So I’ve been playing NBA 2K14 for a few weeks now, and I’m into late January in my Association mode. I’m playing as the Mavericks, for reasons I can’t really explain except by saying I thought playing as Monta Ellis would be fun. And it is.
What’s more fun, though, is making minor trades and tweaking players’ minute allotments. Like, I just traded DeJuan Blair for Peyton Siva and Kyle Singler so I could reallocate Blair’s six minutes a game to Brandan Wright, and it was the most fun I’ve had playing a sports game in a long time. Plus I got to keep Kyle Singler on the bench for game after game, which I’ve wanted to do since his time at Duke.
The other fun thing is draining jump shots with Shawn Marion. That never, ever gets old. And yeah, I guess Monta is fun too. But not as fun as rearranging minutes. That’s where the real fun is at.
Now let’s get to something sane people might also enjoy: the latest from around the NBA.
- The Knicks looked just fine against the Bobcats. Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com might have a reason why: “Maybe Carmelo Anthony should hold a players-only meeting after every loss. In their first game since they aired out some grievances in a players-only meet, the Knicks put together their most complete performance of the season in a 101-91 win in Charlotte. “Sometimes you need to get together and talk, communicate, let it all out, just try to figure what’s the problem, what’s the issue,” Anthony said. “We responded well tonight.” The Knicks turned the ball over just 12 times Friday, five fewer than their average. They shot the ball well, particularly from beyond the arc (46 percent) and they shared the ball (25 assists on 42 makes). “We know that this was a must-win for us,” said Raymond Felton, another active participant in the players-only meeting Tuesday. “We just wanted to come out and play with some effort and see what happens with the outcome.”"
- The Knicks also get J.R. Smith back now. Here’s what Frank Isola of the New York Daily News had to say on the subject: “J.R. Smith is back — for better or worse — and his presence in the lineup will take some of the scoring burden off Carmelo Anthony and possibly push Iman Shumpert closer to the exit. “The rest of the league seems to value Iman more than the Knicks do,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “And his value is high.” Including Shumpert in a deal for Rajon Rondo is something Mike Woodson would sign up for immediately but it’s also pure fantasy. Ask yourself, why would the Boston Celtics trade their best player to a hated rival that doesn’t have first-round picks to trade?”
Brad Stevens says when Norris Cole was coming out of college, he told NBA personnel people to draft him.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) November 9, 2013
- Interesting story from Marc Stein of ESPN.com on what the NBA is doing to avoid a situation like the Miami Dolphins’: “All 30 NBA teams received a memo from the league office Friday reminding them that no form of bullying or hazing will be tolerated, according to league sources. The memo, sources said, references the Miami Dolphins’ ongoing bullying scandal and urges NBA players to report anything if they feel the need while also spelling out specific violations of the league’s policies. Sources said the memo reiterated a number of prohibited behaviors that would violate league policy. … Also prohibited, sources said, is requiring an individual to unreasonably pay for meals, travel, entertainment expenses, goods or services that are being solely enjoyed by others as well as imposing physical activities on a fellow player — such as exposure to weather, confinement in a restricted area, or consumption of food, liquid or substance — that leads to unreasonable risk for the individual or adversely affects their mental or physical health or safety. Veterans often force NBA rookies to wear kindergarten-style backpacks to games and practices, but that is widely seen as a standard rite of passage and typically is met with little resistance. Rookies also typically have to carry bags or even bring food in for veteran players on practice days, but sources with multiple teams consulted by ESPN.com this week have said the NBA culture is different than the NFL’s when it comes to the behind-the-scenes treatment of young players. Said one Western Conference team official: “It has really lightened up in recent years.” “
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times also looks at the culture of the NBA in light of the Incognito situation: “Hundreds of different teammates and Mohammed says he has never seen a white player given ‘‘honorary black man status’’ allowing him to use the N-word at will. ‘‘I’m close with Kirk [Hinrich], and I’m really close with [the Oklahoma City Thunder’s] Nick Collison, and how does a conversation like that even start?’’ he said. The curtain has been pulled back on the locker-room culture of professional sports in the last week, and many who don’t understand it suddenly don’t like seeing how the steak is prepared. In the NBA, Mohammed said, it’s not about rookie hazing but rather rookie ‘‘chores.’’ ‘‘I don’t like the word ‘hazing,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘Hey, when I was a rookie, you were responsible for little chores that guys needed like soap, lotion, cigarettes, but I never thought of that as hazing. That’s your rookie chores.’’ To a certain point. Said one younger Bulls player about the Incognito-Martin situation, ‘‘There’s a line, and if it gets crossed, someone has to get punched in the mouth.’’ “
- People are watching basketball this year. From Joe Lucia of AwfulAnnouncing.com: “ESPN kicked off their Wednesday NBA doubleheaders this week, and the early results were strong. The Bulls-Pacers and Mavericks-Thunder matchups averaged a 1.7 rating, a 55% jump from last year’s first doubleheader. The games featured last year were 76ers-Hornets and Spurs-Clippers, which only averaged a 1.1 rating, with the early matchup drawing just a 0.9. Both games this year had a 1.7. The viewership of the doubleheader also increased by 72%, rising to an average of 2.048 million viewers from 1.193 million viewers last year. It’s not surprising about the early success of the league. The Bulls are always a popular team, and the return of Derrick Rose is fueling strong early season ratings. Meanwhile, the Pacers improved to 5-0 with their blowout win on Wednesday, taking advantage of a weak schedule to jump out to an early lead in the Central Division.”
- If you’re like me, you love gimmick uniforms. So you were extra excited for the Nets and Heat’s decision to try nicknames on the back of jerseys. Now Nets Daily has a hint as to when those jerseys will be worn: “Remember this story? “Nets may have nicknames on jerseys this season.” The Nets and Heat agreed to wear jerseys with nicknames on them, borrowing an idea from the XFL. … Well, word is slowly leaking out as to when we’ll see the “name jersey collection,” as the NBA calls it. The Nets calendar, distributed last week, lists January 10, as the first time the Nets will wear them. The Heat’s printable schedule lists two home games, on March 12 and April 8 vs. the Nets and one, on January 21, vs. the Celtics as “name collection uniform games.” The Nets calendar lists five games where the Nets will wear “alternate home uniforms” which appear to be separate from the “Christmas Short Sleeve Jerseys.” The jerseys will be worn March 21 and 28 as well as April 4, 11, and 15, the last home game of the season.”
Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent this summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.