Author: Kurt Helin

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin smashes a cake in his mother’s face (Instagram)


Being Jeremy Lin’s parent must be an interesting experience. What are you going to say to him — he’s a Harvard graduate who worked hard and made the NBA, where he’s an international star who has $18 million in career earnings heading into this season. Still the family seems to have a playful relationship.

As evidence I bring you this post of Lin slamming a cake in his mother’s face. Enjoy.

Hat tip to Lang Whittaker at All-Ball, who has better sense than waste a cake like that.

(I know in the comments some of you will write “this is news?” Let me say this: If you haven’t figured it out by now, at PBT we bring you news, analysis and the silly of the NBA. All of it. The best part of this is format is if you’re not into some topic we post on, you don’t have to click on it. The fact you actually did click on this, then comment on it, shows me you do care about this and maybe we should run more of it. If you haven’t figured it out, the Internet in this big-media era is democratic (smaller case d) — if you click on something you get more of it. If you don’t care about something, try ignoring it.)

Kyrie Irving with crossover, step-back jumper for Team USA (VIDEO)

Team USA Showcase

USA Basketball called this “killer crossover” but to me this is Kyrie Irving every game. Irving was one of the top shooters in the NBA off the dribble last season and he has plenty of moves to create space for himself. This is a very good move, it’s just something he can do nightly. It’s effortless.

Irving, as well as DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond looked good in the USA’s 43-point thrashing of the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden. The problem for Coach Mike Krzyzewski and crew is what can you really take away from this game? This was not a test for the USA, not the chance to see how players perform under pressure. how players perform in practice would be a better judge of that than this game.

Which is part of the reason there will be no cuts until after Friday night’s game against Puerto Rico.


Derrick Rose says he’ll play Friday vs. Puerto Rico

Derrick Rose, Tom Thibodeau

Here’s the question that matters on Derrick Rose’s knee pain:

Is this the standard soreness that comes with coming back and pushing through a recovery from knee surgery, or is this the continuation of bigger issues?

We don’t know the answer. If someone tells you they know, they’re selling something. People have opinions on what they think it is, how serious it is, but nobody knows. We’re going to find out as we push into the season.

What do we know? Rose sat out Wednesday’s game but said plans to play Friday night in Team USA’s game against Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden. That’s what he told Ken Berger of

“Just trying to protect myself, just knowing that this is a long, long schedule and this is the most basketball I’ll be playing in two years,” Rose said. “So I’m just going in, trying to gear up, making sure that I’m healthy….”

Rose went through shootaround Wednesday morning and participated in pre-game warmups. At one point, he said the decision to sit was “a team thing.” At another point, he said, “They gave me the opportunity to go out there and play tonight, and I chose to rest a little bit.”

Then, he said, “I wouldn’t say it’s my call.”

Rose practiced Thursday also, again saying he plans to play Friday.

The crowd chanted Rose’s name at a couple points Wednesday. He said he wanted to play but he knows that pushing too hard for a meaningless summer exhibition is not the call. There’s a lot of team USA basketball left as the team heads to Spain for the World Cup, followed by the marathon of an NBA season. Patience is the right play here. And patience is never popular with any fan base.

Ultimately, it will be a while before we know where Rose really stands.

Add Brook Lopez to the list of players who dropped weight this summer

New Jersey Nets practice 05/07/2014

LeBron James.

Carmelo Anthony.

Now you can add Brook Lopez to the list of NBA stars who dropped weight this summer.

It makes a lot of sense for Lopez, coming off foot surgery that cost him most of last season, to want to drop some lbs and he did, the center told the New York Post.

Lopez, who arrived at training camp last fall weighing around 290 pounds before playing at a weight several pounds lighter, looked noticeably thinner while participating in a youth healthy lifestyle clinic at Barclays Center on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m at my playing weight,” Lopez said with a laugh. “I can attribute that to laying in bed for months, but I’m back to the weight that’s normal for me. Last I checked, I was just under 275 [pounds].”

Despite the success the Nets had going small last season new (and improved) coach Lionel Hollins is going to go big this season, with Brook Lopez at the heart of what the Nets do.

Brooklyn has the pieces to do some real damage in the East, but they are going to need monster years out of Lopez and Deron Williams. Both need to stay healthy and bounce back to form. That may be asking a lot.

But for Lopez, the weight loss is a good start.

Kentucky’s Calipari calls David Blatt right guy to coach Cavaliers

David Blatt

There’s a lot of questions surrounding David Blatt as the Cavaliers coach, mostly because a lot of people don’t know much about him and what they do know — brilliant offensive mind, won big in Europe — doesn’t impress them. They say he doesn’t have NBA coaching experience (even though he’s been a head coach in Europe for more than a decade, which is more than you can say for Derek Fisher or Steve Kerr). We can tell you that his offensive sets from Vegas will look very good with the talent the Cavaliers will have this fall, but we also know that LeBron James’ agent also picked up Mark Jackson as a client and that’s an omimous cloud.

Now Kentucky’s John Calipari has come to Blatt’s defense.

We told you Calipari said he was never that close to coaching the Cavaliers despite the rumors. Now in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio Calipari sung Blatt’s praises as a coach.

“David Blatt can really coach,” Calipari told Frank Isola and Malik Rose during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “He’s a better choice than me to coach that team. I coached against him. I’m not sitting here just saying it. I coached against him in FIBA basketball. I watched him coach Russia, the guy can coach, OK? Those players, all they want is respect. If they respect you as a coach they’re going to play like crazy….

“It’s going to be scary seeing how good Kyrie (Irving) is when now you gotta defer a little bit with this; how good Love is,” Calipari said. “We haven’t even seen how good those two are going to be. And it’s kinda like when Michael would grab guys and all of a sudden you saw Scottie (Pippen) how good he could be or (Dennis) Rodman. … All of them, all of them. That’s what LeBron will do. It’s crazy what’s going to go on in Cleveland.”

What else was Calipari going to say?

He’s right though. Blatt can coach. Whether he can get LeBron and company to fully buy in remains to be seen, but he can coach.

I see two key challenges for the Cavaliers this season:

1) Defense. They are not going to be a bad defensive team, but will they be good enough? With Kevin Love (once traded this weekend) getting heavy minutes at the four you’ve got Anderson Varejao at the five — a pretty good pick-and-roll defender but not a rim protector. The Cavaliers lack that.

2) Adjustment time. New players. New coach with a new system. I see this a little like LeBron’s first year in Miami where they got all the way to the Finals on talent but had not yet found the system and cohesion that let them win titles. Kyrie Irving is a great shooter off the bounce but his catch-and-shoot numbers need to improve around LeBron. Love will need to find his spaces. The team needs to find an identity. All of that takes time.

Will the notoriously impatient Dan Gilbert give him time?

Meanwhile Chicago has an identity and talent (if Derrick Rose can just stay healthy) and the West is still loaded.