Kurt Helin

LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki on LaMarcus Aldridge: “We’d love to have him” in Dallas

19 Comments

I love that Dirk Nowitzki is honest. Both about both himself and where his game stands as he comes in for a landing on a Hall of Fame career. Here is what he told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

“I know that, at 37, I can’t be the No. 1 option if we want to play for the championship. That’s how the cycle goes. Really, if you look at our roster, we only got four or five guys, so we got a lot of work to do. We need a little bit of everything.”

You know who can do a little bit of everything? LaMarcus Aldridge.

Nowitzki and Aldridge may both play the four, but Nowitzki wants Aldridge in Dallas and said he is willing to adjust his role to make it work.

“We’d love to have him,” he said at an appearance at the Mavericks Hoop Camp presented by Academy Sports at Episcopal School of Dallas on Tuesday. “He’s a great mid-range shooter. He plays bigger than he is on the defensive end. He’s a good rebounder on both ends of the floor, and on that left block he’s a beast. So I mean, he’s a really, really good player….

“We’ve been ousted twice in the first round the last two years, and whatever I got to do, I’m ready to help.”

 

Nowitzki is starting the recruiting process early and publicly. Which is what he should be doing.

The Mavericks are considered the most likely landing spot if any franchise is going to pry Aldridge out of Portland. (San Antonio gets mentioned but the whispers are Tim Duncan is coming back for another year, and if so the Spurs will not have the cap space to land Aldridge. Duncan’s cap hold ends that idea.)

Aldridge was born in Dallas and played his high school ball in a Dallas suburb before heading to Austin for college. He is a Texas guy, a Dallas guy, so there is the lure of going home.

Owner Mark Cuban and Dallas will again be swinging for the fences in free agency, targeting Aldridge and another Texas native, DeAndre Jordan. Right now the Mavericks have a nice roster that would be a threat in the East but is considered quaint in the West. However, land one of those big pieces and get some improved point guard play, and suddenly the Mavericks look dangerous again.

Aldridge has some decisions to make. How much does going home to Texas matter? At age 30, how much does the fifth guaranteed year that Portland alone can offer matter? In terms of legacy and getting a ring, would he be closer in Dallas with Nowitzki than in Portland with Damian Lilliard?

This is Aldridge’s last big kick at the can in terms of salary. He’s got to get this one right.

PBT Extra: Despite loss, these Finals should improve LeBron James’ legacy

LeBron James
38 Comments

Truly the first NBA superstar of the digital age, everyone has an opinion on LeBron James — and some of those people try to stand out by being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. It’s part of the hollow debate of the Internet age. LeBron can’t be enjoyed for being LeBron — clearly the best player of his generation — rather he has to be compared to Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or Allen Iverson, or whoever.

Which is a shame, because LeBron was nothing short of brilliant in these NBA Finals. He was historically good. He would have had my Finals MVP vote, even if he was on the losing team.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss LeBron and his legacy after these Finals in this latest PBT Extra. For any thinking person not stuck in a rigid box, these Finals should improve his legacy. Few other players in history could have carried this roster this far.

 

PBT Podcast: Golden State earns NBA title, but did Iguodala earn MVP?

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwjjnmq0zmm4yzjlyjfmnjy3yzmymzrkzjixmzliztq11
10 Comments

Storylines flip quickly in an NBA Finals. Matthew Dellavedova went from being the next mayor of Cleveland — or so it seemed — to a non-entity over the course of three games. LeBron James could have, and should have, bettered his legacy in a loss. Stephen Curry went from hearing “what is wrong with his game?” to “why wasn’t he named MVP?”

The Golden State Warriors are your NBA champion and in this latest PBT Podcast, we’ve got PBT’s Kurt Helin and Brett Pollakoff, plus NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard breaking down what how the Warriors flipped the series. Then we get into the maybe hottest topic out of the Finals: Did Andre Iguodala deserve to be MVP? We also get into what this means for the future of the Cavaliers — is Kevin Love going to stay for next season? For the long term?

