Woke players need to wake up because the NBA is about business first

We’ve written a great deal during the last couple of years about the empowerment of professional athletes, especially black athletes. Many are speaking out on issues, joining movements and using their considerable platforms to call attention to issues they feel are important.

But one thing many young athletes, and many old ones, lose track of is that professional athletes are employees. Unlike their fellow workers, professional athletes can be traded, cheap nba jerseys
dispatched from one part of the country to another without much consideration given to how trades affect the player’s equilibrium, family life or causes.

Many of the college players drafted last month into the NBA, for example, will not finish their careers with the teams that drafted them.

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No matter how popular or even how talented they are, pro players are checkers and chess pieces to be moved around in a way that helps the franchise, not the player, reach its goal.

While most players say they know this, I’m always astounded by the reaction of veteran players when they are traded or released by a team for whom they have toiled for several seasons.

Two seasons ago, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, after completing an emotionally taxing season, expressed hurt and anger when he was traded from Boston to Cleveland.

Last week Kawhi Leonard, after weeks of lobbying for a trade, was shuttled from San Antonio to Toronto in exchange for Raptors star DeMar DeRozan. Each case involved muscle-flexing by the respective organizations that did what was best for the team, not necessarily for the player. In fact, the trades were executed with complete disregard for each player’s wishes.

10 things to know about the NBA playoffs, including a high-scoring Bucks team and DeMarcus Cousins’ debut 10 things to know about the NBA playoffs, including a high-scoring Bucks team and DeMarcus Cousins’ debut

There’s no LeBron James in these playoffs, so the NBA Finals will have a distinctly new look for the first time in nine years.

There’s no Tony Parker, for the first time in nearly two decades.

There’s no Dwyane Wade, and he’ll never play a playoff game again.

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San Antonio is in the postseason for a record-tying 22nd Wholesale jerseys
consecutive season. Brooklyn, Denver, Detroit, Orlando and the Los Angeles Clippers got into these playoffs after watching the postseason last year.

As always at playoff time, there are some familiar things and some not-so-familiar things. With the postseason set to begin Saturday, here’s 10 things to know going into the best time of the NBA…

David Robinson proud of how Spurs bounced back after Kawhi ‘nightmare’

SAN ANTONIO – Spurs legend David Robinson on Thursday praised the franchise for bouncing back from the drama-filled 2017-18 season and the loss of cornerstone player Kawhi Leonard that followed it.

“That was tough,” Robinson said. “Obviously, the whole Kawhi situation was kind of a nightmare situation for us, right? He was the perfect guy to follow Tim (Duncan), and to see that he really wasn’t happy here was surprising and disappointing and all of that. It felt like we were having to re-start our gears a little bit.”

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Speaking at an event honoring military families at cheap nba jerseys
Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage, Robinson suggested the Spurs have a bright future despite their first-round playoff loss this season to the Denver Nuggets.

The Spurs sent Leonard to the Toronto Raptors last summer after the disgruntled forward asked for a trade following an injury-marred season in which he played in just nine games and reportedly clashed with the team over his rehabilitation from a mysterious quad ailment.

Manu Ginobili Was the Perfect Spur

With apologies to Tim Duncan, David Robinson, and George Gervin, Manu Ginobili will go down in history as the greatest Spur who ever lived. He wasn’t on their level when it comes to sheer basketball prowess—while Ginobili has a strong Hall of Fame case, there’s a chance he never makes it to Springfield. But Ginobili, who retired this week after 16 seasons and four NBA titles, embodied the vaunted Spurs culture like no one else. He didn’t just sublimate himself—he gave something up.

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Ginobili was way under the radar when he entered the league in 2002. He’d been selected with the 57th pick in the 1999 draft, a deep sleeper even as the stock of international players had begun to skyrocket. Ginobili then opted to spend another three seasons in Italy. When he first suited up for the Spurs,cheap nba jerseys china he was already 25 years old. There were flashes of brilliance during his rookie year and enough of an output that Ginobili was named to the All-Rookie Second Team. But it was in the playoffs that he emerged as a dynamic scoring threat, adding another weapon to a Spurs squad that rolled to a title.

Heading into 2003-04, Ginobili was regarded as an integral part of the Spurs’ future and potentially one of the league’s liveliest talents. Younger fans who know him primarily as a canny soldier with a sparkling basketball IQ may be surprised to learn that, early on, Ginobili was flashy, chimeric, and impulsive. He wasn’t just speedy—he was crafty and astute at light-speed, experimenting with changes in direction and odd angles in a way that kept defenders in a perpetual state of flux. His fabled Eurostep, which has since become a staple of any elite scorer’s arsenal, was then only the tip of the iceberg. Everything Ginobili did traded in disorientation and sleight of hand. As a scorer and sometimes playmaker, Ginobili was that inspired. That he was also a lefty seemed downright unfair.

