Kurt Helin

Metta World Peace, Norman Powell

World Peace on Today’s NBA: “It’s not really a man’s game anymore”

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We’ve heard the same broken record since Socrates walked the earth, every generation of grandparents lament “these kids today don’t understand hard work” or “don’t appreciate how easy they have it” or “feel entitled.”

In that same vein, every generation of NBA players that has been in the league for a decade or so starts to complain that the game/younger players have gotten soft and don’t understand the nuances of the sport.

The latest in that line of “get off my lawn” old men is Metta World Peace, speaking after Lakers’ practice Saturday,

“I remember I came into the NBA in 1999, the game was a little bit more rough. The game now is more for kids. It’s not really a man’s game anymore,” World Peace said. “The parents are really protective of their children. They cry to their AAU coaches. They cry to the refs, ‘That’s a foul. That’s a foul.’

“Sometimes I wish those parents would just stay home, don’t come to the game, and now translated, these same AAU kids whose parents came to the game, ‘That’s a foul.’ These kids are in the NBA. So now we have a problem. You’ve got a bunch of babies professionally around the world.”

“It’s no longer a man’s game,” he said. “It’s a baby’s game. There’s softies everywhere. Everybody’s soft. Nobody’s hard no more. So, you just deal with it, you adjust and that’s it.”

He will get a lot of support in the comments, and readers at home — especially anyone over 30 — will be nodding their heads.

That’s crap.

The NBA in the 1990s had turned into a slowed down, dragged out wrestling match thanks to Par Riley’s Knicks and Mike Frattello’s Cavaliers (among others). Television ratings were high but only because Michael Jordan was the most transcendent of superstars, once he walked away people tuned out because the game became painful to watch.

The NBA tweaked enforcement of the rules, not allowing hand checking on the perimeter, cracking down on hard fouls, and modifying things to open the way for quick players to use that speed — slowly but surely penetration by point guards who weren’t getting mugged returned to the game. Speed mattered. Then Tom Thibodeau helped out by taking advantage of the zone defense rules to create a defense designed to stymie isolation basketball from the wing. It took a while for offenses to counter, but what you got out of it was a faster tempo and quality ball movement we’ve seen in the last three title winners (Miami, San Antonio, and Golden State).

Good teams are playing faster, moving the ball well, and playing beautiful basketball now. But sure, what we miss is a dragged down, game where you can just grab/clutch/hack your opponents with impunity on the way to the rim. That was sure fun to watch. Maybe we should return to the 1940s and 50s when professional basketball more closely resembled football in the paint?

Don’t be your grandparents, people. Embrace the modern game.

Karl-Anthony Towns with the and-1 slam on Bulls (VIDEO)

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This dunk was set up by a solid pick-and-roll play where Zach LaVine recognized the defenders both came to him and found Karl-Anthony Towns with the bounce pass, then the big rookie put it on the floor and got to the rim.

It was also set up by some pretty awful defense by Nikola Mirotic. For you young players at home, that is what happens when you reach and don’t move your feet.

Towns does very well for a rookie recognizing how a play is unfolding and where to attack. Minnesota may have something special here.

Lawsuit alleging assault by ex-Bull Scottie Pippen dropped

Chicago Fire - Season 3
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawsuit has been dropped that alleged former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen assaulted a man at a sushi restaurant in 2013.

Pippen’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said Saturday that a countersuit Pippen filed against Camran Shafighi is also being dropped.

Geragos says he and Pippen are delighted the matter is over, and they had no intention of settling the case.

A message left at a phone number listed for Shafighi was not immediately returned.

Shafighi filed a $4 million lawsuit against Pippen, accusing him of a “brutal and unjustified physical attack” that allegedly occurred outside Malibu’s Nobu restaurant after Shafighi had sought a picture with the former NBA All-Star.

Los Angeles County prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to bring assault charges against the 47-year-old Pippen.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.