Author: John Krolik

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J.J. Redick talks about his love of food

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J.J. Redick doesn’t just have one of the NBA’s purest shooting strokes — he’s apparently one of the best gourmands in the NBA. In a recent interview with, Redick talked about how he’s become a “foodie” since his Duke days:

J.J. Redick: I was never a very adventurous eater growing up, despite the fact that my mother is a nutritionist and my parents have always had a garden in our yard. When I was at Duke, I finally had an avocado — accidentally — on a turkey sandwich. I was hooked. Next thing I know, I couldn’t get enough guacamole. Avocado was the first thing I ever ate that was outside my box. As I finished up my time at Duke, I certainly wasn’t a “foodie” but I was learning to enjoy the finer things in the culinary world.

During my third year with the Magic, I took a trip with Chelsea (my girlfriend at the time and now my wife) to Mexico and we both tried some foods we had never tried before. At that point, February of 2009, I officially became a “foodie.” Now I will try almost anything and can enjoy some different foods, such as pork jowls.

Redick goes on to name his favorite restaurants in Orlando, his favorite restaurants around the world, and his “normal” in-season diet. The least surprising part of this interview? Before retiring, Redick’s teammate Adonal Foyle was the biggest foodie in the NBA, and is also a wonderful cook. Seriously, why doesn’t Foyle have a morning show at this point?

What the Warriors should do when the lockout ends

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors
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“We Believe” seems like it was so long ago. Since the Warriors’ shocking 1st-round upset and follow-up successful 07-08 regular season (the team missed the playoffs, but won 48 games, more than the 4th-seeded team in the East), the Warriors have been a mess. Baron Davis and the rest of the gang left, the team lost anything resembling interest in playing defense or rebounding, and the offense stopped working smoothly.

With Don Nelson and his replacement, Keith Smart, both gone, and former President of Basketball Operations Robert Rowell gone as well, the Warriors are looking for a fresh start. Here’s what they need to do in order to get their new regime started on the right foot:

1. For the love of God, play defense

Defense is really important, and the Warriors don’t play it. The Warriors were a run-and-gun team when they were successful, but they weren’t as abysmal defensively as they have been over the last few years. In the last three seasons, the Warriors have finished 28th, 29th, and 26th in defensive efficiency. If the team wants any hope of becoming successful, they need a complete defensive overhaul.

New coach Marc Jackson has said all the right things about defense since his hiring, and head assistant Mike Malone has a good defensive pedigree, but defense is about more than “effort” or “hustle” in the NBA. It’s about having a solid defensive scheme, and players who are willing and able to make that scheme work. With all the money the Warriors have in defensive liabilities like David Lee and Monta Ellis, they won’t become a solid defensive unit overnight.

Still, the team does have some promising defenders like Ekpe Udoh, and if they make defense a priority going forward on the court and in their personnel moves, they could return to respectability.

2. Figure out what to do with Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins

Ellis scores at a superstar rate, and can score with superstar efficiency at times. However, he’s undersized, isn’t a passer, and may be the worst perimeter defender in the NBA. Ellis has his passionate believers, but the simple fact is this — if Ellis was that good, the Warriors would not have been so bad when Ellis was given a blank check for both minutes and shot attempts. The Warriors have been shopping Ellis and opting to keep Steph Curry, who is both the better passer and the more efficient scorer, but they’ve been having trouble finding takers on Ellis’ nightmare contract.

Biedrins was once one of the most promising young centers in the NBA, but injuries and the complete deterioration of his free-throw stroke have turned him into a borderline rotation player. When Biedrins goes to the free throw line, horrifying things happen, and it’s had a negative impact on every aspect of his game. If Biedrins can get back to being aggressive offensively, attacking the boards defensively, and making around 60-65% of his free throws (why not give underhanded a try, as Don Nelson suggested?), he’s worth keeping. If not, the Warriors will have the unenviable task of trying to shop both Biedrins and Ellis, who are owed a combined $20 million a year through the 2013/14 season.

3. Get the offense flowing again

Having a run-and-gun offense isn’t just about shooting the ball up as fast as you can. There needs to be some organization to the chaos, and the Warriors haven’t had it. The team wasn’t much better than average offensively last year, and they need to make their offense the relentless, terrifying machine it was in Nelson’s first two seasons as coach by passing and spacing the floor effectively, not just gambling for steals, forcing breaks, and jacking up shots in the first 7 seconds of the shot clock, even if they’re tough ones. If the Warriors can do any of those things, it will be time to Believe again. But with the team’s thrown-together roster and second new coach in as many years, things might not happen overnight for them.

Gary Forbes unhappy with Panama national team’s resources

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In his third and final dairy entry for SLAM Online about the FIBA Americas tournament, Nuggets player Gary Forbes had some interesting things to say. Forbes played for Panama, who was 1-5 at the time of Forbes’ third diary entry, and Forbes believes that the team’s lack of resources were a major cause for their lack of success:

I have to be honest with you guys. Team Panama is struggling on the court due to behind the scenes issues. Our team is the only team not backed by our government and probably the only team without any sponsors. Our president, who I will not name, has put the team in a lose/lose situation in my eyes. Our practice facilities are subpar, practicing on 9-foot baskets, as your regulation baskets are 10 feet. Panama has a facility, “Roberto Duran” Coliseum, which we can’t use because it is a government owned facility. There are two federations in Panama and basically we are a private club team. Crazy, huh?

Panama also only has one coach and no assistants, and many of the players were forced to tape themselves up because of Panama’s lack of a proper training staff. Forbes says that he had “no idea” what the conditions would be like when he signed up to play for team Panama.

Hopefully, Forbes’ honesty will help to improve the national team’s resource situation. In the meantime, I’m sure Forbes is missing the full training and coaching staff, chartered flights, and 10-foot practice rims of the NBA.

Amar’e Stoudemire says his back is healthy

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics - Game One
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Amar’e Stoudemire spoke to a group of campers in New York on Wednesday, and he shared some very good news for Knicks fans of all ages. ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling has the story:

After spending much of the summer at his rented house in Hollywood Hills, Calif., Amare Stoudemire returned to New York City on Wednesday to speak to a small group of 10- to 12-year-olds about the importance of education.

More importantly, for the Knicks community that is, Stoudemire shared two pieces of very promising news at Harlem’s Polo Grounds Community Center. He said he feels great and starting Monday he’ll be back to high-intensity workouts – the kind of “back” fans want to hear. The second key note is that he’s hearing the lockout may be resolved sooner than later. (Let’s not forget teammate Roger Mason Jr. is the vice president of the NBA players’ union.)

Back issues were a serious problem for Stoudemire when the Knicks were swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs — after a 28-point, 12-18 shooting performance in Game 1, Stoudemire went just 9-37 in the last three games of the series. Stoudemire also said all the right things about a commitment to defense when asked about new assistant coach Mike Woodson, but the best news for Knicks fans has to be that Stoudemire, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, is feeling 100% healthy and ready to go at this point in time.

Video: Deron Williams is actually in Turkey

Deron Williams
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Rumors of players going overseas to play during a possible lockout have been constant this off-season, but Nets guard Deron Williams is the highest-profile player so far to have actually signed a contract with an overseas team, Turkey’s Beskitas.

The video itself isn’t all that riveting, but it does show that Williams is actually going to follow through with his Turkish contract, which is the kind of thing that suggests the players might hold firm and sacrifice the 2011-12 NBA season before they acquiesce to the demands the owners are making during the CBA talks.