Kurt Helin

LeBron James

Gilbert Arenas on LeBron James: “James isn’t a #1 option..and yes I (didn’t stutter)”

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Gilbert Arenas took to Instagram to critique the best player walking the face of the earth — LeBron James — and, for the most part, there was nothing but praise.

this person comes around once in a blue moon…a man whos so physically gifted he could walk into any sport and be a HOF’ER off his natural (God given ability) last person who was this gifted in sports might have been #BOJackson

Nobody sane really questions that LeBron rivals Wilt Chamberlain as maybe the two most physically gifted players — guys far ahead of their peers — in NBA history. But we are at the point in LeBron’s career where we are comparing him to the other All-Time greats and starting to figure where he ranks in the pantheon (a process that is ongoing as LeBron is still in his peak, his legacy still forming).

That’s where Arenas dropped the bomb.

James isn’t a #1 option..and yes I (didn’t stutter) he lacks #selfishness so he will always need a go to guy like wade was or kyrie.. he lacks what jordan and kobe were..great 1 on 1 players… he needs a pure scorer beside him so he can carry the TEAM load…he gets bashed alot by media becuz he doesn’t take over like #MJ or #KB but #LBJ is MAGIC with Jordan like athleticism..so he walks into stats without trying and when forced he will give u 41 12 8…the finals was the first time in his career he was physically pushed to the limit becuz he had no one to defur to

I think Arenas has a narrow definition of a No. 1 option.

Which was evident in his game, but that’s another story.

Arenas seems to defined a No. 1 player as a guy who can take over a game in isolation settings — that is debatable in any era of basketball but particularly now in the Thibodeau/overload era where defenses stack up against isolations. Still LeBron does pretty well in those settings. Last season (per NBA.com/Stats), James ran the second most isolation sets in the NBA to James Harden (at 458) and scored .93 points per play on them. That’s not mind-blowing, but it’s in the top 25 percentile. He is very effective in that setting.

What makes LeBron different is that ability to pass out of that isolation set and find the right player at the arc or making a cut. His passing ability opens up the floor.

Arenas then says the thing that really allows us to poke a hole in his argument.

like u ppl have no idea what he could do if he had (1) season just 1 selfish season like kobe did in 2005-06 he will avg 40+ 11 9 and no one could do shit about it…it’s sad the world wont get to see Who I’m talking about becuz his legacy is built on winning.

The problem with LeBron is he wants to win more than rack up numbers? Not sure most of us see that as a flaw.

Arenas ends with more praise for LeBron.

this man could be the second best 3rd for sure player to ever play when it’s all said and done around 2020+and he didn’t even tap into his ability to be GREATEST..

I’m not sure where he ends up on the all-time rankings (which are subjective in the first place), but putting rings above numbers will not hurt his standing in my mind.

Matt Barnes ready to “foul the beep” out of DeAndre Jordan when Grizzlies, Clippers meet

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Matt Barnes is the kind of player you love when he is on your team but hate when he is on the other side.

Clipper fans are going to get a taste of that next season. For the past three seasons, Barnes has brought his intense, physical style of play to the Clippers (who needed it, they had been seen as soft at times). His sons were a fixture in the Clippers locker room.

This summer he got traded (to Charlotte, which moved him on to Memphis).

Barnes warned former Clipper teammate DeAndre Jordan that once the ball goes up he is not going to play nice, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“I told him, ‘Even though we’re good friends, I’m still going to foul the beep out of you when we play,'” Barnes recalled Tuesday during his introductory news conference in Memphis. “That’s just the kind of player I am. There’s no hard feelings…

“Basically coming from the enemy and now they’re the enemy,” Barnes said of the Clippers, “my kids are a little confused still. I have twin boys and they’re just like, ‘So, Daddy, do you not like DeAndre, Chris [Paul] and Blake [Griffin] no more?’ And I’m like, ‘No, they’re still my friends, it’s just they’re my enemy when the ball goes up.'”

That’s vintage Barnes. He is a perfect fit in for the “grit and grind” style of the Grizzlies. That’s the only way he knows how to play.

If you are looking for a team where it’s an advantage to foul them, the Clippers are the prime example with Jordan and now Josh Smith on the roster — Jordan shot 39.7 percent from three last season, Smith 49.8 percent. Hack-a-Clipper will be a near nightly occurrence. Television executives may want to allow an extra 30 minutes for each Clippers game because of how slow it will go with the parade to the free throw line.

The style of play is not the only reason Barnes fits in along Beale Street — he shot 36.2 percent from three last season. The Grizzlies desperately needs more threes to fall to open up the court.

Memphis will need Barnes’ toughness and shots from beyond the arc if they are going to seriously compete with the elite of the deep and improved Western Conference. An elite group that includes and improved Clippers roster even without Barnes.

