Even before the end of last season, Kings coach Michael Malone spoke often about changing the team’s style of play.
Malone wanted the Kings to play smarter and faster, move the ball and commit more to defense. That’s how the San Antonio Spurs won the 2014 NBA championship.
Through free agency (point guard Darren Collison) and the draft (shooting guard Nik Stauskas), the Kings believe they have taken steps toward those changes while counting on growth and maturity from returning players.
Some of the returnees are being drilled in the new strategy during the NBA Summer League. Saturday, the Kings won their fourth in a row, beating the Chicago Bulls 80-61 at the Thomas & Mack Center to reach the semifinals.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been awarded the contract of guard Kendall Marshall (6-4, 195) on a waiver claim, General Manager John Hammond announced today. Marshall was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers on July 18.
Appearing in 54 games for the Lakers in 2013-14, Marshall, 22, averaged 8.0 points, 8.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per contest. In his best stretch of the season in January, he tallied at least 10 assists and scored at least 10 points in five consecutive games. He ranked fifth in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.18) and shot a career-high 39.9 percent from the 3-point arc. Prior to being called up by the Lakers, Marshall appeared in seven games for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League and averaged 19.4 points, 9.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
Originally drafted by Phoenix with the 13th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, Marshall appeared in 48 games for the Suns as a rookie and averaged 3.0 points, 3.0 assists and 0.9 rebounds per game. Prior to the 2013-14 campaign, Marshall was traded by Phoenix with Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown and Malcom Lee to Washington for Emeka Okafor and a 2014 first round draft pick. Marshall, Brown and Lee were waived by the Wizards on October 28, 2013.
Marshall played two seasons (2010-12) at the University of North Carolina where he teamed with current Bucks forward John Henson. As a sophomore, Marshall averaged 8.1 points, 9.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds and was named AP Third-Team All-America, The Sporting News First-Team All-American and received the Bob Cousy Award as the top collegiate male basketball point guard.
Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on a Kobe Bryant documentary that every basketball fan on the planet is probably going to watch:
Kobe Bryant says he’s “scared” about his future after basketball, although he’s embracing the challenge of finding something that he can be as passionate about as sports.
Bryant turns 36 next month and is under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for two more years. He was limited to just six games last season because of two major leg injuries, leaving him with the kind of idle time he never had before in his career.
Bryant gives a peek into his life in a Showtime documentary airing in November. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” covers much of last season, when Bryant was sidelined and the Lakers finished 27-55, the most losses in club history.
“It’s a fascinating time to be around this guy,” said Gotham Chopra, who directed the film. “There’s this sort of looking forward to life after basketball. This is a guy that’s asking a lot of questions.”
Here’s the Miami Herald pondering the Heat loss of LeBron James in free agency:
We felt rejected and dejected. We felt sorrow and shock. We felt disappointment and loss. We felt appreciation and anger. There was no right way for Heat fans to feel, no easy consensus when LeBron James announced Miami was just a temporary stop on his way back home.
More than a week later, there is still little agreement on what regard South Florida has or should have for LeBron. Some would throw him a parade. Others would throw him under a bus.
Do you feel fortunate for what you had? Or is the feeling closer to betrayal?
James’ departure, amicable on the surface, not so much underneath, was neither simple nor neat.
Is the man who famously took his talents to South Beach now welcome back in the arena he helped light up for four seasons? That will be the Litmus test, won’t it? His welcome back, or lack thereof. The NBA’s 2014-15 regular-season schedule will be released this week, and you’ll circle in red the first time LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town. But are you sure what emotions you will bring?
Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting Scottie Pippen’s reaction to LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen doesn’t know what it’s like to lose in the NBA Finals, but he figures LeBron James learned a lesson in doing just that for a second time in four tries with the Miami Heat.
After judging the slam-dunk championship at the Nike Chi League all-star festivities Saturday, Pippen was asked if he was surprised James left for the Cleveland Cavaliers following Miami’s one-sided loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals.
“I wasn’t surprised, I kind of figured he’d go back [to Cleveland],” Pippen said at Whitney Young High School. “I don’t know if he could hold that team up. I think [Dwyane] Wade’s physical ability had him thinking like, ‘Hey, maybe this is not the place I need to be.’
“It was a great run for them. They weren’t as successful as they thought they would be, but you went to the Finals four times, so you can’t hold your head down too much about that.”
Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting on a young player’s challenges as he adapts to the NBA:
Ian Clark never ran the point guard spot in high school.
He played the position a bit during his senior year at Belmont, but nobody was comparing him to Chris Paul. His one year with the Utah Jazz was defined as a shooting guard.
But if he’s going to have staying power in the NBA, Clark will probably have to do it as a floor leader.
That’s what Clark faced this week at the Las Vegas summer league, proving to the Jazz front office that he can run an offense, and doing so with Trey Burke and Dante Exum spending a lot of their time as point guards as well.
“I just really wanted to show that I have been working on my game, and that I can be a point,” Clark said. “I’ve done things in my workouts this summer in Nashville so that I can get ready for this moment.”