Tag: Carmelo Anthony

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Day Fourteen

Too much World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving for Serbia to handle as USA wins gold easily 129-92


Consider this World Cup a reminder just how ridiculously deep the American hoop talent pool is.

When the USA opened training camp in Las Vegas the talk was all about who was not there — No LeBron James, no Carmelo Anthony, no Kevin Love, no Blake Griffin. Then Paul George suffered his horrific injury. Then Kevin Durant pulled out. Plenty of armchair pundits talked about the USA JV team going to Spain.

Didn’t matter. What mattered was the guys that went — led by Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Anthony Davis — were more talented than everyone they faced and, just as importantly, played harder and more aggressively than everyone they faced. The USA was clear and away the best team (Spain blew their chance to prove otherwise).

It culminated on Sunday when the USA crushed Serbia 129-92 in the Gold Medal game to give Team USA the World Cup title for the second straight World Cup title. The USA went 9-0 in the World Cup with an average mr won every game by at least 21 points (no team in World Cup/championship history had won every game by 20 or more before).

With the win the USA is automatically qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics (so we don’t need to send a team to FIBA Americas next summer).

The key guy against Serbia was Kyrie Irving, who torched Serbian point guard and star Milos Teodosic to the tune of 26 points including going 6-of-6 from three. That performance cemented his spot as the World Cup MVP (Kenneth Faried was close and did make the all tournament team).

Another big key Sunday was the USA shot 15-of-30 from three for the game, spacing the floor and knocking down shots better than they have all tournament. Serbia, already not a great defensive team, had no answer.

Things looked like they might be a little more interesting in the first couple minutes.

Serbia raced out to an early 12-5 lead by pulling USA bigs out to deal with Teodosic pick-and-roll, then having other guys make nice backdoor cuts. They attacked and got two quick fouls on Anthony Davis. Combine that with Serbia shooting 7-of-7 to start and the lead got out to 15-7.

But when DeMarcus Cousins came in for Davis the game started to change. His energy inside was one of the other central stories of this game (he finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds and two blocks).

With a renewed defensive energy the USA went on a 15-0 run of its own. It was one of those flash flood runs the USA had blitzed teams with all tournament. Quickly the USA tied the game after Cousins had a fantastic block at the rim, was fouled when he came down, then hit tow free throws to tie at 15-15.

That’s when the Kyrie Irving show really started. First he hit two long two-point jumpers, then a driving transition layup, and suddenly it was 21-15 USA.

Irving was on fire early, with15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter, he was pushing the ball in transition and in the lane, just blowing up the Serbian defense.

From there the rout is on, with the USA hitting 9-of-13 from three to start the game. It was a team effort with Rudy Gay making plays, Faried flying to the rim, Klay Thompson knocking down threes but more importantly for him playing strong defense on Teodosic. USA was finding mismatches and exploiting them, maybe it’s a bit isolation heavy but it worked because of the advantages the USA have.

The key for the USA was the defense. After Serbia started 7-of-7 from the floor they went 4-of-16 for the stretch when the USA pulled away. Against the relentless athleticism of the USA Serbia had no answers, they could not find an offensive rhythm. Meanwhile the USA just exposed the Serbian defense (they tried to ICE the pick and roll but you need to protect the rim better to do that).

The USA was up 67-41 at the half and the second half of the game was a lot of garbage time. This one was over.

There is no nation in the world that can roll out the depth of talent the USA does. It overwhelms everyone they face. Anthony Davis was the USA’s best big man all tournament but when he got in foul trouble Sunday Cousins took over and was a force. It was like that all tournament. Stephen Curry, Thompson, even at points Derrick Rose made plays (he did not score in the gold medal game going 0-of-4 shooting but did have a team high six assists).

It was a dominant performance all tournament long, and just a reminder that, while the gap is shrinking over time, the USA remains at the top of the world’s basketball mountain.

Carmelo Anthony reiterates he’s excited to play in triangle offense

New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors

It worked well for Michael Jordan. It worked well for Kobe Bryant.

