Dear Mr. Jackson:
To start, I suppose it’s best to note that we understand why you’re making this move. Even at the team’s lowest of lows, accepting a position to run the front office of the New York Knicks is rife with potential. Both personal and professional potential, to say nothing of the chance to do great things for the long-suffering Knicks fan base that has, in recent decades, been surpassed in number by the fan base you helped resuscitate in Los Angeles nearly 15 years ago.
Spencer Haywood is a basketball innovator. The former Olympian gold medalist and ABA and NBA star big man helped break the league’s reserve clause by jumping from the ABA’s Denver Rockets to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1970, at just 21 years of age, breaking NBA law at the time. This move allowed for an influx of worthy (and, sometimes, unworthy) underclassmen to accept employment from NBA teams that wanted to hire them, while Haywood went on to make four All-Star teams while working with Seattle, New York, New Orleans, and by 1979-80, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Those Lakers were led by a rookie named Magic Johnson, structured around center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and (after former head coach Jack McKinney injured himself in a bike accident 14 games into the season), helmed by coach Paul Westhead. By now working at age 30, Haywood did not start for the emerging title contender, but he did do solid enough work as a scoring forward off the bench, averaging 9.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20 minutes a night as the Lakers made their way to the NBA Finals.
- Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
In two games against the similarly awful Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz in early March, Milwaukee Bucks off guard O.J. Mayo combined to miss 10 of 14 shots over 44 minutes of play, contests the Bucks split. In the next outing, Mayo decided to punch New Orleans Pelicans big man Greg Steimsma, more than earning a one game suspension along the way.
In the three games since, despite Milwaukee’s offensive woes, Mayo has played just four combined minutes, including two benchings due to a coach’s decision. This is hardly the outlook that oft-criticized Bucks general manager John Hammond had planned for when he signed Mayo to a three-year, $24 million contract last summer.
Bucks coach Larry Drew explained Mayo’s absence from the rotation, in favor of a three-guard triptych featuring new addition Ramon Sessions, rookie Nate Wolters, and first-year Buck Brandon Knight, prior to sitting Mayo out of Milwaukee’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
You’d be forgiven if you watched this commercial for Gunn Chevrolet, featuring future Basketball Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, and came away thinking that their giveaway featuring a Tim Duncan-customized truck was merely “customized” with Tim’s hidden autograph, stuck behind the driver’s side visor. After all, no other modifications were mentioned in the commercial announcing the giveaway.
- Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
On Thursday night, Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer routinely connected on a series of perimeter jumpers in a blowout Bulls win over the Houston Rockets. The 11-year pro was left open by the Houston defense all night, resulting in an 18-point evening that he paired with seven rebounds and three assists. It was his highest scoring output in nearly a month, coming on the heels of a five-game stretch that saw him average just nine points per game.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale lauds Joakim Noah, and not Dwight Howard, for Defensive Player of the Year honorsKelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
There’s an ancient stock in trade in professional sports that often sees glib head coaches triumphing the merits of an opposing player as a way to light a fire under the saddle of their own team, or showcased star. With Derrick Rose out for the season and Luol Deng traded to Cleveland, Joakim Noah has emerged as Chicago’s requisite star, and Dwight Howard is unquestionably the Houston Rockets’ MVP and franchise player in spite of James Harden’s looming presence.
Howard hasn’t exactly disappointed the Rockets this season with his play, he’s not working at the peak levels that we saw from a few years ago in Orlando, but he has improved significantly from his injury and attitude-hindered lone year in Los Angeles. The Rockets are one of the NBA’s hottest teams, ramping up significantly on both ends of the ball over the last month, currently working with the fourth seed in the cutthroat Western Conference. And on both ends of the ball, Dwight Howard (averaging 18.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game) is the biggest reason why. Again, no matter how many lovely 40-point nights James Harden wants to toss around.
- Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
It’s quite possible that the Los Angeles Clippers don’t need J.J. Redick to help push the team over the top to contend for a championship. The team’s offense has been absolutely brilliant throughout the 2013-14 season under the leadership of first year head coach Doc Rivers and emergence of Blake Griffin. The squad was able to weather the absence of Chris Paul earlier in the season, and with a currently-injured Jamal Crawford eventually coming back into the fold, things seem to be looking up on that particular end of Los Angeles’ court.
Of course, Redick’s numbers were through the roof in the 30 games he has played with the Clippers so far, which is why the team wouldn’t mind bringing the sharpshooter back into the fold. A bulging disc, diagnosed in early February, may get in the way of that. From the Orange County Register:
The Clippers are nearing a decision on J.J. Redick’s future this season.LiveCleveland35 - 48LA ClippersFollow Game
- Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
A day after the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant would miss the remainder of the 2013-14 season with his left leg fracture, sparking off a mass airing of front office grievances from the Laker legend, the team’s beleaguered coach has announced that Steve Nash will also miss the rest of this woeful campaign. Laker head man Mike D’Antoni told the media on Thursday that Nash, who won two NBA Most Valuable Player awards under D’Antoni’s watch in Phoenix, will sit out the remainder of the season while dealing with leg, back, and nerve woes.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
If you want to pile on the Portland Trail Blazers, to call them out as a defense-less band of prissy jump shooters, now is the time. The team has lost four straight games for the first time all season, with the latest coming in a borderline-embarrassing nationally televised turn against the West-leading San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. It’s safe to assume that the team will not have home court advantage in the first round of next month’s opening round of the playoffs, as the fifth-seeded squad is currently two and a half games behind the ascending Houston Rockets for the fourth spot, and injuries to both LaMarcus Aldridge (back) and Mo Williams (hip) could linger well into spring.LiveGolden State56 - 72PortlandFollow Game
Anonymous sources are predicting doom for embattled Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, as Kobe Bryant vents about managementBall Don't Lie4 days ago
After weeks of hedging, the Los Angeles Lakers made things official on Wednesday afternoon: Kobe Bryant will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 season due to the lingering effects from his left tibial fracture. This leaves the injury-ravaged Lakers to finish off the course that has been well in hand since both Bryant and guard Steve Nash went down earlier this season – spiraling toward the bottom of the Western Conference for just the second time since the franchise moved to Los Angeles.