Tag: Kobe Bryant

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

Other highlights from NBA’s GM survey: Some thought Chicago had better summer than Cleveland


We hit you with the highlights of the annual NBA GM survey already — they think LeBron James is a really good player, and his Cavaliers will face the Spurs in the Finals. Really going out on a limb there.

But as always there is more interesting stuff farther down the survey and buried in some of the answers. These are the other things that jumped out at me.

• Oddest vote of the survey — 10.7 percent of GMs thought Chicago had the best offseason of any team. Hey, I love the Pau Gasol pickup too, but did those guys notice what happened in Cleveland? One GM also said Gasol was the best addition to any team this offseason… again, did he see Cleveland?

• Speaking of odd votes, one GM picked the Wizards to come out of the East this season.

• Another GM predicted the Rockets would win the Southwest division (everyone else was same and picked the Spurs).

• What player will make the best coach when he retires? GMs said Chris Paul, who got 24 percent of the vote and certainly has a great basketball mind. Who came in second was more interesting — Steve Blake. Kirk Hinrich of the Bulls was third. Jarrett Jack tied for fourth with six percent of the vote.

• When asked what one player they would want to start a franchise with of course half the GMs chose LeBron James, but more interesting is that Anthony Davis was tied with Kevin Durant in second place, each receiving 25 percent of the vote. That tells you how much people are starting to expect out of Davis. (Davis was also voted player to most likely have a breakout year.)

• James Harden was voted best shooting guard in the league with 63 percent of the vote, no surprise there. Klay Thompson was second (18.5 percent), followed by Kobe Bryant tying Stephen Curry for third even though Curry plays primarily the point (both got 7.4 percent). Then one GM voted Kevin Durant as the best two guard.

• Best power forward was a tie between LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, each getting 25 percent of the vote. Anthony Davis was third (21.4 percent) followed by LeBron (10.7 percent). The real surprise to me was Kevin Love was fifth (7.1 percent).

• Atlanta’s Kyle Korver was picked as the player best at moving off the ball (53.6 percent), followed by the Clippers J.J. Redick (Doc Rivers loves to run him off multiple screens).

• Dallas picking up Tyson Chandler was considered the most underrated move of the offseason (17,9 percent of the vote). The Pelicans getting Omer Asik and the Clippers getting Spencer Hawes tied for second at 14.3 percent.

• Biggest steal of the draft? GMs chose Utah getting Rodney Hood at 23 (he has looked good at Summer League and in their system). The Bulls getting Doug McDermott at 11 came in second.

• Best international player not in the NBA? Tie between former NBA player Rudy Fernandez and Dario Saric, who belongs to Philadelphia and will join the NBA in a few seasons.

• Best assistant coach? Golden State’s Alvin Gentry come on down, you’re the big winner. Sort of.

Five top candidates for NBA Rookie of the Year

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks

Eight of the last nine NBA Rookie of the Year winners have fit the same mold: A player on a bad team where the coach puts the ball in his hands and asks him to make plays and put up numbers. Michael Carter-Williams did it last year, Damian Lillard the season before that, Kyrie Irving the season before that and so on (Blake Griffin being the exception).

This season we may see another exception — the guys in the best position to win are a lot of big men who play inside.

Here are the five most likely players to win the Rookie of the Year Award.

1. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers. Consider the Blake Griffin effect — an entire season to work out, add muscle, improve your game, and an entire year to watch the NBA game up close and learn. Griffin admitted it was an advantage for him, Noel has that advantage now. Add to that the fact Noel was the most impressive player I saw in limited minutes at Summer League in Las Vegas and you have a real candidate. Noel is on a bad team and going to get plenty of shots, plus the runs the floor well on a team that will play at one of the fastest paces in the league. Noel could put up both impressive numbers and a lot of highlights. That said he’s not been great in the preseason and has battled through some minor physical issues.

2. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks. This is the guy 75 percent of general managers picked to win the award (and more than a third think he will be the best player in five years from this class). Parker entered the draft with the most mature offensive game of anyone in the lottery (he can score in a variety of ways and has a nice first step), now he goes to a young Bucks team that is going to give him the rock a lot. In the preseason that has meant some impressive nights (21 and 11 against the Timberwolves, for example). I don’t know about five years from now, but I think he will have an impressive rookie season on a Bucks team that will be very entertaining.

3. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves. Wiggins is the No. 1 overall pick, a heralded pick, a freak athlete, a guy who has shown a nice midrange game, and he seems to learn quickly. There’s a lot to like, and he’s going to put up some decent numbers as well as some real highlight dunks. The question in Minnesota is how much run does Flip Saunders give Wiggins, that team has solid veterans on the wing like Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer. Ricky Rubio is going to throw Wiggins some sweet lobs but Rubio is going to have the ball in his hands most of the time. Wiggins’ personality is to fit in with teammates, not just take charge all the time. Combine all of that and I wonder if he’s really going to get enough touches to win the award.

4. Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers. He’s going to come off the bench behind Carlos Boozer in Los Angeles, but the Lakers bench is going to be more fun to watch than the starters most of the time anyway. Randle should get a lot of touches on what will not be a good team, but will veteran-friendly coach Byron Scott really let the kid loose. Randle has been up and down in the preseason. Kobe Bryant says Randle could win it if he would just %$(*#% listen to him and not blow it.

5. Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn Nets. The guy can shoot the rock and Lionel Hollins likes guys that can shoot the rock, he may well start and certainly will get plenty of burn in Brooklyn. That said, with his years of international experience, I’m not sure voters will want to vote for him as a rookie, plus with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez on that team there just are not a lot of touches left.

Honorable mentions:

• Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics. I put him here because one GM gave him one vote in the GM survey, and him winning is about as likely as any of the other dark horses. Smart can defend but his offensive game is a work in progress, and he’d going to spend most of the season behind Rajon Rondo anyway (unless Rondo is traded).
• Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls. A lot of fans like him, and I like his game and fit with the Bulls, but he’s just not going to get enough run — if you think Thibodeau is going to lean heavy on a rookie I’m not sure what Thibs you’ve been watching.
• T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns. If you’re looking for a rookie who can score, Warren is your man. He showed it in Summer League and preseason, he’s strong in transition and the Suns like to run.

NBA GMs surveyed predict LeBron will win MVP, Spurs will repeat as champions

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five

The NBA’s annual GM survey is a nice temperature check of what those running the teams on a day-to-day basis believe is most likely to happen during the upcoming season.

The vast majority of predictions stay on the conservative side, but there are plenty of interesting notes to share as we pore over the results.

First, the ground rules, via John Schuhmann of NBA.com:

The GMs responded to 56 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to each question of the survey, rather than all 30 GMs.

Now, some of the more interesting conclusions.

The Spurs were the overwhelming choice to repeat as champions, taking home 46.2 percent of the vote. The new-look Cavaliers were second at 15.4 percent, followed by a three-way tie for third between the Bulls, Clippers and Thunder, all of whom received 11.5 percent.

Cleveland received the most votes to win the East at 70.4 percent, with the Bulls finishing a distant second at 25.9 percent.

LeBron James was the overwhelming favorite to reclaim the MVP award that Kevin Durant won last season. James received 67.9 percent of the vote, while Durant came in second with 21.4 percent.

As for Rookie of the Year, the league’s GMs believe it to be essentially a one-man race. Jabari Parker received 75 percent of the vote, with Andrew Wiggins coming in a fairly distant second with 17.9 percent.

Joakim Noah received the most votes for the league’s best defensive player, though the margin wasn’t that great at just 35.7 percent. James came in second at 21.4 percent, while Dwight Howard and Serge Ibaka finished third with 14.3 percent each.

Gregg Popovich was the overwhelming choice for best head coach at 92.9 percent; Lionel Hollins and Tom Thibodeau were the only others to even receive votes.

And finally, the “clutch” question of who GMs would want taking the final shot with the game on the line was answered somewhat emphatically: Kevin Durant received 76.9 percent of the vote, with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James garnering just 7.7 percent apiece.

Suns’ Isaiah Thomas hits shot to force OT, stares down Floyd Mayweather (VIDEO)

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers and Suns gave the fine folks of Anaheim a little free basketball Tuesday night, going to overtime of their preseason game (ultimately won by the Suns).

Kobe Bryant hit some key shots for the Lakers down the stretch (8 of his 23 points came in the final 2:03 of the fourth) but when Wesley Johnson missed a couple free throws it gave the Suns a chance to tie with 10 seconds left. The Suns’ Gerald Green missed that contested three to win it, but the offensive board came right to Isaiah Thomas, who knocked down the shot that forced OT as the buzzer sounded.

Then Thomas turned around and stared down Floyd Mayweather, who was courtside.

Mayweather thought it was funny. He loved it. And Thomas had a little smirk on his face as he went back to the bench.

Kobe Bryant responds to ESPN article with basically a shrug (VIDEO)

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

It’s been the “hot take” sports story of the week, Henry Abbott’s ESPN article saying free agents don’t want to come play for the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant.

Kobe was asked about that after the Lakers’ preseason overtime loss to the Suns Tuesday night and he basically shrugged. Kobe took the big picture view, as you can see from the video above, courtesy Shahan Ahmed of NBCLosAngeles.com.

“Understand that it’s a cycle and things are never as good or as bad as they seem in the moment.”

Those are the words of a veteran. One who is unconcerned with what is written about him. Kobe is comfortable with who he is, and if others are not — including free agents — he sees that as on them, not him.