Kurt Helin

Tracy McGrady Visits China

Tracy McGrady gets his number retired somewhere in China

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Tracy McGrady is very popular in China — he was still a relatively high-flying star with the Houston Rockets when Yao Ming was a dominant NBA center. You know, back when everyone in China was watching and rooting for the Rockets. Then, after McGrady played 16 NBA seasons, he suited up for one more in the Chinese Basketball Association to cash in on that popularity.

His star has not yet faded over there.

He’s so big in China he got his jersey retired — somewhere, we’re not exactly sure where — after his 2015 summer tour of the country. There is video proof.

Hat tip Eye on Basketball.

Report: Grizzlies’ Jordan Adams undergoes minor knee surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies
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Jordan Adams was spending this summer working on his development, trying to prove to the Memphis Grizzlies’ staff he deserves a little more run.

That has been put on hold for a few weeks. Adams has undergone knee surgery, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.

While the report is vague, if this is a basic arthroscopic surgery then Adams should be out the standard four-to-six weeks, which has him back and ready to go when training camp opens.

Adams played a limited role for the Grizzlies last season (he got in just 30 games), which on the surface seems a little odd considering their need for three-point shooting and his 40 percent rate from deep when he did get a chance. (He spent a lot of the season with Iowa in the D-League and Adams hit threes at a good clip there as well.) But Adams clearly could not earn the trust of coach Dave Joerger.

Adams may not have proved much more in Summer League, where he averaged 16 points a game in Orlando but shot just 34 percent overall and 18.2 percent from three. Maybe the knee issues had something to do with those percentages, but he did have a 20-point game against the Nets.

Adams is at the end of a growing guard rotation in Memphis. If he wants more run he’s got Courtney Lee and Vince Carter ahead of him — he’s going to have to provide more shooting, plus enough from the other parts of his game, to beat them out.

He should be healthy enough by training camp to prove he deserves that chance.

 

That time Jeff Van Gundy told Billy Donovan he could beat out John Stockton for a Jazz roster spot

Florida Arkansas Basketball
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Rookie Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan had a 44-game NBA career, playing for Rick Pitino’s New York Knicks in the 1987-88 season. He didn’t see a lot of court time in those games, and his PER of 8.4 suggested more time in the CBA was the call.

Donovan, however, has one incredible draft story.

He was selected in the third round of the 1987 draft by the Utah Jazz, and from the moment of that selection he was a long shot to make the roster. Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman picks up the story from there.

At least one person thought (he could make the Jazz roster). It was Jeff Van Gundy, a graduate assistant during Donovan’s senior year at Providence. Van Gundy started chirping, gassing Donovan up about his chances as he helped prepare him for training camp.

“Jeff’s like, ‘Listen, man. I’m telling you. You’ve got a chance to make this team,’” Donovan remembered. “He said, ‘They’ve got a guy there that’s in, like, his third year named Stockton that I’m not so sure about. He hasn’t played very much.’

“Training camp starts and I call Jeff after, like, the first day of double sessions. I said, ‘Hey, Jeff, remember that comment you made to me about you’re not sure about Stockton? That’s the best guard I’ve ever played against in my entire life.’”

The season before Donovan was drafted Stockton was still coming off the bench for the Jazz (he started only two games) but in 22.7 minutes a night he was scoring 7.9 points a game (with a true shooting percentage of 57 percent) plus was dishing out 8.2 assists to 2 turnovers. He had a PER of 19. Stockton was poised for a breakout (which came the next season).

Van Gundy doesn’t deny that he dissed Stockton, but he’s not exactly taking ownership of those comments either.

“I’m not saying I didn’t say it, but I don’t remember saying anything specifically,” Van Gundy said of his alleged Stockton comment. “If I said something like that, I’m going to blame my sleep deprivation on coach (Rick) Pitino having us work 20 hours a night. That’s the only explanation for such a ludicrous statement like that.”

The old “blame Pitino” trick. That always works (or it used to with the Knicks, anyway).

I’m not so sure how accurate vs. exaggerated this story is in the retelling nearly 30 years later, but it’s a great story none-the-less.

DeMarcus Cousins dropped 91 points at charity game (Eric Bledsoe had 85)

DeMarcus Cousins
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The Suns’ Eric Bledsoe was back in his hometown of Birmingham, Al., where he put on charity event helping disadvantaged youth in the area things like backpacks and schools supplies for the start of the school year. There also was music and food at an event in the park that was a nice story of an NBA star going back to help his hometown.

It was followed by a charity basketball game where Bledsoe got his buddy DeMarcus Cousins to show up and play.

And that’s when the show really started.

That Bledsoe went off on for 85 is impressive, but guards tend to thrive in free-flowing, up-tempo, no-defense pickup games because the ball is in their hands.

Big men, on the other hand, tend to have a rough time because those guards don’t feed them the rock. Which makes what Cousins did insane.

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell sinks backwards half courter, celebrates with Kobe fist pump

Los Angeles Lakers' Bryant celebrates after his teammate Howard scored during their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles
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Saturday was the rookie photo shoot, which mainly meant all the top draft picks from June were in one gym goofing off.

That includes the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, who knocked down a backwards half courter, then celebrated with a Kobe Bryant first pump. Unless Russell was doing an impression of Brandon Armstrong doing his Kobe impression — in which case he nailed it.

What I really want to see is Russell break that out during the season with Kobe on the court.

Hat tip to Silver Screen and Roll.