Kobe Bryant’s Latest Feat Touches NBA’s Past, Present and Future

MINNEAPOLIS — As part of his book-giving tradition, Phil Jackson in 2006 gave Kobe Bryant Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

Jackson knew Bryant had read and appreciated Gladwell’s The Tipping Point—though even as Bryant’s leadership skills were evolving then, it was still hard to envision someone with as sharp an edge as Bryant ever being one of Gladwell’s “Connectors” who know and reach so many people that they change the world.

Bryant has indeed changed the world in a very, very individual way. It is his name alone that sits third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list as of Sunday night, with Michael Jordan now behind.

Yet let’s not overlook just how connected Bryant has become. He is a link to basketball greatness in so many ways—far beyond just what he has played himself.

Bryant has reached out to so many to learn so much. He played so memorably in front of so many.

And he is, um, so old.

After getting Andrew Wiggins in early foul trouble, Bryant got the whistle on a drive against Zach LaVine and sank two Jordan-passing free throws in the second quarter Sunday night. When Bryant, 36, was a rookie in 1996, current rookies Wiggins and LaVine were 1 year old.

“I witnessed greatness,” Wiggins said later. “A living legend passing Michael Jordan, who everyone thinks is the best of all time.”

Bryant’s cagey pump fakes suckered Wiggins, who had to smile about it when he went to the bench with his second foul, and Bryant couldn’t help recalling his own over-exuberant early days when matched up against Jordan.

Citing Wiggins’ “baby face,” Bryant smiled afterward and said, “It was like looking at a reflection of myself 19 years ago. It was pretty cool.”

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders pulled Wiggins off the assignment to defend Bryant near game’s end in favor of veteran Corey Brewer. First, though, Bryant cut crosscourt after sloppy execution bogged down a designed play, fetched the ball from Wesley Johnson and drilled a long three-pointer over Wiggins to break a 94-94 tie with 1:02 left.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ 100-94 victory allowed Bryant’s night to swell into a celebration of his career, to prop him up alongside or above Jordan, from whom he learned so much.

Jordan’s congratulatory statement to The Associated Press cited Bryant’s “strong work ethic” and “equally strong passion for the game of basketball.”

“That’s the most important thing to me,” Bryant said. “Playing for that, playing for the respect of the greats, feeling like I’m a part of that culture and part of that brotherhood.”

At this point, it’s uncanny how deep Bryant’s roots go into the game.

Bryant played with the No. 6 all-time scorer Shaquille O’Neal and No. 2 Karl Malone (and had memorable beefs with both). Beside getting peppered with questions from a curious Bryant while he was a special assistant coach with the Lakers, No. 1 scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar actually knew Kobe when he was a baby because of Abdul-Jabbar’s relationship with Kobe’s father, former pro Joe Bryant.

And before you dismiss No. 5 scorer Wilt Chamberlain as too far in the past for Kobe to touch, consider this: Bryant once told me the amazing story of how his maternal grandmother, Mildred, went to West Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School with Chamberlain.

“He asked her to the prom,” Bryant said, smiling. “But she shot him down. She was dating my grandpa.”

Bryant learned almost as much for his fadeaway jumper from Hakeem Olajuwon’s footwork as from Jordan’s. Bryant hit up John Stockton right on the court back in the day for ball-handling intel. Bryant’s study goes as far back as George Mikan, bringing the Lakers from Sunday night all the way back to when they were truly in Minneapolis in the 1940s.

Basketball history is one thing. Being able to feel it is completely another.

When Dirk Nowitzki passes Elvin Hayes’ 27,313 points for eighth on the NBA scoring list in the next week or so, the names and numbers won’t feel like anything more than names and numbers.

It’s hard to compare players when most have passed through different generations. It’s why San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, when asked about Bryant and Jordan on Friday night, said flatly: “I don’t compare players.”

We do at least have real images of Bryant and Jordan guarding each other, though. We’ll cycle through them again in February when Bryant goes to New York for the All-Star Game, his first time up there for the showcase since the 1998 game at Madison Square Garden that was all about Bryant’s All-Star debut against Jordan in that Chicago Bulls uniform.

