DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on Carmelo Anthony, Memphis Grizzlies and more

David Aldridge

He has nothing in reserve. From John DeLeon:

Breen and Frazier spoke on the broadcast last night about Melo coming off the bench. Why is Melo so opposed to it in your eyes? He would still average the same number of shots/points and it could effectively help his numbers all around…

It matters who finishes the game, not necessarily who starts it…

You are right, John. But pro athletes are such creatures of habit. And, in case you weren’t aware, they have slightly bigger egos than you or I. I suspect ‘Melo believes (correctly) he’ll get better shots playing with Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the floor than any of the Thunder’s reserves, when opposing defenses would (correctly) double him every time he touched the ball and make someone else beat them, even if Billy Donovan staggered the minutes to make sure either Westbrook or George was on the floor with Anthony when/if he came off the bench.

I remember Michael Jordan’s second year in Washington — his last as a player — in 2002-03. He’d gotten hurt playing killer minutes the previous season, and everyone — including him — knew that he had to get his load down the following year. So everyone — including him — decided he’d come off the bench as a sixth man. It made all the sense in the world. Jordan and Jerry Stackhouse didn’t mesh together as starters. So the idea was to leave Stack in the starting lineup, where he’d get the Wizards into the penalty with his slashing abilities, and then bring Jordan in to feast on second-level guys. It lasted exactly 15 games. Then Jordan was back in the starting lineup. It’s just the nature of stars.

Time to tame the Grizzlies? From Philip Joseph:

What are the chances that Memphis will opt for the mega blow-up and move Mike Conley along with Gasol. As a Nuggets fan, he is my dream point guard, to pair with Jokic and Milsap. Is Jamal Murray, a first, and anyone not named Jokic, Milsap, or Harris enough to get Conley?

Well, you can’t ask a team for its best player and give them your third or fourth-best player, Phil. Memphis is going to ride Conley and Gasol for the foreseeable future, but if the Grizzlies were to talk trade with Denver, it would almost certainly have to include Harris or Jokic as part of a package for Conley — and the Nuggets, almost certainly, would pass.

Keep your hands off my (insert naming rights deal winner here) Arena! From Ethan Austin:

Would an NBA owner prefer his own arena or to share it with the NHL & a third party arena owner?

Always, always, always — any owner in any sport wants to own his or her building. While almost all of the revenues generated in that building for an NBA game are split in one way or another with the players, having an arena of one’s own benefits an owner both in the short and long term. The primary reason: when one sells one’s team, one gets a lot more cheddar if one sells the building in which one’s team has played.

Send your questions, comments and WHAT IN THE EVERLOVING HELL IS THAT REAL? to daldridgetnt@gmail.com. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!

MVP WATCH

(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)

1) James Harden (26.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 9 apg, .390 FG, .805 FT): I’m not sure I’d just let the franchise “play through” knee pain.

2) LeBron James (24.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 13.5 apg, .522 FG, .778 FT): Tell Zem Nossink!

3) Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.7 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, .531 FG, .704 FT): The Freak, in seven games this season against the NBA’s top five teams (Houston, Boston, Cleveland, Golden State, San Antonio) that the Bucks have played so far: 33.6 points, 10 rebounds, 3.5 assists on 51.3 percent shooting.

4) Kevin Durant (32 ppg, 10 rpg, 6 apg, .591 FG, 1.000 FT): By way of contrast, I will not be supplying my beloved American University Eagles with new swag before their Patriot League opener with Bucknell next week.

5) Kyrie Irving (28.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 6.3 apg, .492 FG, .941 FT): No word on whether the B52s were consulted before Kyrie wore another interesting pair of shoes in the second half last week against Denver.

BY THE NUMBERS

455 — Career coaching victories for Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, who passed Pat Riley as the franchise’s all-time leader in victories Saturday in the Heat’s win over the Clippers.

17 — Consecutive victories by the Thunder over the 76ers, a streak continued by last Friday’s thrilling triple-overtime win by OKC in Philadelphia. The Sixers’ last win over the Thunder came on Nov. 15, 2008.

.573 — Field goal percentage of Mavs rookie Maxi Kleber, who has started the last 15 games at power forward for Dallas. The German import isn’t setting the league on fire — 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds per game since becoming a starter — but the Mavs have won six of their last 15 with Kleber starting after beginning the year 2-13.

I’M FEELIN’ …

1) The NBA has to do this. I don’t care what the agents are saying behind the scenes; everyone else wants to see this, and see it live, and see the reactions of the guys who are picked last. That’s life in the big city, where you get paid eight figures annually to play a kid’s game. The players in the pool are already All-Stars. It’s not like they won’t get to play in the game.

2) Good luck to Monty McCutcheon, one of the league’s best refs, in his new supervisory role in the league office overseeing and teaching referees in every NBA-affiliated league. He was at the Finals just about every year because he was that good, and he’ll be missed. It is odd to take perhaps the NBA’s best ref off active duty in the middle of a season. But it’s also smart to put an active ref who knows and has worked with so many of the game’s officials in recent years in Olympic Tower.

3) Since the Kings put Buddy Hield in a sixth-man role at the beginning of November, his numbers in 20 games through Friday: 12.6 points per game on 49.7 percent (96-193) shooting from the floor, including 54.9 percent (!) — 45 of 82 — on threes.

4) Classy move by the Knicks Saturday, as Carmelo Anthony returned to Madison Square Garden.

NOT FEELIN’ …

1) This is just horrible. But, if justice is finally coming to Lorenzen Wright and his family, let us get through all the horrible details and let him, at last, rest in peace.

2) Hoping for the best for Steve Clifford. His extended absence is troubling not only to the Hornets, but to everyone around the NBA. Hoping he finds the answers he needs to not just resume coaching, but live a life that works for him.

3) Rudy Gobert should just write off 2017 — the year, not the season. He’ll be back on the court for the Jazz eventually. But the year has been a mess for him physically. Here’s hoping 2018 brings him good health and extended playing time again.

4) “Think of a domino that’s 35 feet long, weighing about 600 pounds.” “That’s one big domino.”

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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here andfollow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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