Posted on: October 18, 2010 12:27 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The new Miami Heat tend to get ahead of themselves a bit. When they introduced the new members of the team, they threw a championship sized party. And immediately, the team didn't start talking about winning a championship. They started talking about winning championships, plural.
And it appears that kind of braggadocious mentality has sort of rubbed off on their fanbase. Example the first, via Ira Winderman: They are chanting "Beat L-A!" at open scrimmages. Um, too soon?
No doubt there's already been a little sniping back and forth between the two evident top dogs in the league. Kobe Bryant briefly talked about the Heat, mentioning is first thought besides "How the expletive did that happen?" was, "I've got to get my knee healthy." Ron Artest left LeBron off his top two players list. Artest also talked about how losing weight will help him defend Kevin Durant, but he worries about defending LeBron in a seven-game series.
So both teams are kind of getting ahead of themselves a bit. But "Beat LA?" at an open scrimmage in October? Yeah, that's sort of skipping the forward, the introduction, the plot and the climax of a book and reading the last chapter.
Granted, this is one open practice. And fans like to have fun and chant things. I don't blame them. But what if this persists into the regular season? What if when the Heat are blowing out the Raptors in December, Heat fans start up with it? Couldn't that give some extra fodder to teams like the Magic, Celtics and Bulls, all teams that feel they're a hurdle for the Heat to jump?
Thinking NBA Finals in October isn't a big deal. It's every team's goal. Right down to the Clippers, the Nets and the Wizards. Everyone wants to hoist the trophy. But talking about it, chanting about it and being downright brash about it in October, before your team has even played a game? If the Heat and their fans want to be the NBA's villains, they're off to a nice start.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:44 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 12:53 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Don't ask Ron Artest to count to five. Or even three. Because he can't. Well, at least he can't when he's naming the best players in the NBA and he may or may not be trying to slight LeBron James on purpose.
Since Artest is known as one of the league's most talented bulldog defenders, he's a good source to go to in terms of finding out who the best players in the game are. Whoever he has the most trouble defending, that means they're probably pretty good.
So Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles asked Artest what he thought the biggest offseason signing was and Artest didn't go where you thought he would. He picked Kevin Durant signing an extension with Oklahoma City, as opposed to the taker of talents to South Beach. As to why? "He's the second best player in the NBA," Artest said.
Well do elaborate, Ron.
"Kobe's got five rings, six game winners [last season], 23-straight points in [Game 5 of the Finals] off mostly jump shots," Artest said. "[He's] the biggest shot maker, big shot maker. So, that said, Durant's the second best player in the NBA."
What you did there, I see it. Durant's two, because Kobe's one. Of course that begged the question: Where's LeBron?
"I only count to two," Artest said. "I've been out of school 15 years, so I only count to two."
Only Artest. Somehow, despite some pretty horrible moments for him over the years, his transformation from bad guy into an endearing player is almost complete. But the story here is the subtle smack talk Artest just gave LeBron and the Heat. The two teams will meet Christmas Day and Artest will be guarding LeBron. I'm sure LeBron took mental notes on Artest's statement so you can be sure James will play like he has something to prove.
And that might be Artest's point. He's trying to get into LeBron's head early and talk him into playing one-on-one instead of playing his game. It's a very Phil Jackson-ish move. I guess Artest has been reading Jackson's books after all. He can't count, but I guess he can still read.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 1:28 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 4:22 pm
Phil Jackson says Lakers star may not be ready for season opener.
Posted by Matt Moore
So far, the talk about Kobe Bryant's knee, still recovering from knee surgery, has been very academic. Sure, he has surgery on it. Yeah, he's only about 60% on it right now. But the discussions haven't actually involved games that count, games that matter. But Phil Jackson is aware that the regular season is only two weeks away. And in dealing with that information has lead him to start wondering if the Finals MVP is going to be ready to go. The LA Times reports that Jackson is "unsure" of how ready Bryant will be when the season starts. This is in addition to the fact that there's no way Andrew Bynum will be good to go. Bynum has said it may be December before he's back.
Bryant is the obvious more crucial component in all this. The Lakers are a stunningly talented team (which makes you wonder why everyone's so upset with all the talent on the Heat considering Lamar Odom is the Lakers' freaking sixth man), but they're also driven by a very hard iron glove from Bryant offensively. He is the start and end of most Lakers possessions. Without him, the triangle has to evolve into something different, even with Pau Gasol as the low corner and a multitude of wings available to take the third wing's spot. This team should be good enough to roll teams without Bryant, and did so last year. But there's still a level of adjustment, and an even greater one when Bryant returns.