Yet it’s not just Bryant and Jordan. Bryant wanted to make that clear when we talked about Jordan at length recently; he openly admits he stole from everybody to be the best he could.

If you want to talk about guards Bryant learned from, he’ll quickly cite Clyde Drexler and Oscar Robertson. In fact, two Lakers shooting guards have been deeply meaningful mentors for Bryant: Jerry West and Byron Scott.

Bryant peppered Scott, his teammate that rookie year in 1996, with questions about how the Lakers did all that winning in the ‘80s. West wasn’t just in charge of Lakers basketball operations when Bryant dazzled him in that predraft workout; he was a go-to advisor for Bryant through so many tough times.

Bryant appreciates that much of his access to history is because he has been a Laker, mentioning his training sessions just this season with James Worthy, now a studio TV analyst for the team, about positioning and his spin move, in particular.

The Lakers cherish their history, and after Bryant was presented with the game ball in a quick ceremony upon passing Jordan (teammate Robert Sacre’s apt summation: “You know you are special when they stop the game”), Bryant got a long embrace from Scott, now his head coach. Scott told him just how cool it was to be there for his first point and now this historic one—and how he was proud of him and loved him.

Bryant moved on to hug Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, then handed the ball over to Lakers equipment manager Carlos Maples for safekeeping. Both Vitti and Maples have been with the organization throughout Bryant’s tenure and have served as valued friends.

On the flip side, it was young Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers’ rookie guard, who would serenade Bryant in congratulatory song to the tune of Happy Birthday as the team plane left Minnesota late Sunday night and post to his Instagram account about Bryant: “The GOAT. Congrats, big homie.”

Bryant’s reach now extends to Clarkson, same as it has for nondescript young Lakers guards of the past such as Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris who vouch for Bryant as their mentor, no matter how harsh he looks and how hated he might be from the outside.

Said Bryant: “Competitive nature is something that frightens a lot of people. …You can’t get to a supreme level without channeling the dark side.”

Bryant said the warm ovation inside Target Center for his accomplishment Sunday night was actually jarring.

“I’m used to being the villain,” he said. “To have moments like that, when you’re not expecting a hug and you get a hug, you’re like, ‘Man, this actually feels pretty damn good.’ ”

Without necessarily trying to unite the world, Bryant has managed to do just that.

We already knew Michael, for as iconic as he was and his legend still is, has touched legions.

Kobe, though, has established an epic reach of his own.

 

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

 

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Rookie James Ennis Proving His Clear Worth to Miami Heat Present and Future

There aren’t a wealth of reasons to be excited about the 2014-15 Miami Heat.

The four-time defending Eastern Conference champions are 9-11 through 20 games and are perfectly mediocre on both ends of the floor. According to ESPN.com, the Heat sit No. 17 in offensive efficiency and 26th in defense.

The problems are, to an extent, predictable. Chris Bosh is struggling to adjust to the role of the offense’s prime mover, while Dwyane Wade—though he’s been effective when he’s suited up—has already missed seven games with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Chris Andersen is cratering, Josh McRoberts has made zero impact and Erik Spoelstra hasn’t managed to coax every bit of potential production from what’s still a reasonably talented roster.

There is a bright spot, however. His name is James Ennis.

Ennis, in the first quarter-season of his NBA career, has been wonderful for Miami. While his counting stats don’t look like much—Ennis is averaging 3.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 14 minutes a night—they obscure his actual significant value.

The 6’7” small forward has proved to be a very efficient player.

Per 48 minutes, according to BoxScore Geeks, Ennis is a plus-rebounder and an efficient scorer—his true shooting percentage of 55.5 is 2.5 percentage points above his positional average—who blocks shots at twice the rate of the average 3 and flat-out never turns the ball over.

His .189 wins produced per 48 minutes, per BoxScore Geeks, actually leads the team. The figure also places him third among rookies who have played more than 200 minutes.

Basketball-Reference.com, while a little more bearish on Ennis’ 2014-15, has him producing .113 win shares per 48 minutes, still 13 percent above the league-average rate.

What’s most surprising about the 24-year-old’s hot start though is that we probably could have seen it coming. In relative anonymity in the past several years, Ennis has put together a persuasive resume.

