We just spent part of our summer looking back 20 years at the Dream Team with Jordan, Ewing, Magic, Bird, Barkley and on and on, and how that group changed the face of international basketball. Plus we had that silly debate about them and the 2012 team.
But the American Dream Team may not have been the best story from that Olympic basketball tournament in Barcelona.
A new documentary — “The Other Dream Team” — looks back at the 1992 Lithuanian team — a country that had just split off from Russia, a country that had no money to help its basketball program until the Greatfull Dead stepped in with money and tie-dye shirts. A country that had some good players still in Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis. A country that had to play Russia during the Olympics in maybe the most meaningful game in Barcelona.
I really can’t wait to see this entire documentary.
Fertitta was alarmed enough to personally recruit defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik, who retired just before training camp, to return, offering what sources say was a significant raise that pushed his salary to a range that ranks among the NBA’s highest-paid assistant coaches.
Good for Bzdelik using his leverage. He looked like a defensive whiz last season, and Houston slipped without him. Of course, personnel matters, too. There’s no guarantee these Rockets – minus Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute – reach last year’s defensive level.
Bzdelik has been back around the team, but isn’t working full-time yet. It’ll take a while to assess his impact on Houston.
And good for Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta paying up. Fertitta is still trying to determine the right amount for him to spend, but the team is better off if he’s willing to pay what’s necessary to attract the most desirable coaches.
Charles Barkley addresses Draymond Green-Kevin Durant dynamic (video)
“The thing with Luka,” Young says, “he’s a great player. I don’t understand why it can’t work out for both situations. I hear [Atlanta made a mistake] all the time. Luka’s a great dude, and I think he’s going to be a really good player. But at the same time, I’m going to be a better player. Just because of my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved, I think I’ll be better.”
Of course, Young was never going to say Doncic would be better than him. But Young didn’t have to address this so directly at all. By going out of his way to make such a bold statement, Young puts more pressure on himself.
So far, both Doncic and Young have impressed. I’ll still stick with Doncic, though. Enough to justify Dallas surrendering that extra first-round pick? That’s a far tougher call and the one the Hawks will be judged by.
Young doesn’t want that leniency, though. He’s aiming to be better than Doncic straight up and unafraid to say so publicly.
Markelle Fultz’s new free throw stroke is… different.
Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz is in his own head with his free throw stroke now. (And, likely much more than that, but we’ll stick with the free throws for now.)
Earlier this week Fultz double-clutched a free throw attempt and his stroke was a mess.
Each game that stroke seems to change and the latest one is… different. Very different.
I share these Fultz free throws not because they look awful (honestly, I think he got a cleaner release than he has been getting recently), but just because I've honestly never seen someone toss the ball back and forth in his hands prior to shooting before. pic.twitter.com/f4vtOtgJq7