rasheed-wallace-laugh

It’s been more than five years since Rasheed Wallace went to an NBA All-Star Game, mostly because he’s retired and the last few seasons of his career weren’t exactly a numbers fest, but also a little bit because he so detested the exhibition contest and the free time of his that it wasted that he would just spend the whole weekend trying to make lefthanded threes and other various trick shots. Little did we know, he was simply preparing for a life of coaching once his playing days were done.

From Pistons.com:

Andre Drummond soaks up a little knowledge from Rasheed Wallace every day they spend together. One of the most searing lessons so far: Don’t engage him in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

“I played with him the other day – it wasn’t fun,” Drummond grinned after a Monday workout. What did coach Wallace throw at his prodigy?

“Everything. The little side corner shot with his feet against the out-of-bounds line. The shot from the track line (that runs behind the basket), over the hoop, made it in. And then the two-ball thing. He’s a natural. I don’t know why I did it to myself. I have no idea why I did it.”

This is what happens when you spend your entire life in a gym — you just end up figuring out how to make all those silly shots you shoot at the end of practice. Beating Andre “37 Percent from the Line” Drummond in a game of H-O-R-S-E might not be the greatest accomplishment, but it’s still pretty great to hear that Rasheed Wallace is passing down his most important secrets to a kid who was two years old when Sheed played his first NBA game. This is probably the exact reason why the Pistons hired him as an assistant coach, for his trick shot acumen.

And while it might not be surprising that Rasheed Wallace would still be really good at H-O-R-S-E less than a season after having played in actual games for the Knicks, it’s equally as not surprising as this hilarious fact that Drummond also shared.

Rasheed didn’t pitch a shutout, though.

“I got him with a couple of things. He can’t dunk still, so I had to do some things he couldn’t do.”

Sounds about right. Rasheed Wallace is very good at silly trick shots but can’t dunk, despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to have shrunk since his playing days — which were last season, remember, which means the 2012-13 Knicks employed two separate players who were so old that they were able to immediately enter the coaching ranks the second their playing careers were through — when he was listed at 6-foot-10. For as Sheed-y as it seems that Rasheed Wallace would still have the H-O-R-S-E gift, it’s exactly as Sheed-y that he already can’t dunk.

I’m sure the broken foot had something to do with it, but still. Less than a year ago, Sheed threw one down against the best defense in basketball, and now he’s outwitting a 20-year-old with dad shots because he can’t dunk. Nothing has ever made more sense to me in my life.

(via Beyond the Buzzer)

jermaine-oneal-cant-believe-anyone-picked-him

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Pacific Division: the Warriors, Lakers, Clippers, Suns and Kings.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Most Interesting New Player: Jermaine O’Neal

JO might be kind of a tough sell for most interesting on a team that made a much more obvious big-budget acquisition this offseason, but I feel like I know what Andre Iguodala is going to give the Warriors this season — not an inconsiderable contribution, mind you, but I’d be surprised if he greatly deviated from my expectations in any way. O’Neal, however, could play more of a swing role on this team than people realize. He’ll go into the season with a decent shot at the Dubs’ backup center role, unless Festus Ezeli’s shoulder heals and he actually learns how to catch the ball or put it in the basket in the offseason, and he was sneaky good in that role last year for Phoenix, averaging 16 and 10 per 36 minutes (though he only played about half that on a nightly basis) and posting his best PER, by far, since he was on the pre-LeBron Heat.

More importantly, he might end up doing a whole lot more than playing backup if — and based on recent history, more like when — Andrew Bogut goes down with injury. Bogie’s missed double-digit games each of the last five seasons, and over half his games each of the last two, so it’s a relatively safe bet that there’ll be stretches where O’Neal, assuming he stays healthy himself (no easy assumption given he’s missed nearly as many games as Bogut over the last six years), gets pressed into far more than locker-room-leadership duty. Is it too late for Jermaine O’Neal to play a key-ish role on a championship contender? Or will GSW be forced to say “to hell with rim protection,” stick David Lee at center and go bombs away with the rest of their lineup? Maybe the latter is the likelier bet, but I haven’t given up on JO just yet.

Most Interesting Returning Player: Harrison Barnes

Barnesy recently ranked at No. 40 on SB Nation’s projected list of the Top 40 NBA Players of 2017, higher than both young studs like Larry Sanders and Damian Lillard and current superstars like Dwyane Wade and Tony Parker, basically entirely off the strength of his playoff run, in which he averaged 16 and six with decent shooting numbers and a number of big buckets. But it’s worth remembering that in the regular season last year, Barnes was basically a no-show, averaging less than 10 a game and posting a PER that barely cracked double digits, and that next season, he might not even be starting, with the acquisition of Andre Iguodala and the continued presence of David Lee (and the big contracts of both) possibly blocking him in the first five.

