Both on and off the court and on and off the stand-up stage, the Kobe System works. It’s not only a basketball sneaker anymore, it’s a SYSTEM. Buy the new Nike Zoom Kobe VII and find out about it for yourself.
Cousins is a rare breed. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that I believe if he got his act together and played with patience and poise, DeMarcus Cousins would be the second-best center in the game behind Dwight Howard. That’s how talented this kid is. Having just turned 20 years of age back in August, Cousins is a 6-foot-11, 270 pound behemoth. That kind of size makes him one of the biggest middle men in the NBA, and he’s definitely one of the nastiest.
But his immaturity is what dropped him to No. 5 overall in the 2010 NBA draft.
Most are probably thinking, “5 is a great spot!” Yes, but not when you’re supposed to be the No. 1 pick overall, except your behavior both on and off the court keeps you from being just that.
According to ESPN’s J.A. Adande, Kings head coach Paul Westphal first released the statement that DeMarcus has decided to request a trade from the team this past weekend:
In the statement, Westphal said Cousins has “continually, aggressively” shown “he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team.” Westphal said Cousins demanded a trade. Cousins’ agent told Sports Illustrated that the player did not demand a trade. Regardless of who initiated it, the Kings clearly want to move Cousins.
The Kings had high-hopes of both Cousins and Tyreke Evans being the future of the team, but unfortunately Boogie isn’t cutout for a young team, he needs to be surrounded by veterans. Not only his attitude, but his production on the court have become a problem: He’s averaging 18 shots per game (13 points), but has a true-shooting percentage of 41%, which is awful compared to his near 49% during his rookie campaign (via Basketball-Reference).
There’s no reason he should be taking 18 shots a game and only average 13 points (Dwight, on average, shoots the ball 11 times a night and averages 18.2 points per game for his career). His rebounding (8.6 to 11.3) and shot-blocking (0.8 to 1.5) are both up, but that doesn’t makeup for how he acts. As previously stated, a veteran team is what this kid needs and a team like the Detroit Pistons could prove worthy, although there’s no telling how he will handle not winning a bunch of games because they’re basically in rebuilding mode.
Having a guy like Ben Wallace on team (excuse his recent D.U.I.) could prove wonders for Cousins. He’s a 4-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner and he has an NBA championship under his belt, things like that are what Cousins needs. Not to mention that Wallace isn’t the kind of guy who would put up with his immaturity, he might knock him on his ass.
I gave my two cents, but Adande has a few players around the league’s as well:
This is a business,” is what Kurt Thomas said he would tell Cousins. “You’re not playing for just one team, you’re playing for the 29 other teams. You’ve got to keep playing, keep your head. A lot of guys think it’s all show. You’ve got to keep your head.”
“He has too much talent to be doing all of that [stuff],” Kobe (Bryant) said. “Just play, man.”
Those are both long-time players of the league, also with one of the Top 10 players of all-time telling you, DeMarcus, that you’re too talented to be acting out like a 10-year-old kid after your sister ate the last pudding cup in the refrigerator. You’re a 20-year-old millionaire — I’m 23, and struggling — who is living his long-fulfilled dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
But can team’s trust you?
I know Detroit will take a chance on you, but what if they back-out? What if they’re afraid of how you will act if they start losing? What about if you end up on a championship contending team and coming off the bench? Will you complain about not getting your starters numbers and minutes? These are questions that we all need to know, these are questions that all need answers.
Not all good things stay together, or great for that matter. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won 6 NBA championships during their partnership (could have been 8 had he not retired twice and left basketball for a mind-boggling baseball decision), as well as Kobe and Shaq winning 3 rings together as a duo in Los Angeles. And now, sadly, those kind of conversations are now starting to include arguably the best, and youngest duo in the league: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
They’ve been best friends since the beginning, they’ve been All-Stars together and they’re both the go-to guys on the Oklahoma City Thunder (although the word “go-to” should only describe Durant in crunch-time, not Westbrook. He’s a point-guard.), but there’s something in the middle. Something that just isn’t quite right, and that’s Westbrook.
I’m not saying that Russ was a bad fit from the start, I’m saying that he’s slowly grown into that category the last two seasons. He’s never been a great shooter, 3-point shooter and ball handler for that matter, and that’s coming back to his UCLA days. He’s a shooting-guard playing a point-guard role in OKC (which doesn’t end well when you have a franchise player in Durant who averages nearly 30 points a night).
