Philadelphia 76ers v Chicago Bulls

Friday And-1 links: Conan’s NBA mascot’s that shouldn’t dunk


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 Jon Stewart loves Fox News gaffes…

• Conan O’Brien gives us (fake, obviously) NBA Mascots that shouldn’t dunk (thanks Lang for finding that).

Great stuff by Paul Flannery — in focusing on what Frank Vogel and the Pacers did wrong at the end of Game 1, we are missing out on the fact that LeBron James is really, really good.

• By the way, remember when it was the meme that LeBron wasn’t clutch. That seems quaint now.

Spending seven days with the Memphis Grizzlies — this is great writing that gives you some real insight into the team.

• Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook went out and spent time with tornado victims in the Oklahoma City Area. Good on them.

 Celtics CEO & Governor Wyc Grousbeck told he wants to keep the Celtics together for another year. Also, when the rebuilding starts he understands it is a multi-year process.

Larry Drew would be interested in the open Clippers coaching job. I bet he would.

• As expected, Luol Deng will not have surgery on his wrist.

NBC’s Joe Posnanski talks about LeBron James and other current athletes in other sports trying to chase the GOAT of their sport.

• Apparently Tim Duncan is getting a divorce.

• The deepest position in this generally down NBA Draft? Center.

• ESPN’s draft guy Chad Ford that the Wizards are “very high” on UNLV F Anthony Bennett.

• Along those same lines, here’s a report that Minnesota’s Flip Saunders is a “big fan” of  Victor Oladipo.

• Enes Kanter’s recovery from a shoulder injury is coming along, but he likely will not be cleared for basketball activities until August.

• This is pretty funny — Jerry Stackhouse details his NBA fighting career.

• Did you know the city of Indianapolis pays the Pacers $10 million a year to stay?

• Finally, this isn’t hoops, but Grantland’s oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker is a great read.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.