A windmill dunk by a young U.S. Airman in full fatigues and wearing boots. If you can dunk like that wearing all that gear, you got hops.
Sir, we salute you.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA is trying to get even more transparent about the calls its officials make.
The league has revamped its nba.com/official website, adding video archives of plays that merited reviews as well as detailed breakdowns of the responsibilities of officiating crews working each game.
A daily injury report is a new addition to the site. That injury report will be updated three times per day.
Other features of the new site include a sortable digital rulebook with video breakdowns of what makes a certain play legal or illegal, as well as the continued postings of the detailed reports breaking down all calls made in the final two minutes of close games.
Things changed in sports after 9/11. The national anthem had always played before sporting events, but in the wake of our national tragedy American sports leagues turned to patriotic and military displays before games as a way to help unify fans. In a small way, some sporting events helped heal the country after that life-altering event.
However, those militaristic displays have continued on 17 years later, with some leagues buying in more than others, and not everybody in the sports world is comfortable with that.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr, never someone shy about speaking out about political and social issues, was asked about the displays at sporting events as part of a wide-ranging interview with Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, which can only be seen in full on the new NBC Sports My Teams app, but we have a clip.
“Sometimes, it’s really inspiring. You see a mother and daughter or a father and son reconnected after a tour of duty, and everybody gets emotional. And sometimes it feels like we’re being patronized. Like this is being used. We’re just playing a sport here, and it feels sort of nationalistic, if that makes sense. So we are kind of wandering down a dicey path on this front.”
Kerr speaks out on politics — usually to bash President Donald Trump — and likely will do more of that with the midterm elections coming up. However, don’t think he takes that step lightly, or that he thinks it’s for everyone. Kerr has a nuanced view and understands the risks of what he does.
“First, you have to feel comfortable with what you’re talking about and what you’re discussing. So if you’re not comfortable with speaking about social issues, then I don’t blame anybody for not doing so. But there’s also a sense, when you’re in a job like this, that you’re working for people. You’re working for a league. You’re working for an owner. You’re working for an organization. And almost everything you say is going to be looked at two different ways. You start to worry about offending people. You start to worry about ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ ‘Am I going to get fired?’ ‘Am I going down the wrong path?’ ‘And I really like this job and I like coaching basketball and I just want to coach. So you sort of leave that alone. I’ve got no problem with that.”
Kerr can speak out because he’s in a secure space (same with the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich). For a lot of coaches, the backlash from speaking out may not be worth the hassle, not from just fans but from within the organization.
Kerr also teamed with Rock The Vote to try and get more people to use their voice at the ballot box. Kerr also knows his megaphone is larger than that, and he’s not afraid to use it.
The Suns had 35 assists in their season-opening win over the Mavericks last night.
That’s their most assists since… their final game last season, when they also dished 35 assists against Dallas. But the Mavericks were tanking hard. Before that, Phoenix last had 35 assists with Steve Nash at point guard.
How did they Suns do it?
They moved the ball well and knocked down shots.
They also appeared be quite generous in scorekeeping.
The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”
Would you say all four of these assists led directly to a basket?
Many scorekeepers systematically award assists if the shooter took two or fewer or dribbles after receiving the pass. Those above plays are not egregious in league-wide context, though maybe a couple of them should be.
Again, maybe we just have to live with a hard-and-fast two-dribble rule. Even though Josh Jackson turned and hesitated a couple times while using both dribbles, this technically falls under the threshold.
But then explain this Trevor Ariza assist to Jackson, who took three dribbles:
That looks like more of an assist than some of the two-dribble plays above. So, maybe the standard is fitting the spirit of the definition OR a player shooting within two dribbles. That casts quite a wide net.
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — It’s not going to be just a game when the Los Angeles Lakers invade Moda Center Thursday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the regular-season opener for both teams.
It will be a happening.
It’s the first game in the splendid 16-year NBA career of LeBron James that the future Hall of Famer will be wearing the uniform of a Western Conference club — the Lakers, with whom he signed a free-agent contract during the offseason.
Members of the national media and a TNT audience will be watching along with a full house at the 20,000-seat Moda Center. And James has caught the fever.
“The season is here,” James told reporters after a recent practice. “First of 82 (regular-season games). It will be fun.”
The basketball world is intrigued to find out how well the 33-year-old James will mesh with his mostly younger teammates, and how much he can help them improve on their 35-47 record of a year ago. Thursday at Moda Center is the first step, but Lakers coach Luke Walton isn’t taking it as a giant leap for mankind all in one swoop.
“We’ve got four years,” said Walton, referring to James’ contract, which calls for three years guaranteed and a player option for a fourth. “We want to make sure we’re not only playing our best come the end of the season, but that he is fresh. It’s a goal for us, and it’s not a one-year journey.”
James, who led the NBA with 36.9 minutes played per game in 2017-18, likely won’t match that average this season. Even so, he figures to be on the court a lot Thursday night.
“If my body is feeling good, then I’m out there,” James said. “If my body is not able to perform at the level I would like to play for my teammates, then I won’t.”
The Lakers could have drawn an easier first opponent that the Trail Blazers, against whom the Lakers have had no success in recent years. Portland holds a 15-game win streak in the series dating to March 2014, and has won seven in a row at Moda Center.
The Blazers mostly stood pat after going 49-33 and earning the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs a year ago, then getting swept in four games by New Orleans in the first round. Portland added a pair of low-cost free agent guards, Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas, to bolster its perimeter shooting game. The Blazers may also have a more significant role available now for 7-1 stretch forward Meyers Leonard, who shot .783 from the field and .727 from 3-point range in the preseason.
“Seth and Nik give us a totally different element with Meyers, the way he shot in the preseason,” Portland general manager Neil Olshey said. “We brought in guys who could have more of an impact at the offensive end.”
The Blazers may be without their starting small forward, Moe Harkless, who missed the entire preseason while rehabbing from knee surgery. His place will likely be taken Thursday night by third-year pro Jake Layman, who averaged 12.0 points and shot .512 from the field and .500 on 3-point attempts through the preseason.
“We’re pleased with the way Jake has seamlessly stepped into that role,” Olshey said.