Remember a guy by the name of Allen Iverson? He’s a Hall of Fame player and the best that ever played the game under 6-foot, but he was forced to play the point guard role throughout his career when he couldn’t. He’s naturally a shooter. That’s why teams gave him a bad reputation that he’s a ball-hog and won’t help your team win a championship because he’ll always need it in his hands. It’s an addiction.
During the ’08-09 season, Westbrook averaged 14 shots a night (41.8 percent) for 16 points, 8 assists and 3.3 turnovers. In 2010-11, he averaged 21.9 points (17 shots, 44 percent), 8 assists and 3.9 turnovers. This season? 15.3 points (17 shots, 31 percent), 6 assists and 6 turnovers.
For a point guard, that’s not a good look.
As for shots, he should be somewhere between the 9 and 11 range while shooting in the high 40s from the field. Prior to this season, his 8 assists were excellent but they could a tad higher (10?), but his turnovers are atrocious. Westbrook has been so focused on scoring the basketball for so long in his life that for the most part, his decision making is where it should be. Where it needs to be is a whole ‘nother story. He needs to slow the pace down and make smarter passes, take smarter shots, ect. if he plans on manning the ship for the Thunder.
They’re built to play that way.
When trade rumors arose during the lockout that a possible trade between OKC and the Boston Celtics could take place — with Boston trading Rajon Rondo to Oklahoma City while the Celtics received Westbrook in return — most said it was crazy, but the truth is, having Rondo control the Thunder’ offense would take them to a championship a lot quicker than it will with Westbrook.
When the “Argument Heard Around The World” went viral Wednesday night — detailed by The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry — where Westbrook was overheard yelling at Thabo Sefolosha for passing up an open shot and when Durant tried to calm him down, Westbrook snapped at Durant (Something to make a report about, and talk about it for 24 hours on ESPN? No, not at all. It happens, teammates argue all the time. Friends, family, whatever, arguments happen).
24 hours later, ESPN beat writer J.A. Adande wrote an interesting piece on why Westbrook won’t work in OKC for not only the long-run, but financially as well:
The Rose Rule already bumped Durant’s paycheck by an extra $2.5 million a year, and Westbrook could be living in that same $18 million-a-season neighborhood. Depending on what other moves the Thunder make, a huge boost to Westbrook’s salary could put Oklahoma City in luxury tax territory next season and beyond. Starting in 2013-14 the tax will be progressively more punitive than the simple dollar-for-dollar surcharge in place now, and there are additional penalties for repeat tax “offenders.” In addition tax teams have restrictions on their abilities to make trades and sign players to the full mid-level exception.
To sum it up, Adande is stating that by the Thunder locking up Westbrook to a huge deal will ultimately hurt them in the long run when it comes to re-signing other key attributes and going after other appealing talent in free agency. One thing, though, that was really brought to my attention (it’s actually the reason why I’m writing this in the first place) is when J.A. threw out a trade idea that would send Westbrook to Golden State in exchange for Steph Curry (very interesting):
Curry is still on his rookie contract through 2012-13 (when he’ll make $4 million) so he would almost guarantee the Thunder stay below the tax threshold for another year, and he probably won’t be eligible for the Rose Rule pay boost, which would keep his maximum salary 5 percent lower than what Westbrook’s might be when it’s time to re-sign him.
Curry would also give the Thunder more scoring punch from the starting 2-guard spot than they currently have from Sefolosha. From Golden State’s perspective, Westbrook is a better defender than Curry, and that should count a lot for the new-look Warriors. (Believe it or not, Mark Jackson’s squad is among the top 10 defenses for fewest opponent points allowed so far.) And Westbrook is more likely to cause sprained ankles than suffer as many as Curry has.
Interesting enough, Curry was a fan favorite in OKC during the ’09 NBA Draft when the volume shooter was coming out of Davidson (many wanted him over James Harden). Although it’s an intriguing idea, Adande failed to mention one thing: Monta Ellis.
Trading Ellis for Westbrook makes a lot more sense for Golden State than it does by shipping Curry out the door, but it’s almost an identical swap. On paper it seems that Westbrook would help the Warriors out more than Ellis already does, but it’s somewhat misleading.
Golden State would still have the same problems defensively that they do now, and they’d still have the same turnover issues that Ellis provides and the out-of-control shooting outbursts throughout the night.
This what happens when you put a shooter at a facilitators position.
Lets say for a minute that Westbrook does end up in Golden State at some point between this season and the next (this isn’t a rumor, this is just a discussion), what’s the guarantee that he would automatically turn into a facilitator on a team built for running? As for Curry, yes, he’s had issues with his ankle, but at the end of the day he has the higher basketball IQ, and that includes his shooting, passing skills, and the ability to spread the floor substantially better than Russ.
