DEBBY RYAN, KARAN BRAR, CAMERON BOYCE, CHRIS BOSH

Tuesday And-1 links: Chris Bosh to guest star on Disney Channel’s “Jessie”

23 Comments

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like your grandma loves QVC…

• If you don’t have a tween daughter, you probably don’t know much about Disney Channel’s “Jessie.” I could try to fill you in, but really you don’t want me to, all you need to know is that Chris Bosh will be the guest star on the episode that airs Friday night (8:30 ET). The episode revolves around Bosh playing against one of the character’s teams (sure, that seems fair) and losing the lucky socks he has not washed since 10th grade. Once washed, Bosh isn’t sure he can dunk ever again. Actually, my guess is rebound but whatever, this is television.

• The Kings Tomas Robinson was in an auto accident and damaged his Porsche Monday night after the Kings win at home. Fortunately he was not injured.

• Pau Gasol has been ruled out of Tuesday’s Lakers game due to the concussion he suffered.

• Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins criticizes modern basketball analytics — the “moneyball” numbers — in a radio interview. Does he know who just bought the team? A numbers guy, who went and hired among others John Hollinger to beef up the analytics the team uses. Not smart.

• By the way, I understand the “analytics can’t tell you everything” argument about basketball. Thing is, if you talk to Daryl Morey or John Hollinger or the rest of the elite numbers guys, they watch more basketball than you or I, have a sharp eye, understand what numbers can and can’t do for them. Why do you think Morey has been going hard after superstar players the last couple years? Het gets you need those to win no matter who your coach is or what analytics you use.

• Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant were your players of the week for last week. Jennings averaged 24.5 points and 6.5 assists per game for the week. Durant scored better than 25 points in each of the Thunder’s four games last week.

• Look for Danny Granger to be back in late January or early February.

Great story at Grantland about how the careers of Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace have intertwined and brought them both to New York this year.

• A Dirk Nowitizki Q&A where he says he is not leaving Dallas. As if we expected otherwise.

• The Nets new “borough” jerseys are not the best of the Nets new gear. (In general Nets apparel is reportedly selling very, very well by the way.)

• Andray Blatche talks a little about the investigation of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in his room in Philadelphia (he did not perpetrate the crime but the level of his involvement is not known, the investigation is ongoing).

• Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas have worked out their beef and are friends again. I knew you’d be happy for them.

• Former Raptors coach Kevin O’Neill has been fired as the coach at USC.

• Finally, some Nets players learn some Russian:

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
7 Comments

The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
5 Comments

JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
2 Comments

At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.