RIP Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was reportedly killed in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday morning. He was 41 years old. (more…)
One of most popular NBA Player Zion Williamson , who grew up in Florence, South Carolina , officially joining Jordan Brand. The New Orleans Pelicans’ No. 1 overall pick revealed his decision on social media on Tuesday, bringing to an end one of the most talked about rookie sneaker signings in NBA history. Earlier this week it was reported that Williamson was weighing offers from Nike/Jordan and PUMA.
Kevin Durant agreed to yet another so-called 1+1 deal with the Warriors as NBA free agency began early Sunday. The 1+1 refers to a two-year deal with a player option on the second season. The player who signs it is under contract for one season, and can extend that for one additional season, or become a free agent again at the end of the year.
Durant is signing nothing but these low-commitment, short contracts with the Warriors. Most other superstars who want some freedom to move if things go sideways, go with a 2+1 deal to maximize their salaries. If things get really bad, they can always request a trade.
There’s something a little peculiar about Durant’s refusal to commit to the best team on the planet, especially given his apparent love for life in the Bay Area and connection to his teammates and the community.
Typically when people won’t commit to relationships, there are some lingering doubts about the partnership’s prospects locked deep in the recesses of their minds. Perhaps that’s the case with Durant and the Warriors.
Perhaps KD really still doesn’t understand Stephen Curry’s easy-going, pleasant personality. Perhaps KD is flummoxed by Klay Thompson’s temperament, sense of humor, and cult hero status. Perhaps working with Draymond Green is every bit as loud as it looks, and that isn’t KD’s perfect cup of tea.
Maybe, just maybe, Durant isn’t sure if he actually likes being a Warrior yet.
The awkward jokes at the championship parade show that certain members of the Warriors organization don’t get Durant yet. There’s still a weird vibe between Durant and Curry on the court. Durant still gets yelled at by Green — which is fair, because Green yells at everyone and Durant isn’t the type of superstar who bristles at being called out by a teammate. But still, for all the talk and evidence of harmony, this is a weird set of personalities as far as high-end NBA players go. Maybe Durant just isn’t sure yet.
This theory wouldn’t explain why Durant signed 1-year deals in 2016 and 2017, but there is a financial explanation for taking a 1-year deal in 2018. If he opts out next summer, the Warriors will have KD’s Bird rights, which greatly increases the size of the long-term contract he could sign.
If Durant did want to commit long-term to the Warriors this summer, and they were willing, he could sign a four-year deal starting at his max. But next year, the Warriors will have his Bird rights on account of him being with the team for three consecutive seasons. That means Golden State can sign him to a five-year deal at the max.
Durant will turn 30 before the season begins, and may want to lock up a long-term deal. The best he could do this summer is a deal to secure his contract through 2021-22. Doing so next summer potentially gives him security through 2023-24.
The read the writers closest to the Warriors have taken is that by taking less money on a short-term deal, Durant is allowing Golden State to use the mid-level exception for taxpaying teams without an extraordinary luxury tax payment.
Durant is, essentially, saving the franchise owners some money taking $30 million instead of the $35 million he’s eligible to receive, and they are using those savings to re-invest in the team.
If Durant gave that discount while signing a long-term deal, he’d be consigning himself to taking a haircut for multiple years. By doing it on essentially a 1-year deal, he’s allowing the Warriors to give him the full max in the near future. He’s not locking in a pay cut, just taking one for now.
That said, this will now be Year 3 of discounts for Durant in Golden State.
We live in meme culture now, and the dominant Durant meme since he left the Thunder for the Warriors two years ago states that if your team beats Durant’s team but fails to win the championship, KD will join your team. He is, for lack of a more artful word, a frontrunner.
He can’t leave for the Rockets or Lakers or whoever if he’s under a long-term deal, though. The memes must be obeyed.
Relocation isn’t happening any time soon, but expansion has been on the lips of powerful people in the NBA for a little while now. Remember that Durant began his career with the Seattle SuperSonics and somewhat frequently mentions the Emerald City wistfully.
What if Durant refuses to sign long-term with the Warriors solely because he wants to be prepared to jump ship to the Sonics if and when they are reborn?
