• Hi.

    How are you supposed to start the first edition of a weekly column if you’re just some dude on the Internet that no one has ever heard of? I feel like some kind of a formal introduction is necessary, but I’m probably overthinking it.

    Good morning, my name is Tony Xypteras (Zip-Terrace). I Internet at UPROXX, and I basketball at SB Nations Sacramento Kings site, Sactown Royalty. Our fearless editor here at Hoop Ball, Aaron Bruski, was the only man foolish enough to give me a national NBA platform, so here we are. Welcome to my new weekly doodad entitled Last Week This Morning*. I think the name is pretty self explanatory, weekly NBA recap, blah, blah, blah. Let’s do it.

    *h/t to John Oliver

    Mamba Out

    I’m a Sacramento Kings fan born and raised in the suburbs of Massachusetts, no one on the planet aside from maybe Smush Parker should hate Kobe Bryant more than myself. I’m a fair-weather Celtics fan by osmosis. It’s impossible to live with and around fans of a team in a sport you love, and not have at least a passing rooting interest in what they’re doing.

    As a Kings fan, I hated the Lakers and Kobe Bryant throughout the late 90s and early 00s.  As a fair-weather Celtics supporter, I hated the Lakers and Kobe Bryant throughout the big three era.

    I hated the Lakers and Kobe Bryant.

    I still ‘hate’ the Lakers, and I use that term extremely loose. It’s fun having someone to root against, especially when the team you’re rooting for hasn’t been relevant in a decade. I enjoy NBA basketball just a teeny tiny bit more when the Lakers are good, I’ll admit that.

    The Kobe Bryant finale was weird. I stopped ‘hating’ Kobe as fan when he stopped being a good basketball player (by NBA standards). He was still around, he was still popular, but it’s hard to find that fun hatred when the guy is constantly injured and/or playing horrendous basketball.

    His 60-point performance against the Utah Jazz was awesome and I mean that word literally. I wasn’t rooting for Kobe Bryant, but I can say it was probably the most entertaining regular season basketball game I’ve ever seen. Entertaining, not best. It was a circus, no doubt about it. They had tribute videos for his tribute videos! The Jazz defended him like I defend Donnie, the 70-year old dude who continues to show up for Sunday morning pickup despite how often we tell him he’s ruining it for everyone else. I haven’t paid close enough attention the Lakers this season to say that every team has defended Kobe like he’s a 70-year old man on his last legs, but that is what the Jazz did, and I loved it.

    The NBA is a circus. Snapchat leaks, Fisher vs. Barnes, the 76ers debacle, Shaq’s rap career, Baron Davis in the DLeague, Stephon Marbury eating Vaseline on some hacked together live stream, Linsanity, The Decision, etc. I mean, Jason Williams just had another one of his mixtapes drop and he’s 40 years old. You’re not going to find a steady flow of nonsense like this in any other league, and these are just the several that immediately came to mind.

    I love the circus. I love it just as much as I love the game. It’s at least 50% of the reason why I find the NBA, basketball, and the culture surrounding both the sport and league fascinating. We talk about off court drama just as much as we talk about spectacular on-court performances, and while you have a certain segment of the audience that despises the off-court nonsense, I know I’m not the only person reading every single one of Gilbert Arenas’ bizarre Instagram posts. I can’t be.

    For over a decade, Kobe Bryant was the ringmaster of that aforementioned circus, and Thursday night was his grand finale. I feel like I was just a couple of words away from really nailing that cheesy analogy, but you get my point.

    I have to mention the Colorado stuff, and that mention is about as deep as I’m going to go with it. That isn’t because I’m ‘afraid’ of talking about it, it’s because I’m ignorant to what actually happened throughout that case. When the primary source you can cite on a particular topic is ‘the people I follow on Twitter,’ then I probably don’t know enough about what happened to comment with any conviction.  But I also cringe when people pass over that stuff without at least mentioning it at as part of the Kobe Bryant story.

    I also don’t want to come across as the ‘he did this horrible thing, but man, he was a hell of a player!’ guy. I’m not that guy, and that isn’t the point I’m trying to make.

    I’ll end my Kobe ramblings with this – I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ll miss Kobe Bryant, and I’m too bitter to admire his on-court accomplishments, but I will 100% miss the Kobe Bryant circus.

    73 Wins

    In true national media fashion, I had to bury the Warriors’ record-breaking 73rd win behind my thoughts on Kobe Bryant. I didn’t watch a minute of win 73, and I can’t write a single word about the Warriors that hasn’t already been written, and written better than I ever could. I guess this is my version of a shout out. You can’t have a weekly recap column and not mention that the Warriors won 73 games. Well done, boys.

    I lied; I’ve got one Warriors nugget.

    I was listening to Draymond Green on Bill Simmons’ podcast, and he was talking about their nine losses in excruciating detail. Every loss, why they lost, how they lost, specific plays, etc. It momentarily blew me away, because I’m coming at this interview as a fan of a team that has lost more than 40 games going on a decade. I briefly asked myself how Draymond Green could possibly remember all these losses before I stepped out of my own brain and remember that they only lost nine games. NINE GAMES. Unbelievable. Also, that was a great podcast. You should go listen to it.

    Jersey Ads

    Maybe this is my European descent talking, but I don’t have a huge problem with the NBA electing to run advertisements on NBA jerseys. I understand the argument against, and I would certainly prefer it if they didn’t have ads, but my biggest gripe after admitting to myself that this was inevitable is the size and placement of the NBA’s approved proposal. I’m going to find that small patch on the upper corner extremely distracting, and I know how nonsensical this sounds, but a bigger banner ad in front, similar to a soccer jersey, is a lot more appealing to me from a design perspective. If your going to shove your #brands in my face, don’t be sneaky about it with your tiny patch. Give it to me straight.

    How is a smaller ad more distracting than a bigger ad? I don’t know, it just is.

Fantasy News

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee bone bruise) will reportedly be "good to go" for the start of training camp in October.

    Well, this is good news that we didn't hope we would need. Covington played 35 games last year and couldn't get over the bone bruise injury that kept him out for a majority of the year. We expected him to be ready to go, and the fact that we're even discussing this is slightly less than ideal.

    Source: Dane Moore on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.

  • Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

    Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter