More Shaqtin’ A Fool! This edition pays respect to Tyreke Evans, Draymond Green, Perry Jones, George Hill and of course, Mr. McGee. Vote for your favorite Shaqtin’ A Fool moment!
HANG TIME, Texas – Numbers are good. Numbers are practical. We need numbers to remind us how old we are, how much that bacon double-cheeseburger is going to show up in that next photo on Facebook, if we can afford one more $6 cup of bad coffee at the airport.
However, sometimes too many numbers just get in the way of the good things in life.
Take James Harden, for instance. Just don’t take him away from the Thunder.
The always thoughtful, always analytical Zach Lowe of SI.com makes a commendable case that as the NBA’s second-smallest market, it only makes sense that Oklahoma City consider the long-term balance sheet of the franchise when it comes to maybe trimming The Beard from the payroll:
It would be difficult for Oklahoma City to find a reasonable approximation of Harden’s versatile talents on the trade market, especially next season, when Harden will “only” make $5.8 million — a salary that makes it difficult to bring back a top talent under the league’s salary-matching rules.
But there’s an argument to be made that Harden’s skills overlap closely enough with those of Durant and Westbrook to make a trade for the right sort of package, even in the short-term. Step back, and you can see that package taking form: Some cheaper shooting, with perhaps a dash of ball-handling creativity, and multiple high draft picks. Forget the future for a second: Is it possible the Thunder might be able to maintain their current status as (at least) Western Conference co-favorites in 2012-13 if they got that kind of package? What if Eric Maynor, forgotten after a season-ending knee injury, emerges by the trade deadline as the league’s best back-up point guard — a player with the combination of shooting and pick-and-roll creativity required to fill Harden’s role as the second-unit quarterback? And what if Perry Jones, the Thunder’s first-round draft pick, comes into his own as a second-unit force?
And what if Harden simply gets it in his head that, for all the fun he’s had with his young playmates in OKC, it is simply time to collect his deserved max contact payday and go off to be a big dog in a bigger city?
While so much of the focus has been on the Thunder’s side of the equation, the insightful Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman notes that, a few weekend snapshots from his All-White Yacht Party aside, the most fun Harden has experienced came from his bonds with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the gang. (more…)
GREENBURGH, N.Y. – The 2012 Rookie Photo Shoot took place at the Knicks’ practice facility on Tuesday, with 39 incoming rookies making the rounds, posing for Panini and NBA Entertainment. It was a six-hour day, broken up by a lunch break reminiscent of a SportsCenter commercial.
Every first round pick from this year’s draft, except for the Magic’s Maurice Harkless, was here. Also here were a handful of second rounders and last year’s No. 5 pick, Jonas Valanciunas, fresh off Lithuania’s eighth-place finish at the Olympics.
We had five guys from Kentucky, four from UNC, three from Baylor and three from Duke. There were three Mavs, three Pistons, three Warriors, three Rockets and three Raptors. But none of the Nets’ three rookies were at the shoot, so the new black-and-white Brooklyn uniforms are still very much under wraps. No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was in the building, sporting the new Bobcats road threads though.
In addition to posing for still photos, the players spoke with NBA TV’s Dennis Scott and the youngest member of the media, 16 year old Karl Towns Jr., who was interviewing players for MSG Varsity. (Here he is with Draymond Green.) Towns is the high school star from New Jersey who played for the Dominican Republic national team this summer and was about five minutes away from being an Olympian. And he’s already about as tall as Valanciunas.
Speaking of Olympians, Anthony Davis brought along his gold medal, and I believe that’s a first for the Rookie Photo Shoot.
Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Oklahoma City’s Perry Jones each tried their hands at the DJ table after lunch, but there was no impromptu dunk contest like when Terrico White stole the show two years ago. And apparently, the Carolina guys like old school R&B, because Kendall Marshall requested some Barry White and John Henson was seen singing along a few minutes later on the other side of the gym.
The photos have been taken, and soon the basketball cards will be printed. Now that the Rookie Transition Program and the Rookie Photo Shoot are over, it’s time for these guys to get back to getting ready for the season.
For Michael Jordan, this is like being called for pushing off on Bryon Russell, or getting stripped by Craig Ehlo, or throwing the ball to Steve Kerr and John Paxson, only to watch them miss.
In so many other instances in his playing career, Jordan has been both good and lucky. As an executive, not so much. And the crummy luck came back to haunt him once again with the NBA draft lottery, where the seven-win Bobcats suffered a bigger defeat the other 59 combined.
They’re choosing second in what’s probably a one-superstar draft. Such is life for Jordan since he traded his sneakers for a seat in the boardroom. He can’t seem to win.
When he had the first overall pick, while the GM in Washington, the prize was Kwame Brown. When he had the third pick, the 2006 college player of the year was available, and Adam Morrison was taken because he was a scorer, which the Bobcats desperately needed. (In a cruel twist of fate, Jordan later traded for the fourth pick in that 2006 draft, Tyrus Thomas, giving the Bobcats the biggest busts that year.)
Then he held lower lottery picks in franchise player drafts and missed out on Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving.
LOS ANGELES – The bottom continued to drop out of what was already a weak June 23 draft when Harrison Barnes announced Monday he would return to North Carolina for his sophomore season, the second top-five pick and fourth probable lottery choice to stay in school.
Barnes, along with Derrick Williams, would have been under consideration for the No. 1 pick if the team that wins the May 17 lottery is set at point guard and has no pressing need for Kyrie Irving. Instead, Barnes’ swerving season that began with a good chance at going first and detoured into a disappointing start before finally reclaiming his original promise, ends with a decision to remain a Tar Heel.
“As a team, we’re preparing for a special season,” he said in a statement released by the school. “My offseason plans are to diligently work on honing my basketball skills in all areas with one team-goal in mind – to bring the 2012 national championship home to UNC.”
John Henson, a possible lottery pick, had previously said he would return to North Carolina.
Barnes and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger were both projected to be picked in the top five, and perhaps the top three. Perry Jones was headed for the top 10 before choosing to stay at Baylor another season. Henson was a fourth lottery candidate, creating the chance for several prospects who would have been destined for the late-teens to move into lottery money.
Underclassmen must declare for the draft by Sunday. They can withdraw by May 8 and retain college eligibility.