Kurt Helin

Pero Antic

Antic on run in with NYPD: “what happened that night wasn’t our fault”

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Thabo Sefolosha is still recovering from his broken leg and has refused to accept a plea deal after a run-in with the NYPD on the night former Pacer Chris Copeland was stabbed outside a New York nightclub. That night and encounter left Sefolosha with a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

Former Atlanta Hawks big man Pero Antic was with Sefolosha that night as the two men went out after arriving in the city with their teammates. Antic was arrested that evening and charged obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Antic left the NBA this summer, deciding on returning to Europe to play for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball League. But in a series of recent interviews he talked about that April night in New York.

One was with Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A:…I’m happy that justice was done and people can finally see that what happened that night wasn’t our fault. I’ll just try to forget that and concentrate on the future and better things in life.

Q: What can you say about the way you were treated by police now that your case is over?

A: Not good to be honest. I know that they have the power and everything but at the end of the day we are all humans and we all have rights. Nobody has the right to hit you or even put your career in danger. But not all policeman are like that. I truly believe in that. But those few individuals are making the big difference of what and how people think about the police.

Antic was far more blunt in an interview in a Croatian paper, as translated by LoLz14 at NBA reddit (also I checked this with Google Translate, which returned something similar).

“We were in a wrong place at the wrong time, but in the NBA, going out isn’t forbidden. Thabo went out of a car so he could give 20 dollars to a homeless guy (beggar) and all of a sudden police started to push him violently. I went out to see what is happening, after all he only weights ’20 kilograms’ (probably meaning that he isn’t as tough as Antic). It was pure racism that is spread around America. Thabo is black, all officers were white. I didn’t want to leave him so they arrested me as well (or maybe they took him into custody, I don’t know the correct translation). We never got explanation for their behaviour. Police kills people over there and nothing happens.”

It is very possible that speaking to a European publication Antic felt he could be more blunt and open.

In both cases, he said the incident had nothing to do with him leaving the NBA. He could make about the same money here or there, and he told the AJC he prioritized other things.

“You know me better than the other people from the media and you know how much I loved and enjoyed my time in Atlanta. The biggest reason is that I want to be closer to my family and spend more time with them. When we found out that my wife is pregnant with our third child the decision was to stay in Europe (it’s a boy). Believe me it was hard to do it.”

Porzingis has studied Usain Bolt’s running style

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Kristaps Portzingis has a lot of potential. The Knicks’ No. 4 draft pick certainly has great length, he’s got range on his outside shot, and at Summer League he showed flashes of using that length to be a shot changer on defense.

He’s also got a lot of work to do to be a quality NBA player. A lot of that starts with adding muscle, but there is more to it. The Knicks like his work ethic and drive to get better, and to illustrate that GM Steve Mills told this story to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

“One day I went by him, and [Porzingis] was in the cold plunge [pool] and he was on his phone, and I went over to see what he was doing,” Mills said. “He was watching Usain Bolt videos on running techniques.

“He is that diligent in terms of trying to understand every aspect of his body, every aspect of getting better and stronger. He’s a unique guy in that regard, and it will allow him to become the best player he can.”

It’s easy to see the connection in that Bolt is tall for a sprinter but uses his long strides to his advantage. Let’s just hope Porzingis doesn’t take to wearing Jamaican-colored track uniforms.

The Knicks may have something in Porzingis — Phil Jackson certainly hopes so, he bet big on the Latvian. Jackson thinks Porzingis can be a hub in the triangle offense one day (although if they are still running the triangle in a few years is up for debate). After watching him at Summer League (and talking to scouts and executives) I could see what some scouts liked, but we are still two years away from having a solid read on how good Porzingis can be — he is that raw. There is a lot of work to do, and even Jackson has questions. Which is why the Knicks are quick to sell the “look at his work ethic” story lines.

DeAndre Jordan isn’t changing his free throw form

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game One
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Insanity has been defined as doing something over and over and expecting a different result. (That’s not an Albert Einstein quote, by the way.)

Enter DeAndre Jordan. He shot 39.7 percent from the free throw line last season, and he is the worst free throw shooter in NBA history through age 26. This leads to some ugly Hack-a-Jordan stretches in Clippers’ games. Beyond that, it has teams willing to foul him every time he gets the ball near the basket, rather than letting him take a shot.

So what’s he going to do about it? From Ben Blotch of the Los Angeles Times:

Jordan does practice free throws, a lot of them, and his form is not terrible. He just misses them — usually short and to the left. He changed his foot position at the line, but that had no impact. The standard line is the problem is a mental block, that is up for debate without a way to seriously verify it, but it seems to make more sense than anything else.

Fortunately, the Clippers have a lot more depth on the roster this season, so Doc Rivers has options if teams go to Hack-a-Jordan, like bringing in Josh Smith

Oh wait, maybe not.

Watch Harrison Barnes almost drop Larry O’Brien trophy

Harrison Barnes Attends Parade with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
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Well, that was close.

Harrison Barnes and fellow Warrior James Michael McAdoo both attended North Carolina, and both were honored at halftime of the Tar Heels football game Saturday vs. Delaware. They brought the Larry O’Brien trophy out with them. Barnes owned up to what happened next on Twitter:

Why do I feel like if they had dropped it on Barnes’ head, McAdoo would have taken the blame for it?

(Hat top Eye on Basketball)

DeAndre Jordan: No rift, dissension in locker room

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers
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Problems? What problems?

During the DeAndre Jordan flip-flop drama this summer, reports surfaced about tension in the Clippers locker room — Chris Paul wasn’t dishing out enough high fives, and Jordan didn’t feel involved enough in the offense. He reportedly felt he was the third wheel behind CP3 and Blake Griffin.

Now, like every other aspect of this deal, the Clippers are trying to play down the drama. Here is what the Clippers said on their media day Friday at UC Irvine, via the Los Angeles Times, starting with Jordan.

“I think that there was forced tension because of everything we all heard that we said about each other, which was not true at all,” Jordan said at Clippers’ media day on Friday. “It was just the outside, and we never asked each other about it.

Blake Griffin added:
“There’s one thing that I will say about this situation: There’s never really been a tension. There’s never been a moment where I felt, like, ‘Oh man, this isn’t good. I don’t feel comfortable in this situation.’

“I tell people this all the time: The person I’m closest with in life is my brother, and my brother and I bump heads all the time. Growing up, we used to fight, but that didn’t mean that we don’t love each other and that doesn’t mean we weren’t always there for each other. I’d take a bullet for my brother.”

Okay, but the tension — or whatever you want to call it — was real enough that Jordan said he would play for the Dallas Mavericks. If everything were puppy dogs and rainbows in the Clipper locker room (and with the pecking order), we would not have had all the drama this summer. That doesn’t mean that things were bad, or that DJ and CP3 don’t get along, but there was something going on.

But the Clippers have put that behind them. They will not have to talk about it again… until they struggle at some point this season. Then watch the rumors fly again.