Kurt Helin

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Hornets’ coach says rookie Frank Kaminsky needs to add strength

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In the college game, guys can get away with bulk instead of strength, and just being smart and a little quick can get a guy space. Then they get to the NBA, and it takes strength not bulk, and everybody is quick

So when you ask Hornets’ coach Steve Clifford about rookie Frank Kaminsky and what he needs to do to earn a steady stream of minutes, the leap in conditioning and strength is what comes up. And the Charlotte Observer did ask him.

Just strength. And obviously him adjusting to the NBA game. But he’s a quick learner and a good worker. He’ll pick things up quickly. That applies to both ends of the floor. He’s so good off the dribble that he would beat guys but be pushed off (his lane to the rim) a little bit. So a lot of times, where in college he got to the basket, he was instead taking 8-to-10 footers. As he gets stronger, he’ll be at the basket again.

There’s an adjustment for every rookie coming into the NBA — suddenly everyone is long and strong — but at Summer League Kaminsky showed the skills that should have him fit quickly into the NBA. He looked like a player who may start at the four as a rookie and be able to run the pick-and-pop with Kemba Walker (leaving the post open for Al Jefferson to do his thing). There was plenty to like, but some questions to answer (specifically on defense).

Kaminsky should turn into a solid pick for the Hornets at the four.

 

You can own Michael Jordan’s original uniform from Space Jam

space jam
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What else were you going to do with $15,000 or so?

We’ve all seen Space Jam, we’ve all tried to love it — but now you can own part of it. Michael Jordan’s actual uniform from the movie is up for auction. From online auction site invaluable.com (hat tip Eye on Basketball):

Michael Jordan uniform from Space Jam. (Warner Bros., 1996) Screen worn complete basketball uniform including (1) XL AIS brand mesh, red, white and blue-trimmed sports jersey with “Tunesquad” logo on the front and signature number “23” emblazoned on the back and (1) matching pair of size 38 shorts. Worn in the climactic showdown between Michael Jordan’s “Tunesquad” and the “Monstars”. With signs of wear and minor staining. In production used fine condition.

Bidding opens on Oct. 1, so you’ve gut until then to come up with at least the $10,000 opening bid.

Owning this may be better than seeing Space Jam 2 with Lebron James, if that project comes together.

Jim Buss defends Byron Scott as Lakers coach, “He has the Laker blood in him”

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
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Byron Scott has been questioned as the Lakers’ coach for a lot of reasons. For using Kobe Bryant heavy minutes early last season, leading to health problems for the star. For using an old-school, dinosaur of an offense. For not using advanced metrics and analytics. For not developing players. The list goes on.

But he’s not being questioned — or at least doubted — by the one guy whose vote matters, co-owner Jim Buss.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in a couple different articles, Buss defended Scott and his job as coach.

“He has the Laker blood in him,” Buss said. “[Mike] D’Antoni and Mike Brown, they weren’t Lakers. They loved the Lakers and they tried their best and I think they’re both great coaches.”

“Having that history of the Lakers from the very beginning of when [the Buss family] bought the team, gives you such a family sense. He’s a coach, a brother,” said Buss. “He gets it. He’s a strong personality. He believes in himself and the Lakers.”

Laker blood? This sounds like the lines the late Al Davis used as the Raiders struggled — trumpeting some mystical bond in the organization over smart decision making.

Buss also said the Lakers are using analytics more than people realize.

“We’ve been using them for quite a long time. That’s basically [on] what I make all my decisions, is my own analytics.” Buss said the team has relied on an analytics staff for “six [or] seven years, but before that we were breaking down shot charts, everything we could get our hands on.”

What made the Lakers great for extended periods was not just that they had the resources of a big market (something the new CBA stripped from them to a degree), but also that they spent those resources wisely. They had the best coaches, they thought outside the box, they had a team identity then got players that fit it, they identified and went after talent before others caught on (trading for a young Kobe Bryant on draft day may be the best example).

The Lakers are rebuilding now and we’ll see over the coming years how their decision making works out with young players such as D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. What they Lakers have to show now — something that organizations such as Golden State, San Antonio and other elite teams have — is that the Lakers can develop those players. Do the Lakers have that infrastructure? Is Byron Scott the guy to do it? And what kind of team are they building, what is their identity?

The answers to those questions determine whether or not there is success. Not “Laker blood.”

Friday night video fun: Best hustle plays of 2014-15 season

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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In two months, we’ll be watching real NBA regular season games.

Until then, we will have to go to YouTube to get our fix. Over at NBA.com, they put together a mix tape of the best hustle plays of the 2014-15 season and nothing will make you jones for a game that matters like these kinds of plays.

It’s not a coincidence you see stars like Chris Paul, LeBron James, Tim Duncan and Russell Westbrook in a highlight package like this. But don’t worry, there’s some Matthew Dellavedova, too.

Thaddeus Young says look for the Nets to run this season. Does Lionel Hollins know?

Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets
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Last season, the Brooklyn Nets were 24th in the NBA in pace (possessions per game) under old-school coach Lionel Hollins. Before than Hollins had been in Memphis and when he took them over for the 2009-10 season they were a top 10 team in pace, but by the time he was let go they were dead last in the league. He’s not seen as a running coach.

But the Nets are going to run this year if you ask Thaddeus Young.

Young was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about the Nets playing faster this season under Hollins.

Look at the Brooklyn Nets likely starting five — Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez — and you see a group that can get out and run. Reserves such as Shane Larkin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and even Andrea Bargnani (sprinting to the arc) would love to play more in transition. They are not going to be the Warriors, but the Nets don’t need to be slow.

But we’ll see what Hollins has in store for them. If he wants to pound it in to Lopez in the post or at the elbow, things will not be fast.