There are some players everyone believes in , and other players whose teammates believe in them. And then there are those players who completely believe in themselves – even when others might not.
Third Star: Kobe Bryant (35 points, 8 rebounds)
Arguably, no player believes in himself more than Kobe, who shot 11-for-27 against the Warriors and extended his lead in games with at least that many shots. His teammates shot an even worse percentage than he did Tuesday, and you could use that stat to defend Kobe’s volume or argue Kobe’s teammates suffered because he stagnated the offense. I suspect Kobe wouldn’t be interested in having that discussion. He – and only he – is capable of leading the Lakers to wins, even if he didn’t do that tonight.
Second Star: LeBron James (24 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds)
The Magic led Miami most of the second quarter, but the Heat’s 27th straight win never seemed seriously in doubt – and it shouldn’t have. As long as they have LeBron, everyone believes the Heat have a chance to win. Once the NBA’s top player turned it on, Orlando was toast.
First Star: John Wall (47 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds)
Before Wall began his season in January, the Wizards were 1-13 when Nene was also out injured, including suffering the final three losses by 26, 30 and 32 points. It was almost like the Wizards knew they were overmatched. But with Wall, they believe again, and why shouldn’t they believe in someone scoring like this? With Nene out, Wall upped his game in a way the Wizards were either unable or unwilling to do earlier in the season. Only Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have scored more in a game than Wall this year.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim: Carmelo Anthony probably won’t win NBA championship
“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title. As a player, all you can do is try to make your team better and every team he’s been on he’s made them a lot better. Denver hadn’t done anything prior to him getting there and he took them into the playoffs. They weren’t going to beat the Lakers or the Spurs. In those years, they won the championship most of the time.
“But he’s always made his team better,” added Boeheim. “It’s obvious. You look back on your total basketball experience and he had a great high school team, he won the NCAA championship and he’s won three gold medals in the Olympics. That’s a pretty good resume.”
This is a classic controversy. Boeheim caused it by being honest.
Anthony probably won’t win a title.
He’s 32, playing for a team with a middling-at-best supporting cast and seems content remaining in New York. His most valuable teammate, Kristaps Porzingis, is so young, his prime might not overlap with Anthony’s. The Knicks limited themselves in the next few seasons by guaranteeing 31-year-old Joakim Noah more than $72 million over the next four years.
Most players are unlikely to win another championship. Most of exceptions play for the Warriors. I’m not even sure LeBron James is more likely than not to win another title.
Anthony sure isn’t.
That’s not the end of the world, and as Boeheim – and Anthony – said, Anthony can still have a good résumé. But it has to sting for such a prominent basketball figure in the state of New York and proud Anthony supporter tell the truth so bluntly.
Derrick Rose: Knicks ‘have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that’s rare’
I think we have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that’s rare.
Let’s give Rose the benefit of the doubt. I think he meant the Knicks are capable of winning each time they take the court, not that they’ll go 82-0.
That’s probably true.
I can’t, today, call any single game on the Knicks’ schedule a guaranteed loss. Sure, some games are harder than others. The Knicks probably won’t win at Golden State in their sixth city in 10 nights. But they could. The Lakers beat the Warriors last season. Anything is possible.
Which is to say the Knicks being capable of winning every game is not rare. Nearly every team – and maybe even every team – can, on August 23, point to each game on its schedule and call it winnable.
But Derrick Rose is gonna Derrick Rose.
Trail Blazers C Festus Ezeli out six weeks after knee injection
Portland Trail Blazers center Festus Ezeli had his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate and Orthovisc today in Chicago.
The injection, performed by Dr. Brian Cole, is intended to alleviate pain and improve function.
Ezeli will be sidelined for six weeks.
This timeline would have Ezeli out for the beginning of training camp but back well before the regular season begins. Even if this puts Ezeli behind schedule, Portland has center depth in Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard and Ed Davis.
The Trail Blazers had to know they couldn’t completely depend on Ezeli to remain healthy.
Still, he’s a rim protector unlike Portland’s other options. The Blazers lose versatility and the ability to play better defense while he’s out.
Lakers contract to pay Yi Jianlian between $250,000 and $8 million next season
Some reports said he’d earn the minimum next season. Another said he’d get $8 million.
It’s rare to see such a huge discrepancy, but Yahoo Sports provided some clarity:
Cap number: $8 million
Likely incentives: up to $6,860,877
That means Yi’s base salary on the one-year contract is$1,139,123 – his minimum as someone with five years of NBA experience.
Yi will earn $6,701 per day he’s on the regular-season roster until Jan. 10. Then, his base salary will become fully guaranteed. He can also add to his income by achieving the incentive bonuses in his contract.
With this unconventional deal, the Lakers can waive Yi and potentially be off the hook for significant portions of his salary. But they don’t get cap flexibility unless they waive him before incentives raise his salary. He’ll count $8 million against the cap while he remains under contract.
The big question now: What specifically are Yi’s incentives?