Fordham Basketball: Success in Canada, Hurdles Back Home

People are feeling pretty good about the Fordham Rams these days. Rightfully so, I might add.

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora told FordhamSports.com last week that he’s been particularly impressed with freshmen Eric Paschall, Nemanja Zarkovic, Antwoine Anderson and Christian Sengfelder, saying, “we’re getting a lot of good things out of a lot of people.”

Pecora also said that sophomore Jon Severe “has continued to grow as a player,” and called junior Ryan Rhoomes “a workhorse.”

There’s also the recently concluded trip to Canada, where the Rams went 4-0 after picking up wins against Concordia, Laval, McGill and Brookwood Elite.

That trip was a culmination of a productive offseason that began the minute Fordham was knocked out of the Atlantic 10 tournament on March 13.

Now for a little perspective.

No one is saying you shouldn’t be optimistic, but let’s remember that basketball games aren’t won in the summer. We’re still a couple of months away from the start of the regular season, and when it gets here Fordham will face one challenge after another.

That was confirmed last week when the school released its complete schedule, including Atlantic 10 opponents and dates.

When Fordham’s nonconference schedule was announced last month, what stood out were the back-to-back games that the Rams will play against Big Ten opponents. They’ll play at Penn State in their second game of the season, followed by a matchup at Maryland four days later.

Yes, there are games against New York Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Lowell and Maryland Eastern Shore sprinkled in, but those two games, as well as one later on at Madison Square Garden against St. John’s, protects against anyone labeling the first month-and-a-half a cakewalk.

“When you’re in a conference like the Atlantic 10, you have to go into it on the plus side,” Pecora told Bleacher Report the day the nonconference schedule was made public.

If the Rams don’t do that, it will be a major disappointment. They have to play the games, of course, but it’s realistic to think they could be 8-3 at the start of conference play.

Then it gets real difficult.

Fordham’s Atlantic 10 schedule opens on Jan. 4 with a game against Virginia Commonwealth. Then there’s Rhode Island, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s, La Salle and George Washington. Massachusetts, Saint Louis and Richmond are next. Six of those teams—VCU, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s, George Washington, Massachusetts and Saint Louis—made the NCAA tournament last year.

“We’re playing teams in the Big Ten and the Big East, and we’re in the fifth-ranked conference in the country,” Pecora said. “We’re going to be playing top 25 teams, top 50 teams, last year nine top 100 teams, during the course of our A-10 schedule.”

The league might not be better this year, but how could it be?

This is not to create some built-in excuse; it’s to highlight the fact that Fordham’s schedule is brutal. To try to build a program in the Atlantic 10 is a monumental task made even more challenging by the fact that the league has gotten better every year.

It’s also to remind people who might be getting a little ahead of themselves that four wins in August are nice but don’t count in the standings.

On the flip side, to say they mean nothing is wrong. The positive vibes coming out of Rose Hill are real. Pecora and his staff deserve a ton of credit for changing the culture so drastically. The players they brought in have bought in.

“Every year our goal is to have a winning season,” Pecora said. “I think this year with the nonconference schedule we have, and then hopefully elevating ourselves in the Atlantic 10…we’ve gotten better every year, but so has this league. … This is the best league Fordham has ever played in. It continues to grow as a league, and we continue to grow as a program.”

That’s something no one can deny.

 

Unless otherwise noted, quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.

Charles Costello covers the Fordham Rams for Bleacher Report. A full archive of his articles can be found hereFollow him on Twitter: @CFCostello

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Who Should Start for Chicago Bulls at Small Forward?

The Chicago Bulls have an interesting problem to deal with heading into the season. As opposed to the situation in years prior, the Bulls actually have plenty of legitimate depth that could start for multiple other teams.

The additions of Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and prized rookie Doug McDermott could make an impact on the starting lineup, and Taj Gibson’s role could potentially change as well.

The biggest difference from last season to this upcoming year, however, is who starts at the small forward position.

Here’s Kelly Scaletta for Bleacher Report:

[Jimmy] Butler will get the nod at shooting guard and was named to the All-Defensive second team. The Bulls are hoping his offense bounces back this year after his field-goal percentage dropped below 40 percent last year, but he’ll log minutes regardless because he’s one of the best wing stoppers in the league.

Mike Dunleavy Jr. stepped into Deng’s spot after he was traded on Jan. 7. There’s a good chance he moves back to the bench at some point in the season, if not to begin it.

