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Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: October 14, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2010 7:35 pm
 

Heat Stroke: Kobe's initial reaction

 Posted by Royce Young

Via Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times on Twitter, Kobe Bryant said today that he really doesn't like talk about LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade's new adventure in Miami.

But he did share his initial reaction upon hearing LeBron and Bosh would join Wade.

"How did Pat Riley pull that [expletive] off?"

How did Pat Riley pull that expletive off indeed, Kobe. It's something a lot of people thought initially post "Decision." In fact, I think a lot of people are wondering it still now. But in reality, it probably had very little to do with Pat Riley and whole lot more with the three main players involved. I'm sure if the three of them were dying to play together in Minnesota, David Kahn would make it happen. Well, that's probably stretching it, but you get my point.

Kobe shared another thought about the Miami Triad, saying simply, "I've got to get my knee healthy." If I understand Kobe here - and I think that I do - he's implying that his team, the Lakers, might meet LeBron and Bosh's new team, the Heat, at some future time. The NBA Finals perhaps?

Though not to cause a panic that that might not happen, but Kobe may not exactly have that knee healthy. He's previously said it was at about 60 percent and he's kind of sort of playing like it. So far in preseason, Kobe is shooting just 14.3 percent from the floor. That's 4-28 from the field and he's 0-10 from 3. So if he intends on seeing LeBron and Friends at a later date, he needs to work on that knee a little more.

Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:44 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2010 2:11 pm
 

The tree of complaint, KG, and you

For the love of Stern, can we relax about the new tech rules?
Posted by Matt Moore


In the beginning, there was complaining.

It's pretty natural, really. You're body-to-body, struggling, fighting, adrenaline rushing, and the whistle blows. You can't possibly think you did anything that could be considered a foul (especially not after how you were just elbowed at the other end of the floor!) and so you complain. It probably wasn't all that bad in the beginning, a hundred years ago.

It is now.

Then, there was the complaining about the complaining. And lost in this newest wave of outrage is the fact that there genuinely was a great deal of complaining about the complaining. Casual NBA fans? They loathe what they see when there's a whistle. Grown men, professionals, whooping and hollering, badgering officials, acting like they've just been stubbed on the toe by a whistle. Most of the time for a foul that was pretty easy to call. It reflects poorly on the game and every time it happens, a friend will point and say "that's why I don't follow the NBA." As if that were to somehow overtake the athleticism, the tactics, the chemistry, the powerful emotion of the game. But it does. It reflects poorly on the game.

So the NBA decided to do something about it, finally.

And now, finally, we've reached the zenith of this ridiculous story. There's now complaining about the rules designed to help with all the complaints about the complaining.

Welcome to the Catch-22, David Stern. Have fun trying to make people happy who cannot be made so.

Last night in a meaningless exhibition game, Jermaine O'Neal was whistled for a bad technical foul. At least, that's what it seemed like to the camera's eye, which is what everyone uses (we'll get into how that's a flawed start in a minute). It certainly didn't seem like O'Neal was worthy of a technical foul. It was a bad call, the same kind of bad call that's been made since the invention of the modern game and will be made for as long as officials are human. As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last night , it's probably an issue with both sides trying to find where the line exists.

Kevin Garnett? That was not a bad call. I understand that the paying fans at Madison Square Garden didn't come to see Garnett ejected. I get that we want players like KG to be able to play with emotion, with their passionate hearts on their sleeves. You're absolutely right that emotion is a pivotal part of the game's heart.

What Garnett was doing? What he usually does? It's not. It's intimidation at worst, and overreaction in the least, and he needed to be tossed under the new rules. Arguing the call by trying to show the foul, that's debatable. If he was calm, cool, and collected, then the first technical would have been completely wrong. Let me ask you this:

When was the last time you saw or heard of Kevin Garnett being calm, cool, and collected on a basketball court?

We have no idea what he said to the officials, and that's the biggest problems here. He could have said "Good sir! I heartily object, and though I respect your opinion, I was wondering if we might discuss the issue for a brief moment!" We don't know.  We're reacting based on microphone muted interpretations of what we see on screen, without a clue of what was actually said by these players. I'd imagine if the officials were able to come out and say what the players said to them, we might feel differently. We'd also probably feel differently about the players, and that's not something the NBA wants at all. For all the talk today about how the league is victimizing the poor players, they could just mike up everything, let the profanity be released in a transcript, and then see how those endorsement dollars come rolling in.

