Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is so big in his native Philippines that whatever he wants, he gets. He wants to be a senator, he gets voted in.
He also coaches a professional basketball team, the Kia Motors team. I guess he does that in between his senatorial duties and training to put his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on the line against Chris Algieri on November 23 in Macau.
All that wasn’t enough, apparently. He wanted to go full Bill Russell player/coach approach so he drafted himself. At age 35. Here’s the report via the Los Angeles Times.
That’s right. With the 10th overall pick in the 2014 Philippine Basketball Assn. rookie draft, Kia Motors selected its coach. Apparently, the plan all along was for Pacquiao to serve as a player-coach, but he needed to go through the draft in order to make that happen….
Continuing to focus on the familiar, Kia Motors went on to select its coach’s cousin, Rene Pacquiao, in the third round. Rene played at Southwestern University of Cebu and spent time in the Philippines’ D-League.
I don’t see what could possibly go wrong here.
I do know Manny Pacquiao is a huge basketball, specifically Boston Celtics, fan. He had a fight scheduled the night of Game 7 between the Celtics and Heat a couple years ago and wouldn’t step into the ring until it was over (he then took the distaste of that outcome out on his opponent).
My knowledge of the Philippines league is limited, but I know a marketing ploy when I see one. And when you make marketing moves over smart moves, well, your minor league baseball. But whatever sells tickets.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.