His journey has been long and strange. He played his freshman season at Oxnard College and his sophomore year at Ventura College before transferring to Long Beach State for his junior and senior seasons. In his final campaign, Ennis averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, led his team to the Big West championship, won Big West Player of the Year and became an honorable mention All-American in the bargain.

That is when things got even weirder. Ennis was selected in the second round of the 2013 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks before he was traded to the Heat for a future second-round pick. Miami was capped out and wanted to put the forward in the D-League, where he would have played for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, but he would have earned just a $25,000 salary if he made the move.

This was a problem for Ennis. Per an interview with Fox Sports’ Chris Tomasson, his family needed his financial support—he has five brothers and sisters and a mother who he said is disabled—so he signed in Australia to play with the Perth Wildcats of the NBL for what his agent told Tomasson was a “six-figure” contract.

“I basically put my family first,” Ennis told Tomasson at the time. “My family is struggling (financially), and I want to help support them. So that’s why I’m going (to Australia).” 

It was a move he surely doesn’t regret.

Ennis was tremendous overseas. In 33 games, he averaged 21.2 points on 46.8 percent shooting, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. At season’s end, he was named All-NBL and finished third in MVP voting.

The momentum carried over. After a 12-game stay in a professional league in Puerto Rico, Ennis joined Miami’s summer league team. He was great in the summer league, great in the preseason and then, in his NBA debut, he did this:

Heat fans should get used to rooting for No. 32. Ennis isn’t and won’t ever be a superstar-level player, but he might just be the next-best thing: a cheap, productive young piece.

Miami has Ennis under contract though 2016-17 at salaries of $507,336, $845,059 and $980,431, according to HoopsHype.com. At his current level of production that’s a great deal. And if Ennis continues to improve, it looks even better.

A caveat: It’s hard to say just how much improvement Ennis has ahead of him. While he’s an interesting player with great leaping ability (all dissenters can review the above video evidence), he’s also already 24 years old, an advanced age for a rookie. Anthony Davis, for point of reference, was 14 when Ennis was old enough to join the military.

And he’s still raw. Ennis’ value comes almost entirely from his physical gifts. At this point he’s a much better athlete than he is a basketball player. He needs to be coached. And, seven months shy of his 25th birthday, it’s not clear how much room he has to grow.

But, at his level of production, he doesn’t need to grow much to be worth a roster spot in Miami. His ability and pay grade make him a perfect fit on a team that prioritizes the pursuit of superstar players.

Miami is widely believed to be keeping its books clean so it can make a splash in the stacked free-agent class of 2016. Ennis, suffice it to say, does not draw a salary that will interrupt that pursuit.

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Anthony Davis and New Orleans Pelicans present inside problems for Cavs

After a week on the road, the Cleveland Cavaliers return home tonight to face one of the most-discussed sleeper teams in the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans. With Saturday’s road upset of the Spurs, Anthony Davis’ squad proved they’ll be a disruptive force this season. While being back home is nice, the style difference will be drastic for the Cavs after facing some high-powered West offenses. What are the main things to watch?
New Orleans’ inside attack
Entering play this weekend, the Pelicans were taking the league’s highest ratio of shots in the restricted area … by far. No other team was particularly close, with the Cavs actually managing to rank in the top four too.
That New Orleans ranking shouldn’t be too surprising. Davis and Omer Asik, one of the most paint-oriented offensive players in the game, both start. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday aren’t regarded as very good shooters either. They rely on just a few select players for floor spacing at all. They are going inside because they arenâ

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Milwaukee Bucks: Past and possibly present draft blunders

The Milwaukee Bucks have had some really bad drafts in the past. The team has been stuck in the early to middle first round draft pick spots for years due to the players they mistakenly have chosen.
One of the worst draft picks for the franchise was in 2007 when the Bucks drafted Yi Jianlian from China. Jianlian was selected No. 6 overall before players such as Joakim Noah, Thaddeus Young and Marc Gasol. Jianlian did not want to play in Milwaukee, and he played just one season for the team before leaving the NBA after five seasons.
Just one year later, the Bucks selected Joe Alexander from West Virginia with the No. 8 pick in the NBA draft. Alexander was taken before notable players such as Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum. Alexander played only 67 games over the course of two NBA seasons. He played 59 games with the Bucks his rookie year averaging 4.7 points per game, and eight games with the Chicago Bulls averaging only .5 points per game.
Dirk Nowitzki is a name that should be famili

