• The NBA has done a marvelous job making basketball relevant 365 days a year, but it feels like we’re finally hitting a bit of a dry spell in terms of NBA news, rumors, and nonsense leading up to the Olympics. That’s OK! We’ll find something to talk about, I’m sure. Ok, without Freddy Adu, here’s this weeks edition of Last Week This Morning!

    What Amar’e Stoudemire meant to ME!

    In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been an Amar’e Stoudemire ‘guy’. It’s cool. We all have ‘guys’, and that ‘guy’ system usually develops if you’ve watched that player in your youth. I watched a lot of Amar’e Stoudemire growing up, because his-era Phoenix Suns were incredible, but yeah, not one of my childhood ‘guys.’ I was more of a Vince Carter, Jiri Welsch ‘guy’ but I digress, this is about Amar’e.

    I have two unimportant things to say about Amar’e Stoudemire, but I already warned you that the NBA news cycle was slow. That was me preparing you for unimportant anecdotal Amar’e Stoudemire things. I already have your click so if you leave now it’s cool.

    Speaking of ‘guys,’ I’ve never been a gym ‘guy.’ In this instance, all I really mean by that is that if I’m going to go the gym, and that is a big if, I’m heading straight for the court. None of this weight room nonsense. I briefly dabbled in weight lifting a few years ago, and I sincerely apologize if I have this story wrong, but I more or less had a program created for me by my buddy who once read about Amar’e Stoudemire’s weight lifting regimen in some basketball magazine ten years ago.

    I could EASILY have my facts wrong on a lot of this, all I know is that I basically followed an Amar’e Stoudemire weight-lifting program that had been passed over via the worst game of telephone after ten years of rolling around in my basketball buddy’s head.

    We associate things with things. If I’m being asked (and I wasn’t, but still) to give my HONEST thoughts on Amar’e Stoudemire’s NBA career, that anecdote would be at the top of my list. I know it’s dumb, but it’s real. There you go, I followed Amar’e Stoudemire’s ten-year-old-second-hand-delivered program for about 8 months and haven’t been in the weight room since. Thanks?

    My second Amar’e thought is hopefully a little more insightful, and it’s in regards to his reported deal with the Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem. I love that move. I love that move so, so much. If I were fortunate enough to play in the NBA for my basketball prime, you bet I’d spend a couple of my latter years overseas, checking out other countries, meeting international hoopers, etc. Stoudemire could have played another season or two riding an NBA bench somewhere, but if this is the start of an NBA trend where retired players head overseas, good on Amar’e for starting it. This could be his most important NBA accomplishment, if it takes off.

    I’m going to go full Major League Soccer on you over here, but that is how international soccer talent treats the MLS, and it’s great. It’s great for soccer fans in the United States, its great for the players, and it’s probably great for the health of the sport. I went and saw David Beckham play against the New England Revolution in his first MLS season, and let me tell you, it was insanity. People were losing their minds over this guy, and Amar’e Stoudemire certainly won’t have that impact, but maybe he can pave the way for someone who will.

    David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Didier Drogba are some of the greatest soccer players of the last twenty years, and they all played for the American soccer audience before they retired for good. This relationship CAN work in reverse for some of the NBA’s elite. It hasn’t caught on, for whatever reason, but Amar’e Stoudemire is a potential Hall of Fame basketball player going that route. This could be a lot of fun.

    That’s all I’ve got on Amar’e. He was really good at basketball. He loves the game that we all love, and for that alone, I wish him the best of luck in his post-NBA career. Adios amigos.

    Draymond’s Snapchat snafu

    As I’m sure you are already aware, Draymond Green had a little Snapchat incident on Sunday afternoon where he accidentally posted a photo of his junk to his Snapchat story instead of whatever lucky lady he was trying to reach.

    All that is fine and good and wildly entertaining. After briefly crying ‘hack!’ he owned up to the mistake, which might make him the first athlete to make a social media error without being hacked, but that’s not where I’m going with this.

    The following quote, via The Vertical’s own Michael Lee, is my favorite basketball related thing to hit the internet this week, and it’s not even close.

    “We’re all one click away from placing something in the wrong place. I suffered from that this morning” – Draymond Green

    That quote is just so remarkably honest, hilarious, appropriate, and relate-able. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sent the wrong person the wrong text, tweeted something from an incorrect account, clicked on the wrong thing then immediately erased my web history, etc. This is life on the Internet. I will undoubtedly use this quote moving forward, for any and all internet mishaps. It’s so matter of fact, so deliberate, and the humor in it is so dry and unintentional. I can’t help but feel like I’m doing a poor job explaining why that quote is so 2016, but if you get where I’m coming from, our brains work in the same way.

