Baltimore Native Rudy Gay Returning Home To Host Basketball Tournament NBA star and Baltimore native Rudy Gay is returns home for the weekend.
Jahlil Okafor is the latest NBA player to open up about his struggles with mental health.
Jakob Poeltl has an unlikely fan. Charles Barkley. The Round Mound of Rebound spoke favorably of the Spurs trading for the former University of Utah big man in the deal that was primarily done to swap Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. “Poeltl is a really good player off the bench,” Barkley said in an interview. Barkley also called the 22-year-old one of the most underrated players in the league while lauding what he considers a “great, great trade by the Spurs.” It's always nice to be complimented, but Poeltl told reporters he's not focusing on how he's rated. “Underrated, overrated, it really doesn't matter that much to me,” he said. “There's going to be guys that really don't rate you as a player
Aside from re-signing players, the San Antonio Spurs last gave a contract extension in 2017, when LaMarcus Aldridge agreed to add two years to his deal and $50 million. The 2018 offseason might not replicate this for anyone on the roster, but two players are not far behind. The Spurs still have official announcements to make on the 2019-20 team options for Jakob Poeltl's $3.75 million and Dejounte Murray's $2.3 million salaries. Both will enter their third NBA seasons in 2018-19, with much to prove after two developmental years. As before the 2017-18 season, Murray and Poeltl should have their team options exercised. Though, it's for the final year of each player's respective rookie-scale contract.
Basketball fans are romantics at heart. They can hear a player's name an instantly recall vivid dunks, clutch shots and historic performances from their prime. The announcer's jubilant, sometimes cracking voice erupting as a buzzer-beater occurs reverberates through the mind of a fan. The player is associated with greatness. But nostalgia can sometimes warp reality. Many players today are overhyped because of long-past great performances. They are not the athlete they were five or ten years ago. Last week I posted about today's most underrated contributors. This segment will focus on basketball's most overrated players. For some, the unfounded support may come from their old selves, like in the
I realize I'm heading into some dangerous territory here. But I watched a YouTube video last night that framed the Spurs as a cult-like organization headed Pop, the cult leader. While I can veins popping on some of your heads as you read this, I will say it offered the best explanation as to why Kawhi left. So here was the gist: The Spurs are celebrated for putting the team ahead of the players, for bringing alsorans and making them valuable contributors, and for players being seen as "interchangeable parts". We know this, we celebrate this. We also know stars have had to lay their egos... but also their stats, and potentially paychecks (contracts and endorsement deals) at the door. So the video
DeMar DeRozan is already a quintessential San Antonio Spurs player at the offensive end. Even as he cut down on his mid-range volume last year, he finished fourth in overall attempts per game. And in first place, there was LaMarcus Aldridge, alpha of the Spurs offense, which closed the season fourth in mid-range frequency, according to Cleaning The Glass. Joining San Antonio will permit DeRozan to indulge his deepest-seated stylisms without raging against the machine. Kawhi Leonard was lauded for his long-range efficiency, but he too fired up more than his fair share of DeRozan's favorite shots. He finished 12th in mid-range attempts and 13th in pull-up jumpers per game during the 2016-17 campaign.
First off, thanks for Mark Barrington and Marilyn Dubinski for hosting the OT this week while I was away. It's great to have such talented dependable friends to entrust when I cannot be tethered to my laptop. I saw the new DeMar DeRozan #10 Spurs jersey made its way onto the racks this week. It got me thinking- 10 is good. Speedy Claxton won a title wearing it in 2003 as Andrew Gaze had in 1999. But what about the other new addtions to the Spurs roster? I was surprised to see Marco Belinelli didn't reclaim his championship number 3 now that Brandon Paul has left the Silver & Black. Instead, he is going with #18. Only 3 players have previously worn the #18, most recently Rasual Butler for 46 games
Several Western Conference teams made tremendous improvements during the offseason. However, Gregg Popovich realizes that the conference will be stacked once again with the Los Angeles Lakers improving due to the acquisition of LeBron James. In a recent interview, Popovich admitted that the Golden State Warriors are "better than everyone else," and are "the team to beat." "The West has been a dogfight or a battlefield for the last 10 or 15 years," Popovich said. "Now we have one team, Golden State, which is better than everyone else. And all of us are trying to catch them. It's a wonderful team, Steve Kerr does a great job, their player play the right way and once again they are the team to beat.
Guard Pierre Jackson, who went to Baylor and played eight games for the Mavericks in 2016-17, said few others in the 2018 draft class can do what Doncic did overseas. "I doubt 99 percent of this year's draft class could do what he did in the EuroLeague this season," Jackson said. "I think he is super talented, man. The sky's the limit for the kid. To do what he's done this entire year on the EuroLeague level is big time." But what challenges will Doncic face in the NBA? Dorell Wright, an 11-year NBA veteran who now plays overseas, said defense is what Doncic will need to focus on. "When he gets to the NBA and he scores a basket or two on somebody, you best believe that guy is coming back down
Technically, 2018-19 will be Dejounte Murray's first full season as the Spurs' starting point guard, and there's every reason to think the 21-year-old will build on an up-and-down but promising sophomore campaign that earned him All-Defensive 2nd Team recognition and plenty of kudos from Gregg Popovich. Murray's already an elite rebounder for his position, an active cutter, and a tough defender (both on the ball and off) where he uses his length to get into passing lanes and initiate fast breaks. Murray's shaky jumper not only meant fewer shots going in — it strained how the Spurs could build lineups and allowed defenses to routinely help off of him. This could've been mitigated by an ability to break defenses down or pull up for jumpers off the dribble, but Murray demonstrated neither skill in year two, and he hasn't yet shown the next-level passing chops that would force defenses to tighten their on-ball pressure on him.
Spurs restricted free agent Darrun Hilliard has signed a one-year deal with Spanish club Saski Baskonia. (If that team sounds familiar, it is where Tiago Splitter spent the majority of his career before joining the Spurs in 2010). Drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2015, Hilliard appeared in 77 games over two seasons there before signing a two-way contract with the Spurs last summer. He averaged 1.1 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 14 games for the Spurs, and 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game in Austin. The Spurs picked up his qualifying offer this summer, making him a restricted free agent before he signed overseas. The Spurs now have both two-way contract