Delonte West is trying to make it back to the NBA.
He has been out of the league for two seasons and a comeback will involve two parts — proving that he still has it on the court (he’s only about to turn 31); then proving he’s not going to be a distraction off it.
All of it starts in Las Vegas.
As has been rumored, West is on the Clippers Summer League roster announced Monday (possibly thanks to Doc Rivers, who coached West back in Boston). With all due respect to Jon Brockman and DeAndre Liggins, West is about the only interesting thing on the Clippers roster in Vegas as Reggie Bullock (quad injury) and C.J. Wilcox (shoulder) will not be on the team.
West was last in the NBA in 2012 with Dallas and he played well, averaging 9.6 points a game, hitting 35.5 percent from three and having a PER right at the league average of 15.3. West can do a number of things on the offensive end: penetrate, dish, knock down open looks, plus he is a solid defender. If he still can do those things teams will notice.
But that’s only half of it. Dallas, arguably the most player-friendly organization in the league, didn’t want him back due to the distractions and challenges. This is the guy who gave Gordon Hayward a “Wet Willie” during an NBA game, who has been arrested on gun charges (something he thought was blown out of proportion), and who has had a host of other incidents large and small. West has to show all that is behind him.
West started to try and reclaim his image and his life in an open interview with Slate where he discussed being perceived as a person he is not. He has battled a bipolar disorder, but a lot of things rumored to have happened didn’t (nobody reasonable around the league buys the LeBron rumor, but it refuses to die). Vegas is the next step in that.
The question is will that be enough?
This was as predictable as Trump mentioning his wall in a stump speech he feels going flat.
Thursday, the Ringer reported that Washington’s John Wall was unhappy when he saw the money thrown around this summer at James Harden and even Wall’s teammate Bradley Beal. The quote that summed it up from an anonymous source: “Wall’s got jealousy issues. He’s always upset with someone who makes more money than him.”
The second that story hit the web you knew Wall would deny it, and that came via ESPN’s The Uninterrupted (which has done well since it’s launch):
For both of you who hate video and prefer it written out:
“I just wanted to clear the air for all these people talking about how I’m watching other people’s pockets and I’m not worried about basketball and getting better. Listen, that doesn’t matter to me. If I produce like I’m supposed to on the basketball court and take care of myself and image, I’m going to be fine with making money. That’s not why I play the game of basketball.”
Two quick thoughts. First, talk to Wall for any length of time and it does become clear he loves basketball and plays the game with a passion. That shouldn’t be up for debate.
Secondly, everybody in the NBA compares salaries. Everybody knows what everybody is making. There’s another locker room measuring comparison equivalent, but I’m not going there. The reality is guys who were not free agents or up for an extension — and because of the length of Wall’s contract, that includes him — were shaking their heads at the money thrown around. Of course they wanted a piece of it. That’s different than jealousy, or lacking chemistry with a teammate because of it.
That said, Beal and Wall have never clicked like expected. Injuries are certainly a part of the issue, but it’s fair to question what else is going on, and if Scott Brooks as coach can change that.
This is about the most Canadian thing ever.
Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson — who is Canadian, he was born in Toronto — is getting his day with the Larry O’Brien trophy and decided that meant he should take the gold statue to a Tim Horton’s. (If you’re not familiar, Tim Horton’s is a Canadian institution, the best comparison would be SAT style — Tim Horton’s:Canada as Dunkin Donuts:Boston).
Hat tip MethoxyEthane at Reddit NBA.
Deron Williams will be 32 years old this NBA season, and is coming off a sports hernia surgery. That said, at age 31 he was solid for the Mavericks, averaging 14.1 points and 5.8 assists per game. His efficiency dipped from previous years, but he played well for Dallas.
Williams had hoped his stats would have earned him a multi-year contract and some security in Dallas, but instead he ended up with a one-year, $10 million deal. He’s not thrilled about it — something he has said before — but he’s optimistic about the next season with the Mavericks, he told DallasNews.com (at Williams’ annual charity golf event).
“I’d have liked to be here for a little longer,” Williams said of the one-year deal. “We’ll see how it goes. It is what it is. For sure, I wanted to be back. I felt like I had some unfinished business at the end of last year the way things ended and I wasn’t able to be on the court. Hopefully I’ll stay healthy because I’m excited about this team.”
I can’t blame him for wanting more years, but I think the short contract offer was the right move by Dallas. This team needs flexibility going forward.
Williams sees the additions of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut as upgrades over Chandler Parsons and Zaza Pachulia (and he’s right).
“We’re definitely going to miss Chandler, but Harrison stepping in, that’s not a downgrade,” Williams said. “It’s going to be great to see how he handles being a go-to guy. He’s kind of been in the shadows (at Golden State). We’ll see what he can do now with the ball in his hands. And I’m looking forward to playing with big Bogut. I’ve been a fan of his for awhile. He’s definitely a player point guards like to play with.”
Dallas is once again going to be a good team battling for one of the final playoff spots in the West. How healthy Williams is and how well he plays — and can set up the quality scorers on that roster — is going to determine what the Mavs are doing in late April.
I once saw Craig Sager wow a just-drafted Andre Drummond with his shoes made of ostrich.
These are even cooler
DJ Khaled (?):
It’s probably good for my bank account that only two of these exist.