If you’re a Spurs fan dreaming of another parade down the Riverwalk, this is your biggest concern: Tony Parker didn’t look good in the playoffs last season or at EuroBasket this summer. Of those two, the EuroBasket outing this summer should be the one keeping Popovich up at night — Parker averaged 12 points a game on 34.3 percent shooting (28 percent from three), and he struggled to get separation or get to the rim. Remember, this was going against European point guards, not elite NBA athletes.
What happened? If you ask Parker — as Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News did — the French guard made it sound like no big deal.
Parker is young compared to Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, but at age 33 he’s reached the point a lot of point guards start to show serious decline in their games. Parker seems to be showing that — two seasons ago he had an All-Star level PER of 23 during the season, last season that was a just-above-average 15.9. His playoff PER last season was 6.8.
Parker talked about trying to stave that off by taking better care of his body.
The Spurs are title contenders, and LaMarcus Aldridge will be a huge upgrade for them. But if the Spurs are going to add ring number six to the collection, it’s going to be about Parker getting his groove back.
For reasons likely related to him dating a Kardashian, James Harden had been spotted around Los Angeles in recent weeks wearing Nike shoes and that had been news. Yes, Harden signed a massive shoe deal with Adidas this summer. However, the reality was Harden was still under contract with Nike at the time of the photos, so if he’d been seen going to check out “Straight Outta Compton” while wearing another shoe brand he would have been in trouble.
Today, Oct. 1, the contracts changed and Adidas welcomed Harden to their family with a literal truckload of shoes, as you can see above (or below). Okay, this is staged, but it makes for a great fantasy and fun video.
Harden is going to wear the Crazylight Boost 2015 until his signature line is ready to roll.
If you want the official quote from Harden — which was totally written by him and not some PR guys/girls, don’t think for a second 15-layers of guys in suits approved this — here you go:
“Doing what’s expected isn’t enough for me. I’ve taken chances to put myself in a position to be successful and I’m hungry for more. I want to be true to who I am, even if that means taking risks or doing things different from the status quo or what other people expect,” Harden said. “Wanting to be the best – that comes with hard work, focus and making sure I’m always growing my game. It’s a credit to my time in Houston and I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, but I still have to remember how I got here and all the hard work it took. After meeting with adidas I knew we could create something people won’t see coming. They want to celebrate me for who I am and what I stand for.”
Remember back in May and June — while the Cavaliers were still trying to battle through the playoffs without him — rumors were swirling that Kevin Love was unhappy and going to bolt from Cleveland and LeBron James.
He didn’t. Nor did he opt-in for a one-year deal where he could try to cash in on the flood of TV money entering the system next summer. He took a five-year max deal under the current cap (it’s worth $110 million, and he can opt out after four), and told Fox Sports Ohio it wasn’t a hard call.
“It’s always what I had in mind,” said Love about re-signing. “In order to be happy, win and also make money doing what I love, it all came to place and always made sense to be here….
“It made it a pretty easy choice.”
Love also talked about how close he is with Lebron, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, and that’s part of what made him want to stay.
Love was never likely to leave — he wanted to get paid and Cleveland could offer more than any other team, plus if he bolted after one season he’d look like he cared far more about his personal stats than a chance to win. That’s bad for the Kevin Love brand. The good news is by signing the deal under the current salary cap, as it spikes over the next two seasons that deal becomes very movable should either side be unhappy.
Things are going to be different for Love this season, and we’re not just talking about that new hairstyle (under/over on him changing it is Christmas). With Irving out to start the season, he is going to get more touches, and likely in his preferred spots on the floor. How long that lasts after Irving returns is one of the questions the Cavs need to answer this season.
Just a few days ago we were talking about Vince Carter throwing down the greatest in-game dunk in history — clearing 7’2″ Fredric Weis during the 2000 Olympics.
That was 23-year-old, high-flying Carter. What kind of springs does he have left at 38? Pretty darn good ones.
Carter’s role with the Grizzlies is not that of high-flying dunking machine (that’s Zach Randolph… er, wait), rather Carter is there to provide three-point shooting and veteran stability off the bench. Things he’s done well in the twilight of his career.
But with those hops he’s going to turn back the clock at least once this season — and that’s going to be awesome.
While the rest of the Warriors were celebrating their NBA title this summer (and playing a little golf), Steve Kerr did something decidedly less fun — he had had back surgeries. Plural. Two of them to deal with issues that were likely exacerbated by a career where throughout his youth he had to up and down a hardwood court all the time.
Those surgeries left him in enough pain and limited in action that Kerr is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Warriors to deal with it, the team announced Thursday.
Luke Walton takes over as the Warriors’ interim coach (so the Warriors go from the guy who looks like an old skateboarder to the guy who looks like an old surfer). Alvin Gentry had been the guy in the seat to the left of Kerr last season, but he took the head coaching job in New Orleans this season.
There is no timetable the Warriors would give on Kerr’s return.
“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general,” Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said in a statement. “We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long-term, but as of today we don’t know the exact timeframe. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”
“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” said Kerr in his statement. “As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”
The Warriors have their system in place and everybody back from last season’s title team, so this should not be a huge setback. They still have Stephen Curry, and he can still knock down threes.
But Kerr was the master of pushing the right buttons with this team last season and if Walton can’t do that you have to wonder if it costs them a couple wins in a very tight West.