When the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets went to the “hack-a-Howard” strategy — fouling the Lakers Dwight Howard wherever he was on the court, even when he didn’t have the ball, to make him shoot free throws — it worked because it threw the Lakers off. In those two games Howard hit 50 percent of his free throws during the strategy (which still isn’t great), but the greater impact was it threw the Lakers out of rhythm on both ends of the court.
But it isn’t just the Lakers flow that gets thrown off, it’s the fans, too. Because watching a parade to the free throw line has the drawing power of CSPAN-2.
David Stern is all about the image and how games look on television — just ask Gregg Popovich and the Spurs — so you know he doesn’t like to watch hack-a-anyone. The league has effectively banned the strategy from the last two minutes of the game by making it two free throws plus the ball out of bounds if you foul off the ball.
And Stern told the guys from the Fox Sports New Orleans broadcast team (when he sat in with them for a bit Wednesday night during the Hornets/Lakers game) he tried to get it banned completely, but couldn’t. Thanks to Henry Abbott at TrueHoop for the transcription:
“I would have liked to have seen the rule changed to make the last-two-minute rule the whole rule,” he said. “It was getting to a point last year where, [in the] first period, they were just grabbing players. I think that’s ludicrous.
“We tried to change it to any time in the game because last year I guess it was everyone was fouling Tiago Splitter early on and the committee didn’t want to do it. And so that’s just the way it is. Because the reality is that there are a lot of basketball purists — and I understand that point of view — who say, ‘Hey, why don’t you learn to shoot foul shots? You’re supposed to be a pro.'”
Abbot makes an interesting suggestion — for off-the-ball fouls, offer the team the free throws or the ball out of bounds. Essentially eliminate the effectiveness of the strategy without killing the flow of the game as much.
I get that. The parade to the free throw line is no fun to watch. But if a guy can’t make his free throws, shouldn’t his team pay a price for that?
Bucks guard Sterling Brown said he’d sue the Milwaukee police department over his tasing and arrest last January. The now-filed lawsuit makes the involved police officers look even worse than videos of the incident already did.
Somehow, J.R. Smith and his gaffe in Game of the NBA Finals got involved.
Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post:
Lowery posted the full lawsuit here.
There is a systematic problem where police too frequently trample on the rights of people, disproportionately minorities. Celebrating that intrusion of governmental forces is disgusting and speaks to the mindset that fuels the problem.
A few suspensions won’t fix the problem. Brown’s lawsuit won’t fix the problem.
But, hopefully, it sheds light on the bigger issue and is a step toward a solution. Unfortunately, history suggests the city will settle and just views it as a cost of doing business.
It appears increasingly likely the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton No. 1 and the Kings will take Marvin Bagley No. 2.
So, Luka Doncic – once more of a consensus top-two prospect – could fall.
All the way to the Mavericks at No. 5? They apparently hope so.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
Dallas at five, they’re asking themselves, “Can we stay at five and get Luka Doncic, or do we have to move up to get the player?” Because that is the guy they have targeted for the Mavericks.
I doubt Doncic gets past the Grizzlies at No. 4, though I wouldn’t rule it out. The Hawks could even take him at No. 3.
Could Dallas trade up with Atlanta at No. 3 to get Doncic ahead of Memphis? What about swapping picks with the Grizzlies, maybe even taking Chandler Parsons‘ toxic contract (though that’d come with complications)?
This is a common situation. The Mavericks have the No. 5 pick. They want a player most people rate higher than fifth. Many teams want players rated higher than where they’re drafting.
The big question: What will Dallas do about it?
Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James very hard to the Rockets.
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:
According to my sources, several things are happening. A, Chris Paul is telling folks Lebron ain’t trying to come to Houston. He wants to be in L.A. These are things I’m getting through the grapevine. Chris Paul is saying LeBron wants to be in L.A.
That’s quite believable. LeBron reportedly said he doesn’t like Houston as a city, and we know he likes Los Angeles. Lifestyle matters.
But it won’t be the only consideration. LeBron is still in “championship mode,” and the Rockets are closer than anyone to beating the Warriors. Perhaps, Paul can still convince his friend to join Houston.
But it sounds as if Paul recognizes he’s playing from behind – and so are all other non-Lakers suitors for LeBron.
The Clippers have (an ideally healthier) Patrick Beverley at point guard. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers are comfortable as lead ball-handlers. With the No. 12 or 13 pick, L.A. could add another point guard – Trae Young, Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Where does that leave Milos Teodosic, a 31-year-old who’s coming off a rookie season in which he missed 37 games while dealing with a foot injury?
O. Cauchi of Sportando:
The Los Angeles Clippers, in fact, are not planning to keep the Serbian point guard for the next season, a league source told Sportando.
his health is one of the main concerns behind Clippers’ decision, a source told Sportando. The team would love to add a younger player in that position and fear that Teodosic’s foot issue won’t be fixed easily, sources told Sportando.
Teodosic holds a $6.3 million player option for next season, but just $2.1 million is guaranteed until July 15. He ought to opt in and collect his $2.1 million before moving on. And if he opts in, maybe the Clippers strike out in free agency, don’t need the additional cap flexibility and keep him.
If they go through with waiving him, Teodosic could land with another NBA team or return to Europe. His foot issues could determine whether another NBA team wants him.
Teodosic is a wonderfully creative passer and good shooter. He’s also a woeful defender, and foot problems would only set him back further.