Kurt Helin

Top 10 plays through six games of NBA Finals (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

OAKLAND — There is tremendous drama ahead. Legacy is on the line, not just supremacy, when the Cavaliers take on the Warriors in Game 7 Sunday. Legacy points go up when the two best players on the planet — LeBron James and Stephen Curry, in whatever order you want to place them — lead their respective teams on the court.

But before we look forward, let’s look back.

The guys at The Starters on NBA.com put together this highlight package of the 10 best plays from Game 1 to 6, and we pass it along. Enjoy.

Andre Iguodala on Warriors’ system: “You’re taking whatever the defense gives you”

Getty Images

OAKLAND — It’s one of the attempts to discredit Stephen Curry and the Warriors:

He’s just a system player and they’re just a system team.

It’s a silly argument to defend.

“You go with any system that had success, you have to have the right guys in that system,” the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala said before his team’s Game 6 loss, before back spasms had him moving like an old man. “You see the Bulls, they ran the triangle, you have to have a certain type of player for the triangle. And over at the Lakers, you had similar guys… Same with the Spurs and the success they had the last decade or so. They just rotated guys in and out, kind of like the Patriots.”

Curry would be successful in any system in any era — explain to me the era where a deadly 26-foot jumper wasn’t going to be effective? If you’re going to try to point to these NBA Finals as a sign Curry would struggle in a more physical basketball era — where they are clutching and grabbing like the refs have largely let go this series — you haven’t been paying attention. Curry is averaging 23.5 points a game, is shooting 42.4 percent from three, pulls down 4.8 rebounds and dishes out 4 assists a game. He has struggled with his shot inside the arc and turned the ball over too much (4.3 per game), but he hasn’t sucked.

The Warriors system of weakside actions and constant movement is the evolution of the NBA offense that counters the Tom Thibodeau overload defense (and Thibs has since adjusted what he does). What the Warriors have are high basketball IQ players to execute that.

And talent.

“I feel I have been on a team with just as high of an IQ, maybe even a higher IQ, but not as much talent,” Iguodala said. “You got to have a mixture of the two. At the end of the day talent, that’s the first thing you have to have. But there have been a lot of talented teams that never quite got over the hump because one guy may not have sacrificed as much as he needed to, or your offense wasn’t quite as useful for five guys as it should have been.

“I feel like we play all five guys on the court and everyone has their role and that’s how we maximize our talent.”

So what is the heart of the Warriors system? Selflessness.

“End of the day you’re taking whatever the defense gives you,” Iguodala said. “It sounds very simple, but there’s a lot that goes into it. You’re in this world of basketball with endorsements, social media, and branding, and guys have a tendency to think ‘me.’ It becomes a me game, and this is a team sport.”

The Warriors have been selfless and gotten good looks the last two games, they just clanked a lot of them (not just Harrison Barnes, although he leads the parade). Curry was the only Warrior knocking down shots in Game 6. Come Sunday and Game 7, the Warriors need that selflessness and for some of those looks to fall.

Then they just need to figure out how to slow LeBron James down a little.

Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx CEO Rob Moor steps down

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rob Moor, the longtime CEO of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, is stepping down.

The Wolves and Lynx made the announcement on Friday. The teams say Moor will transition to a role that assists owner Glen Taylor in overseeing his business interests.

Taylor says he needs more help with the business side of his affairs as he continues planning for eventual successors both as owners of the franchises and stewards of Taylor Corp.

Moor served as CEO for both teams since 2004 and helped Taylor execute the purchase of the Timberwolves in 1995.

Taylor says a new CEO will be determined “in the near future.”

Having eight free agent complicates Hornets’ decisions in draft

Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Hornets aren’t sure who they’re going to be able to re-sign in free agency, making it difficult for owner Michael Jordan’s team to know who they’re going to select with the 22nd pick in next week’s NBA draft.

“With eight free agents, I don’t know what is going to happen,” general manager Rich Cho said Friday. “So we’re just going to try to add depth (in the draft) to the team and try to get guys that can play in our rotation. It’s a hard question to answer (what we need most) because we have so many free agents and we don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

So the Hornets are keeping an open mind when it comes to the pick.

“We are looking at a number of options – moving up, moving back and moving out of the draft altogether,” Cho said.

Four Hornets starters from last season are set to become free agents in July – Nicolas Batum, Courtney Lee, Al Jefferson and Marvin Williams. Top reserve Jeremy Lin will also hit the free agent market after opting out of his contract.

Cho said that uncertainty makes it difficult for the Hornets to zero in on addressing one particular need in the draft.

The Hornets could certainly use a rim protector, something they’ve missed since the departure of Bismack Biyombo to Toronto last year, but it’s unclear if such a player will still be around so late in the first round.

What they truly need is a difference maker, but those rarely fall to No. 22.

The only positions that are currently set for next season are point guard with Kemba Walker and small forward with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who missed most of the 2015-16 season following two shoulder injuries but is on the mend.

Cho said this year’s draft is deep at wing and with big men, but lacks quality point guards.

The Hornets have had a top 10 draft pick in each of the past five seasons, making this year a little more difficult after a successful season a year ago in which they finished tied for the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Cho has been balancing draft preparation with laying out “abut 80 different potential scenarios” in free agency. Unlike the NFL, the NBA draft happens before free agency begins.

Cho is expecting a hectic free agency period.

He reiterated that re-signing Batum – who is expected to command more than $20 million per season – is the team’s top priority in free agency, which begins July 1.

Metta World Peace uses whiteboard to explain how NBA Finals are not rigged

Associated Press

You can’t argue with this logic.

And there is no way this would have been near as effective without the whiteboard graphics and the slightly dying black dry-erase pen.

Metta World Peace is the best.

Hat tip to super dad Matt Moore and CBS’ Eye on Basketball.