On July 12, 2016, the Atlanta Hawks announced they had signed veteran center Dwight Howard.
“We would like to welcome Dwight, and his family, home to Atlanta and into our Hawks basketball family. We feel Dwight will have a huge impact on both ends of the court with his physical presence and the force he brings to the game,” President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said, per NBA.com.
This is a great move for basketball reasons, but also because it brought a legendary player back home. Howard is from Atlanta, Georgia, and his presence, and cache will spark interest in the Hawks across the United States.
The Hawks are a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, qualifying every year since 2008, but have only one Conference Finals appearance in that time span.
Howard is a player that can change the negative spiral the Hawks find themselves in every spring, which is Atlanta is good in the regular season, but fades away in the playoffs. After all, he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009. And, that Magic squad was one blundered away – Stan Van Gundy’s decision to bring Jameer Nelson back in the starting lineup, which destroyed the rotation – from winning it all.
Howard will strengthen Atlanta’s defense, which was one of the best unit in the NBA, a year ago. According to ESPN.com, the Hawks had the second best defensive efficiency, behind San Antonio, at 98.8. This defense could potentially be the best in the NBA, which could translate to a more successful post-season for Atlanta. After all, defense wins championships.
However, the Hawks are not a good rebounding team, because Al Horford, now in Boston, played out of position during his tenure with the team. Dwight Howard will change that immediately because he plays his natural position. He has a career average of 12.7 rebounds per game, and recorded 613 double-doubles.
According to NBA.com, Howard ranks 13th in NBA history in rebounds per game, 20th in blocks per game, 21st in blocked shots (1,824), and 27th in total rebounds (11,149).
A year ago, Atlanta was horrendous in rebounding, ranking 25th in defensive rebounding behind the Los Angeles Lakers! And dead last in offensive rebounding (30th). Dwight Howard will turn those numbers around.
When you consider that the Hawks are a pretty good shooting team, tied with Toronto for seventh best in the NBA at 55.2 per cent in true shooting percentage. Although their offensive efficiency ranks low (18th in the NBA), they still average over 100 points per 100 possessions (103.0). Atlanta can score; they just need to be more efficient with their offensive possessions.
The knock against Atlanta, in recent years, has been that they don’t have a go-to guy that can win them tough contests; however, with a collection of talents spread around the court, and an immovable pillar below the rim, the Hawks could shoot the lights out of a gym, and Dwight Howard would only have to rebound and execute put-back dunks.
The 2016-17 Atlanta Hawks could look a lot like the 2008-10 Orlando Magic squads that did not have great outside players, but players who collectively could shoot (very) well, and a monster in the middle of the paint.
Atlanta could very well be Dwight Howard’s last stop in the NBA, and with his career on the line, in the town where he was born, could Howard make believers in all of us that he has changed since the ugly on-going battle to leave Orlando in 2012?
The 8th Wonder Of The Celtics
Shimmy shimmy ya, shimmy yam, shimmy yay. Give Kemba Walker, Antoine Walker’s number and he’ll take it away.
Why you shaking that shimmy like that? Sometime between the big three of Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird’s shot and the big-three of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen formed by Paul Pierce (sucks…just kidding), his former dynamic duo partner in the age of Shaq and Kobe, Antoine Walker had a decent one on him from downtown. Which he’d shake and bake before breaking out that signature dance. Stepping out after cutting a rug against his opponent like leaving broken nail patches in that old splintered parquet floor in the garden. As the one/two punch of ‘toine and P-Double really were the truth. I’ll always remember the time these two and the rest of the Celtics led by Horry like (I love Waltah) super microwave sub off the bench Walt McCarty took the Sixers to the statistics with a box score barrage of threes. Even Mark Bryant was getting them (old Mamba). Everyone was shaking the shimmy, like Walker this way. A certified classic Celtics legend.
“And just then, the highway opened up-right at the junction, right at that spot on the highway where you see the skyline of Boston, and you go, “What!?” Because it suddenly goes from trees, woods, and crickets to cars flashing by and skyscrapers and apartment buildings…Just at that moment, I went “Oh, s***, the city!” That’s what Boston boy, Aerosmith legendary lead singer Steven Tyler says about entering (ha, ha) his New England home. And from a guy whose got there from New York on more Peter Pan and Greyhound’s than Tinkerbell and Santa’s Little Helper, trust me the ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ singer is right about this moment of sweet emotion. Try and catch a shot on your smartphones all you like (believe me…I’ve tried and failed), but you won’t want to miss a thing. Now I’m sure Kemba Walker’s journey to the city will be a lot more glamorous than crying whilst binge watch episodes of the latest ‘Stranger Things’ series on a coach trip. But he’ll get plenty of chances to see this skyline envelope him in all its epic, awe and scribe inspiring feats when he rides the team bus.
Because now after Kyrie Irving left the opposite way for no sleep on the drive to Brooklyn with Kevin Durant, the city is Kemba’s after he said goodbye to Charlotte and the Hornets nest.
A little disrespectful of a heartfelt Nike commercial, but then again so is Kyrie ghosting the Celtics like Peter Parker’s Spider-Man did Nick Fury ‘Far From Home’.
In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, “that’s some bull####!”
Kanter’s banter is the off-season Iverson step over of the Summer. And him playing a bunch of Boston kids on the playground full court in his full uniform is the hallmark, heartfelt moment of the year. But keeping the uniform on and sticking with numbers, the new star of the show Kemba Walker hopes to be the new eighth wonder of Boston’s world.
Now although he got legend Antoine Walker’s blessing, I originally believed that Boston should have already raised this to the rafters with a shimmy for their original employee number 8. The biggest wonder of that digit since the Black Mamba in the same ’96 draft class of its own. Even if Kemba hilariously tells us that there wasn’t any other numbers left with the amount of legends that have retired with the NBA’s most storied franchise (Walker’s old 15 obviously being retired for Tom Heinsohn). Up in the banner ceiling with all that dust and Red cigar billowing smoke. But then this writer realized that it was probably just jet-lag after his Beantown trip last week, or the Laker fan in me trying to pick fault with a Boston I love more than most purple and gold (in this garden every Batman need his Joker who he really, truly loves madly, deeply (savage)) talking.
I’m actuality it’s really a beautiful homage. They both have the same last name Martha. Now if Kemba unlike Kyrie makes sure that no one else ever wears this number in a fitting moment they could retire both players together, like their Laker rivals may do with LeBron and AD once the 23 is passed next year, as the King looks to have more jerseys retired in Hollywood than Kobe.
Antoine and Kemba together forever.
Walker this way.
MVP Brandon Clarke dominates, leads Grizzlies to 2019 NBA Summer League Title
Canadian Brandon Clarke, the 21st pick of the 2019 Draft dominated the NBA’s annual summer showcase — becoming the first player to take home both tournament and championship game most valuable player honors with a dominant 15 points, 16 rebounds double-double. The No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies the Minnesota Timberwolves 95-92 to win the 2019 NBA Summer League championship.
The former Gonzaga standout added 4 assists, 3 blocks and a steal in 25 minutes.
In six games of summer league action, Clark averaged 14.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. The Vancouver native shot 55% from the field and becomes the first ever Canadian to win MVP at the NBA Summer League.
Clarke was also named to the first-team all-NBA Summer League team. Other standouts included fellow Canadians Nickeil Alexander-Walker who joined Clarke on the first-team. Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher was named to the second-team.
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