Kurt Helin

Good news Stephen Curry: Pete Carroll loves your new shoes. Of course, he’s old.

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This has become the silly sidebar story of the NBA.

Under Armour released a new version of the Curry 2 Low shoe — an all white version — and Twitter mercilessly mocked it as a “dad shoe.” Or the kind of shoe seniors wear when the walk the mall for exercise. Or as a shuffleboard shoe. You get the idea. Curry responded by defending them, then he wore a pair during the Warriors practice on Sunday, with the inscription “straight fire.”

Good news Stephen Curry, you have another famous sports celebrity in your corner.

The bad news Curry: Pete Carroll is 64. And a father. Which seems to be the target demographic for these shoes.

Report: Nate Robinson got a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks Monday

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Nate Robinson’s time in the NBA appears to be in the rear view mirror. He played a total of 23 minutes over two games for the New Orleans Pelicans, no other team picked him up, and he finished the season playing in Israel (where he averaged 16.2 points a game).

Throughout his downtime, he said he wanted a shot to try out for an NFL team. Monday he got his chance for Pete Carroll in Robinson’s native and beloved Seattle, reports Master Tesfatsion and Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

Former NBA point guard Nate Robinson will try out for the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, according to two people close to the situation. Robinson will try out with the team as a defensive back. It’s his first tryout with an NFL team as the 32-year-old has previously expressed interest in pursuing an NFL career.

Robinson, a Seattle native, last played football at the University of Washington in 2002. He played in all 13 games at cornerback, starting in the final six games of the season, before dropping the sport and focusing on basketball.

It’s awesome that Robinson got this shot. He was an exceptional athlete and that allowed him at 5’9″ to stick for 11 years in the NBA. He’s also a guy with a lot of grit, toughness, and a tremendous work ethic, all things that would serve him well in the NBA.

Is he going to make it? I’m no NFL scout, but the odds seem long. How many 32-year-old NFL rookies are there? How many 5’9″ cornerbacks stick in the NFL? He was an explosive athlete, but NBA teams feel he’s lost a step or two and isn’t the insane athlete that won three dunk contests anymore. If that’s true, it would mean a hard road to overcome a mountain of obstacles and make an NFL roster.

But I wish him the best of luck. He’s been overcoming long odds all his life.

NBA Finals Game 5 preview: Five questions Golden State needs to answer to win

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OAKLAND — Draymond Green is out for Game 5, suspended by the league, he will be watching from a suite at the Oakland Coliseum next door — and he has nobody to blame but himself. If you don’t think this blow to LeBron James’ undercarriage warranted a suspension, remember this is an accumulation of points throughout the playoffs — if he doesn’t body slam Michael Beasley with one second left in a first round game against the Rockets, we’re not having this conversation. We’d be discussing how the Warriors would close out the series tonight. Instead, the door is cracked open for the Cavaliers.

The question becomes how does Golden State respond? Here are five questions where the answers will determine the outcome.

1) Can Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have a big night without Draymond Green? Curry and Thompson were on the court without Green just 118 minutes during the regular season (5.7 percent of their total minutes) — they are almost always a trio. Which means Game five will enter a lot of uncharted territory in terms of Warriors’ lineups.

“Then as far as the game itself, we’re going to play a lot of people and we’ll give a lot of different looks and we’ll compete like crazy, and I think we’ll give ourselves a great chance to win,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Green often serves as the secondary playmaker for Golden State. The Warriors’ offense is 15.5 points per 100 possessions better when Green is on the court in the playoffs (because he plays with Curry/Thompson, a lot of noise there). A number of players will need to step into that role — Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are at the top of the list — and likely just about everyone will get their chance. The problem is Curry has struggled without Green on the court in the playoffs, shooting just 32 percent overall and 23 percent from three.

Simply put: Golden State is not as good without Green, and the best way for them to overcome that is to have monster nights from Curry and Thompson. The Cavs defense can be more focused on the Splash Brothers now, but Curry needs to have an MVP kind of night for the Warriors to win.

2) How well will Warriors defend without Green? More than the offensive end, it’s Green’s defense that is key. As NBA.com’s John Schuhmann pointed out, the Warriors are +51 in the Finals with lineups where Green is the center and -19 when it is anyone else (Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Anderson Varejao; and that stat excludes the garbage time in Game 2). The reason is that the Cavaliers prefer to play small lineups with Kevin Love or Channing Frye at center, and when they do the Warriors can counter with Green at center and defend it well because he still gives them rim protection.

“It’s tough because we don’t have many guys who can duplicate what he does on our team, so we’re going to have to be better,” Livingston said. “Fight harder, play harder because a guy like that you can’t replace.”

