Kurt Helin

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LeBron James and family were at Rams’ return to Los Angeles, fans start “Kobe” chant


The place to be in Los Angeles Sunday was downtown at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Los Angeles Rams played their first home game in that building since “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” was on top of the Billboard charts.

LeBron James was there with his family — and Rams owner Sam Kroenke (who used to own the Denver Nuggets, but had to turn the team over to his wife and son because of conflicts owning an NBA and NFL team, plus having the Colorado Avalanche).

When LeBron walked out to the sidelines, he was reminded what basketball star still owns Los Angeles.

The Rams are a big hit in Los Angeles, and while their offense appears to have been lost in the move from St. Louis, the defense was good enough to get the Rams a 9-3 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon video: Top 10 career plays for 2016 Hall of Famers Shaq, Iverson, Yao Ming

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Rather than get frustrated as your fantasy team disappoints again this Sunday, why not take a few minutes (nine of them, to be specific) to watch the career highlights of the biggest names in the 2016 Hall of Fame class.

Shaquille O’Neal. Yao Ming. Allen Iverson.

Sit back and enjoy.

Thaddeus Young has been working on jump shot this offseason


Thaddeus Young does his work in close — 77.6 percent of his shot attempts last season came within 10 feet of the rim. He may be a bit undersized for the four spot at 6’8″, but he’s a creative finisher who gets the job done inside. With the Pacers Young should have room to drive and create inside as the other expected starters — Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, Paul George, and Myles Turner — all can space the floor with their shot.

Still, Young has been working on his jumper, staying after workouts to get in some extra reps according to a story on the Pacers official website. Which is good, his shot needed it — he shot 23.3 percent from three last season in Brooklyn (a big drop from the 33 percent he shot the season before). The Pacers are going to give him some freedom to shoot from there, according to a coach Nate McMillan.

“It depends on who the coach is,” (Young) said. “Some coaches give you freedom to do certain things and some coaches don’t.”

Says McMillan: “We’re going to have to let him go there some.”

Probably not a lot, however, which is as much about the team makeup than Young’s shot. With all the shooting on the outside, including from the center, the Pacers need someone to work inside and be a threat. Young can provide that balance, he can be the glue guy inside.

If Young gets comfortable, this becomes the best Pacers team in years. I have them projected fourth in the East this season, but if they finished as high as second — behind Cleveland but ahead of Boston and Toronto — it would not be a shock. Indiana won 45 games last season then upgraded the roster with Teague and Young, plus Turner continues to mature. This team could win in the low 50s in games, and it could go so far as to make the Conference Finals.

DeAndre Jordan shows up at Chris Paul youth event. What rift?

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Two summers ago, when DeAndre Jordan was almost leaving for Los Angeles for Dallas, there was a lot of talk about a rift between Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan. The athletic big man reportedly felt like the third wheel with CP3 and Blake Griffin, that he was not seen as a viable part of the of the offense.

After Jordan returned the Clippers, the two have worked to dispel that rumor.

That includes an event recently in Los Angeles, as described by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

The rumors of Clippers guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan having any issues were dispelled when they participated together in a court refurbishing at the Boys & Girls Club in Carson, Calif. Paul originally was supposed to dedicate the court by himself, but Jordan made a surprise appearance and the two teamed up with students, who were assigned to use their computers to answer trivia questions. Paul and Jordan went on to participate in a clinic along with former Clipper Lamond Murray.

This is going to be a big season for the Clippers. One reason is that with Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City, the Clippers are now likely the third best team in the West (behind Golden State and San Antonio), and this may be their best chance to break out of the second round.

Beyond that, Paul and Griffin will be free agents next summer, and they need to do enough to keep them in house.

The relationship between the big three — where the ultra-competitive Paul may wear on them at times — can’t get in the way of that if they plan to take a step forward.

Kristaps Porzingis has been working on post game in preparation for triangle role


Jeff Hornacek’s offensive plan for the Knicks reportedly goes something like this: Get out and run, play faster, but when they get in the half court they want to use the triangle offense as the basis of their sets. (Which isn’t that far off what Tex Winter said when drawing up the offense, one of his seven principles was to play fast and get points before the defense sets.)

Where does that leave Kristaps Porzingis? In the post, so the 7’3″ second-year player been working on that part of his game he told ESPN’s Ian Begley.

“If that’s what the coaches want, I’ll play in the post. I feel more and more comfortable everyday because I’ve been working on my post game and getting stronger,” he said. “So If that’s what they want me to do, if that’s where they see me more effective, then I’ll do that. But it just depends on how we’re better — from me shooting more from the outside or getting in more.”

Porzingis’ size and skill should make him a decent post player, but with his high center of gravity strong players may be able to root him out of an ideal position. It’s going to be a challenge for Porzingis.

With his outside shooting, he is more dangerous setting high picks because he can pop out and space the floor, and he’s been working on being a bigger threat there, too.

“Pick-and-roll situations, pick-and-pop, guys are going to expect me to pop, and then I can roll and then switch it up. And it’s going to be really good,” he said, adding that he and Hornacek have talked in detail about the offense. “I’m sure they’re going to put me in a situation where I can be effective for the team.”

The Knicks offense this season is going to be interesting. Will there be a pick-and-roll chemistry between Porzingis and Derrick Rose? Will Rose and Carmelo Anthony stall ball movement in the offense as they look for theirs? How does Joakim Noah fit in all of this?

There is the potential for a dangerous offense in New York, but Hornacek is going to have to get buy in. And with all that talent, he needs to make sure Porzingis gets the rock a lot — that’s the future.