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?
LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.
He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.
Enter Elfrid Payton.
During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.
Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.
That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.
Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.
For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.
In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”
Well, today is that day.
Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.
Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.
This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.
Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.
NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.
Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.
The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.
Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.
My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).
There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.
That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.
Bring on February!
LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.
During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.
The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.
I mean, that’s just … insane.