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Jason Kidd confused by Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting advice: ‘Breathe through your eyes’

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Jason Kidd is in the mood to tell a few stories.

Which is limited on the Hall of Fame stage — where Kidd was last weekend, being inducted as he deserved to be — they are only allowed five minutes to talk (not everybody heeds that advice, and unlike the Oscars the orchestra does not play them off). So Kidd turned to The Players’ Tribune to spin a few yarns.

For my money, the best one was Kidd getting shooting advice from future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas.

And I swear, Dirk’s advice — it was the wildest advice of my entire life. It made zero sense to me at the time, and yet it seemed to make all the sense in the world to Dirk.

“Spacing your fingers just like this. Tuck your arm. Spread your feet like this. Release the ball like this.”

It was all making sense. I was following along. That’s when he got this serious look on his face and said, “The key to shooting is, you have to breathe.”

“O.K., Dirk. Got it.”

“No. Through your eyes. Breathe through your eyes.”

I didn’t know how to respond. We kept shooting and Dirk was just kind of shaking his head at me. Maybe he was punking me? To this day, your guess is as good as mine.

Apparently, Kidd did not see Bull Durham, where Annie Savoy convinces Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh he has to “breathe through his eyelids” like a lava lizard. It becomes one of the running jokes of the movie. I have to think Nowitzki was punking Kidd with that line.

Then again, Nowitzki’s pregame routine is pretty out there.

Kidd did acknowledge Nowitzki from the Hall of Fame stage and said he “carried” Dirk to that title. Well played.

Report: Rockets lure assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik out of retirement with ‘significant raise’

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After a slow start, the Rockets got assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik to come out of retirement.

How?

The usual way employers attract someone to a job.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Fertitta was alarmed enough to personally recruit defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik, who retired just before training camp, to return, offering what sources say was a significant raise that pushed his salary to a range that ranks among the NBA’s highest-paid assistant coaches.

Good for Bzdelik using his leverage. He looked like a defensive whiz last season, and Houston slipped without him. Of course, personnel matters, too. There’s no guarantee these Rockets – minus Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute – reach last year’s defensive level.

Bzdelik has been back around the team, but isn’t working full-time yet. It’ll take a while to assess his impact on Houston.

And good for Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta paying up. Fertitta is still trying to determine the right amount for him to spend, but the team is better off if he’s willing to pay what’s necessary to attract the most desirable coaches.

Charles Barkley addresses Draymond Green-Kevin Durant dynamic (video)

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Want to hear an entertaining guy address an entertaining topic? Here you go.

Trae Young: I’ll be better than Luka Doncic

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Trae Young and Luka Doncic will be forever linked by their draft-night trade.

The Hawks took Doncic No. 3 then traded down with the Mavericks for No. 5 pick Young and a future first-round pick.

Young, via Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated:

“The thing with Luka,” Young says, “he’s a great player. I don’t understand why it can’t work out for both situations. I hear [Atlanta made a mistake] all the time. Luka’s a great dude, and I think he’s going to be a really good player. But at the same time, I’m going to be a better player. Just because of my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved, I think I’ll be better.”

Of course, Young was never going to say Doncic would be better than him. But Young didn’t have to address this so directly at all. By going out of his way to make such a bold statement, Young puts more pressure on himself.

So far, both Doncic and Young have impressed. I’ll still stick with Doncic, though. Enough to justify Dallas surrendering that extra first-round pick? That’s a far tougher call and the one the Hawks will be judged by.

Young doesn’t want that leniency, though. He’s aiming to be better than Doncic straight up and unafraid to say so publicly.

Markelle Fultz’s new free throw stroke is… different.

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Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz is in his own head with his free throw stroke now. (And, likely much more than that, but we’ll stick with the free throws for now.)

Earlier this week Fultz double-clutched a free throw attempt and his stroke was a mess.

Each game that stroke seems to change and the latest one is… different. Very different.

As Vecenie notes, this is actually an improvement in terms of the release, but that doesn’t make it good. Fultz was 1-of-2 in his one trip to the stripe (as of this writing).

Still, I have never seen someone pass the ball back-and-forth between their hands as they go into their shooting motion like that. Very, very odd.