July 18, 2016, 8:16 am
Before we get started with another edition of Last Week This Morning, I’d like to personally dedicate the following basketball-related words to former NBA combo guard Erick Strickland. Nothing bad happened to him, he’s still totally alive (as far as I know), but this is for him. Thank you for all the good times, Mr. Strickland. Let’s roll.
A Millennial, On Tim Duncan
First and foremost, I may or may not actually be a millennial. I don’t know what year the ‘official’ millennial cut-off is, but I know how the Internet works and you probably want me off your damn lawn, so I think I fit the bill. Anyway, back to Timmy.
For basketball connoisseurs of a certain age, my age, there is a perceived Tim Duncan-fandom timeline that is totally accurate. As a fan of when things are overblown and inaccurate, it pains me to admit that the consensus Tim Duncan-fandom timeline is so perfect. That timeline is as follows.
As a kid, let’s say, pre-teen, Tim Duncan was THE WORST. The Spurs won, and they were ‘boring’, and they totally lucked out, or at the very least ‘gamed’ the lottery system in order to land Duncan in the draft. My perception is a little clouded by the fact that I grew up in Boston and Tim Duncan was ‘supposed’ to be ‘ours’. The Spurs stole Tim Duncan, got it?
As a mid-teen, non-adult, the Spurs and Tim Duncan were still boring, they were still hated, but now they were feared. That hate actually started to transition from irrational hatred to ‘I would really hate to see my favorite team play the Spurs because I already know they’re going to lose.’
As an adult, and I use that term very loosely, Tim Duncan and the Spurs turned into an NBA constant. As a society, we LOVE nostalgia, and Tim Duncan was that nostalgia, only he was (until the last season or so) just as good as you remembered him. In an era where the feeling of nostalgia is often better than the product or thing you are nostalgic for, Duncan actually lived up to that feeling. As Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, two other iconic NBA stars of a ‘millennial’ fans’ childhood, broke down and found themselves in losing organizations, Duncan stayed nearly at the top of his personal NBA game, and just as important, stayed NBA relevant because the Spurs continued on as a NBA Finals contender. That just doesn’t happen.
Appreciation is the perfect word, I think. My era of hoop-obsessor’s started to appreciate Duncan’s success. He was like Dom Cobb’s spinning top totem from ‘Inception’. Tim Duncan was still around, still performing on the highest level, so I couldn’t possibly be growing up. 19 years later, one less Tim Duncan, and I’ve never felt older.
Hack-A-Shaq Rule Change
As a lot of you probably know, particularly considering the fact that this is a weekly column, which makes every take of mine inherently late, the NBA made a few minor modifications to what the internet has dubbed it’s ‘Hack-A-Shaq’ rules.
With emphasis on the word ‘minor’, here you go:
If you’re leaving that description with a ‘meh’ taste in your mouth, your taste buds are working as intended. The NBA took the most boring and non-issue solving route, and while potentially frustrating for plugged in NBA fans looking for a real solution, or no solution, the NBA probably did the smartest thing here. Hear me out.
The NBA technically changed the rules, allowing sport dudes everywhere to tell their sport dude buddies that ‘the NBA fixed the Hack-A-Shaq problem’, because no one reads beyond the headline. So, for the general public, it’s a win.
On the flip side, for old school hoopmen, they can rest easy knowing that the NBA didn’t actually change much of anything. The ‘they are professional basketball players, they should be able to shoot free throws!’ argument is still relevant. Congratulations, old school hoopers!
By doing essentially-nothing-but-something, the NBA can justifiably ‘wait for more data’ after the new rules take effect. They bought themselves a ton of time with hopes that all of this will make its way out of the game without having to do anything drastic, or upsetting the hardcore ‘they’re called free throws for a reason’ crowd. Smart move, NBA. Frustrating, but smart.
July 21, 2019, 7:49 pmDarius MillerSF, New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have officially re-signed Darius Miller to a two-year deal.
Miller will be playing behind a plethora of young assets at the Pelicans' disposal. Given that the team has entered a full-blown youth movement, it is unlikely that he will earn enough meaningful minutes to make a splash in fantasy in 2019-20.
