We won't do a full update and make Tri-Stars roster changes — a.k.a. the Viking funeral for Bargs — until the beginning of next month, but because sports news is a little heavy this week, it feels like the right time to look to the People's Dream Team to brighten the spirits. A few highlights from the first full of week of regular-season hoops.
Compiling the Triangle NBA All-Stars offers a way for us to celebrate the players we love way too much. You can see the other entries in the series here. Check out the latest additions, Nick Young and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, below.
Swaggy Motherfucking P
If you don't enjoy Nick Young, you need to step back and take a look at your life. Ask yourself where it all went wrong. Really, seriously. You are not a basketball coach. There is no reason to not love Nick Young. Get off your high horse and jump on top of a camel.
In case you haven't been following the Drew League the past few weeks — and really, what else could you have been doing? — the Money Gang is the Drew League superteam assembled by rapper The Game, and all summer long they've been dominating. But the playoffs began this weekend, and the Money Gang didn't even last through the first round. And we have highlights.
At the famous Los Angeles summer basketball Drew League (which you can read all about here), the stars come out to play. Mixed in with D-League upstarts and playground legends, you get some highly recognizable NBA names and faces of the recent past and present. Below, check out some videos of high-wattage stars like James Harden, Nick Young, and Gilbert Arenas. Yes, Gilbert Arenas. If you missed the previous Grantland Channel Drew League Extravaganza, you can check out DeMar DeRozan and the gang here. Peep the videos below.
This past weekend, Grantland went to the Drew League. You can read all about the most storied summer league in L.A. in Andrew Sharp's report. Suffice it to say, the sight of Gilbert Arenas and Nick Young playing on the same team, Baron Davis holding court on the court, and West Coast rap icon The Game throwing alley-oops to James Harden melted his mind. Now it's time to melt yours with these Grantland Channel videos from Sunday's action.
Trying to win an NBA championship is so 2012. And this trend is a good thing — most teams are starting to realize that as long as LeBron James draws breath, the playoffs aren’t going to do much except delay their summer vacations for a few weeks.
This is good news for fans of franchises that don’t view being a human sacrifice in the first round of the playoffs as progress. It’s terrible news for the kind of free agent that would usually capitalize on said franchises’ tendency to overpay for a quick fix just to show they’re "trying." In other words, someone whose contract suggests “franchise centerpiece,” but in two or so years will scream “franchise albatross.” In other words, everyone who isn’t Dwight Howard or Chris Paul.
Or so we thought. Al Jefferson got three years and $41 million to be the best player in Bobcats franchise history. Atlanta will pay Kyle Korver $6 million solely to shoot 3s, which is slightly less ridiculous than the similarly sixth-seed-bound Timberwolves paying $7 million a year for Kevin Martin to do the same. I know it’s Milwaukee and all, but in Zaza Pachulia and O.J. Mayo ... It was business as usual.
Which is a shame, since we missed out on what could’ve been a banner year for low-level free-agent collusion. Wouldn’t it have been way more more fun if savvy players took advantage of the fact that most NBA teams already started “rebuilding” for the 2014 draft by preemptively tanking the 2013-14 season? You gotta put somebody on the floor, and if you can’t get a Wade-James-Bosh “Big Three,” you can get a colorfully named package deal all the same that’ll ensure your team misses out on the Andrew Wiggins lottery only by accident. Here are some Avengers that we wish would have been assembled, along with ready-made nicknames. Look at what could have been, Jazz fans.
A lost season hit its low point last night in Philadelphia, when an Orlando team that is now 4-28 in its last 32 games blew out the Sixers, resulting in a postgame borderline meltdown from Doug Collins. Over an excruciating 10 minutes, Collins did the following:
• Passed the buck for Philly’s awful game almost totally onto the players, saying he’s only in charge of “execution,” while implying the players are responsible for everything else. That includes “effort,” Collins said. And more: “I did not think our guys prepared themselves during the [All-Star] break to come back and play.”
• Went out of his way to specifically mention that Nikola Vucevic grabbed 19 rebounds, while Spencer Hawes snagged just one in 21 minutes. In related news: Vucevic was a member of the Sixers last season, and he was even in the rotation before Collins tossed him through the always-revolving turnstile that leads to Collins’s doghouse. Vucevic played less than three minutes total in Philly’s 13 playoff games. The Sixers’ front office, acting to a large extent under Collins’s directive, traded Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Andre Iguodala, and a future first-round pick away in the Andrew Bynum deal.
On November 4, in New York, the Sixers lost to the Knicks, 100-84. Nick Young played 32 minutes, scored five points on 2-10 shooting, and had a plus/minus of -29. Minus. Twenty-nine. That’s when it hit me: This is happening. Nick Young isn’t on Twitter or in photos or video lowlights. He’s on the Sixers. He’s a Sixer. He is part of my life now, and like a ghost that haunts your apartment, you need to make peace with these things. So, I decided to live-blog the Sixers game against New Orleans last night. I fully anticipate this to read like a Sullivan Ballou letter from Ken Burns’s The Civil War. Spoiler: That guy dies. Cue up “Ashokan Farewell.” Let’s go.
After the Clippers' win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, Chris Paul asked Nick Young and Nick Young's shirt to accompany him to the postgame press conference and hang until Blake Griffin was done primping. Swaggy P listened, sat in Blake's seat, and proceeded to let the star of this show, his shirt, provide laughs for Chris, the reporters, and anyone with an Internet connection.
Ivan Johnson and Nick Young. Two of the most interesting players in our beloved National Basketball Association, less because of their abilities and skills and more because it's fun to imagine what goes on in their heads while they do puzzling things.
I've long been thinking that these two men needed to have a formal meeting. Thank goodness for Tuesday night.
I have been staring at Nick Young's box score, on and off, for the last couple of hours. Numbers are supposed to help us understand players, their performances, and their contributions and deficiencies. But to look at Nick Young's stats from the Clippers' Monday-night victory over the Thunder and say, simply, that he had zero assists, would be like saying Jack Kerouac's On the Road is a story about a guy who needs a lift. There's so much more to it than that.
Young was "wandering through the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in a leather jacket, baseball cap, flip-flops and socks" when he came across the ceremony. Members of the wedding party recognized Young, and he was invited in. The DJ then announced his presence and he gave an impromptu toast. "I just said, ‘Congratulations to the bride and groom,’ I didn’t know nobody," Young said. "I went in there and gave a speech. I was a wedding crasher. Will Ferrell. I didn’t have nothing else to do."