Nike Basketball gives an inside look at the training, commitment, pride and innovation that fuels the 2012 USA Men’s Basketball team. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Andre Iguodala, Tyson Chandler, James Harden and Coach Krzyzewski describe the keys to success for this team.
As long as Carmelo Anthony remained on the Knicks, never in a day would I have thought there was a better player in crunch time this season on the same team as his. Well, in this case, it just so happens to be the fan favorite: Jeremy Lin. I first caught a glimpse of Lin’s clutch-ness when the Knicks played Toronto; not only did he wave off his own coach, the play itself, and his teammates, but he ended up hitting his best shot of the season: A pull-up 3.
It was absolutely filthy.
It’s become apparent that Lin likes the ball in his hands if you watch Knicks’ games. Carmelo wants it, too, don’t get me wrong, but he hasn’t been the same player since he injured his groin. He’s not attacking the basket and settling for way too many jumpers. Luckily for New York, Lin loves to attack the basket judging by his average shot attempts of 4.1 at the rim. (52%)
Kobe Bryant also loves having the ball in his hands during crunch time. And as ESPN True Hoops blogger, Henry Abbott, points out – Lin wants it just as much, if not more.
In the final five minutes of games within five points, Bryant’s usage rate is a high 42.4. Lin’s is close behind, at 36.6 — higher than, say, Chris Paul’s 33.9, and in the same range as Kevin Durant (40.1) and Carmelo Anthony (43.5). You might say that’s heady stuff for a player whose coach keeps reminding people is effectively a rookie.
But also worth noting is that in these short minutes — Lin has played just 39 that qualify — he has had the best true shooting percentage of the bunch. He has taken 24 shots in 39 crunch time minutes, and hit only nine of them. The secret to his efficiency has been that he has made three of his five 3-pointers, while getting to the line an impressive 18 times, while missing just two. The result is a true shooting percentage (a measure that accounts for 3s and free throws) of 58, compared to Paul’s 57.2, Durant’s 53.8, Anthony’s 43.5 and Bryant’s 42.7.
Now, Mr. Abbott is not saying that Lin is the most clutch player in the league all of a sudden, but because of his 3-pointer against Toronto and the ability to get to the free-throw line, he remains at the top.
The most interesting thing, though, is how will Carmelo handle not having the ball in his hands at the end of close games for the rest of the season? Especially if they make playoffs. If I were interim coach Mike Woodson and Lin myself, I’d keep doing what’s working because as the old saying goes, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.”
When I look back on Gilbert Arenas’ career, although it’s not fully over, I can’t help but shake my head a little bit. This is a guy who became the face of the No. 0 in the NBA because kids told him he’d be nothing. At one point in his career, he was the clutch-est in the league. (And yes, Laker’ fans, that’s over your Kobe Bryant who shoots you out of more games than it) “The Silent Assassin” dropped game winners after game winners. He poured 51 points on Deron Williams, and put the most embarrassing outing on Kobe’s head during a 60-point performance in L.A. Starting with the ’04-05 season, Gilbert averaged 25.5, 29.3, and 28.5 points per game for the next three seasons before injuries took a toll on his career.
After those few years of All-Star performances, Arenas played a total of 117 games the next 4 seasons.
It’s not only injuries, though, that put a hamper on Gilbert’s career; it was his own stupidity. Back in 2010, Arenas was found guilty of having guns inside of his locker at the Verizon Center and was ultimately suspended.
Now 30 year’s old and nowhere near the player he once was, the Memphis Grizzlies decided to take a chance on the 11-year veteran in hopes of providing them with veteran leadership (Ha!) and perhaps a spark once the postseason starts. The best thing about his signing with Memphis isn’t that he will be playing basketball again, but he has a chance to redeem himself and show us fans/organization he’s grown up.
Gilbert isn’t the first player that had their careers turn around for the better when they came to Memphis. And Bethlehem Shoals of GQ.com gives a few examples of who those players are:
“Without having seen a second of present-day Gilbert Arenas, and severely doubting that he can pull off the kind of press conference that makes writers weep for joy at their own copy, I still want to be excited about this signing. Memphis, quietly, has turned into a home for outlaws and rejects, a kind of Bad News Bearsof the NBA. Much is made of Randolph’s transition from “knucklehead” to franchise rock, but all Z-Bo did was stop acting out and learn to exercise some judgment, both on and off the court. Randolph is a terrific basketball player, but there’s been little attempt to convince us he is an entirely different person or a model citizen. He’s just straightened himself out and been left alone to flourish on his own terms.”
“An even more extreme case is Tony Allen, he of the smothering defense, and incoherent Twitter account. Allen was central to the Grizzlies’ playoff run; he’s also the guy who, with the Celtics, blew out his knee dunking after the whistle, and more seriously, was mixed up in a Chicago fight that led to a shooting. Tony Allen has matured, but he’s still unmistakably Tony Allen. Of course, this kind of acceptance is possible only in a small market, where players draw less fire from the national media, and where locals are more likely to overlook imperfections. It’s a level of “realness” that can’t be sustained in the glare of the spotlight, and as it turns out, one that can be a competitive asset. The Grizzlies have an energy, and chemistry, that wouldn’t be there if everyone were worried about his brand.”
