Wednesday And-1 links: Hangin’ with Clyde Frazier

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Here is our daily 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) — done in bullet point form. Because god is a bullet, have mercy on us everyone

• Don’t you just want to sit and have some drinks with Clyde Frazier? Great stuff from Amy K. Nelson at SBN.

• Bill Walton and Junior Seau are two of San Diego’s biggest sports icons. Walton says he regrets not knowing Seau needed help.

• Atlanta’s Al Horford and the Red Sox David Ortiz are good friends. It’s a Dominican thing.

• A guide to the Euroleague Final Four for NBA fans.

• At one time Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler were the future of the Bulls back line. This is a fantastic look at their divergent careers from Jonathan Abrams at Grantland.

• Also at Grantland, Steve Kerr lays out the argument for a 20-year-old NBA age limit. I’m not a fan, and I don’t think you can argue that it’s better for player development — players do not get better prepared for the NBA life living in a small college town with limits on their practice time and then taking on inferior competition. They just don’t get better as fast as they do in the NBA. But, it’s better for NBA teams if players develop in college because then the NBA teams don’t have to spend the revenue and resources on that development. Don’t say it’s better for the players, admit it’s just better for the bottom line.

Tom Ziller with a good critique of Kobe Bryant’s shot selection in Game 5 Tuesday. This is a spiral with the Lakers — other guys come out passive so Kobe’s nature is to take that load on, so the guys get more passive, so Kobe takes on more, and soon he’s not taking smart shots at all and other guys are standing around.

• Brandon Roy is still talking about a possible NBA comeback.

• In case you haven’t noticed, the Celtics have stopped turning the ball over so much.

• You know who wins championships in the NBA? Guys who have already won championships.

No word on Stan Van Gundy yet. Does anyone think he’s not getting fired?

• Making the case for why Nate McMillan should coach the Wizards. I’m not a fan of this idea — McMillan is a grind-it-out coach who likes his teams to play slow and that’s the opposite of what you should do with John Wall.

• The Bobcats are casting a very wide net in their coaching search and may be looking at future assistant coaches as well.

• Derrick Favors wants to be a starter next year in Utah. He should be.

• Speaking of the Jazz, look for them to pick up the option on DeMarre Carroll for next season.

• Detroit’s marketing arm is working hard to bring fans in while the team struggles.

• The Pistons are hoping to get Jason Maxiell back next year, but Maxiell faces a difficult choice — he has a $5 million option for next season. It’s doubtful he can make that much on the open market, but would he be willing to sacrifice some money off the top for the security of a three-year deal? Not an easy call.

• Gregg Popovich goes through the playoffs petrified of losing. Seriously.

• Great draft break down by position by Chad Ford at ESPN.

Draymond Green guarantees Warriors will beat Rockets in Western Conference finals

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Warriors coach Steve Kerr is confident despite his team trailing the Rockets 3-2 in the Western Conference finals.

Golden State forward Draymond Green goes further.

Green, via Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

“We still winning this,” Draymond Green said. “Book it.”

Of course, Green is confident. He’d never say he expects his team to lose.

But he didn’t need to frame it this way. He could’ve said he was just focused on the next game rather than make such a bold proclamation.

He’s taking pressure upon himself and putting his reputation on the line. If Golden State loses, especially in Game 6 at home with Chris Paul out, Green will be widely mocked.

If he and the Warriors pull through, he’ll probably deserve praise for setting a tone that helped them advance.

Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard told me he wants to stay with Spurs

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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The Spurs are reportedly worried Kawhi Leonard‘s camp wants to get him to the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks or 76ers.

Leonard hasn’t said much himself – except apparently to San Antonio teammate Danny Green

Get Up on ESPN:

Green:

I talk to him here and there, check up on him, see how he’s doing.

I think he wants to be in San Antonio. He’s let me know that. He’s let me know verbally he wanted to be there. So, we’ll see what happens.

Green has tried playing peacemaker throughout this saga – going as far as denying tension that clearly exists. He’s not the most reliable source.

And even if Leonard explicitly told Green he wants to remain in San Antonio, I’m not sure Leonard is confrontational enough to tell Green he wanted out, even if he did.

Those caveats acknowledged, this could be a huge revelation.

If Leonard wants to stay with the Spurs, the next step is meeting with them, mending their relationship and convincing them he deserves a super-max extension (which projects to be worth $219 million over five years). No matter how Leonard feels about San Antonio right now, if the Spurs don’t trust investing so much in him, that could lead to a fractured relationship and his exit.

So, there’s still a lot to sort out. But Green saying this means something.

LeBron James flips elimination-game game on its head

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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His Cavaliers down 3-2 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, how does LeBron James assess his situation?

"I don’t enjoy being in the position where it’s you lose and go home," LeBron said before Game 6 tonight in Cleveland.

He might not enjoy this position, but he’s pretty good in it.

Since he first reached the playoffs in 2006, other teams have won 26% of their elimination games. LeBron’s teams have won 57% of theirs.

Of course, LeBron hasn’t gone 12-9 in elimination games just because he’s lucky. He has willed his team off the mat numerous times.

LeBron has scored 40 points and/or had a triple-double in six straight elimination games, winning five of them. His line in his last elimination game before that streak? Just 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.

A full history of LeBron’s elimination games:

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Rockets played with fire with Chris Paul, got burned

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Chris Paul played 79 minutes in three days.

Prior to Games 4 and 5 of these Western Conference finals, he hadn’t done that in more than two years. He hadn’t done it without both games going to overtime in more than three years.

The Rockets leaned heavily on the 33-year-old Paul, and they’ll pay the price.

Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow. Given how quickly Houston ruled out Paul with a strained hamstring, he seems unlikely to play in a potential Game 7 Monday.

Injuries are somewhat – but not completely – random. Players are more susceptible when worn down. After missing the close of the 2016 postseason, Paul missed 45 games the last two regular seasons. He has accumulated a lot of mileage in his 13-year career.

Yet, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni drastically shortened his rotation, anyway. Not only did Paul play big minutes in this series, he shouldered a huge load. He took the reins of the offense at times, allowing James Harden to conserve energy for defense, while maintaining his own strong-two way play. That’s never easy, especially in these high-intensity games.

This was the risk.

We can feel bad for Paul and his predicament. We can also acknowledge Houston got this far by gambling on Paul’s health.

That’s not to say it was a bad bet. This is what you save him for, the biggest playoff series of his career and maybe one of the last before he exits his prime. The Rockets would have been far worse off to this point resting Paul extensively and protecting him. Even with such a heavy workload, an injury was never fait accompli. And Houston got plenty from Paul before he went down. He was instrumental to wins in Game 4 and Game 5 that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Now, they just must hope that’s enough of a head-start into a world of playing without Paul.