This morning’s headlines:
- Anthony ready to adapt with Thunder
- Batum hoping to be back this season
- Warriors absorb adoration in China
- Knicks preaching patience
Anthony ready to adapt with Thunder — After Carmelo Anthony was traded to New York in 2011, he and Amar’e Stoudemire never worked well together. Now, we’re going to see how well Anthony can mesh with Russell Westbrook and Paul George in Oklahoma City. In talking to Yahoo‘s Michael Lee, he’s saying the right things…
Several stars moved around last summer but no other team is looking to combine three high-usage scorers – including two of the past five scoring champions – who are accustomed to rolling solo.
“It will all come together. We see it in practice when Russ is with us. We see what the potential of what this team can be,” Anthony told The Vertical. “It’s lifted a burden off of me. And I’m pretty sure it’s the same off of Paul and Russ. We talk about those things. We don’t want to have to do it every single night, every single play, but we know we’re going to have to bring our games every single night in order for us to be successful.”
Having to occasionally defer to not just one, but two All-Star teammates is a challenge that Anthony welcomes. The reputation that he has earned for being a ball-stopper who likes to shoot first and ask questions later, Anthony believes, is unfair. He isn’t incapable of sharing the ball or the limelight because he once took turns lighting up the scoreboard with Allen Iverson. At 33, Anthony is at an age when he shouldn’t be asked to or expect to shoulder the scoring load. “I’m a product of my environment,” Anthony told The Vertical. “I’ve always been that. You put me in any situation, I’ll make an adjustment to that situation. That’s what I’m going to do, regardless of where I’m at.”
Those record three Olympic gold medals are often used as an example of how Anthony can play more efficiently and unselfishly when surrounded by superior talent. Anthony created “Hoodie Melo” while training in sweats during the offseason and he has brought that persona with him to Oklahoma City, slipping that signature look under his practice warmups. But one version of Anthony that he said he isn’t bringing to the Thunder is the so-called Olympic Melo, because, according to him, that version doesn’t exist.
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Batum hoping to be back this season — On Friday, the Charlotte Hornets announced that forward Nicolas Batum would be out “a minimum of six to eight weeks” with a ligament tear in his left elbow. Jeremy Lamb will start in place of Batum, who is hoping to avoid surgery and be back sooner rather than later. The Charlotte Observer‘s Rick Bonnell spoke to Batum about the injury…
Charlotte Hornets guard Nic Batum will be in Dallas Monday to consult with a specialist on whether to have surgery on the torn ligament in his left elbow.
However, Batum told the Observer Friday he does not believe this injury – suffered Wednesday in a preseason exhibition against the Detroit Pistons – will be season-ending.
“It’s going to be long, but not that long,” Batum said, following a dedication ceremony for basketball courts the Hornets refurbished off Tuckaseegee Road. “If it were my shooting arm, it would be a lot longer. At max, it’s three months.”
Batum said he hyper-extended his elbow when wedged between small forward Stanley Johnson and another Pistons player in the first minute of Wednesday’s exhibition.
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Warriors absorb adoration in China — #ChinaKlay may be a popular meme among the NBA twitterverse, but when it comes to actual popularity in China, Stephen Curry is the man. And he’s soaking it all in on the Warriors’ trip through Shenzhen and Shanghai, as ESPN‘s Nick Friedell writes…
As Stephen Curry prepared for the first of two exhibition games in China against the Minnesota Timberwolves this week, the two-time MVP felt a bigger burden than usual heading into a preseason affair.
“Basketball is popular all over the world,” Curry explained. “And when you come here to China, to these cities and these markets that don’t get the up-close-and-personal experience, it kind of takes it up another notch because this is their one chance to kind of see us live and for us to get as immersed in the culture as we can. I think since the last time we came here in 2013, the popularity of the Warriors has grown tenfold, so it’s going to be a different vibe this time around and I’m looking forward to it.”
When Curry stepped onto the floor for the first time before tipoff on Thursday at the Shenzhen Universiade Center, his intuition about this environment on the other side of the world proved to be correct. Chinese fans went crazy for anything Curry did. Fans dressed in No. 30 Warriors jerseys clamored all over the floor to catch a glimpse of their hero in action. Even security officials held cameras to try to capture a memory from his pregame shooting routine. Curry has done in China what he has already accomplished in America: He’s made usually mundane pregame activities a must-see event for fans of all ages.
“It was crazy,” Curry said of the atmosphere after the Warriors’ 111-97 loss to the Timberwolves. “A pretty packed house an hour and a half, two hours before the game. They wanted to get the full experience, and you kind of feel that when you step on the floor for warm-ups. I was back in the locker room when KD [Kevin Durant] was shooting, and he dunked it in [his] workout and it was like a game winner. You could hear it all the way back in the locker room. So it’s pretty cool.”
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Knicks preaching patience — Can you pull off a slow rebuild in New York? We may actually find out, with new Knicks general manager Scott Perry talking about patience and sustainability. The Daily News‘ Stefan Bondy has the story…
“The big thing is, is this team competing, playing hard, playing together, trying to defend each and every night? If we can do that, we can live with the results,” Perry said.
“People want something that’s going to be sustainable. That to me is what’s important and the patience, and if you’re going to build something the right way that’s going to be sustainable longterm, you can’t cut corners,” he said. “So far, the fanbase has been very nice and kind. But we haven’t played much basketball.”
Time will determine if Perry’s the right man to build the foundation, or if the market can tolerate more losing. In Orlando as the assistant GM for five years, Perry’s similar plan became an abject failure marked by a 132-278 record. Even Jackson’s winning percentage was better in New York.
From the Orlando experience, Perry said he learned that veterans are important to balance youth.
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Utah’s Dante Exum may have suffered a serious shoulder injury on Friday … The Bulls’ Kris Dunn is out 2-4 weeks with a dislocated finger … The Kings are being patient with rookie Harry Giles, holding him out for at least three months of the season … Is Jayson Tatum ready to contribute for the Celtics? … The Cavs talk about the possibility of forgetting conferences in regard to playoff seeding … Nikola Vucevic doesn’t get to the line, so he might as well shoot 3s … and C.J. McCollum has a new shoe deal.