If you’re at all a fan of professional basketball, then virtually all of this summer’s news involving Lamar Odom has been nothing short of painful to watch.
Odom was a special talent in this league, and when engaged could perform at the game’s highest levels. He took home the Sixth Man of the Year award in his final season with the Lakers, before personal problems resulted in him being traded to Dallas, where he didn’t even manage to finish the season during a brief stint where he did little more than anger those who followed the team closely.
Last season, Odom played a small role in the Clippers’ underwhelming exit from the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Grizzlies. But he has yet to catch on with a team for the upcoming season, and there have been reports of drug use to go along with a DUI arrest that occurred in recent weeks.
Won’t continue 2 speak on this but I have got 2 let this out real quick. I have let this man and many others get away with a lot of shit. He wasn’t there 2 raise me. He was absent ALL of my life due to his own demons. My mother and grandmother raised me. Queens raised me. For the first time since they left, came a blessing of a FAMILY that I married into. FAMILY. That man wasn’t even invited to my wedding. He has never met my mother in law and some of my other family. How can a man who has NOT once called me to check on my well being have the nerve to talk so recklessly about his own “son”. He is my downfall! His own demons may be the ONLY thing he gave 2 me. He disrespecting the ONLY FAMILY that has loved me without expecting anything in return. They are the ONLY ones that have been here consistently 4 me during this dark time. Only person 2 blame is myself. Say what you want about me but leave the ones who have done nothing but protect and love me out of this! This goes to out to everyone!
It’s heartbreaking, honestly. But it gives us a glimpse into the emotional struggle Odom has been going through during this difficult time.
Report: Derrick Rose away from Cavaliers, evaluating his future in basketball
Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.
The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.
Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.
The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.
We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.
The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.
The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.
Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.
However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.
Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.
Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.