Court Vision: Kobe Bryant says body could handle five more seasons
• The Los Angeles Times reports Kobe Bryant’s latest thoughts on his future.
“I can probably play another five years,” said Bryant to Kevin Frazier on “Connected With…Kobe Bryant,” which aired on Wednesday night via Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
“I’m not saying I’m going to play five years…but physically I could play,” he continued.
The bigger question is “Will he?”
“Right now, no,” said Bryant, who has one more year left on his contract. “It might change but right now, no. It’s too much.”
• SI.com’s Chris Mannix releases his latest Big Board.
• Jonathan Abrams of Grantland with a lengthy piece on Ricky Davis and Lance Stephenson. This is a fairly eye-popping story from Davis.
“[I could] go out hard the night before, then come out the next day and give you 40,” Davis says. “You know why? I came in with Anthony Mason, Derrick Coleman, Eddie Jones. [They would tell rookies] ‘You put the bags up. You better have the condoms. You better meet us.’ That’s what I came into.”
The roguish days of the NBA seem a distant memory, but Davis hasn’t forgotten.
“It was instilled in me,” he says. “Anthony Mason coming in with 50 shots of tequila. This was before they brought the bottles. The waitress coming out with 50 shots and I’m 17, 18 years old. So now when I’m 25, 26, I go out and hang out, kick it. The league changed so fast and so drastically. It was hard to change sometimes. This routine, I’m not used to that.”
• Celtics president Danny Ainge offers a health update on Kevin Garnett to WEEI.
“Well, you know, so first of all, there’s no such thing as 100 percent for anybody, right now,” Ainge said. “But KG, you can see how well he’s moving on the court. Last night, he didn’t have one of his better games on the court, but he was moving very well. You could see him defense laterally and he was rebounding and he was very active. The walking boot is just precautionary. It’s just … some guys keep ice on their legs after every game — sometimes, their legs are sore, sometimes, they’re not. They do it as a precautionary thing.
“The walking boot … he has some inflammation in his foot, so every time he stops playing, he has the walking boot on. He doesn’t wear it all the time, but he just wears it after games to make sure his foot isn’t moving any more than it needs to. So it’s just precautionary right now.”
• Zach Harper of CBSSports.com assesses the Clippers’ postseason chances in light of a bumpy second-half stretch.
The Clippers simply don’t play defense anymore, and they really don’t play it in the clutch. They have the second-best clutch offense in the league (114.1 per 100), which would mean something if they didn’t have the third-worst clutch defense (117.8 per 100). That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. They’re much more likely to blow you out of the water (37-12 in games decided by 10 or more) than win a close game (2-5 in games decided by three or less).
They’ve messed around so long and screwed up their hot start so much that it’s going to take an epic collapse from the Denver Nuggets and staving off the advances of the Memphis Grizzlies to regain the third seed in the West. But they might need to avoid the Nuggets at all costs.
• Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider) with high praise for Avery Bradley and Eric Bledsoe in his All-Defensive Team picks.
Both Bradley, 22, and Bledsoe, 23, look like All-Defensive fixtures for the next decade. The only question is Bradley’s position; he spent this season at point guard but will likely move back to shooting guard next season with the return of a healthy Rajon Rondo. Bradley’s pressure was one of the biggest reasons the Celtics could overcome the loss of Rondo and serves to make life miserable for opposing ball handlers. If Bradley is the league’s best when it comes to applying pressure on the ball, Bledsoe might be No. 2. He ranked third in the NBA in steal rate by creating a turnover on 3.7 percent of the plays he was on the floor. Those steals typically turned into lobs at the other end.
• Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor admits in an interview with the Pioneer Press that his team made a mistake in signing Brandon Roy, who played just five games this season.
PP: Are you concerned with skeptics who feel Roy should not have been signed? He has not played since Nov. 9.
GT: It’s fair criticism … for me and [GM] David [Kahn]. We did take a risk, and it was proven to be a wrong risk. There were other players out there with some experience who we could have gotten, who would have helped us at a position (shooting guard) where we needed help. We’re out of the money this year (approximately $5 million), but based on the contract we have, we don’t have to pay him next year if he doesn’t play.
• Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic with an entertaining interview with Suns center Marcin Gortat.
Question: What things have you started doing to pass the time during your rehabilitation period?
Answer: Clash of Clans (an online strategy game). You build your own village, and you have to protect your resources. Channing [Frye] is the master of that. I just started, so I’m trying to catch up. You have to come up with different things to do to pass time. It’s hard to do. I’m on the 33rd level, but he’s on like the 68th level. I wish to be in his clan, but I can’t be.
• David Thorpe of ESPN.com (Insider) suggests that Anthony Davis can learn a thing or two from Joakim Noah.
But one concern with Davis is his sometimes passionless play. While he’s still effective, part of the job of being a franchise player is to be inspirational. Like Noah. The Bulls’ big man has been inspiring teammates since his college days. His drive to win is unequaled by any player in the NBA today and is reflected in his effort to make winning plays, not necessarily scoring ones. Noah also adds an elite dimension to his game as a brilliant passer; he’s probably one of the top two passing centers in the game.
Davis has the ability to see the floor and make jump shots, and he has a one-dribble attack move from 16 feet. If he could master some of the passing plays Noah routinely uses to help cutters and post players score easily, Davis would elevate his team even more than he’s already doing. And if he could copy Noah’s spirit all game long, too, the Hornets would be quickly moving into playoff contention and beyond.