Let’s take this one step further: Would a supermajority of NBA franchise owners immediately grant an expansion team in Seattle if it meant Durant would leave the Warriors? That would immediately solve the biggest competitive balance issue in the league and give the squad in a high-revenue market a huge early splash. Even the fans most sour over the decade-old betrayal by Howard Schultz, David Stern, and Clay Bennett would come back if it meant rooting for KD again.
The downside is that Seattle expansion also comes with Spencer Hawes joining the Sonics. You win some, you lose some.
News Source: sbnation.com
The Lakers wasted no time filling out their roster after LeBron James announced that he would be joining them. Once the decision was made, they immediately went out and worked on adding veterans that could help them win now. One of those veterans, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, is Javale McGee.
McGee and the Lakers agreeing to a reported one-year, mimimum deal had to be a little surprising for some, but McGee is actually not the worst fit next to James. He won two championships with the Warriors in a very simple role. He blocked shots and he caught alley-oops. It was simple, it worked, and it made McGee look very good.
Of course, that’s as long as McGee stays in a limited role. If the Lakers try to play him major minutes, or make him a starter, then that could be a problem. McGee has proven to be best used in small doses.
As the Lakers fill out their roster, it will be interesting to see what players they put around James. They’ve already reportedly brought back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and added Lance Stephenson, but Los Angeles can’t just go out and sign players, hoping that it all works out. They need pieces that fit together well. McGee can be a piece that works, but only if the rest of the team around him makes sense. Otherwise he’s just a really tall, athletic guy that dunks sometimes. The Lakers need a system that lets him be more than that.
News Source: cbssports.com, sfgate.com
Six of the awards given out were voted on by the media: MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award and Most Improved Player. Other awards include Executive of the Year (voted on by the league’s executives), Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year (voted on by the players), NBA Sportsmanship Award (voted on by the players) and the NBA Cares Community Assist Award (voted on by fans and a panel of judges).
The fan-voted award for Play of the Year was also handed out, with the finalists coming from the winners of the fan-voted categories for Dunk of the Year, Clutch Shot of the Year, Assist of the Year, Block of the Year and Handle of the Year.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Other finalists: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans; LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
|2018||James Harden||Houston Rockets|
|2017||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2016||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|2015||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|2014||Kevin Durant||Oklahoma City Thunder|
The league’s premier award went to James Harden, the top scorer in the NBA for the league’s top regular-season team.
Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
Other finalists: Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz; Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
Unfortunately for Dwane Casey, his great regular season in Toronto wasn’t enough to save his job, though he landed on his feet in Detroit. Casey led the Raptors to the top seed in the East, won a team-record 59 games and coached the All-Star team
Lou Williams, LA Clippers
Other finalists: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets; Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
Lou Williams, who averaged a career-high 22.6 points per game while leading the LA Clippers off the bench, takes home his second Sixth Man of the Year award. Williams also won in 2014-15 as a member of the Raptors.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Other finalists: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Rudy Gobert missed 26 games due to injury, but he was a major key to the NBA’s second-best defense and was arguably Utah’s most important player (the Jazz won 66.1 percent of games Gobert played in and only 42.3 percent of games Gobert missed).
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
Other finalists: Clint Capela, Houston Rockets; Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
Victor Oladipo represented the improvement of changing teams and roles. In Oladipo’s case, he went from being a decent starter in Oklahoma City to an All-Star while improving his numbers across the board.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Other finalists: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz; Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game for a 52-win 76ers team this season. This is the third time in the past four seasons that Rookie of the Year has gone to a former No. 1 overall pick, as Simmons joins 2014 top pick Andrew Wiggins and 2015’s Karl-Anthony Towns as members of the ROY club. Simmons is the first player to win the award after missing the entire season following being drafted since Blake Griffin, the top overall pick in 2009, won Rookie of the Year honors in 2010-11.
Dwight Howard sure doesn’t look so mean with his warm smiles and playful grins he likes to flash throughout a game. Despite his love for playing the NBA game, Howard seems to have worn out his welcome in the league. In a short period of time, Howard has had run ins with veterans like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and more recently, Kevin Garnett. Despite being a devout Christian who tries his best to set a good example off the court, Howard still manages to be one of the more controversial players in professional basketball on the court.
Big men in the NBA have always seemed to be under more scrutiny because of their size and capability of scoring close to the basket. Howard has been at the center of a storm as his numbers continue to go down and even his grins have started to recede. Gone are the days of “superman” and the shot blocking machine that dominated the landscape when Dwight Howard was a member of the Orlando Magic. It is almost as if Howard’s career has suffered after leaving Orlando for more money. Since then, his statistics are not the same and his enemies seem to be much higher in number.
