While it’s interesting to predict and wonder what Bryant may do when he returns, there is no clear-cut answer until we actually see him in action. Lets just leave it at that, shall we?
Story of the day:
Lets move onto Dwight Howard, who apparently still likes to say things that won’t win over any fans. He also had some… lets call it an “interesting” comparison of his current teammates to the teammates he once had in Orlando, from Josh Robbins of Orlando Sentinel:
He thinks Houston has similar talent to the 2008-09 Magic squad he led to the NBA Finals.
On Tuesday, Howard compared Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons to Hedo Turkoglu and Rockets shooting guard James Harden to Courtney Lee but also added that Harden has more scoring ability. He compared Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley to Rafer Alston and Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin to Anthony Johnson.
Howard said he was disappointed that, last February, after the Magic acquired Tobias Harris in a trade, the team granted Harris’ request to wear No. 12, Howard’s old number.
“I just think that despite whatever happened, there was a lot of things that I did and that we did as a team, and that number was special down there,” Howard said. “And I was a little bit upset about that.”
(Howard likely didn’t know, and perhaps still doesn’t know, that Harris wanted to wear No. 12 as a tribute to a close friend who had died of leukemia at 17 years old.)
After all the turmoil Howard put the Magic through, it’s quite amusing that he actually still wants them to cater to his desires. It’s understandable if he hopes to eventually see his jersey number retired when he is done playing, but thinking the team would somehow unofficially retire his number by disallowing other players from wearing it is nonsensical, especially given his tumultuous relationship with the franchise.
As for Howard seeing a link between Harden and Lee, someone will have to ask him to elaborate on the subject because the only thing comparable between those two players are their positions played and height.
Some noteworthy stuff from preseason action:
– The refs have really cracked down on the use of illegal screens. If this translates into the regular season, that’s bad news for the bigs in the league. With no official stat crediting players for setting effective screens, it’s a thankless job to begin with. Now, they will have to risk picking up needless fouls and a turnover for their hard work. They’ll probably want to have a word with their guards about moving too quickly before the screen is properly set.
– Kendrick Perkins had his best days under the guidance of Doc Rivers, and it appears the coach is looking to make the same kind of impact on DeAndre Jordan, who has never looked better so far in the preseason. In three games, he has averaged 13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and five confidence-shattering blocks in just under 25 minutes. If the center can continue to play at this level heading into the season, he could become a candidate for MIP, DPOY and maybe even lead the league in blocks.
– The Houston Rockets are going to be a fearsome bunch. We knew they’d immediately become contenders with the addition of Howard, but they may be even better than expected. Jeremy Lin looks so much better than he did at this time last season after having a chance to work on his game rather than rehabbing and worrying about his contract situation over the summer. Patrick Beverly is going to cause major problems against the opposing point guards on the defensive end. Omri Casspi has been one of the better performers on the team and would be an unexpected boost to the roster after the team lost Carlos Delfino. D-Mo looks to be a useful rotational piece. With everyone seemingly healthy and clicking, it would be surprising if they are not one of the top 3 teams in the Western Conference when all said and done.
– It’s great to have Derrick Rose back in action.
Thought of the day:
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Derrick Williams, Evan Turner, Hasheem Thabeet and Michael Beasley are the last five second-overall picks in the NBA draft. That list ranges from relatively disappointing to very, very disappointing (although the jury may still be out on MKG). Will Victor Oladipo – this year’s second overall pick – break away from this cycle?
Onto other news from around the league: