On draft night, the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to part ways with Jonny Flynn, the sixth overall draft pick just two years prior. After undergoing hip surgery in his first offseason, Flynn was coming off an understandably disappointing performance last year: He started only eight games–down from 81 his rookie season–and posted a severe drop in almost all meaningful statistical averages. Still most known for playing 67 of a possible 70 minutes in a gutsy six overtime Big East Tournament win over UConn, Flynn registered 30 minutes or more just four times last season. It was clear to see that the Flynn who David Kahn drafted, whether it was due to injury or the wrong offensive system, wasn’t the Jonny Flynn we were seeing. Read more…
By the time a preternaturally talented basketball player graduates from high school and fights his way through the college ranks, it’s safe to assume that if drafted into the NBA, his intense work ethic and continual motivation will keep the sport he’s now paid to play at the top of his priorities list. Read more…
Here’s a few NBA related links to digest. Some truly interesting stuff (plus a funny picture of Kanye West!). Read more…
Ah yes, the many a tribulation one’s massive ego can cause. The great Allen Iverson—a player who, for better or worse, defined an entire generation with his fearless nature and never before seen handles—should once and for all set his personal beliefs to the side, adapt and package his game in the 15 minute a night variety, and make one last comeback. Expectations can’t be any lower than where they currently sit, and I for one have yet to give up on the man. (And by “yet to give up” I mean “am selfish and want to watch him play again, even if it’s a hopeless situation.)
Watching him in the second Philadelphia go around managed to be familiar in an incredibly unfamiliar way. The name on the 76ers jersey was the same, but that was no Allen Iverson; 47 percent of his shots were assisted—an incredibly high number for one of the sport’s most historically inventive self-creators. But maybe that’s the only sign we need to tell us that guys who played well with the ball usually don’t age well. It’s Kurt Thomas, Tony Battie, and Jeff Foster who look like they’ll be around another 24 seasons. Big oafs who grab rebounds from their tippy toes, set screens that only occur off the ball, and clog up the paint,
It’s all the more reason why watching the near cremated ashes of Mike Bibby “play” for a title while Iverson sat alone somewhere made my blood boil, and I know at least five people who enjoyed watching Iverson play more than I did. Can he put his mind to amending his style, coming off the bench for a team like, let’s say, Charlotte, and finishing one last season in a true Hall of Fame worthy style? His legacy won’t be effected either way, but this selfish fan wants to see some more.
Besides the fact that it’s possibly the last official NBA related event we see for a while, the draft came and went with little fanfare Major downer. Here’s a list of its intuitive winners (despite this year’s crop lacking any momentous cream, there were a few), and lovable losers. I’ve also analyzed a few consequential moves that can best be described as polarizing to the given team’s fan base. We’ll label them, Most Intriguing.
Both clips are the same crossover from two separate angles (the second one is obviously cooler). Of all the possible situations Jimmer Fredette could find himself in on Thursday night, the most ideal is Phoenix taking him at 13. Playing behind Steve Nash: Learning how to thrive in the league—despite perceived defensive deficiencies—with unbelievable shot accuracy and the ability to run a team, be a leader. Fredette’s talented enough to play in the league, and as long as expectations and pressure don’t break him early on, he should have a lengthy, productive career.
In honor of it being Draft Week, I hope you’re ready for an unhealthy helping of crossovers delivered by guys doing them for no paycheck (unless they went to Ohio State). Starting in numerical order by projected draft status, Kyrie Irving’s college career lasted about four minutes, but just looking at these moves Cleveland has a no-brainer choice on its hands. Speaking of no-brainers, maybe Cory Joseph should go back to Texas.
I read a great New Yorker article a few months ago about viral pandemics. How if there ever were a category in Jeopardy called “Human Race Extinction”, they’d be the answer to every question. That was the gist. We fear so many destructive forces: Terrorism/nuclear war, worldwide food and water shortages, global warming, a giant meteorite slicing through our atmosphere and emptying the Atlantic Ocean like an overweight uncle cannon balling into an above ground swimming pool. But the most dangerous thing of all could be sitting inside a Drill Monkey somewhere deep in a Cameroon jungle. Right now. As you read this.
On that solemn note I’ve widely overreached my point, which is this: Flopping in the NBA has become an unstoppable, far reaching rash. Where it started is anybody’s guess (although a staggering amount of evidence points just north of the Adriatic Sea). Players are being rewarded at a greater rate than ever before for an inability to play defense. It’s a travesty, really. I love J.J. Barea, but because he’s 5’7″ and can’t guard most of his opponents straight up doesn’t give him the right to flop all over the floor. I’m not blaming him by any means—it’d be idiotic to question the guy’s heart or toughness—but accountability should be directed at something tangible, and that happens to be the NBA’s league office. David Stern directs it all like a motion picture; he doesn’t like flopping, boom, it’s edited out.
It may be too late, but if it isn’t, basketball needs to make like hockey and soccer and penalize players who purposefully and blatantly play the referee instead of the man they’re guarding. The notion that flopping has become its own art form is vomit inducing. In actuality, all it does is water the league down with lesser talented players who’ve no choice but to act their way towards a foul if they want floor time. (Hello Derek Fisher.) It’s become so ingrained in the game, the most talented player in the world would rather receive assistance from an official than blow by Brendan Haywood.
I love Tyreke’s move not because it’s unique or capable of taking a breath away. Not because Tyreke Evans is my favorite basketball player (he isn’t). Not because Jerryd Bayless broke many a spell-check with the particulars of his first name (he has). Bayless knows he can’t guard Evans. Evans knows Bayless can’t guard him. The moment Tyreke initiates his move, Jerryd gives such effort in trying to sell an offensive foul he nearly pops out a teammate’s kneecap. I love this move because it stands for something. The referee’s swallowing of his whistle, leading to stinging embarrassment no basketball player wants to experience twice. It’s only a moment, but that one seemingly insignificant sequence represents one day ridding the league of something that’s dangerously close to ruining basketball’s integrity. Something needs to happen soon. We need a cure.
Haven’t broken one of these guys out in quite a while, but this morning it just felt right. Now that basketball’s over until the draft—and then REALLY over after that—what’s left to do but read about the game, watch some cool stuff on youtube, and laugh at the Miami Heat? Exactly. Read more…