Say what you want about Isiah Thomas — and we’ve said plenty over the years — the man knows about being disliked. He was the best player on the “bad boy” Pistons teams. You’ll be hard pressed to find people around the old CBA league that speaks well of him. And then there’s the entire city and state of New York.
So I guess that gives him some kind of authority to speak about not being liked.
Right now, nobody is hated around the NBA like LeBron James and the Miami Heat. And Thomas said he knows why, reports our own Ira Winderman, writing for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“It kind of comes with the territory when you’re really good,” Thomas said. “Nobody cares about the loser. Everybody likes the loser.
“Some people are not going to like you because you are successful and I think LeBron has been extremely successful since high school and Wade has been successful and I think those guys will continue to be successful. And with their success, there are going to be some people who are upset with that.”
Um, I’m not sure that’s it. I think it’s more about how LeBron put a shank in the back of Cleveland like it was a prison fight, did that on national television, then was seen acting care-free at a wild pep rally in Miami 48 hours later talking about seven rings. It’s not LeBron’s success, or even making a move to Miami that was totally within his rights (if you’re mad about him even going to Miami, and you’re not from Cleveland, you’re wrong), it’s about how he did it. It left people with a bad taste.
Thomas is the coach of college team in Miami, one who is hosting a big Nike/LeBron charity game next Saturday, so you know he’s going to stick up for LeBron now. It’s all about how you see LeBron from your perspective.
I’m just not sure Thomas’ perspective matches most of the nations. Not sure it ever has.
Anthony Davis went into this season wanting to be seen as the best player in basketball.
Part of that perception is team success, and while the Pelicans are a good-not-great 8-7 to start the season it’s not because of Anthony isn’t doing all he can. He dropped 43 points and 17 rebounds on the Knicks, helping spark the Pelicans comeback against the Knicks. Check out the video above.
Davis is averaging 26.5 points with a quality 56.4 true shooting percentage, plus 17.1 rebounds a game. His PER of 26.8 is sixth best in the NBA. When Davis gets some help, and the Pelicans play a little defense, this is the kind of team AD might want to stick with.
Carmelo Anthony is in limbo now. He’s not with the Rockets, not suiting up for games or playing, but he’s still on the roster. Houston has yet to waive him because they and his agent have not yet found a landing spot for him — other teams don’t want to get into the Carmelo Anthony business right now. Maybe that changes as injuries come and rosters shift, but right now there are no takers.
It has led Tracy McGrady and others to suggest Anthony retire.
Allen Iverson disagrees, speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Iverson is right, Anthony needs to be in the right situation. I’m just not sure what that is.
Anthony, like all great athletes, wants to leave the game on his own terms. The challenge is he is no longer a top two or three player on a good team, yet he feels entitled to be put in that role (or, at least, be treated like one of those guys). ‘Melo came off the bench in Houston but didn’t like it. The problem is that’s where his game is at that point — he’s a bench role player who can get some buckets but hurts the team defensively. That limits when he can be put on the court, especially in the playoffs. Can he accept that spot on a team?
Eventually, a team is going to give Anthony a chance, and I hope that works out. I would like ‘Melo to leave the game with us remembering him as the Hall of Fame player and elite scorer that he was, not like this.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia now, but he is not done throwing shade at his former teammates in Minnesota.
Butler had 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including the game-clinching layup, as the 76ers beat the Jazz 113-107 Friday night. After the game, he got the walk-off interview with Serena Winters and took a dig at his former Minnesota teammates.
“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys… Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”
Part of Butler’s issues with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins was he felt they didn’t want to win badly enough, that they didn’t measure up to his level of passion. Butler is still in the honeymoon phase with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers, but so far he likes the intensity so far and is happy to make a note of the difference.
By the way, they’re happy in Minnesota without him — the Timberwolves are 3-0 since the trade, Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing like his All-NBA self, and he says the communication is better now and guys are taking responsibility.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) —The New Orleans Pelicans say point guard Elfrid Payton has a fractured finger on his left hand.
Payton injured his finger in the first quarter of his first game back on Friday night after he’d missed New Orleans’ nine previous games with a right ankle sprain.
Soon after, Payton was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the New York Knicks.
Acquired as a free agent this past offseason, Payton has played in six games for New Orleans. He entered Friday night’s games with averages 11.6 points and 6.4 assists through his first five games, but did not have a point or assist in eight minutes against New York before his latest injury.