Friday, July 13, 2012
By Beckley Mason
- Kevin Arnovitz took in Team USA's romp over the Dominican Republic in Las Vegas and came away impressed by Andre Iguodala: "The Sixers forward snagged one of the final three spots last Saturday, touted for his defensive versatility. On Thursday night, Iguodala proved his worth -- on both ends. On a roster populated by freakish athletes, Iguodala looked the freakiest of all. He scored 18 points, going 7-for-9 from the field. Like Durant, Iguodala was also helped by the more generous international 3-point shot as he drilled 4 of 6 from downtown. As advertised, Iguodala dogged the Dominicans all night -- deflections, steals, entry passes that never materialized because his long limbs plugged the lanes. When necessary, he raced from perimeter to paint, switched out for the point guards and generally caused mischief. 'It's something Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] talked about in one of the meetings,' Iguodala said. 'He wanted guys to have two different types of egos. One ego is going out there and representing your country. Then have the ego of your role. My role is defense.'"
- Highlights from Kevin Durant's game-high 24-point performance in Team USA's big win.
- Vegas Summer League starts this afternoon. Check out Kevin Arnovitz's must-read guides to the action.
- This picture of Darko Milicic, who was amnestied by the Timberwolves, is probably one he wishes he could have back.
- The Kings players are using a buddy system to keep everyone in line at the Vegas Summer League.
- Some friendly trash talk between Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant over a one-on-one game with $50K on the line. The game will have to wait, but Bryant decisively wins the battle of words.
- SI's Zach Lowe on what's at stake for Daryl Morey and the Rockets: "He’s not infallible, and if this all blows up, it would not be a surprise in league circles if he lost his job. But the grounds for ribbing are a little shakier if you also believe that the acquisition of a superstar is the most important ingredient in the construction of a championship. The Rockets team that Morey just detonated was not a championship club and hasn’t been close since the retirement of its last superstar, Yao Ming. Houston has finished ninth in the Western Conference for three straight seasons — just above .500 each time while missing the playoffs — and Morey has positioned it now to either land a star or finally bottom out for a real chance at the No. 1 pick."
- Charles Barkley speaks as charmingly as possible about trying to bribe Dirk Nowitzki to go to Auburn when they first met.
- Jack McCallum drops by the 4-Down Podcast to chat with the writers of 48 Minutes of Hell.
- Eric Freeman of Ball Don't Lie continues his hilarious series of posts imagining Earl Barron as a 19th-century British aristocrat.
- Czech forward Jan Vesely saying some interesting things about his Wizards teammates in a Czech hoops magazine.
- Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano reflects on how Steve Nash will fit into the Lakers and notes how, even in the Lakers' current offensive sets, Nash can be a big help: "A simple post up where Nash brings the ball up with Kobe in the corner and Bynum in the pivot creates a problem for the D. Do you sag off Kobe in the corner to disrupt a post entry? Do you sag off Nash? Do you try to front Bynum and help off Gasol when Nash has the ball in his hands? Run a basic HORNS set with Nash cutting through the lane to screen for Kobe and the Lakers can create an action where Pau has the ball and Bynum, Kobe, and Nash are all running screen actions on the weak side of the floor to get a good shot up. These are only two options from the Lakers’ playbook this past season that change dramatically simply because the Lakers have replaced Fisher/Sessions/Blake with Nash."
- 6-3 Thunder guard Reggie Jackson with a big time slam at Orlando Summer League.
- 2102's Team USA isn't just in the Original Dream Team's shadow, but in a way, a reflection of what that team taught the basketball world.
- Check out this chart: The NBA may be a young man's game, but the league is getting old.
- Neil Paine ranks the best "Big Three" combinations of all time (Insider). The 1997 Utah Jazz at No. 6 caught my eye: "With the formula emphasizing production from each trio's third member, you might be surprised to see the Jazz here. Everyone knows the prodigious output Utah got from Malone and Stockton every season, but Hornacek also provided serious punch in 1997, posting double digits in Win Shares and Estimated Wins Added to help augment what was probably the best season of Malone's long and distinguished career."