My quick take on Summer League:
- Lakers – Larry Nance II is a bust. Sorry about that.
- Lakers – Russell may grow up and be great. Not next year. Sorry about that.
- Lakers – Randle has outstanding footwork. One of 5 guys in the league with post moves. But… he can’t jump. If he doesn’t figure out how to create space, he’ll be a star in China 3 years from now.
- Wolves – Townes will eventually be everything we hoped. Not next year. Sorry about that.
- Knicks – Porzingis will be the next Dirk. I said it! His feel for the offensive game is uncoachable. But… he is an old-school one-way player in a league that has (maybe?) left that behind. Will be fun to see him develop. Next year, analytics will show he gave up seven million points.
Everyone else… yawn. Summer league is awful basketball. And really, what do you learn? Marco Belinelli and Anthony Randolph looked like can’t miss prospects. Summer League is fool’s gold.
We are watching a vast experiment in how to rebuild a struggling team. There are multiple philosophies. It is all quite fascinating.
Since the NBA is accused of being a copy-cat league, I thought I’d detail the Warriors rebuilding program. Other teams are free to follow along.
|Draft a transcendent talent
|Lure an under-rated, sneaky-good veteran free agent, who is a great locker-room guy, by over-paying him
|Draft a future borderline allstar
|Hire a coach that every guy in the league wants to play for
|Trade an over-rated player for a former allstar/defensive stalwart
|Draft 3 future starters in one night
||Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, and Draymond Green
|Make a surprise playoff appearance, and post-season run
|Let a noted free agent (and former allstar) beg onto the team
|Enjoy the best record in two decades, go to the playoffs
|Replace your successful, popular coach with an even better coach
|Fall in Love with the Coco, Be championship!
||Mo Speights, Leandro Barbosa
After at least 5 meals with Chandler Parsons, DeAndre Jordon committed to the Mavs early in the NBA free agency quiet period. Done deal.
Or not! Two days before the quiet period ended, and official contracts could be signed, DeAndre went dark, then signed back with the Clippers.
There are many issues to unpack. Here we go…
- There is no legal problem. NBA players cannot enter into binding verbal agreements during the quiet period, because that was waived in the CBA. Let’s move on from that.
- Is there a moral problem? Hmmm… The quiet period is part of the CBA. Eyes wide open. There was always the potential for this outcome. It hasn’t happened before, really, because there hasn’t been FA who a) wanted to return; and b) an owner/FO ready to pursue it this far. There have been other cases of broken promises. But this one is unique.OTOH, I have some sympathy for DeAndre. He is only 26. He had conflicted feelings. He changed his mind. Within the negotiated period for changing your mind. Not evil.
- There is, of course, an agent issue. A client was promised to a team, and not delivered. The agent, in this case, is super-agent David Falk, who has cultivated a BFFL relationship with Mark Cuban. Way, way under the radar, these men are conspiring to make things right. It just won’t wash out this year.
- Meet the new boss. The Clippers owner and FO, as usual, engaged in a dick move. The other 29 teams saw that. There will be blowback. Again, way, way under the radar.
- I am inclined to agree with Chandler Parsons: DeAndre was not, really, read to reach for the brass ring. He took the safer, less challenging path.
- Let’s assume that Doc and his pals promised to start featuring DeAndre offensively. How long can that last? Look, Doc needs to win games. When it is winning time, he can throw the ball to DeAndre, or to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Who would you choose?
- The Clippers are still embarrassingly shallow. If they failed to reach the WCF because of depth last year, how are they better next year? Answer: they’re not! The Spurs got better, the Thunder will be better, the Warriors are intact. What makes DeAndre think that the Clippers can get to the next level?
- I cackled in glee when DeAndre abandoned the Clippers. Should I cackle harder now that he is back? Before, the Clippers knew they didn’t have enough. Now, they will talk themselves into thinking that maybe, just maybe, they do. Go Warriors!
- The 8-day quiet period is endless. After the Clippers dick-move, expect every team in the league (and every free agent) to treat verbal agreements for the sham that they are. There will be reform in the stupid NBA free-agency system.
David Lee is a Celtic now. Long live David Lee!
I have already written most of what I want to say about Lee. Suffice it to say: I am an admirer.
Tim Kawakami, whose reportage I treasure, was a harsh critic. He dunned Lee’s defense. But then again, TK argued long and loud in favor of Kevin Love, who cannot guard my grandmother. My take: Love is a better shooter. Lee is a better teammate.
As I argued earlier, you have to understand Lee in context. After losing Chris Webber, the Warriors went on a 20-year journey to replace him. They never really did. David Lee came closest.
Hey, Shaq calls him “the white Chris Webber (WCW)”!
Let me cut to the chase: David Lee is a very good basketball player. And, he brings seven million intangibles to the team. Don’t be shocked if Lee returns in 4 years as the Juwan Howard of the Warriors.
Part of why I loved David Lee is that I saw a lot of my own (limited) game in him. If only I were 5 inches taller, and could jump…
As a Lakers fan, I am contractually obligated to hate the Celtics. But next year, I will be rooting for David Lee.