But, no. We side with the athlete because it's his work we appreciate. His work, being the key phrase there. These are professionals. They always want to talk about that. How they are professionals and deserve to be paid as such. That they'll switch teams because they're professionals or hold out because they are professionals or don't care about the fans because they're professionals. But they can't control themselves on the floor? We're talking most often about guys who are 25 years of age or older. Grown men, who can't control their own reactions to something they know won't change no matter what they say or do? Do you think Kendrick Perkins screaming "What?!" or Tim Duncan's eyes bulging or Kobe Bryant making faces will actually convince a referee to say "Oh, you know what? When you put it that way, you're right. You didn't foul him. I'm sorry. Let me change this call."? No. The calls won't change. It's just complaining for complaining's sake, or it's an attempt to influence the outcome by pressuring officials. And that's a serious problem.

You don't want to go down that road, and it's one that gets tread upon a lot in an NBA season. It's not an epidemic, but it's enough to want to force the players to pump the breaks. It's the same as Phil Jackson flexing his muscle in press conferences. Last night, after the first technical, Kevin Garnett had to be restrained by another teammate from coming at the official. He wasn't going to hurt him. He wasn't going to do anything but scream and yell. That's pretty obvious. But let me ask you something. If a man of KG's height, width, and intensity is charging at you screaming like a lunatic, are you going to get a little rattled? Because I would wet myself and call games however it is the big scary man wants me to. And that's not how you want NBA games called.

The final piece of this ridiculous counter-reaction to a call for responsible, mature behavior is the "robot" argument. "I want my players to play with emotion, not be robots!" As if this behavior has anything to do with the emotion of the game. The new rules don't prohibit a fist pump after a big shot down the stretch. From a defeated collapse or hitting the floor after a player knocks down a tough shot over you. It doesn't prevent the hip bumps, chest bumps, high-fives, fist-pounds, jersey-popping, or any of the other things that produce imagery we've come to love about this game. There isn't an ounce of in-game emotion that's being sapped by this rule set.

It's just a measure to force grown men to act as such. If you're capable of shrugging through that mid-March game with the zeal and intensity of a manic-depressive tree slug, you're capable of keeping perspective enough to know that the call was made on you, and whether you like it or not, it is. And it will happen again within the hour, no doubt. If you're mature enough to be paid millions of dollars for your role on a team vying for a championship, you should be mature enough to not badger and scream when something doesn't go your way.

Complaining in the NBA isn't an epidemic. It was simply something that reflected poorly on the game and needed to be corrected. The league took an initiative as such. People say that the market research the NBA is claiming is somehow fabricated, because no one's actually complaining about the complaining. Right. Just like no one wants to hear about LeBron James, as traffic on Heat posts grow to phenomenal numbers.

The NBA does things badly sometimes, like any sports league. And officials will often get calls wrong, like the call on Jermaine O'Neal last night. But in this instance, asking the players to temper their reactions isn't just reasonable, it's the right thing to do, and the game will be better for it, for casual and hardcore fans alike.

You can consider this the complaining about the complaining in response to the rule brought about because of complaining in order to limit complaining.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 5:26 pm
 

The seven teams you should pick for LP Broadband

Posted by Royce Young



If you could pick only seven TV shows to watch , what would they be? Like seven shows, period. Once you picked them, that's what you're watching for the next season of programming. Wouldn't be easy, huh?

Would you go with your favorites? Would go with what's fun to watch ? Or would you go with something informational or important? Questions all that help determine the criteria on your selection.

It's a question die-hard NBA fans have to ask themselves every year when it comes to getting NBA League Pass Broadband. For a little less, you don't get the whole league. Just unfiltered access to seven teams. But the hard part - and kind of the fun part - is figuring out what seven squads you want to have any time you want them. 

Who would I pick? Well I'm glad you asked. Here's my seven choices:

1. Miami Heat - In my crude rating system that I just made up as I was typing this sentence, the Heat pretty much score high in everything. Watchibility . Interesting-ness . Talent on the floor. Importance to the league. And of course the fact they're one of the league's three or four absolutely legit contenders.

I mean, how could you not include the Heat? Even if you hate everything about them down to their weird looking mascot, this is the most intriguing NBA roster well, since I can remember. Because of what's going on in South Beach, the NBA offseason took precedent of Major League Baseball and NFL training camps. Yeah, so it's kind of a big deal.

And how could even think about missing any of it this year? Yes, they will be on national TV a lot. But you're not guaranteed to get every big performance there. What if the biggest Heat story of the year happens some random February night against the Raptors where Dwyane Wade and LeBron both explode for 40? Or in late March, there's a little argument on the bench between LeBron and Bosh? How could you be willing to miss that?

2. Los Angeles Lakers
- Every game the Lakers play, it's an event. Kobe Bryant doesn't have that many games left and how could you give up the chance to watch one of the greatest ever try and win a sixth ring?