That means McDermott starting alongside Butler is a viable option. He’s not projected to be an elite defender, but he doesn’t need to be. In fact, he can survive as a below average one.

As a rookie, he will have a learning curve, but in this case that’s actually the reason it makes more sense to start him. And that’s also one of the keys to getting sufficient minutes to all the rotation players, counterintuitive as it may seem.

Butler can play and cover either the 2 or 3, which makes him a good fit with just about anyone on the wing. While the Bulls lack some ball-handling and distributing ability with Butler in there, he’ll defend his tail off and protect Derrick Rose at point.

Really, it’s a question of who would mesh better with the rest of the starters.

Is it Mike Dunleavy, a dangerous spot-up shooter and underrated rebounder and defender? Or is it McDermott, a player who should be more capable of creating his own shots and scoring at a higher rate?

It would seem, at least initially, that Dunleavy should be considered the heavy favorite to start opening day. He’s the veteran who understands head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s defensive schemes, and his proven track record of being a great perimeter shooter is something the Bulls should want in the starting lineup.

The flip side of that argument, though, is that Dunleavy was much better last season coming off the bench than he was with the starters. In 21 games off the bench, Dunleavy connected on 42.3 percent of his threes compared to just 36.8 percent in 61 games as a starter. That makes sense, as it’s almost always easier to score against second-unit defenses as opposed to the first string.

That may be a bit of a small sample size, though, and Rose returning to the starting lineup should impact things quite a bit.

It’s still something to be considered, though, especially if McDermott is effective in training camp and preseason. 

Thibodeau hasn’t relied heavily on rookies in general over the years, although he’s never had a rookie as highly regarded as McDermott. The full college career and proven track record probably mean McDermott is a little more capable to contribute offensively as a rookie than someone like Tony Snell was last year.

Speaking of Snell, he’s a dark horse to contend for some minutes as well. After a strong Summer League showing, his athleticism could be a luxury if his shooting range is extended and consistent. Remember, given Butler’s offensive struggles last year, the Bulls will need someone who can at least be a threat on the wing.

There’s also the chance that Thibodeau reaches for his security blanket and tosses Kirk Hinrich some minutes at the 2 next to Rose in order to lessen his responsibilities. Again, Butler can easily play the 3, so Thibodeau has options. 

Here’s Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

The strategic wheels are already in motion for Thibodeau, who singled out Chicago’s decision to re-sign Kirk Hinrich as key in allowing Rose to spend some extra time off of the ball. Thibodeau seemed ready to welcome back a player who was still capable of displaying elite athleticism but who also has added a richer comprehension of the action.

Ultimately, it would be a surprise if Dunleavy wasn’t tabbed as the starter. He helped keep the Bulls afloat after the Luol Deng trade last year, and he’s a smart veteran player who will be able to find his role rather quickly, something that might not happen with McDermott right off the bat.

Here’s what Dunleavy told Sam Smith at Bulls.com about last season:

‘Ultimately I came here for the core beliefs and culture and the way this organization went,’ said Dunleavy. ‘They could have guys come and go and be injured and those things stayed the same. They did and that’s why we were able to have a successful season.

‘Sure, when Derrick went down and Lu was traded everyone was questioning everything,’ Dunleavy acknowledged. ‘But we stuck with it and this has been the most rewarding season I’ve had as a pro by far.’

In a sense, Thibodeau might want to reward Dunleavy with the chance to start. Even though Dunleavy has spent plenty of time in his 12-year career coming off the bench, the lack of an established player to replace him probably won’t push him there quite yet.

McDermott and Snell have to prove to Thibodeau that they’re ready for the responsibility of playing in a demanding defensive system, but Dunleavy already passed his initial test. If this is about trust more than it’s about potential, Dunleavy should get the nod.

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USA routs New Zealand 98-71 at World Cup

US muscles past New Zealand 98-71, going to 3-0 at Basketball World Cup in Spain

      
 

 

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Do Andray Blatche Or Jermaine O’Neal Fit With Los Angeles Lakers?

