Kyrie Irving

Tuesday And-1 links: Kyrie Irving is on the cover of NBA Live ’14.


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 I love Top Chef

• Kyrie Irving is on the cover of NBA Live 14. Above you get a little taste of the game.

• Our old friend Rob Mahoney, now of SI, tries to make the point we shouldn’t be comparing LeBron James and Michael Jordan because it is a disservice to LeBron. Not that he’s better, but he’s different. That will lead some in the comments to bash LeBron (and Mahoney).

Who has had a better run: The Tim Duncan Spurs or the Tom Brady Patriots? I think the better question is whether Gregg Popovich or Bill Belichick detest press conferences more?

• Popovich and the Spurs GM R.C. Buford have quite a coaching/GM tree in the league now.

• A lot of people don’t understand why George Karl is out in Denver, here is as good a breakdown as you will find (courtesy Zach Lowe at Grantland).

• The Bulls have broken ground on their new practice facility, which when done will be right across the street from the United Center.

• The Sixers front office is playing their coaching search very close to the vest. (Which never goes over well with reporters.)

• The Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves are going to play a preseason game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, on October 20. It’s the second year in a row the NBA has brought a game to Canada to try and crack that market… oh, yea, forgot about them. Never mind. But they are going to Montreal anyway.

• Speaking of the Celtics, their owner Wyc Grousbeck has teamed up with some other guys to pool about $80 million to invest in sports media.

• The Pacers are doing a lot better financially after that long run in the playoffs.

But was the Pacers season a success?

• Right now a lot of NBA teams are bringing in potential draft picks for workouts. What is that actually like?

• Minnesota’s Alexey Shved will not play in Summer League because he will be playing in Eurobasket for Russia.

• Kevin Saraphin, however, will not play for the French national team this summer.

• The NBA launched its new “Best Teammate Award” (Chauncey Billups was the winner) and named it the Twyman-Stokes Award. Here is the amazing story of where that name came from.

Byron Scott doesn’t care about exhausting Lakers in preseason

Byron Scott
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The Warriors use wearable technology to track players and have rested them when the data revealed fatigue. Gregg Popovich is holding relatively healthy Spurs out of practice. Heck, Popovich doesn’t even send himself to every preseason games.

Meanwhile, with the Lakers…

Lakers coach Byron Scott, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

“I don’t necessarily care about tired legs in preseason,” Scott said. “I think everything that we’ve done thus far will pay off at the end of the day. You’ve got some guys that might have tired legs and [are] a little worn out, but all the running as far as getting into that physical condition that we need to get into, I think in December and January, it will pay off.

“So I’m not necessarily worried about guys having tired legs in preseason. They’ll just have to kind of fight through that fatigue part of it. And I think mentally it gets them a little stronger anyway.”

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

The Lakers coach has a reputation for demanding a lot of running in the preseason. It’s important in his mind because the Lakers will be better conditioned than other teams down the road.

Players, predictably, aren’t as enthused about it.

Bresnahan quotes just two players, Brandon Bass and D'Angelo Russell, and neither expressed much resistance to Scott’s methods. But I trust Bresnahan to read the team’s pulse.

I also think Scott is right: Fighting through fatigue builds mental toughness. But it also makes players tired, and it’s not the only way to instill toughness. The Warriors are tough. The  Spurs are tough. They didn’t have to run their players into the ground to get that way.

Scott loves to project himself as old-school and anti-analytic. Thankfully for the Lakers, his actual methods aren’t as bad as he conveys. For example, he said the Lakers would take an absurdly low 10-15 3-pointers per game last season. In reality, they hoisted nearly 19 per game, 25th in the league. That might not have been enough for that roster, but at least it wasn’t leaps and bounds below the norm.

So, I’m not convinced Scott is pushing the Lakers as hard as he wants everyone to believe. But he’s  clearly giving them a bigger workload than many teams.

If the Lakers are playing relevant games late in the season, this could come back to bite them. On the bright side, they probably won’t have to worry about that problem.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.