Court Vision: LeBron James then vs. LeBron James now
By Ben Golliver
• LeBron James made his NBA debut for the Cavaliers at 18 years of age on Oct. 29, 2003, against the Kings in Sacramento, tallying 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. On Saturday, James returned to Sacramento with the Heat, finishing with 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds, five steals and two blocks. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? You have no idea. Check out the side-by-side photos from 2003 and 2013 snapped by Rocky Widner, team photographer for the Kings. Via the NBA on Facebook.
• James will soon become the youngest NBA player to reach 20,000 points, besting Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. The Sun-Sentinel has reaction from James and coach Erik Spoelstra.
“It’s more than a number,” James said. “It means I’ve been able to stay healthy, for one. And I’ve been able to, I guess, play at this level at a high level, and been around teammates that allow me to play at a high level, as well. So it is more than number.”
“What’s most notable, probably, about the fact that he’s been able to get to that milestone so quickly is he’s not simply a scorer,” Spoelstra said. “He’s been criticized for that, not necessarily always having a scorer’s mentality. He’s a basketball maestro. And he’ll make the right, necessary play, and oftentimes that’s the extra pass, the hockey assist, the assist. And because of his talent and his ability to continue to get better, he’s one of the best scorers this game has ever seen. But he didn’t come into this league trying to set scoring records.”
• In case you missed itback in December, here’s a look at Bryant becoming the youngest NBA player to score 30,000 points and how James and Thunder forward Kevin Durant are in hot pursuit.
• Cavaliers coach Byron Scott talks up point guard Kyrie Irving to Matt Moore of CBSSports.com.
Byron Scott, head coach, Cleveland Cavaliers: I think it is. I think one thing that he needs to do this summer is call Chris Paul and work out with him.
CBSSports.com: Why’s that?
Scott: Because then he would learn from the best. I know he’s friends with LeBron James. I know Kevin Durant. He needs to work out with some of these guys, some of the biggest stars in this league, and see how they work. I think he’d have a different perspective on what this is all about. I think it would help him tremendously.
But I do think in the next 3-4 years … He and I have talked about this. He has the possibility of being the best point guard in this league.
• Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger reports that Knicks owner Jim Dolan is spying on forward Carmelo Anthony.
For reasons only he can explain — but probably wouldn’t, at least not without an act of Congress — Jim Dolan made a few MSG Network employees perform a surreptitious duty during the Knicks’ game against Chicago on Friday night.
Two audio technicians were stationed at two corners of the court — one a few feet just behind the Knicks bench, the other diagonally opposite — and they were holding those umbrella-shaped contraptions known as parabola microphones, which fed the audio into a DAT recorder on the truck on the loading dock.
These guys had one directive from Dolan: Record every syllable Carmelo Anthony utters and absorbs while he’s on the court and on the bench, the Madison Square Garden CEO ordered them, and send the tape directly to me.
• Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the NBA’s relocation committee has reviewed an outline of “deal points” regarding a Seattle group’s bid to purchase the Kings.
The NBA held a conference call with members of the league’s relocation committee to outline deal points on the proposed sale of majority ownership of the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based ownership group, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The call detailed what NBA officials described as “a non-binding set of deal points” on a $525 million sale of majority ownership to the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group, sources said. Discussions have continued in the past week to push the purchase to toward completion and ultimately clear the way for the franchise to move to Seattle, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
• David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that the sale of the Kings to the Seattle group remains on track, despite reports from Sacramento indicating local investors are interested in purchasing the team.
The Maloofs own the team, and they aren’t interested in selling to anyone interested in keeping the team in Sacramento.
Not Ron Burkle, the billionaire founder of the Yucaipa Companies, who tried to buy the team from the Maloofs two years ago. Not Mark Mastrov, the founder of the 24-Hour Fitness chain, who tried to buy the Warriors in 2010 and said this weekend he’d be up for buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento. The Maloofs have already implemented plans for a cash call to their minority investors to try and raise capital to pay some of their debts, but that’s not going to change their overall intent.
“They’ve got a clean path” to Seattle, one industry source said last week.
• Henry Abbott and Beckley Mason dig deep into head injuries in the NBA.
• Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov candidly tells Fox Sports Florida that it’s “logical” he would be traded this season.
• Kelly Dwyer breaks down the Bulls’ home struggles at Ball Don’t Lie.
For some reason, even without Derrick Rose around, these home games tend to feel like comfortable events. I’m aware I’m dredging my smelt through a cornmeal mix of cliché, but when Chicago goes on the road there appears to be a bit more focus, and a bit more insistence on ruining the favored opponents’ day. This is on the players, completely and fully, but the “rattle your jewelry” work of some United Center attendees doesn’t help, especially on those nationally televised Saturday games on WGN.
Some have suggested that Chicago plays down to its opponents, but that can’t be the case for a team that has blown out lacking teams like Cleveland (twice) and Dallas, while running a 4-0 record against New York and Miami. It’s also been suggested that the Bulls have to play near perfect basketball offensively just to perform competently in that area, and the team’s sub-standard work and pitiful output (29th in points per game at home, topping only those Hornets) would seem to give that credibility.
For whatever reason, the spark isn’t there.
• Celtics guard Rajon Rondo has a funny new SportsCenter spot.