Spurs’ Quincy Pondexter trying to recruit Anthony Davis… sort of

SAN ANTONIO — All eyes are on the New Orleans Pelicans and the future of All-Star Anthony Davis. Reports surfaced that Davis is wanting out of New Orleans for the bright lights of Los Angeles to join the Lakers before the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline.
From the Celtics to the Knicks, it seems teams are hoping to land the services of Davis.

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As is San Antonio Spurs’ Quincy Pondexter but it’s not for what you think.
Pondexter recently shared a photo of himself Wholesale nba jerseys
chatting with his former Pelicans teammate. However, before Spurs fans jump for joy at the thought of Pondexter trying to convince Davis of taking his talents to San Antonio it’s not for what he can do on the court but more for off the court.

Pondexter made it clear the only services he is trying to get from Davis is for him to make an appearance at his kids basketball camp in California.

Just tryna get @antdavis23 and @timfraz23 to my kids camp in Fresno this summer

Gay beats buzzer, lifts San Antonio Spurs past Phoenix Suns

Rudy Gay hit a jumper at the buzzer to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 126-124 win against a surprisingly game Phoenix Suns team on Tuesday at the AT&T Center.

The Suns, ranked last in the Western Conference standings at 11-42, hung tight with the Spurs for the majority of the game. San Antonio improves to 30-22 on the year.

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Behind 38 points from Devin Booker on 14-of-19 shooting, cheap nba jerseys from china the Suns shot 60 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from 3-point range.

The Spurs hit 15 3-pointers, doing so in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 29 points and was one of seven players in double figures. Davis Bertans scored 18 points, Marco Belinelli netted 17 off the bench, Gay added 16, Derrick White had 15 and Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills had 12 apiece.

The game was tied midway through the third quarter before the Spurs went on a 14-2 run to build their largest lead of the night at 12 points.

The Suns continued to hang around, scoring 11 straight points to pull within 96-95 early in the fourth quarter.

Aldridge isn’t sweating All-Star announcement

SAN ANTONIO – LaMarcus Aldridge has a couple of reasons for not tuning in to watch TNT an-nounce the 14 coach-selected All-Star reserves at 6 p.m. Thursday.

For starters, he’ll be at the AT&T Center preparing for the Spurs’ game with the Brooklyn Nets. But even if he had the night free, Aldridge at age 33 simply doesn’t care if he becomes an All-Star for the seventh time in his 13-season career.
“If I’m in, I’m in. If I’m not, I’m not,” he said. “I am too far into cheap nba jerseys  my career to be worried about those types of things. I’m worried about winning and trying to take this team far.”

After surviving a shooting slump that stretched over the first 17 games of the season, Aldridge has produced an All-Star caliber season that includes per-game averages of 21.1 points on 51.6 percent shooting from the field, 8.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals.

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But he isn’t sweating whether he’ll represent the Spurs for the third time in his four seasons with the club after spending his first nine seasons with the Port-land Trail Blazers.

“Y’all can just let me know if I get in or not,” he told reporters after the 126-124 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, his third game in a row in which he posted 28 or more points.

While Aldridge doesn’t care whether he gets to go to Charlotte for the elite game Feb. 17, he’s hoping teammate DeMar DeRozan makes it.

“For sure,” Aldridge said. “He’s been great all year.”

Statistically, though, that’s not quite accurate. While DeRozan is averaging 21.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.1 steals, he has struggled in January, averaging 16.4 points on 41.8 percent shooting from the field.

DeRozan, who was traded from Toronto to the Spurs in the offseason in the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster, reached the All-Star game four times with the Raptors.

“It’s always an honor when-ever you get mentioned (as a candidate), let alone be in the actual game,” he said. “It’s something you always look forward to, something you dream about your whole life.”

Both players face fierce competition in the deep Western Conference and very well may spend All-Star Weekend resting at home or wherever they choose to visit for a mini-vacation.

The Spurs have had at least one All-Star selection in 39 of the 41 All-Star Games since joining the NBA in 1976, the most of any team in that span. The Spurs have had an All-Star in 20 straight seasons, the longest active streak in the NBA.
The only two years the Spurs haven’t had at least one All-Star were 1989 (the season before David Robinson joined the team) and 1997 (the season before Tim Duncan joined the team).

Aldridge is one of six players to have appeared in at least six of the last seven All-Star Games. The others are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

The Spurs unleashed DeMar DeRozan in the open court

Even in the midst of the team-wide hot streak, the Spurs were riding last night against the Blazers, DeMar DeRozan’s 15 straight points at the end of the third stood out. His run carried the Spurs from down 4 with just under 5 minutes left in the third, to up 4 at the 1 minute mark. DeMar poured it in from all angles, hitting turnarounds and fadeaways, driving and cutting for layups, and drawing fouls.