Jermaine O’Neal is a better fit for the Lakers than Andray Blatche
The Los Angeles Lakers had a change of heart many times this offseason. They’ve shipped players in and out at will — most in. It feels like they’re willing to do just about anything to end their losing route, which my colleague explained to be one of their worst in a decade. But they’re also setting themselves up for a title run. There are a few veteran free agents that could help them do so, including Jermaine O’Neal and Andray Blatche.
Pau Gasol is out and in comes veterans Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer. It’s certainly a changing of the guard. It probably won’t change much more than that.
It’s not likely the Lakers sign Blatche. O’Neal remains a possibility, according to Basketball Insiders‘ Jabari Davis:
If anything, I think the Lakers could use another legitimate rim-protector. Not sure Blatche fits that mold, so I don’t necessarily think he would be a guy they’d bring in. I know there has been mutual in

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Kenneth Faried’s and Anthony Davis’ Motors Are Redefining Team USA

With a little help from big men Anthony Davis and Kenneth Faried, the United States looks to have forgotten it’s playing without a handful of the NBA’s top superstars, including 2014 MVP Kevin Durant and runners-up LeBron James and Blake Griffin.

Team USA remained perfect in FIBA World Cup competition with a 98-71 victory over New Zealand on Tuesday, improving the club’s overall record to 3-0 in group play.

As is typically the case in international competition, the Americans operate as an ensemble cast in which heroes are few and far between. Appropriately, each member of the 12-man roster scored at least one point against New Zealand, highlighting the kind of depth on which head coach Mike Krzyzewski can rely.

Through three games, however, he’s relied on Davis and Faried to do a little more than all the rest. And given the promising results, that probably won’t change anytime soon.

Davis and Faried are plenty skilled to be sure, but they’re principally changing games with superior energy and athleticism—with motors running like they’re already knee-deep in the NBA playoffs.

“I just love to play basketball,” Faried told reporters after besting Turkey. “Every time I step on the basketball court, you never know it could be your last game, so I like to play my hardest in every game. When you love the game like that it tends to reward you back.”

That kind of passion has translated into tangible gains. After tallying 15 points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday, Faried is averaging 14.3 and 8.3 rebounds in tournament play.

But it was Davis who led all scorers with 21 points against New Zealand, bringing his averages through three games to 19 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. The 21-year-old center was instrumental in turning around a five-point halftime deficit against Turkey, scoring all 19 of his points in the second half on Sunday.

“I tried to come out in the second half and just be a different player, just be the player I’m used to being,” Davis told the media after the win.

Faried was similarly pivotal against Turkey.

Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Johnson noted, “On Sunday, his energy, hustle, close-range finishing and activity on the offensive and defensive glass jolted Team USA to life following a lackluster first half”:

After Turkey took a five-point lead into the break, Faried scored eight points in the third quarter and made a number key plays on both ends, including an opportunistic swipe of Asik, followed by a dunk, with under a minute remaining in the period to give the Yanks a six-point lead. All told, Faried finished with 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Those kind of numbers tell a tale of unmatched interior activity. For all the talent on Team USA’s roster, the story remains its hustle and physical tools.

The kind of assets that lead to plays like this:

The Davis-Faried partnership is blossoming at just the right time.

Fresh off exhibition play, NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman noted, “Though many expected Team USA to use a stretch 4 next to Davis—and maybe it would have if Kevin LoveKevin Durant or Paul George remained on the team—the Davis-Faried combo proved to be a real force.”

Indeed, both Davis and Faried do most of their damage in and around the basket. While Davis is a capable mid-range threat, his world-class ups make him a target of choice in the painted area—primed to catch lobs and hit the offensive glass.

Thanks to his rare combination of imposing size and mobility, Davis is getting touches with his back to the basket and in pick-and-roll situations.

Though smaller at 6’8″, Faried‘s hops similarly position him to overwhelm the opposition with point-blank dunks, layups and tip-ins. Though we won’t see many plays called for the Morehead State product, he thrives on broken plays, run-outs, missed shots and any other opportunity to collect some hustle points.

While Faried‘s offense isn’t always by design, it remains highly efficient.

“The Manimal came into [Tuesday's] game shooting 14-of-17 in the tournament and then made all five shots in the first half while also grabbing six rebounds,” writes the Associated Press’ Brian Mahoney (h/t ABC News). “He finished 7-of-9 from the field and is shooting 81 percent, Krzyzewski calling him the Americans’ ‘biggest and best surprise.’”

But it’s Faried‘s seamless chemistry with Davis that’s truly yielding dividends—especially against international competition that’s slower to the ball, more constrained by gravity and unable to keep up with their lightning-quick second and third jumps when vying for rebounds.

