Iman Shumpert excited to play in triangle offense because he won’t just have to stand in the corner

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When in Atlanta, coach Mike Woodson was rightly criticized for just running too much “iso Joe” offense for Joe Johnson. In New York it was better, if only because injuries forced him to put Carmelo Anthony at the four (which worked better) but one would not use the word “unpredictable” when describing the Knicks offense.

Now Derek Fisher (as the disciple of Phil Jackson) is bringing the triangle offense to New York. Anthony can fit well in that offense if he moves the ball.

Iman Shumpert is pumped the offense is coming to New York because it will give him something to do, he told ESPNNewYork.com.

“The way it’s set up, you can start three guards, it really doesn’t matter. Everybody’s going to get touches, everybody gets opportunities to cut,” Shumpert said of the triangle offense. “It’s constant action going on. So I think that I’ll be able to capitalize on that and I’ll be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner.

“I know this year in the offense I will have a lot more opportunities to cut and get to the basket,” he added. “I just want to work on the strength of my leg. Been working on that and being able to pull up off one or two dribbles [and working] on corner [3-pointers] and open 3s.”

Shumpert has spent this off-season working hard to recovering from surgery on his left knee. He should be good to go full speed when the season starts.

The triangle offense is all about spacing and motion — If being run properly (as Tex Winter envisioned) it has constant ball movement and guys cutting and moving off the ball. In the offense you can lob into the post (think Shaq with the Lakers) or run pick-and-rolls — and you should run in transition — but when those actions happen other actions keep spacing on the floor.

Knicks fans will start to see the offense evolve over the course of the season — your actions in the offense is predicated on how the defense responds to an action, it takes time for all the players to get on the same page, making the same reads. There will be rough patches.

But it’s going to be better for the Knicks long term. We know it can work. It just needs total buy in.

Sounds like Shumpert is in.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.