If the Warriors are in a “win now” situation — which I don’t believe they are since they just hired a brand new coach in Mark Jackson — and if the front office believes Curry is going to be an injury-prone player from here on out, I could see them offering this kind of trade. Other than that, no. It doesn’t make enough sense because at this point I’d rather pay Curry $3 million less to run my offense like a point guard should, than pay Westbrook $3 million more to run it like a shooter.
When your wife divorces you for half of your career earnings after finding out you’ve slept with over 100 other women the last decade you’ve been together, more than likely women are going to come after you based on reputation. And after seeing this video, having the name ‘Bryant’ on the back of your jersey will certainly cure your fear of “hate sleeping alone.” No offense, Drake.
Above (from l-r): Carmelo Anthony wore his Jordan Melo M8 Christmas Day kicks in a win against the C’s, Chris Paul wore his Jordan CP3.V XMas day kicks in his debut with the Clippers, and D-Wade rocked his Jordan Fly Wade 2 XMas day kicks in the Heat’s blowout over the Mavericks.
Below (from l-r): KD rocked the Nike Zoom KD IV “Coppers” against the Magic, LeBron put on the XMas Day LeBron 9′s, Kobe laced up Nike Zoom Kobe VII “Cheetahs” in a loss against the Bulls, and Amare wore his special XMas colored Air Max Sweep Thrus.
All of the shoes are in stores now!
You’ve probably seen the new Nike Kobe 7′s and were wondering what the inserts and everything was all about. Well check out this interview with Nike sneaker creative director Eric Avar where they go over everything that has to do with the Kobe VII System Supreme.
Nike pulls the curtain back on the making of the Nike Kobe VII System Supreme with a detailed discussion with Kobe Bryant and Nike creative director Eric Avar. Topics range from good design balancing science and art, performance versatility in footwear, the creative process and the evolution of Kobe’s signature line.
Other than Wizards fans, I might be the biggest Nick Young supporter out there. I love his approach to the game, his style, his shot, his Kobe-type level (shooting wise) and his incredible upside. Young thought he would himself a nice contract this year after having somewhat of a breakout season in 2010-11 after the shooting guard led Washington in scoring with a career-high 17.4 points per game, more than doubling the 8.6 he averaged in the 2009-10 season. Well, things didn’t turn out as well as he’d hoped. Just yesterday, Wizards Insider‘ own Michael Lee reported that Young signed a one-year, $3.7 million deal to stay in Washington.
Not exactly the kind of deal he was hoping for.
The reason Young felt he deserved a lot of money after posting career-high numbers is because well, he’s young (no pun intended). Right now he’s in his prime years at 26 years old, but the reason Washington didn’t give him a hefty pay raise is because we simply haven’t seen enough of him on the court. He started 40 games last season at shooting guard and he scored effectively and efficiently. I’ve seen his one-on-one defending and I have to say I’m really impressed, but he’s also a below average rebounder (66th in Rebounding Rate amongst SG’s) and a poor passer (77th in Assist Ratio amongst SG’s (6.2), even J.R. Smith cracked Top 50), nothing that can’t be worked on.
Most feel that Young is just a scorer and nothing more, as if he’s a liability in Washington, but they’re wrong. Without him in the lineup, the Wizards struggle, and mightily. In their preseason loss to the 76ers, Washington shot a horrid 33 percent from the field without Young. According to Hoopdata.com per 40 minutes, both Young’s PER and True Shooting Percentage were at the highest of his four-year career (TS%: 53,9 (could be better), PER: 14.49 (better than players like Jamal Crawford, Brandon Roy, Arron Afflalo and Kyle Korver).
I’m not saying that Young isn’t going to struggle at times — believe it or not, but in his first 20 games as a starter last season, he averaged 20.7 points with a TS% of 57, and shot 49.5% from 3 and connected on 57.4% of his long twos before fading away toward the end of the year with injuries and the fact that he never averaged over 30 minutes a night — but I expect him to make major strides this season in nearly ever aspect of the game. For the first time in his career, he’s actually being coached the right way and is receiving consistent playing time. Those are the type of things that will turn him into one of the best two guards in the league and earn him a possible All-Star birth before it’s all said and done.
You see that picture above with Kobe holding up four fingers? Despite not having his thumb up due to him holding a trophy, the Black Mamba has won 5 NBA titles during his 16-year career in a Laker’ uniform. Why on earth would he want to leave? Because he lost Lamar Odom? Please. Kobe’s old enough now to know that losing a player doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end. In fact, according to RealGM.com, Bryant put a stop to all those rumors.
