Milwaukee is a team in transition, one rebuilding after the failed Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis experiment. They have one foundational piece in place with Larry Sanders in the paint. Now they will see if John Henson, Brandon Knight and others will be part of that, while guys like O.J. Mayo and Ersan Ilyasova help them get a few wins under their belt.
Enter into that mix Caron Butler.
He is part of that bridge to the future — he was a starter with the Clippers last year (but would have been bumped to the bench this year) but now will be asked to play a role on and off the court in Milwaukee. And the Racine native (about 25 miles outside Milwaukee) told the Journal Sentinel he is up for the job.
“I talked to coach (Larry) Drew and John Hammond (Bucks general manager), and we talked about my role on and off the court,” Butler said.
“They will ask even more of me, and I embrace that challenge, being a leader and a mentor. And I’ll be in my own town doing it. I didn’t think it would ever happen, that this dream I had many years ago could become a reality. That’s funny.”
Fantasy hoops alert: Butler may put up some better numbers this year. He is healthy and this team is going to need his points some nights (unless you are a big Mayo believer).
It’s going to be a rough year in Milwaukee. If things blend well they could again challenge for the 7/8 seed in the East, but more likely they are going to be just on the outside looking in. But it’s not really about this year; it’s about building that foundation.
Butler will be a big part of that.
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.
This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.
Here was his January try:
As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.
But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.
This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.
At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.
So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.
What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:
Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.
“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”
‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.
But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.