Tag: Steve Nash

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard

How many things would Kobe change with Dwight Howard? “Zero. Absolutely zero.”


Kobe Bryant has become a quote machine since going down for the season with a torn rotator cuff.

Part of it is he’s done a lot of media (to promote”Kobe Bryant presents ‘Muse” his documentary on Showtime, Feb. 28, 9 p.m. ET). Part of it is he’s reached the “I don’t give a s—” phase of his career. Meaning he’ll say he wanted to get traded to the Bulls back in 2007, not the Pistons. Or that it’s the media’s fault he only has one MVP (the media does vote on the award).

One area he has no regrets? The Dwight Howard debacle.

Kobe was on the Grantland Basketball Hour on ESPN and was just being honest in answering questions. Then he was asked if he could go back in time what he would have changed with Dwight Howard (transcription by Eye on Basketball).

“Zero. Absolutely zero. Nothing,” Bryant said.

“Listen, I learned how to be a leader by watching Magic (Johnson), (Larry) Bird, Michael (Jordan) and those guys. They’re relentless; they’re ruthless. For me to give the keys to this kingdom to the next dude that’s going to lead the Lakers organization for years to come, he has to have that same DNA. I can’t be apologetic.”

Most Lakers fans would agree with him.

Kobe and Howard come at the game very differently, and that led to clashes from the start. Although that dynamic was part of a perfect storm in Los Angeles that year which included Howard returning from back surgery too quickly and Steve Nash being injured as well. As things went south that season, Howard took the public blame in LA.

The question is what player lives up to that billing. My guess is if Kobe could pick he’d go with the Oklahoma City guys — Kevin Durant and/or Russell Westbrook. But Kobe doesn’t get to pick, and the buzz is if Durant does leave OKC he is heading East not West. Westbook is a L.A. guy who played at UCLA, but he’s not a free agent until 2017 and in the NBA that’s a few lifetimes from now.

All we know for now is it will not be Howard.

Kobe Bryant on why he has only one MVP: ‘Because the media votes on it’

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

Kevin Durant wants players, not the media, to vote on NBA awards.

He might have an ally in Kobe Bryant.

Why has Kobe won only one MVP award?

Kobe on The Grantland Basketball Hour:

Because the media votes on it.

It was never a mission of mine to win a lot of MVPs. It was to win a lot of championships.

With that being said, does it bother me? Yeah, it bothers me. Of course it bothers me.

Here’s a history of Kobe’s ranking in MVP voting:

  • 2013: Fifth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul
  • 2012: Fourth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul
  • 2011: Fourth behind Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and LeBron James
  • 2010: Third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant
  • 2009: Second behind LeBron James
  • 2008: Won MVP
  • 2007: Third behind Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash
  • 2006: Fourth behind Steve Nash, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
  • 2004: Fifth behind Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jermaine O’Neal and Peja Stojakovic
  • 2003: Third behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett
  • 2002: Fifth behind Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady
  • 2001: Ninth behind Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Karl Malone and Jason Kidd
  • 2001: 12th behind Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd

If there were any year Kobe could claim he was robbed, it’s 2006, when he averaged 35.4 points per game. That was a crowded and fairly even MVP race, and Kobe had as strong a case as several players.

But the biggest reason Kobe won only one MVP: That’s, give or take, how many he deserved. Really, he might not have deserved any.

Just because Kobe was never the clear-cut best player in the league in a single season – and voted the best only once – does not detract from his greatness. His greatness comes from being a top-five(ish) player for a very long time. That’s different than rising to higher peaks and falling to lower valleys, but it’s no less worthy of admiration.

The MVP – an award that covers only one regular season at a time – has limited value in measuring all-time greatness. It doesn’t cover the playoffs or multiple seasons, two factors that work in Kobe’s favor.

Maybe players voting rather than the media would have gotten Kobe another MVP. He’s well-respected among his peers, especially the younger generation.

But, if anything, I’d say the media has overrated Kobe in MVP voting, particularly in more-recent seasons. So, the media isn’t necessarily to blame for Kobe’s lack of multiple MVPs.

The No. 1 factor: Kobe’s lack of a regular season clearly better than everyone else in the league that year. That’s OK, though. One MVP is more than Kobe needs to warrant status as an all-time great.

Five guys most likely to be moved at trade deadline (but don’t be shocked if few are)

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns

I think only two things feel certain at the trade deadline:

1) Somebody we didn’t expect will get moved (not likely a big name, but a solid player). It happens every year.

2) It’s going to be a bit of a slow deadline, and not all the guys on the list below will get moved. It’s possible none of them get moved. It is far more likely that none of them get moved than a majority of them.

But with less than 24 hours to go before the Feb. 19 NBA trade deadline (the cutoff time is 3 ET), here are the five guys most being talked about around the league.

1) Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns. Last weekend the feeling around the league was that Phoenix would keep Dragic and trade Isaiah Thomas in an effort to balance their roster. Then Dragic’s agents went in told the Suns’ management that the free agent to be will not re-sign with them. That changed the game, the Suns need to move him or risk getting nothing in return — but it also set up another game altogether. Dragic wants to go to a big market where he will have freedom to create in the system — his agents gave the Suns a list that included the Lakers, Knicks, and Heat. However, if they are going to trade him all the Suns care about is getting as much back as possible, they have no concerns for where Dragic wants to go. The Lakers and Knicks don’t have assets anyone wants (no Lakers’ fans, nobody wants Jordan Hill and Steve Nash) while Miami’s offers have not wowed the Suns. Instead, Phoenix is talking in depth with the Celtics, Rockets, and Kings. Those three teams are willing to gamble that if they get Dragic in for half a season they can sell him on their cities and teams, then offer him a five-year contract (other teams will only be able to offer four) and that will be enough to retain him. The Suns could decide they don’t like any trade offers and just keep him and dare him to walk away from the extra contract year (we’re talking more than $20 million guaranteed). But more likely they trade him somewhere he didn’t want to be, which sets up another showdown.

2) Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets. No team may be more active at the deadline than the Nuggets, and no player is drawing more interest than Wilson Chandler. Teams that could use wing help have their eye on him, as he brings 14 points and 6 rebounds a game, plus quality defense. Portland may have the most attractive package: Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, and a future first round pick. The Clippers want to get in the dance and are toying with trading Jamal Crawford for a future first round pick, which would be flipped for Chandler (along with other players). That has not been near enough to move the needle on a deal so far for Denver, will they take the best offer at the deadline or just hold on to him?

3) Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder. He has wanted to run his own team for a while, and when OKC went out and got Dion Waiters to steal some of Jackson’s minutes the drive to get out of town grew stronger. Jackson’s agent has requested the player be traded. The Thunder likely want to make a deal, if they can shed a couple million they can get below the luxury tax line (and they should try to do so since they are close). The problem for OKC is everybody knows Jackson wants out, and they know he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, so why offer much of anything to get him now? The Thunder likely have to take far less than equal value to get a deal done, but they may well live with that.

4) Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets. With the Nuggets asking a lot to get in the Chandler sweepstakes, this may be the more likely solid wing player on the move. The Kings are the team most interested and aggressive right now, offering Nik Stauskas as the centerpiece, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

5) Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz. With Utah more and more seeing the Rudy Gobert/Derrick Favors combo as the front line of the future, Kanter is the odd big out — and he wants out, having his agent request a trade. Kanter will be a restricted free agent this summer, but that is not motivating the Jazz, who have requested a lot back in return for a deal (a quality young player and a pick). That said, there are several teams interested including the Bucks.

Has 2015 set record for All-Star injury replacements?

Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin

Adam Silver wants to expand NBA All-Star rosters, and in practice, he has.

The NBA commissioner has named four injury replacements – DeMarcus Cousins for Kobe Bryant, Damian Lillard for Blake Griffin, Kyle Korver for Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki for Anthony Davis. So, instead of 24 All-Stars, we have 28.

Is that a record for injury replacements? Not quite.

But it sets a record for starters replaced with Kobe, Griffin and Davis having been voted Western Conference starters.

Both 2007 and 1997 featured five injury replacements, and 2010 and 2001 each had four. No other year had more than two.


  • Joe Johnson replaced Jason Kidd
  • Josh Howard replaced Carlos Boozer
  • Ray Allen replaced Allen Iverson
  • Carmelo Anthony replaced Yao Ming*
  • Mehmet Okur replaced Steve Nash


  • Chris Webber replaced Patrick Ewing*
  • Joe Dumars replaced Alonzo Mourning
  • Detlef Schrempf replaced Charles Barkley*
  • Chris Gatling replaced Clyde Drexler
  • Kevin Garnett replaced Shaquille O’Neal


  • David Lee replaced Allen Iverson*
  • Jason Kidd replaced Kobe Bryant*
  • Chauncey Billups replaced Chris Paul
  • Chris Kaman replaced Brandon Roy


  • Latrell Sprewell replaced Grant Hill*
  • Dikembe Mutombo replaced Alonzo Mourning*
  • Antonio Davis replaced Theo Ratliff
  • Vlade Divac replaced Shaquille O’Neal*

*Voted a starter

It’s still possible, though unlikely,, 2015 matches the record for total injury replacements.

Carmelo Anthony seems set on playing, though it’s not a total certainty he will. And if someone can beat Kevin Durant one-on-one, that’s another spot available.

EPL’s Sunderland manager using basketball to improve team’s soccer skills

Balls from most popular games

We’ve seen Hall of Fame level NBA players — Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker and others — claim playing soccer in their youth helped them develop their basketball games. Soccer requires an understanding of spacing, angles and moving without the ball into space, skills that translate beautifully to the basketball court.

So why can’t basketball help soccer players?

Enter Gus Poyet, the manager of Sunderland in the Barclays English Premiere League. He’s a big believer that hoops can help on the pitch and explained that to the Guardian (hat tip to Joseph Prince-Wright of NBC’s ProSoccerTalk).

“Basketball can help in football, especially with marking,” said Poyet, whose late father, Washington, was one of Uruguay’s biggest basketball stars. “The way you turn is similar in both sports. The problem is basketball is not very popular in England – but I’m going to make it popular.”

Poyet’s conviction deepened on Wednesday. “I watched our youth cup game against Newcastle and watching the way the kids marked and moved I thought every player should be playing a bit of basketball. I’ve been talking a lot about basketball since then – and I’ve got a hoop put up at the training ground,

“If you play basketball certain movements become natural. There was a full-back in our game last weekend, somebody was running at him and he was turning, looking at the goal – you cannot mark like that. You mark facing the player and the ball and that’s the same in basketball. You never see a player in basketball running towards his own basket to mark without looking over his shoulder. These little things help you because you have to mark in a certain way.”

Because of the smaller space in basketball you just can’t afford to lose track of your man in the way that often happens on the larger soccer pitch. It’s an interesting point.

Sunderland is a team from the north of England (one best known in my house as the lapdogs of Newcastle, but as a Magpies fan I may be a bit biased there). Considering the weather there this time of year I hope Poyet set up an indoor hoop, not an outdoor one. We’ll see how much that basket helps.

Sunderland is solidly midtable right now but could use a couple more wins just to stay clear of the danger of relegation. The team had been home to American striker Jozy Altidore until recently, when he bolted for Toronto FC of the MLS (which is owned by the same organization that owns the Raptors).