Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors

Wednesday And-1 links: There’s a little pressure on Klay Thompson now

9 Comments

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 more than Chicagoans love their pizza (which is better than New York pizza, for the record)….

• The Golden State Warriors refused to put Klay Thompson in a trade for Kevin Love — now there is a mountain of pressure on Thompson.

• We’ve shown you before why this is so, but Kevin Love should be a fantastic fit in Cleveland.

• About that Kevin Love having never won a playoff game thing…

• While we’re breaking out “why Love will work” in Cleveland videos…

• How well have the Cavaliers handled the entire Andrew Wiggins/Kevin Love situation?

• Adam Silver and the NBA need to come down harder on domestic violence than the NFL has. (That said, Silver can’t really punish Greg Oden because he isn’t signed to a team (and likely will not be this season now).

• Legendary trainer Tim Grover on whether you should drink alcohol while on a training regimen. Come on, what did you think the answer would be? And do you think Michael Jordan followed this advice?

• Report that about a year and a half ago the Nuggets shot down a Roy Hibbert for JaVale McGee trade.

• Golden State’s Marreese Speights must appear in court for a DUI arraignment on September 16. Eventually he will get the standard two-game suspension for this (which is too light, frankly).

Interesting note in this story: free agent Emeka Okafor could miss the first few months of this season with his continuing neck issue.

• NBA 2K15 soundtrack, anyone?

• Fun read from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on the USA Basketball fantasy camp.

A Q&A with Nerlens Noel.

• Congratulations to Zach Randolph on getting married.

• After he played well for them at Summer League in Orlando, the 76ers are expected to sign forward Ronald Roberts Jr., although how much of that deal is guaranteed remains to be seen.

• The Bucks are offering a ticket plan on selected seats next season where if you buy the 2014-15 season, you get the 2015-16 season at at discount based on how many games you attend — show up to enough and you get next season free. That is a heck of a deal, but after last season the Bucks need to do something to drum up sales.

• Josh Childress will play next season in Australia (and likely dominate there).

• The Kings have signed undrafted point guard Deonte Burton and invited him to camp, but this is a make-good contract.

• Suns second round pick Alec Brown plans to play for Obradoiro in the Spanish League next season.

• Finally, Tony Wroten dropping a guy at a summer run.

Damian Lillard added to Team USA Olympic roster pool

Damian Lillard
Getty Images
Leave a comment

If you’re looking for a point guard who can flat-out score the rock, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many better than Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers’ guard is averaging 24.2 points and 7.3 assists per game, with an above-average true shooting percentage of 54.6 percent, and a very high usage rate of 30.9.

He’s the kind of guy who might have a place on the Team USA Roster.

Which is why USA Basketball has added him to the pool to be considered for the Rio Olympics summer. The reason for the change is both Lillard’s level of play this season, and the fact he called USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo to ask for a spot, as reported by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Lillard deserves consideration, but there are two key reasons he likely doesn’t make the team:

1) He is still a terrible defender.

2) The list of guards for the USA Roster is ridiculous: Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Klay Thompson, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook. And now Lillard. That’s 10 guys for likely five spots. It’s hard to see Lillard making that cut.

But he deserves consideration.

Kings co-owner Shaq: Vivek Ranadivé told me George Karl would coach rest of season

Shaquille O'Neal
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Leave a comment

Kings general manager Vlade Divac said keeping George Karl as coach was right move “for now.”

How long is “for now”?

Shaquille O’Neal, a Kings minority owner, shares insight.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

This would mean a little more if Vivek Ranadivé weren’t prone to wild swings. Remember, the Kings said Tyrone Corbin would finish last season as coach before firing him for Karl.

Divac also said in November that Karl would coach the rest of the season, and that came up for debate fewer than three months later.

Shaq’s revelation is as likely to embarrass the Kings in a few weeks as it is to signal Karl’s job security.

Chauncey Billups explains why not every player wants to go home

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets
Leave a comment

LeBron James did it and shook up the NBA — he returned home to Cleveland. That has led to fantasies other players want to do the same thing: Kevin Durant back to Washington D.C.; DeMar DeRozan or Russell Westbrook back to Los Angeles; Blake Griffin back to Oklahoma. And the list goes on.

Not every player wants to do it.

Chauncey Billups did. Billups is a Denver guy who returned to play for the Nuggets — he gets his number retired Wednesday night in Detroit, a much-deserved honor — but in a letter to his young self at the Players’ Tribune Wednesday he explained that going home is fraught with peril.

“But in reality, playing at home as a 23-year-old professional is going to be less blessing and more curse. (There’s perception, again, for you.) It’s as simple as this: you’re just not going to be ready for Denver to be Your City. You’re going to think you’re ready — and they are too — but, trust me, you won’t be. You’re still going to be so young. You’re still going to be hanging out with your boys, doing your old thing. There are going to be those … hometown distractions. And those distractions will add up.”

“And you have to understand, Chaunce: It’s not just that you made it. It’s that your whole neighborhoodis going to feel like they made it. All of Park Hill is going to feel like they made it. And don’t get me wrong — that’s special. But at the wrong age, it can also be tough. It can be a lot to handle. And you’re going to be at that wrong age. You’re not going to be mature enough yet, or developed enough yet, to take on that mix of environments, those responsibilities, that role.

“You’re not going to be ready to lead.”

There are plenty of guys around the NBA who understand those distractions and how those can get in the way of off-season workouts, of time spent shoring up a weakness or developing a new shot, and how during the season they can be another thing that wears the body down.

Some guys can handle it. Some can’t.

Go read the entire letter from Billups. He talks about getting traded from the Celtics his rookie season, about playing for Mike D’Antoni, about how very rarely do veterans want to mentor younger players because they are fighting for the same piece of the pie.  Billups is honest.

And it’s great that Detroit is rewarding him as they should.

Did Marcus Thornton steal free throws from Rockets teammate Clint Capela?

Leave a comment

Leandro Barbosa – guarding Marcus Thornton and fighting through a Clint Capela screen – was called for a foul in the first quarter of last night’s Warriors-Rockets game.

Thornton went to the line.

Should he have? Or should Capela have?

Perhaps, Thornton and Barbosa tangled, but it certainly appeared the contact primarily occurred between Barbosa and Capela. It looks like Barbosa tries to ram through Capela.

It also appears Capela thought he drew the foul. Watch him step toward the line before seeing Thornton there and taking his spot along the paint.

So, why would Thornton step in? He’s making 89% of his free throws to Capela’s 40%.

I’m honestly surprised players don’t try this maneuver more often. Refs have so much to keep track of. The worst consequence would be the refs shooing away Thornton and bringing Capela to the line.

Thornton made both free throws, but it didn’t matter. Houston was playing Golden State, which rolled to a victory.