NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Monday, August 31, 2015

Daily Dunks: 8/31-9/6/15

                                                   (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source)

     Here is my Daily Dunks page for August 31, 2015 through September 6, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with news from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created.

Monday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Vlade Divac is now the Kings' VP of Basketball Operations and GM (Click here for details).

#2. DeAndre Jordan parted ways with his agents (Click here for details).

#3. The Clippers signed power forward Chuck Hayes (Click here for details).

#4. The Bucks signed guard Charlie Westbrook to a non-guaranteed deal (Click here for details).

#5. Point guard Marcelo Huertas has left FC Barcelona to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers (Click here for details).

#6. The Suns have no intention to trade Markieff Morris (Click here for details).

#7. Cavaliers second round pick Sir'Dominic Pointer will spend the season in the D-League (Click here for details).

#8. Click here for an update on the Tristan Thompson drama

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Daily Dunks: 8/24-8/30

                                                    (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source) 

     Here is my Daily Dunks page for August 24, 2015 through August 30, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with news from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Rockets officially re-signed guard Jason Terry (Click here for details).

#2. The Utah Jazz signed center Jeff Withey to a two-year, partially guaranteed contract (Click here for details).

#3. The Suns will honor Steve Nash by inducting him into their "Ring of Honor" on Friday, October 30 (Click here for details).

#4. The Miami Heat extended their  D-League single-affiliation with the Sioux Falls Skyforce through the 2016-17 season (Click here for details).

#5. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has agreed to a four-year, $54M extension with the Hornets (Click here for details).

#6. The Lakers are thinking of bringing back Metta World Peace (Click here for details).

#7. Dario Saric plans to join the 76ers in the summer of 2016 (Click here for details).

#8. Power forward Jeff Adrien agreed to a one-year deal with the Pelicans (Click here for details).

#9. Phil Jackson: "The Knicks may struggle early" (Click here for details).

#10. Mavericks shooting guard Wesley Matthews says he'll be ready to go opening night (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Heat officially signed Keith Benson (Click here for details).

#2. The Lakers officially signed guard Michael Frazier (Click here for details).

#3. The Clippers have been fined $250,000 for something they offered DeAndre Jordan that they shouldn't have offered him (Click here for details).

#4. Metta World Peace says there have been no contact between him and the Lakers (Click here for details).

#5. Lakers' coaches were pleased with D'Angelo Russell's Summer League performance (Click here for details).

#6. Andrei Kirilenko has been named the President of the Russian Basketball Federation (Click here for details).

#7. Report: The Wizards aren't willing to give Bradley Beal a max contract right now, even though he wants one (Click here for details).

#8. Greg Oden has officially signed in China (Click here for details).

#9. Henry Sims and Corey Jefferson have signed with the Suns for training camp (Click here for details).

#10. Stephen Curry wants to stay with the Warriors long-term (Click here for details).

Tuesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Dream 71 Sun 57.

Wednesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Derrick Rose is being sued for drugging and gang raping an ex-girlfriend (Click here for details).

#2. LeBron James sold his home in Miami for $13.4M (Click here for details).

#3. The Hornets have signed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a 4 year, $54M extension (Click here for details).

#4. Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (knee) is fine (Click here for details).

#5. The Heat are still shopping Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen (Click here for details).

#6. Ricky Rubio loves having Kevin Garnett for a teammate (Click here for details).

#7. Rafael Hettsheimeir, a big man from Brazil, is working out for the Spurs (Click here for details).

Wednesday's WNBA Final Scores: 
Sparks 81 Fever 79.

Thursday's NBA Daily Dunks: 
#1. Darryl Dawkins a.k.a Chocolate Thunder passed away from a heart attack (Click here for details).

#2. The Kings signed former Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson for training camp (Click here for details).

#3. Josh Howard is attempting an NBA comeback (Click here for details).

#4. Russell Westbrook is marrying his longtime girlfriend this weekend (Click here for details).

#5. Derrick Rose issues a statement proclaiming his innocence (Click here for details).

#6. Kyrie Irving may not be back until January (Click here for details).

#7. Chuck Hayes is a still a free agent. He won't sign with the Rockets (Click here for details).

#8. The Suns signed guard Deonte Burton for training camp (Click here for details).

Thursday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Mercury 81 Sun 80.