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Joel Anthony-Jordan Crawford Trade Translates Into Good News for Celtics’ Future, Present

The Boston Celtics did more than just relieve Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks off the roster, they added Joel Anthony for the short-term plan, as well as possible long-term opportunities. In result of the three-team deal, not only did they add a 2012, 2013 NBA champion but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge harvest a few draft picks for the near future. By future, it’s not just the forthcoming drafts. These assets are just another chip for the Celtics front office to play with in trade discussions.  Anthony, who has two championships under his belt, may not be the league’s top centers in the NBA but he has the ability to be an impactful defender and rebounder. It’s tough to say whether Anthony will ever have 1.3 blocks and 3.9 rebounds per game as in the 2011-12 season, but he may bring a different paint presence and experience first-year head coach Brad Stevens needs.  The 31-year-old center isn’t the key in this trade though. The two draft pi…

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Pau Gasol Transforming from Lakers’ Past Champion to Present Disappointment

LOS ANGELES — This era of the most disloyal loyalty you’ll ever see is nearing its end.

Pau Gasol’s chances of still being a Los Angeles Laker after this season are next to nothing.

And yet there he was Sunday night, the team leader still—same as he has been throughout this Kobe-less season featuring uncommon team unity but highly inconsistent Pau production.

With Kobe Bryant and maybe Steve Nash set to come back to the team in its next practice Tuesday, Gasol tried but failed in the role of star player he isn’t quite suited for anymore. He missed 12 of 15 shots and watched from the bench as an inspired fourth-quarter rally against Portland fell just short, then said postgame he would have an MRI on his sore right ankle Monday.

Gasol, 33, had an MRI on his sore left foot a month ago—a muscle strain possibly from compensating for the torn plantar fascia in his right foot last season—and it’s all very unsurprising considering how big men late in the their careers consistently suffer lower-leg woes.

Gasol already has chronic tendinosis in both knees and was off his feet for three months of the summer because of regenerative procedures on those knees. That poor offseason prep made it unrealistic to think Gasol could carry the Lakers during their early-season time waiting for Bryant to be ready.

This is how it is with Gasol—so many layers to the truth, so many complications masquerading as either excuses or explanations. Even on one of his worst nights there was legitimate reason to praise him for his contributions, because his flexible and friendly ego has very much been part of the harmony these flexible and friendly Lakers have built without Bryant or Dwight Howard.

“He’s definitely the leader of this team right now,” Lakers forward Jordan Hill had said about Gasol a couple weeks ago.

If Sunday night turns out to be the last game the Lakers play before Bryant returns from his Achilles tear, it was an appropriate one: entertaining and unpredictable with regard to which no-name Lakers would step up (Robert Sacre!)…while Gasol doesn’t come close to earning his paycheck.

When you are the seventh-highest paid player in basketball (not counting the amnestied ghost of Gilbert Arenas), you either figure out a way to make a consistent difference or you deserve to be criticized as overpaid—which is unquestionably what Gasol has been through these three years of his extension.

Long before Bryant got this latest controversial extension, the Lakers gave Gasol an extension in part as reward for past contribution. That’s why Gasol is making $19.3 million this season—more than LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Chris Paul—having received a massive $57 million extension in December 2009 before the second of Gasol’s two title runs with the Lakers.

Bryant’s pricey new deal is just another reason why Gasol is not expected back with the Lakers. He has had nine lives as a Laker already, the 2011 nixed trade for Paul at the top of the list but also Gasol escaping the 2013 humiliation of the amnesty waiver only because the Lakers couldn’t get Howard to stay. Gasol is finally out of outs now, there being no logical reason for the Lakers to invest in him this summer rather than a younger player who could be part of their future—which makes this season for Gasol especially interesting to observe.

Since the championships were won, Gasol has struggled to find his place, deferring too often to Andrew Bynum and Howard, disappearing in the postseason. Mike D’Antoni no doubt marginalized Gasol to prop Howard up, but even now Gasol remains uneasy with the fit.