All of this is moot because it's October. Bryant can miss the entire first month of the season, or more, and still have time for the Lakers to get back and claim the top spot in the West. It's really just a matter of how much time they'll have to coast at the end of the year. And with all the injuries and Lamar Odom having played for Team USA in FIBA this summer, Jackson may elect to simply let go of the top spot in the West and simply make the playoffs, then assert themselves. Winning every regular season game is the farthest thing from Jackson's mind. Fifty or better and they should be in, and with Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Odom, Derek Fisher, new additions Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, that number's doable in Jackson's sleep.
The only fear in Jackson's mind has to be if eventually Bryant's body which has been stunningly durable over the past two years will give out. And that's not something Jackson even wants to begin to think about, let alone Kobe. Then again, why worry when Bryant's shown he's willing to work harder, fight harder, do whatever is necessary to succeed?
Posted on: October 12, 2010 12:34 pm
Posted by Royce Young
He talks, I write. Seriously, when is Ron Artest not saying something interesting?
But in a column for the Orange County Register, Kevin Ding mentions how Artest said he's done drinking. And done with something else too.
Artest said he stopped drinking alcohol in January to focus on the season — and then ceased his championship celebrations, alcohol-wise, at the end of July. Artest said he “didn’t even have the stomach for it anymore” while celebrating, which included him consuming his infamous Hennessy scotch before the Lakers’ 11 a.m. championship parade .Artest has come a long way. His NBA journey has certainly been a strange one, but one thing that Artest has never lacked is honesty. Drinking since he was 15? Does that explain anything for you?
As for Artest smoking weed, I guess he didn't officially say that he did smoke and has given it up. But I think that much was implied by the last comment.
The actual angle of Ding's piece was to talk about how Artest has slimmed down and was as light at 249 over the summer. Artest said he prefers to start the year at 260 and whittle down to 245 by the playoffs. No munchies, less boozing? Yep, I'd say that's a pretty good weight loss program.
Artest also mentioned how the drop in weight could help him against Kevin Durant but then acknowledged unsolicited that the cut in size could hurt him against the power of LeBron James in the 2011 Finals. So yeah, Artest is already thinking about that next victory parade.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Turtlenecks are in for SVG, Splitter is out for the Spurs, Ron Artest's second ring is already on its way out, and Ryan Anderson is in gear for the Magic, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore
When the NBA announced a rule regarding coaching dress codes, which presumably would outlaw turtlenecks, everyone immediately thought of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy himself actually said they should name the rule after him. But the Orlando Senitinel went out and discovered that SVG will be able to wear turtlenecks this season due to how the rule works. I don't know whether SVG should be happy or sad about his development.
Greg Oden says he can be an All-Star , when healthy. Honestly, no one doubts that out of Oden. He's tall, a huge advantage in the sport of basketball, and bulky, a big deal in the NBA. But he needs to not say things like this because it only attracts more attention to the fact that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy, or rehab effectively, or that his head's in the right place. He just needs to not talk about it, go out, and do it. Anything else is just going to bring the vultures.
Tiago Splitter continues to miss time with a leg injury . In the myriad of ways that his NBA career could have started, this isn't the worst, but it's up there. Nagging small injuries aren't just obnoxious and painful, they're hard for coaches and players to sympathize with, and call into quiestion a player's toughness. That's what Splitter's facing in preseason with a tough veteran Spurs club.
The Blazers are adding Steven Hill due to their lack of big men, which is awesome, because he's from Branson, Missouri. Hill should instantly be the leader in mini-golf handicaps .
Anthony Mason Jr. son of the former Knick star has been cut from the Heat. Too bad, he showed some flashes in limited time, but that roster's kind of full-up if you haven't noticed.
Ready for a storyline you can bank on this year? Raptor fans are going to go from feeling disdain towards Andrea Bargnani to outright hatred. He's going to get all the blame for the Raps , even while he probably leads the team in scoring. He's overpaid, but that guy needs a fresh start somewhere else more than anything.
The New York Daily News reports that the Bulls are investigating Carlos Boozer's fall to see if he really did injure himself tripping over a bag . Bulls by the Horns says that the investigation is neither surprising nor troubling , just business as usual. It's still not the way the Bulls wanted to start the era of their marquee free agent from the biggest FA summer in history.
Ron Artest is offering his second championship ring to whoever writes the best essay on how to improve the country. In case you're confused, no he has not won that second ring yet. Ron is not lacking for confidence on this team.
