James Harden has a cringe-worthy terrible defense lowlight video

James HardenFew will dispute that James Harden is one of the most explosive and talented offensive guards in the NBA, but we also acknowledge that he leaves a lot to be desired defensively. To cement that point, someone created a defensive lowlights video featuring some of Harden’s worst defensive moments from the season.

In nearly every clip, you see Harden just completely losing his man on defense, which allows the opponent to get an easy bucket. Either that, or he’s just making a casual defensive stop attempt. It’s like bro, put a little effort in on the defensive end. I mean even if it’s just for show.

Yikes. As great as Harden is on the offensive end, his defense is so bad it really keeps him from being a complete overall player.

Also see: Evolution of James Harden’s beard in pictures

H/T Next Impulse Sports

OKC Thunder won’t sell playoff tickets to Tennessee residents

Thunder tickets

The Oklahoma City Thunder are doing their best to achieve a homecourt advantage during the NBA playoffs. To that end, they are limiting ticket sales during the playoffs to residents of Oklahoma and a few neighboring states.

Those attempting to purchase playoff tickets for Thunder home games are met with the following note:

Thunder tickets note

All Sales are INTERNET Only. *** VERY IMPORTANT !! *** Sales to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2014 Home Playoff Games at Chesapeake Energy Arena, will be restricted to residents of Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Residency will be based on credit card billing address. Orders by residents outside of this area will be canceled without notice and refunds given. **PLEASE NOTE: This restriction does not apply to resale tickets.

That’s bad news for any Memphis Grizzlies fans living in Tennessee who want to purchase tickets for the first-round playoff series between the teams at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

It also seems like the Thunder are one of the only NBA teams using this practice. A check of the Grizzlies, Heat, Hawks, Nets, Pacers and Rockets websites shows that none of those teams are employing a similar practice.

This seems like pretty concrete proof that the Thunder are placing playoff success above everything else, and we love it. They realize that having a good home environment increases the chances of winning, which in turn increases the chances of overall success for the franchise. Nice going, OKC.

H/T Chris Vernon

Steve Kerr expects to be offered Knicks coaching job, would accept

Steve KerrFormer Chicago Bulls sharpshooter and current TNT analyst Steve Kerr expects to be offered the New York Knicks coaching job and would accept the position, according to a report.

The New York Post says Kerr has emerged as a top candidate for the position because of his ties to new team president Phil Jackson, who was his coach with the Bulls. The Post says Kerr has gone so far as to talk with his Turner Sports bosses about adjusting his schedule in case he is named coach.

Kerr and Jackson are said to have remained close over the years, and Kerr’s knowledge of the triangle offense — Jackson’s preferred offensive system — is said to be a plus, even if Kerr does not have coaching experience. The success of Mark Jackson with the Warriors and relative success of Jason Kidd with the Nets has shown that previous coaching experience is not needed for all coaches.

Mike Woodson just completed his second season as the head coach of the Knicks. He led the team to 54-28 season in his debut and the team lost in the second round of the playoffs. This season was a disaster — the team went 37-45 and missed the playoffs despite expectations that they would have similar success to last season. He is expected to be fired.

Blake Griffin won’t respond to Klay Thompson’s flopping comments

Blake GriffinThe Clippers and Golden State Warriors have engaged in one of the better NBA rivalries in recent years. Not only have they been two of the better teams in the Western Conference the last few seasons, but they always seem to mix it up when they play, which makes their upcoming first-round playoff series even more intriguing.

The teams fought during and after a game in December. Earlier in the season, the Clippers refused to hold chapel with the Dubs.

Much like when he plays the Thunder, Blake Griffin seems to be in the middle of physical play against the Warriors. And he might have some extra hate towards them after they clowned him for missing a 3-pointer last season.

Things were stirred again this week when Golden State’s Klay Thompson called out Griffin for flopping during a radio interview Wednesday.

“He is a good guy off the court but he probably just … I mean … plays pretty physical and flops a little bit,” Thompson said on The Wheelhouse on 95.7 The Game radio in San Francisco.

“He flairs his arm around so you know you might catch a random elbow or something that doesn’t you know rub off too well on guys,” Thompson said of Griffin. “He’s kind of like a bull in a china shop, kind of out of control sometimes. And then you do just see him flop sometimes like how can a guy that big and strong flop that much.

“I can see how that gets under people’s skin and be frustrating to play against.”

Blake has long had a reputation for being a flopper, though other guys like Karl Malone think Griffin is just a victim of a bunch of cheap shots because he’s so big and so good.

Blake has been made aware of Thompson’s comments, but he’s not biting.

ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne says Griffin refused to engaged in a verbal war when asked about the comments Thursday.

