Tag: Kobe Bryant

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four

Alvin Gentry understands great opportunity, challenge coaching Anthony Davis


At any one time in the NBA, there are at best a handful of guys who will go down as legendary, all-time great NBA players. The men mentioned in the same breath as the best ever to lace them up. Right now there is LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan…

And Anthony Davis.

Davis is just 22, and we are a decade from knowing if he should ultimately be compared to the Duncans and LeBrons of the game — but he is on that trajectory. After just three NBA seasons, he is undoubtedly a top five NBA player and arguably in the top two. His PER of 30.8 last season was 11th best all time in the NBA; the only people ahead of him are named LeBron, Chamberlain, and Jordan. He will wear the crown of best player on the planet in a few years. He has an NCAA title, an Olympic gold medal, two All-Star games and one All-NBA Team to his credit, and he’s still just tapping into how great he can be.

It falls in part to new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry to help him reach his potential.

No pressure.

Gentry talked with NBA.com’s Ian Thompson about that burden, what he has spoken with Davis about, and what he has to do as a coach to guide Davis to that potential.

“It is up to us to make him as good as he can possibly be, and not settle for him to be less than great in this area or that area. I told him that I have no doubt that he is going to be an MVP in this league. And I said to him, ‘We are going to be really, really good if you also win Defensive Player of the Year….’

“It’s like I said to him: As great as he is right now, I see his game expanding in so many areas,” says Gentry of Davis. “And the thing I like about it is he is still willing to learn. I sent Darren Erman, who is my associate head coach and defensive coordinator, to work with him, and he showed him a couple of little things from last year that he had to improve on. And every day Anthony has been working on them. Every single day. Guys usually don’t work on defensive things when you are having a workout, but he has been great at it.

“He is just a special player, and we can’t set limits on him. We have to try to take him to a level that he didn’t feel he could get to — or that no one thought he could get to. We have got to make the sky the limit for him.”

Gentry picked another great player with a legendary work ethic as a potential role model for Davis — Kevin Garnett.

“I told Anthony this — and I think it’s very important — about Kevin Garnett,” says Gentry. “I never had the opportunity to coach him, but I know guys that coached him, and they say that every day Kevin Garnett came into the gym, he had to know that when he left he was a little bit better than he was yesterday.”

Gentry’s style will help here, too. Gentry wants the game to be fun (something he said Steve Kerr emphasized last year). He wants the Pelicans to play faster, which will help Davis both get some transition buckets and get deep position more often. He has emphasized defense (the Pelicans struggled on that end last season). New Orleans is going to take a step forward this season, the only question is now big (and how far they can go in a loaded West).

But in a lot of ways, Gentry’s job (and GM Dell Demps’ job) is to get everything around Davis right. Davis himself will be amazing, but as we have seen through LeBron’s career the players around him will matter, getting those players to buy into the system will matter. Davis isn’t winning rings — which he will need for his legacy — by himself.

It’s a lot of pressure, but there may be no guy more ready for it than Gentry.

Happy Birthday Kobe Bryant, here are top 10 plays of his career

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

Happy Birthday to Kobe Bryant, who turns 37 today.

He’ll likely celebrate by only working out for five hours.

There are few rabbit holes deeper than the Kobe Bryant highlights list on YouTube, but to celebrate the Black Mamba’s 37th birthday we went down that hole and settled on NBA.com’s Top 10 plays from Kobe’s career. (While the video is a couple of years old, it still works very well.)

Kobe is nearing the end of his career, but he’s going to leave it on his terms. Or at least he’s going to try. He will be back on the court this season leading what fans and management hope are the next generation of Lakers’ stars — D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle — by showing them tough love and how to play the game with a high IQ. He will show them how to put in the work. He will show them what it means to be a Laker.

And he will still make some plays that just drop your jaw. Because that’s part of what Kobe does.

Kobe Bryant starts shooting again for the first time since season-ending shoulder surgery

Kobe Bryant

Here’s some good news for Lakers fans: Kobe Bryant has taken a big step in his recovery from the right shoulder surgery that ended his 2014-15 season early. He posted a photo Saturday on his Instagram account of himself in the gym and revealed that he’s started shooting again.

Below the photo, he wrote:

First day back on the court shooting! Bout damn time!! #shoulderrecovery #20thseason @drinkbodyarmor #lakers

With over a month to go before training camp, Bryant being cleared to shoot is a good sign for his health when the season starts. It’s a good bet that this will be his final season, so hopefully he can stay relatively healthy.