David Stern reflects on his time as commissioner, good and bad

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When David Stern announced he was stepping down as commissioner in 15 months on Thursday, he tried, or at least feigned trying, not to reminisce on his time as commissioner.

But Stern also likes to talk.

And so he did at a press conference about the NBA Board of Governors meeting that became about Stern retiring. He was asked what the best and worst times of his to be 30 years as NBA commissioner were.

“The best is a long list of things, it’s hard to even pick,” Stern said, before going on to pick. “That our Olympic team in 1992 was able to show the world how great our players were, despite some previous questions about our players and their place of the world. To me that was a high point but it just keeps getting better than that.

“The low point… I haven’t enjoyed the responsibility of having to end careers, which I haven’t had to do recently, with respect to drug use and the like many years ago. One of my preseason phone calls each year, this year was from Michael Ray (Richardson), who is up and coaching again in Ontario, Canada. That wasn’t a great situation for me personally.

“But for the most part it’s been a series of extraordinary experiences and enormous putting together of pieces of a puzzle. And it goes on forever. And there will always be another piece of the puzzle, and so the question is ‘at what point do you decide to let somebody else do it?’ And that’s the point it is at now.”

That 1992 Olympic team started to spread the NBA gospel overseas, and that international growth has become a passion of Sterns (something the owners like as it pads their pocketbooks). Without the Dream Team the internationalization of the NBA would have been slower.

Stern banned several players from the game for drug use — Michael Ray Richardson, Roy Tarpley, Richard Dumas, and most recently Chris Andersen (but he also was later reinstated), among others.

Stern’s legacy, which will get hashed out here and everywhere over the next 15 months, is generally positive but far from perfect. There were two lockouts and if you think Stern did no wrong you should go ask the people of Seattle. But in terms of marketing, he got it, he saw the NBA as a star-driven league and expertly rode the wave of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and then Michael Jordan to new heights.

It slipped after Jordan finally retired and may be tough to get back there, but Stern is leaving Adam Silver a league with the potential to return to those days. With marketable stars and a prominent place in the culture. We’ll see what Silver can do with that .

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.

John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)

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John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.

Did you see Isaiah Thomas carry in Game 5? ‘No,’ says Fred Hoiberg, who walks off (video)

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Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.

So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.

Jae Crowder leg-locks Robin Lopez (video)

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Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.

Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.

Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.

I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.