Friday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Wizards signed guard Toure' Murry to a non-guaranteed contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Utah Jazz signed forward J.J. O'Brien to a non-guaranteed contract (Click here for details).

#3. The Hawks announced additions to their Athletic Performance Team (Click here for details).

#4. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford plans to play Jeremy Lin and Kemba Walker together (Click here for details).

#5. Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis "definitely" plans on shooting more threes this season (Click here for details).

#6. Nets forward Andrea Bargnani injured his ankle, but he continued to play on at Eurobasket (Click here for details)

#7. Kobe Bryant's NBA2K16 player rating is the lowest of his career (Click here for details).

#8. The Magic signed guard Jordan Siebert to a non-guranteed contract (Click here for details).

#9. Michael Jordan's original Space Jam uniform is available to own (Click here for details).

#10. Lakers Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss defends head coach Byron Scott (Click here for details).

Friday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Mystics 71 Mercury 63. Dream 90 Fever 84. Liberty 81 Lynx 68. Shock 76 Sparks 66. Storm 83 Stars 69.

Saturday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Warriors GM Bob Meyers is "focused and motivated" to get extensions done with Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli (Click here for details).

#2. Carlos Boozer reportedly won't head overseas before the NBA season starts. He is holding out in hopes of landing an NBA gig with a playoff team (Click here for details).

#3. Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic also injured his ankle in preparation for Eurobasket. He too says he'll be ok (Click here for details).

#4. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer rejected a $60M local TV deal. He may start an online streaming service instead (Click here for details).

#5. The Thunder signed forward Talib Zanna to a non-guaranteed deal (Click here for details).

#6. The Warriors signed swingman Jarell Eddie to a non-guaranteed deal (Click here for details).

Saturday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Liberty 80 Sun 66. Sky 98 Dream 96.

Sunday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Nigeria wins AfroBasket and qualifies for the Rio Olympics (Click here for details).

#2. Robert Upshaw still hasn't signed his training camp deal with the Lakers. He is working through some personal issues (Click here for details).

#3. Shaq to Kobe: "I just want people to know that I don't hate you" (Click here for details).

#4. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker calls the $250M Milwaukee arena deal "fiscally responsible" (Click here for details).

#5. D'Angelo Russell complimented Tracy McGrady and idiot Lakers fans took it as a diss to Kobe Bryant (Click here for details).

#6. The Hornets want Frank Kaminsky to get stronger (Click here for details).

Sunday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Shock 76 Fever 70. Sparks 60 Stars 52. Sun 72 Sky 68. Lynx 71 Mercury 61. Storm 69 Mystics 59.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday Slam: The Golden State Warriors are getting overlooked


     Despite winning the 2015 NBA title, few people have the Golden State Warriors repeating in 2016. Most people have their money on either the San Antonio Spurs or Cleveland Cavaliers. While those teams certainly deserve to be given strong consideration, it feels as though most people are in denial that the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship just two months ago. What I want to do in this article is explain why some people is overlooking the Warriors and why the Warriors deserve to be the favorites to repeat in 2016.

     The two main reasons why people are overlooking the Warriors have to do with their style of play and franchise history. The way the Warriors won the 2015 NBA title seemed to defy common sense due to their fast tempo and emphasis on three-point shooting. Most teams that win titles win by slowing the pace down and finding ways to score inside. The Warriors did the opposite, which casts doubt in people's minds about their ability to win a title for a second straight year. 

     As for their history, the Golden State Warriors historically are a pathetic franchise that can't get out of their own way. Some people (including myself) have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that this Warriors team isn't like any Warriors team we've seen before. The players are totally new, the coach is totally new, and the ownership is totally new. The Warriors teams we saw play in the late 90s and early 2000s were an entirely different entity that happened to call themselves by the same name. It sounds strange, but it's really the truth. 

     Before I go on to explain why the Warriors should be favored to repeat in 2016, let me be clear that there are good reasons for people to have the concerns that they have. As good as the Warriors are at hitting three point shots and playing a more fast tempo, it is still true that it's easier to win games by slowing the game down and taking higher percentage shots inside the arc. What allows the Warriors to win without conforming to this general rule of basketball is that they have two of the greatest three point shooters of all-time in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. We need to understand that for those guys, a three-point shot might as well be a mid-range jump shot or even a moderately contested layup. They are super comfortable taking threes and since that is their comfort zone, it isn't crazy for them to shoot the amount of threes that they take. 

     As for the Warriors' history is concerned, they don't deserve the same respect that the Spurs have because they simply don't have the track record that they have. The Warriors may very well develop a similar track record, but for now, they don't have much of a track record for success, so it's fair to ask the Warriors to earn that track record and reputation for winning before we take them as seriously as more proven teams like the Spurs. 

     Now, with all of that as a disclaimer of sorts, let me now explain why the Warriors should be favored to win the 2016 NBA title. First of all, they are really young. All their core players are coming back and they are coming back as NBA champions. If you thought last season's Warriors team was scary, wait until you see a Warriors team that has a championship under their belt. The 2015-16 Warriors will be an even more confident version of last season's team. If that doesn't make you like the Warriors' chances to repeat, I don't know what will. So long as this team continues to win with such a young group of guys, they should probably be the favorites to win the title every season until another young team dethrones them. 

     Secondly, no other team out West can be trusted. The team that everybody has taking the West in 2016 is the San Antonio Spurs, a team that has had their share of ups and downs in the playoffs over the course of their storied legacy. The Spurs will be dangerous in 2016, don't get me wrong, but history suggest that they are far from being a lock to come out of the West. They have as many shortcomings in the playoffs as they do championships. 

     When looking at the rest of the West, there are tons of question marks everywhere. The Rockets, Clippers, and Thunder did nothing this past summer that should make us pick them over the Warriors in 2016. Like San Antonio, they'll be dangerous, but in truth, they shouldn't be more feared than the defending champion Golden State Warriors. As for the Eastern Conference, only the Cleveland Cavaliers should command the Golden State Warriors' respect and they didn't make any significant upgrades to their team during the summer, either. 

     When looking at the current state of the NBA and sizing up the contenders, it becomes clear that the Golden State Warriors should be favored to repeat as champions in 2016. They have the talent, youth, and hunger to do so. What's scarier is that they appear to have even more motivation to prove people wrong once again. 

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Daily Dunks: 8/17-8/23

                                                   (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source). 

     This is my Daily Dunks page for Monday, August 17, 2015 through Sunday, August 23. Throughout the week this page will be updated with all the key news and happenings from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Bucks signed forward Marcus Landry to a non-guaranteed contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Utah Jazz signed small forward Treveon Graham to a non-guaranteed deal (Click here for details).

#3. Toni Kukoc is reuniting with the Bulls as a special advisor to the team president (Click here for details).

#4. The Raptors and center Jonas Valanciunas are closing in on a 4-year, $60M extension (Click here for details).

#5. The Cavaliers signed point guard Quinn Cook to what is likely a training camp deal of sorts (Click here for details).

#6. The Lakers signed guard Michael Frazier to what is likely a training camp deal of sorts (Click here for details).

#7. There's a report saying that most people in the Kings' front office want to trade DeMarcus Cousins (Click here for details).

#8. The Wizards and Bradley Beal are not close to an extension (Click here for details).

#9. Dorell Wright signed in China (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA daily Dunks: 

#1. Some crazy person was stalking Stephen Curry (Click here for details).

#2. The NBA promoted Kiki Vandeweghe to executive VP of basketball operations (Click here for details).

#3. Michael Jordan makes more money in endorsements than any player in the NBA (Click here for details).

#4. 76ers center Joel Embiid underwent surgery on his foot. His season is over  (Click here for details).

#5. The Nuggets waived Joey Dorsey who has since signed with Galatasaray in Turkey (Click here for details).

#6. Jason Terry re-signed with the Rockets for one year (Click here for details).

#7. The Knicks are interested in Jamal Crawford (Click here for details).

#8. The Grizzlies signed center Michael Holyfield for at least training camp (Click here for details).

Tuesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Shock 74 Mercury 59. Fever 79 Sparks 68.

Wednesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Free agent guard Darius Morris is out for a few months with an injured foot (Click here for details).

#2. The Wizards signed center Jaleel Roberts for training camp (Click here for details).

#3. David Stern is being urged to run for mayor of New York City (Click here for details).

#4. Tim Duncan has won an award for being the best teammate in the NBA (Click here for details).

#5. The Clippers and Timberwolves may be interested in Jose Calderon (Click here for details).

Wednesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Mystics 79 Lynx 61. Liberty 73 Stars 45.

Thursday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. J.R. Smith re-signed with the Cavaliers for two years, $10+M. Second year is a player option and deal includes a no-trade clause (Click here for details).

