Gary Payton

Gary Payton takes his era of point guards over today’s, calls him and Shawn Kemp ‘the original Lob City’

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Gary Payton is one of a dozen people being enshrined as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Springfield, Mass. Leading up to this weekend, the Glove has made several noteworthy comments, which continued during Saturday’s press conference.

Earlier this week, Payton said that John Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan, though, it wasn’t as outlandish of a statement when you hear Payton’s full explanation. However, on Saturday afternoon, Payton wasn’t asked about specific players, rather eras, and when it came down to points in the ‘90s as opposed to today’s lead guards, it wasn’t shocking who the new Hall of Famer chose.

“I like my era better,” Payton told reporters.

“Every time I went against a point guard, we just played tough,” Payton continued. “You had the Tim Hardaways, the Kevin Johnsons; a lot of them guys. I always thought about. I always liked my era because we can hand check, we can do a lot of stuff; we can control our teams. We didn’t have to score 25-26. We could get 17, 10 dimes and three or four steals.”

Payton cited the younger generation, the NBA lockout in 1999, rule changes and even the rise of the And 1 Mixtape Tour as contributing factors to how the point guard position and style of play has changed from his own era.

“It’s the way our kids are brought up,” Payton said. “You guys have to understand, basketball has changed.

“They had to build it up after the first strike. Basketball was down a little bit. David Stern did a great job of bringing basketball back because he knew kids wanted to see run-and-gun. They didn’t want to see defense like the Knicks were doing. Slowing the ball down, setting up defenses and stuff like that and running plays. Kids weren’t doing that in the playgrounds. So we sped the game up, and that’s what the kids liked. They liked to see dunking, they like to see running, they liked to see scoring and that’s just the way it went.”

The discussion of a fast-paced, dunk-filled style of play transitioned Payton into mentioning his playing days with Shawn Kemp in Seattle. Their alley-oops connection lives on in YouTube glory, which gave him the opportunity to remind the basketball world that there was an alley-oop combo before Chris Paul and Blake Griffin joined forces in Los Angeles.

“When people say Lob City or stuff like that, we were the original Lob City,” Payton said. “We don’t want to call it Lob City, we just called it Reign Man and the Glove.”

Although the game is different from Payton’s days in Seattle, that hasn’t stopped him from trying to revive his era in the new breed of floor generals, as he has been reportedly working out this summer with point guards such as John Wall and Damian Lillard.

The style of play Payton loved so much may be gone, but his accomplishments will forever hang with the rest of basketball’s greats following this weekend. The Glove completes his Hall of Fame enshrinement when he is presented as a new member by John Stockton and George Gervin at Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon.

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Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee go make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.

Rudy Gay, Vlade Divac clear the air

Rudy Gay
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Rudy Gay expressed displeasure with how the Kings were handling trade rumors. Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac retorted that Gay had his phone number.

Apparently, Gay found it.

Sean Cunningham of ABC 10:

Following those comments, Gay told ABC10 on Thursday afternoon that he had since spoken with Divac.

“I have talked to Vlade,” Gay said from his Nike Skills Academy at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. “I can’t say since Monday stuff has changed, but I just feel like we have a little bit of time to start changing things.”

Gay, who will be entering his 11th NBA season, has insisted he hasn’t demanded a trade and should he remain a member of the Kings by the time training camp opens in October, he says he’ll report and be ready to go.

“At this point in my career I just want to be happy,” said Gay. “I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Even if he hasn’t demanded a trade, it sure sounds like Gay would welcome one. I doubt the Kings would mind moving on, either.

But it takes another team to trade for Gay, and so far, one hasn’t emerged.

In the meantime, tensions appear to be eased. Open communication usually helps.