Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee – Thu, Aug 1 – Ibaka still cookin’

Sympathies for Lin.

‘You can’t plan beyond next year’- Coaching in an NBA where stars call the shots

THE UNMISTAKABLE WAIL of electric guitar prompted Nick Nurse to bound to his feet. The grand finale he’d been waiting on was finally here, and the Toronto Raptors coach waved his arms to the heavens, gleefully swaying to the beat with the rest of the packed house at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.

What Prince fan doesn’t love “Purple Rain”? Although the high priest of pop had died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2016, Nurse was sold on impersonator Jason Tenner, who, on this steamy July 5 evening, felt to him like the real deal. He turned and grinned at Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren, who had toiled alongside Nurse in the G League with the Iowa Energy before joining him in Toronto, where they had just delivered the first title in franchise history.

The two young coaches, still immersed in their championship stupor, bumped fists, then crooned in unison, “I never want to cause you any sorrow … I never want to cause you any pain … I only wanted to see you laughing … in the purple rain.”

It was too loud to hear their phones as the song hit its crescendo, but both Nurse and Bjorkgren had their cells on vibrate. Instinctively, they reached for their pockets, as manufactured purple haze from the Vegas extravaganza swallowed them.

Nurse looked down. The text message simply read, “I’m going home.”

Lakers Announce 2019-20 Coaching Staff | LATF USA

Handy joins the Lakers staff after serving as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors last season, following five seasons in the same role with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2013-18). Overall, he has coached in each of the last five NBA Finals, winning titles with the Raptors and Cavaliers in 2019 and 2016, respectively. A native of San Leandro, Handy returns to the Lakers after spending 2011-13 as an assistant coach.

Murphy Mailbag: Taking stock in the dead of the offseason, depth chart concerns, SummerSlam and more – The Athletic

How realistic do you find the idea of trying to convert Boucher to the PF spot, even though it would be challenging to find him minutes there? I just don’t see him being able to put on the weight to not get forced out by stronger centres. – @ too inappropriate to post

I think it’s certainly worth trying, although I think we need to continue moving away from traditional positional definitions. Boucher might enter the season as the nominal third-string power forward and third-string centre, to where his minutes will come wherever injury or rest or foul trouble necessitate. He’s such an interesting case of skill set and body – especially at an advanced age for a prospect but with so little time actually developing – that I think it’d be shortsighted to box him in to one or the other. No, he probably won’t ever be able to bang with traditional centres and I’m not sure his body will hold much more weight, but his rebounding has always outperformed his size and I’m not sure his shot blocking (by far his biggest defensive asset) will be as effective elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Raptors have enough non-shooters and enough bigs with ball skill that they figure to invert the offence plenty, to where his offensive role is determined by who he’s playing with as much as anything.

Jeremy Lin could never match his remarkable start but he is no NBA failure | Sport | The Guardian

It might feel like Lin’s career has been a failure, but that’s only if you look at it in the context of Linsanity being some sort of repeatable feat rather than an event that was noteworthy because it was so inexplicable. Lin was never going to be an all-time great. All-time great players don’t tend to go undrafted and aren’t thrown into starting roles by teams acting out of sheer desperation. What Lin ended up being was a very good player who has managed to stay in the league for nine seasons despite being completely overlooked at the start of his career. Along the way he has earned $65m on the court, become a role model around the world and, oh yeah, is the first Asian-American player to win an NBA championship. His story remains one of the most remarkable ones in basketball history and not just as a one-season wonder.

Now, you can’t blame Lin for not quite seeing it that way. Sports remain cruel in one respect: players find themselves looking at the end of their careers at ages when most people have barely started theirs. As NBA writer Nate Jones notes, “within the bubble of the NBA fraternity, feeling like your NBA career could be over is devastating if you actually love hoop.” Basketball mortality is a painful thing even for those rare greats who leave on their own terms. And Lin won’t be leaving the NBA on his own terms.

Then again, it’s not quite over yet. If he wants it, Lin will probably get a shot to latch onto another NBA team, although it will be as a veteran player coming off the bench. It wouldn’t be the most glamorous end to a career but, well, that’s also par for the course in this business. One thing’s for certain, he won’t experience anything like Linsanity ever again, but that’s only because nobody else really has either.

Raptor Serge Ibaka used to go hungry, now he’s giving back in Regent Park | CBC News

Ibaka is known for his love of cooking through his Youtube channel ‘How Hungry Are You?’ But his passion for food stems from his personal story growing up in Congo.

“It’s from my past experience, where I come from,” Ibaka said.

“I lost my mom when I was seven, and at some point in my life having food it was like a big deal for me because it was not every day.”

Now he says he wants to give back, and felt what he wants to accomplish with the Serge Ibaka Foundation aligned with what Regent Park Community Food Centre stands for — access to fresh food for everyone.

