• 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

  • Ricky Rubio - G - Utah Jazz

    Ricky Rubio put up 17 points with four rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a loss to the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday.

    He shot 7-of-17 from the field and had the unfortunate matchup against James Harden for much of this game. Harden hit him with a crossover that sent Rubio to the floor, but he missed the shot. The Jazz have been getting good performances from Rubio and Derrick Favors, but the inconsistent play from the remainder of their roster has left them with a two-game series deficit. The Jazz are heading back to Utah for Game 3 as they will try to steal their first game of the series.

  • Donovan Mitchell - G - Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell had another poor shooting night as he went 5-of-18 from the field on his way to 11 points in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets on Wednesday.

    Mitchell shot just 1-of-8 from 3-point territory and 0-of-2 from the stripe. He also had five fouls and four turnovers while playing a team-high 37 minutes. He did add six assists and two steals, but this was a disappointing performance from the second-year rising star. Eric Gordon has been outshining him, but Mitchell has a chance to rectify things as the Jazz head home for Game 3.

  • Derrick Favors - F/C - Utah Jazz

    Derrick Favors played well in his 22 minutes of action in a Game 2 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday, with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

    Although Favors is putting up good numbers in such limited minutes, you should not expect to see him go above 25 minutes at all in this series. He shot 7-of-11 from the field and missed both of his attempts from deep. Also, the Rockets play a lot of small ball as PJ Tucker is their power forward, so Favors is often at a defensive disadvantage when on the court.

  • Rudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert did not have a great showing in Wednesday's Game 2 loss to the Rockets as he managed just 11 points and 12 rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting.

    He made five of his seven attempts from the stripe and added one assist and two steals to the stat sheet. He did not record a block in this one which is rare to see from Gobert as he averaged 2.3 blocks per game on the season. Clint Capela has been defending Gobert well, which is making things a lot tougher on the Jazz to score and rebound the ball. Gobert will look to bounce back as the Jazz head home for Game 3.

  • Royce O'Neale - F - Utah Jazz

    Royce O'Neale played well on Wednesday in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets as he had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three triples and four assists.

    O'Neale stepped up as Joe Ingles managed just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting with five steals. He saw 27 minutes of action in this one after seeing just 15 minutes in Game 1. He has guarded James Harden on numerous possessions thus far and it seems as though Harden goes at him every chance he gets. This may be the best game we see from O'Neale all series, but he has given the Jazz some solid run off the bench thus far.

  • James Harden - G - Houston Rockets

    James Harden dominated the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday as he triple-doubled with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

    Aside from his eight turnovers, there was not much to complain about Harden’s performance. Rather, there were elements of Harden’s showing that deserve high praise such as his six triples, one block and toughness throughout the entire game. He would not back down from Ricky Rubio and actually crossed him up in the first half. The Beard is continuing his MVP-like season into the playoffs, which is no surprise given how truly great his 2018-19 campaign was.

  • Chris Paul - G - Houston Rockets

    Chris Paul put up 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting with two steals and two blocks in a blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday.

    He made just one of his six 3-point attempts and turned the ball over six times. However, he did add four rebounds and three assists to the box score as well. James Harden is clearly the dominating force for the Rockets, but Paul's stability will be crucial for the team to continue their playoff success.

  • Eric Gordon - G - Houston Rockets

    Eric Gordon outplayed Donovan Mitchell once again in Game 2 as the Rockets beat the Jazz 118-98 on Wednesday.

    Gordon scored 16 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 shooting from long-range. He also contributed one rebound, two steals and one block to the stat sheet. Gordon is tasked with guarding Mitchell, which is the toughest defensive assignment on the Rockets and he is thriving in that role. He has held him to 30 points on 37 shots in the series thus far. This series could potentially end in four games if Gordon continues to play at this high of a level.

  • PJ Tucker - F - Houston Rockets

    PJ Tucker drilled four triples on his way to 16 points in a blowout win over the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday.

    He added two steals and four boards while converting five of his eight shots from the field. The Rockets have confidence in Tucker to fire from deep and he proved them right as he drilled four of his seven attempts from 3-point territory. Surrounding James Harden with 3-and-D wing players has been their formula for success and Tucker fits that mold perfectly. When Tucker is hitting his shots, the Rockets are likely to dominate the way they did tonight.

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela did not have to do much in the Rockets’ Game 2 blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday as he had just seven points and 10 rebounds with three blocks.

    He shot 3-of-4 from the field and added one assist and one steal to the box score. Although the numbers were down in this one, he did what he had to do in his 29 minutes of action as he kept Rudy Gobert in check as well. Capela is an important cog in the Rockets’ formula for success, so even when he is not scoring as much he is still impacting the game in other ways.