January 25, 2021 | 12:31 pm EST Update
I asked Griffin how he knows when it’ll be the right moment to cash in his draft picks. He contrasted the unknowns in New Orleans to his experiences in Cleveland, where he oversaw the transition from an up-and-comer to a title team after signing LeBron. “I’ve never really been able to say unequivocally ‘go flip the switch.’ LeBron is the only player in the NBA whose presence alone makes you a Finals contender. So when LeBron came back to Cleveland, it was time to rock and roll,” Griffin said. “I don’t know if I do know when to flip the switch. But I know when not to. I hope that this group grows and develops in the way we anticipate and that it will become fairly obvious when we should cash in some of those chips. In the presence of a sound process, decisions often make themselves. I hope we’re able to bring that to fruition.”
Even with a lack of spacing, Williamson remains a force with all-time scoring efficiency near the rim. He’s only in his second season, and he’s averaging 22.8 points on a 61.4 true shooting percentage through 38 games of his career. “My comfort level is still growing,” Williamson said. “I’m only like 30 games in. There’s so much for me to learn.” The Pelicans hope Williamson will learn from Adams, who does so many of the little things, like setting bone-crushing screens, boxing out, and playing hard on defense. But after a strong start on defense, Adams’s play has declined this past week or so, just like it did midway through last season with Oklahoma City.
Most response is positive, reportedly neither Bucks fans nor players complain to the team about the uniform’s resonance with the thin blue line flag, which has become prominent by this point. Sources with knowledge of the process point out blue, including stripes, has been on the jersey for seven years. But evolving symbols from hate groups present an evolving challenge in NBA marketing. For instance, teams have generally stopped promoting images of players celebrating 3-pointers with hand gestures that could be interpreted as the white power “OK” sign. A jersey taken as offensive could theoretically be pulled from circulation, but no TrueHoop sources could cite an example of that ever happening.
A year later and West still can’t get Bryant’s death out of his mind. “When I saw that Christmas card, the first thing said was, ‘When is the anniversary coming up?’” West said. “But the effect it had on this city, and really because of his enormous popularity, I just think it takes something out of you. You see some people who can do anything they want to and never contribute anything to society. You would think with the enormous success that he had in his life, and he was willing to give back. But he was willing to continue to grow into a different iconic person in another different field. It’s rare that an athlete can do that. LeBron James has certainly done it. And I admire those players that do it, I really admire them.”
“We have this picture of he and his family, Vanessa, and right before I left, I looked at that and I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ It’s right out there in my family room,” West said. “My wife puts it right out there so you can see it. I looked at it again. I see it almost every day that I sit down to watch something on the news or watch an NBA game. Every time I sit down, the picture is right there, right in front of me. I cannot miss it. Every day, I see that picture. And Karen is the one who put it there just as a constant reminder of how much our family cared for him. It’s just a tragedy. It’s a tragedy. There’s no explanation.”
January 25, 2021 | 11:22 am EST Update
Ira Winderman: NBA source tells the Sun Sentinel that the expectation is Jimmy Butler will be cleared from pandemic protocol today. Then it will come down to a matter of conditioning. Heat play at Brooklyn tonight, then next play Wednesday at home against Denver.
Justin Kubatko: Damian Lillard’s free throws in his last seven games: 🎯 6-6 🎯 4-4 🎯 12-12 🎯 6-6 🎯 12-12 🎯 12-12 🎯 11-11 Overall, he went 63-63 from the FT line, the most makes without a miss over a seven-game span in NBA history. The previous mark of 60 was held by Dirk Nowitzki (2010). pic.twitter.com/F3U0PAoAct