Kurt Helin

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers

Zach LaVine drops 49 at Seattle Pro-Am, including buzzer-beating game winner

10 Comments

Zach LaVine averaged 22 points in his two games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, although he continues to show his rough edges including shooting just 32.4 percent to get those buckets.

He went from Vegas to Seattle, where Saturday against pro-am level defense he put on a show in the Seattle Pro-Am.

He scored 49 points on 31 shots, plus hit 8-of-19 from three. He also nailed the game winner above and had this dunk as well. Not a bad day’s work.

Report: Steve Mills, not Phil Jackson, keeping Carmelo Anthony up to date on Knicks’ summer efforts

Steve Mills,Phil Jackson
6 Comments

Carmelo Anthony agreed to the Knicks’ rebuilding efforts a year ago when he decided to take their massive checks for five years. He’s committed.

Phil Jackson has spent the summer drafting Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant, then signing Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn, and Arron Afflalo. The Knicks will be better next season, maybe they can make the playoffs, and there is some hope building for the future.

But Jackson hasn’t been keeping Carmelo Anthony in the loop on any of that — Jackson said earlier in the week he hasn’t spoken to Anthony at all this summer. Rather GM Steve Mills has that duty, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.

According to an NBA source, general manager Steve Mills has been in communication with Anthony across the free-agent process to explain the recent additions.

As president, Jackson delegates a lot, and Mills is in charge of directly speaking with agents and other teams regarding potential trades or free-agent acquisitions. According to the source, Mills also handles reaching out to players on matters such as recent transactions. In fact, Mills has said publicly Anthony spent a lot of time in his office going over “the boards’’ regarding potential free agents they were after.

This is the role Jackson wanted — he didn’t wish to handle the grinding details of dealing with agents phone calls or scouting some prospect in Europe. Jackson wanted to come in as the CEO — and he’s getting ridiculous CEO money — to set a direction and approve potential moves.

And stroking the ego of the team’s star player, that’s someone else’s job, too.

But if the Knicks struggle again this season, the blame for all of that is going straight to the CEO. His first season didn’t go smoothly but rebuilds rarely do. However, a second tough year and New Yorkers — including maybe James Dolan — will show a lot less patience.

Spurs’ Shannon Scott hits buzzer-beating game winner to beat Celtics in Vegas (VIDEO)

San Antonio Spurs v Boston Celtics
1 Comment

Whether it be in San Antonio in December or Las Vegas in July, the Spurs execute at the end of games.

It was Shannon Scott’s turn at the end of quarterfinal game between the San Antonio and Boston on Saturday. He took the inbound pass, found a lane and knocked down the floater for the win.

Kyle Anderson had another good game for the Spurs, finishing with 21 points, as San Antonio advances to taking on the Hawks in the semi-finals Sunday.

Jerry West says Warriors front office “the most healthy environment I’ve been involved with”

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers
17 Comments

If you’re going to do a Mount Rushmore for the Lakers, Jerry West has to be on it. He’s a legendary player — he’s the Logo — who won a title in uniform then was the Lakers GM that built the Showtime Lakers with Magic and won some titles in that role. Nobody knows the game better; nobody is more competitive.

And he thinks he’s in a better spot now.

West is currently a board member and part of the brain trust with the Golden State Warriors, and things are different. In the Bay Area, it’s a collaborative process, but one that built a title contender in the modern NBA way — drafted well, finding versatile players who fit their system. They didn’t buy a roster, they built one and used free agency to tack on a couple needed players.

West toldRay Woodson Wednesday on SportsPhone 680 he enjoys the Warriors’ style of front office.

“People are allowed to express their own opinions. And at the end of the day, (Warriors GM) Bob Myers is going to make the decisions. I think (co-owner) Joe Lacob is kept aware and informed of everything going on, but everyone is allowed to express their opinions. Nobody takes themselves too seriously. Once you start doing that, that’s when dissenting voices become a problem.

“This is the most healthy environment I’ve been involved with since I’ve been in the NBA.”

That is the highest of praise — and a bit of a dig at the Lakers. West had a lot of success in the big chair for the Lakers, but it was a very different style, and right now the Lakers front office doesn’t seem healthy at all.

West is still ultra-competitive and opinionated — he threatened to quit if the Warriors had traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love — but he seems to understand having more than one voice in the room, and a GM willing to listen to those voices, can work very well.

Here are some other highlights of West’s comments.

• He says the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and Rockets are all threats to come out of the Western Conference. The Spurs are everybody’s hot pick after their summer landing LaMarcus Aldridge, but West noted, “We’re younger than they are, and our players can get better individually.”

• On small ball: “We have a lot of very talented players, we’re long and lanky. Size sometimes can be a detriment because a lot of people don’t want to run up and down the court. We were the best offensive team, the best defensive team, and we played our small ball a lot… We create a lot of our shots with the defense focused on Curry and Thompson, our other shooters get a little more time to shoot the ball.”

• He thinks Thompson can make the All-NBA teams if he improves his footwork and finishes better at the rim next season.

• As for just drafted Kevon Looney, West likes his instincts and hoops IQ a lot. He says Looney needs to get stronger, and he may need surgery on hip. But in a few years he could play a nice role on the Warriors.

• West recently shot his age on the golf course.

Due to injury, Marcus Smart expected to miss first NBA game in Africa

Portland Trailblazers v Boston Celtics
9 Comments

Boston is lucky. Marcus Smart’s dislocation of two fingers during a Summer League game looked nasty when it happened.

But after five stitches (the bone broke through the skin) and the joints being popped back in place, he is expected to be ready to go when the season starts.

However, he was going to play in the NBA’s exhibition game in Africa, and he is now out, reports the Boston Globe.

Injured Celtics guard Marcus Smart is expected to miss an Aug. 1 exhibition game in South Africa, according to a league source. Smart dislocated two fingers in his right hand on Thursday night.

Smart, guard Evan Turner, and coach Brad Stevens were to be among a contingent of NBA players and coaches taking part in the first NBA game played in Africa. But Smart will now stay in Boston as his fingers heal.

No real shock here, teams tend to be cautious with injured players and Boston is going to need Smart come the season. No reason to take another risk.

No word on who will replace him on the roster of guys heading to Afrka