If you prefer the written to the video, here is the core of his comments:
“You’ll see that he’s a better passer. I think people that watch Kyrie play a lot can see his passing and his potential there as a passer. LeBron was pretty much the point guard in Cleveland and Kyrie was a point guard often when LeBron wasn’t on the court. I think that he’s a fantastic passer and I think that defensively he’s got to improve and I think he will in Brad’s system”
Certainly, if you watch a lot of Cavaliers games you see the nights Irving sets every up, and he can rack up 15-20 assists in a game without blinking. He has that in him. Just like Irving can play good defense when focused. The question is will Irving do that night in and night out, because we’ve heard his comments from him in the past about needing to just do what he does. He broke out of sets and went into isolation plenty in Cleveland. He didn’t focus on defense in the last NBA Finals, is he going to care in November and December now?
If Irving buys in, if he is willing to move the ball and be more of a playmaker — and maybe see his scoring numbers drop a little — for the betterment of the team, he can thrive in Brad Steven’s system. Stevens loves plays where a ball handler gives it up, makes a cut and gets it back, and dribble handoffs with him and Al Horford could be devastating. It’s about commitment.
The question with Irving is not does he have the talent and potential to do all this and take his game to the next level. The question is will he make that commitment night in and night out? That’s what he has to prove, and Ainge has bet he will.
What is Jamal Crawford looking for in a new home? “Fit”
It’s a little surprising Jamal Crawford is still available as a free agent. Yes, he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, but the man can still get buckets off the bench and averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota.
He turned down an $4.5 million player option and is still waiting for a contract. What is he looking for? He talked about it with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in a story about the amazing pro-am Crawford runs in Seattle every summer.
The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is an unrestricted free agent, which he said is equally worrisome and exciting…
“Fit is first and foremost when I’m thinking about where I’ll play next,” said Crawford, who wants to play another 2-3 years. “Last year, I may have made the mistake of not thinking fit all the way through.
“You look at my career, when the fit was right, I contributed on the court. … I know people that care for me want me to win (an NBA title), but I don’t know if my career will be defined by that.”
Crawford’s name was rumored with contenders such as Golden State and Houston, but nothing came of any of it. At this point Crawford is not going to be able to be as picky about fit, he may have to look at any offers that come in.
Most teams’ rosters are set, and at this point in the summer most teams are happy with their rosters, or at least have talked themselves into being happy with it. Crawford may be a guy who gets a call a couple weeks into training camp, or a week or two into the season, when a team realizes its bench was not as impressive as it thought. There are teams he could still help, even if those teams don’t realize it yet.
Scout on Rodney Hood: ‘Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point’
Hood’s problem is he’s a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer for him. No team was interested enough in his skills — after last season when the Jazz traded him away to Cleveland and he struggled to get off the Cavs’ bench — to come in over the top with an offer the Cavs wouldn’t match, so teams never tied up their money with an offer. He still has no contract in front of him to sign.
“Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point. I don’t think anyone else wants him, which is surprising because I really liked him in Utah. Utah just let him fly. I was impressed with how he came back in the Finals as an ‘I’ll show you’ game.
“I always liked him. He’ll be good in Cleveland because Cleveland’s going to be bad, and they’ll need his scoring. Who else are they going to go to? He’ll get quality minutes on that roster. How could he not? I’m not sure how tough he is, though. He can put up big scoring numbers on a bad team.”
It’s incredible how far Hood’s stock fell in one season. Heading into last season he expected to be the go-to scorer of the Utah Jazz (Donovan Mitchell became that guy). By the end of the season he barely got off the bench in Cleveland (and in one case would not get off the bench), although once put into the Finals he showed by Tyronn Lue should have gone to him earlier.
Hood’s options at this point are to play for the $3.4 million qualifying offer and become a free agent next summer, or work out a deal with the Cavaliers for a couple of seasons at a number he likes.
Baron Davis vs. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis in Big3 championship showdown next Friday
The Big3 finals are set — and there are a lot of names NBA fans will know.
On one side is Cuttino Mobley, Corey Maggette, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Chris “The Birdman” Andersen of top-ranked Power. They are coached by former NBA assistant coach and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman — and they had to sweat out their semi-finals win.
On the other side are DerMarr Johnson, Baron Davis, Drew Gooden, and Andre Emmett of 3’s Company, the three seed, who are coached by Lakers’ legend and NBA/WNBA coach Michael Cooper. Emmett got them to the finals.
Power and 3’s Company will face off to decide the Big3 title next Friday night in Brooklyn (live on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern). The semi-finals drew a record crowd in Dallas, and the league has seen its ratings climb on its regular live Friday night slot (they drew 1.47 million viewers this past Friday, roughly the same as an NBA regular season game). All of that has to make Ice Cube happy.
It will be an interesting matchup. Power has been the team to beat all season, with a balanced scoring attack led by Maggette, who has the second most points in the league (behind the legendary Ricky Davis, a player beloved by NBA Twitter, with good reason). In the clutch though Power has looked to Big Baby and his power game inside.
However, Emmett — the former Texas Tech standout from when Bobby Knight coached the team, who was a second-round NBA draft pick and has spent most of his career overseas — may well be the MVP of the league. He is capable of taking over the one-game Finals and making the upset a reality.
North Dakota Standing Rock tribe to honor Celtics’ Kyrie Irving
It’s not something known by a lot of fans, but Celtics’ star Kyrie Irving has Native American roots. His mother (who has passed away), and Irving’s grandparents and on back on her side, were members of the North Dakota Standing Rock tribe, part of the Sioux nation.
Irving has a Standing Rock tribal image tattooed on his neck and even in social media messages about something else he has included #StandingRockSiouxTribe.
Many people know Standing Rock as the tribe that stood up to and protested the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which ran an oil pipeline through their lands. Irving Tweeted support for them at the time.
My prayers and thoughts are with everyone protesting at Standing Rock, I am with you all. #NoDAPL Defend the Sacred.