Toronto Raptors fans have been here before. We don’t mean literally, in the sense that they’re the seemingly most competent of a motley crew of toothless, struggling, or simply just dysfunctional teams barreling through the 2013-14 campaign with their eyes on the Atlantic Division title (although they have done that, too*), but figuratively. The entire fan base is all too familiar with the concept of their squad rallying to grind out success in the wake…
This is the Basketball section.
The sixth pick of the 2012 NBA Draft was thrown into the deep end the moment he set foot in the league. Logging the third most minutes per game of any player in the game, Damian Lillard instantly became the starting point guard for a Portland Trail Blazers team with arguably the worst bench in the league, eventually rising to the challenge better than anyone expected, leading all rookies in both points and assists per…
On the Sep. 27, at media day, James Harden announced that he and the coaching staff were “all on the same page” about him guarding the opposition’s best wing player. Upon reading a discussion about this on an NBA forum, I came across comments such as “And the league’s best players give a resounding cheer”, and people talking about how “Harden will never be good enough to guard the best wing players in the league”. How exactly, did he earn the bad reputation?
At age 24, and after just six seasons in the NBA, the near consensus opinion of Kevin Durant is that he is the second best player in the league. He has already won the Rookie of the Year award, been selected to four All-NBA 1st teams, is a six-time NBA Player of the Month, he’s finished second in MVP voting three times, been in four All-Star Games and is a three-time scoring champion. Yeah, second best. For now. But how will the rest of his career unfold?
Tracy McGrady has a complicated legacy. Most nights he was a good scoring guard. Sometimes he was a liability, missing wide stretches of games with an assortment of injuries. And occasionally, T-Mac could rise to the moment and just about do the impossible. Who was T-Mac? After 15 seasons, we’re still looking for the answer.
The NBA offseason can be a troubling time for many athletes, simply offering too many opportunities for individuals to run into trouble. Rather than focus on the downward spiral of players like Lamar Odom and J.R. Smith, however, should we instead focus on the progress other athletes, like Metta World Peace, have made after their own missteps?
During Canada Basketball’s introductory press conference, general manager Steve Nash referred to the current state of Canadian basketball as the “golden age” for the nation in the sport. Just 10 years ago, hardcore, patriotic basketball fans keenly focused in on the status of Canadian ballers like Carl English and Aaron Doornekamp. Dwayne Riley-Grant explains how much can change in a decade.
The leading scorer of the 2012-13 NBA season, Carmelo Anthony, put up an impressive 28.7 points per game on much improved shooting efficiency from his previous year, while also making a big jump in points scored per game. There were several possible reasons for Melo’s improved shooting efficiency and overall better performance, such as his matured post-up game, shot selection and his move to the power forward position, but what played the biggest part in his jump to the NBA’s top scorer?
Future Hall-of-Fame point guard Jason Kidd, who started 48 games for the New York Knicks last year, retired last month. Less than two weeks later, on June 12, he was named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Considering the recent history of the NBA, this was a pretty remarkable turnaround to say the least. In the past, former players have typically had to earn their dues for years as assistant coaches, broadcasters, or in front office roles before being handed the coveted role of head coach for an NBA team.
When the Houston Rockets brought Dwight Howard on board through free agency this offseason, they essentially signed themselves up for a year of headlines and hoopla. Easily forgotten in all of the commotion of Houston’s resurgence as a Western Conference power, however, is point guard Jeremy Lin. It wasn’t long ago when Linsanity was in full effect. Will we ever see it again?