Vince Carter is beaming about Ryan Anderson, which is a good sign for the Magic. It really looks like Orlando will be in a position to use him more this season.
This is probably the last season for Antonio McDyess, and might be the last one for Marcus Camby. Bizarre to think of an NBA without those two vets, and sad to think they'll probably wrap up their careers without a ring.
Tags: Anthony Mason Jr. Heat, Antonio McDyess, Blazers, Bulls, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Greg Oden, Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers, Magic, Marcus Camby, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Ron Artest, Ryan Anderson, San Antonio Spurs, Spurs, Stan Van Gundy, Tiago Splitter, Trail Blazers, Vince Carter
Posted on: October 7, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 12:27 pm
Posted by Royce Young
I haven't really given much thought to life after basketball for Ron Artest. But it's really something I should start considering. I mean, what is he going to do with himself when he isn't playing hoops?
Artest has an idea and of course, it's a very Ron Artest sort of idea:
"After I’m done with my basketball career, I want to box and I wanna play football – probably tight end position," Artest told HoopsHype. "I’ve been training for three years for boxing. Probably after this contract, I’ll probably do football first and then boxing. I’m definitely serious about those two things I wanna do. I wish I could do it now."
We hear the football fallback all the time, but boxing? That's new. And maybe something Artest could be good at. Here's where I insert the video of the Malace at the Palace.
I don't know why NBA players all think they can just lace up some cleats and start playing football. Nate Robinson recently said a similar thing about playing football if there's a lockout (Robinson actually was a pretty terrific high school quarterback though). Lots of NBA players talk about the pigskin as if it's that easy to just go do. Skill wise, football doesn't compare with basketball. Basketball is much tougher. But you've got to have almost a gene to be able to take the physicality of the game. And it's not just that. There's a thousands of terrific athletes that couldn't hack it playing football. It's not something you just pick up and play.
(Now of course my mind immediately goes to the NFL, but Artest might be interested in playing in the CFL or even the European Leagues. Which I'm sure someone would take a PR chance on him then.)
Artest's current contract runs through 2014 with the last year being an early termination option. Artest is 30, so retirement around the age of 34 makes sense, especially if he has plans to try some other things before he gets too old. He said he even wishes he could play them now. I don't know if that means he wishes he wasn't playing ball under contract and could quit or if he wishes he could play on the side. Who knows? But whatever the case, it sounds like Crazy Pills has a plan for life after the hardwood. And a plan that fits him well.
Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Ron Artest is promoting the Lakers upcoming exhibition schedule by making the rounds to nearby cities, one of them being San Diego. And while there, he had an idea for a trade. But it didn't involve any players. Via the OC Register:
“Maybe we can swap, the Chargers for the Clippers. No disrespect to the Clippers. You can have them back. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. I really like the Clippers, but I feel they deserve their own fan base because in L.A. they’re overshadowed. The Clippers deserve a shot at having their own identity.”Some might take that as a dig at the Clippers, but it's nothing but truth. The Clippers are basically a team without a city. They're stuck somewhere where they're perpetually playing second fiddle to the Lakers. For instance, when I write "Staples Center" who do you think of?
It's a simple (unrealistic) thought, but it makes loads of sense. Los Angeles wants a football team. The Clippers want a fanbase. Ron Artest: a man with solutions. He should run for Congress or something.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 11:52 am
Posted by Royce Young
Most people figured after Ron Artest thanked his psychologist after Game 7 of the NBA Finals, that it was some kind of joke. That Artest, who has a history of doing some off-the-wall things, was making light of his past issues.
But Artest takes mental health seriously. So seriously, he's putting his money where his mouth is. Or, in this case, his championship ring where his mouth is. As mentioned today in the Shootaround, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com talked to Artest about his plans for his 2010 championship ring.
Artest finally won a title in June after 11 regular seasons of trying ... and now he's planning to sell the championship ring as a fundraiser to put more psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in schools.Obviously, this is quite a setup for some zingers about Artest. But it's clear how serious Artest is about it. And really, mental health is no joking matter. A lot of people suffer from it and not only is Artest going to raise some serious cash, but also a bunch of awareness.
Artest knows he has a reputation. He knows what people think about him. There are the stories about drinking Hennessey at halftime, the brawl in Detroit and on and on. But the reality is, Artest overcame some demons to get in the right state of mind to be able to perform at a high level in the NBA. And he feels strongly enough about this issue that he's willing to try and make a difference. That's definitely honorable. It's also very Ron Artest. Nothing half way, but all the way in.