Mark Jackson’s challenge to Stephen Curry: Commit fewer turnovers

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Stephen Curry is coming off of a breakout season for the Warriors, one in which he averaged career-bests in points, assists, and minutes played.

But Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is a master motivator, and he wants Curry to continue to improve. So he provided him with a little project.

The challenge he posed to his star player for the upcoming season: Do a better job of taking care of the basketball, i.e., cut down on the turnovers.

From David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Mark Jackson: My only thing with Steph, and he knows it, is that he has to do a better job taking care of the basketball. I asked him before camp started, what’s the biggest thing for him in camp? And he said ‘taking care of the basketball.’ And I said, no. And he looked at me like I was crazy. And I said, no — coming out of camp healthy. That’s the biggest thing. So I don’t want to put any demands on his body, or doing crazy stuff in the middle of practice, trying to split two guys and spin. Take care of the basketball, continually get better, and stay healthy.

Curry’s been steady at 3.1 turnovers per game throughout his career, though that number dipped the season before last in a limited sample size due to Curry appearing in just 26 games due to injury.

His turnover ratio isn’t horrible at 10.5, but it’s middle of the pack when you look at the league as a whole, and it’s on par with big men like Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin, and Zach Randolph — players who get swarmed by defenders inside while trying to finish in traffic.

Considering how much Curry has the ball in his hands, Jackson is right to focus on this relatively small area of concern. And it won’t be difficult for Curry to show marked improvement quickly if he’s truly focused on it.

Hawks sign two-way Tyler Cavanaugh to standard contract

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ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who originally came to Atlanta on a two-way contract, has signed a multi-year deal with the Hawks.

Cavanaugh has averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games, including one start, since signing the two-way contract on Nov. 5.

Cavanaugh, from Syracuse, New York, played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. He was selected the National Invitation Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2016 after leading the Colonials to the NIT title.

 

Carlos Boozer announces retirement

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Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.

In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.

Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.

Boozer on ESPN:

I’m officially retired.

The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.

Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.

Then, he went to Chicago on a five-year, $75 million contract after the Bulls struck out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. The Derrick Rose-led Bulls never broke through, and Boozer was often the scapegoat.

Chicago amnestied him, and he spent his last NBA season with the Lakers three years ago.

Boozer was a pretty good player paid like a very good one, and that didn’t endear him. We mostly remember him for accidentally punching a referee below the belt:

Painting on hair:

And yelling “and one!” after nearly every shot.

For a while, it seemed the 36-year-old Boozer wanted to play another NBA season. But he finally could no longer find a front office eager to pay him.

It’s only fitting that he was denied that last “and one!”

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis still not talking off court

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The Bulls are 5-0 since Nikola Mirotic returned from an injury suffered when Bobby Portis punched him in the face during a preseason practice. Mirotic and Portis are both excelling individually, and Chicago has outscored opponents by a whopping 34.3 points per 100 possessions when those two share the court.

Jack Maloney of CBSSports.com:

When asked if the two former combatants have spoken yet, Mirotic said, “We did on the floor. We’ve always spoken because we need to have good communication.” As for whether they’ve talked off the floor, however, Mirotic was succinct in his response: “No.”

I guess Mirotic hasn’t completely moved on, though he said he did. But that’s fine. How could someone get past a teammate punching him in the face?

Importantly, this is becoming just a regular NBA problem. The extent of that practice punch was practically unprecedented. But plenty of players have loathed teammates while making it work on the court. That happens more than people realize.

Mirotic and Portis can make this their status quo – at least the on-court cooperation. I’m not convinced Chicago will keep winning like this.

Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)

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Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.

Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful: