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 the way the guys at the Russian River Brewery love their beer…
• We complain about the amount of isolation the Knicks run with Carmelo Anthony, and with reason because their offensive flow can crumble if they do it too much and the Knicks become easier to defend. But some ‘Melo in isolation is a good thing — he’s good at it and because he can score in a variety of ways he forces double teams and adjustments from the defense. Over at Posting and Toasting there is a good, detailed look at where and when the Knicks should isolate Melo.
• Popeye Jones has been hired as a Pacers’ assistant coach.
• The first rule of Tim Grgurich’s skills camp is don’t talk about Tim Grgurich’s skills camp. Grgurich is a very well-respected assistant coach and he hosts a very secretive skills camp every summer in Las Vegas that a number of players attend. Otto Porter had to back out this year
• Announcers vastly overestimate the idea of momentum in a sports contest.
• Bucks GM John Hammond thinks Carlos Delfino is the starting three for Milwaukee.
• Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard was playing video blackjack, hit on 20 and won. It’s better to be lucky than good… Pritchard can tell you all about that.
• Over at Grantland, Zach Lowe had some fun looking at the etymology of all the team names in the NBA. Man there just are a lot of bad fits. But count me in the group that wouldn’t have Jazz that high.
• Hawks big man Al Horford will not suit up for the Dominican Republic national team this summer at the FIBA Americas tournament.
• Doug Overton is the new coach of the Nets’ D-League affiliate, the Springfield Armor.
• Finally, watch high schooler Josh Ruggles hit 135 threes in five minutes.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.