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 your grandmother loves CSI: Miami reruns…
• San Antonio’s Patty Mills tells the story of when he got to lift weights with Paul McCartney. The Spurs were staying in the same hotel as the Knighted former Beatle. “They knew we just wanted to get a lift after our practice, so they let us in,” Mills said. “We walked in, and there he was, Paul McCartney. Before we could say hi or anything he said, ‘Go Spurs go.’ It was one of those rare moments when I didn’t know what to say. A special moment, and now I can tell everyone I lifted weights with Paul McCartney.” (Hat tip to KD at Ball Don’t Lie.)
• Speaking of the Spurs, some guy started a controversy around Tony Parker not getting into a restaurant, which annoyed Parker because he was never actually at the restaurant. Nice gimmick to drum up business, though.
• Happy 75th birthday Jerry West.
• A look back at the long run of Geoff Petrie as GM in Sacramento.
• A report the Nets think they can move the $12 million, last year contract of Kris Humphries. Maybe they can. But they better not expect any quality players back.
• ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford reports that there are some teams whose doctors think Nerlens Noel could miss the entire next season recovering from ACL surgery. Would the Cavaliers really care that much? He still probably goes No. 1.
• Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk’s 6’9 3/4″ wingspan measured at the combine was shorter than swingmen Otto Porter and Shabazz Muhammed.
• Here is a great post about the flaws of trying to make player comparisons when talking about draft picks.
• The Wizards say they are going to focus on character and attitude with their draft picks. Of course every team says that. What really wins in the league is talent, they should just take the best player.
• San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter with a great explanation of why he is laughing at the rumors he could leave the Spurs to play for Real Madrid: Every four years the major clubs have presidential elections, when they do there are wild promises that have no chance of coming true. Wow. Thank God we would never have anything like that in this country.
• John Wall’s three-day holiday weekend was better than yours.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – one of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.
Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.
Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.
Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.
“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”
The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.
I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said his league would look into placing a franchise in Mexico City.
Meanwhile, the NBA’s minor-league has affiliates for 26 of 30 NBA teams and counting. The league also has youth academies in China, India, Australia and Senegal – and also counting.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN:
The NBA will announce a new basketball development and training academy in Mexico City during the Global Games December 7th and 9th, in conjunction with CONADE (Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation, sources told ESPN.
Mexico City could emerge as the 31st G League franchise, where prospects from the seven academies graduate up to, according to sources.
A minor-league team in Mexico City could be a nice testing ground for an NBA franchise. An unaffiliated minor-league team is also an interesting wrinkle, especially how it’d be stocked.
Ultimately, experimentation is a purpose of the NBA’s minor league. This would be running multiple test cases at once.
Lonzo Ball‘s shooting woes this season have been well chronicled. Maybe even beaten to death — but when your father is a hype man, and Magic Johnson says you’re the “face of the franchise” it invites a whole new level of scrutiny. Doesn’t matter if it’s fair, it’s reality.
Rather than a cold recitation of the numbers, a look at Ball’s shot chart for the season says a 1,000 words worth.
Ball has admitted frustration but has said throughout he expects things to turn. He reiterated that in an interview on the Mason and Ireland Show on ESPN LA Radio. He likes the looks he’s getting, thinks they will start to go down. (Hat tip Lakers’ Nation.)
“I’m just missing shots. I definitely like the looks I’m getting. Most of them are wide open, people are going under screens. I feel like they’re going to fall. Just have to keep shooting and shooting with confidence.”
Ball is right. He is shooting 28.2 percent on shots where the defender is 4-6 feet away (22.9 percent from three on those), and 21.3 percent when the defender is 6 or more feet away (19.1 percent from three).
Those shots may start to fall — Luke Walton has preached the same thing to Ball, just keep shooting and it will come around. Right now Ball is in his own head about this, maybe guiding the shots rather than just firing away, but the Lakers aren’t going to rebuild his shot mid-season. He should just keep shooting.
Maybe of more concern is that 42.5 percent in the restricted area — if he isn’t a decent scoring threat on drives, it will hamper his entire passing game. He’s a rookie, he needs time to adjust to the speed, length, and physicality of the NBA, it’s far too early to say what he is and isn’t yet. But those finishing numbers are ones to watch.
After Kevin Durant missed the Warriors’ last game with a sprained ankle, there was some question about whether he would play on his latest return to Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
Doubt no more, he will play. Like we all expected.
Durant has a ring now and says he wants to move on from the drama surrounding his departure from Oklahoma City, but you can be sure plenty of Thunder fans don’t feel that way. KD will again have boos rained down on him all game.
This is obviously a very different Thunder team than the one Durant left, with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. While the Thunder have stumbled and blown leads (in six of their nine losses OKC had double-digit leads) this is a team with a lot of potential, as Durant discussed.