So Carmelo Anthony is ready to give the triangle offense a shot.

Anthony said all last season that come free agency in the summer of 2014 he wanted to stay a Knick, he just needed to see a real plan for the future. Phil Jackson is that plan. The roster will be reshaped, the culture will change (with James Dolan staying on the sidelines… at least for now) and on the court the triangle offense will be run.

Anthony has been in the Knicks training facility the past couple weeks starting to pick up the nuances triangle offense, he told Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.

Anthony says that he “can’t wait” to learn the offense that helped Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant win championships under Phil Jackson-coached teams.

“Without a doubt, without a doubt. When people say spots, I’m going to be all over the floor in the triangle,” Anthony said. “It makes it hard to guard, it keeps all eyes off of you. I’m looking forward to it, I’ve been saying it all summer. I can’t wait.”

Count me among the group that thinks Anthony can thrive in the triangle — if he moves the ball. If this is the same Anthony of the Mike D’Antoni era where the flow of the offense stops when the ball touches his hands it will not work. The triangle is about spacing and ball movement, taking advantage of what the defense gives you.

It also takes time to really learn. This is not an offense with set plays so much as it reads and reacts to what the defense is doing — each player is expected to read the defender then make the right pass or cut. Getting everyone on that same page takes time.

That said, the Knicks certainly have a shot at making the playoffs in the East if they can stay healthy. Plus you know Jackson is still reshaping the roster and trades could be coming to bring help. But like learning the triangle, it’s just going to take time.

By the way, Anthony also talked about his weight loss this summer.

“Kind of switching up my eating habits, kind of taking on new workout routines, training a little different, trying to test myself and challenge myself differently from a training aspect. Also, I took maybe a week, two weeks off this year, so I was still in the mode from last training camp. I took maybe two weeks off over the year, and this is the result you’re seeing now.”

Carmelo Anthony says nobody would want to play for Hawks

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks

The Hawks had two incidents involving racially insensitive remarks emerge in the past couple of weeks, and while the apologies keep coming, the words spoken and written by the team’s GM and majority owner respectively have gotten the attention of players around the league.

And it’s not the type of attention that any organization wants.

While neither Danny Ferry’s comments on Luol Deng nor Bruce Levenson’s discussion of race in an email reached Donald Sterling levels on the severity scale, the fact that multiple members of an organization were caught behaving this way is going to have repercussions. And Carmelo Anthony believes it will impact Atlanta’s ability to attract free agents in the future.

From Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

“[There] ain’t nobody [who] would want to go there,” Anthony said at the Citi Carmelo Anthony Basketball ProCamp at Baruch College Saturday morning. “At the end of the day, Atlanta … I think it puts Atlanta back even further now, from that standpoint.” …

“As a player, as an athlete, we’re looking for a job, we’re trying to find a place where we can move our family, we can make our family comfortable, where we can be comfortable in a comfortable environment, but those comments right there, we would never look at. I’m speaking on behalf of all athletes. We would never look at a situation like that, I don’t care what it is.”

“It’s going to take a collective effort,” Anthony said. That’s not going to change overnight. I don’t think that just happened overnight. That’s been an accumulation over the past couple years. A lot of people think that it just happened, but it’s been going on for the past two or three years now … these are conversations that have been ongoing.”

That last part is critical, because this isn’t one offhand remark that somehow got twisted to the point where it got someone in trouble. The email from ownership was sent in 2012, and Ferry’s casual way in which he delivered the slur in his description of Luol Deng leads to to believe that he felt completely safe in speaking that way to members of the ownership group.

This is also different from the Clippers situation in that, as I detailed at the time, players in most cases have little to no contact with ownership, and are largely playing for themselves. But a general manager typically is more involved, and communicates with players on a regular basis. The fact that Ferry worked so closely with the players while potentially harboring a negative racial view of them — and that it was allowed by ownership to happen — leads you to believe that Anthony may be correct in his assertion.