There are many reasons NBA players do not seem to like Dwight Howard. He has that goofy look and yet can flash that conceited chin. He leads the league in potential, but being among the league’s leaders in performance now seems to be a thing of the past. Whatever the case, the following are the top 20 reasons why it is easy for other NBA players to hate Dwight Howard. This “hate” might not come out in the press, but these are sure to make compelling cases in a search for the truth.
Dwight Howard seems to lack the competitive spirit and energy to consistently be a dominant force throughout the course of each game. He has not exactly been playing with a head of steam and can’t seem to string together a series of inspired performances. On top of that, he is scoring fewer points per game and is not developing more of a post game or extending his range from two foot shots. He simply seems to make a habit out of underachieving.
The big physique of Dwight Howard added to his athletic prowess and ability to rip a rim off a backboard seem to contradict the way he actually plays. He simply plays too soft.
Dwight Howard is making over $20 million a year as the Houston Rockets second scoring option. His teammate, James Harden, averages 27.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game, while earning about $6 million less per season. This is too much money to spend on a player whose contributions do not seem to measure up. With so many big men like Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitski, Lamarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan learning how to play differently in order to complement their teams, Howard seems to be so unwilling. It is no wonder that a little jealousy has turned a fair share of players against him.
The greatest players to ever play in the NBA always seem to improve in some way or another when they reach 30 years of age. Michael Jordan shot 50% from the 3-point line after the age of 30. Hakeem Olajuwon had his highest scoring average of his career (27.8 ppg) following the season in which he turned 31 years of age. Kobe Bryant has averaged at least 27 points and 5 rebounds per game in three different seasons after turning 30. Dwight Howard is 29 years old and doesn’t seem to be making much progress as he gets closer to turning 30.
Dwight Howard abandoned a perfect situation in Orlando where he could be a big star and be close to his home state of Georgia when he moved to the bright lights of Los Angeles to earn more money. He then decided he couldn’t handle the pressure of playing in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant and the banners hanging from the rafters in the Staples Center. Howard couldn’t handle being held accountable for his actions on the court and took the challenges to play better play with disinterest. He is looking for a perfect situation that now has him in a position to hamper the development of James Harden if he wants to complain about not getting more shots.
Dwight Howard is not much of a leader despite having over 10 years of experience in the league. He still does more things to put attention on himself than other members of his own team. What message does he send when he has untimely technical fouls or wastes time arguing with the officials when the ball is being pushed to the other end of the court? Howard does his best to live a clean and tidy life off the court, but can’t seem to go through games unscathed. On the court he is too busy frowning and doing his own thing by hiding or goofing around to be more of a leader for his team.
Not everybody’s cut out to be a leader, but in Orlando, Howard actually did his best to play the part, but playing with more stars and getting paid more money seem to have made him relinquish any kind of leadership role. Howard has been more than content to let Kobe Bryant and now James Harden to assume the team’s leadership role.
Howard often comes across as being rather aloof and more or less full of himself. Keep in mind that he reveled in being called “superman” in his days of being a slam dunk champion, but his play has yet to earn similar praise. It is not like Howard thinks he is God’s gift to the Earth, but he does have that smirk and the air of being a supreme being. Considering his chiseled body and athletic grace and Howard can’t be blamed for caring a little too much about himself. In this regard, many players feel that his inconsistent play doesn’t earn him the right to have such a look of indifference and downright arrogance.
Dwight Howard doesn’t seem to care about making his team better. To start with, Howard averages less than 2 assists per game and has more of an ability to turn over the ball (3.1 turnovers per game) than to get the ball to a teammate leading to a score. The Houston Rockets currently have so many outside shooters to work good with an inside out kind of game, but James Harden is way more of a catalyst of the offense with his drives down the lane. It seems like Howard has been less dominant in the paint and has lost he ability to carry a team even with other starters sitting on the bench.
The NBA game has changed and many people think that there is less of a demand for a strong inside presence in the game, but Howard does himself no favors by getting lost on the court, especially on the offensive end. He often will demand a pass into the post when his position is not that great and will then get surprised by great entry passes when he is all alone. There are times when he has plenty of openings to get to the offensive glass but will then decide to play with too much finesse. He gets lost when double teamed and can never seem to see where the obvious double team is coming from, leading to countless turnovers. Howard allows himself to get taken out of a game by good defenders or teams that keep him away from the basket, preventing him from getting two foot shots.
