When the expected became official and opted to take the.8 million contractually owed him hairstyles next season, there were groans from the Thunder faithful.
It was Anthony’s right — and everyone knew he was going to take the cash (we all would have done the same) — but his value on the court has shrunk and that’s what eats at the OKC faithful. Anthony’s response on Instagram was, essentially, “relax, it’s just basketball.”
It will be interesting to see if Anthony is back with the Thunder next season, or if he gets bought out. If he does return, how do they better fit him in the offense?
Anthony’s defense has long been a concern, but his offense used to be efficient enough, and his ability to create shots important enough, that teams lived with the defense. However, his efficiency has slid in recent years and, as we saw in the playoffs in April, it’s not enough anymore. The Thunder played better with other lineups. To which.
It’s going to be a wild summer in OKC. Whatever happens.Tags:
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Jakob Poeltl goes to Spurs promising to do what he does best
Last season, took 73.4 percent of his shots right at the rim inside the restricted area (and, coincidentally, shot 73.4 percent on those attempts), and 95 percent of his shots attempts came within 10 feet of the rim. He’s not part of the new wave of big men looking to space the floor out to the arc.
Nor is he looking to become that guy.
Traded to the Spurs in the deal, he thinks his touch around the rim and how he gets those shots — primarily off cuts or being the roll man after setting a pick — is something that will translate well to the Spurs.
“I think I’m most comfortable being around the basket in pick and roll situations and relocation situations; really working off my teammates,” said Poeltl. “I’m working a lot on my shooting trying to stretch it out a little more. It’s not my main focus at this time, but like I said, I have a pretty good touch around the rim. That’s where I do the most damage.”
Poeltl played well in his 18.6 minutes off the bench a game last season in Toronto, where he was efficient on offense and blocked 1.2 shots per game. Gregg Popovich are expected to lean on him more (in excess of 20 minutes a night) and no team is better at putting a player in position to play to their strengths than the Spurs. It’s a big part of their success with role players.
I like that he wants to play to what he does best, not force himself into a mold that is not a fit.
If he plays well in his new role, Poeltl would be both good for the Spurs and a sneaky good late-round fantasy pickup in a deep league (or, for daily, on the right night). Entering his third season, Poeltl is going to get new and more opportunities than he has seen in the past. If he wants to get paid with that next contract, he has to start earning that money this season.
Celtics’ Terry Rozier on returning to back-up role: “I’m not worried about it”
‘s season took a dramatic turn when needed to go under the knife — suddenly he was thrust into a starting role, rather than coming off the bench. He impressed in his new role, averaging 15.6, points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists as a starter during the season, then in the playoffs it went up again to 16.4 points per game and 5.7 assists, with a PER of 17.3. Rozier stepping up was a big reason Boston made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
When the season tips off in October, Kyrie Irving will be back as the starter and Rozier will be coming off the bench again. He said he’s good with that, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.
Rozier is entering the final year of his contract and he will get a healthy raise next summer from the million he will make this season. Knowing he is playing for a contract, Rozier is going to say the right things — as he did here — and work to put up numbers this season. Last season he proved his value and rewarding the faith Danny Ainge had in him.
Boston faces a tough decision with Rozier going forward. There will be teams interested in him and the Celtics could trade him this season and sell high. However, they may want to keep him around if they aren’t 100 percent sure they can retain Irving in free agency next summer (there are rumors of him going to New York with, plus a host of other ones). With the team contending this season, Boston may want to keep Rozier in house, then hope they can keep the band together next summer.
Stan Van Gundy on the decline of Dwight Howard: “It’s crazy; it really is”
, NBA vagabond center, will suit up for the Washington Wizards this season. That’s five teams in six seasons for Howard since leaving Orlando, and it’s such a thing that.
It’s been a dramatic fall, because Orlando Howard — before the back surgery — was the best center in the game and an annual MVP candidate, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and eight times made an All-NBA team. He was the prototype big man, but as he slowed and the game evolved Howard didn’t want to change.
His old coach in Orlando, Stan Van Gundy,
“It’s crazy; it really is,” Van Gundy said during his weekly appearance on my on FM 96.9 and AM 740. “… And it’s not been a lot of fun to watch because this is a guy who was the best center in the game for a long time. He’s still very good, but it doesn’t seem that he’s been highly appreciated….
“The problem is — and not just for Dwight — it’s been a tough adjustment for them [big men.] What everybody wants right now in a center is a guy who runs, defends, defends pick-and-rolls, protects the rim, rebounds and, on offense, is a pick-and-roll guy and a lob threat. Well, that’s Dwight Howard. There’s probably nobody who’s ever been better than him [at those skills.]
“The problem is these guys all want more. They want it go back to the days where you would throw them the ball in the low post and then they get to play their game. I understand that. You’re a great player and you want to be able to show what you can do, but the game has changed. It’s been a tough adjustment for centers. I don’t think the game has passed them by because those guys are still really effective. They just have had trouble adjusting to and enjoying the role people want them to play.”
Van Gundy gets to the heart of the matter — the NBA changed, Howard had the skill set to evolve with it (not the outside shot, but as a defensive force and a great pick-and-roll big), but Howard still wanted to play like Shaq and Kareem. With zone defenses the game has changed: If a team has a dominant post player, that player can be fronted and backed before he even touches the ball, making it hard to get him the rock where he can do damage. Post-ups still work in spots, but what’s key is faster recognition of the double and the ability to kick-it-out for an open three.
For most of his career, Howard has been a better, more efficient pick-and-roll player than he is on post-ups. But he couldn’t get his head wrapped around the evolution of the game and what was needed of him. So he has stumbled, and off the court his efforts at leadership have fallen flat.
He was better last season in Charlotte, and maybe Washington is another step in that direction, but we all need to see it before we believe it.Tags:
Kobe Bryant on his hardcore fans not loving LeBron as a Laker: “they’ll fall in line”
There is a segment of the massive Laker fan base that are more Kobe Bryant fans than Lakers fans. They rooted for the Lakers because he was on the team, pushed back against any negative narrative (such as saying he missed a lot of clutch shots, which he did), and generally thought Kobe walked on water.
Those fans have been slow to get on the “ is a Laker” bandwagon and welcome him to the family, in part because they see LeBron and his legacy as one of the things Kobe is judged against. It leads to.
Kobe is on board with LeBron the Laker and says his fans will come around, as he said on the Rich Eisen show.
“Listen, if you are a fan of mine, you are a fan of winning, you are a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold. So, that is above anything else. I have been a Lakers fan since I was yay high. That is never going to change. Right? [It] is about winning championships. So, they’ll fall in line.”
LeBron made a bet with his legacy in coming to the Lakers: Win a title here and it goes up a notch, but fail to and — fair or not — it gets a little blemish. The Lakers are one of the storied franchises of the league and the stars that have come to the team via free agency or trade — from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq to — have won rings. That is the bar for the Lakers. It’s going to take a couple of years to get the Lakers there, but that is the standard.
That doesn’t mean Kobe is better than him.
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