Source: Pelicans on Twitter
July 21, 2019, 7:35 pmBonzie ColsonPF, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have waived Bonzie Colson.
Colson only played 98 minutes during his rookie season, but when he played he was a DFS favorite. Colson could play multiple positions and is young enough where a few teams would likely be interested in taking a flier on him.
Source: Eric Nehm on Twitter
July 21, 2019, 5:11 pmKostas AntetokounmpoPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kostas Antetokounmpo has signed a two-way deal with the Lakers on Sunday.
The Mavericks waived Antetokounmpo last week and most knew the younger brother of last season's MVP would not last long before another team took a shot on him. He is still a developmental player, but he should have ample opportunity playing for the Lakers' G-League team, the South Bay Lakers.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 21, 2019, 10:09 amAnthony DavisPF, Los Angeles Lakers
When asked by Chicago Tribune reporter K.C Johnson on how he'd feel about wearing a Bulls jersey someday, Anthony Davis said that "If the opportunity ever presents itself and when that time comes, I’d definitely consider it.”
The chances of that time coming is more likely for 2025 than 2020, but still, until Davis is firmly committed to the Lakers long-term speculation of his future will remain. It's nice to know if you're a Bulls fan that he imagines playing for his home town at some point, but don't expect him bolting LA for them after one season.
Source: Chicago Tribune
July 20, 2019, 6:42 pmKenny WootenPF, New York Knicks
The Knicks have signed Kenny Wooten to an Exhibit 10 contract.
Wooten posted 10 blocks in only 52 minutes during Summer League and possesses some serious leaping ability. He will spend most of his time in the G-League and should not be on the radar in drafts.
Source: Marc Berman of The New York Post
July 20, 2019, 3:09 pmOshae BrissettSG-SF, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have signed Oshae Brissett to an Exhibit 10 contract.
Brissett, a Toronto native, went undrafted after two seasons at Syracuse and played with the Clippers at Summer League, where he averaged 6.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 17.6 minutes a night across five games. This puts Toronto's roster at 20 for the time being, so barring any further transactions the Raptors have their camp group set.
Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 2:32 pmJordan McLaughlinG, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have inked point guard Jordan McLaughlin to a two-way contract.
McLaughlin went undrafted in 2018 after a four-year USC career where he averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 assists and 2.0 steals in his senior season. After his strong play for the G-League's Long Island Nets last season, he earned a spot on this years Wolves summer league roster where he continued to impress, leading his team to a 6-1 record. He is unlikely to get many NBA minutes this season with Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier and Tyrone Wallace on the roster.
Source: Jon Krawczynski on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 1:26 pmEmmanuel MudiayPG, Utah Jazz
The Jazz have officially announced the signing of Emmanuel Mudiay, Jeff Green and Ed Davis.
All three project to come off the bench this season with Green and Davis part of the frontcourt second string while it is unclear if Mudiay or Dante Exum will assume the backup point guard duties. Davis is coming off a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game in only 17.9 minutes last season while Mudiay enjoyed his best year as a pro with the Knicks but all three players can be left undrafted in standard leagues for the time being.
July 20, 2019, 12:59 pmCJ McCollumSG, Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum has withdrawn his name from the Team USA training camp and 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Following the trend, McCollumn is the fourth player to withdraw his name this week in order to focus on the upcoming season. The original 20 invites are now down to 16 with the final 12-man roster expected to be announced on August 17.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 12:51 pmFrank MasonPG, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have agreed on a two-way contract with Frank Mason III.
Mason did not get much opportunity with the Kings last year and sat out all of Summer League with a sore hip. He projects to spend most of his time in the G-League and called up only if Eric Bledsoe or George Hill need to miss time. The Bucks recently signed Cameron Reynolds to a two-way deal and still have Bonzie Colson on one from last season so they are one over the limit. They still have an empty roster spot even after signing Kyle Korver so maybe one of their two-ways gets a standard deal instead. Otherwise, one of them will need to be waived.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter