Kurt Helin

Thabo Sefolosha

Korver cleared for Hawks camp; Sefolosha improving

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Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha are going to be key for Atlanta this season.

Korver for the obvious reasons — they need his shooting, his work on the weak side of the offense to keep opposing defenses honest. The guy was an All-Star for a reason. Sefolosha matters because he is going to step into a lot of DeMarre Carroll‘s role.

So it’s good news that both are healthy and doing some basketball activities, as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I would say, to differing degrees, they are doing basketball activities now,” (Hawks’ coach Mike) Budenholzer said Monday. “Whether it’s some 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 between now and camp there is the potential for some 5-on-5 in a limited kind of way. But shooting, working out and doing those types of things, they are making good progress….”

Even with the players cleared for basketball activities, Budenholzer expects to bring them along slowly at the start of training camp and the preseason.

Korver had elbow surgery over the summer but was expected to be ready for training camp.

Sefolosha suffered a broken right fibula that required surgery after a run-in with the NYPD near the end of last season (that case has its next hearing date Oct. 5). It was up for debate whether he would be able to go at the start of the season, and even if fully cleared by doctors you can expect Budenholzer to ease him back in.

All of which is not going to help a Hawks team that would like to repeat the fast start it got off to last season.

NBA impersonator takes on pass-first Rajon Rondo

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game Two

Brandon Armstrong has become a viral superstar in NBA circles because his imitations of NBA players are just damn funny.

But few made me laugh as hard as this one of point guards who do not pass, such as new Sacramento Kings’ point guard Rajon Rondo (it’s not an official Rondo imitation, although it feels like it should be).

This isn’t totally fair, Rondo has been working on his shot this offseason, we have video proof of that, too.

A video posted by Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo) on

Anthony Davis hasn’t made crazy purchases, except…

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

For a wealthy — and thanks to his new contract extension, starting next season VERY wealthy — young man, Anthony Davis has lived a relatively frugal life. He’s not extravagant and flashy, not a lot of jewelry or ostentatious suits. No wild spending for him.

Well, except TNT’s Ernie Johnson called him on one thing at the NBA 2K16 launch event in New York Monday.

Yes, it’s true. Apparently Davis is channeling his inner Ross from the early episodes of “Friends” — he’s got a monkey.

Karl-Anthony Towns already calls Garnett “my mentor”

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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Having a good veteran mentor can speed up the learning curve of an NBA rookie considerably. Look at it this way: how would the first few years of John Wall‘s career been different if he fell into the situation Rajon Rondo did (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen) instead of having Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche as team leaders?

No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns has fallen into about the best situation possible in Minnesota — he’s got Garnett guiding him. Towns is already trying to take advantage of that and is already saying KG is his mentor, speaking to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.

“He’s my mentor,” said Towns, who spent time with Garnett in Los Angeles last month. “Everything he knows, and countless years he’s been playing this game at a high level, [I am] just trying to garner information from him every day. Learn how to be a better leader, how to be a champion, just to be a true professional.”

Towns always seems to say the right thing, like saying he wants KG to teach him how to be a champion. Towns has got that part of being an NBA franchise player down.

The on-the-court part shows promise, but also needs a lot of work. At Summer League in Las Vegas he showed a great basketball IQ, good passing skills (and recognition of double teams), he showed he could score a variety of ways, and he moved well off the ball. And all that said, he looked like a rookie.  He picked up fouls at an alarming rate. He’s got to develop more post moves and a few counters. He’s got to get used to the physicality and athleticism of NBA defenders.

But there is a lot of potential to tap in Towns — it will go faster if he listens to his mentor.


Highlights of Pau Gasol’s EuroBasket MVP effort


It was a vintage Pau Gasol performance. Nothing too flashy, just taking what the defense gives you, then using solid fundamentals to make them pay. Every time.

Pau Gasol was named the EuroBasket MVP after leading Spain to the continent’s championship. He averaged 25.6 points a game on 57.6 percent shooting, plus pulled down 8.8 rebounds and dished out 2.9 assists per game. He saved his best game for the toughest one, putting up 40 points against France to lead Spain to a dramatic overtime win in the semi-finals.

What Gasol gave Spain was a trip to the Rio Olympics next season, where Gasol says he will play.

The good news for Gasol is with Fred Hoiberg in charge, he likely will get some rest in the preseason and training camp that his previous coach would not have granted.