Chris Brickley ‘s path to having one of the most star-studded NBA summer runs began when he worked with the Knicks and developed a close relationship with Carmelo Anthony. That opened other doors, Brickley now has his own gym, and it is packed this time of year with guys getting their bodies and game back in shape.
Or, in the case of Anthony and James Harden, developing a little chemistry.
Don’t read too much into this, as talented as the players may be it’s still a summer pick-up game, which just like yours at the local Y/park/school is not known for elite defense. Still, it’s a good way for Anthony and Harden to get to know each other’s game a little better.
The run has been packed this week with Serge Ibaka, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Enes Kanter and others.
“They’re all competitive, they got to the NBA because they’re competitive athletes. It’s the off-season, so you might as well, if you can, play against some elite talent, they do it…” Brickley told NBC Sports earlier this summer. “It’s personal. Certain guys have certain rivalries against other guys, whether they are superstars or not superstars, so when it’s time and that other player is guarding them, they’re not going to want to be embarrassed in front of their peers. There’s 10-15 other NBA players in there.”
After a slow start, the Rockets got assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik to come out of retirement.
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.
Want to hear an entertaining guy address an entertaining topic? Here you go.
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.
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.