Thursday And-1 Links: Carmelo Anthony wants to mentor DeMarcus Cousins

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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.

• Carmelo Anthony told the Sacramento Bee he wants to help mentor DeMarcus Cousins.

“I love him, I love him,” Anthony said of Cousins. “I’m trying to get him to calm down a little bit but I love him, his game, what he can do out there on the basketball court. He stuffs the stat sheet, points, rebounds. He can pass the ball, got a good feel for the game. He just does a lot out there but I’m just trying to get him to calm down out there a little bit. I’m working on that, that’s my project.”

Why we should place more value on creating steals (this is a fantastic post at the new 538 blog, go read it).

Here is a fantastic look at the complexities of the Golden State situation with Mark Jackson. The situation is not simple, and it involves how the current ownership group is impatient and hands on, and how Stephen Curry is a Jackson fan.

Mark Cuban clarified his stance on the NFL and potentially expanding its television package, and he makes a lot of sense.

This is a great look by Chris Ballard at Sports Illustrated about how Doc Rivers has worked to build up in DeAndre Jordan what Vinny Del Negro just tore down. Watch the Clippers play now and you see the dividends of Rivers’ work — when he was saying earlier this year Jordan should be considered for Defensive Player of the Year that was all about building up Jordan, not reality. Smart man, that Doc.

• Roy Hibbert is not showing any concussion symptoms after the elbow from LeBron James and can play in the Pacers’ next game. Also, LeBron will not be fined by the league for the contact.

• The virus that sidelined Ray Allen Wednesday night against the Pacers will have him out Friday as well.

Check out the graphic evidence of how Monta Ellis is playing differently this season — he’s gotten to the elbow a lot more and knocked those shots down, plus he’s got the left corner three down.

• Nate Wolters had a surprisingly good rookie season for the Bucks, but he is done for the year now with a broken hand. After a recent game Bucks coach Larry Drew said had it not been for the rash of injuries that hit the Bucks this year Wolters would not have gotten many minutes but a year like this where he is thrown into the fire can help speed his development.

• Charlotte isn’t tanking, rather they are building a winner (and are playoff bound this season).

• A lot of states — where lawmakers are looking for extra revenue but without taxing their constituents — have turned to a “jock tax” where professional athletes have to pay an extra tax for coming into their state and playing. It happens all over. Tennessee is doing away with theirs.

• Hedo Turkoglu is no longer going to play international ball for his native Turkey.

• Jahlil Okafor is maybe the most recruited player in next year’s freshmen class and is the projected 2015 No. 1 pick (as much as you can do that this far out). Not surprisingly, he’s not a fan of the 20-year-old age limit.

• My daily Snopes imitation: No, the rumor Michael Jordan is walking away from the Jordan Brand is not true.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.