#2. Warriors rookie forward Kevon Looney is out 4-6 months after undergoing hip surgery (Click here for details).

#3. The Utah Jazz made some promotions in their organization (Click here for details).

#4. Jonas Valanciunas has signed a four-year, $64M extension with the Raptors (Click here for details).

#5. The Timberwolves officially signed Tayshaun Prince (Click here for details).

#6. Al Horford: "I'm very happy in Atlanta" (Click here for details).

#7. Blake Griffin says 66 games is the ideal NBA season length (Click here for details).

#8. Heat rookie Justise Winslow signed with Adidas (Click here for details).

#9. The Suns signed guard Terrico White for training camp (Click here for details).

#10. The Hornets signed center Jason Washburn for training camp (Click here for details).

Friday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Heat signed former UC Davis guard Corey Hawkins for training camp (Click here for details).

#2. Ricky Rubio believes the Timberwolves can make the playoffs (Click here for details).

#3. The Raptors and Terrence Ross have discussed a contract extension (Click here for details).

#4. The 76ers don't have any idea when Joel Embiid will be healthy. He may not be ready to begin the 2016-17 season (Click here for details).

#5. The Warriors signed shooting guard Jarrell Eddie for training camp (Click here for details).

#6. The Suns signed former Harvard forward Kyle Casey for training camp (Click here for details).

Friday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Liberty 78 Dream 67. Shock 84 Sun 76. Lynx 78 Stars 61. Sky 87 Mystics 85. Sparks 78 Mercury 68. Fever 75 Storm 63.

Saturday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Cavaliers have signed center Sasha Kaun to a two-year contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Pacers want a new training facility (Click here for details).

#3. Kobe Bryant has begun shooting (Click here for details).

#4. Ricky Rubio thinks Andrew Wiggins will one day win an NBA MVP award (Click here for details).

#5. The Raptors signed guard Shannon Scott (Click here for details).

#6. Kawhi Leonard wants to be an all-star and win league MVP (Click here for details).

Sunday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Stanley Johnson wants to bring big things to Detroit (Click here for details).

#2. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry recognizes the challenge and excitement of coaching Anthony Davis (Click here for details).

#3. Jazz point guard Trey Burke knows he needs to make the most of this season (Click here for details).

#4. The Timberwolves are still trying to unload Anthony Bennett (Click here for details).

#5. Small forward Tomas Satoransky may join the Wizards (Click here for details).

Sunday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Sky 66 Mystics 64. Sparks 90 Stars 59. Dream 102 Sun 92. Fever 80 Liberty 79. Mercury 79 Lynx 67.


---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Windmill: Can the Timberwolves seriously make the playoffs?


     Earlier this week, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns, the #1 overall pick in June's NBA draft, expressed his confidence in his team's ability to make the playoffs. Knowing how terrible the Timberwolves were last season, it seems like Towns' words are nothing more than the words of a na├»ve rookie unaware of how difficult the Western Conference is.

     But while that is all probably true, we would be foolish to sleep on this Minnesota team given the talent that they have acquired. Karl-Anthony Towns has the potential to be one of the best big men in the NBA, Andrew Wiggins could be the next superstar of the league, Ricky Rubio is one of the better pass-first point guards in the NBA, and Zach LaVine has so much potential bottled up inside of him that it's simply frightening. In addition, Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic form a very nice frontcourt duo. Dieng in particular has the chance to be really good as a defensive big man to go along with Towns, who is much more of an offensive talent than a defensive talent.

     So, with all of that being said, where does this leave us in the discussion of the Timberwolves' playoff chances? Honestly, I don't see them making the playoffs just because the Western Conference is going to be really stacked this year. The Utah Jazz, a team further along in their rebuilding process, probably doesn't make the playoffs either.

     The only team that missed the playoffs in the West that should be expected to make the playoffs is the Oklahoma City Thunder. If they are healthy, then they probably steal a playoff spot from somebody (I'm thinking the Mavericks), but not even that is a guarantee. This of course means that the Timberwolves will once again be on the outside looking in come playoff time.

     But this shouldn't make us overlook the Timberwolves. They are finally building a team with the chance to be really good. It's just going to take more than one season for them to break through. Karl Anthony-Towns' confidence isn't for nothing. He has good reason to be confident in the team that drafted him. It's just that he isn't going to see success as quickly as he would like.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord to follow my NBA updates 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

NBA Daily Dunks: 8/10-8/16/15

                                                  (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source) 
     
Here is my Daily Dunks page for Monday August 10, 2015 through Sunday August 16, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with news from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Patty Mills is replacing Dante Exum on Australia's roster for the Oceania Championships (Click here for details).

#2. Nike won't match Adidas' offer to James Harden. Harden is joining Adidas (Click here for details).

#3. The Celtics officially waived guard Zoran Dragic (Click here for details).

#4. The Nets officially waived forward Earl Clark (Click here for details).

#5. The Nets signed point guard Donald Sloan (Click here for details).

#6. The NBA and Under Armour announced a partnership (Click here for details).

#7. 76ers center Joel Embiid is scheduled to undergo a foot operation in the near future (Click here for details).

#8. Tristan Thompson may not re-sign with the Cavaliers (Click here for details).

#9. The Lakers worked out Bobby Brown, Toure Murry, and other guys on Monday (Click here for details).

#10. Michael Jordan says he loves Kobe Bryant like a brother (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Kevin Durant is being cautious as he recovers (Click here for details).

#2. Timberwolves president/head coach Flip Saunders has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is "very treatable" and he plans to continue on with his regular duties (Click here for details).

#3. The Pacers officially signed guard Toney Douglas (Click here for details).

#4. Markieff Morris demands a trade from the Suns (Click here for details).

#5. Phil Jackson doesn't miss Andrea Bargnani (Click here for details).

#6. Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns believes they can make the playoffs (Click here for details).

#7. Joel Embiid has reached out to Kevin Durant about his impending foot surgery (Click here for details).

Tuesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Liberty 84 Sky 63. Fever 73 Mystics 62. Lynx 83 Stars 76. Storm 85 Sparks 77.

Wednesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Hawks forward Mike Scott faces 25 years on drug charges (Click here for details).

#2. The 2015-16 NBA regular season schedule was released (Click here for details).

#3. Baron Davis is working out and preparing for an NBA comeback. He's serious. (Click here for details).

#4. LeBron James hasn't made a decision yet on the 2016 Olympic games (Click here for details).

#5. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has signed the Bucks' arena deal (Click here for details).

#6. Derrick Rose won't compete for Team USA in the 2016 Olympic games (Click here for details).

#7. Paul George has been excused from Team USA minicamp (Click here for details).

#8. Malik Rose is joining the Hawks as their manager of basketball operations (Click here for details).

#9. Greg Oden signed in China with the Jiangsu Dragons (Click here for details).

#10. Here is a funny version of Space Jam 2.

Wednesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Sun 80 Shock 74. Mercury 83 Storm 66.

Thursday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The NBA and officials officially agreed on a 7-year collective bargaining agreement that starts in the 2015-16 season (Click here for details).

#2. The Mavericks signed JaVale McGee (Click here for details).

#3. The Lakers signed forward Jonathan Holmes (Click here for details).

#4. James Harden has officially left Nike for Adidas (Click here for details).

#5. Kevin Durant says he's the best player in the world (Click here for details).

#6. The Kings signed undrafted UTEP forward Vince Hunter to a partially guaranteed deal (Click here for details).

#7. T.J. Zanin is leaving the Nets to be the head of college scouting for the Hornets (Click here for details).

#8. The Timberwolves have signed Tayshaun Prince to a one year, $1.4M deal for the veteran's minimum (Click here for details).

Friday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Former Nets point guard Tyshawn Taylor has been arrested for cashing a fake money order (Click here for details).

#2. Charles Barkley thinks the Knicks will make the playoffs next season (Click here for details).

#3. Kevin Durant reveals that there was a second break in his foot (Click here for details).

#4. Markieff Morris, who wants out of Phoenix, would prefer to go to the Raptors or Rockets (Click here for details).

#5. The Heat signed center Keith Benson for training camp (Click here for details).

#6. The Thunder signed undrafted free agent guard Dez Wells (Click here for details).

#7. Bryce Dejean-Jones signed a three-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Pelicans (Click here for details).

Friday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Liberty 90 Sun 78. Lynx 84 Dream 82. Sky 94 Storm 84.

Saturday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Hawks signed Jason Richardson to a non-guaranteed contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Pistons' arena is being renovated (Click here for details).

