Lines form on my face and my hands/Lines form on the left and right/I'm in the middle/The middle of life/I'm a boy and I'm a man/I'm eighteen and I like it. From B.J. Souder:
Do you really think the NBA should change the one-and-done rule? I personally think players should be allowed to enter right after high school. It's up to the scouts to know who can really play. That's their job. With no scouting at all, I knew the ones that ended up busts, were going to be busts.
Adam Silver’s willingness to take another look at the NBA age limit is welcome news, B.J. One and done doesn’t work for anyone. Again, the system used by Major League Baseball -- high school phenoms can declare for baseball’s Draft, but anyone who goes to college has to play at least three years there before being Draft eligible -- seems to me to be the correct template upon which to base a new NBA early entry policy. There’s no reason that the future Kevin Garnetts and Kobe Bryants should have to wait a year to enter the NBA if they’re ready right after high school. It may not be a perfect match, but it’s a good starting point, and the league and union should be able to quickly find common ground off of it.
Everybody’s Always Talking At Me/I Don’t Hear a Word They’re Saying. From Jacqueline Shackleford:
Is Klay heartbroken?
Do you think that Klay Thompson's shooting slump has anything to do with Kevin Durant taking his position on the court? I think Klay is saddened in his passion for the game. His humiliation is based on this Supernova of Kevin Durant taking his spot on the Splash Throne not because of his play but because of greed. I don't think when he traveled to speak to KD last summer he thought he would be relegated to 4 or 5 in the rotation.
The owners and players of the Golden State Warriors stooped a little low (by way of the NBA free agency rule) to recruit a franchise player to join a 73-win team. Four Franchise players on one team is unbearable at times.
I think that’s you talking more than Klay. I can only take him at his word that he doesn’t care about numbers and is only interested in winning. Will that be true two years from now, when his contract is up? I have no idea. I’m sure he’s not going to take less than a max deal, though, and I’m not sure how Golden State or any team could handle four max or near-max deals at once. But the Warriors don’t have to make that decision until 2019.
This is a well-written, thoughtful and polite disagreement with my Warriors pick. I didn’t know you could do that on the internet. From Loren Reed:
You've been watching the NBA for longer than I have, but I'm a few years older (75) and only been watching the NBA since LeBron went to Miami.
I played tennis from 14 to 46 years of age -- winning my small tri-college conference singles during my junior year in college, plus a couple of country-club trophies afterwards so I had a small taste of what it takes to win at sports. GM David Griffin's additions -- principally the 2 Williams (Derrick and Deron) and Kyle Korver (plus the fact they're all healthy) increases the Cavaliers efficiency a lot -- especially when games can be decided by one error or a made shot.
Having seen LeBron dominate so entirely almost every game he plays, I feel that his leadership on the floor -- with his capacity to play as if he had four eyes -- just tips every game in his favor no matter who the adversary is.
The other team can only put five players on the floor at one time, and that gives the advantage to LeBron's team most of the time.
No argument with any of that, Loren. I still think Golden State will win the series, but LeBron is one of the all-time greats, and his teams are always better because of his presence.
No, I will not stop talking about this. From Bryan Schulle:
When will the Seattle SuperSonics be drafting again and your old colleague @KevinCalabro returning to his CORRECT Pacific NW city of Seattle to work for the team's flagship station?
*I get that the second half of the question is trickier.
Sadly, doesn’t sound like any time soon. Adam Silver said in his pre-Finals presser Thursday that there remains no momentum among owners for expansion. And at present, there is no obvious candidate for a relocation -- New Orleans, potentially, is something to keep an eye on, though my sense remains that the league is extremely committed to keeping the Pelicans there. But I don’t want any other fan base to suffer, either.
To me, a two-city expansion that would include Seattle is the way to go. I know it doesn’t make economic sense, and would dilute the quality of the on-court product for a time (though I don’t believe it would be as dire as others; today’s 3-point heavy, small-ball NBA allows for more players to contribute immediately rather than fewer). This is, to me, a moral question -- as much as lining the pockets of a billionaire can be considered “moral;” I get it, I get it. The Sonics were taken from Seattle through no fault of their fans. They supported that team. Those fans, and that city, should be made whole, just as the NBA quickly stepped in to make sure that Charlotte got an expansion team after the Hornets left for New Orleans in 2002. The league’s current owners are the only ones who can fix this and include two more people in their (very lucrative) club. If they wanted to charge, say, $800 million to $1 billion apiece in expansion fees for the 31st and 32nd NBA franchises, well, that’s the cost of doing bidness. Right now, though, there’s nothing.
