Tag: Los Angeles Lakers

Chicago Bulls v New Orleans Pelicans

Russell Westbrook says Derrick Rose is back to his old self


The Derrick Rose pre-injuries was explosive and dynamic — a guy who you could not take your eyes off of, who could carry his teams to wins, and was virtually unguardable. After his injuries Rose relied more on skill than athleticism, and getting there is a process. There’s nothing wrong with that — the great players evolve over the course of their career. The 2010 Kobe Bryant was not the 2002 version, and guys like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson evolved their games over time. Rose’s evolution was forced by injury and with that was uneven. Choose your advanced stat from last season — VORP, win shares, adjusted +/-, PER — and Rose was pretty blah.

However, there were stretches of quality play from Rose last season, and each time he had a great game we heard the same refrain: “the old Derrick Rose is back.” Which never felt true nor was it sustained, but it makes a great narrative.

So pardon my cynicism as Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com passes along this note from the explosive Russell Westbrook about Rose.

I’m going to act like I’m from Missouri on this one — show me.

I’m not alone in my scepticism. Even Goodwill threw this out.

I hope for the sake of the Bulls and fans of the game everywhere Rose proves me wrong. But I need to see it.

Report: Andre Iguodala still under consideration for 2016 Olympics despite not attending minicamp

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called this week’s minicamp mandatory for players who wanted to represent Team USA in the 2016 Olympics.

But, apparently, he didn’t mean mandatory mandatory.

Kobe Bryant is still in contention for Rio, and so is at least one other player not in Las Vegas: Andre Iguodala.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Iguodala is one of seven players previously in the player pool who weren’t expected to attend the minicamp. The other six:

  • Tyson Chandler
  • Kyle Korver
  • David Lee
  • Damian Lillard
  • Derrick Rose
  • Deron Williams

Do any other players have excused absences? I doubt Lillard does. Rose carries such a high profile, we’d probably know if he did. But I wouldn’t rule out Chandler, Korver, Lee and/or Williams.

Even if those four are still under consideration for 2016, I doubt they’d make it. Ditto Iguodala.

Like Chandler and Williams, Iguodala won a gold medal in 2012. He’s a glue player – capable of defending multiple positions and a good enough 3-point shooter. But he’ll also be 32 for Rio.

His 2012 contributions should give him a little extra leeway, and his wedding is a good reason to miss the minicamp. Kudos to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski for not being unreasonable hardliners on the rules.

Iguodala still deserves a chance to earn inclusion on the merits. It’s just hard to see him playing well enough to take advantage of that opportunity.

NBA rookies impersonate Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Matthew Dellavedova and more

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Brandon Armstrong (see here, here, here, here and here) isn’t the only one who can impersonate NBA players.

SB Nation fantastically asked NBA rookies to imitate other players. With all due respect to R.J. Hunter impersonating Matthew Dellavedova, both Nick Young imitations – by Kelly Oubre and Frank Kaminsky – take the cake.

Jerry Colangelo: Kobe Bryant could still make Team USA for 2016 Olympics

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called attendance (even partial ) at this week’s minicamp mandatory to be considered for the 2016 Olympics. USA Basketball named 34 players expected to be in Las Vegas.

One name not on the list: Kobe Bryant.

But apparently the Lakers star still has a shot to represent Team USA in Rio.

Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops:

Kobe Bryant has a chance to be a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, even though he is not attending Team USA’s minicamp this week, USA Basketball Executive Director Jerry Colangelo told SheridanHoops Tuesday.

“If he had a great year, it would be a great story for him to try to close out his career by winning a gold medal,” Colangelo said.

Bryant and Colangelo actually discussed the possibility in June during an NBA/USAB sponsorship conference in New York. Colangelo made no promises or guarantees, but made it clear to Bryant that if he is able to compete at a high level during the 2015-16 season, the door will be open for him to return to Team USA.

Kobe won gold medals with the Americans at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He’s a decorated member of Team USA, and he deserves credit for his contributions.

He also said wouldn’t compete in the 2016 Games.

Obviously, Kobe is under no obligation to stick with that plan. Likewise, Colangelo can keep this week’s minicamp as mandatory as he wants it to be.

But I’d be shocked if Kobe represents the U.S. in Rio.

He said he didn’t plan to play for a reason. He’s getting old, and that’s a taxing burden.

And it’s unlikely Kobe is good enough to deserve a roster spot, anyway. Kobe hasn’t competed at a high level for either of the prior two seasons. It’s unlikely he does next season at age 37.

The door is obviously open for Kobe to make the 2016 Olympic team, and that’s quite a revelation. But it’s still a huge longshot.

Reminder: LeBron James has a lot of miles on his tires

LeBron James

LeBron James is near the peak of his powers and is still only 30 years old.

LeBron James also has now played more minutes — regular season, playoffs, and international combined — than Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Larry Bird, or Isiah Thomas did in their careers. LeBron is ninth on the all-time minutes played list already and should pass Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing this coming season. All of those guys started to battle injuries late in their career, it should be noted.

The folks over at Hoopshype put this in a handy graphic form to make their point.

That is not the all-time list. The All-Time minutes list starts with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (66,297) and then goes to Karl Malone, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Ewing, Barkley, and then LeBron.

What do all those minutes mean? Not much yet. Mostly because LeBron is built like a super-human cyborg and as such has rarely seen injuries or other human frailties in his career. In the playoffs last season he gave us a reminder that he is still the best player alive. I still fully expect him to lead the Cavaliers to a couple titles the next handful of years.

LeBron has seen a dip in efficiency the past couple seasons, although that likely has more to do with the fact he had to carry more offensive load. Probably.

The minutes is just something to keep in the back of your mind as we head into a new season. At some point those miles will catch up with him.