Wesley Matthews says Trail Blazers never made him an offer, “I was pissed off”

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three
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Wesley Matthews brings his “3&D” game — and his ruptured Achilles still on the mend — to Dallas next season.

Matthews had been a vital part of Portland’s success the past few seasons. So much so that when he injured his Achilles last season the team went from everybody’s favorite dark horse contender in the West to the team that still got the four seed and made Adam Silver and the NBA rethink rewarding division winners. It wasn’t just his on the court play, his leadership in the locker room was huge in Portland.

Which is why he thought they would try to keep him, but they didn’t Matthews told Jason Quick and the Oregonian. And that ticked him off.

He had hoped he could return to the city that had embraced him, to the team with players he considered brothers, to the franchise where he grew into one of the NBA’s most well-rounded and respected shooting guards. But in the end, after five seasons, the feeling was not mutual. He was greeted with silence. No phone call. No text messages. The Blazers never made an offer.

“I was pissed off,” Matthews said. “I felt disrespected….”

The only chance the Blazers would pursue Matthews, top executive Neil Olshey later explained, was if free agent LaMarcus Aldridge chose to return, maintaining Portland as a playoff-caliber team. When Aldridge chose San Antonio, the Blazers decided to rebuild. Paying big money to a 29-year-old shooting guard coming off major surgery didn’t make long-term sense.

For Portland, this makes total sense. Once Aldridge chose to go home to Texas they needed to strip the entire thing down and make Damian Lillard the focus of a rebuild. And if Blazers owner Paul Allen is hesitant about paying big money to injured players, it’s hard to blame him (Greg Oden, Brandon Roy).

That Portland never made a phone call means by July 1 Olshey knew Aldridge was long gone.

Matthews makes sense for Dallas, a team that when it first contacted Matthews thought it might get the pieces this summer to give Dirk Nowitzki one more run at a ring. While that didn’t work out (in dramatic fashion), Cuban pitched Matthews as being a cornerstone of the future in Dallas. That sold Matthews, he told the Oregonian in this fantastic story detailing his summer recruitment.

History of players coming back from an Achilles injury suggests this is going to be a challenging season for Matthews. Even if he can stay healthy — which is not always easy, see Kobe Bryant for example — it’s an adjustment learning what your body can and can’t do the same way. His game will need to adapt.

Where Matthews really may start to pay off for Dallas is next summer — he’s the kind of person and player other guys want on their team. Having him in house is a good recruiting tool when Mark Cuban and the Mavericks knock on the doors of the next big free agents.

Report: Rockets sign Chuck Hayes to one-year deal

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks
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Chuck Hayes spent the first six years of his NBA career in Houston, never giving them many points but instead giving them good defense in the post, strength on the glass, and hustle everywhere on the court.

Now he’s back.

After a down year in Toronto, Hayes is heading to Houston to help round out a deep front court, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets are close to rounding out their roster, but don’t expect them to be spending much to do it, notes former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks.

Teammates love Hayes and love playing with him, which is why this is a good pickup for Houston. All Hayes does is work hard and do the little things — battles on the boards, sets hard screens, and play physical defense. He is a consummate professional.

He’s also one that has battled injuries and had a couple down seasons in a row.

That said, it’s a low-risk move for Houston to help round out a strong frontcourt already. Dwight Howard and probably Terrence Jones will start, behind them is the underrated Donatas Motiejunas, plus youngsters Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell. This could mean fewer minutes for Capela and Harrell, but there should be chances for everyone.

This is simply another solid addition to a title contending team.

Anthony Davis excited to get running in Alvin Gentry’s offense

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four
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Anthony Davis said he has spent a chunk of his summer working his conditioning.

The reason is Alvin Gentry and his up-tempo offense is coming to New Orleans.

The Pelicans had a top 10 offense last season, but they were bottom five in pace of play. With Gentry coming in — the guy in charge of the Clippers then Warriors offenses the past two seasons, the top two offenses in the NBA last season — the tempo of everything is about to speed up.

And Davis is pumped about it, he told the Associated Press.

“I definitely love his playing style,” Davis said. “My teammates, they have a lot of confidence in coach Gentry. I think that’s why everybody’s coming back.

“In order for us to be that contender that we want to be, we have to have a lot of chemistry, which we have from the past few years,” Davis added. “So it’s good that everybody’s going to come back and we’re going to be able to have that chemistry ready for coach’s new system.”

The Pelicans grabbed the eighth seed last season and did that despite starting point guard Jrue Holiday missing half the season, plus guys such as Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon missing 21 games each. If the Pelicans stay healthy, they get better.

Throw in the bump that will come with Gentry’s offense, and the Pelicans should take a step forward.

How big a step will depend on the other end of the floor — the Pelicans were a bottom 10 NBA defense last season. Despite having Omer Asik and Davis patrolling the paint. If Gentry gets them playing well on that end, well, the West picks up another dangerous team.