Thursday And-1 Links: Updates on Donald/Shelly Sterling saga, plus stuff that doesn’t make you ill

1 Comment

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.

• Shelly Sterling went to court Wednesday trying to get a judge to force her husband Donald from harassing psychologists and attorneys that stripped him of his power in the Donald Sterling Trust. The judge told them all to tone the rhetoric down. Judges get annoyed by lawyers looking to try the case through the press.

Here is what really matters: Donald Sterling got his own doctors to do their own tests and according to his attorney (via Ramona Shelburne) they found out he is capable of administering the trust. (The Sterling Family Trust owns the Clippers and Shelly had Donald declared incapacitated, then as the only trustee she agreed to sell the team to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.) Basically, on July 7-10 a probate judge decides whose doctors are right (with a third set of doctors involved?). If she wins the team is sold. If he wins the other owners go back to Plan A, vote him out and then the team is sold. Same outcome either way.

• Still, you should listen to the Donald Sterling voicemails to the doctors who stripped him of his trusteeship. He’s a bully and it shows here.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN wrote the best post yet on the Sterling saga, with all the history. Best thing you’ll read today. It’s brilliant.

• You know how during the NBA Finals Charles Barkley liked to rant about the Heat players forming their own super team? He tried to do the same thing.

• For what I think is the 100th time, Dirk Nowitzki says he is re-signing with the Mavericks.

• Andrew Bogut spoke with Steve Kerr and is excited about what he hears. Also, Bogut not yet 100 percent healthy.

• At his press conference Thursday, Pat Riley made it sound like the Heat plan to bring back Long Beach State’s own James Ennis from Australia  and have him as part of the team next season. I heard that from other sources during the Finals. He’s athletic and a good fit for their bench.

• Manu Ginobili was excited to see his wife after winning the title.

 • By the way, he is coming back next season to the Spurs.

• Patty Mills used to play Australian Rules Football, and he was good at it.

• The brother of the Greek Freak, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, is working out for teams. He’s not his brother but he might develop, worth a second round pick.

• Memphis acquired a 2015 second-round pick from the Nuggets.

• Vlade Divac wants to get back in the NBA in a front office role.

• Nerlens Noel has been sued for child support.

Shaq on free throws: ‘I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand’

Leave a comment

Rick Barry famously made 90% of his free throws while shooting underhand.

Shaquille O’Neal infamously shot just 53% on his free throws, inspiring hack-a-Shaq.

Why didn’t Shaq use Barry’s technique?

Shaq, via Emmanuel Ocbazghi, Noah Friedman and Graham Flanagan of Business Insider:

Shaquille O’Neal: Because it’s boring.

Business Insider: But it’s been proven to be somewhat effective.

O’Neal: No, it’s not. It’s not proven. Just ’cause a couple guys did it doesn’t mean anybody can do it.

I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand. I’m too cool for that.

O’Neal is somewhat trying to protect his larger-than-life, jokester image. But he’s also speaking to truth.

Barry would have been a good free-throw shooter overhand, too. Shooting underhand wasn’t necessarily going to fix Shaq’s problems at the line. Just because it worked for Barry doesn’t make it a “proven” technique.

Yet, every poor free-throw shooter – from Shaq to Andre Drummond to Andre Roberson – has been pestered about shooting underhand. It might be the right form for some players, but it’s no silver bullet.

Report: George Hill unhappy after Scott Perry promised him, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter that Kings would compete for playoffs

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
2 Comments

After a recent Kings loss, George Hill tweeted:

Reading too much into vague tweets is often folly, but Hill hasn’t looked happy in Sacramento. Despite signing him, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter last summer, the Kings are 8-18.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.

But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.

Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources

The Kings aren’t bad because they shifted direction after Perry left for the Knicks. They’re bad because they lack talent.

This team was mostly assembled by the time Perry departed, and it looked lousy. To whatever degree Sacramento is emphasizing youth post-Perry – Garrett Temple, Randolph and Hill rank in the top four in minutes – the won-loss record wasn’t changing much.

If Hill, Randolph and Carter didn’t know that, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Smart veterans like them should have understood the bargain they accepted.

Hill ($40 million guaranteed over two years), Randolph (two years, $24 million) and Vince Carter (one year, $8 million) took the money. In exchange, they’re stuck on a bad team. And that’s fine. Many of us prioritize salary in career decisions.

But now they’re dealing with the downside of that arrangement – grinding through a long, losing season. It’s disingenuous to sulk and blame Perry (though, if Perry pledged a team realistically competing for the playoffs, he overpromised).

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Sacramento isn’t making rapid improvement overnight. So, something might have to give with Hill’s mood.

Tristan Thompson: Cavaliers’ stated 3-4-week timeline for my injury was never realistic

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Tristan Thompson suffered a calf injury early last month, the Cavaliers announced he’d miss 3-4 weeks.

More than five weeks later, Thompson still hasn’t played.

Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

Thompson:

Who said that was the real timetable? They told you guys three to four weeks. That was never the case. The first week, I was on crutches the whole time. So, there was no chance. So, I don’t know. I don’t know who told you three to four weeks. For that, I’m sorry.

Thompson sounds close to returning, so this issue should pass. But teams are usually conservative in these estimates so as not to expose their players to criticism for not working hard enough in rehab. Thompson was left hung out to dry here.

Maybe Thompson, who’s famously low-maintenance, doesn’t mind. But if a 3-4-week timeline was never realistic, I wouldn’t blame him for resenting the Cavs.

Poor communication on injuries might not be limited to only the 76ers.

Heat’s Dion Waiters: ‘I’m not coming off no bench’

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
3 Comments

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Dion Waiters must be more efficient.

But Waiters’ effective field-goal percentage this season (46.1) is nearly precisely his career mark (46.2). It appears last season’s career high (48.8) in a contract year was the outlier.

What if Waiters just can’t change? Could Miami bring him off the bench?

Waiters, via Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post:

“I’m a starter in this league, man, that’s who I am. We’re going to nip that in the bud right now. I’m not coming off no bench.”

This is peak Waiters, supremely confident/cocky. He’s not good enough to demand a starting spot, but here he is doing it anyway.

That make’s Spoelstra’s job trickier if he’s considering bringing Waiters off the bench. It might be the optimal basketball move, but NBA coaches must also deal with their players egos.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Waiters should come off the bench. Miami’s starting lineup – Goran Dragic, Waiters, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside – is outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. (The Heat are -3.4 per 100 overall.) That unit defends, and Waiters eases the playmaking burden on Dragic.

But if I were the Heat, I also wouldn’t take the possibility of not starting Waiters off the table. At an underwhelming 12-13, they don’t have the luxury of never experimenting – even if it might upset Waiters.