DeMar DeRozan: It’s been times where I struggle, being in a room full of people and feel like I’m in there all alone, you know, and that always been something that affected me when I was when I had my dark days, my dark moments, you know, and it comes out of nowhere. When you least expect it. You could be smiling one second. And before you know it, you want a place of wondering how you got there, why I got there, and you asked so many questions. You know, and it’s kind of frustrating, you know?
Storyline: Mental Health
DeMar DeRozan: But as soon as you walk off from (the basketball court), it’s like, now you back to that isolation in your brain and your thoughts and everything kind of takes over from there. It seems like the two, two and a half hours I was out on basketball court didn’t exist because now I’m dealing with this whole feeling of being in a depressed mindset and not understanding why when it just, it wasn’t a thought when I was just out there playing.
DeMar DeRozan: Everybody don’t understand the dedication you put into something you love and that you want so much. And sometimes you do it out of your own pain internally, you know, it’s like I worked so hard to escape this feeling. But everybody wanted to enjoy the good stuff that came with me working so hard when I really was working hard to suppress my pain, my dark days, my dark nights when I felt so alone, you know, so I wish I would have understood that and not let it affect me so bad when other people probably didn’t get it in the moment. And always scared to communicate and tell people like, you know why you work so hard and why don’t like going out or why you don’t like doing this? It’s like, ‘Yo, I work hard because when this is the only time I get to escape, and you don’t see that I’m really screaming for help at times when I become tunnel vision and working so hard’. Sometimes you just want that hug.
Jay Scrubb, the No. 1 rated junior college recruit in the nation, has had Zoom interviews with 22 NBA teams, including the Knicks and Nets, his agent Corey Marcum of EZ Sports Group said. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard from John Logan College (KY) announced in March he planned to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft instead of playing at Louisville. Scrubb, who is currently training in San Antonio, is attempting to become the first junior college player drafted since Donta Smith (Southeastern Illinois) was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second-round pick in 2004. The NBA Draft is now slated for Oct. 16.
Robinson was so incensed about it that in 2000 that when Jackson was the Western Conference All-Star coach and attempted to greet Robinson during the customary pregame introductions, the stone-faced big man sprinted past without acknowledging Jackson. “That’s just Phil,” sighs Kerr, who remains friendly with his former Chicago Bulls coach. “When he first mentioned the asterisk, I just rolled my eyes, because I knew his game. “He likes to provoke, to get under people’s skin. He was poking the Spurs because they were a threat.”
From March 2 in Houston until the end of the regular season, the Spurs won 31 of their final 36 games. “Because it was a shortened season, there were so many games that were condensed,” Elliott says. “And when games start coming at you like a conveyor belt, if you can keep your rhythm, you can rip off a lot of wins.” The Spurs accomplished this despite an offense that relied heavily on their pair of big men, with Elliott the only true elite perimeter marksman. “They were very limited offensively,” notes Jeff Van Gundy, the former Knicks coach who met them in the Finals that year. “He’s right,” Kerr confirms. “We didn’t have a lot of ways to score. It was Woody Hayes, three yards and a cloud of dust.”
Elliott finished the Finals against an underdog Knicks team and underwent a kidney transplant six weeks later. “What I remember about San Antonio was how dominant they were after the first 12 or 14 games,” Van Gundy says. “They just rolled people.” The Spurs dispatched the Knicks in five games. Duncan was named Finals MVP after dominating inside, averaging 27.4 points, 14 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He also logged 45.5 minutes per night. “I wish Pop found religion on load management a few years sooner,” Van Gundy says. “Then maybe he would have sat Duncan once in a while in that series.”
This idea isn’t coming out of nowhere. There’s been speculation around the league about Nets owner Joe Tsai considering a huge offer to Popovich, who is already the NBA’s highest-paid coach. Whether it’s legitimate or not won’t be answered for some time since Popovich still has to coach the Spurs through the Orlando bubble, and the Nets have their own restart to navigate.
For Brooklyn, it’s close to a no-brainer (although there are reasons to pause that we’ll get into later). Tsai’s net worth has only risen during the global pandemic because he’s invested in Alibaba, the Chinese version of Amazon. He can afford an expensive coach. The roster is begging for a leader who can command respect from Kevin Durant and Irving. Popovich could own the room by simply throwing out his rings, but he’s too self-aware and self-deprecating for such a stunt. One of Popovich’s best traits is his understanding that the players won those championships. Phil Jackson didn’t get that.