“Scoring in a variety of ways, Davis and Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (15 points, 11 rebounds) continued to terrorize opposing frontcourts in Spain,” NBA.com’s Jim Eichenhofer wrote on Tuesday. ”Davis was featured often in USA’s halfcourt offense, particularly in the second half, while also feasting on his usual assortment of finishing plays around the rim. Davis threw down four dunks, part of a 7-for-13 performance from the field.”

Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans’ No. 1 overall pick of 2012, is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign in which he averaged 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. His electric summer performances could be a hint of things to come.

The Kentucky product’s former coach John Calipari is predicting big things.

“Right now, you look at (Davis) and say, ‘Man, in five years, he could be the best player in the NBA,’” Calipari told USA Today‘s Sam Amick. “And this USA Basketball stuff pushes that date sooner. Again, here’s what it does for him: how to work, new things to add to his game, and confidence like, ‘These are the best in the world, so I’m all right.’”

For his part, Faried may be on the verge of taking another step toward stardom. The 24-year-old had his best season yet for the Denver Nuggets in 2013-14, averaging 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

But for the moment, Davis and Faried are focused on giving the United States an edge en route to what may be a gold medal in Spain.

“Anthony Davis and Kenneth Faried continue to pace the U.S., combining for 36 points and 20 rebounds,” NBA.com’s Sekou Smith noted of Tuesday’s game. ”The Americans overwhelmed New Zealand inside and went to the free-throw line 34 times. New Zealand was just 4-for-7 from the line.”

The perimeter shooting will come and go, but Davis’ and Faried‘s aggressive interior play will remain the United States’ bread and butter. Together, they accounted for 11 of those 34 free-throw attempts. While Krzyzewski’s rotation boasts plenty of strong shooters, the relentlessness of its inside options has emerged as the club’s primary competitive advantage.

Opposing teams have no hope of containing these guys’ size, physicality and talent.

That said, the competition will stiffen up after Team USA makes short work of Group C and advances to the round of 16 on Sept. 6.

Forcing the ball inside for the duration of the game will become more necessity than luxury. The kind of slow start that hindered the United States on Sunday can’t become a habit.

“I think we didn’t come ready to play in the first half and we can’t afford to do that if we want to win a gold medal,” Davis told reporters after the comeback win over Turkey. “So we’ve got to come out ready to play no matter who we’re playing against.”

After pursuing high-percentage shots early and often against New Zealand, perhaps a lesson has been learned, one that could prove invaluable given the tests ahead.

No test looms larger than a Spanish team featuring a front line that rivals Team USA’s. Through three games, Pau Gasol is averaging 23.7 points and 6.7 rebounds for Spain. Brother Marc is doing his part with 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds.

And in just 38 minutes of action (through two games), power forward Serge Ibaka has tallied a total of 23 points and 13 rebounds.

It’s the kind of trio that could give the United States trouble, countering its inside presence with veteran size with a proven track record in the NBA.

The good news is that Davis and Faried aren’t likely to back down. With youth and above-the-rim theatrics on their side, even Spain could struggle with Team USA’s newfound winning formula. For good measure, it doesn’t hurt that Krzyzewski and Co. can call on the beastly likes of DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond off the bench—to say nothing of much-improved Duke product Mason Plumlee.

The United States’ starting duo is stealing headlines for good reason, but the depth behind it could prove pivotal soon enough.

Team USA needs all the inside help it can get to make that gold medal a reality.

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Team USA baffled by New Zealand’s pregame Haka dance

Team USA had little trouble with New Zealand on Tuesday, dispatching the Tall Blacks in its third game of the FIBA World Cup, 98-71. Before the game, ESPN cameras captured the New Zealand players’ haka, a traditional dance that teams from the island country perform before play commences. While regional opponents may be familiar with the routine, a team of American players — especially basketball players — likely haven’t seen anything like it. That appeared to be the case Tuesday, as Derrick Rose (who ain’t got time for your silly little dance anyway), James Harden and Kenneth Faried looked on in total bewilderment. [TheStarters] Article found on: Next Impulse Sports

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Ohio State Basketball Recruiting: Breaking Down the State of the 2015 Class

It seemed like Thad Matta and the Ohio State basketball coaching staff could do no wrong when it came to the recruiting trail for the class of 2015, but they received their first bit of bad news recently.

