Points in the Paint

» May 11, 2009 7:57 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Ian Thomsen of SI.com asks an advance scout about LeBron James’ teamwork:  “‘He is nothing like the kind of star Brett Favre is, when you think about how Favre separates himself from his team,’ the scout said. ‘When you watch that Cleveland team you realize how much those guys love him. Usually when you’re that good, you naturally separate yourself from everybody else, but LeBron goes out of his way to be one of them. ‘When he was named MVP, he had all of his team there with him. All of that stuff they do as a team before each game, that’s LeBron’s way of being one of them and being part of the team.’ The scout referred to the time in the Eastern finals two years ago when James was criticized for turning down a contested layup in order to pass to teammate Donyell Marshall, who missed a wide-open three to lose the game. ‘That perceived weakness,’ he said of criticism that James didn’t force himself to take the last shot, ‘is his strength. At this time of Jordan’s career (in his sixth NBA season), he was being criticized for not trusting his teammates.’”
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto on James’ pregame shooting routine:  “1. The reason LeBron James is shooting the ball better from the outside than he did several years ago comes down to four-letter word … work. He really does practice his shooting. A few hours before the game, he will take 30 shots from six different spots on the court — and four spots in between. Then he takes another 40 shots or more near the basket, practicing short hook shots. He mixes in free throws. Assistant Chris Jent puts him through the paces. 2. James also practices his dunks. Not dunks for a contest, but posting up on both sides of the basket, catching the ball with his back to the hoop. He then fakes one direction, spins the other — takes a quick dribble or two and then dunks. The drill also gets his legs ready for the game — but not too tired. 3. James also took about 100 shots from various spots during the morning shootaround. At the end, he practiced some shots from at least 35 feet. Remember how he has made a few incredible long jumpers at the end of quarters this season? He practices those shots. Not a lot, but he does think about how to best get off a good shot right before the buzzer.”
  • Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:  “The Lakers showed what they can do when engaged by putting together a complete Game 3 victory in Houston amid the swirling adversity of Derek Fisher’s NBA suspension. But true to form, then came immediate contentment with the accomplishment and minimal devotion to Game 4. That’s just who they are. They were all smiles Saturday at practice, and in the locker room before the game Sunday, it was more clowning. Trevor Ariza acted surprised to see Fisher when their paths crossed an hour before tip-off. Fisher smilingly re-introduced himself (‘Derek Fisher, No. 2,’ he said earnestly), and Ariza responded: ‘Oh, you’re that older guy.’ Then Ariza stayed in little-kid character and chased after Fisher, asking: ‘Can I have your autograph?’ Lamar Odom was showing people a candy collection of literally eight different kinds of bags or bars of sweets, poured out Halloween-style on the floor by his locker.”
  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:  “You probably couldn’t find two worse less attractive situations in all of Europe for a 17-year old American big man like Jeremy Tyler than Olympiacos or Panathinaikos. While he would obviously be paid a ton of money, it’s unlikely that he would be able to see even a single minute of meaningful playing time, as he’s nowhere near physically or emotionally mature enough to compete at this level. The coaches at the helm of these teams can’t waste even a single possession for development purposes, and are not in the least bit interested showing an American teenager the ropes of professional basketball, only to lose him to the NBA when he finally starts getting close to being able to contribute something. Two extremely mature, professional and well-established NBA rotation players in Josh Childress and Jannero Pargo were unable to live up to expectations this season with Olympiacos—so how would Jeremy Tyler fare there? Just the thought is downright preposterous.” (Via Tom Ziller)
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:  “On the Detroit Pistons’ mid-April trip to Miami, Joe Dumars drove with a carload of old guard franchise employees – the trainer, public relations director and radio voice – to Jupiter, Fla., to visit Chuck Daly. They had a sweet time remembering the glory days of the Bad Boys, but the old coach had been watching Detroit’s games between treatments for pancreatic cancer and wanted to talk all about it. He had so many questions for Dumars, still so much curiosity about the plans and perspective of the Pistons president. When it was time to leave, Dumars was walking out the door when Daly called him back alone. Daly was gaunt, 50 pounds lighter, and yet those eyes had lost nothing. Daly leaned close to Dumars and whispered, ‘Always go forward in life.’ Never look back, he told Dumars. Never. ‘That was his way,’ Dumars said softly on the phone Saturday night, ‘of saying goodbye.’”

Leave Your Comment