Andre Iguodala said politics were to blame for his being left off both the first and second All-Defensive teams this year.
The reigning Executive of the Year, Nuggets VP of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, took it a step further.
From Ben Hochman of the Denver Post:
“It’s mind-boggling to me,” Ujiri said in a statement to The Denver Post. “I mean, when the US Olympic team enlists a defensive stopper, there is no question who they choose – Andre Iguodala. Yet, for some reason he can’t be considered one of the top-10 defensive players in the NBA? It’s just shocking that he continues to be overlooked as a world-class defender in our league. I honestly thought he should be in the conversation for defensive player of the year, let alone first or even second team all-defense.”
There are three things that stand out here.
First, complaining about postseason awards is a little ridiculous, considering the voting processes in place for each. The man who won the Defensive Player of the Year award, Marc Gasol, didn’t even make the first team All-Defense. Why? Different groups are in charge of determining the different honors — media votes for the single player award, and the coaches voted for the All-Defensive teams.
Second, let me know the next time a team executive comes out and says that one of his players didn’t deserve something they were awarded, because it’ll be the first. Of course Ujiri is going to back his player here, especially after Iguodala publicly expressed frustration at being snubbed.
Finally, and perhaps of most interest is the fact that Iguodala is more than likely to opt out of a player option he has for next season, which would make him an unrestricted free agent. If he’s as valuable to the Nuggets defensively as Ujiri intimates, it doesn’t seem wise to talk him up publicly like this, when the end result could be Iguodala’s price tag becoming too high for Denver to be able to match.
The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.
Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.
“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.
No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.
That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.
Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.
In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.
NBC Sports Washington:
Rockets players James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green and Chris Paul reportedly went through a back hallway to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin in the Clippers’ locker room after last night’s game.
That’s one version of the story, at least.
But it apparently isn’t the only one – at least when it comes to Harden’s, Green’s and Paul’s involvement.
Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
A hallway runs between the Clippers locker room and the visitors locker room, where players from opposing teams often see each other and catch up. According to a Rockets source, Ariza was waiting on Griffin, and when the game ended he charged from the hallway into the Clips locker room. When Rivers spotted Ariza near the entrance, according to the source, he said: “Let his b—– a– come in.” Ariza then turned his attention to Rivers.
ESPN reported that Ariza was flanked by three teammates—Harden, Paul and Gerald Green—but their purpose was unclear. “They were holding Trevor back,” the source said.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Harden was sitting out his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring on Monday night, and Rockets sources believe that he’ll be ready for a return to the lineup on Thursday night against Minnesota.
Austin Rivers challenging Ariza is juicy, but the type of thing people say during altercations. The rest of this sounds like the Rockets trying to position themselves ahead of the NBA handing down punishments.
If they were just trying to restrain Ariza, then Harden, Paul and Green shouldn’t be fined or suspended. But if Harden is suspended, he could serve his penalty Thursday – even if the Rockets are fibbing about him being ready to play (though they at least previously laid the groundwork for that one).
There’s a lot for the league to untangle.
Russell Westbrook jumped from fifth to second in the NBA in technical fouls in about two seconds.
The Thunder star received two technical fouls and an automatic ejection late in Oklahoma City’s win over the Kings last night, leaving his nine technical fouls behind only Draymond Green‘s 11.
Westbrook got hit in the face on a drive, but instead of a foul being called on Sacramento, Westbrook was whistled for travelling. That’s quite a turnaround from the expected call to the actual call, so I understand why Westbrook was so upset. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if Westbrook said something that warranted ejection. Thunder coach Billy Donovan also got a technical foul in the sequence.
Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:
The league used to crack down on that more with public fines, but the Thunder have skirted the rule this season.