Not only are those great examples, those are perfect examples. Shoals was dead on with their troubles and how perhaps a change of scenery is for the better. Some teams take chances on troubled players, (i.e. Cincinnati Bengals) and sometimes it works out for the better. A team like Phoenix is where you go to get healed, but perhaps Memphis is the place you go to get your act together and become a professional. Arenas’ days of averaging 20+ are long gone — unless he went over to Germany and received the Kobe treatment that we don’t know about — but for his sake, I hope everything works out because personally, I’m rooting for the guy. As should you.
When the whole “Dwight Howard’s going here, and here, or here” conversations were flowing like the Nile the last few months, I was really hoping he wasn’t going to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum. Not because of my distaste for L.A., but because I think Bynum deserves to stay there. And I’ll even go out on a limb here by saying that if the kid didn’t have bad luck with his knees, he’d be the best center in the game right now.
Now that we have to wait a whole year for the Howard rumors to start-up again since he decided to exercise his option with Orlando, ESPN.com is reporting that the Lakers plan to do the same with their 24-year-old All-Star center.
Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak, released a statement about Bynum’s exercise to show proof that they’re not just rumors and something we won’t hear about every second of the day.
“He’s the starting center on the West All-Star team. Why wouldn’t we do everything we could to keep him here?” Kupchak said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We’re ecstatic to have him on the team.”
Bynum’s option is worth $16.1 million, which is due by June 30, but he’s certainly worth the cash. Many believed that he would have slowed down by now and/or gotten injured, but he continues to get better. With his 18-point, 12.9 rebound and 2.0 blocks per game average this season, it’s no wonder he was named a Western Conference starter. And his age certainly helps his case, too.
Bynum said himself he wants to stay, and Kobe — You know, the guy who once said “Who the f**k is Andrew Bynum?” — thinks it’s “great” and “well deserved.”
If Kobe’s good with it, then you know everyone else is.
Kobe struggled mightily Tuesday night against Detroit (8-of-26 for 22 points), but he hit, of course, a buzzer-beating shot over Tayshaun Prince to send the game into overtime. Bryant also pulled out the Jet Li black mask before switching back to the clear version. Peep Tayshaun’s defense, though. He played it perfectly.
Tonight after Kobe and the Lakers play the Knicks and Jeremy Lin, stop by the 34th Street Foot Locker to hear The
Black Mamba Great White Shark talk about his new Kobe System. And to make it even cooler, the first 12 people in line will get a chance to buy an autographed pair of the shoe!
Source – FL Unlocked
Level 6 of the #KobeSystem – BEASTION
“You can be like me, Aziz Ansari” – Kobe Bryant
“Really Kobe Bryant?” – Aziz Ansari
“No.” – Kobe Bryant
Empty gym, Kobe getting shots up, and there she is – Vanessa Bryant sitting behind the hoop while her man was getting shots up. Don’t believe every rap lyric you guys here, people. Drake doesn’t always tell the truth…
We’ve heard this story before, but with different players. Many said that Jordan shot too much, but he also has 6 championship rings to basically say “who gives a shit.” Did Iverson shoot a lot? Yes. But he was also forced into a role for most of his career that certainly didn’t help his chances of winning a title. He needed a true point guard to create shots for him. He wasn’t built to shoot 20+ times a night, while trying to hand out 10 assists consistently.
What about Kobe Bryant? You know, the man who reportedly slept with over 100 women behind his wife’s back in Los Angeles, who has 5 championship rings to go along with a career average of 19.4 shots per game (Remember, that’s just average). Now, turning 34 in August, Kobe’s aging. He has a bad knee, an arthritic finger on his shooting hand that in turn, altered his shooting style, and now has a torn ligament in his right wrist (an injury that would sideline most, but he’s Kobe).
Kobe is Jordan tough and has his work ethic, so what’s a wrist injury? You’re probably asking yourself, “what’s a wrist injury in basketball you moron?! It’s everything!” It might be everything to everyone else, but not Bean. His jumpers are still falling and that beautiful baseline fade is still fallin’, nothings changed except his dreadful 20 percent from 3s.
Yet, he continues to shoot those 23 shots a night this season:
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wajnarowski. “ You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”
Yes, he’s averaging the third-highest shot attempts of his career (23.5 in 2002-03, 27 in ’05-06) just to get his 27.6 points per game, but he’s still shooting 44 percent from the field.
Which, for Kobe, is just about right.
Other than Bryant and Gasol being the main focal points on offense, big man Andrew Bynum has finally come into his own. And, more importantly, he’s healthy (knock on wood). In his first six games back with the Lakers, Bynum’s averaging a phenomenal 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds a night (11 defensive rebounds).
L.A. might have the best Big Three on paper right now in the league.
As Dime Mag’s own Sean Sweeney pointed out today, despite the Lakers having arguably the best trio in basketball right now, they’re still average offensively with their 94 points per contest. Their defensive could be better, too, with their allowance of over 100 points a night, which places them at 15th in the league.
L.A. missed out on their much needed point guard when the NBA decided to pull the plug on the Chris Paul trade. Hell, they couldn’t even get J.J. Barea. They’re slow, their perimeter defense is almost non-existent, and the exact same can be said for their “tough guy” Matt Barnes.
So what will the Lakers do before the March trade deadline to better their chances at advancing further in the playoffs? Dwight Howard, maybe? But would you really trade for him if Bynum’s playing this way? Because, as of right now, Bynum’s the best big man in the league. Could they maybe snatch up a guard from their neighbor’s down the street (Clippers)? Who knows.
But one thing’s for certain: “I’m going to do what I do,” Kobe Bryant said. “I’m not changing.”