Mickey Mitchell, a versatile forward who can play multiple positions, attack the rim off the bounce and shoot from the outside, decommitted from OSU. His brother Mike was once a part of Ohio State’s football team but transferred to be closer to his family.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Matta has been on the wrong end of some football movement, as Brian Snow of Scout.com pointed out:

Rather than wallowing in what could have been, it’s worth looking at the current state of the Ohio State 2015 recruiting class.

It is still ranked as the No. 4 group in 247Sports’ composite rankings even without Mitchell, which is a testament to the class Matta was and still is putting together. Point guard A.J. Harris, shooting guard Austin Grandstaff and center Daniel Giddens are all 4-star prospects according to the composite rankings at 247Sports and give the Buckeyes depth at multiple positions.

Harris is a speedster in the open floor who can dart past defenders and finish at the rim with a soft floater. He is also an effective passer and will help Ohio State consistently get out in transition.

Grandstaff is a lethal outside shooter who can create his own looks off the dribble, use pick-and-rolls or launch attempts off passes. He is also an underrated passer who can play some point guard if needed.

Giddens is a physical post presence who swats shots with ease and controls the boards on both ends of the floor. His strength and athleticism make him an incredibly difficult matchup, and he will give the Buckeyes the rim protector they need going forward.

Even if Ohio State doesn’t receive another commitment for the 2015 class, it should be fine. After all, there is plenty of young talent on campus already, and Matta’s group is still ranked in the top five. However, there are three scholarships left to distribute among the next two classes, so look for the Buckeyes to hit the recruiting trail hard in the coming months.

Unfortunately for the scarlet and gray, superstar Cleveland prospect and recruiting target Carlton Bragg recently trimmed his recruiting list to five schools on Monday—Kentucky, Kansas, Illinois, Arizona and UCLA.

Ohio State is noticeably absent from that group.

The Buckeyes could use an elite power forward considering the three commitments already in tow are a point guard, shooting guard and center. That won’t be Bragg though.

Still, big man Doral Moore, power forward Ivan Rabb and power forward Esa Ahmad are all listed among the Buckeyes targets for 2015 on 247Sports and could fill that gap immediately.

Rabb is an athletic specimen who uses his versatility and speed to block shots, contribute on the boards and spin past defenders on the block. Moore can stretch his offensive attack with a mid-range jumper, but he has a lethal hook down low and controls the boards because of his athleticism and size.

Ahmad is an Ohio product who is versatile enough to score down low or get out in transition with the guards. He would be an ideal fit alongside Grandstaff and Harris because the two guards will likely look to push the tempo once they arrive on campus. Ahmad will fill the lanes accordingly.

Grandstaff has not given up hope that Mitchell will once again decide to rejoin the Buckeyes, saying as much recently, via Eleven Warriors:

“Mickey’s one of my best friends and I still think we have a shot at getting him, for sure. I’m still going to recruit him and hope to bring him to Ohio State, but it’s his choice and I respect him doing what he needs to do for himself.”

It may be a long shot, but Mitchell would certainly give the Buckeyes recruiting group a boost yet again. However, even if he decides to look elsewhere, Matta and Ohio State will still be in a prime position to finish among the best recruiting classes in the country for 2015. 

That’s not a bad position to be in two months before the 2014 season starts.

 

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Lakers’ Swaggy P Demonstrates Unique Joy Needed in Dog Days of NBA Offseason

LOS ANGELES — I just had a dream about Swaggy P, and I’m curious what that might mean.   

A little worried what that might mean, actually.   

It was Labor Day morning, no less, and the guy on my mind is Nick Young? He hasn’t exactly been renowned for his diligent work ethic or a substantive career but has worked his way into my subconscious?

What in the name of Iggy Azalea is going on here?!

For sure, Young’s enjoyable presence on social media has helped keep him relevant in the offseason. Whatever the paparazzi doesn’t pick up with him and hip-hop recording artist girlfriend Azalea, the self-proclaimed “Swaggy P” gets out there via Twitter and Instagram.

I suspect, however, it’s more than Young’s Instagram video Saturday of Azalea sinking a “Fancy” shot from behind the backboard. 

Where was the video shot? At the Lakers‘ training facility.

Flash back to Young’s Instagram post three weeks ago while getting his left arm tattooed—and memorably tweeting that his right arm remains unmarked because it’s “strictly for buckets.”

If you noticed, while Young was in the tattoo parlor he was wearing a Lakers tank top.