    Anyway, I’m going to get a lot of burn out of that Draymond quote, so shout out to Dray’s thirst, and whatever preceding snap inspired Mr. Green to accidentally expose himself to the world.

Fantasy News

  • Jon Horst - Team - Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Horst has been awarded the Executive of the Year award.

    Horst added Coach Budenholzer and retooled the roster to perfectly fit Giannis Antetokoumpo and his style of play. This led to the best record in the NBA and to a team that many believed to be the favorites to come out of the east. Obviously this was a regular season award, because Masai Ujiri came in fourth place and if voting were done today it would look a lot different.

    Source: https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1143346008673398785" target="_blank">NBA on Twitter

  • Rudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert has won the 2018-2018 Defensive Player of the Year Award.

    Gobert helped anchor one of the best defenses in the league and this makes it the second consecutive year he's taken home the award. The Jazz are always steady due to his efforts on that end of the floor and the team's identity starts with him.

    Source: NBA on Twitter

  • Mike Budenholzer - Team - Milwaukee Bucks

    Mike Budenholzer has been named the Coach of the Year for the 2018-2019 season.

    In his first season as the Bucks’ coach, Budenholzer helped propel the team to an NBA-best 60 wins. The Bucks revamped their offense and did their best to play through Giannis Antetokounmpo’s strengths and the drastic shift in performance compared to years past makes this a well deserved award.

    Source: NBA on Twitter

  • Lou Williams - SG - Los Angeles Clippers

    Lou Williams collected his third Kia NBA Sixth Man Award on Monday night, winning it over Domantas Sabonis and Montrezl Harrell.

    Williams wasn't needed quite as much this season due to the heath of his teammates. That caused his minutes to drop from 32.8 to 26.6 per game, but he still scored 20.0 points per game and even increased his rebounds and assists to career highs.

    Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter

  • Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies

    Mike Conley won two awards Monday night that were voted on by the players, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and the Sportsmanship Award.

    It's nice to see Conley getting some attention this summer. This is his third Sportsmanship Award, and he'll be taking that and his Teammate of the Year Award to probably the best team he's ever been a part of in Utah. Now let's see if he can get his first All Star nod, too.

    Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter

  • Pascal Siakam - PF - Toronto Raptors

    Pascal Siakam took home the Kia Most Improved Player Award, beating De'Aaron Fox and D'Angelo Russell.

    This award was seemingly wrapped up back in November. Siakam exploded this season, improving significantly is every fantasy category (excluding turnovers). He finished the regular season with per-game averages of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 threes on 54.9 percent from the field and 78.5 percent from the line. His three-point percentage has increased from 14.3 to 22.0 to 36.9 as well. Whether or not Kawhi Leonard returns, Siakam should easily make his way into the top-40 ranks next season.

    Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic - PG - Dallas Mavericks

    Luka Doncic won the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award, beating finalists Trae Young and DeAndre Ayton.

    Ayton had the best fantasy season and Young had an amazing second half. However, Luka was a team leader, primary ball-handler and clutch shot-maker all season. His per-game averages of 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.3 threes exceed most expectations. If he can bump up his percentages, he could be an early-round fantasy star for over a decade.

    Source: NBA on TNT

  • Patrick Beverley - PG - Los Angeles Clippers

    According to Brad Townsend, Patrick Beverley plans to meet with the Mavs, though a meeting has not been scheduled.

    He's also planning to meet with other teams, as we've heard before. Beverley appears to be in-demand this summer and he should produce similar stats to what he's put up over the last few seasons regardless of his landing spot. Whether he's with a bad team like the Bulls, a middling team like the Mavs or a potential contender like the Lakers, one would think he'll be signing in a spot where he'll be starting.

    Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter

  • Markelle Fultz - PG - Orlando Magic

    Markelle Fultz (shoulder) will not play at Summer League, according to GM John Hammond.

    Fultz has reportedly been making good progress and the Magic are excited about what he's been able to do since coming over at the trade deadline, but this is not great news. Hopefully Fultz will be ready to contribute in the preseason so we can get a look at how he'll fit in Orlando. The upside is immense but it would take a strong showing to confidently draft Fultz in redraft formats as his shoulder issues have completely derailed the first few years of his career.

    Source: 96.9 The Game on Twitter

  • Haywood Highsmith - PF - Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers have waived Haywood Highsmith.

    Highsmith joined the Sixers on a two-way deal last season but only appeared in five games. Expect them to use that spot on a more established G-League player or a rookie with some upside.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter