Posts Tagged ‘Stephon Marbury’

Marbury’s Excellent Adventure In China Continues

Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury has become a superstar in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury has become a superstar in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Snicker if you will. Scoff if you must.

But Stephon Marbury might wind up having the last laugh.

At a time when NBA teams are hawkishly monitoring payrolls and squeezing contracts, particularly those to which pricey veterans might have grown accustomed, Marbury has signed a three-year deal that might keep him playing to age 39, 20 years beyond the night he was drafted as the NBA’s overall No. 4 pick.

The deal, of course, is with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association. That’s where the former Knicks, Suns, Nets, Celtics and Timberwolves point guard has thrived since January 2010, by which point the headstrong, selfish and occasionally wacky Coney Island kid had run out of NBA options.

From The Association looking out, Marbury has been in exile, still talented but not worth the headaches or the mismatch between his expectations and NBA reality. That he would head around the world, pursuing what’s left of his hoop dreams where a billion people don’t know or maybe care about New York point guard traditions or “Starbury’s” place in it, seemed to many stateside observers to be a proper come-uppance.

But from Marbury’s point of view, this is proving to be a dynamite third act. Last year, he led the Ducks to the CBA championship. He would have been named the league’s Most Valuable Player by now, except the CBA excludes foreign-born candidates.

And as Mark Dreyer of Global Times writes, the guy who teased (20.2 points, 8.1 assists per game through his first 10 seasons) but ultimately disappointed fans at four of his NBA stops at least (the Celtics were more meh for three months in 2008-09) has an entire nation’s basketball enthusiasts thinking big and feeling grateful:

When Yao Ming retired from basketball, the worry was that the sport’s popularity would wane. With Yi Jianlian unable to carry the torch overseas, the focus turned to the CBA and while it’s no substitute for the NBA in terms of quality, the Chinese league has definitely improved over the past few years.

Marbury should get as much credit as anyone for that ­improvement. He was here long before the NBA lockout forced a few players into ­earning a quick buck while US arenas remained closed and his ­public persona is so different to the one he left behind in the US that Knicks fans would swear you were talking about a ­different player.

Marbury is so popular there is a statue of him in Beijing, but he’s stayed humble and has even started on the road to coaching. But like the end of his playing days, it will likely be in China, not in the US. He’s already served as an assistant coach for the Beijing team in this year’s National Games in China, and has said he would love to coach the national side one day.

Imagine that. Imagine Marbury continuing along this maturity curve, making the transition from playing to coaching, maybe chasing Olympic gold for China some day and even earning a shot on an NBA team’s sideline. A whole lot of coaches we know would be muttering a hoops version of the frustrated mother’s creed (“May you grow up to have children just like you one day”). But there Marbury would be, all the same.

Meanwhile, here at HTB, we’d still be trying to get our heads around that “statue of him in Beijing” thing.

Morning Shootaround — March 18

Missed a game last night? Wondering what the latest news around the NBA is this morning? The Morning Shootaround is here to try to meet those needs and keep you up on what’s happened around the league since the day turned.

The one recap to watch: We tend to like the closer games as our nominees for the one to watch each morning, but we’re going with a game that, score-wise, wasn’t so pretty. Still, last night’s Rockets-Warriors game was worth watching for several reasons: two teams fighting it out for the right to avoid San Antonio or Oklahoma City in the first round, Golden State with revenge on its mind for the rout Houston put on them the last time at Toyota Center and a chance to see some good young talent (James Harden, Steph Curry, Omer Asik, David Lee, et al) square off. Save for a Rockets surge in the third quarter, the Warriors never really lost control of this one and won in a rout, strengthening their grip on the No. 6 seed out West.

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News of the morning

Bryant to sit out vs. Suns | Rose added 3-point shot during rehab | Lakers may be Hill back by playoffs | Ilyasova finds his groove again with Bucks | Marbury to coach in China?

Bryant doubtful vs. SunsSince injuring his ankle on a potential game-winning shot in Atlanta on Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant has played 12 minutes, gone 0-for-4 from the field and sat out one game (Sunday, a win over the Kings). It appears Bryant won’t be suiting up anytime soon, writes Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, and that Bryant is unlikely to play in the Lakers’ next game:

Kobe Bryant’s sprained left ankle didn’t feel strong enough for Bryant even to test it on the court Sunday before skipping the Lakers’ game against Sacramento.

Bryant is considered doubtful to play Monday in Phoenix, according to a Lakers spokesman.