Without Green, the Warriors can’t switch as much, and that strategy has been the key to their defensive success. Also, without Green Kyrie Irving can run the 1-5 pick-and-roll now and get far more room to operate (Green’s not there to switch). The Warriors need Bogut and others to step up, they need to find a rotation that can get stops and still score the basketball. Just a hunch: Expect a lot of Ezeli time.

3) Who starts in place of Green? It’s a little bit of a moot question because Kerr is going to run so many lineups out there, but the smart money is on either Brandon Rush — historically, that’s where Kerr goes — or Andre Iguodala. If you want a longshot, try James Michael McAdoo.

What matters isn’t who starts, but who plays in crunch time — and Kerr doesn’t even know that yet. There is no precedent for this with the Warriors, he’s just going to see what works and stick with it.

Whatever way it goes, Iguodala and Harrison Barnes are going to have to play a lot of minutes in this game.

4) Can Cleveland get stops? While Green does serve as a secondary playmaker, the Warriors went heavily to a new offensive wrinkle in Game 4: Thompson setting the screen or Curry. Or another guard setting the screen. They didn’t drag Kevin Love or other bigs in so much as made Irving, Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith and the other guards defend the action — and they didn’t do that well.
Golden State is going to run that a lot this game, and if the Cavaliers don’t defend that better they will be in trouble.

The Cavaliers have struggled on the road in these playoffs, their backs are against the wall now and they cannot have one of those lapses.

” I think our first two games we had way too many turnovers which resulted in those guys getting out on the break,” LeBron said. “I think we averaged 18 turnovers for 25 points in Game 1 to Game 2. No matter how well you play, that’s not good ingredients for a victory on anyone’s floor, especially not on the defending champion floor.”

5) Can Golden State rebound well enough without Green? In the first half of Game 4, Tristan Thompson abused the Warriors on the glass — he had five offensive rebounds and the Cavaliers as a team grabbed the offensive board on 43.5 percent of their missed shots. That’s why they were up at the break. In the second half, Golden State had nine offensive rebounds, won the overall rebounding battle by six, and that was key to them winning the game.
Green had 12 rebounds in Game 4.

The Warriors are going to need team rebounding at an elite level to win Game 5 and end this series. As Pat Riley used to say: rebounds = rings.

Report: Philadelphia would prefer to trade Jahlil Okafor, not Nerlens Noel

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It’s probably the worst-kept secret in the run-up to the NBA Draft and this summer that the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to trade either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel.

The Sixers know that those two can’t play together — the Sixers were -20 per 100 possessions when they were paired last season — and they have a lot of other bigs coming in such as Joel Embiid (knock on wood), Dario Saric, and they will draft Ben Simmons. Add in the fact the Sixers want to add some veterans and get into more of a win-now (or lose less, at least) place under the Colangelos, and you have an obvious trade situation.

While Noel’s name has come up in trade rumors already, the Sixers would prefer to move Okafor, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (hat tip Liberty Ballers). 

Sources have said that the team would prefer to trade Okafor. The Sixers expect to get equal value in return, but it could be hard to do that when every team knows they are looking to unload the big man.

Okafor brings a distinct and valuable NBA skill — he can score inside. Okafor averaged 17.5 points a game on 50.8 percent shooting. He also pulled down seven rebounds a game. The problem is Okafor also has a glaring weakness — defense. It may not help that he is coming off knee surgery (although it was minor and he should be good to go by training camp).

Okafor is still on his rookie contract, making just $4.8 million next season, meaning you can expect the Sixers to get a few lowball offers. But he has real value, especially if paired next to a more defensive-minded center who covers some of his deficiencies.

It’s just that other teams may look at Noel’s defense and potential, and like the Sixers decide they would prefer that.

NBA family reacts to tragic shooting in Orlando; expresses condolences to victims, families

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OAKLAND — The NBA Finals feel small in the wake of the tragic shooting that killed at least 50 people at an Orlando night club.

Players and others in the NBA family, like the entire nation, expressed sympathy for the victims of this senseless terrorist act.

“My condolences goes out to all the lost ones and families in the tragic shooting in Orlando,” LeBron James said to open his remarks to the press on Sunday. “I think it’s another hit for us as Americans and what we have to deal with in our world today, and it definitely puts things in perspective on basketball. For myself, it’s just a small matter of what reality really is. So my prayers to all the lost ones and all the ones that are recovering from this morning’s tragedy in Orlando.”

Other members of the NBA community took to social media to express their thoughts, including members of the Orlando Magic.

🙏🏿#Orlando 🇺🇸🌎

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