Kawhi Leonard was the MVP of the 2014 Finals, but in the days leading up to receiving that honor, he couldn’t possibly have cared less.
Now that the championship has been won and it was his turn to take the Larry O’Brien trophy on tour for a few days, Leonard was too focused on working out to be able to enjoy the accomplishment and take it around town.
So he let it sit in his living room for two days.
From Mark Ziegler of UTSanDiego.com:
San Diego State alum and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard got “Larry” for three days in Southern California. He had it Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and he arranged for people to take pictures with it at his annual skills camp for youths last weekend in his hometown of Moreno Valley.
And Thursday and Friday?
It sat in the living room of the San Diego condominium he rents during the offseason while the Spurs staffer who chaperones the trophy around the world lounged at a UTC hotel pool … while Leonard was at his three-a-day workouts.
“I didn’t have any time to do anything with it,” Leonard explained. “My workout schedule is crazy.”
The trophy has toured the world this summer, and many players were happy to take it around their home towns and let the locals share in the excitement of the championship experience.
Leonard, however, chose preparation over celebration, and continues to be the personification of the Spurs and their insanely high level of professionalism — even if it times that doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun.
A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.
Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.
The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.
Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.
But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.
Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.
Take comfort, chairs and staffers.
The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.
Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:
This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.
Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.
The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.
This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.
Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.
But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.
The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.
Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.