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December 11, 2017 | 9:02 am EST Update
“Anybody who says they’re not surprised by his 3-point shooting based on what he did in college is lying,” remarked Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy. “I mean, if there’s somebody who said, ‘Oh, look, I knew he’d knock down 50 percent of his 3’s,’ even though he made (34) percent of them from the college line, they’re lying. And I’m sure there’s somebody saying that, that they knew. But they’re lying.”
Added Stevens: “I think one of our challenges this summer was everybody wanted to talk about the mid-range plays he made in summer league. So it was one of those things where — if I was involved in a film session at all this summer, it was about what a good shot looks like when you get to the NBA. And so we tried to have those very specific film sessions, but still you can’t predict a guy is gonna become that proficient. He still can play in the midrange. We still want him to take good midrange shots. But we have tried to make it an emphasis to not hesitate to shoot. He’s so tall that on the catch he can get that shot off and his inclination has probably always been to fake it and drive it. But he shoots it with ease and feels good every time he shoots it.”
Christian Wood has NBA talent and ability without question. The question marks surrounding his game are whether or not he’s going to be as engaged as he should be. I recently spoke to one league executive who said, “He could have a long NBA career, or he could bounce around the world playing in a different country every year, it’s really up to him. Because when he’s engaged he’s one of the elite players in this league, no question.”
Christian Wood just turned 22-years-old less than two months ago. After two seasons in the NBA — rookie year with the Philadelphia 76ers and last season with the Charlotte Hornets — he finds himself on the outside looking in. He’s back in the NBA G League with the Delaware 87ers trying to prove he’s worth taking a chance on. Seven games into the season he’s averaging 22.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.3 blocks in 32.0 minutes a night. Wood is 6-foot-10 and weights approximately 220 pounds. He’s got a massive 7-foot-3 wingspan as well.
There’s strong evidence to suggest James mastered the art of coasting after rejoining the Cavaliers. As Brian Windhorst noted before the season using research by our former colleague Tom Haberstroh, James has consistently been better in the second half of the last four seasons — a split that wasn’t previously apparent. This pacing is, of course, its own kind of concession to aging. Surely, if James felt he could still play at his playoff level over a full 82 games, he would have done it. Nonetheless, it suggests that James’ age-related decline is more complex than charting his regular-season performance made it seem.
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“He needs to get better now,” Bryant said, before adding that fellow youngsters like Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle must have the same mentality if the Purple and Gold are going to improve. “We never thought, ‘Okay we’re gonna win four years from now,’” Kobe explained. “We really thought, ‘This is our year. We’re gonna get this done. We’re gonna push, push, push, push, push, get better now.’ And in the process of having that kind of impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s a kind of patient impatience.”
As the Warriors’ director of team operations, Housen juggles no fewer than a gazillion jobs. He packs the players’ uniforms. He transports their bags. He books their hotel rooms. He washes their practice gear. He buys their snacks. He makes sure that the buses that deliver the team from the airport to the hotel to the arena arrive on time. He arranges the private planes for the team’s massive traveling party, which includes family members and broadcasters. He plans the players’ meals and manages their schedules and troubleshoots their problems and tries hard to limit himself to two energy drinks a day. “Caffeine is probably my biggest thing,” he said. “The training staff is always trying to find me healthy alternatives.”