Tag: Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

Michael Carter-Williams off the backboard to Blake Griffin for the dunk (VIDEO)

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Team USA’s Vegas showcase Thursday was an exhibition apparently played in a defense-free zone — even in the NBA All-Star Game guys try a little on the defensive end come the fourth quarter — so you get plays like this:

Michael Carter-Williams off the backboard to Blake Griffin for the finish.

You can say that’s not like real basketball, but for Team USA it does resemble the round-robin group stage of Olympic play.

Andre Drummond went off, Klay Thompson had highlight of night in Team USA scrimmage

Andre Drummond, Michael Carter-Williams

It was a meaningless exhibition that had less defense then your Saturday morning pickup game at the Y. Or a Chinese league game. Or a Summer League game. If you catch an NFL preseason game this weekend, you’ll see more defense. I think you get the point.

Still, there were some entertaining moments out of the USA Basketball exhibition game Thursday night in Las Vegas — and everybody got out healthy, which is what really matters.

Andre Drummond seemed to take things more seriously and had 27 points and 16 rebounds. I kept thinking of Apollo Creed’s trainer in Rocky: “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” Aside that DeMarcus Cousins made some plays on his birthday, Victor Oladipo and Blake Griffin made some plays, and a good time was had by all.

The guy who had the roughest night? DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors wing missed a lot of jumpers on a night when nobody was contesting them. Then Klay Thompson did this to him.

I didn’t know Thompson had that in him, although he may want to work a little on the alley-oop pass at the end.

PBT Extra: Popularity of Stephen Curry evident in new NBA schedule

Stephen Curry, LeBron James

Stephen Curry is the second most popular player in the NBA. If you want evidence, look at the NBA schedule — only one team has as many nationally televised games as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it’s Curry and the Warriors. The NBA is putting Curry front and center.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss this in the latest PBT Extra, looking at highlights of the NBA’s schedule.

In addition to the Curry/LeBron Christmas Day showdown, I’m looking forward to Nov. 11 when DeAndre Jordan has to play in Dallas, and to see the (likely) emotional farewell for Kobe Bryant on April 13 if this is his last game in the NBA.

Mavericks sign JaVale McGee

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets

The Mavericks were reportedly interested in JaVale McGee, and then the Lakers joined the mix.

Dallas got its man – the one who has played just 28 games the last two seasons and has more than his share of mental lapses.

Mavericks release:

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free-agent center JaVale McGee.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Note to Kings: This is how you get value on a talented player who has underachieved and is trying to prove himself. If McGee plays well this season, the Mavericks get him on a minimum contract for next season. If he doesn’t, they don’t have to pay him anything next season. And they’re not paying him $9.5 million this year to find out whether he still has it.

But before looking to 2016-17 McGee must just make this year’s team.

McGee gives Dallas the offseason limit of 20 players. At least 15 – the regular-season roster limit – have fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Wesley Matthews
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Deron Williams
  • Zaza Pachulia
  • J.J. Barea
  • Devin Harris
  • Raymond Felton
  • Justin Anderson
  • Jeremy Evans
  • John Jenkins
  • Charlie Villanueva
  • Samuel Dalembert
  • Maurice N’Dour
  • Salah Mejri

The other four:

McGee’s guarantee is unclear, as is his place on the roster. Even if McGee’s salary is fully guaranteed, he’ll have to best at least one player in the same boat for a regular-season roster spot.

He’ll compete with Pachulia, Dalembert, Mejri and Famous to fill the center role vacated by DeAndre Jordan. If he’s healthy and focused – two longshots – McGee can help. He’s 7-foot and at least had excellent hops.

There’s nothing wrong with Dallas betting on these longshots. Jordan’s defection left the Mavericks desperate. They’re throwing a bunch of players against the wall and hoping one sticks. McGee makes sense with that strategy.

I’m a bit surprised McGee accepted this deal, though. The 76ers owed him $12 million this season. After Philadelphia’s set-off, McGee will make just an extra $1,043,723 from Dallas. Was that really worth locking himself into a minimum salary for next season – especially because even that isn’t guaranteed? At some point McGee needs to reestablish his viability as an NBA player, but I would have held out for a one-year contract. The fallback would have been sitting and getting paid by the 76ers, not a two-year minimum contract with a team option.

The Mavericks need McGee to make better decisions, but he probably made a poor one merely by signing with them.

McGee remains a paradox.

LeBron James and Chandler Parsons fulfill appearance requirement at USA Basketball minicamp

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks
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LeBron James and Chandler Parsons needed a little extra time, but they made it to Las Vegas for USA Basketball’s minicamp.

LeBron discussed his plans for the 2016 Olympics – he’s undecided – and even practiced.

Parsons, recovering from injury, hung out with Spencer Haywood, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin:

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called the minicamp mandatory for players who want to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. So, LeBron and Parsons should still be in the running.

Obviously, that means more for LeBron, who has a roster spot if he wants it. But, with a healthy and productive season, Parsons could make a case as a passing/shooting specialist in the frontcourt. Colangelo values role players.

He also values commitment, and LeBron and Parsons showed that by showing up yesterday.