Andrea Bargnani says he would have played “for free” to prove himself with Nets

1 Comment

It’s hyperbole when someone says “I would do my job for free.” I don’t care how much you love your job — there are chefs that live to cook, but take the money out of the equation and they will become bankers or barristas to pay the bills and cook at home. To use another easy example, I absolutely love my job, but I would not do it for free. I’ve got bills to pay just like everyone else.

So when the Nets new stretch four Andrea Bargnani says he would play for free, we all know that’s not literally true.

But I understand the sentiment that he feels he has a lot to prove after some rough times with the Knicks, where he played just 71 games the last two seasons (after a poor trade to bring him in from Toronto).

Bargnani talked about it with Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano, as translated by Nets Daily.

“I would have done it for free because the money at this time does not matter,” said Bargnani who’s made $72 million in his NBA career…  “I just hope I can have a decent playing time, scoring as many points and exceed goals,” he told interviewer Malcom Pagani . “I do not think I was lucky (last year). Luck is good health that allows you to prove your talent at the right time. The rest is the work. I made risky choices, indeed extremely risky and I intend to continue to take risks. I accept all the criticism, it is living in a beautiful dream, I know myself. “

Bargnani will get his chance to prove himself. The Nets are going to start Thaddeus Young at the four, but behind him is a couple of guys who are looking for another chance to prove themselves — Thomas Robinson and Bargnani. Maybe a little Bojan Bogdanovic gets mixed in, depending on the rotation.

That said, don’t we know who Andrea Bargnani is at this point? What is he going to prove? After nine NBA seasons and with him set to turn 30 next season, he’s pretty much established. He hasn’t played more than 42 games in a season for four years. While he can catch and shoot the three ball (36.6 percent last season) he doesn’t strike fear in teams when he puts the ball on the floor (he often settles for midrange jumpers, more than half his shots were from 10 feet out to the arc last season, and he shot 45 percent on those). His defense is terrible.

We’ll see how much he can contribute in Brooklyn. But it’s safe to say he will not be giving them back any paychecks.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

5 Comments

The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

AP Foto/Eric Christian Smith
2 Comments

Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

image