Welcome to our morning look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).
Anderson Varejao is no Magic Johnson. Here is the video proof.
Paul Pierce misses having Delonte West around.
By the way, West apologized for his twitter rant.
I could have sworn I saw Luke Walton have a good game last night. I didn’t think I had that much Stone Ruination IPA.
The 76ers have been good this year, but let’s not throw the word “elite” around. Yet. (The schedule has really favored them.)
That said, the Sixers side pick-and-roll destroyed Indy Monday night (and other teams before that). Philly is playing good team ball and really executing.
Tyrus Thomas did not play Tuesday night because he had “fatigued legs.” He may not be the only one this season.
LeBron James is serious about going to the post.
LeBron James says his ankle is only about 80 percent.
Denver has recalled guard Julyan Stone from the Idaho Stampede of the D-League.
Marcin Gortat took the splint off his thumb and has shot 22 of 31 since.
The Grizzlies will wear a patch the rest of this season honoring the late Gene Bartow, the man who was president of the company that owns the Grizzlies.
Mike Dunleavy will be out up to a month with a groin injury.
Kendrick Perkins now has four technicals this year. As a reminder, suspensions start at 13 this season.
Marcus Camby is old. And still really good.
Charles Barkley talks Tim Tebow (“the national nightmare continues”) and Saturday Night Live.
How about that Jan Vesley. He looked pretty good coming off the Wizards bench Tuesday.
Smush Parker has signed to play in Iran. Somewhere Kobe Bryant just involuntary laughed.
Would you want to get yelled at by Rajon Rondo? Pretty much in any circumstance, most people would say no. Especially if they were Rondo’s teammate.
That’s not the case for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball.
Speaking to ESPN this week, Ball said that Rondo had been pivotal in his development this season, and that he actually enjoyed and encouraged Rondo to antagonize him during practices.
“Yeah, he’ll try to get into me,” Ball said. “Just stuff to try to get me going. He talks a bunch of trash in practice all the time, which makes me pretty mad.”
“I told him, my whole life I [respond to] getting yelled at [by the coach] so that is how I respond … if you see stuff, just yell at me. I tune into it. That is how he tries to help me out.”
Ball went on to say that Rondo was, “The best leader that I’ve ever played with” outside of LeBron James.
Rondo has been famously divisive during his time in the league, perhaps getting on the nerves of some veterans but acting as a favorite among younger players in places like Chicago.
Advanced statistics don’t support the idea that Ball has taken a big leap this year, and if anything he has perhaps trended downward as he’s tried to get into a better rhythm with LeBron and this funky Lakers team that’s been built around him.
However, many believe that Ball has the underpinnings to be a solid player and a consistent starter moving forward in his career. If he can glean any positive traits from Rondo in the meantime, all the better.
Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the Houston Rockets, but for how long?
Houston is trying to find a way to offload the aging superstar, with no apparent buyers ready to step up to the plate. Meanwhile, the NBA community-at-large has being agog with potential landing spots for Carmelo.
The most popular and obvious spot for Anthony to land is with the Los Angeles Lakers, a team made up of a veritable who’s who of former stars from the past decade-and-a-half of NBA basketball.
For their part, the Lakers don’t appear interested externally, and they don’t have a roster spot for him right now anyway. When LeBron James was asked about the potential of adding his Banana Boat friend, he even intimated as much.
I have no idea to be honest, that’s not a question to ask me. Right now, we have 15 rosters spots right? We don’t have a roster spot open right now so that’s not a question for myself.
Of course LeBron is being facetious in saying that he doesn’t have say over roster changes. His entire career has been dogged by his sometimes undue influence in either trading for or getting his buddies re-signed to his team.
Still, Los Angeles does seem like the only realistic landing spot for Anthony at this time. One could see a situation in which LeBron, much as he has tried to resist, getting fed up with LA’s middling play as the trade deadline approaches and forcing some kind of Anthony addition.
But for now, Carmelo remains a Houston Rocket and the Lakers don’t have a roster spot open. That’s the story, and they are sticking to it.
The confidence of Markelle Fultz continues to be a question, not just for Philadelphia 76ers fans but for NBA heads around the league wondering just when the former No. 1 overall pick will get back to his old college self.
Fultz continues to struggle in the oddest ways. The sophomore guard was seen double clutching a free throw attempt recently, which apparently led to another new routine at the charity stripe.
In his latest change is one where Fultz does a little juggle of the ball back and forth before quickly moving into a shooting motion. It took many by surprise on social media, and reporters naturally asked Fultz about it.
For his part, Fultz said that he’s not going to change the routine because it appears to be working for him.
Hey, whatever gives this kid confidence at this time is something that works.
Draymond Green will be away from the Golden State Warriors for a little while as he deals with what the team is calling an injured toe. Meanwhile, the dust has appeared to settle after his disagreement with Kevin Durant rose to a crescendo early this week, resulting in a one-game suspension for Green and questions about whether Durant might leave this offseason in free agency.
Reports have been flying out of Golden State ever since, and now the leader of the team, Stephen Curry, has finally made his voice known.
Speaking to reporters late this week, Curry said that he was proud of how the team handled their disagreement internally, and that it would not be the thing that tore them apart.
Via the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I’m not going to let that fall apart from an incident like that. I can talk about all the different conversations that have happened — whether I’ve been included or not — but again, it’s about how we as a team move forward.”
“Obviously, from a personal standpoint, there are things that need to be worked through like any relationship in life. At the end of the day, they both understand that neither one of them is going to be the reason that we don’t win a championship this year. I can roll with that.”
Those are certainly all the things you want to see from the franchise cornerstone following a dust up like this. Whether it’s actually true is another thing altogether, but we won’t be able to make any judgment on that until Green returns to the floor.
Championship teams have teammates that hate each other. Scottie Pippen even mentioned as much earlier this week. And the Warriors are so talented that I don’t believe it alters their championship hopes one bit if Green and Durant continue to simmer on this the rest of the year.
Kevin Durant is still on the Warriors.
The Warriors are still the favorites to win the NBA championship in June.