Summer League Rumors
Thomas has gone out of his way to praise Celtics head coach Brad Stevens many times. But before Stevens, one other NBA coach appreciated Thomas for who he is. Explaining why Friday morning, Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone recalled a story his father once told him about Allen Iverson. “Allen Iverson was at a summer league game, and the head coach told the summer league coach, ‘Hey, talk to Allen. He’s got to be more of a point guard,'” remembered Malone, who coached Thomas for a year with the Sacramento Kings. “So they talked to Allen Iverson. He said, ‘You must not have watched me play in college. That’s not what I do.'”
The rookie year is a sports rite of passage, and it’s something most players look back on with some measure of fondness. Not Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers. “That was probably the most frustrating time of my life, my first two years in the league,” Rivers told Basketball Insiders. “I had surgery right after summer league, but I rushed back because I was a rookie and wanted to play so bad. So even when I was playing, I wasn’t right yet, but I kind of started to play well again, started to feel it, then boom. I went down again. It left a bad taste in my mouth.”
More than anything, Rivers feels as though he has taken back control of his own destiny. “When I was struggling, I wanted to blame everybody else,” Rivers continued. “I was like, ‘No, it’s his fault, it’s his fault.’ Eventually you just got to man up and be like, ‘you know it’s my f—— fault, ain’t nobody gonna help me out here. People like to see people fail, especially people who are making money. Ain’t nobody gonna feel bad for me, so I had to figure out a way to get out of that and learn from it, and I was able to do that.”
Michael Jordan is too old to compete in Ice Cube’s new 3-on-3 league for retired NBA players … so says Allen Iverson, who tells TMZ Sports MJ’s teeth are a little too long to still get it in on the court. We got Iverson out in NYC at the official news conference for the BIG3 summer league (AI’s gonna be playing and coaching) and wanted to know if we could look forward to Michael Jordan showing up.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he has a relationship with former Cleveland player and first-year Lakers coach Luke Walton, and it revolves around “craps table No. 6” at undisclosed Vegas casinos. The two apparently meet at the same table every night during the annual NBA Summer League tournament out there to toss some dice. “Every night at nine o’clock,” Lue said Friday after Cavs practice. Lue will see Walton Saturday when Cleveland hosts the Lakers at 7:30 p.m. “We meet there every night during Summer League,” Lue continued. “Me, him and (Cavs forward Richard Jefferson). But R.J. is terrible, so we keep him away. He’s not serious enough. Me and Luke are pretty serious about it.”
He didn’t. Powell’s monster jam tied the score, and the Raptors went on to win the game and the series, their first in 15 long years. The clutch play was Powell’s first signature moment in the NBA, the kind of big-stage performance that can signal a star turn for a young player. Factor in the stellar Summer League showing that followed it and the noticeable improvements he’s displayed in the pre-season, and you can understand why Powell has already been anointed by many as the Raptors next breakout star. And he just may be. But Norman Powell isn’t buying it. Not yet, at least. “People think ‘Oh, you did it in the playoffs, you got minutes, you’ve made it,’” Powell says on the eve of a Raptors’ pre-season game in Detroit. “I made a couple of shots. I made a couple of plays. That’s great, sure, but I worked for that. I’m not where I want to be… I’m nowhere close.”