What makes the Lakers interesting? It's all in what they are. First, they're the Lakers . They're Hollywood basketball. They're Jack Nicholson sitting courtside , Phil Jackson running the show, Kobe hitting big shots. And Ron Artest doing potentially who knows what night-to-night. It's can't-miss stuff.

Plus, for a lot of teams, playing the Lakers is the biggest game of the month. It's just a little more important and a little bit more meaningful to both the team and its fans if the game's not in L.A. So you can expect packed houses, fired up crowds, pumped up teams and good basketball.

3. Milwaukee Bucks
- You know who I had here originally? The Celtics. And why did I take them off? I don't really know, honestly. Because the Celtics are definitely a good team to have. But I guess I just don't find them all that interesting. They're old, potentially washing up and they're going to have 50 percent of their games on TV anyway.

So instead, I'm going with an upstart team featuring a fun scorer in Brandon Jennings, an emerging center in Andrew Bogut , an underrated forward in Ersan Ilyasova and a dark horse contender in the East.

4. Washington Wizards
- I for one, am fascinated by this team. First, Gilbert Arenas. He's the league's most interesting personality. He makes up stories about being hurt. Like Jerry in the Seinfeld episode George asked him to not be funny, Arenas is touching his dark side and trying to be serious. And like Jerry, he can't not be funny. With that beard, it's impossible to take Arenas completely serious (though he's shaving it off soon).

More than that though, this team is coming off a season full of incredible turmoil, plus it has some of the most erratic personalities in the league. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee and extremely talented but borderline on the headcase chart. Josh Howard never minces words. Al Thornton is already a little perturbed about his role. And then of course there's John Wall who is supposed to now be the face of the team. Put it all on the court together and you've got an intriguing team to watch .

Plus, any time you can get a good look at one of the future talents in the league as a rookie, it's a must. Don't you wish you could go back and watch LeBron James for 82 games as a rookie? Or Dwyane Wade? Or Kevin Durant? John Wall is almost a guarantee to be great and here's your chance to watch him get started. Here's your chance to watch him evolve and grow. I wouldn't want to miss it.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder - In terms of pure excitement, there probably isn't a more fun team to watch in the league. They're got exceptional athletes. They've got exciting young players. They've got talent. And best of all, they're actually good.

Watching Kevin Durant score is like a Sunday afternoon nap. You're never unsatisfied with what you get. Durant scores in the most boring exciting way possible. It'll be the third quarter and a graphic will flash at the bottom and you'll see a line of 27 points on 10-16 shooting and you'll only remember three of his baskets.

And while Durant scores in the quiet, efficient way, Westbrook scores in the loud, look-over-here way. This team is something you can't miss. Nobody knows how good they can really be and what makes them so fun to watch is that they never take a play off and truly love each other. They play hard and they play together. Nobody is more refreshing.

6. Los Angeles Clippers - Just look at that starting five. It looks pretty good, right? Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Ryan Gomes , Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman - looks nice.

But what makes the Clippers a team I wouldn't want to miss is Griffin. From the small pieces we've gotten in preseason, he's going to provide at least one "WHOA!" moment a night. Whether it's a block, an oop or just a stuff over three defenders, Griffin is always going all out.

Add in the fact that when Davis is locked in, he's as good as any guard out there and the evident emergence of Eric Gordon as a scoring guard and you've got a team that could maybe make some noise. Griffin and Kaman on the inside is as good a looking interior one-two you'll find and the fact they don't get much spotlight in a city that has lights to spare makes them just a little more cool to watch .

The problem with picking the Clippers though is that a month in when two key players are hurt, Baron Davis is already putting on weight and taking quarters off and you realize Vinny Del Negro is the coach, you'll really regret picking them. But it's almost becoming an NBA tradition to be interested in the Clippers in October. The talent is there and they should be fun.

7. Chicago Bulls - The new Bulls era is off to a bit of a rough start with Carlos Boozer breaking his hand because of a gym bag. But this is a team transitioning in a weird way. They're combining their exciting young talent with quality veterans. The Baby Bulls of a few years ago fell apart, but this group is set up to actually compete.

But forget that. Derrick Rose is the only reason you actually need. End to end, he's just about as exciting a player as you're going to get. He just moves differently than other guys. Even a simple thing like a driving layup has another kind of flash, another kind style with Rose.

He may not be there in terms of stepping into the truly elite, but he's a can't-miss player. And with him on a team that's going to be good with players that are also talented, exciting and interesting, the Bulls are definitely a must-watch .

