David Aldridge: Rockets became a top three defense last…

David Aldridge: Rockets became a top three defense last season in large part b/c of their ability to switch everything on the perimeter with P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The latter two are gone after Mbah a Moute’s one year, $4.3M deal with the Clippers today (@Adrian Wojnarowski first).
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September 17, 2019 | 7:21 pm EDT Update
The Texas Legends arrived in Frisco in 2009 after Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson purchased and relocated the then-Colorado 14ers. Ever since then, open tryouts have been a staple as a form of talent acquisition. “It’s a chance for the players here in the local community to develop an appreciation for the level of talent and the hard work that goes into it,” Texas Legends president and general manager Malcolm Farmer said. “We want to give those local players a chance to show what they can do so (we) don’t overlook anybody here, especially locally.”
There’s no limit on participants, but there is a registration fee — $175 ahead of time or $200 for those who show up the day of. This year, there were 155 participants; the youngest was 18 years old, while the oldest was 38. History dictated that at least one was likely to wind up with more than just a story to tell: Thirteen players in franchise history punched their ticket to a roster spot through open tryouts, from Pierce Caldwell in 2010 all the way to Justin Tubbs and Josh Newkirk last year. Realistically, the Legends don’t go into this session expecting to uncover the next Dirk Nowitzki. Instead, they’re looking for somebody who has what many Texas front office personnel dubbed as “transferable skills” and can at least be a role player in the G League.
“FIBA made a mistake moving the World Cup into odd years,” David Stern, the former N.B.A. commissioner, recently told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “And as a result, you are asking players to play in the FIBA world championship, play in the season and then play in the Olympics. And I think that pushed a lot of players to feel that they should make a choice between back-to-back years of international competition.”
Utah’s Rudy Gobert and I had a brief chance to chat about this issue — again — after he and his teammates clinched the bronze medal for France in a victory over Australia in FIBA’s third-place game on Sunday. “I wish all the best players would come, but it’s never going to happen,” Gobert said of the modern N.B.A. player’s approach in the Load Management Era. “They think about themselves more than anything — and it’s understandable. It’s a business. We all have families to take care of.”
Dunleavy is now an assistant general manager toward the top of a Warriors front office that lost Jerry West and Travis Schlenk, two forceful voices, the last three years. West is now an executive board member with the Clippers and Schlenk is the GM of the Atlanta Hawks. Dunleavy moves to the Bay Area in a few weeks, a ghost of Warriors’ past stepping into an increased role reshaping the franchise’s future.
Storyline: Warriors Front Office
Dunleavy lived closer to Barclays Center than Madison Square Garden. So he was in Brooklyn a bunch, allowing him to closely observe Russell’s transformation from presumed bust to fringe All-Star. “I didn’t see D’Angelo Russell play live 10, 20 times (like Mike),” Myers said. “There’s never been more information available, whether it’s analytics, your ability to watch tape, see games, dig into numbers. But I don’t think any of it is a substitute for actually going to a game in person, talking to coaches and watching the whole day develop, from when the player gets there to warm up, the stuff fans don’t see, interacting on a closer level, how they act when they get subbed out, how they react to winning and losing.”
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