If you put an average NBA offense — last season’s Detroit Pistons, for example — up against an elite European team’s offense, the Pistons would come out on top.
But the reason is talent not system (with all due respect to Stan Van Gundy). Those European teams don’t have anyone like Andre Drummond, a dynamic pick-and-roll point guard like Reggie Jackson, athletic wings like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tobias Harris. European teams have good players, but not the same level of depth and athleticism.
They make up for it by a commitment to a ball-and-player movement rarely seen in the NBA.
Russell Westbrook talked about that after the Thunder’s recent game overseas.
The best NBA teams in recent years do both. The best example over the past few years was the last championship Spurs team, which was loaded with talent (Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, etc.) but played beautiful system basketball. That team may have had the highest level of execution the NBA has ever seen. The title teams from the Heat and Warriors did it as well (although not as much as those Spurs, in my opinion).
But far too many NBA teams just lean on that talent.
Last March, Mario Chalmers became part of the crazy-long list of Memphis Grizzlies who suffered injuries — in his case, a torn Achilles tendon.
Right now, Chalmers is a free agent working to recover, stay in shape, and be ready to return to the NBA. While he has been cleared by doctors for some on-court activity, the veteran point guard is not ready for five-on-five play yet but told Brian Windhorst of ESPN he’s getting close.
Spoke to Mario Chalmers tonight. He’s continuing to rehab after Achilles surgery in March. He said he’s about a month away from being ready. Several teams are staying in touch with him. The backup point guard market is thin, if he’s healthy he’ll be back in the league quickly.
There are a few teams out there could certainly use Chalmers’ skills right now and Windhorst is right, once he gets healthy and cleared to play he likely will get a contract relatively quickly. He just can’t rush the process too much and have setbacks. Achilles injuries are a long and tricky rehab.
It’s the preseason. And the Cavs were playing the Sixers. Cleveland should be having a little fun.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving did, each scoring 15 points in less than 19 minutes on the court. And they had fun with the off-the-backboard dunk in transition during the second quarter.
Except, it didn’t count. Point guard T.J. McConnell threw the bad pass then stopped the break with a foul on LeBron out closer to half court, a foul often seen in Europe/international play to stop easy transition buckets. LeBron and Kyrie just played through it, but you can hear the whistle and see the Sixers players let up — and let the two Cavs stars have their fun.
Cleveland won the game 108-105 if you care. And why do you care who won a preseason game anyway?
Joel Embiid is still on a serious minutes limit — his 13:23 Saturday was the most he’s played — but he’s also putting up some highlights.
He had a dozen points against the Cavaliers Saturday night, including a powerful dunk and a three ball, plus he had a block. The Cavaliers won the game 115-112, Kyrie Irving was making plays, but give Embiid his due.
In case you need to see the dunk again, we got you covered.
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 15 points, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-105 on Saturday night.
Irving made his first appearance of the preseason after sitting out Cleveland’s opener.
Jordan McRae came off the bench for 20 points, including the clinching free throws.
Joel Embiid had 12 points in 13 minutes of his third preseason game.
76ERS: Rookie Dario Saric shot 1 for 7 and had four points. … Richaun Holmes had 19 points and Sergio Rodriguez added 15 points and eight assists.
CAVALIERS: Kevin Love had two points on 1-for-7 shooting. … Channing Frye was 4 for 4 from 3-point range off the bench, finishing with 14 points.