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.
Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are just like the rest of us.
The Thunder players sit around and belt out the Backstreet Boys’ “I want it that way.”
John Salley has said becoming a vegan sooner would’ve enhanced his NBA career.
Now, the former Piston has another idea for improving player health.
Salley, via TMZ:
I am a proponent and I believe in the advocacy of medical marijuana. We see football players in Alabama getting busted. We see – we need to get it out. We need to move it and realize that is something that can help the human body.
It helps athletes. I didn’t start smoking until my last two months before I was a pro. And I believe if I would’ve smoked while I was playing, I probably still would be playing.
Marijuana is already legal in Colorado (where the Nuggets play), Oregon (where the Trail Blazers play), Washington and Alaska. Medical marijuana is legal in numerous other states. The nation is definitely trending toward legalization.
If that continues, why shouldn’t NBA players be permitted to use the drug? It can be an effective method for treating pain – which is quite common in a profession that requires such intensive physical labor.
The 52-year-old Salley is obviously exaggerating about still played today if he smoked weed, but maybe his career would’ve lasted longer. Shouldn’t players determine for themselves what legal methods they can follow to manage injuries?
Perhaps, they’re already taking Salley’s advice.
John Wall and Bradley Beal admitted they clash on the court.
That caused controversy as the outside world expressed dismay at the Wizards guards’ attitudes.
Paul Shirley – who played for the Hawks, Bulls and Suns from 2003-05 – shrugged.
Paul Shirley on NBA.com:
What I learned, when I got to the NBA, was that my dreams of fraternity were naïve ones. I sat in locker rooms where players barely spoke to one another. I endured team plane rides where one guy stared daggers at the next because of a contract dispute.
Consequently, I barely batted an eye at the recent “revelation” that Bradley Beal and John Wall don’t much like one another.
Of course they don’t like each other, I thought. That’s just the way it is.
This is a secret of the NBA: Not all teammates get along. Some are friends, but many are just coworkers – and consider your relationship with your coworkers. Frequent travel for work and the closed-off nature of locker rooms can push players toward forging bonds – but those conditions can also magnify any rifts.
In theory, Wall (a slashing passer) and Beal (an outside shooter) should complement each other well. But it’d be hard to find a team where each of the top two scorers doesn’t believe he should get more shots.
The successful teams manage that tension productively. They can convince each player to accept a role, sacrifice and contain his displeasures.
Maybe the Wizards can get there.
But that – not a fantasy friendship between Wall and Beal – should be the goal.
Two years ago, Lance Stephenson was 23 years old and nearly an All-Star.
Now, he’s stuck trying out for a team without an open regular-season roster spot.
Brett Dawson of The Advocate:
The Pelicans have 15 players – the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries plus Chris Copeland, Robert Sacre and Shawn Dawson on unguaranteed deals.
In other words, Stephenson is trying out just to enter a competition for a roster vacancy that doesn’t even exist.
New Orleans has taken major steps to add perimeter help this summer, drafting Buddy Hield and signing E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway and Solomon Hill. If he somehow makes the team, Stephenson likely wouldn’t make the rotation, even with Tyreke Evans injured.
Still, Stephenson is just 25, and he showed major talent with the Pacers just two years ago. He made positive contributions to the Grizzlies last season, too.
But a disastrous stint with the Hornets and an underwhelming run with the Clippers weigh down his résumé.
Stephenson probably did enough in Memphis to prove he still has NBA-caliber ability. More than anything, he’ll have to convince the Pelicans – and other potential suitors – he has the right attitude to work in the league.