“This isn’t my thing. I play basketball. I don’t want to get into back and forth,” Griffin said, per Shelburne.

That’s probably smart of him. He’ll have plenty of time to do his talking on the court in what should be a great series that begins on Saturday.

Below is Thompson’s interview with The Game. The comments come in the final minute when Thompson was asked what about Blake ticks off opponents:

[Read more...]

Jeff Van Gundy picking Rockets to win NBA title

Dwight Howard RocketsAnyone who has listened to Jeff Van Gundy call NBA games for ABC/ESPN this season or heard him providing analysis on the radio knows that the former Houston Rockets coach is a big backer of his former team.

Van Gundy has long supported Dwight Howard as a defensive stalwart and has believed in the Rockets all season long. He stood by them even when they had some struggles early in the season. So it’s not too much of a surprise to hear that JVG is picking the Rockets to win the NBA championship.

“I’m going to pick the Western Conference winner, and I’m going to stick with Houston,” Van Gundy said during a conference call, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“They play fast, they score easily, and they have a talent in James Harden who is as hard to guard as anybody not named Kevin Durant or LeBron James,” Van Gundy said. “They have a center (Dwight Howard) who gives them a force in the paint, who can rebound, and then they have one of the best competitors in (point guard Patrick) Beverley; I just love his mentality in attacking each and every opponent. I think Houston has as good a chance as anyone to come out of the West.”

The Rockets are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and face Portland in the first round. If they’re lucky enough to advance, the road will be tough; they wouldn’t have home court against the Spurs, Thunder or Clippers. But that’s not stopping JVG from sticking with Houston.

“I really do believe the Western Conference winner will win it, and I have to stick with who I think will win the West. You could convince me about San Antonio and Oklahoma City and the Clippers as well, because all of them are really good.”

Even if Houston is not the team to win it all, this is pretty noteworthy because Van Gundy thinks the Miami Heat will be unseated as champs. The Heat are looking for their fourth straight Finals appearance and third straight title. Accomplishing both goals would be extremely difficult and impressive.

Jabari Parker will enter NBA draft

jabari-parker-dukeJabari Parker has decided to give up his final three years of eligibility at Duke and enter the NBA draft. The 19-year-old consensus first-team All-American announced his decision on Thursday in a column he wrote for Sports Illustrated.

“On Tuesday I thanked Coach K for preparing me to become a professional,” Parker wrote. “I expressed my appreciation to him for helping me grow so much as a person and a basketball player. And he reminded me how successful a season it was for our team and me personally. I told him that he is always going to be my coach. But the time has come for me to join the best basketball league in the world.”

Parker averaged 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his freshman season with the Blue Devils. He had one of his worst games of the season in an upset loss to Mercer in the NCAA Tournament, but he is still expected to be a lottery pick. He said the difficult decision ultimately came down to how short an NBA career can be.

“My father, Sonny, played in the NBA. I know firsthand that the career span of a pro basketball player is finite,” Parker said. “The lucky ones play until their mid-30s. With that perspective, I shrink my professional career with each year that I remain in college. It’s ironic, but true.”

After Duke’s season came to a disappointing end, many speculated that Parker might return to play another season under Coach K. As Seth Davis put it during his interview with Larry Brown Sports earlier this month, there are worse things than being a sophomore in college.

With a 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame, Parker has a great NBA body. There’s no reason to believe he won’t thrive with a bit of fine-tuning.

Nick Young says what he’ll do to Iggy Azalea ‘shouldn’t be legal,’ possibly leaks Mike D’Antoni’s firing

Nick-Young-drunkThe NBA regular season has ended, and the Los Angeles Lakers are not in the playoffs. That means it’s party time for Nick Young. On Wednesday night, TMZ caught up with Young and it appeared as though he had just enjoyed several cocktails. He was heading home with his girlfriend Iggy Azalea, and all indications were that s— was about to get weird.

The interview started out fantastically when Young was asked about people saying Pau Gasol should have addressed the fans before the Lakers’ last home game instead of him.

“I am the star,” Young said. “I’m Swaggy P.”

He then turned the discussion to Azalea.

“You see what I’m going in this car with?” Swaggy P asked. “What I’m gonna do with this shouldn’t be legal.”

And before he got in the car and drove away, TMZ’s reporter was able to ask one more basketball question. He asked Young what he thinks about people calling for Mike D’Antoni’s job.

“Damn man, that’s a shame what happened to D’Antoni,” Young said.

Granted, Young appeared to be completely wasted. He might have just been saying D’Antoni has been put in a bad situation, but he spoke in the past tense and made it sound like D’Antoni is out. Of course, that wouldn’t surprise anyone.

All in all, we give Swaggy P’s interview an enthusiastic A+.