Luol Deng

Three Stars of the Night: Luol Deng looking playoff ready


Today there were some guys with really nice stat lines that just get an honorable mention. There was Paul Pierce (24 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists), who was one of the only Celtics to show up. For the Knicks Carmelo Anthony (24 points, 10 rebounds) had a good line but it was really Raymond Felton that drove New York to a win. So we’ll go a different direction.

Third Star: Kyrie Irving (31 points, 6 assists)

It was very good to see Irving back on the court and we saw flashes of what makes him great — early on he had a sweet between-the-legs dish to Tristan Thompson, he was hitting shots in traffic and at one point just embarrassed Lou Amundson. He had limited minutes in his first game back from a shoulder injury and still put up big numbers. It just wasn’t near enough for a Cavs team that got blown out by the Hornets.

Second Star: Chris Bosh (23 points, 9 rebounds)

No LeBron James, no Dwyane Wade and the guy who people seemed to forget used to carry Toronto stepped up and carried the Heat for a day. He can do that folks, he’s good. His numbers are good, but it was his aggressiveness and energy from the start that kept the Heat going in a game they could have just rolled over and lost. And of course, there’s that sweet game-winning three.

First Star: Luol Deng (28 points, 9 rebounds)

The last couple years Deng has gotten voted in as an All-Star reserve by the coaches and a lot of fans have questioned that, but he has shown the coaches know what they are talking about. He was fantastic against the Heat and now against the Pistons on Sunday he had 14 of his points in the fourth quarter. We saw an aggressive and attacking Deng who got to the line for 17 free throw attempts (making 11), the one the Bulls are going to need in the playoffs.

LeBron James says he rides a motorcycle

LeBron James
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LeBron James appeared in a GQ video, and as one of the hosts discussed his leather jacket, LeBron noted he should’ve ridden his motorcycle to the set. It seemed the Cavaliers star might have been joking, but a few seconds later, he explicitly said he owned a different, three-wheel motorcycle.

Asked what the team thinks of his riding, LeBron said:

Oh, man. They’re like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “What you think I’m doing? I’m getting a breath of fresh air. You know? I’ve got one life with this, man. So, that’s what I’m doing.”

It’s impossible to think of an NBA player riding a motorcycle without Jay Williams coming to mind.

Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in 2002, crashed his motorcycle after his rookie season and suffered career-ending injuries. The tragedy caused him to attempt suicide.

Thankfully, Williams – a college basketball analyst – appears to be doing better now. But that incident has left increased scrutiny on NBA players riding motorcycles.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement states (emphasis mine):

Accordingly, the Player agrees that he will not, without the written consent of the Team, engage in any activity that a reasonable person would recognize as involving or exposing the participant to a substantial risk of bodily injury including, but not limited to: (i) sky-diving, hang gliding, snow skiing, rock or mountain climbing (as distinguished from hiking), rappelling, and bungee jumping; (ii) any fighting, boxing, or wrestling; (iii) driving or riding on a motorcycle or moped; (iv) riding in or on any motorized vehicle in any kind of race or racing contest; (v) operating an aircraft of any kind; (vi) engaging in any other activity excluded or prohibited by or under any insurance policy which the Team procures against the injury, illness or disability to or of the Player, or death of the Player, for which the Player has received written notice from the Team prior to the execution of this Contract; or (vii) participating in any game or exhibition of basketball, football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, or other team sport or competition. If the Player violates this Paragraph 12, he shall be subject to discipline imposed by the Team and/or the Commissioner of the NBA.

It’s hard to see the Cavaliers restricting LeBron on anything like this. They practically let him write his own contract – two-year max with a player option and trade kicker – annually so he can keep collecting as the salary cap rises. If he requested a clause allowing him to ride a motorcycle, would they really say no?

On the other hand, I doubt they want their franchise player taking any undue risks. It’s worth noting, though, that Williams wasn’t wearing a helmet and didn’t have a license. Maybe the Cavaliers could accept LeBron riding in a safer manner.

But if they didn’t consent and LeBron is riding a motorcycle, what would the consequences be? They’re not voiding his contract. It’d be up to the team and Adam Silver to determine punishment, and I don’t recall any precedent for that type of violation.

76ers owner: Brett Brown deserves an ‘A’

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Only one person in NBA history has coached as many games as Brett Brown and had a worst winning percentage.

The 76ers coach, who sports a 37-127 record, is trumped by just Brian Winters. Winters went 36-148 with the expansion Grizzlies and during interim stint guiding the Warriors.

Brown is entering the third season of his four-year contract, and Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie has been mum about an extension.

76ers owner Josh Harris is taking a similar approach, but he also says a lot of nice things about Brown.

Harris, via John Finger of CSN Philly:

“It’s probably not appropriate for me to talk about specifics about what the negotiations are with him,” Harris said during a media conference on Thursday at the team’s training camp at Stockton College.

“I give Brett an A for the job he’s done,” Harris said. “He’s been an incredible player development person, which is what we need at this point in time. He’s a great person to be around. He’s enthusiastic and he’s a born coach and a leader of men. I’m very impressed with Brett and I hope and expect Brett to be around the team for a very long time.”

Brown has done a fantastic job keeping this team engaged through losing and developing its young players. It’s not his fault Philadelphia stinks. Tanking is an organizational decision.

But the 76ers aren’t tanking forever, and soon, they’ll require a different type of coaching.

Is Brown up for it? No idea. He hasn’t had any chance to prove it.

After all he’s done, though, he probably deserves a chance to find out.