LeBron James is working on a skyhook? Old-school cool.

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It is the most iconic signature shot in the history of the NBA — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would get the ball on the low right block, rock toward the middle to make the defender shift, then roll back to baseline with his left shoulder creating space while his right hand took the ball ridiculously high for the “skyhook.”

It was indefensible.

LeBron James is apparently working on it. From the Heat Index at ESPN.

A year ago, LeBron James adopted elements of Hakeem Olajuwon’s Dream Shake. This time around, the Miami Heat star forward is implementing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s patented skyhook….

James vows to add the traditional hook shot to his game, and he could test it out when the Heat play a pair of exhibition games this week in China against the Los Angeles Clippers. (Heat assistant coach Bob) McAdoo proudly acknowledges that James is continuing to build a foundation of post moves that took root two summers ago in Houston with (Hakeem) Olajuwon.

James’ hook, if he breaks it out that often (my guess is LeBron will fall back on power moves mostly when he posts up) will not look like Kareem’s for reasons even James can’t match — Kareem had an insanely high release point on his skyhook that was paired with a feathery soft touch. There’s a reason he’s scored more points than anyone in NBA history.

But some things can be the same. What made the skyhook work for KAJ was that if you overplayed it he had a quick spin to the middle and he could finish at the rim with either hand, and his footwork was fantastic. The skyhook was the signature, but it wasn’t the only post move you had to stop. It is the same with LeBron, who has some of Olajuwon’s Dream Shake (which was really a series of moves and counters). There isn’t just one move, there is a variety. You can’t stop LeBron one-on-one on the block because of it and once the double comes he can pass out to open shooters.

But man, I would really love to see LeBron break out an old-school sweeping hook shot. I love the throwback moves.

Rockets wear jersey patch to honor Santa Fe High School vs. Warriors

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The Houston Rockets have been supportive of the Texas community after a gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Rockets point guard Chris Paul called NBA basketball “minor” compared to what those in Santa Fe are having to endure, and on Thursday the team took things a step further and donned special jerseys for their playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

As Houston prepared to take on the reigning champs in Game 5 back in Texas, the team tweeted out a photo of the jerseys — complete with a special patch on the left shoulder — to honor the victims of the shooting.

Via Twitter:

The NBA has a lot of advocates for social and political change, not just individually but organizationally. How the Rockets responded is good to see in the face of yet another school shooting.

Andre Iguodala out for Warriors again in Game 5; Klay Thompson available

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The Warriors missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 against Houston. They don’t have a Death/Hamptons 5 lineup without him. Without his depth, the Warriors had to lean more on players such as Kevon Looney (who started), Nick Young, and others who are can be a liability at the high level of play in this series. Not having Iguodala to keep minutes down, play fierce defense, move the ball on offense, and be a stabilizing force was one of the issues that led to the Warriors fourth-quarter issues in Game 4.

Now they are without him for Game 5, too.

Having Klay Thompson on the court is huge for Golden State, although it will be worth monitoring to see how he moves.

The Warriors have gotten sucked into the switching/isolation game the Rockets want to play, if they are going to take Game 5 on the road they need to get back to “the beautiful game” they want to play. That would have been easier with Iguodala.

Two years after NBA retirement, Amar’e Stoudemire talking comeback

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NBA teams seemed to have moved on from Amar’e Stoudemire. After an impressive NBA career — five-time All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star — he wasn’t physically the explosive player that dazzled with the Suns. Teams were interested in getting younger and more athletic, and Stoudemire was doing neither. He retired from the NBA and played for a season in Israel where he won a league title. This summer he’s signed up to play with the Big3.

After that he’,d like another crack at the NBA. When asked about an NBA comeback, here’s what Stoudemire told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter on ‘Reiter’s Block’:

“I am. I am. I’m definitely planning on (coming back). I’ve been training like you wouldn’t believe, my body feels great. I had an amazing year last year playing overseas and so I’m gonna definitely continue to work my way back to top shape and see if there’s a team that needs my talents.”

I’m not sure there’s going to be much demand. Maybe a team does an old friend a favor and brings him in for some workouts. However, his knees and body struggled with the physical grind of the NBA the final few seasons of his career, and it’s unlikely with age that got better. No doubt he’s worked on his conditioning and strength, but Father Time always wins the race and it already felt like this chase was over.

That said, good on Stoudemire for not giving up on the dream. His agent should be making calls, maybe he can become the second player to make the Big3 to NBA leap.

 

 

Kristaps Porzingis after conversation with David Fizdale: ‘Man im excited!’

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David Fizdale learned a lot of lessons in his first go around as a head coach, spending 101 games with the Memphis Grizzlies. At the top of the list: Build a strong bond with your star player. Or else.

Fizdale is trying to do that, saying he would fly to Latvia this summer to spend time with Kristaps Porzingis. But first came a phone call, and that seemed to go very well.

It’s not just Porzingis. Fizdale was bonding with Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Damyean Dotson on Wednesday night in Boston. A little “this is where we want to be” motivation.

Good on Fizdale for all of this.

The Knicks got the best coach for them on the board in Fizdale, and so far the new front office — general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills — are making smart decisions. Knicks fans should be optimistic. Knicks ownership just needs to be patient (not James Dolan’s strong suit), because with no Porzingis for a large portion if not all of next season the team will struggle. Wins will be hard to come by. Fizdale needs a season to develop players and lay the foundation for what he wants to build, while the new front office needs time to clean up the salary cap mess that is New York right now.

With some patience, the Knicks could have something special in a few years. And Fizdale may have found the right home for his talents because he’s already got players buying in.