Here is our regular 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 bloggers love bullet points more than you love Thanksgiving leftovers….
• Rudy Gay — who is shooting 37.5 percent on the season — has banned stat sheets from the Toronto locker room. In the name of team play and not focusing on stats.
• Here is a fantastic breakdown of what is going wrong with the Nets. A lot of it is they miss Brook Lopez (and could use the good Deron Williams, if he still exists).
• Nate McMillan, the former Trail Blazers head coach who is now an assistant with the Pacers, talks about his return to the Pacific Northwest for a game.
• It’s not like he was getting on the court much anyway, but Warriors rookie Ognjen Kuzmic will miss at least six weeks following surgery to repair his broken right hand.
• If you ever wanted to know the grooming secrets of NBA players… well, I’d be a little worried about you. But here are the details if you care.
• Here are the nitty-gritty details of the new Paul George contract. The bottom line: He will get 27 percent of the salary cap next year (if he makes the All-Star Game, which he will) rather than 30 percent, as a trade off he has an opt-out after four seasons.
• A group of Cleveland Fans are trying to lure LeBron James back with T-shirts. Good luck with that.
• Some Bucks fans are raising money for a billboard that will beg the team to lose more games and tank for the lottery. Well, it has a better chance of working than the LeBron T-shirts.
• One of the guys who made those back-to-back games Oklahoma City Thunder half court shot promotions and won $20,000 is a college basketball player. You can feel the NCAA itching to investigate already.
• The Boston Celtics (teamed with American Express) have launched pre-game mobile application show, called “Home Court Advantage presented by American Express.” Done in conjunction with Celtics.com, it will include analysis of whoever Boston is playing that night, special interviews with Celtics players and coaches, a look at practices and some off-the-court features. Just a quick search of your smartphone store of choice can find this.
• Finally, Jeremy Lin took a little blow to the head the other game.
Last season in Minnesota — with Jimmy Butler torpedoing the team and ending the Tom Thibodeau era — was pretty much the figurative definition of a train wreck.
Out of that wreckage, the Timberwolves think they found some positives. Ryan Sunders was thrown into the fire as a young coach but bonded with Karl-Anthony Towns. Robert Covington sparked the defense before his injury. Josh Okogie emerged as a player. This summer the team drafted a player with a lot of potential in Jarrett Culver.
Minnesota also brought in the aggressive Gersson Rosas out of Houston to take over as team president and start reshaping the franchise into one that can live up to the promise of Towns’ potential. For that to start to happen, meaning a return to the playoffs, Rosas pointed to a couple of things needing to go right this season. First and foremost, they need more — and more consistency — out of Andrew Wiggins. Via Timberwolves writer/podcaster Dane Moore.
Most Timberwolves fans, and the rest of the league, have moved on from Wiggins, who has four years, $122 million left on his max contract. While he averaged 18.1 points per game last season, he doesn’t get those buckets efficiently nor consistently, and the result is an average/slightly below-average wing whose contract is an anchor on the franchise. We’ve learned no contract is untradable in the NBA, but this is as close to that line as it gets — the sweeteners Minnesota would have to throw in right now make a deal are prohibitive.
The only thing Minnesota can hope for is that in year six Wiggins takes some steps forward he did not take in the last five. Maybe continuity helps, but we’re all going to need to see it before we believe it.
The other thing Rosas said Minnesota needs: More consistent defense from Towns.
Saunders seemed to connect with Towns and got him to defend, and Covington played MIC linebacker calling out coverages and getting guys in position before his injury. Rosas said Covington would be good to go at the start of the season, if so that gives the Timberwolves real hope that the defense will improve.
Whether all of that will be enough to get them into the playoffs in a deep West is another question, but at least Minnesota seems to be moving in the right direction now.
WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump is set to present basketball legend Bob Cousy (KOO’-zee) with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The award is being handed out Thursday. It celebrates individuals with a wide range of achievements and is the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The 91-year-old Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member played for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963. He won six league championships and the 1957 MVP title.
Cousy is also known for speaking out against racism. He was an ardent supporter of black teammates who faced discrimination during the civil rights movement.
Cousy will be the second person to receive the award this year from Trump. Golfer Tiger Woods received the honor in May.
In 2014, published audio of a racist rant by then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling rocked the country.
It shouldn’t have. Sterling’s racism and sexism were well-established by then. But few cared. The audio poured gasoline on the fire and moved people to act. I wish it didn’t require that. But it did.
What if the audio didn’t become public through TMZ? Apparently, there might have been opportunity for another outcome.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
The fact is Shelly and several people in the Clippers organization heard the recording and decided not to act on it or weren’t appalled enough to act on it. Maybe they didn’t understand how big a splash this tape could make.
It’s unclear when Shelly Sterling (Donald’s wife) and other members of the Clippers organization heard the audio. Maybe it was while TMZ was doing due diligence. If so, it was probably too late to change the course of history.
But perhaps it was when V. Stiviano – Donald’s girlfriend who made the original recording and was being sued by Shelly – was still the only one in possession of it. Stiviano was clearly upset with how things were going financially between her and the Sterlings. For the right price, maybe the audio would have gone away before becoming public.
I’m glad it didn’t happen that way. The world is better off knowing exactly who Donald Sterling is.
Yet, this leads to an incredible “what if?” What if the people who heard the audio in advance understood the magnitude, acted in Sterling’s best interest and paid to have the audio kept secret? Would Sterling still own the Clippers today?
The Lakers are desperate at center. They might even need Kyle Kuzma to play the position. He’ll have to work on, among other things, rebounding.
At least it usually won’t go as poorly as this play in Team USA’s exhibition win over Australia.