Three Stars of the Night: Three huge games, one huge hairdo

9 Comments

There were some fantastic performances on the court Wednesday night, but if you want to know what people were buzzing about on twitter it was that photo to the right — Andrew Bynum’s hair. Which I can’t describe, but it’s buzz worthy. I think the face of the guy to Bynum’s left really says it all.

That haircut is enough to get Bynum an “honorable” mention, but as he has yet to set foot on the hardwood (and who knows when he will) he does not get one of the coveted PBT three stars of the night slots.

Third Star: James Harden 30 points (on 10-of-20 shooting), 4 assists

This looked like the James Harden of the first couple games this season — he was slashing and getting into the lane at will against the Hornets. Those drives were key to sparking a 39-18 second quarter when the Rockets tried to pull away. In the second half the Hornets changed plans and threw multiple defenders at Harden and that slowed him down (3 points in the third). He has to learn how to adapt to those defenses. Still, monster night for the beard.

Second Star: Rudy Gay28 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

The Grizzlies are for real and Rudy Gay is a key part of that — he was putting up points at will (after the dismal first quarter that was all Thunder). But the real key was late in the third quarter: Oklahoma City made a run and cut the Memphis lead to six and it was Gay knocking down three consecutive midrange jumpers to give the Grizzlies control again.

First Star: Kemba Walker 22 points, 5 assists, 4 steals

He looked like the Kemba Walker that used to wear a UConn and could take over games. He had 8 points in the first quarter but more important was the efficient play most of the night. Oh, yea, and the game winner. The Timberwolves had all the momentum after a comeback, then getting to tie the game when Reggie Williams went Chris Webber and called a timeout when the team had none left. But Walker bailed them out with this shot.

Watch Michael Jordan’s best highlight from each of his playoff runs (video)

Leave a comment

I’ve become a sucker for this highlight format.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
Leave a comment

LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
4 Comments

NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.