“I wanted to partner with them because of the way they work and the food they serve for kids,” he said.

The partnership — dubbed Fast Break Meals — included a donation from Ibaka’s foundation to support the centre’s drop-in meal program. The contribution will amount to thousands of free meals for people who need them.

Prior to serving a jerk chicken meal at Taste of Regent Park, Ibaka spent time with kids shooting hoops and encouraging them to chase their dreams.

“One of the most important things I want to see is smiles on kids faces,” said the Raptors centre.

Basketball Africa League announces seven host cities for Inaugural Season

NIKE and Jordan Brand Named as Exclusive Outfitter of The Basketball Africa League (BAL)

DAKAR, Senegal, August 1, 2019/ — Cairo, Dakar, Lagos, Luanda, Rabat and either Monastir or Tunis Selected to Host Regular Season; Kigali to Host First-Ever BAL Final Four and BAL Final; NIKE and Jordan Brand Named as Exclusive Outfitter of BAL

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today announced Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and either Monastir or Tunis (Tunisia) as the host cities where the inaugural BAL regular season will take place and Kigali (Rwanda) as the host city for the first-ever BAL Final Four and BAL Final.

Additionally, the BAL announced NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive outfitter of the new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin play in March 2020.

The announcements were made by BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall during a reception at the Musée des Civilisations Noires in Dakar in the presence of FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bilé, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, along with current and former NBA and WNBA players.

“Today’s announcements mark another important milestone as we head into what will be a historic first season for the Basketball Africa League,” said Fall. “We now have seven great host cities where we will play and our first partnership with a world-class outfitter. We thank our first partners NIKE and Jordan Brand for supporting us on this journey and ensuring our teams have the best uniforms and oncourt products.”

Beginning in March 2020, the six cities will host a regular season that will feature 12 teams divided into two conferences, with each conference playing in three cities. The regular season will see the 12 teams play five games each for a total of 30 games, with the top three teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs. The six playoff teams – the “Super 6” – will play in a round-robin format to determine the four teams that will advance to the BAL Final Four and BAL Final in Kigali, Rwanda in late spring 2020. The BAL Final Four and BAL Final will be single-elimination games.

NIKE and Jordan Brand will outfit the league’s 12 teams with official game uniforms, warmup apparel, socks and practice gear, with six teams featured in NIKE and the other six teams in Jordan Brand. The collaboration with NIKE and Jordan Brand marks the BAL’s first partnership.

The announcement about the NBA and FIBA’s launch of the BAL, which would mark the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America, was made at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The NBA and FIBA also plan to dedicate financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa’s basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment.

Additional details about the BAL will be announced at a later date.

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Raptors superfan Bhatia named national team’s global community ambassador – Sportsnet.ca

Already a staple of Toronto’s basketball community, Nav Bhatia’s love of the game is going global.

The Toronto Raptors superfan — a season-ticket holder since Day 1 of the franchise — was named the Global Community Ambassador for Canada Basketball Wednesday as they prepare to head to China for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“My love for basketball and my country, Canada, which has given me everything I have in life, makes supporting and endorsing our men’s and women’s national team programs all that more special to me,” Bhatia said via a team release. “I have only one goal and that is to see our teams on top of the podium with gold medals around their necks, standing proudly for the world to see.”

Toronto Raptors helped spike Canada’s economy in May, StatsCan says

Canada’s gross domestic product expanded by 0.2 per cent in May, led by predictable sectors such as construction and manufacturing. But the economy also got a bigger-than-usual boost from the Toronto Raptors’ run to the NBA championship.

The economy grew by more than economists were expecting during the month, thanks in small part to a 0.5 per cent jump in the arts and entertainment industry, and a 0.4 per cent bump in accommodation and food services.

NBA Analysis: Tracking how the Raptors can still contend in the Eastern Conference – Raptors HQ

Moreover, Kawhi was an emphatic defensive player for the Raptors. Throughout the season, he produced a 105.0 defensive rating per 100 possessions to coincide with his 119.0 offensive rating per 100 possessions, which leaves him at a plus-14 for the season. The differential is astounding. What’s more, Kawhi ballooned his averages for the playoffs to 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game while retaining nearly identical shooting splits. He also dropped his defensive rating down to 103.0, which left him as a plus-16 for the 24 total games.

Simply put, Kawhi’s machine-like decimation of the opponents throughout the playoffs was beyond imaginable. His ability to navigate the court and choose his offensive spots while maintaining a truly stifling defensive effort was a massive headache for opponents. Furthermore, his cool and calm demeanour kept the Raptors balanced despite having to navigate numerous series deficits in the postseason. Those intangible abilities cannot be tracked like on-court skills, but they are an undeniable necessity regardless.

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