If Bryant doesn’t play against the Suns, he will have three more days of rest and treatment before the Lakers play their next game Friday night against Washington.

Two days after that is the Lakers’ only multigame trip left this regular season: at Golden State, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Sacramento.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni had expected Bryant to test the ankle in the hours before the game vs. the Kings on Sunday night, but Bryant opted to save the effort given the minimal chance he would actually play vs. Sacramento, which was shorthanded without leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps).

It was Bryant’s first game of the season not playing. He played one quarter on the ankle in Indiana on Friday before telling Lakers coaches: “I can’t go.”

Jodie Meeks was the replacement starter at shooting guard in Bryant’s place Sunday night, though D’Antoni said he has already learned not to count Bryant out too early.

“I didn’t think he had any chance (Friday in Indiana), and he played,” D’Antoni said.

Bulls’ Rose adds more consistent 3-pointer to arsenalEntering the 2010-11 season, Derrick Rose was a career 24.2 percent shooter from 3-point range and had made 32 3-pointers in his career. That season, the one in which Rose was named league MVP, he showed off a 3-point stroke that had him making a respectable 33.2 percent of his attempts and 128 total 3-pointers. Though he fell back a little bit last season (54 3-pointers made, 31.2 percent), Rose had become a serviceable 3-point shooter. After suffering a season-ending ACL injury in the 2012 playoffs, Rose has been rehabbing away, and, not surprisingly, adding to his game. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Rose has put in particular work to make his 3-point shooting game as consistent as possible:

Rose hasn’t played since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the playoff opener against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 28. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says the franchise is not pressuring Rose to return.

“This kid has done everything to come back,” Thibodeau told Yahoo! Sports. “When he is ready, he’ll be ready and we will know. He is getting closer. We don’t want him out there unless he’s completely comfortable. He’s handled his part great. Everyone has to remain patient, let him work through it and he’s going to be fine.”

Rose has not shot over 35 percent from 3-point range in his NBA career, but during his layoff he has spent time working on his 3-pointer and says he’s more confident in it now. The right-handed shooter also has been working on his left-handed runner shot. If Rose’s athleticism is close to what it was with his improved shooting, he can be even more dangerous offensively than he was before.

“I see his improvement each and every day,” Thibodeau said. “And as I’ve told him, we’ve waited this long and we don’t mind waiting until he is completely comfortable to play. And if that means a couple more games, five games, whatever it is. And that would be for any player, we don’t want to put someone out there that is not comfortable with being out there.”

“You can only imagine what [Rose] would bring,” teammate Carlos Boozer said. “You can’t even put that into words. If you get an MVP player like him back it changes your whole outlook.

“Remember, last year before he got hurt we were thinking we were going to be the champs. We felt we had every component to be champions last year.”

Lakers’ Hill may be back for playoffsDespite an ankle injury to Kobe Bryant that sidelined him for Sunday’s game against the Kings, the Lakers topped Sacramento to maintain their ever-so-slight lead over Utah for the West’s N0. 8 seed. The Lakers have been shackled by depth issues all season, some of which began when young forward Jordan Hill had hip surgery in early January and was thought to be done for the season. Turns out, Hill is healing up nicely and could be on the active roster once playoff time rolls around, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

It remains a long shot, but Lakers forward Jordan Hill said doctors have told him there’s a slim possibility he could return in late April or early May after spending the past two months rehabbing from a surgically repaired left hip.

Hill said he’s been off crutches for the past three weeks has performed exercises on bike and elliptical machines. Though he’s occasionally come out to the practice court at the Lakers’ training facility dressed in basketball gear, Hill says he hasn’t performed any basketball exercises.

Hill said he plans to meet with team doctors in three weeks to reevaluate the possibility he’d return assuming the Lakers remain in the playoffs by then. The Lakers (35-32) have a half-game lead over the Utah Jazz (34-32) for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Lakers play their last regular-season game April 17 against the Houston Rockets. Assuming the Lakers make the playoffs, their best-of-seven first-round series would start at an away venue either on April 20 or 21st.

After having surgery Jan. 23 on his left hip, the Lakers expected Hill to stay sidelined for at least six months. Hill injured his left hip in the Lakers’ loss Jan. 6th against the Denver Nuggets. He had appeared in 29 games averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes.

“People keep forgetting about Jordan Hill,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant recently said. “We’re missing him. He’s a big part of our team. What he does on the glass and his ability to stretch the defense, he’s a really big part of what we do defensively as well.”

Ilyasova in rhythm again with BucksAfter a breakout campaign a season ago in Milwaukee, Ersan Ilyasova became one of the marquee free agents of the summer of 2012. Although some teams showed interest in the multi-faceted forward, he eventually re-signed with the Bucks for four years and $31.6 million. But Ilyasova struggled to regain his form from a season ago and was often on the outs with former coach Scott Skiles early in the season. In a great feature on not just Ilyasova’s season, but his overall NBA career, the Racine Journal-Times’ Gery Woelfel looks at how the Bucks’ big man has switched his fortunes:

After a sluggish start to this season, when former Bucks coach Scott Skiles shuffled him in and out of the starting lineup while reducing his minutes, Ilyasova is thriving for the 32-32 Bucks, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

While he is averaging 12.3 points and 6.7 rebounds for the season, Ilyasova has scored at least 19 points in eight of the last 13 games. That included a 29-point, 11-rebound outburst against Toronto and a 26-point, 17-rebound outing against the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat Friday night.

Jim Boylan, who promptly inserted Ilyasova into the starting lineup when he assumed the head coaching reins, is delighted with his young starting power forward.

“Ersan has been really, really consistent with his scoring, his effort, his rebounding,” Boylan said. “He’s done so much for us. When we didn’t have him for those games (against Golden State and Sacramento last week), it showed how much we missed him.

“It’s incredible the amount of progress he’s made as a player.”

Boylan is more impressed with Ilyasova’s growth off the court.

“Ers came from a foreign country into a new environment,” Boylan said. “ I played myself over in Europe. I lived in another country (Switzerland) for six years, so I understand Ers’ situation. People think it’s easy to come in and hit the ground running. It isn’t.

“So to see how far Ers has come is amazing and a credit to him.”

Marbury to help coach Chinese national team?Stephon Marbury hasn’t played in the NBA since a 23-game stint with the Celtics during the 2008-09 season (remember that?). Since then, Marbury has made a name for himself playing for the Bejing Ducks in China, leading them to a championship in 2012. His team is out of the playoffs after losing in the semifinals, but Marbury reportedly has a new gig to fulfill. According to Niubball.com, Marbury says he will serve as an assistant coach for the Chinese national team:

In an interview on BTV, the 36 year-old guard announced that he will serve as an assistant coach for Beijing as they prepare to participate in the 2013 China National Games. He will work under his CBA head coach Min Lulei, who serves the same position for the Beijing Ducks.

The National Games, which happen once every four years, are completely separate from the Chinese Basketball Association season. As a sort of intra-China Olympics, the National Games pit the country’s different provinces against each other in various athletic events, including basketball.

The two-week competition will start in late August in host-province Liaoning. However, there will be a qualifying tournament in late April for basketball. Guangdong won the basketball tournament in 2009, which was held in various cities in Shandong.

Marbury’s addition to the coaching staff comes on the heels of other big news this week. The Beijing team got a boost when it was announced that Sun Yue, who plays for Beijing Aoshen — a team that is not part of the Chinese Basketball Association — will be representing Beijing at the Games, in addition to several other Aoshen players. A longtime key contributor for the National Team, Sun will be one of the best players in the tournament.

The National Games, though technically centered around athletic competition  are the epitome of not only basketball, but sports with Chinese characteristics. With the eyes of provincial governments focused directly on their teams, the Games’ main purpose serves government officials, who can be gain status and be promoted to bigger and better positions if their teams achieve good results. Though the Olympics trump all in terms of importance, the National Games is a major event and one that places great pressure on athletes to perform for the glory of their province.

ICYMI of the night: Blake Griffin‘s alley-oop against the Knicks is getting the viral buzz today (and rightfully so), but don’t overlook this game of a jam from Russell Westbrook:

Timberwolves Catch Yet Another Break: Love’s Fractured Hand

 

This isn’t even funny anymore.

Actually, the gallows humor around the Timberwolves at various points in their checkered history rarely has packed much humor; it mostly has been used to release frustration, in a laugh, clown, laugh way.

Kevin Love’s broken right hand is Exhibit 459, or at least feels like it. The All-Star power forward suffered a broken right hand during a morning workout before practice Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks. The team said Love would be examined by a hand specialist in New York for the fractures to the third and fourth metacarpal bones in his shooting hand.

The injury leaves the Wolves without their top two players for the season’s first month and a half, maybe longer. Point guard Ricky Rubio tore the ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee last March and isn’t expected back from surgery rehab until December or January.

Minnesota’s “all-in” attitude for 2012-13 – hoping to end a streak of eight consecutive seasons missing the playoffs – was dealt a brutal blow. Last spring, after Rubio went down and Love joined him after April 11 (concussion and neck strain), the Wolves finished 5-20, dashing their postseason hopes.

Digging that kind of hole at the start of this season – a 3-12 start, say, by early December – might be too much to overcome to chase even the No. 8 seed.

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U.S. and Olympics Records Fall As Anthony, U.S. Destroy Nigeria 156-73

LONDON – Carmelo Anthony couldn’t explain it. Few who witnessed it could, and even they would just be guessing about how records that have stood for years could all come crashing down in a matter of minutes at the Olympic Basketball Arena late Thursday night.

Maybe Anthony is right, perhaps it was “just one of those nights.”

Maybe it was just being in the zone and the perfect opponent at the perfect time for a team still hunting perfection in a game that has been known to humble those chasing foolish things.

And maybe, just maybe, it was Anthony, one of the greatest scorers on the planet right now, catching fire in a glorious 14 minute and 29-second stretch the likes of we might not see again on the Olympic stage.

By the time the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team had finished toying with Nigeria, they set Olympic records for most points in a half and most points in a game in their 156-73 win, the only thing anyone knew for sure was that history had been made and that they’d probably never see anything like it again.

Anthony set U.S. Olympic records for points (37), breaking Stephon Marbury‘s record of 31 (against Spain in 2004), 3-pointers made and attempted (10-for-12) and the U.S. team set Olympic records for points scored, points in a first half (78), field goals made (59), 3-pointers made and attempted (29-for-46), field goal percentage (71.1), victory margin (83) and their 41 assists tied a record.

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D-Will Dials Down The Linsanity




HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU – About a week ago, ESPN.com put a poll up on its SportsNation site, asking readers to vote for the best point guard in the NBA.

The choices: Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and … Jeremy Lin.

Somebody call Big Bird, because one of these things is not like the others.

Now, Lin has been a revelation for the New York Knicks over the last two and a half weeks … but putting him in a “best point guard” poll after a handful of games as a starter is just ludicrous, especially when you don’t include that guy wearing No. 8 across the river.

Yes, Deron Williams had last night’s game at Madison Square Garden circled on his calendar. Lin began his amazing run against Williams’ Nets just 16 days earlier and D-Will has been hearing and reading about Linsanity ever since. Hype like that will obviously get under the skin of a prideful All-Star.

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A reason to cheer again in NYC

Ten years is not only an eternity, it’s an annoyance in the City That Never Waits. Trains, cabs, Yankee championships … they all run on time. And then there’s a Knicks playoff victory, which goes counter to what New York is all about, which has the feel of an Eddy Curry full-court sprint.

It’s been a decade, for the most part, since Madison Square Garden had any reason to cheer in springtime. That’s another reason why New York deserves your sympathy, if the injury to Chauncey Billups and two blown games to the Celtics weren’t enough. The famous old building will throb with anticipation Friday night, hoping the Knicks have learned the hard way how to close out a playoff game by now, but mostly hoping 10 years of deflation is about to end, to be replaced by elation.

Carmelo Anthony, for his part, is ready to make his playoff debut on the MSG stage, as he tells our man Alan Hahn of Newsday:

Carmelo Anthony is ready for his close-up.

With the Knicks trying to avoid an 0-3 deficit in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Boston Celtics , and the possibility of playing with a limited Amar’e Stoudemire (back) and without Chauncey Billups (knee), Anthony will step onto the Madison Square Garden court for Friday night’s Game 3 with the desperation of a franchise on his shoulders and the focus directly on him.

“Without them two guys, I think me, personally, I have to step up and do it all to try and win,” the four-time All-Star said Thursday.

Anthony couldn’t have done much more — other than perhaps taking the last shot rather than passing to Jared Jeffries on that infamous final possession — to help the Knicks win Game 2 in Boston on Tuesday. His 42 points, 17 rebounds and six assists was an all-time performance, but it still resulted in a loss.

And though some criticized his decision to pass rather than shoot — after he was criticized for shooting rather than passing on the final possession of Game 1 — others chastised Anthony for how he seemed satisfied in defeat. He even used the word “fun” to describe the game. Gasp! Kobe Bryant never would have talked like that.

“I’m not Kobe , though,” Anthony replied with his ubiquitous Cheshire cat grin in place. “I ain’t Kobe , man.”

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Point made, Raymond Felton

Amar’e Stoudemire is the toast of the big town, and that’s probably appropriate, but New York should really save a little bubbly for the other new guy.