When was the last time you saw any player in any sport tooling around in the offseason wearing some non-locker-room-issued gear promoting his team?

This was not something that Young just threw on after being handed it by the Lakers equipment manager and happened to keep on upon leaving the gym. It was a Mitchell & Ness $55 specialty item that someone had to go and get.

Yes, Young prides himself on his fashion sense, but the greater point is that he views it as cool to be representing the Lakers on his own time and on his own dime.

There’s a reason the fan site LakersNation.com tried to redeem the Lakers’ lame campaign asking Dwight Howard to stay by putting up a #STAYSWAG billboard when Young entered free agency.

Lakers fans donated the money to put up the #STAYSWAG billboard, and Young tweeted his thanks for the support when he did re-sign.

You can be a cynic and believe Young selfishly wants the spotlight of being in L.A., or wonder if Young can continue to grow his game now that he has been paid.

The truth is that Young’s joy at being a Laker is very real, and that kind of spirit is what all of us who follow the NBA can sentimentally long for here in the dead days of the offseason.

What the dream means, to be honest, is that I miss Swaggy P.

It’s that simple. He represents what is good and fun—and currently missing while the NBA is on hiatus.

The details of the dream have gone fuzzy during the waking hours, as dreams usually do because they’re not actual experienced memories, but the weird gist is Swaggy was driving some people home from Lakers practice: some fictitious training-camp invitee, two other reporters, me riding shotgun.

What I do remember vividly from the dream: the smile.

Young’s easy, toothy grin—whether appearing while making some absurdly cocky statement or whimsically absorbing a joke at his expense—was the brightest spot of a 2013-14 Lakers season that cost Mike D’Antoni his sense of humor. Young smiled freely on the court while playing better than ever, but it wasn’t foolishness—because it was clear in the locker room that Young cared very much about the Lakers winning or losing.

In the dream, Swaggy cared enough overall to be driving us all to our respective homes—for some reason I can’t explain—and was happy to do it. He sat there confidently behind the wheel of his bandwagon like Kramer from Seinfeld driving the bus, but also as the zany “Screech of Basketball.” (Robert Sacre likening Young to the Saved by the Bell geek last season was legendary, though not necessarily funnier than Young’s Instagram video of himself wiping out on a toboggan at the Great Wall of China: “I crashed. I crashed.”) 

Whether dream or reality, Young owns who he is, which is the whole key to making a big personality work in Hollywood.

And at a time when the Lakers are down, Young—especially with GQ calling him and Azalea “the NBA’s coolest, freakiest young couple“—serves as a reminder that there’s a cool factor to being a Laker.

Byron Scott is back, Kobe Bryant has his usual drama to play out, but Young got $21.3 million over four years because the club sees him as a true Laker, too.

As we wait for another month to elapse before training camp, it’s a good time simply to recognize:

Nick Young is living his dream.

 

Kevin Ding is an NBA senior writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @KevinDing.

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Could Cleveland Cavaliers Trade For Nuggets’ JaVale McGee?

Will McGee still be wearing a Nuggets jersey at the end of this offseason? Mandatory Credit: Rocky Widner/ Getty
The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in Timofey Mozgov, but it seems they’re barking up the wrong tree. They should be gunning for Javale McGee.
The Cavs have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. They’ve got a Big 3 — even though no one is calling them that. Cleveland’s Big 3 isn’t all that big, though. They are certainly talents, but Kevin Love is the tallest of their superstars at 6-foot-10. When LeBron was in Miami with Bosh (6-foot-11) and Dwyane Wade (6-foot-4), they had big problems protecting the rim. Likely anticipating the same problem, the Cavaliers are looking to stock their front court with big rim protectors.
Their first effort was reportedly offering a first-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Mozgov, who replaced  McGee during injury.
ESPN.com‘s Kevin Pelton does’t see a Timofey Mosgov trade going down. He sees McGee as a much more likely trade pie…

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Unbeaten US routs New Zealand 98-71 at worlds (Yahoo Sports)

All New Zealand could do is watch as Anthony Davis carved up another Team USA victim. (Getty Images)

Anthony Davis scored 21 points, Kenneth Faried had 15 and the U.S. James Harden added 13 points for the Americans, who will play two more games here before moving on to Barcelona for the round of 16. BJ Anthony scored 11 points for New Zealand, which fell to 0-3.


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