Dwight Howard is dishonest with himself, players around him and fans throughout the league. For starters, he consistently uses curious smiles and funny faces to hide the fact that he is frustrated that he is not getting the ball or being a bigger part of the game.
Great big men often come into the league with unrefined offensive skills but then develop more of an offensive game. Howard has always relied on follow-up shots, fast break dunks or back door alley oops in the paint. His game has revolved around dunking the basketball and very little else. He can’t shoot mid-range shots and hasn’t even developed consistent post play, but he has still been recognized as one of the league’s most talented centers.
Dwight Howard is kind of like one of those guys who works out daily but can’t seem to carry more than two bags of groceries from the car to the house. His body is ripped and he looks to be in good shape, but Howard still plays a little like a man half his size. At this point in time, Bill Lameer had more of an inside presence and some of Vlade Divac’s flops had more intensity than Howard and his current style of play. Howard smiles too much, whines even more and often allows the defensive pressure from lesser known big men to take him out of a game.
Many players in the NBA know that Dwight Howard came into the league with God given talent. He still has amazing raw talent and can score and rebound with the best centers in the paint and low post. That, however, is the extent of his game and he seems to have taken his talent for granted and has lacked the desire to make himself better and become one of the NBA’s greats.
Dwight Howard does not appear to be doing the things necessary to make him a winner. He does not seem to work hard enough on either end of the court, with steals, blocked shots and rebounding all taking a hit along with his scoring average. This season, it is obvious that James Harden wants to better his game and the Rockets have improved considerably on defense. Howard, on the other hand, has seemingly regressed. It has come time to question his commitment and interest in becoming the best. He could be a dominant force in this league, but still seems to lack taking the initiative despite having a clear advantage on the court more often than not.
Many centers are not known for being terrific passers and Howard is no exception. In Howard’s case, he has never even averaged over 2 assists per game in a season. Even Ben Wallace, who touched the ball about half as much as Howard does, averaged 2.4 assists in one of his seasons. It is hard to respect Howard as a teammate when he averages twice as many turnovers as he does assists. Obviously the ball goes in but it seldom comes back out.
There have been many big men who have had their problems at the free throw line. Ben Wallace was a great defender, but struggled at the line. Shaquille O’Neal was a proficient scorer, but couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the charity stripe. Somehow, Howard’s struggles at the free throw line seem to be even more bothersome. Many fans and players alike seem to think he is a choke artist. Howard has relatively good form and seems to be more flexible than most big men, but still clanks his free throws.
Maybe the whole league took notice when Dwight Howard couldn’t seem to play with Kobe Bryant. Kobe is all about passion and his will to win is second to none. Howard seems to lack the inspiration and passion to compete at this level. He seems to finish too many games with plenty of fuel left in the tank, seemingly saving himself for a late night dinner engagement or the locker room shower. This gets noticed by players and fans alike who consider this to be a character flaw.
Dwight Howard is listed at 6-foot-11 and carries about 275 pounds of pure muscle. He has no problem getting airborne and has the ability to posterize opponents with his thunderous dunks. The biggest issue most players and fans have with Howard is why he can’t dominate on a consistent basis. Howard came into the NBA as one of the most impressive physical and athletic players to come along in quite some time with the potential to become great. How he can’t be a dominant factor in every game is dumbfounding to not only his coach and teammates, but even to fans of opposing teams.
Much has been said about Dwight Howard’s laid back personality and ability to have some fun on the court, but at times it is a little too much. Dwight Howard often shows his emotions on the court and one minute he can be engaged in friendly banter with opponents and the next can act like his lunch money just got stolen. His immaturity shows on his face and with his inability to keep his emotions and feelings to himself.
Howard hasn’t averaged over 20 points per game since his days in Orlando. He’s now averaging under 12 rebounds per game, which he last experienced in his rookie season when he averaged 10.0 rebounds per game. Howard used to average over 2 blocked shots per game, but has yet to do so in Houston. Despite being unable to pass or shoot, Howard is still recognized as one of the premier centers in the league. It is no wonder why the position of center was removed from All-Star ballots in 2012.
News Source: thesportster.com