There’s still a reputation among some that “all Dwight Howard can do is dunk.”
It’s wrong. First, the basic premise that “all this guy can do is get the most efficient shot in basketball on a regular basis” and somehow that makes him a bad offensive player is flawed. But beyond that, anybody who has watched Howard play in more than highlights the past three years would know he has diversified his offensive game. He has jump hooks from the block, a running hook, he’s worked on a midrange game and more.
But for Kobe Bryant, it’s not enough.
There was an interesting note on the Bryant/Howard relationship from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports in his post on Howard’s first game as a Laker (which we covered as well).
Yet Bryant has gone out of his way to push Howard to become a far more complete offensive player, to, in his words, “challenge him to do more than just screen-and-roll and dunk. We want opposing teams to see him as a dominant force.”
Howard as the anchor in the offense is going to open up things for Bryant and Pau Gasol (and Metta World Peace, for that matter). Steve Nash has the best pick-and-roll partner he has had probably since Amare Stoudemire. There are a lot of options.
But Kobe wants to maximize that potential because… well, he’s Kobe Bryant. There is no such thing as “good enough.
And that’s the lesson Kobe wants to impart about winning a title as a Laker (or, really anywhere). However hard you think it is, however far you think you need to push yourself, there is one more step. We’ll see if it sinks in.
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.