Raymond Felton is really having a satisfying season, lost amid all the fuss about Stoudemire’s MVP candidacy. He’s a refreshing change from a ghastly string of point guards that inhabited the Garden over the last decade. Maybe we shouldn’t even list their names and bring back bad memories. Oh, well, why not. Here are some of the starters, full-time and part-time, who kept the seat cold for Felton over the last dozen years:

Chris Duhon: Really, really foul shooter.

Nate Robinson: Frank Isola, the fine beat writer for the Daily News, nicknamed him “Lil Him” because that’s who Nate played for, himself.

Steve Francis: Stevie Blunder was the symbol of the brief and treacherous Isiah Thomas-Larry Brown era.

Stephon Marbury: Oh, do we have to go there?

Howard Eisley: Not only did Scott Layden give this guy a big contract while they were in Utah, he also brought him to New York.

Mark Jackson, Part II: Nothing like Part I.

Charlie Ward: Not bad; just a better point guard on the football field.

Chris Childs: A tough guy who loved New York. The nightclubs, that is.

Felton has quickly developed a bond with Stoudemire, not Steve Nash-like, but close enough. He’s averaging career highs of 18.7 points and nine assists since signing as a free agent from the Bobcats. Thank you very much, Michael Jordan. If he keeps this up, don’t be surprised if Felton gets some love from Eastern coaches when it comes time to fill out the All-Star reserves.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the Knicks’ universe from wishing for Chris Paul. So maybe all Felton is doing is keeping the seat warm for the next guy.

A.I. Headed To China?

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The silence speaks volumes about Allen Iverson‘s chances of ever wearing the jersey of any NBA team again.

Training camps open in less than two weeks and Iverson isn’t on anyone’s radar, according to his personal manager Gary Moore, who told the Associated Press:

“We’re very astonished, to say the least, that not one team has contacted us with any interest. I just don’t understand it … “What has Allen Iverson done to not warrant interest in him?”

Really?

The past few years — Denver, Detroit, Memphis and finally a return to Philadelphia, plus the off court drama — should provide all the context anyone needs when trying to figure out why there is so little interest in Iverson from NBA teams.

So now Iverson’s considering offers to play in China, where he’d join fellow NBA cast off Stephon Marbury in the professional ranks. Loyal fans of both players seem stunned at the lack of interest in either of these former NBA stars.

But it’s easy to understand from here.

Their time has passed in the NBA.

Fellas, it’s over.

There’s a new crop of young and dynamic point guards on the scene.

And if neither Iverson nor Marbury is interested in playing the role of aging mentor/safety valve, they need to pursue those interests in China.

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Re-do the math

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Posted by Shaun Powell

BOSTON – Not surprisingly, Rashard Lewis‘ contract has come up for discussion and debate. That tends to happen when a player is perceived to be worth quite a few pennies less than he’s getting.

In Lewis’ case: $118 million. That’s a lot of pennies.

He’s been good for roughly 3 baskets a game in this playoff series with Boston, and while I would try to attach a monetary figure per basket, my mind isn’t that sharp. Let’s just say Lewis could change his jersey number to 118 and folks would know the deal.

Speaking of the deal, here’s how it went down. Lewis was up for free agency in Seattle in the summer of ’07, opting out of a $60 million deal. His final 3 seasons in Seattle, he averaged 20. 5, 20. 1 and 22.4 points per game. He was 6-10 who could play either forward spot and shoot 3-pointers, causing matchup hell for other players. The Sonics were the leader in the clubhouse for his services. But while the Sonics flinched, Lewis shopped. Orlando needed a complimentary scorer for Dwight Howard in the worst way. The Magic took a pass on Vince Carter, coincidently, and decided to blow the Sonics and Lewis away with a monster offer. The contract was indeed massive, but understand, in those better economic days, other players were asking for and getting deals in that ballpark: Stephon Marbury, Kenyon Martin, Gilbert Arenas, to name a few.

Lewis averaged 18.2 his first season in Orlando, and last spring, hit major shots in the post-season. But this season, starting with the suspension for banned substances, has been poor. Lewis’ average slipped to 14.1 and with a few exceptions, he’s been a vapor in the post-season. Suddenly, his flaws are being exposed: He doesn’t go to the basket. He can’t knock down 3-pointers unless he’s wide open. He’s not much of s presence on the glass.

And he’ll make roughly $60 million more on a contract that has 3 more years to run.

Folks still can’t let go of that last part.