CJ McCollum

Blazers’ C.J. McCollum has advice for incoming NBA rookies


C.J. McCollum was selected by the Blazers with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft, but Portland wasn’t your typical lottery team. Instead, the Blazers were a team on the rise, with many key pieces already in place that came together in time to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Most rookies selected at that spot in the draft are given the chance to develop during live game scenarios, with a heavy dose of minutes not being a problem since teams picking that highly normally don’t have expectations of being all that good in the somewhat immediate future.

McCollum, however, due to being added to an already pretty good team, didn’t end up seeing too much action. He appeared in just 38 regular season games, and averaged just 12.5 minutes in those contests. But he seems to have learned a lot from his first year in the league nonetheless, and took the time to give out some advice aimed at the current crop of incoming NBA rookies.

From C.J. McCollum at Basketball Insiders:

My advice is to check your bank account statements and actually read over your monthly cash flow. Every time you post a picture on Instagram or Twitter, you should probably also take the time to check your accounts online. …

Instead of thinking of reasons why your coach should be playing you, honestly assess reasons as to why he isn’t. The next step is to go work on those things and improve the specific areas you come up with, so there is a change in your play. For me, it was simple. I made a list of what I needed to improve on.

Make defense a priority and not an afterthought. Most rookies struggle with the transition of defense.  Do a better job of gauging angles. There are more pick-and-rolls and in the league, teams will utilize a play or player over and over again until it is stopped. …

But my number one piece of advice to the incoming rookies is to humble yourself now because regardless of your situation, and the amount of opportunity available, you are a piece to the puzzle, not the piece.

All very sound points.

The main thing that comes across when reading McCollum’s unfiltered thoughts on his first season is that he seems to be keeping everything in its proper perspective. Any rookies entering the league this season and beyond would be wise to do the same, and heed McCollum’s advice.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi

Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.