#3. Roland Beech is joining the Kings to run their analytics department (Click here for details).

#4. Benny the Bull wins mascot of the year honors (Click here for details).

#5. Caron Butler is planning to release an autobiography (Click here for details).

#6. Michael Jordan and Nike are planning an all-Jordan Brand store in Chicago (Click here for details).

#7. J.R. Smith proposed to his girlfriend (Click here for details).

#8. 76ers center Joel Embiid's foot surgery is scheduled for Tuesday (Click here for details).

Saturday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Shock 81 Liberty 76.

Sunday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Kobe Bryant wants to play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio (Click here for details).

#2. The Cavaliers signed shooting guard Jared Cunningham to a training camp deal (Click here for details).

#3. Former #5 overall pick Nikoloz Tskitishvili wants an NBA comeback (Click here for details).

#4. Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas tweaked his hip playing for Lithuania, but he says it is nothing serious (Click here for details).

#5. LeBron James has set up a college scholarship program for at-risk Akron youth (Click here for details).

#6. Joel Embiid's foot isn't insured by the 76ers (Click here for details).

#7. James Harden says Ty Lawson is "more focused than ever" after rehab (Click here for details).

#8. Charles Barkley hopes Kobe Bryant retires after the 2015-16 season (Click here for details).

#9. The Knicks are interested in Ricky Rubio (Click here for details).

#10. The Hornets signed Sam Thompson to a training camp deal (Click here for details).

Sunday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Dream 90 Sun 77. Mystics 77 Lynx 69. Sparks 76 Sky 64. Fever 75 Mercury 63.  Storm 72 Stars 63.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news and updates. Also, like my Facebook page NBA Lord Nation  and follow my Google Plus page NBA Lord to stay on top of the NBA. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Slam: Should NBA players really be expected to play in international competition?


     Earlier this week, Utah Jazz rookie guard Dante Exum tore his ACL, which means he will miss the entire 2015-16 NBA season. The injury came about as Exum was playing with the Australian national team, which once again raises questions about whether or not NBA players should play for their countries in international events.

     While there is a lot of good that comes from representing your country, NBA players put millions of dollars and their own health at risk every time they compete for their respective countries in an international event that doesn't pay them a dime. Winning an Olympic gold medal or a FIBA World Cup championship is certainly a unique career achievement that many NBA players wish to achieve, but is it really worth the risk? Should we really criticize a player for skipping out on international events to let their body heal and get ready for the upcoming NBA season?

     In my opinion, when it comes to international competition, NBA players should feel comfortable doing whatever it is that they want to do. If an NBA player wants to compete for his country, that's great and he should be supported in doing so. But if an NBA player wants to avoid international competition so that he can be better healed and rested for the NBA season, he should be equally supported in doing so.

     If I can be honest, I don't think NBA teams should encourage players to participate in international events so long as the league remains structured the way that it is with an 82 game regular season schedule. NBA players play way more basketball than any other group of basketball players in the world. Even players who compete in the Euroleague don't come close to playing 82 games a year, which means that NBA players take way more of a pounding than anybody else.

     Given that the regular season is so long and that the playoffs make the season even longer, NBA players need their summers off to fully recover from the vicious pounding on the hardwood that they have experienced from the past NBA season. For any NBA player to go out and put even more stress on his body in an international event is very risky and potentially dangerous. While risk of injury seems only hypothetical, the injuries to Dante Exum this past week and Paul George last year show us that serious injuries do in fact happen in international competition.

     Now, given all of that, is there anything that the NBA can do to better protect its players from getting hurt in international competition? If a player wants to compete for his country and fully knows the risks, is there anything the NBA can do? In that case, the answer is no.

     But what the league can do is not make NBA players feel pressured to play in FIBA events. As a matter of fact, NBA teams would be smart to do all they can to keep players from doing so. The NBA needs to remind its players that the amount of pounding they take in an NBA season is borderline unhealthy as it is and that any more playing than the regular NBA grind is putting them at serious risk. While representing your country is a noble thing to do, it simply isn't realistic for NBA players to be expected to compete in international events after going through such a grueling NBA season.

     Competing for your country should still be viewed in a positive light, but what needs to go is any sort of stigma for choosing to avoid international competition. In light of what happened to Dante Exum and Paul George, I don't see any reason to expect NBA players to continue participating in FIBA events. The risks seem to outweigh the rewards by a considerable amount.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news