Posts Tagged ‘Sean Elliott’

Air Check: The Genius Of Clyde

aircheck-250HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — For NBA fans like us, there’s nothing better than League Pass. Having the ability to watch every game every night (and then again the next day) is heaven.

Of course, with local broadcasts, you get local broadcasters, which can be good and bad. It can be good, because these guys know their teams better than most national broadcasters. It can be bad, because these guys love their teams more than most national broadcasters. And they’re usually not afraid to show that love.

The national guys aren’t perfect. And if they’re not careful, they may be featured here, where we highlight the best and worst of NBA broadcasts.

Here are a few more moments that made us laugh, made us smarter, or made us shake our heads.


1. Poetry Time with Clyde Frazier
Game: Utah @ New York, March 9
Broadcast: New York

One of the joys of living in the New York area is the ability to listen to Clyde Frazier‘s wordplay 75 nights a year. And as he describes Utah’s lackluster play in the first half on Saturday, Clyde brings some of his best work.

“No fire, no desire, seem tired, uninspired.”


2. When no commentary is needed
Game: Orlando @ New Orleans, March 4
Broadcast: New Orleans

Sometimes, you just want to tell broadcasters that they don’t have to evaluate every foul call against their team. Here, David Wesley starts in on a call that just doesn’t need a critique, because there’s plenty of contact between Eric Gordon and Arron Afflalo. The replay isn’t the best angle, but the original shot shows a clear foul as Afflalo rises for his shot.

Also, a lesson for you players out there: If you don’t want to be called for a foul, don’t swing/chop down with your arm.

3. Calls against your team are not for the faint of heart
Game: Oklahoma City @ San Antonio, March 11
Broadcast: San Antonio (NBA TV)

Sean Elliott ranks as one of the biggest homers on League Pass, and he doesn’t change his stripes when the Spurs’ broadcast goes national for NBA TV. Here, he has issues with two straight loose ball fouls on Boris Diaw.

After the first call, Elliott tells us that he “didn’t like that one at all.” No kidding. Then he says that “It’s a grown man’s game underneath,” and “The paint area is not for the faint of heart.”

I guess that means that Diaw is allowed to hold down Serge Ibaka‘s arm as the rebound comes their way.

After the second call, Elliott says “Ibaka looked like he had that rebound anyways.” Well no, he didn’t once he got fouled.

Then, “Ibaka gets rewarded for not boxing out.” Actually, Diaw gets punished for pushing Ibaka in the back.

Bottom line, a foul is a foul, even if it happens 94 feet from the basket.

“Two wrongs just make it wrong,” Elliott says.

That’s exactly what those who were listening to him were thinking.

4. LeBron’s wants an Air Check
Game: Philadelphia @ Miami, March 8
Broadcast: Miami

Clearly jealous of Scott Hastings and unsatisfied with just being the best player in the world, LeBron James wants some love in this week’s Air Check column. Either he wants to complain about that one time he got called for a foul or he wants to drop some poetry like Clyde, but James tries to get in on the Heat’s broadcast after deflecting a pass out of bounds.

Unfortunately, the mic wasn’t on.

Cousins’ Routine…Ba-Dump…Old Joke


HANG TIME, Texas — Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A priest, a rabbi and DeMarcus Cousins are sitting on a bench…

Yeah, it’s getting to be the kind of stale old joke that sounds like it came out of the Catskills in the 1950s.

Cousins is at the center of another flap. This time the Kings’ leading scorer and rebounder was left in the locker room at halftime Friday night following a verbal run-in with coach Keith Smart.

As a result, Cousins has been suspended indefinitely for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team,” according to Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee delivers the details that were available:

“It was conduct detrimental to the team and we left it at that,” Smart said without elaborating.

Smart did not say if Cousins would play Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I’m going to focus on (Friday night),” Smart said. “And then I’ll move forward to the next day.”

Cousins said he “was in the wrong” during halftime.

“What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room, but I was wrong,” Cousins said. “But what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.”

Cousins then was asked what he could do to avoid further situations where attention was on his actions off the court.

“Don’t talk back,” Cousins said. “That’s the thing. I shouldn’t have responded back. Should have accepted what was said and stayed quiet.”

Of course, nobody has ever questioned the raw talent and ability that Cousins possesses, only the maturity and professionalism that he doesn’t.

As a potential foundation-type player on the front line, it was understandable that Kings management sided with Cousins and gave Paul Westphal the ax when the two of them couldn’t get along.

There may also be legitimate reasons to question whether Smart (73-134 career record) has the right stuff to be a successful coach in the NBA. But the main reason he was brought in to replace Westphal and had his contract extended was because he could supposedly relate to Cousins and steer him correctly and now that plan seem to have jumped off the tracks.

Already this season, Cousins has been suspended two games for confronting Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott after a game, suspended another for whacking the Mavs’ O.J. Mayo in the groin and ejected in the third quarter of one more game for arguing calls by the refs. Now this.

More from Jones:

“We’re trying to set a standard for all of our players and all our guys who are here,” Smart said after the game. “When guys don’t fall in line to that we’ve got to move on.”

Smart intends to maintain this stance, too. You have to assume that means penalties will escalate if the behavior does not change.

Smart wouldn’t address whether Cousins would play in Sunday’s game against Portland. If he does, another blowup could mean suspensions for conduct detrimental to the team.

Cousins doesn’t believe Friday’s incident will be held over his head and that he and Smart can move past the incident.

“It happens all the time between players and coaches,” Cousins said. “I believe we’ll talk about it, get past it and we’ll move forward.”

Cousins can only hope. All of these shenanigans are overlooked if he were delivering like the punchline in the Kings’ lineup. But after a breakout season a year ago, Cousins has not only reverted to troublesome form with his behavior, but his play has deteriorated as well, not concentrating on defense and taking far too many bad shots.

Could Cousins simply be tiring of the losing atmosphere in Sacramento and trying to force the Kings to ship him out of town?

We can only assume that he knows the rest of the NBA gets LeaguePass. The offers coming in at this point for a mediocre malcontent would hardly make the Kings want to jump at this point.

So DeMarcus Cousins walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder…

You’d think at 22, he’d be too young to become an old joke.

Smart Trying To Refine Cousins’ Game

DALLAS — Call DeMarcus Cousins what you will — lazy, uninspired, hot-headed — and maybe Spurs analyst Sean Elliott did. But Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart has no choice but to view Cousins as an undeniably skilled, high-reward project.

It’s why Smart recently introduced the fifth overall pick in 2010 to the jump hook. Cousins has got to find something to perk up his 42.4 shooting percentage that droops to an abysmal 28 percent in the key — the painted part outside the “restricted area,” which is the area within the arched line located below the rim.

The hook didn’t go down for Cousins Saturday night in a win over Portland when he went 6-for-17 from the floor, but still finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Afterward Cousins was discouraged with the hook.

“That’s new territory for him because after that he said, ‘I’m probably not going to work on that shot any more,’ ” Smart said. “I said, ‘You’re right at the middle of the rim. You can’t get anything better than that.’ It looked like a real NBA shot of a big man trying to put the ball in with a jump hook. And now we’ve just got to refine that.”

Cousins followed up Monday with one of his best shooting nights of the season, going 10-for-17, although there was no sign of the jump hook. He scored 25 points, but it was inconsequential after the Kings fell behind the Dallas Mavericks by 28 points in the second quarter and lost 119-96 to end a three-game win streak.

It would seem difficult for a 6-foot-11, 270-pound man not to shoot a high percentage from so close to the basket, especially inside the “restricted area.” Yet entering Monday’s game, Cousins only made 71 of the 124 shots (57 percent) there, in part because he loves to take his man off the dribble from the elbow like a dynamic wing player might. But his big body gets caught in the air and he’s left to toss up an off-balance scoop shot or finger roll.

A couple of those attempts Monday against Mavs center Chris Kaman flew over the rim and hit the other side of the backboard. Another time, though, he spun beautifully around Elton Brand to the baseline and got fouled.

“The player at the moment doesn’t see himself as a big man,” Smart said of Cousins. “This guy can handle the ball just as well as some guards in our league. I don’t like him to do it a lot, but he can do those things and he doesn’t see himself in that frame of mind [as a big man].”

Push him out of the “restricted area,” but still in the key, where a jump hook might come in handy, and that’s where Cousins is shooting an almost impossible 28 percent (14-for-50). Take him out of the paint and out to the 3-point arc where he fancies himself a jump shooter and is especially fond of his fadeaway, and he’s shooting 31 percent (26-for-85).

Still, he’s the Kings’ leading scorer at now 17.2 points a game. And averaging 9.9 rebounds, he’s a would-be walking 20-10 player if only the Kings could post him up more. Smart is trying to get Cousins to commit to a go-to move that “you can count on every single night.”

It’s a daily struggle. But one Cousins must commit to. He said he had a back-to-the-basket game, but that he’s drifted farther and farther out during his time in the league.

“It’s just getting back to it,” Cousins said. “I’m basically kind of re-learning it again.”

His poor shooting percentages are not new and he’s made little progress from his first two seasons when his percentages in the paint were 29 percent and 30 percent, respectively. His best overall shooting percentage was last season’s 44.8.

“We’ve got to spoon feed a few of them [post-ups] down there for him to keep growing,” Smart said, “so we can keep that film in front of him to show him that along the line we can continue to develop other parts of his game as well.”

Smart said Cousins wants to be great, but that he wants it all to happen overnight, just like his frustrations when the jump hook didn’t immediately drop. Smart said, contrary to the beliefs of some, that Cousins is also willing to be coached.

