Heat Media Day Basketball

Wednesday And-1 Links: LeBron has his own flavor of Sprite now

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source:  Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• LeBron James has his own flavor of Sprite — Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James. This is the first time Sprite has worked with a celebrity to form their own flavor, but Sprite (owned by Coca-Cola) has a long history with LeBron and with the NBA.

“Growing up drinking Sprite, I never imagined I would have my own flavor someday,” James said in a released statement. “I had a great time working with the Sprite team to turn my favorite flavors into a pretty cool variation of one of my favorite brands.”

The drink has a little cherry and orange flavors added to a regular Sprite taste. Don’t worry, if you want to try it you will see it everywhere you shop soon enough.

• While we are talking Heat, here’s a great look by Ethan Skolnick at Bleacher Report on everything that has been behind the successful Dwyane Wade knee maintainance program.

• Speaking of great reads, check out this one on what Andre Iguodala has brought to Golden State.

• How the NBA is tapping into South Korean pop culture to grow its popularity.

• Speaking of pop culture, Lorde was at a recent Bulls game and was tweeting.

• No Kobe Bryant, no wins and not surprisingly Lakers television ratings in Los Angeles are down by almost 50 percent. A year or two of that happens, but if they stay low for an extended period Time Warner is going to want to renegotiate that monster deal they signed with the Lakers.

• Deadspin‘s Drew Magary took over the Atlanta Hawks’ official twitter feed for a while on Tuesday.

• Chris Paul responds to the criticism of the NBA players’ union’s search for a new executive director. That’s a very polite response, likely not what CP3 was saying under his breath.

How the Bulls bring over Nikola Mirotic.

• I love this: In Toronto some fans are trying to get the team to do away with the “if your team scores 100 points you get free pizza” promotion because they want fans cheering for the team at the end of the game not booing the guy who missed the shot to get them pizza.  We’ve all heard the “we want tacos” or whatever chant from fans at the ends of game. There needs to be a better promotion for food than this, some of which Kelly Dwyer lists in the above link.

• A look at the complexity of fixing the NBA’s lottery system.

Scoop Jackson does a Q&A with Tom Thibodeau. That is a must click.

Lakers’ co-owner Jeanie Buss tears up talking about how Kobe Bryant deserves the two-year, $48 million contract extension he got and how he deserves the farewell tour basically coming up for the next couple of years.

• Rajon Rondo needs a lot of patience to help grow these Boston Celtics.

The case for Kevin Johnson to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

• If you want to know what the life of an NBA beat writer is like, this sums it up pretty well I think.

Fun interview with Hall of Fame basketball writer Peter Vecsey.

Watch Spurs’ Dejounte Murray throw off-the-backboard alley-oop to himself in pickup game

Washington guard Dejounte Murray, center, dribbles the ball past Mount St. Mary's center Taylor Danaher (50) as Washington forward Marquese Chriss, right, watches duirng the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.

That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.

Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.

He’s certainly got the athleticism.

Corey Brewer: “James (Harden) is going to play defense this year”

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 18:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets walks across the court during their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center on March 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.

Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.

Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.

“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”

We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.

Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.

Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?

If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.

 

Watch Drake hit a half court shot while doing a situp

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26:  Singer Drake celebrates after Terrance Ross #31 of the Toronto Raptors sinks a 3-pointer in the second half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Indiana Pacers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.

Because it’s summer.

Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).

Because Stephen Curry did it, too.

Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?

And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.

So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.

FOR THE KIA!!!!! @highlighthub @bleacherreport

A video posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Mario Chalmers says he’s cleared to play

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mario Chalmers moves the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, in Washington. Chalmers was ejected in the first half. The Wizards won 100-91. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.

Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.

Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.

Chalmers:

Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?

A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.