The reserves for the 2012 NBA All-Star game were announced on Thursday, and in Phoenix, where the Rockets were in town to face the Suns, the results were of particular interest.
Both teams had players who were deserving on some level in Steve Nash and Kyle Lowry, but while Nash was selected, Lowry missed the cut.
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said the fact that his team was sitting just four games above .500 with a record of 15-11 likely had something to do with it.
“I thought Kyle had a really good chance,” McHale said. “It’s too bad, I was hoping they would (select him). I just think for us, for the guys on this team, for them to get recognized as an All-Star and get picked, your record’s going to have to reflect a team that says ‘Hey, they merit an All-Star.’ I think if your record doesn’t reflect that, I don’t care what you’ve done, it’s just hard to get on that team.”
It seems like a good concept … until you look around at some of the other players who were selected.
Deron Williams plays for the 8-19 Nets, Marc Gasol’s Grizzlies are just a .500 team, and Nash’s selection came despite the Suns’ record of 11-14.
When this was pointed out to McHale — regarding Nash, specifically — he thought about it for a beat, then caved almost immediately.
“There goes that theory,” he said.
Last season, Greg Monroe took zero three pointers. Not one in Phoenix, nor Milwaukee, and zero in Boston. He’s not a guy known for his shooting range, last season 90 percent of his shots came within 10 feet of the basket.
That’s not what is going to get Monroe more run in Nick Nurse’s unleashed offense in Toronto. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry can drive into the paint, but they need shooters around them to space the floor and finish the shots they create. Monroe gets it.
We’re not going to nickname Monroe “Curry Jr.” but if he can do anything to space the floor it will help. It also would help Monroe’s longevity in the league.
That said, we’ll fully buy in when we see it. This is not some flip-the-switch change to make.
There’s been an assumption in some quarters of the league that after his current contract — which runs out in 2022, when he is 34 and the Warriors are likely winding down — he might go finish his career, for a couple of seasons, in his hometown of Charlotte. That Stephen will play where his father Dell is a legend.
The younger Curry isn’t thinking that way at all he said on The Bill Simmons Podcast (hat tip Yahoo Sports.)
“I love the Bay Area, man. The only reason I go home now is if my sister’s getting married or to go play the Hornets for that one game, so I haven’t really been back much. I haven’t put my mind there.”
Does Curry want to be a Warrior for his entire career?
“For sure I do. This is home. This is where I want to be, for obvious reasons.”
Will Curry feel that way four years from now? Who knows. That’s several NBA lifetimes away. Curry has said in the past he has thought about playing in his hometown, but obviously he’s not thinking about leaving these Warriors now.
In the same way I liked Kobe Bryant playing his entire career for one team, I would like that for Curry (who was drafted by the Warriors in 2009). He likes that idea, too — going down as the greatest Warrior player of all time. But the lure of home could change all of that in a few years.
When Mitch Kupchak came in as GM in Charlotte it led to a lot of speculation — and a lot of other GMs calling in to check — were the Hornets going to blow it up, trade Kemba Walker, and start to rebuild?
No. Walker is still there, Tony Parker is now backing him up, and new coach James Borrego is talking about upping the pace, getting the Hornets on the run. Walker, heading into the last year of his contract, has consistently said he does not want to leave Charlotte.
That has never stopped fans from his native New York from begging him to come home and lead the Knicks. Walker, talking to Don Amore of the Hartford Courant, reiterated he does not want to leave Charlotte.
“I’ve been hearing it for years,” Walker said Thursday, after working with youngsters at the National Basketball Players Association summer camp. “Every time I come home, ‘When are you going to come home and play for the Knicks?’ I know it’s a special place, I was a Knicks fan growing up, always rooted for the home team. But I just can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey, only because I’ve only been in one jersey.”
“I just want to do something special in Charlotte,” Walker said. “I’ve been there eight years now, and we haven’t really been consistent as far as winning. I just want to try to establish that culture at some point. That’s what I want to do, I just want to make it a winning organization.”
This season, the Hornets are going to try to win, be a playoff team and a threat once there. In a smaller market (one that took owner Michael Jordan a long time to rebuild after what the previous owner had done there), rebuilding can be hard on the bottom line, and the competitive MJ does not want to go there. He wants to keep Walker and build a steady playoff team, and Kupchak has said the same thing.
However, if that doesn’t happen this year, the calculations for the organization and Walker could be different next summer. Could.
For now, Walker just does not see himself if blue and orange.
Steve Kerr and Draymond Green have had their come-to-Jesus meeting (or, meetings) and have found their way to a place of mutual respect.
That doesn’t mean they don’t still argue. Plenty.
All this amuses Stephen Curry, who talked about it on The Bill Simmons Podcast when asked about his favorite Draymond story. (Hat tip Bleacher Report.)
“Probably the times him and Coach Kerr get into it,” Curry said. “And you’re inside of practice and you don’t know whose side to take. Just like, “I guess they’re both right, but they’re both wrong….
“They argue about a play call or maybe something Coach Kerr has been thinking about for a couple games. … And [Draymond’s] like, ‘Don’t over-coach. We know what we doing.’ And coach is like, ‘Well, I know you know what you’re doing, but let me just help you as I’m supposed to do. That’s what my job is, to point out things that could be important for us to win a championship.’
“But they have a real—the respect level between those two is at an all-time high, but they have their moments and it’s just amazing entertainment to watch in practice.”
It’s a long grind of a season, you’ve got to take your entertainment where you can find it.
Green’s passion is a challenge for Kerr, but he can’t snuff out that flame because Green would not be the same player without it. It’s about managing it, showing Green the coach has his back, and Green maturing (something he said happened more quickly after his 2016 Finals suspension). It’s worked the past two years and led to two more rings.