Tag Archives: James Harden

Nick Young not happy with Swaggy DNP

Nick Young spent the second-half of the Lakers 99-87 loss to the Houston Rockets on the bench after a lackluster effort over two quarters. He went scoreless for the first time in his Lakers’ career, putting up 2 shots in nine mercurial minutes.

With Kobe Bryant out, along with injuries to Steve Nash, Julius Randal, and Xavier Henry, Young certainly has the green-light to put up shots. But Head Coach Byron Scott is known for his old school style of leadership, and accountability on the defensive end of the floor is just as important as scoring points. Scott alluded to Young’s disinterest as the catalyst to him being benched after halftime.

“It looked to me that he didn’t want to be here,” explained Scott.

“At halftime, we showed stuff on the tape where he was guarding Corey Brewer in the corner. I asked ‘What were you thinking on his play?’ The answer he gave me, I couldn’t figure it out. So I just felt with his body language that he didn’t want to play tonight, so I chose not to play him.”

“He’s the coach.  He’s seen what he’s seen.  It’s not my place to get into that really,” said Young a day after not speaking with the media following the loss.  “I’m not in a situation to go back and forth with the coach because I would never play.

“There ain’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to be out on the court,”he continued.  “I love being here.  I love playing basketball.  I get a joy out of playing and seeing the fans, hearing them chant ‘Swaggy P.’ That’s what drives me.”

Young has had trouble adjusting to receiving more attention from opposing defenses since Bryant’s absence.

“Last night the Rockets double-teamed me every time I came off pick and rolls,” said Young.  “It’s tough but we’ve got to go out there and still fight, still gotta give fans a show.  It’s a chance for other people to step up now.”

Young is shooting 37% from the field, the same as fallen teammate Kobe Bryant who had been ridiculed for his inaccuracy. Still Young is confident he can carrying the offensive load.

“Just give me the ball and get out of the way.”

Kobe Bryant experiencing Michael Jordan’s mid-90’s crisis

Chris Rock hosted Saturday Night Live the night Klay Thompson went off on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for 41 points. It made me have nostalgic memories of the Little Penny era of Nike commercials voiced by the comedian.

Rock played a puppet-sized version of Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway in a collection of popular ads for the NBA star’s shoes. It was director Spike Lee and Michael Jordan who took the Kicks campaigns to a new level with ‘It’s Got Be The Shoes’ in the 80’s, and Hardaway along with the new crop of talent had seemingly taken the torch from his Airness.

After retiring to play baseball and having a lackluster comeback that ended with being eliminated by the Orlando Magic, it was apparent by the commercials on television and the new young talent on the court that Michael Jordan had gotten too old.

There were visuals like Nick Anderson ripping him in the 95 playoffs, Allen Iverson crossing him up- moments where the old guy in the gym gets embarrassed by the young punk he’d just been schooling about the fundamentals of the game.

The 90’s ushered in a new era of guards like Temple’s Eddie Jones and Connecticut’s Ray Allen who grew up watching Jordan, modeled facets of their games after him, and now were in line to challenge the Master.

#AirJordan was no longer “trending.” Grant Hill’s Fila’s were hot and Shaq was breaking backboards. We had gotten over MJ.

But rumors of his demise were were greatly exaggerated. It was as if the ascension of the new young talent in the league was predicated on the decentralization of Jordan’s game.

18-years removed being drafted into the NBA, Kobe Bryant is now being offered his golden parachute to make room for the new guys in the office.

Bryant averaged 26 points 6 assists and 5 rebounds on 46% shooting from the field through 78 games prior to the Achilles’s injury. But it’s not simply health or age that are making a growing amount of people get over Kobe. It’s the influx of talent similar to the 90’s.

James Harden, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Russell Westbrook are lighting up the league and are changing the cultural paradigm in the process.

It was Jordan that entered the Association with baggy shorts and cool sneakers that made the NBA recognize hip-hop and it’s marketing value. Now we have The Splash Brothers, Harden’s beard, and the social-media posturing that creates the images which heavily influence today’s perception.

Iverson was dropping bars with Jadakiss in his shoe commercials while Jordan was on the green playing golf. It’s these type of connections that new generation is making that is aiding the call for Bryant to start drawing Social Security payments.

But Money Mike wasn’t quite finished. He bounced back from the debacle against Orlando to average 30 points a game and went on to win three more championships. Kobe has displayed early in the season that he still has some athleticism left, and still possess the ability to score at a high level.

Phil Jackson has confirmed that Bryant’s training is on a much higher plain than was Jordan’s, and the six-time champion himself has confirmed that Bryant shares his killer instinct and prowess.

The next generation has definitely turned a corner, but that doesn’t mean Bryant is ready to turn down.

Bowen Says Kobe Didn’t Settle For Less Like Vince, T-Mac

In a recent interview with Slam Magazine, 5x NBA All-Defensive Team member Bruce Bowen discussed who he enjoyed battling the most on the defensive end. He revealed that at times Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady were top competitors, but believed they lacked the desire of Kobe Bryant.

The “Who is better, Biggie, Jay-Z, or Nas” discussions are popular in hip-hop culture, and equivalent to “Kobe, Vince, or T-Mac” in the post Michael Jordan era of basketball.

Many have deemed the San Antonio Spurs as the class of the NBA. If this is true, then one must take seriously the words and opinions of their defensive stalwart.

Championships, wins, personal accolades, and statistics are most often used to determine separation between players. But what could be more credible than a report from the players themselves?

Maybe it’s his 1-3 playoff record against him, but Bruce Bowen obviously believes the desire of Kobe Bryant is something that separates him from his contemporaries.

“Tracy might have been one of the most talented but he’d settle. He wouldn’t necessarily bring it the whole time. Vince, if he was more competitive, if he had the desire of Kobe, he could have been one of the all-time greats. But…he settled to a point where you accomplish a few things and that’s that. – Bruce Bowen

 

Derrick Rose Is ‘Creepin On Ah Come Up’

He followed his last summer gold medal victory with an MVP award.
Team USA won the 2014 FIBA World Cup leading to a celebratory team Shmoney dance…except Derrick Rose.

Like the 2012 NBA All-Star game introductions, Rose refused to cut a rug with his enthusiastic teammates during the post-game celebration. He’s always been a silent assassin, and it’s been said that gangsters don’t dance, they boogie, and Rose proved he has plenty of Shake ‘n Bake left in his game.

But you won’t catch him doing the Harlem Shake. A point guard has an automatic instinct to think steps ahead. He’s won the gold, and now he’s thinking about a ring.  If you look very closely, you can see he’s plotting his next move.

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