If you haven’t been following Bobby Marks this summer on Twitter… you call yourself an NBA fan? The former Brooklyn Nets front office executive has been bringing first-hand, insightful front office thoughts and knowledge to the Twitter table all through free agency. He’s now an NBA must follow.
Sunday morning he put up a series of tweets showing how every team has built its roster using three categories: Draft, trades, and free agency. (For clarification, he counts draft-day trades of rookies as part of the draft.) I thought this was too good not to pass along.
One big takeaway — the draft matters. A lot.
Sure, much of the Spurs contending roster came via free agency, but look who is in the draft column — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili. The Clippers are not where they are without drafting Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors drafted Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Thunder drafted Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Yes, the Cavaliers got LeBron James via free agency but does he come if they don’t draft Kyrie Irving? Maybe the most extreme example is the Pelicans, they have only one drafted player on the roster — Anthony Davis.
Fans love trades, and you can get cornerstone pieces that way (James Harden, Chris Paul, Marc Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, etc.). Free agency is exciting and sometimes big names like LeBron, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, or LaMarcus Aldridge move teams. But the draft is where most teams that have a cornerstone player got them. Winning the draft and holding on to those guys is what matters more than anything else.
The last time we saw Carmelo Anthony on a basketball court was the NBA All-Star Game, and the only reason he played there was he wanted to be an unofficial host of the event in New York. He should have shut it down and had knee surgery before that, but the All-Star Game kept him around for a while.
He will back on a court in August in Las Vegas, however.
That is where Team USA is hosting a mini-camp, looking at some potential players for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the story.
According to a source, Anthony has informed U.S. Olympic Team officials he will attend the Aug. 11-13 minicamp as the team gears up for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Anthony is still rehabbing from February’s left-knee surgery so he will not be a fully active participant, according to a source. Team USA CEO Jerry Colangelo has encouraged roster members to come to the minicamp even if they can’t play due to injury.
Anthony is not and should not be rushing his return from injury. What to take away from this is Anthony wants to be on the roster in Rio. Anthony has two gold medals (2008 and 2012) plus a bronze (2004) but apparently wants more.
It also means Anthony should be good to go come training camp and the regular season this fall.
The purpose of the mini-camp is to get a look at some of the guys in the 34-man pool that coach Mike Krzyzewski and company will draw from. Not everyone will be there, but not everyone needs to be — for example, if LeBron James or Kevin Durant want to be on the roster, they will be, camp or no camp. But for a lot of guys — Anthony included — this is a show they want to make the cut.
Now that Kristaps Porzingis has played and impressed Summer League, everyone can have a little laugh about the draft-night boos that rained down when it was announced the Knicks had taken the Latvian big man. He’s in need of good player development, but Porzingis looks like guy who will fit in with the other elite bigs in this draft.
Porzingis himself never seemed worried.
He was relaxed and more than happy to joke about things that happened on draft night in an interview with the fantastic Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report.
Carmelo Anthony reached out to me after I got drafted. He said, “Congrats, welcome to the team.” I didn’t have his number, so I texted back, “Who’s this?” And then a few minutes later, he said, “This is Melo” with his No. 7 as the “l.” I met him actually when I came for my Knicks tryout for the first time. We’ve talked a couple of times since then.
How do you not love that that Anthony uses the text signature “Me7o”? This shouldn’t be a huge shock, he does use the hashtag #StayMe7o on Twitter and Instagram all the time. I’m sure it came from some marketing firm, but he has stuck with it.
As for Porzingis, speaking with him at Summer League you came across a player who was comfortable with the media and in his own skin, someone who got the game and seemed thoughtful. He could be fantastic for the Knicks in the community (if they don’t screw it up).
He had great stories, including about dealing with fans Kevin Garnett reaching out to him.
I would say 99 percent of the fans in Vegas have been positive. Fans are really nice when I see them, but then on social media it’s a little worse. I don’t read everything, but there are still fans who are like, “You’re going to be a bust.” Actually Kevin Garnett gave me advice about that this week. He came up to me after one of our practices when the Timberwolves were walking in.
He knew me a little bit from my interviews. He said, “Take that negative and turn it into energy.” He was telling me, “Just don’t listen to the outside and work as hard as you can.” I really love KG, and it was great having him tell me that advice.
Knicks fans are going to love Porzingis. We just need New Yorkers to be a little bit patient.
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.
Just like you, NBA players like to vacation with their friends.
It just draws a little more attention when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul are hanging out together.
LeBron and Wade were together at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, and apparently a couple other buddies dropped by. You just have to wonder how many of them did the Leap of Faith waterslide. What we do know is some of them went on a banana boat ride.