This kid has LENGTH, he's looking pretty good out there so far. Hitting open shots. playing the block well and hitting the boards. He looks a lot more fluid offensively now moreso then he did at UNC which shows he's being working hard (but he could still use more improvement). I like what I see from him (14 pts, 6 rebs 6/11 FG) in 15 minutes of action.
But there is useful data in there, including info that does more than simply confirm what we already know (i.e., Tony Parker is fast, or Kevin Durant shoots better immediately after the catch than he does after a few dribbles). One thing that seems handy to know: How do particular players function when they stand in a certain area, or catch the ball there? And how do their teams function in those situations?
The Knicks had no time to build a complex NBA offense last season, and injuries to both Anthony and Stoudemire at different times made the task even more difficult. They relied on plenty of basic sets: high pick-and-rolls with Chandler as the most common screener, and sets in which players would be stationed at each elbow and in each corner, with Stoudemire and Anthony functioning from either spot. A lot of those wayward Stoudemire jumpers came after he cut from the corner, took a screen and caught the ball at the elbow for a catch-and-shoot jumper on the move.
Bryant is renowned for both his work ethic and his basketball intelligence. If you asked 100 players to name the smartest “basketball” guy in the league, I’d wager Kobe would finish among the top three or four vote-getters. (Nash would certainly give him a run.) Bryant’s footwork in the post is legend. That same nimble footwork, plus a heady sense of anticipation and space, makes Bryant a genius off-ball player when he wants to be.
But the painful thought of Nowitzki’s career ever ending naturally leads to another thought: Will he finish it in Dallas? And how many legendary players still have a shot at playing with only one team?
• Manu Ginobili: This is where things get at least a little interesting. Ginobili is already 35, and his deal expires after next season. The Spurs could in theory carve out max-level cap room next summer by renouncing all of their free agents, including Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, whose cap holds swallow up all of the team’s potential cap room as things stand now; Ginobili’s hold will be big enough to do the job on its own.
The Los Angeles Clippers opened training camp on Friday with an early media day before their extended preseason that will take them all the way to China.