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Sarunas Marciulionis teaches guard play at adidas Eurocamp (VIDEO)

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TREVISO, Italy — Sarunas Marciulionis played seven seasons in the NBA, most notably from 1989-1993 as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He finished as a runner-up for the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1992 after his best season in the league, one in which he averaged 18.9 points on just 12.7 shots per game while shooting better than 53 percent from the field.

Marciulionis was also a member of the famed Lithuanian national team (definitely check out the documentary if you’re not familiar with their story), and appeared for them in the Olympics in both the 1992 and the 1996 summer games, where he was a teammate of adidas Eurocamp director Arturas Karnisovas.

That’s the connection that brought Marciulionis to Treviso, where he put on a brief clinic teaching the players in attendance at the international pre-draft camp some fundamentals about playing the guard position.

Marciulionis focused on how to properly position yourself to catch the ball against a defender, how to go quickly one you receive the ball, how to properly set up your defender to use a screen, and how the defensive players should position themselves and use their left hand as their primary one to defend right-handed players.

The majority of the clinic can be seen in the video clip above (stick with it, the audio improves about 90 seconds in), and much like Kevin McHale teaching post play at Eurocamp last year, it’s always interesting to get a former star’s perspective on how the game should be played.

In speaking with Marciulionis afterward, he gave me some thoughts on how he views some of today’s players at the position.

“Offensively, individually they’re very good — street basketball, maybe pickup game kind of experience,” he said. “In our time, I guess we were slower.”

As far as what he’s seeing from the younger players and the systems they’re being taught as they’re coming up, Marciulionis said he’d like to see more of them learn to operate without the use of perimeter screens.

“I think individually, some of them are good — they know how to change direction, they know how to get rid of their defender,” he said. “But they’re always using this pick; they need to rely more on their first step and use their speed. I guess that’s basketball how it is (now). If you remember older times, (it was) motion. UCLA. Box sets. You were always running something. And now, for the last 15 years or so, everybody’s running a high pick.”

One of the more interesting parts of the clinic was Marciulionis explaining how players should use their left hand to defend right-handed players. It makes sense, of course, but it’s a little counter-intuitive to the way most right-handed players think, and even to the way they are taught.

Marciulionis admitted it was difficult trying to get players to switch to this style, but believes it can work more easily if they’re taught how to do it from the very start.

“It’s difficult,” he said. “You have to go with the young kids — get ’em early, teach them at a young age.”

And what about the results?

“We’ll see how it works,” he said. “I’ll tell you in five years.”

Newspaper editor on Michael Jordan article: ‘What other photo could be more suitable than the infamous Crying Jordan meme’

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame speaks during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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A Malawian newspaper, writing about Michael Jordan’s statement on race, used the Crying Jordan photo accompany the article.

How did that happen?

A page designer who didn’t understand the meme? A joke never fixed before printing? A staff-wide ignorance of the photo’s cultural relevance?

Justin Block of The Huffington Post:

As it turns out, the newspaper is called The Nation, or The Malawi Nation. When reached for comment on Thursday afternoon, The Nation Senior News Analyst Joy Ndovi stated that using the Michael Jordan Crying meme was intentional, and said Sports Editor Garry Chirwa picked the photo.

Chirwa told us that when he read the story, he felt that the emotions packed within Jordan’s quote, “I could no longer keep silent,” were represented in the Michael Jordan Crying meme.

“I just imagined him crying,” Chirwa wrote via WhatsApp.

Ndovi echoed Chirwa’s sentiments:

The article on Jordan reacting to the violence in U.S. was just the perfect one for the meme to be used. It depicts the emotional state of the former NBA star. Though it might seem unconventional, what other photo could be more suitable than the infamous Crying Jordan meme?

I can think of a few.

Amar’e Stoudemire: ‘My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted’

New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns
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Before signing with the Knicks to retire, Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly wanted to sign with the Suns this year and last.

He essentially confirmed both accounts.

Stoudemire, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:

“The last two years, we made phone calls to Phoenix but I wasn’t getting any positive response,” Stoudemire told azcentral sports on Thursday. “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out. I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.”

According to the report, Stoudemire wanted to play for Phoenix next season — not just retire as a Sun. If that’s the case, I see why the team passed. The Suns have 15 players (the regular-season roster limit), are rebuilding and already have Tyson Chandler as a veteran big.

But if Stoudemire wanted sign an unguaranteed deal with the Suns then retire as a ceremonial move, it’s a little harder to explain Phoenix’s reluctance. Perhaps, the Suns were caught off guard by such a request. Nobody in memory had done something like that in the NBA. The gesture is far more common in football and baseball.

Either way, Stoudemire retiring as a Knick wasn’t designed to show a long-standing bitterness toward the Suns.

A recent bitterness toward the Suns? Maybe.

Karl-Anthony Towns dunks on poor kid (video)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates after hitting the game-winning shot in an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Saturday, April 9, 2016. The Timberwolves won 106-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
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Karl-Anthony Towns has replaced Anthony Davis as the consensus MVP-in-waiting.

Are you ready, NBA?

Here’s a sneak preview of the Timberwolves center’s future:

Craig Sager to skip Rio Olympics to fight leukemia

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.

NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.

The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.

Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.