Also, we briefly touch on the trade that sent Lance Stephenson to the Clippers.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

Watch Andre Iguodala rack up points in Game 6 on way to winning Finals MVP

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwq1zwvlnwnknzqzntdkmgvmnze0zmmzmjliowy5mwu5
3 Comments

Andre Iguodala was named Finals MVP in large part because he did as good a job as anyone was going to when asked to slow down LeBron James.

I’ve been preparing for the moment for 11 years now,” Iguodala said of defending LeBron (who still put up historic numbers). “I’ve seen him every year I’ve been in this league.  LeBron doesn’t have any weaknesses, or he doesn’t have a glaring weakness.  So you’ve got to pick up on the smaller things to try to make him uncomfortable.  Like knowing which side he likes to shoot threes off the dribble, which side he likes to drive.  One side he’ll drive left more often, and the other side he’ll drive right more often.”

More than just the defense, Iguodala got the hardware for his offense. When the Warriors went small the reason was to expose Cavaliers’ center Timofey Mozgov defensively, and you can see in this highlight package how Iguodala did that. Mozgov wants to hang back and protect the rim, and when Draymond Green or other Warriors drove right at him Mozgov did his job well. But if you can knock down threes, or even nice 18 footers, he will give those to you rather than come out. And when he does come out to cover more on the perimeter, the lane opens up.

Iguodala rightfully fully enjoyed the celebration after the game. He had earned it.

Steve Kerr credits Steve Nash, Mike D’Antoni for laying foundation that became Warriors title

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
19 Comments

It’s been noted more times than can be counted that Steve Kerr was a rookie NBA coach — the first rookie NBA coach to win an NBA title since Pat Riley did it with the Showtime Lakers.

But Kerr was not new to NBA management — he had been the general manager of the Phoenix Suns during the end of the Steve Nash/Mike D’Antoni years. Frankly, Kerr made mistakes that brought an end to that era, such as bringing in Shaquille O’Neal. Kerr the GM didn’t seem convinced that team and that style could win an NBA title.

However, when he got in the coaching seat in Golden State last summer, he thought this team could win a title playing a similar style. And after he won he said he could imagine an up-tempo, jump shooting team winning it all because of Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni.

“I imagined it with Steve Nash. Steve was kind of the original Stephen Curry,” Kerr said from the podium as NBA champion, his shirt still drenched in Champagne. “Slightly different, but similar mindset in terms of — and similar skillset of passing and the ball handling. And the Suns were so close. Things didn’t go their way. But I imagined it. And I was there with Steve as general manager, and I thought it was going to happen for him. But he set the stage for Steph.”

“I think Steve kind of laid out a vision for a whole generation of young point guards. And with the game changing, Mike D’Antoni kind of initiating that style in Phoenix, the floor starting to spread, the whole league kind of playing shooting fours and fives and playing a little faster. I think Mike and Steve in many ways set the table for Steph Curry. And I think Steph would tell you that too. He has great respect for Steve.”

It takes a little bit of luck to win an NBA title — such as Amar’e Stoudemire staying on the bench at a pivotal moment and not getting suspended. Those kinds of breaks eluded the Suns.

But the other key difference between the Warriors and those Suns was defense. D’Antoni got thrashed for the Suns defense, but it was better than people remember — they gave up more points per game because of the pace, but they were a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of points allowed per possession. They were okay.

These Warriors were elite defensively — best in the NBA this season in defensive efficiency.

“Everyone wanted to talk about how many threes we took. We’re the number one defensive team in the league, and that’s what wins,” Kerr said. “You’ve got to be able to score points somehow, but you have to be good defensively. You have to be great defensively to win a title. For whatever reason, that seemed to be overlooked this year. But the combination of the offense and the defense, that matters, and I don’t think people pointed that out enough.”