Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis pick-and-roll looks good


Dirk Nowitzki is having a really strong preseason.

Yes, it’s preseason, so we’re going to be cautious about reading too much into this, but the fact is Nowitzki looks healthy (a big change from much of last season) and sharp again.

Plus he’s developing a strong pick-and-roll chemistry with Monta Ellis.

Watching them this preseason they have a connection that’s a bit unexpected but works with Ellis attacking and Nowitzki able to roll or flair out for a jumper. There are not Synergy numbers for preseason to break down how effective this is, but ESPNDallas charted it against Orlando Monday: 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting running that play in the second quarter alone.

Nowitzki feels that connection too, he told ESPNDallas.com.

“That’s probably going to be our bread and butter all season long,” said Nowitzki, who finished with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, although he was more focused on his failure to get a single rebound in 25 minutes….

“He’s great attacking,” Nowitzki said of Ellis. “He can go both ways. He’s been shooting the ball well behind the screen as well, so we really have a lot of options there. When he comes off and really strings the big out and I’m open, I’m going to step in and take those shots when I’m there.”

Dallas also has (but not yet this preseason due to a hamstring injury) Jose Calderon, one of the smarter pick-and-roll point guards in the league. He’s another guy who can shoot over the pick if the defender goes under, drive the lane or make a smart pass. He is going to fit into this mix when he returns.

It’s preseason, would could still see Monta go Monta (step-back contested long two) at points this season, but Dallas seems to be figuring out something that will work on offense and be very hard for teams to stop.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.