanovic, another restricted free agent. He’s in line for a raise.
  • Trade Marcin Gortat, elevating Ian Mahinmi into the starting lineup and therefore weakening the bench.
  • Trade Jason Smith, who might be expendable at his salary but at least still provides depth.
  • Don’t use the mid-level exception. That’s Washington’s best mechanism for adding outside help, but it’d be costly.

Will the Wizards take any of those cost-saving measures? Wall is certainly watching.