During Sunday’s nationally televised game between the Lakers and Thunder — one where Kobe Bryant racked up 14 assists in helping his team to a much-needed win — color commentator Jeff Van Gundy had some strong words for Dwight Howard.
Howard has been up and down this season, and is clearly not all the way recovered from the back surgery he underwent last summer. But he’s complained about his touches at times, while badly missing defensive rotations and blaming his teammates in the process.
These are the things Van Gundy took issue with in an extended rant during the second quarter on Sunday.
He’s let everybody know ad nauseum that his back hurts OK, and that he is not 100%.
That’s not what people are upset about.
They’re upset about his waffling constantly on everything. This idea that he has to have less touches now? You’re the one that wanted out of the situation in Orlando where you were the featured guy. So this is what I‘ve ascertained that would make him happy:
Highest paid player, on a championship caliber team, first option offensive threat, in a big market, with no pressure, no responsibility and no one to prod him from a coaching standpoint.
Where do you find that in the NBA?
What he should do is say, ‘I wanted out. I wanted here. I’m going to make it work here.’
You should not have to beg a NBA player for energy, effort and unselfishness. Because you are not getting touches doesn’t give you the right to hold your team hostage by not giving your very very best.
Van Gundy was simply saying what the rest of us were thinking, but the passion with which he delivered those statements was interesting. I mean, it came across as a bit personal — almost as if Dwight had done something to a member of Van Gundy’s family at some point in the past.
Remarkably, he didn’t hijack the offense to produce those eye-popping numbers. Thompson shot a cool 21-of-33 from the field, and 20 of his baskets were assisted. In addition to Clark, Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston all possessed the ball longer than Thompson.
In fact, nobody has come close to scoring so much while having the ball so little.
Here are the highest scoring games since the NBA began publishing possession time in 2013-14, marking points in time of possession:
The the second-lowest time of possession on that leaderboard was also by Thompson. He scored 52 points in 2:40 of possession against the Kings in 2015.
But even that game required more than a minute of extra touch time.
Who has scored the most points in a game while possessing the ball for fewer than two minutes? Again, Thompson litters the list – with last night blowing the rest out of the water:
Unlike previous examples of Armstrong making foolishpoints to protect his clients, this could be a path that bites his client.
Motiejunas’ rights here were collectively bargained, and they’re pretty clear here.
He has a right not to undergo the physical within two days of Houston matching, but that means the Rockets can hold him in limbo through March 1. On March 2, his offer sheet would become void, and he’d be a restricted free agent – and unable to sign with Brooklyn for a year. Houston could also elect to formalize its offer match or make him a restricted free agent – still without the ability to sign with Brooklyn for a year – at any point between now and March 1.
Motiejunas probably wants the Rockets to “fail” him on his physical, which would send him to the Nets under the terms of the offer sheet. I doubt he’d even need to actually come in for a checkup if the failing is prearranged. But that’d require Houston general manager Daryl Morey squandering an asset out of the goodness of his heart.
Otherwise, Motiejunas is heading toward exercising his right to not get paid – while losing the ability for one year to sign with the one team outside Houston we know wants him.
Report: Donatas Motiejunas no-shows physical after Rockets match Nets’ offer
Houston has a right to demand Motiejunas undergo a physical within two days of exercising its matching rights, which it did yesterday. Motiejunas is requires to answer questions truthfully and supply requested medical information.
If Motiejunas fails to meet those requirements, he hangs in limbo until the Rockets decide his fate.
At any time between now and March 1, they could elect to undo their offer-sheet match. That would invalidate Motiejunas’ offer sheet and make him a restricted free agent again, and the Nets couldn’t sign him for a year. On March 2, the same effect will become automatic.
I don’t see what Motiejunas gains by not reporting. If he fails his Houston physical, he’d go to Brooklyn on the terms of the offer sheet.