Despite D’Antoni in preseason hyping Gasol for nightly triple-doubles as the anchor of the Kobe-less offense, Gasol was still saying late Sunday night that the D’Antoni offense simply isn’t one that is “going to put me in the post” time after time.

Gasol said he goes of his own volition to the post at times to get better scoring chances—exactly what Bryant has urged Gasol to do for years—but one noticeable moment when Gasol did that Sunday resulted in him unable to create a decent shot against solo defense from LaMarcus Aldridge.

Gasol’s best games in the D’Antoni pick-and-roll offense have seen Gasol get hot early by hitting jumpers after electing not to roll to the hoop. His passivity in rolling is partly tied to his poor conditioning from his lack of offseason workouts, and he has always been one to pace himself early in seasons anyway. His effort on defense so far this season has been especially limited, and his 41.9 percent field-goal shooting is by far the worst of his career. (For some perspective on how bad that is, it’d almost be the worst of Bryant’s career; he shot 41.7 percent as a rookie.)

Being in a contract year and having responsibility during Bryant’s absence wasn’t enough to bring out Gasol’s best, with the same old excuses/explanations of his body and the system not being quite right. And now that time is quite possibly over, with Bryant maybe playing Friday in Sacramento and certainly taking post touches away from Gasol in the future.

Gasol has always been better as Bryant’s support than as the go-to guy, so the rest of the season should actually be more comfortable for Gasol. But when we soon look back on Gasol’s uniquely successful and dissatisfying tenure as a Laker, we’ll have to remember plenty of bad along with the greatest goods.

These 18 games this season for Gasol without Bryant are in the books as yet another failure.

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Derrick Rose’s injury clouds Bulls’ present, future

Rose’s second knee surgery in three seasons leaves the former MVP and his team in limbo.

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NY Knicks Ignoring Iman Shumpert’s Obvious Value to Present and Future

No matter how unpredictable the New York Knicks may seem, their organization is remarkably consistent in two key areas: They don’t win championships, and they don’t tolerate young players, like Iman Shumpert.

Could those two traits possibly be related?

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that a young, promising player capped a stellar defensive effort against an All-Star and an MVP candidate with a dumb foul in the final seconds, costing his team the lead. The mistake came not from laziness, but from an overabundance of aggression, and the young player is clearly distraught. What should his coach do?

The vast majority of coaches—maybe 29 out of 30—would use it as a teaching moment, encouraging the youngster and applauding his effort over the previous 47 minutes while reminding him that such mistakes can’t be repeated.

…And then there is Mike Woodson and the New York Knicks.

After Shumpert‘s fingertip-brush foul on Pacers forward Paul George cost the Knicks the lead at the end of regulation of the November 20 Knicks-Pacers tilt, Mike Woodson yanked him from the lineup in overtime. The move struck many Knicks observers as illogical, since Shumpert had been the only player capable of holding George in check.

Sure enough, George went off in overtime for nine points as the Pacers cruised to the win. Strategically speaking, taking Shumpert off of Paul George while the Knicks still had a chance to win was a clear mistake.

After the game, the Pacers spoke quite candidly about the ease with which they exploited the Knicks’ defense with Shumpert on the bench.

So if the numbers said the Knicks were better with Shumpert in the game and the other team said the Knicks were a more difficult opponent with Shumpert in the game, then why wasn’t Shumpert in the game? Mike Woodson didn’t answer that question; instead, he spent his postgame press conference harping on Shumpert‘s last-second foul.

Even the New York beat writers were surprised by Woodson’s single-minded focus on the mistake.

But this shouldn’t come as a surprise to followers of the New York Knicks. Iman Shumpert has become the coach’s favorite whipping boy and the front office’s favorite trade chip, as reported by ESPN New York’s Ian Begley. In the kind of managerial paradox you’ll find only at MSG, the Knicks are trying to trade the third-year wing while simultaneously bashing him to anyone with a microphone, thereby wrecking his trade value.

“Hey, Boston, this kid Shumpert is garbage…now how about swapping him for Rajon Rondo?”

The Knicks aren’t getting Rondo, and they’ve proven time and again that they’re incapable of swapping players like Shumpert for even comparable value.