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He was especially deadly in transition and early offense, going 3 of 3 with an and-1 for 7 points on just 4 possessions in that stretch. That’s a little out of the ordinary in terms of efficiency,cheap nba jerseys from china
even for DeMar, but not much. He has an eFG% of 65.8 with 18 or more on the shot clock so far this year. However, it’s definitely an outlier in terms of frequency, because he averages less than 1.7 attempts per game that early in the clock.

Whether by design or decision, DeMar made a concerted effort to push the pace and force the issue to close out the 3rd quarter, and it paid off handsomely.

The run started with a steal and a fast break. Maurice Harkless’ attempt to kick the ball out on a baseline drive that went nowhere sailed over Jusuf Nurkic’ head and nearly over halfcourt. Nurkic managed to save it, but Damian Lillard could only get a finger on the ball and the tip went straight to DeMar.
Even on a fastbreak, DeMar is as patient as ever. He gives the defenders time to commit to who they’re guarding, with Derrick White and Patty Mills doing their best to provide him with room to operate by spacing out to the opposite corner and wing. DeMar isolates C.J. McCollum on the right side of the paint and gets him moving to his left before knifing right by him to the rim for a layup that cut the lead to 2.

After some outstanding individual defense by Davis Bertans isolated at the top of the key on McCollum, DeMar grabbed the defensive rebound and ran the ball up court for the Spurs next offensive possession.

Utah Jazz are back at home—FINALLY—hosting the San Antonio Spurs

Home is where the heart is—or for the Utah Jazz—home is where the losses are. The Utah Jazz haven’t spent much time in the confines of Vivint Smart Home Arena, but when they have been there, they have gone 2-6. The Utah Jazz actually have the fewest home wins of any team in the NBA. They also have played the fewest games at home (8). So when the San Antonio Spurs (11-12) visit Salt Lake City today, the Utah Jazz hope to turn a corner from their inconsistent ways.

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The San Antonio Spurs are mired in their own problems similar to Utah. They enter this game 4-6 in their last ten—just like Utah—but coming off a big win in San Antonio cheap nba jerseys
against the Portland Trail Blazers. While Utah’s problem has been the complacency that comes from continuity, San Antonio is adjusting from a lack of it as they move past the Kawhi Leonard era to the DeMar DeRozan era. Their top scorers are DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.

San Antonio has been faced with a slew of injuries to their point guard position to start the season. Dejounte Murray is out for the season and numerous other guards have been in and out of the lineup. That’s not to feel sorry for San Antonio, but their situation almost mirrors Utah’s situation where they lost their starting point guard and star wing in the same offseason.

Utah on the other hand looked like they were close to turning the corner with wins over Brooklyn and Charlotte, then laid an egg in Miami. Miami was down to just 9 active players on their roster with only one guard active. Utah managed to lose a close game due to poor shot selection down the stretch from Donovan Mitchell, an off game from Derrick Favors, and rough play from their bench.

Utah will be hoping that some good old home cooking, consistent practice time, and sleeping in their own bed will do some wonders for their success.

This Spurs team is fundamentally flawed

With a quarter of the season already in the books, things are not looking good for the Spurs. We are likely heading for the worst full season of the Gregg Popovich era, and it’s hard to find much to be optimistic about.

The team seems to be fundamentally flawed. There’s clearly not enough defensive talent to fall back on when a lack of chemistry and an outdated shot profile cause the offense to sputter. The overall lack of versatility across the roster is galling. You can see Pop has found Cheap San Antonio Spurs Jerseys
it hard to find any rotations that work.

The Spurs aren’t particularly good. That much is obvious. The circumstances that caused the downturn, however, are more opaque. Understanding them is key to realizing why this team is unsoundly built and what it would take to address its weaknesses.

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The Kawhi Leonard trade demand had a gigantic effect on the Spurs’ plans, so we have to start there. The entire identity of the team was based around building an elite defense and reducing risks on offense. At a time in which almost every team embraced pace and three-point shots, Gregg Popovich decided to build in the opposite direction. San Antonio was going to slow the pace down and work the clock in the half court. Instead of going for a pass-happy, drive and kick style that could result in turnovers, they were going to put the ball in the hands of a couple of ball dominant stars that hardly ever coughed it up. The offense wasn’t going to be explosive, but it was going to be steady. And the defense was going to be so good that a steady attack would have been enough to win. We saw this version work well in 2016/17.

Without Kawhi, however, the plan makes no sense. It relied heavily on his mid-range dominance and game-changing defense, which cannot be replaced by committee. Even last season, when the Spurs managed to remain a great defensive team, it was obvious that they lacked weapons on offense to be more than first round fodder. Had they played better offensive players to boost up their attack, their defense would have been too porous for the strategy to work. San Antonio’s approach requires an incredibly delicate balance between offense and defense for the philosophy to be viable — and that can only be achieved by having a two-way superstar around a carefully selected complementary cast. Kawhi was that player. Once he decided that he wanted out, everything the Spurs had built around him collapsed.