Obviously the two toss-ups on my list are the Clippers and Wizards. Those could be HUGE mistakes come January. Substitute in the Celtics and Magic and you've got a guaranteed solid seven. Or the Spurs and Mavericks. Or the Blazers and Hawks. Or the Jazz and Nuggets.

Or just say screw it and buy the whole League Pass and watch on TV. That's probably a better call. This season is going to just be that good.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 1:28 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 4:22 pm
 

Kobe may not be ready for season opener

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 6, 2010 4:04 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 5:20 pm
 

GMs say Kevin Durant will win the 2010-11 MVP

Posted by Royce Young

The news is Kevin Durant was voted to by 28 of the league's general managers to win the 2010-11 MVP award. That's the news . But the story? The story is how they voted in regards to LeBron James.

The reigning two-time MVP winner only picked up one vote to take home the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. In the 2009 GM survey, James received 79 percent of the vote. This season? One vote. Durant grabbed 67 percent, the highest total. Kobe Bryant received 26 percent and Dwight Howard also got a single vote. But LeBron, the player who won last season's trophy by the largest margin ever, took quite a dive.

Is that perception? Is that based on emotions? Is it about race (that's a joke)? Or do GMs truly not think LeBron will have an MVP caliber season?

What made it such an interesting thing is that LeBron was still voted as the league's best small forward, getting 68 percent of the vote. That's right, perceptive basketball reader, Kevin Durant also plays small forward. And the votes went to KD for MVP, LeBron for best player.

Clearly Durant has leaped over LeBron in terms of popularity because of Durant's slight demeanor, humble attitude and big time summer. LeBron's value to a basketball team hasn't changed. As anyone who watched Miami's first preseason game last night, LeBron is still a wonderful, incredible amazing basketball player. He didn't lose that ability by going to Miami. And the league's GMs didn't think that. They just think he lost his value.

But that's not the only thing that was determined in the vote. A few interesting notes from the survey:
  • The Thunder was named the league's most fun team to watch (52 percent) over the Suns (23 percent).
  • John Wall was picked with 68 percent to win Rookie of the Year. Blake Griffin was runner-up getting 29 percent. Don't forgot DeMarcus Cousins who looked incredibly impressive in his preseason debut.
  • A small surprise here: The Lakers were picked to win the NBA title with 63 percent. The Heat only got 33 percent. The executives think it will be a Heat-Lakers Finals though, with LA picked to win the West (96 percent) and Miami to win the East (70 percent).
  • Kobe got nearly 79 percent of the vote in the "Who do you want taking the last shot?" question.
  • Dwight Howard (96 percent) was voted as the top center. He was also voted the top defensive player (78 percent).
  • Boston was picked as the top defensive team in the league with 75 percent of the vote. Arguably last season's best defensive team, especially in terms of defensive efficiency, the Bobcats, did receive a vote.
Posted on: October 4, 2010 10:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 10:47 am
 

Kobe's knee at only 60% right now

Bryant tells reporter knee is only 60% just three weeks from the start of the season.
Posted by Matt Moore


We're not going to waste your time with recapping the first preseason game of the season. Long story short, lots of reserves, not much of starters, and Michael Beasley looked good. What was relevant came for six minutes and then afterwards. That six minutes was the total amount of time Kobe Bryant spent on the floor. More important was what he said afterword, as reported on Twitter by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com .
Kobe said his knee was "extremely, extremely painful during the NBA Finals." Said he feels better, but is at about "60%" tonight.
  60%. Yikes. We're three weeks from the start of the season and the defending Finals MVP, the best player on the defending champions is 60%. That's got to be concerning, until you realize that the Lakers could literallly lose all of their games for the first month, and then still probably make the playoffs. If any team defines "the switch" outside of Boston, it's LA. Bryant was frustrated and disappointed he couldn't play more tonight , especially with the fans chanting for him, but the knee just couldn't go. It's a testament to his dedication that he wanted to play that much in a preseason game... in Europe. But that's what we've seen from Bryant.

For now, we'll hold off concern, even though being just over 50% three weeks out has to put just a few flags up. This is an important season for the Lakers, obviously, but it may be the most important. It's Phil Jackson's final year, Bryant's knees won't last forever, Gasol's getting older, and the competition keeps getting tougher in the West and out. With Andrew Bynum out till December, it looks like we won't be seeing the Lakers full strength for quite some time. I'm sure their fans are fine with that as long as they're still sterling in May.
Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:11 am
Edited on: October 3, 2010 1:14 am
 

Video: Kobe says he'd beat LeBron one-on-one

Posted by Royce Young

It's a question NBA fans have been asking at bars, around water coolers, in live chats, in comment sections - basically everywhere is what I'm trying to say. Who's better: Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?

