Byron Scott, Magic Johnson, Mitch Kupchak

Magic Johnson: ‘If I don’t see another 3-pointer from a Laker team, I’ll be happy’

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Mike D’Antoni likes 3-pointers. His run-and-gun Lakers attempted 2,032 shots from beyond the arc last season, a franchise record.

Magic Johnson dislikes D’Antoni. Johnson publicly celebrated the former Lakers coach losing his job.

Therefore, apparently using the transitive property, Johnson has convinced himself he dislikes 3-pointers.

Johnson, via Eric Pincus at the Los Angeles Times:

"The team is better than what we had last season, because we have more guys who can do more things than just shoot 3-pointers," said Johnson.  "If I don’t see another 3-pointer from a Laker team, I’ll be happy."

The Lakers actually shot pretty well on 3-pointers last year, making 38 percent of their attempts, third-best in the NBA. It was the rest of their skills that caused them to go 27-55. Outside shooting was a bright spot.

But as he’s wont to do, Johnson is speaking from a place not rooted in the reality of the present.

See, he didn’t need 3-pointers to become the greatest point guard in NBA history. Among the top 15 guards by win shares since the NBA added the 3-point arc, Johnson ranks last in 3-pointers made, last in 3-pointers attempted and last in 3-point percentage.

So because he didn’t shoot 3-pointers, his beloved Lakers shouldn’t.

Or something.

The 2013-14 Lakers scored 114.3 points per 3-point attempt. Johnson’s teams never scored more than 110.2 points per 100 field-goal attempts, and the league-wide record on points per 100 shots is 110.8 (set by the Heat last year).

In other words, the Lakers were more efficient on 3-pointers last season than any team has ever been on all shots.

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Of course, if the 2013-14 Lakers shot only 3-pointers, their efficiency would have dropped considerably. I’m in no way suggesting their outside shooting was the greatest offensive weapon in NBA history. But considering how well that shot stacks up with the production of all-time great offenses – even the five Johnson-led teams in the top 30 of points per shot – 3-point-attempts from the 2013-14 Lakers were incredibly valuable.

That’s just the way the league is changing. Players are better than ever from beyond the arc, and those attempts help space the floor for interior scorers. Now, 3-pointers are a double-edged sword, giving teams efficient points from long distance and setting them up for efficient interior scoring.

Future Lakers teams shouldn’t spurn outside shots due to a bad association with D’Antoni.

Not that I count on Johnson-approved Byron Scott to fall into such a trap.

Hopefully, Magic doesn’t turn on Scott for not being Phil Jackson, too.

Kevin Garnett used Beyonce, singing as part of his NBA conditioning regimen

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Future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett was known during his playing days for his exceptional conditioning. The athletic power forward was in a full sweat by tip-off, and constantly talking on both offense and defense.

So how did he do it?

According to JJ Redick, Garnett used to sing while running as a method of normalizing talking during a game. The practice was apparently modeled after Beyonce’s ability to dance and sing at the same time.

Via Time.com:

“One time I saw her working out, and she was doing her dances and she was singing while she was doing her dancing,” Garnett said to Redick. “So then I’m thinking to myself, maybe I should run and sing at the same time. So in the offseason, I would go to Malibu and I would go down to the beach, and when I run on the beach I would be like ‘Lalala lalala lalala,’ while I’m running. So then, when I get on the court and I’m getting back on defense and I’m talking on defense, I don’t get tired.”

That’s ingenious, and the kind of clever tactics you’d expect to come from a HOFer like Garnett.

Emotional Rip Hamilton back at Palace as Pistons retire No. 32

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) By the time Richard Hamilton’s tenure with the Detroit Pistons was over, the franchise was far removed from its days among the NBA’s elite. His final season with the team was a tumultuous one, and his exit seemed like the best move for everyone involved.

Once he was away, however, Hamilton realized what he’d left behind.

“I didn’t leave here on good terms,” Hamilton said before Detroit’s game Sunday night against Boston. “Every day I was in that locker room with that Bulls uniform on, it’s like, `This ain’t me. I’m a Piston.”‘

Hamilton was back at The Palace on Sunday, when the Pistons retired his No. 32 jersey at halftime of the game against the Celtics. It was an emotional honor for Hamilton and the Detroit fans, not just because of his contributions to the team over the years, but because it reflected a healing of sorts between him and the organization.

Hamilton last played with the Pistons in an acrimonious 2010-11 season. He had a falling out with coach John Kuester and was benched for most of a seven-week stretch, and Detroit eventually agreed with Hamilton on a buyout before the following season.

He ended up with Chicago, but the memories he left behind in Detroit were proud ones. Hamilton teamed up with Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace as the core of Detroit’s 2004 team that won the NBA title.

Those four former teammates were on hand for Sunday’s celebration, and so was Larry Brown, their coach on that championship team.

“I already cried three times, so I’m trying not to cry again today,” Hamilton said at a pregame media session.

Hamilton indeed was wiping away tears on the court at halftime after the ceremony began, especially when Billups stood to speak.

“You made me better every day,” Billups said. “Not only did you make me better, you made our team better.”

Hamilton spoke at length to the crowd – in fact, after thanking so many people close to him, he appeared a bit rushed at the end, with the game needing to resume.

“Detroit, the fans, I love you,” he said moments before his number went to the rafters. “Thanks a lot.”

Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

Father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball says son will only play for Lakers, then backtracks

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball (2) signals after making a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Freshman sensation Lonzo Ball is slated to be a Top 5 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The UCLA guard can shoot the lights out, and he’s on the big board of just about every team expecting a lottery selection this year.

However, Ball’s father LaVar recently made a statement that the UCLA sensation would only play for one team: The Los Angeles Lakers.

Via Twitter:

As worrying as that kind of statement is, just a day later LaVar Ball tried to clarify his intentions for his son to ESPN. Instead of a requirement, it was meant more as an open intention of desire.

Here’s what LaVar had to say to ESPN:

“All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I’m going to speak it into existence,” LaVar told ESPN on Saturday night. “I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn’t saying he’s only going to play for the Lakers. I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team. But I’d like him to play for the Lakers because it’s home and I’d love him to learn from Magic (Johnson) He’s the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson.”

Interesting stuff from a guy who said his son was better than 2-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

It appears that LaVar is doing a bit of ham-fisted positioning for the upcoming draft through the media. That’s not to say there’s an expectation it’s going to work, but it certainly could push the needle for some NBA teams to explore Ball’s intentions further.

Mavericks sign Ben Bentil to fill spot following roster shuffle

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 19:  Ben Bentil #0 of the Providence Friars passes in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 19, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The North Carolina Tar Heels won 85-66.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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DALLAS (AP) The Dallas Mavericks have signed rookie forward Ben Bentil to a 10-day contract to fill one of the two spots from a roster shake-up that came at the trading deadline.

The addition of Bentil on Sunday puts the Ghana native in position to make his NBA debut. The former Providence player was drafted in the second round by Boston but was waived during the preseason.

Bentil has played in the NBA Development League and in China since the Celtics let him go. He played 13 games in two stints with Fort Wayne in the D-League, interrupted by an 11-game stint with Xinjiang in China.

The Mavericks had two roster spots after sending Andrew Bogut and Justin Anderson to Philadelphia in a deal for Nerlens Noel and waiving guard Deron Williams.