“I don’t have any feeling about [leaving] whatsoever,” Bryant said, addressing speculation that he might request a trade. “I’ve been here for 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?”
He’s right, why would he want to leave now? Kobe’s not a quitter that’s for sure, he’s probably the only guy left in the league that has the Michael Jordan gene to do whatever it takes to win. He’ll throw his teammates and his own coach under the bus if it means winning a title. You need a guy like that on your team, you need someone who will ride your ass like Zorro when he feels like you’re not giving everything you have. You’re getting paid to play basketball and at the end of the day, winning a championship is the ultimate goal. Is the money nice? Hell yeah. But it’s not everything, and most guys figure that out rather sooner than later.
I expect the old Kobe to be back this season, not the banged up one with a bad knee and having to alter the way he plays just in order to stay on the court (see his index finger). He says his knee is 90 percent better than it was last season, and you know what? I believe him.
“I’m not a big medicine, techie guy,” Bryant said. “But I know my knee feels 90 percent better. My understanding was that the guy who invented it … [Germany] is where he’s from and where his home base is. So I didn’t want to go someplace else where he had to move his equipment. If I am going to do it, I want to do it right and do it in the place where he is most comfortable doing it.
“I can run. I can jump. I can run the track. I can lift weights the way I want to lift weights. I can practice every day. Those are things I couldn’t do last year.”
Traveling to Germany just to get your knee fixed? That’s dedication and motivation. Most guys would say screw it and find the best person for the job in the states, not in another country. If he’s back to the old Kobe, every team in the league better be on their toes because it doesn’t matter who has the best Big Three and this and that, Kobe has one thing that’s more dominant than anyone’s in the league: The will to win.
Is there a player in the NBA that can adapt in certain situations better than Kobe Bryant? I’m not sure. There aren’t many who have that killer instinct to survive and do whatever it takes to win. That’s what makes this commercial so dope: Kobe is the definition of adaptation. The new Nike Kobe VII System Supreme are set to drop Dec. 22 and are something we’ve never seen before. According to Nike themselves, there are two inserts that go in the shoe: one is for the ankle while the other is for the midfoot. Check after the jump for an up-close photo and a better description of the new sneaker, which I’m sure are going to be a hot item this Christmas.
Here’s the full description on the two inserts:
If a player’s game is based on speed, there is the Attack Fast insert that features a Phylon midsole with Nike Zoom units in the forefoot and heel for the ultimate in lightweight responsiveness. It also has a low-cut, power-stretch cuff that hugs the foot for support. Its sock-like fit eliminates the need for a traditional tongue and innersleeve, keeping the shoe lightweight.
For games that get intense and physical in the paint, there is the Attack Strong insert. It offers a full-length Cushlon midsole and an ankle cuff for a plush, comfortable ride with great support. The sensory cuffs are made of an engineered power-stretch material that is padded and perforated for comfort and ventilation.
We all know that Kobe and Carmelo are tight both on and off the court, but him and Lamar are even tighter. Kobe isn’t known for expressing his feelings unless it’s about losing a game, but when it comes to losing your best friend, one of your leaders and your best bench player for nearly a decade, it’s hard not to express those feelings. For those who don’t already know, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to dump their Sixth Man of the Year in Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for nothing (and by nothing I mean a measly $8.9 million trade exemption). Absolutely nothing. And when Kobe’s unhappy, he doesn’t hesitate.
“I don’t like it,” Bryant told ESPN reporters. “To be honest with you, I don’t like it.”
“You’re talking about the Sixth Man of the Year last year,” Bryant said. “He played lights out. I don’t understand the criticism of reality shows and this, that and the other. I don’t get it. I don’t understand that. He had his best season last season, clearly wasn’t a distraction and he played his ass off. I don’t get where that comes from.”
Kobe’s right, how could you trade someone who meant so much to the team for absolutely nothing. Not just to any team, but to a team who beat you in the playoffs last year on the way to an NBA championship. Not only that, but they also just gave Dallas the best forward trio in the league with Lamar, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, and the more reporters asked Kobe about the situation, he came back with “Now I’m getting pissed off.”
With Lamar gone, it now opens up room to get Dwight Howard, but there’s no way that the Magic deal him without getting another one of the Lakers big men in return: either Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum (probably Bynum since they’re losing a center). As of right now, the Lakers didn’t get better, they got worse. The Knicks amped up, Boston’s stacking up, hell, even the Pacers are becoming a threat. So where do the Lakers go from here? Well, as of right now, your only choice is Dwight Howard. With letting go of Lamar Odom, the team deserves that much. Kobe deserves that much. The fans deserve that much.