POSTSEASON MVP WATCH
(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)
1) LeBron James (28.5 ppg, 13 rpg, 11 apg, .553 FG, .706 FT): Tied Magic Johnson for the most Finals triple doubles with his eighth (29 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists) in Sunday’s Game 2 loss to the Warriors.
2) Kevin Durant (35.5 ppg, 11 rpg, 7 apg, .711 FG, .909 FT): You read that right: KD is shooting 71 percent from the floor in the first two games of The Finals. And that doesn’t include the five blocks he had in Game 2. Good Lord, he’s locked in.
3) Stephen Curry (30 ppg, 8 rpg, 10.5 apg, .462 FG, 1.000 FT): Saw Curry’s agent before Game 2 Sunday. He said, “I’m just about ready to make my presentation this summer.” And then, he laughed. Has anyone walked into a room and gotten more than $200 million guaranteed without saying a word?
4) Kawhi Leonard: Season complete.
5) John Wall: Season complete.
BY THE NUMBERS
$862,000,000 -- Estimated current cost of Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, where the Pistons and the NHL’s Red Wings are scheduled to begin play next season -- a massive increase over the original estimated $450 million price tag in 2013. The Pistons have not yet officially signed a lease agreement to play in the arena next season.
112 -- Career playoff games without a Finals appearance for Utah Jazz guard Joe Johnson, which is, per the NBA, the longest such active streak in the league. Two of the previous longest streaks were extinguished when the Cavs’ Kyle Korver (104 postseason games) and the Warriors’ David West (95) made their Finals debuts last week.
25 -- Years since Michael Jordan made six three-pointers and scored 35 points in the first half of Game 1 of the 1992 Finals against Portland -- the “shrug” game. I know some of the young heads are blinking dumbfounded at their laptops, but kids -- they didn’t always shoot 30-40 threes a game. In fact, Jordan had only made 27 threes all season, and just five in his first 16 playoff games that season, before his outburst against the Blazers.
I’M FEELIN' ...
1) Congrats to Al Attles and Hubie Brown for receiving this year’s Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement award for coaching. Both from Jersey, Attles and Brown came of age in the NBA as coaches in the ‘70s -- Attles with Golden State, where he won the NBA title in 1975 as his Warriors upset the heavily favored Bullets in The Finals; Brown with Atlanta and the Hawks, starting a three-decade coaching stint in which he went 26 years between earning Coach of the Year honors.
2) There isn’t enough popcorn available in the world.
3) I pride myself on knowing a lot of the recent history of this league and the men who’ve played in it.I never knew until last week about the AAU team in Louisiana in the summer of 1980 that featured future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Joe Dumars, Benny Anders -- who would star as part of the University of Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma -- and the late John (Hot Rod) Williams, who played for the Cavs for many productive seasons. What a great story/detective work.
4) Always am impressed by people who are such good sports about the horrible things that anonymous internet jerks -- who’d be the first in line to ask for their autographs/pose for selfies if they saw them on the street -- tweet about them.
1) No one is happy that the NBA/NBPA Fitness to Play Panel determined last week that Heat forward Chris Bosh’s blood clot issue is a career-ending condition. But it’s hard to see how this could have ended any other way; as I wrote last week, there are few (some disagree, it should be noted) around the league who believe Bosh could be cleared by a doctor to return to the floor. It’s no one’s life but Bosh’s, but I think most folks hope he’ll decide to embrace the next chapter in his life.
2) Frank Deford was everything every sportswriter wanted to be: smart and rakish looking, and incomparable with the pen. Many of us in the business grew up reading Deford’s takeouts -- long feature stories -- on some of sports’ biggest names for more than two-plus decades in Sports Illustrated. When I was at The Washington Post, our boss would print copies of Deford’s latest and put them in everyone’s mailbox, just so we could all spend a half-hour or so enjoying something that was so beautifully written. That Deford went on to great careers in TV and radio is no surprise for someone as facile with the language as he; his death last week reduces our profession greatly.
3) RIP, Jack McCloskey. “Trader Jack,” the longtime Pistons’ GM, built a championship team around the incandescent Isiah Thomas in Detroit in the ‘80s, with one methodical move after the other -- getting Bill Laimbeer from Cleveland, Rick Mahorn from Washington, Mark Aguirre from Dallas, and Joe Dumars, John Salley and Dennis Rodman in the Draft -- and hiring Chuck Daly before Daddy Rich had a Hall of Fame coaching resume.
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