But that’s never stopped them from trading a player before.

 

Why Trade Your Best Shooting Guard?

Iman Shumpert hasn’t had a good year so far. He’s been too aggressive on defense, switching at inopportune times and fouling too often. His three-point stroke has been off since the start of the season.

That being said, he’s still the best shooting guard on the New York roster.

On a team with an elite volume scorer in Carmelo Anthony and very little perimeter defense, which of these three shooting guards seems like the best fit? Clearly, the answer is Shumpert, a player who doesn‘t need the ball to contribute.

The numbers this year bear out the fact that Shumpert has been the best shooting guard to pair with Melo this season.

Yet Shumpert is the one who draws constant criticism from Woodson, while Smith garners consistent praise, no matter how poorly he plays. After he was done ripping Shumpert for his poor foul, Woodson, implied that Smith is the glue that holds the team together.

Yes, Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award last year, but since then he has gotten himself suspended for elbowing an opponent in the playoffs, melted down completely during the Indiana series, gotten himself suspended for five more games from drugs, and played like a train wreck since coming back.

There is a double standard at work in the Knicks’ locker room, and it’s going to cost them, both now and in the future.

Yes, the Knicks have a younger shooting guard in rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., who has played well in stretches. But Hardaway‘s high-volume shooting style bears little resemblance to Shumpert‘s. If anything, Hardaway profiles better as a replacement for Smith.

 

A Battle for the Future

Anyone who has read the New York papers knows it’s no secret the Knicks organization isn’t terribly high on Shumpert at the moment. Marc Berman of the New York Post outlined the organization’s problems with their young guard:

Woodson has had a problem with Shumpert’s cocksure attitude for some time, and according to a source, some of his superiors view the Georgia Tech product as “a head case’’ because he always doesn’t [sic] take coaching well. 

Considering some of the players the Knicks have employed during the James Dolan years, that seems a bit harsh.

Of course, not everyone has such a low opinion of Shumpert. Former Knicks GM and current Indiana Pacers adviser Donnie Walsh spoke glowingly of Shumpert—a Walsh draftee—after the Pacers knocked the Knicks out of the playoffs last May.

Per Berman:

Iman had all the ingredients to be a very good NBA guard, a very good athlete. [He’s got] great body intelligence, confidence and ambition. He was a great defender already and will get better with experience. His shooting was not broken but needed work. He obviously did it and has become a very dependable shooter. He will have a terrific career.

Of course, Walsh is gone now—driven out by the shadowy MSG cabal—and Shumpert, the last homegrown Knick with more than a year’s experience, will likely be gone within a matter of weeks.

Soon Hardaway will be the lone New York draftee left on the roster, and the “Hardaway trade countdown” will begin.

Even if Shumpert is a headstrong, un-coachable player—and there’s little evidence of that outside of the anonymous criticisms of the current MSG regime—trading him for pennies on the dollar will only reinforce the idea that the Knicks have no idea how to build a successful franchise.

It is virtually impossible to build a championship contender without a single homegrown contributor. Even James Dolan‘s model for NBA success, the Miami Heat, have four players in their rotation they developed themselves: Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Udonis Haslem. And the Knicks don’t have a once-in-a-generation talent like LeBron James, either.

With the exception of the fleeting years of the Donnie Walsh era, the Knicks have placed virtually no emphasis on player development as long as James Dolan has been the owner. They’re about to repeat that mistake by trading Shumpert. The trade will hurt the team, both in the short term and the long term. Mike Woodson will get fired, Shumpert will find a role with a better franchise, and Dolan will take out his rage by trading a few more first-round picks.

And so it goes. 

 

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Pepsi Max and Kyrie Irving Present Uncle Drew Chapter 3

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving‘s alter ego is back.

Uncle Drew returns for the third chapter in his legacy, this time recruiting his old friends “Lights” (Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson) and “Betty Lou” (Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore) to join him on the courts of Chicago in the latest ad from Pepsi Max. 

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Sacramento, Seattle groups present to NBA owners (Yahoo! Sports)

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 30:  Jason Thompson #34 of the Sacramento Kings shoots the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 30, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The future home of the Kings may not be settled this month after all.


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