To get to be a Top 40 player four years from now, Barnes is gonna have to build on his playoff success — and as much as that run seemed like a breakout for Barnes, he still basically averaged his same shooting percentages from the regular season, with a fairly mediocre 13.8 PER — and prove that his 3-and-D skills are too integral to the Warriors’ run-and-gun attack for him not to get big minutes. And if not, expect for Barnes’ name to replace Eric Bledsoe’s as the go-to Intriguing Trade Chip in every blockbuster mega-deal rumor you hear from now until the end of his rookie deal.

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In honor of Allen Iverson officially announcing his retirement, someone please finally teach me this move I’ve been trying to learn since sophomore year of high school. It’s been like 15 years and I’m still convinced this move, which was the basis for a commercial plugging his second signature shoe, isn’t actually possible to do without carrying the ball. Willing to pay upwards of $5 to learn.

Nothing reunites a couple more quickly than sharing a little summer schadenfreude at the hands of a fellow NBA player. It’s like Mungo Jerry always said, “In the summer time when the basket is high, you can stretch right up and dunk on a guy, when the weather’s right, you got dunking, you got dunking on your mind.” Or whatever.

(via Hoop Mixtape)

nate-robinson-baseball

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Northwest Division: the Nuggets, Timberwolves, Thunder, Blazers and Jazz.

DENVER NUGGETS

Most Interesting New Player: Nate Robinson

I guess? Like the Mavs, the Nuggets added a whole spate of recognizable new players to their roster this offseason, and none of them are even slightly exciting roster adds. Randy Foye? We know pretty well what that dude can and can’t do by now. J.J. Hickson? The Nugs already have one frontcourt energy guy/rebounding machine, and he’s a whole lot more fun to watch than J.J. Hickson. Darrell Arthur? Don’t think there are a lot of NBA fans who watched Denver last year and thought to themselves “fun team, but would it kill them to shoot more 18-foot elbow jumpers?” None of these guys are gonna make the team League Pass must watches, exactly.

That just leaves Nasty Nate, who is at least always fun to watch on a new team — to see the respective fanbases come to terms with his strengths and weaknesses, to see him make funny friend duos with his new teammates (Shrek ‘n Donkey 4EVA!!), to see him get way too many starts when the point guard he’s backing up goes down with injury. It’s hard to see where he fits into this team that already has Ty Lawson (essentially a steadier, less-maddening version of NateRob) and Andre Miller (NateRob’s inverse in just about every conceivable way), but Nate Robinson always manages to make his presence felt by year’s end, and the Pepsi Center crowd should eat him up. He’ll look great in those Denver baby blues, too.

Most Interesting Returning Player: JaVale McGee

This feels like the fourth or fifth consecutive make-or-break year for JaVale, who has still yet to really be made or broken. He shot a career high 58 percent and posted a career high 20.9 PER last year, but proved weirdly unplayable alongside Kenneth Faried and still couldn’t manage to unseat Kousta Koufos as the team’s starting center, averaging his fewest minutes a game (18.1) since 2010. Well, not only is Koufos now gone, but so is head coach George Karl — the latter’s dismissal supposedly coming in part due to his unwillingness to give the high-upside, well-compensated McGee big minutes. It’s never been nower or neverer for old Pierre.

Amazingly, JaVale will still be just 25 years old on opening night, so the belief that McGee has remaining yet-to-be-tapped potential still remains at least slightly justifiable. And for a team that basically went through an across-the-board downgrade (down to the management and front office) in the offseason, getting that kind of level-up in production from their eternal project of a big man might be one of the only ways that the team can stay a contender in a suddenly very crowded West. Even if not, we should be getting a lot more JaVale this season, which you don’t need me to tell you is always a good thing.

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Just when Brandon Knight thought it was safe to lay low and let things blow over, someone has to get DeAndre Jordan to gleefully recreate his dunk over a fake Brandon Knight. Worst year ever.

lapdance-tuesday-part-2

One of the funniest things in NBA blog history was when the world found out that Andray Blatche was headlining something called “Lapdance Tuesdays” at Cameo in Miami. That was more than two years ago, and even though Blatche tried to brush the lapdance dirt off his shoulders by saying, “It’s not a strip club at all [...] You could go in there on any Tuesday and you would not see no strippers,” it was still hilarious.

Which is why the fact that he hosted another one last night is double hilarious. As you can see from the flier and the Cameo website, Blatche was at it again, appearing at another “Lapdance Tuesdays,” which featured absolutely zero strippers, so stop asking, OK? Sometimes you just want to not see no strippers, if you catch my drift.

Nonetheless, after “Lapdance Tuesdays” was part of a whole mess that ended up running Blatche out of Washington, which led to him having a nice season with the Nets that allowed him to stick it to the Wizards, it’s good to see that Dray Day has gone back to his roots. Sometimes you just have to remember what got you to where you are. And for Andray Blatche, who is now a semi-successful NBA player and not just the go-to NBA fat joke, that means “Lapdance Tuesdays.” Sure, it also means getting back on the late night burritos train, but that’s a risk he has to be willing to take.