On paper J.R. Smith should be a leader. He is a 10-year NBA veteran, a former Sixth Man of the Year, he’s the kind of guy younger players should look to on how to stick in the league, what works and what doesn’t on the court. They may not want to look to him for shot selection advice, or money management, but he can be a leader in other ways. In theory.
That’s what he wants to be — a leader. That’s what Smith told ESPNNewYork.com.
“Be a leader,” Smith said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday at his foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. “We’ve got so many younger guys around. A lot of the older guys left within the last two years. So be more of a leader and help out….
“Just ‘show instead of say’ and stuff like that,” Smith, speaking at his fundraiser for the J.R. Smith Youth Foundation at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, said when asked about his leadership approach. “‘Sheed [Rasheed Wallace], J Kidd [Jason Kidd] — those guys led by example and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
That is great to hear him say, it’s what he should do. I hope it works out for him.
Watching Smith and his gunner, ball-stopping tendencies try to fit in the move-the-ball, read and react triangle offense is going to be interesting. To put it kindly. It may be Derek Fisher’s biggest test. Based on Smith’s history, this has disaster written all over it. He takes shots that would unbalance a system based on spacing and balance.
But maybe he has matured. Maybe he is ready to tweak his game to fit in the team system. That’s what leaders do.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.