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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James Harden puts on show to start second half vs. Timberwolves

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James Harden started Game 4 0-of-7 from the floor, including missing a lay-up. It was an extension of Game 3, and it let the Timberwolves hang around for a half despite their own offensive woes.

Then in the second half the MVP Harden showed up.

Houston started the second half on an 11-0 run that extended all the way to 25-4, and a lot of it was Harden (with a little help from Chris Paul). Harden had 22 points in the third (with 4:30 left in the quarter). After a couple rough games the Timberwolves were going under the pick when Harden had the ball, and suddenly he made them pay.

Or, he was just stepping back.

With all the buckets the Rockets turned a close game into a 25 point lead.

Tyronn Lue doesn’t hold back with retort to heckling Pacers’ fan

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It’s a part of the NBA experience that most fans don’t get to hear — some fans courtside heckling opposing players and coaches, and those guys occasionally firing back. We only tend to hear about it when things cross a line.

Sometimes the interactions are just funny, such as this one passed along by J. Michael of the Indy Star.

Well played, Lue.

Although is Cleveland really a city at the forefront of fashion? Well, I suppose if you went to college in Nebraska…

Report: Pelicans picked up Alvin Gentry’s option for next season before sweep

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Last summer the buzz was all over the league: Pelicans GM Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry were given a “playoffs or bust” mandate by management. If the Pelicans were not in the postseason — and just barely getting in and then blown out in the first round might be good enough — there was going to be a housecleaning.

The Pelicans made the playoffs as the six seed with 48 wins despite losing DeMarcus Cousins to a torn Achilles midway through the season.

That alone was good enough to get Gentry another season in New Orleans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As noted, this happened before the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers out of the first round and into a summer of re-evaluation. This option season is the last of Gentry’s original deal with the Pelicans.

Gentry has the Pelicans playing fast, using the elite defense of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday to get stops, and right now Davis is leading an offense that is just getting it done, with guys such as Nikola Mirotic stepping up. Gentry has earned another year, and a shot to integrate Cousins into this style and level of play, to see where that could take New Orleans next season.

It will be interesting to see if Demps can add more shooting and versatility with a capped out roster.

Report: Suns talk to Jason Kidd, Vinny Del Negro about coaching job

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Mike Budenholzer is out (and may be thinking New York). Suns’ interim coach Jay Triano and former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale are still in the mix.

The Suns also have reached out to Jason Kidd — who was let go by the Bucks mid-season — and former Bulls and Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, reports Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic.

This is still early in a lengthy search process, there is a long way to go before anyone gets offered this job.

Kidd now lives in Phoenix. He’s considered a smart coach but one who falls in and out of love with players fast, pushes hard for the players he wants (and against those he doesn’t), and didn’t utilize the talent on the Bucks to its best advantage. The Suns have to ask if he is the right guy for a rebuild. He can coach, he’s going to get another chance, but do the Suns want to give it to him?

Mentioning Del Negro will lead to howls from the Suns’ fanbase, but to be fair he gets a bit of a bad rap as a coach. Del Negro won 53.3 percent of his games as a coach, and only one team he coached ever finished below .500. He’s had some success developing players, starting with Derrick Rose. All that said, there are reasons Suns’ fans are right to howl: simplistic offenses, a heavy reliance on pick-and-roll sets, and remember he broke the confidence of DeAndre Jordan (Doc Rivers had to build it back up).

Phoenix fired Earl Watson just three games into the season and are looking to replace him. The new coach will have a very good young scorer in Devin Booker on the roster and after that a lot of young question marks. This is a development job where the Suns need to hire a guy who can put in a system, then bring in more talent and stay out of the new coach’s way. We’ll see if the Suns can do that.