In the past, a handful of players have come over from Europe and made a big impact in their rookie seasons in the NBA. Pau Gasol came from Spain to win NBA Rookie of the Year with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002. Coming off two straight Italian League MVP awards, Manu Ginobili gave the San Antonio Spurs the extra push off the bench they needed to win the NBA title in 2003. Luis Scola and Juan Carlos Navarro were immediate contributors as
There is a reason why I always wait until the 82nd game of the season is in the books before deciding on my postseason awards choices. Three words: What’s the hurry? This is a lesson I learned way back in 1999 when I was covering a late regular-season game at the Alamodome during the lockout-shortened 50-game season. There were still three of four games left, and I was sitting alongside a veteran reporter from USA Today and asked him which way he
I write this column every year two days before the regular season ends, and I usually get right to the point. But this year I am going to start a little differently. So let me get one item off my chest and out of the way: Michele Roberts is way off base. The new executive director of the NBA Players Association tried to reinvent the wheel this week when it was reported that she is instituting the Players Choice Awards, which will
In recent weeks, there have been a number of folks advancing the theory that someone other than Andrew Wiggins deserves Rookie of the Year. There was a piece that said Nikola Mirotic was more deserving. There was another that said the award should go to Nerlens Noel. There was even one that said the top rookie is Elfrid Payton. Get a grip, people. Mirotic, Noel and Payton all have had fine rookie campaigns. All three are putting together strong finishes to their season. And
NBA players aren’t the only ones susceptible to rookie mistakes. NBA writers and editors are, too. I spent nearly 20 years in newsrooms, and every year in late March, we received a staff-wide email warning us of April Fool’s jokes masquerading as news releases. At a later point in my career, I became the one writing these emails, cautioning the staff. Be careful. Don’t assume, no matter how innocuous the release may be. Make a phone call. If something sounds hinky, it
Whenever I’m asked if I have been watching the NCAA Tournament, I say, “No. I haven’t.” That raises some eyebrows in my home state of Connecticut, where both genders of Huskies basketball have been winning national championships for nearly a generation and are followed religiously by the Nutmeg State’s hoops fans. But among the many reasons I don’t go mad in March is because over that same generation, the college game has become less and less of a barometer for NBA success.
Rajon Rondo is now in his ninth NBA season. He has led the league in steals once and in assists twice. He is second among active players in triple-doubles. He has made the All-Defensive Team twice and the All-Defensive Second Team twice more. He is a four-time All-Star. And he has a championship ring from 2008 with the Boston Celtics. And he still can’t shoot. That’s the biggest gripe with Rondo, other than the fact that he can be more than a
Following a recent game at Memphis, Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson left quite an impression on Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph. Clarkson scored a season-high 25 points on 12-of-18 shooting and added six assists. He kept the Lakers in the game until the fourth quarter, when the Grizzlies put their defense and talent to work and pulled out a 97-90 win. Afterward, Randolph was blown away. “That young fellow, he’s going to be good,” he said. “I didn’t even know who