And to take that even further as a way to try and settle it, people wonder who would win in a classic game of one-on-one. Everyone has their opinion on both matters. Even Kobe himself does. The good people from Hoopsfix asked and guess who he answered?



Transcribed, Kobe said, "I'd win, I'd win. That's what I do. One-on-one is, that's easy for me, you know. Playing one-on-one is how I grew up playing. It's like, my thing. LeBron is more like a Magic Johnson, he's a great passer and plays an all-around game. At the core of me, I'm a one-on-one player. I'd do that in my sleep."

Well then, debate settled I guess. Now of course someone has to ask LeBron first thing next week and then someone will have to start asking other NBA players their opinion. It's just the way things work.

I do find it a little odd how serious Kobe was with his answer. At first I thought he was kind of being coy and funny with his response. But he was totally confident and serious about it. And hey, when you're Kobe Freaking Bryant and one of the top guards ever, you can be as confident/cocky/arrogant/serious as you want.

Would he beat LeBron one-on-one? My on-the-spot answer is no, because how in the heck could Kobe guard him with no help? For that matter, how could anyone guard LeBron one-on-one with no help? But then again, Kobe is a one-of-a-kind competitor that just doesn't seem to lose whatever the situation. So if I were handicapping this match, I'd say push. Though LeBron just seems to have the upper hand.

(But how about that for an All-Star Weekend event, Mr. Stern? A nice one-on-one tournament to settle this all. Wade vs. Durant. LeBron vs. Kobe. Paul vs. Nash. Like who's not watching that? )

Kobe may think he ended the debate with his no nonsense answer in London but really, he only just started it.

Via SLAM
Category: NBA
Posted on: October 1, 2010 9:30 am
 

Shootaround 10.1.10: BIG

Teams that didn't win big, Philly's bigs need to come up big, and Jefferson just is big, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

So we always debate the best championship teams. But what about the best teams that didn't win a title ? Dime took a look at those squads and added the 08-09 Cavs. It's hard to imagine that team holding up over time as we look back at Mo Williams' and Antawn Jamison's careers. The 2002 Sacramento Kings, though? That was a pretty great team. One objection? The 2007 Dallas Mavericks need to be on that list. Had the Mavericks not drawn the Warriors in the first round, it's hard to see how Cuban wouldn't be coveting his ring.

A Sonics fan tells Kings fans to pray , because the NBA doesn't care. It should be amended, though to "Pray, because the NBA doesn't care as long as you continually vote down measures for new stadiums. I'm not saying you should have to pay for new stadiums. I'm saying as long as you refeuse to, you open yourself up to getting Thunder'd. There's a reason Orlando fans are going to be enjoying the Amway Center this season while Sonics fans enjoy the Seahawks this fall.

A great feature on DeMarcus Cousins and his family history . There's so much talk about Cousins being a problem child, but he hasn't been in trouble since the tenth grade. I've never understood how a kid that hasn't had trouble in four years since he was a young teen is somehow a huge concern. Everyone's going to be regretting passing on Cousins when he and Reke are running the pick and roll for years.

The Daniel Orton era is pointing toward bustville. After being considered a reach to begin with, then getting worked over in Summer League, Orton will miss the entire preseason with a knee injury . Orton needs to spend time in the D-League, but the Magic almost never assign their players, which only increases the odds that Orton will flame out.

Speaking of big man injuries, Tiago Splitter tweaked his right leg yesterday (via Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears).

Sixers president Rod Thorn says their success is dependent on their bigs . Elton Brand is specifically pointed out in the excellent piece by SI's Chris Mannix, but Mareese Speights also needs to stay healthy and take steps into becoming a legit power forward. It's time for him to capitalize on that youthful potential and great per-minute numbers.

Take note of this. It may just be pillow talk. But Eric Spoelstra says that the unselfish play necessary to share the ball for the Heat is already there. That's really relevant for a team with such high usage. You need to be able to operate as an actual functioning offense so that you don't wind up looking like an All-Star team. You know. The kind that winds up with the ball off-court more than Anna Kournikova (remember her?).

International superstar Dirk Nowitzki? He's not so much a fan of the goaltending rule change being proposed .

Kobe's going to get some run in the international exhibition games . Because he's a freak of nature with no "off" button. There isn't another player who if they were at Bryant's level would wnat to play in these games with the injuries he's still recovering from. The man is more driven than any human being alive.

Al Jefferson may have showed up out of shape , but Jerry Sloan a. isn't pointing him out specifically in discussions of players being out of shape and b.) apparently doesn't look like he's out of shape . It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and if he gets off on a bad foot with Jerry Sloan. Patient fatherly figure that he is.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com