Tyson Chandler says he has returned to Dallas a better player than in 2011

Dallas Mavericks Victory Parade

The last time Tyson Chandler had on a Dallas Mavericks uniform, he was holding the Larry O’Brien trophy — he was the defensive anchor key to Dallas knocking off Miami in the 2011 NBA Finals.

After a couple up-and-down years with the Knicks, he’s back in Big D this season.

And better than ever at age 32 (by the time the season starts). At least that’s what he says.

Chandler spoke to the Dallas Morning News and said he is returning to Dallas a wiser, more mature player than the one that left.

“I think I’m better in understanding the game mentally. Physically, I’m in an incredible place. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. Over the years you learn different things. The more you are able to play this game, the better you are mentally. I’m excited to bring that to the table here again. I love the makeup of the team. We’ve been here for the last couple of weeks getting after it, playing pick up [games] and ran the hills yesterday as a team. We’ve been training as a team. People don’t know, but this is pretty early to have every player here already. I just like the makeup of this team. I think we’ve got great young guys. It’s a nice mix up of veterans and young players.”

Chandler probably did learn a lot having to cover for Carmelo Anthony and some other questionable defenders in New York.

I’m also with him on liking Dallas more this year. The addition of him and Chandler Parsons fills two big needs — improved defense in the paint and better production on the wing. Combine that with that Dirk Nowitzki guy who is supposed to be pretty good (read that again in sarcastic voice) and Monta Ellis and you have the makings of a good team. If their three-headed monster at the point (Raymond Felton, Devin Harris and Jameer Nelson) can give them steady play I think this might be the fourth best team in the West. And a legit playoff threat.

Especially if Chandler really is better than ever.

Chauncey Billups retires after 17 NBA seasons

Chauncey Billups

Before he signed with the Pistons last summer, Chauncey Billups said he wanted to play two more seasons.

But like so many times in his illustrious career, Billups couldn’t dictate his own future.

The Pistons declined Billups’ team option this summer, and though the Cavaliers were looking at him, time had run out. Billups has missed 169 games the last three years. He just couldn’t do it anymore.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Chauncey Billups, the 2004 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and former Detroit Pistons star, told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday he is retiring after 17 NBA seasons.

The five-time All-Star had interest in playing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after a workout this offseason and said he had "a couple of opportunities to play" if he wanted to continue.

"It’s just time. I know when it’s time," Billups told Yahoo Sports. "My mind and my desire is still strong. I just can’t ignore the fact that I haven’t been healthy for three years. I can try again and get to a point where I think I can go, but I just can’t sustain. Me not being able to play the way that I can play, that’s when you kind of know it’s that time.

"It’s just time. I’m happy, excited. The game was very, very good to me. I felt like I was equally as good to the game the way I played it and the way I respected it and the way I carried myself through the process."

Billups was drafted No. 3 in the 1997 draft by the Celtics, who gave up on him during his rookie year. Boston traded him to the Raptors, and that led to other brief stints with the Nuggets and Magic.

Finally, in Minnesota, Billups had a chance to show his promise when Terrell Brandon got hurt. The Pistons gave him a sizable contract in free agency, and Billups reached an All-Star level in Detroit, even winning Finals MVP in 2004.

Though he thought he finally found a home after a career as an NBA journeyman, Billups was traded to the Nuggets. This time, Billups actually was home. The Denver native excelled in his second stint with his hometown team, leading the Nuggets to matching their-best ever finish, a trip to the conference finals.

But again, he was traded, getting sent to the Knicks in the Carmelo Anthony deal. By then, Billups’ best days were behind him. He hopped to the Clippers and then back to the Pistons for his final seasons.

Through it all, Billups became one of the best point guards of his generation. I try to avoid predicting who will make the Basketball Hall of Fame, which has an awkward and illogical selection process, but Billups is definitely a candidate.

He established himself as a team leader and class act, a reputation that will carry him into retirement. Whatever Billups decides to do next, his future is bright.