Kobe Bryant has officially made his return to the Los Angeles Lakers, and it didn’t go unnoticed around the league. Very few players can command this type of attention from their piers. The anticipation was coming from every corner of the league.
SH Blog: Melo has no idea how to fix the Knicks, Wade unsure of what approach to take with current contract
Things couldn’t have gone much uglier for the New York Knicks in the first month of the season.
They lost defensive anchor Tyson Chandler to a leg injury, J.R. Smith has been awful since coming back from a 5-game suspension, Amare Stoudemire has been a shell of himself while playing limited minutes, Iman Shumpert’s name in trade rumors has been a distraction, and Andrea Bargnani is what most of us expected him to be – a scoring forward who can’t rebound or play team defense.
The end result? Tied for the second-worst record in the league at 3-13. The Knicks are officially a mess.
STORY OF THE DAY:
After another deflating loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at home, Carmelo Anthony believes his team lacks a winning mentality, from Ian Begley of ESPN New York:
“I think we’re playing to lose rather than playing to win right now,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ 103-99 loss to New Orleans on Sunday. “When you lose games the way we’ve been losing them at home, on the road, you start thinking a lot. You start playing a little tense. You start playing on your heels.”
“We just can’t seem to get it together,” Anthony said after scoring 23 points and getting 10 rebounds. “We can’t seem to figure it out.”
“I don’t know what we have to do as far as coming together as a group,” Anthony said. “I don’t know if we’ve got to sit here for hours and talk and get it all out, but we’ve got to do something.”
Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose covered the Denver Nuggets in their latest Grantland video, and I am starting off this blog with the clip because it just might make you cry a little. In a good way.
Simmons has the Nuggets listed at No. 13 and Rose thinks they should be ranked higher. It says here that Denver is unlikely to make the playoffs this season because:
1. They lost Iguodala and got nothing in return.
2. They lost starting center Kosta Koufos, who was probably their second-best defensive player.
3. They lost Corey Brewer, who wasn’t the smartest cat when asked to guard sharp shooters, as we’ve seen from his sometimes-comical job during the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. Other than that, though, he was a pretty useful defender throughout the regular season off the bench.
4. Danilo Gallinari will miss significant time.
5. They are relying on JaVale McGee to anchor their defense. Based on what he’s done in the preseason, his maturity issues aren’t going away any time soon: he complains about calls, too often looks dejected about things out of his control, commits silly fouls out of frustration and generally lacks discipline when it’s most needed. His freakish athleticism allows him to be a very good shot blocker, but his overall IQ and demeanor on the defensive end is not to be trusted for 30-plus minutes. And who’s behind him? Timofey Mozgov? J.J. Hickson?
Brian Shaw will attempt to implement a new system for a team that is underhanded and underdeveloped, especially on the defensive end. He wants them to play a style that can better succeed in the postseason by playing a little slower and utilizing the post, but does he have the proper personnel for that? They do have some offensive weapons in Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson, but is that enough to overcome their deficiencies in a loaded Western Conference? I’m not banking on it.
STORY OF THE DAY:
Big news out of Oklahoma City on Monday about Russell Westbrook, from Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:
But the headliner was All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who participated in on-court drills with the team for the first time since he had arthroscopic surgery earlier this month.
“There were bits and pieces where Russell participated in practice, so that was good,” coach Scott Brooks said. “It was good to get everybody out there, working together.”
In recent weeks, Westbrook has been seen on the court during the portion of practice open to the media, going through light workouts with the Thunder training staff.
But on Monday, he apparently amped it up. And even in that brief setting, Reggie Jackson, the man who is replacing Westbrook in the starting lineup, seemed to be impressed.
Monday, October 7
Daily Trivia: Pau Gasol returned to action for the Lakers Sunday night. Over the summer he spent time working as a representative for Spain to host the 2020 Olympics, but lost the race to what country?
Klay Thompson willing to be the sixth man
Posted at 08:22 PM ET
Klay Thompson was Steph Curry’s running mate last season while starting at the shooting guard position for the Golden State Warriors. Thompson, who came off the bench Saturday for the first time since the Monta Ellis trade, appeared to be in assassin mode in his new role as the sixth man. Thompson had 37 games under his belt as a reserve, all from his rookie year. But after starting 122 straight games in the regular season and playoffs combined, Thompson said he’ll adapt. “It’s something you have to get used to,” he told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. “You have to stay looser on the bench, but it’s still the same role: go in there, shoot, play defense and try to do everything I can.”
Joakim Noah not playing Monday night
Posted at 11:27 AM ET
Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah will be a no-go in Monday night’s preseason home opener against the Memphis Grizzlies, Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky said on Twitter. Noah was expected to miss the game after suffering a groin injury in training camp last week. Swrisky’s tweet aslo included a prediction for Derrick Rose to play about 20 minutes in the game. Rose made his return to basketball on Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers where he finished with 13 points and three assists in 20 minutes.
Metta World Peace wrote a book about the Malice at the Palace
Posted at 07:27 AM ET
It was almost nine years ago, Nov. 19, 2004 to be exact, then Ron Artest, landed himself at the center of the most publicized brawl’s in sports history. The Malice at the Palace began with a hard foul on Detroit Pistons’ big man Ben Wallace, a scuffle ensued but eventually calmed. The fight escalated quickly when a fan threw a drink at Artest, the Indiana Pacers’ player rushed into the crowd leading to a brawl and the cancellation of the game. Now Metta World Peace, did a Q&A with the New York Post and revealed the book. “I wrote a book about it, son. I think I’m gonna wait to talk about it. But I wrote a book about that whole experience,” Peace said. ” Maybe like 500,000 people still talk about it, or a million people. But the other 6.9 billion people in the world, I think they got other things to worry about, you know — from the economy, to Middle East problems, to starvation in some countries, to girl trafficking in some countries, to gang violence. There’s so many other problems in the world.”
Trivia Answer: Japan
Brett Poirier manages the Rumors and News page for Sheridan Hoops. Follow @BrettNBA