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.
The Lance Stephenson era in Charlotte was a disaster. He went from shooting 49.1 percent his last season in Indiana to 37.6 percent in Charlotte. His defense wasn’t the same. As a good snapshot, his PER fell from 14.6 in Indy to a “he should be in the D-League” 8.8. He was being shopped by the middle of last season.
He landed this summer in a potentially great spot with the Los Angeles Clippers, but that doesn’t make getting traded by Michael Jordan any fun.
Stephenson talked about that and much more with Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling in a fantastic interview worth reading.
“Yeah, definitely it hurt me (getting traded by Jordan). I felt like I could’ve done more for the organization, I felt like we had pieces, and we just couldn’t get over that hump. There were a lot of injuries, a lot of things that just held us back from having a successful season….
“(Jordan) was communicating with me, telling me to keep a positive head even though I had a rough year. This was one of the roughest seasons—injuries, not getting my spot back. I felt like I could help this squad, but it just didn’t go the way I planned it to go. It’s a good learning experience and it really humbled me, because when you have high expectations, you feel like you’re that guy. It made me feel like, “Hey, you’ve got to keep working. Never stop grinding. Don’t take this stuff for granted because playing basketball is a blessing and you’re getting paid for it.”
Stephenson said that he and Kemba Walker didn’t blend well because they were too similar in style, both wanted the ball in their hands. That could be an issue with Chris Paul on the floor for the Clippers, but you could see Stephenson leading the second unit with the ball in his hands more.
The real question is off the court with Stephenson — how will he impact the chemistry of a team trying to get that right now after DeAndre Jordan’s free agency and what that brought to the surface. Stephenson continues to say his off-the-court issues are overblown.
“You can ask any of the guys that I played with. When I’m on the floor, I want to win. They know how I am. If I yell at them, it’s just because I want to win. They’re not looking at me like, “Lance is an assh–e.” Some people are intimidated to come up to me because of the way I play.”
I expect we will see a bounce-back season from Stephenson, he will be key to the Clippers’ improved bench. And if he gets the chance to blow in LeBron James’ ear in the playoffs again, that would mean the Clippers are in the Finals, and they will be good with it.
By all accounts (I may be waiting for Netflix on this one), LeBron James does an excellent job in Amy Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck.”
But he is just starting to dip his toes in the movie and entertainment business.
Warner Bros. announced Wednesday a formal agreement with LeBron’s SpringHill Entertainment, with the goal of making future TV, film and original digital programs.
“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world, and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara said in a statement announcing the partnership. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere.”
“Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion,” James said in the same statement. “In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to ‘Uninterrupted’ and ‘Survivor’s Remorse,’ it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy. And I’ve always loved movies, which makes Warner Bros. the ultimate partner to help us continue to push the envelope. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.”
This is all very LeBron, the guy who hangs with Warren Buffett and wants to be a mogul. Michael Jordan, Shaq, and other NBA players have been in movies, but LeBron wants to build a movie production company.
So… Space Jam 2?
Space Jam 2 has been rumored for a while now, but LeBron has said he knows nothing about it. But you have to know they are kicking this idea around in the halls at Warner Bros.
Finally, NBA players have had their voices heard.
So long silenced (it’s not like there is media broadcasting much of what they say), the players got the chance to vote and make their choices for some of the top awards in the NBA. The Players’ Awards ceremony — put on by the National Basketball Players’ Association (the players’ union) — took place at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas and was broadcast on BET Tuesday night.
Who won? Here is the list:
MVP: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Best defender: DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
Hardest to guard: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Most clutch: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Coach you most want to play for: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
Best Homecourt Advantage: Oracle Arena, Golden State Warriors
Player you secretly wish was on your team: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s a secret guys want to play with LeBron?
Ray Allen and Allen Iverson also won awards.
What you think of the players’ vote likely largely depends on whether you think Harden should have won MVP over Curry (I don’t, but it’s not like Harden was a bad choice, he was a close second). Or you think Jordan should have won the defensive award over Kawhi Leonard (who won Defensive Player of the Year).
If this was a hit with players, I’m sure the players’ union will continue to put it on, I’d expect we’ll see it for a few more years at least.