Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while entranced watching Charles Barkley pretend to eat churros….
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets. If you are going to beat the Heat, you need to attack where they are weak — at the point or with bigs. For a Brooklyn team built with beating Miami in mind that means Deron Williams, the point guard they traded for to be their franchise cornerstone. Except he had zero points on the night. None. Zip. Zilch. He was 0-for-9 from the field — and some of those were good looks. By the fourth quarter he was hesitant… and with that performance the Nets were toast.
Mirza Teletovic, Brooklyn Nets. We could continue to Deron Williams in this space. Or Kevin Garnett. But that’s like making fun of Jar Jar Binks — it’s not even a challenge and everyone has done it. Let’s find a positive for Brooklyn… Teletovic. He was knocking down threes for Brooklyn, five in the first half and 6-of-9 for the game, setting a Brooklyn record. More than that he pulls the Heat bigs out of the paint and opened things up for the Brooklyn offense.
Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs. In the first round he slowed down Dirk Nowitzki. In this round he gets LaMarcus Aldridge and has been crucial to the Spurs series lead. Aldridge was 6-of-23 shooting in Game 2, and with Splitter keeping Aldridge in check the other defenders can stay home on the Blazers three point shooters. Splitter is pitching in on offense, he had 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. But it’s his defense that is key.
LeBron James was dominant — the clear best player on the planet — when the Cleveland Cavaliers needed him most. That’s the reason Cleveland got its first major sports title in 52 years.
It’s the dead part of the NBA season — training camps don’t even open for a month — so why not enjoy a look back at LeBron’s amazing run to a legacy-defining NBA ring. Like you don’t have 15 minutes for this. What are you going to do, watch more preseason football?
It’s a summer tradition — tall NBA players swatting away the shots of young kids at camps/clinics.
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has yet to step on an NBA court — this fall, finally? — but he is part of the youth tradition now, destroying this young man at the Sixers Beach Bash event Saturday.
This summer Embiid has arm wrestled Justin Bieber and looked good working out in an empty gym, and to add to that list here is Embiid overpowering an average guy at Beach Bash then throwing it down. The man at least provided a little more resistance than a chair.
Despite the Warriors’ loss in the Finals, it’s been a good summer for Harrison Barnes. He signed a four-year, $94 million deal in Dallas and won a gold medal with Team USA at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And maybe best of all, he got engaged on Saturday night, as he revealed on Twitter:
Congrats to Barnes and his new fiancée.
Shortly after winning a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, veteran guard Mo Williams picked up his $2.2 million option for next season, choosing to take the guaranteed money on the table for him rather than test free agency at age 33. But he might not be with the Cavs this season — the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Joe Vardon reports that Williams is considering retiring from playing due to lingering knee problems, and the Cavaliers could waive him under the stretch provision in the coming days.
Williams, 33, a 13-year veteran and former All-Star who played a supporting role in the Cavs’ 2016 NBA championship, is strongly considering retirement, multiple sources told cleveland.com.
From Williams’ side of this, he battled a left-knee issue for most of last season while playing in just 41 regular-season games, as his playing time dwindled once Irving returned from knee surgery and the coaching staff chose to stick with Matthew Dellavedova as Irving’s backup.
Sources said his balky knee, desire to coach — especially younger players and children — and the obvious chance to go out as a champion are weighing heavily upon him.
Vardon reports that the Cavs are considering stretching him before the August 31 deadline, but are holding off for now because they want to leave open the possibility of a trade with another team to take on his salary. Either way, it looks as though Williams is done after 13 seasons in the NBA.