“He’s coachable. You know, you might have to spend a little bit more time coaching him, but it’s good because he’ll take criticism,” Smart said. “He and I have a good relationship because I can come at him pretty hard and then he’ll respond and not talk for a day, and then we’ll come back around again. I think he respects me and he understands that I’m trying to get him to become one of those guys that he wants to become.”

Suspension Not Worst Of It For Cousins

The two-game suspension handed down to DeMarcus Cousins from the NBA for confronting a broadcaster is too severe, no matter how wrong the act is and how emotionally unhinged one would have to be to do such a thing.

His Kings teammate, Thomas Robinson, got the same penalty three days earlier for something far worse, an intentional elbow to the neck of Piston Jonas Jerebko, but Robinson doesn’t have the same history. Cousins’ past clearly came into consideration here.

But sitting two games for, as the league said Sunday in announcing the discipline, “confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a hostile manner” Friday in Sacramento, is among the least of the problems for Cousins. The big picture is worse than missing Sunday night against the Lakers, a 103-90 win for L.A. as Dwight Howard hit the shrunken Kings for 23 points and 18 rebounds, and now Tuesday against the Trail Blazers back in Northern California.

  • Opponents will dig harder than before to flick at Cousins’ nerve endings. They know their chances are as good as ever, even with Cousins as a 22-year-old in his third season (and who no longer has inexperience as an acceptable excuse) at taking one of the talented young bigs of the league out of his game. Look at how flustered he became at comments on the Spurs telecast from Elliott, a man who has zero impact on anything on the court. Of course they’re going to try to get Cousins in touch with his combustible side as often as possible.
  • How unable is a player to control his emotions if he leaves the locker room in uniform after the game and walks about 30 yards to confront a broadcaster? The specifics of what Cousins said to Elliott remain unclear, with Elliott himself decling to comment, according to the San Antonio Express News, and Cousins apparently unavailable for an explanation. But if Cousins had anything beyond “All the best to you and the family for a delightful holiday weekend,” he was 29 yards too close.
  • The league office is watching. Not that Cousins was out of sight before, with two prior suspensions by the Kings, but the New York sheriffs are involved now. He has a history. He had the second-most technicals in the league last season, behind only OKC’s Kendrick Perkins, and is tied for second in the opening weeks of this one. The exact offense that would cost a first-time offender a single game could be worth two or three to Cousins the next time. The past matters.
  • And, the same question as always: Will Cousins ever manage to harness his energy to reach his potential? That’s real big-picture, but also fair considering he is at the foundation of the plan to lead the Kings back to respectability. As coach Keith Smart told the Sacramento Bee, “When you make mistakes that affect not just you, it affects our entire team.”

This is also a big setback to whatever claims Cousins or the Kings make about his improving maturity. Players get suspended for actions on the court, usually for a fight or crossing the line with a referee or a flagrant foul. They don’t often get suspended because of what a television analyst said. Cousins, a center with All-Star talent, needs to be better than that. Now more than ever.

Pop’s Way Continues To Shine

SAN ANTONIO – For nearly two decades, there have been many different ways to describe the enduring success of the Spurs.

In the Alamo City, it’s known simply as Pop’s way.

It’s contentious and cranky, irascible and irreverent, insightful and often inventive.

Year after year, more than anything, it’s just winning.

Gregg Popovich was named the 2011-12 NBA Coach of the Year, the second time he has won the honor, once more validating a style and an attitude that permeates the Spurs organization.

“That’s probably overblown I’m sure,” Popovich said. “When you win a lot of things get attributed to you that you shouldn’t get full credit for and when you lose you get a lot of things you shouldn’t be blamed for.

“We’ve just been blessed with people who understand their priorities and are very team and community oriented. Our organization has also been blessed, as I’ve said many times, with incredible good fortune. If you can draft David Robinson and follow that up with Tim Duncan, that’s a couple of decades of very, very possible success unless you just screw it up.

“It’s hard to take credit when the circumstances have gone your way so consistently. There are a lot of people who have been in circumstances that have not been in their favor that would be just as successful in this situation, but just didn’t have the opportunity. So we don’t pay much attention to that.”


Air Check: The Proper Way To Complain

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — For NBA fans like us, there’s nothing better than League Pass. Having the ability to watch every game every night (and then again the next day) is heaven.

Of course, with local broadcasts, you get local broadcasters, which can be good and bad. It can be good, because these guys know their teams better than most national broadcasters. It can be bad, because these guys love their teams more than most national broadcasters. And they’re usually not afraid to show that love.

This season, we’re going to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly of League Pass here on the Hang Time Blog. So here are five things from the last two weeks that made us laugh, made us smarter or made us shake our heads.

No. 5 – Tell us how you really feel about the guy
Game: Indiana @ Philadelphia, Jan. 9
Broadcast: Philadelphia
At the close of the third quarter, the Pacers have a chance for a final shot. But apparently, Sixers play-by-play man Mark Zumoff doesn’t think much of the player they’ve chosen to bring the ball up the floor …