ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Recently we caught up with Detroit’s Andre Drummond, who was caught on camera getting his groove on. Yesterday, Charlotte’s Lance Stephenson also got funky, although Lance had an idea of what was going on…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks ago, the Detroit Pistons were off to a 5-23 start and things were looking dire. Then the Pistons released Josh Smith, reconfigured their offense, and boom — everything turned around. Today the Pistons have won 9 of their last 10 games and, with a 14-24 record, and are two losses behind Brooklyn for the final playoff spot in the East. There’s still a lot of season left to go, but after that dreadful start the Pistons are now one of the hottest teams in the NBA. And some fans from Detroit Bad Boys put together a pretty cool video celebrating that turnaround…
VIDEO: Pistons back
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond had himself a moment last week. The Pistons were about to host the Hawks in a big game between two teams with winning streaks, and to help promote the game, Drummond was going to do a live hit on a local TV news show. And while he was waiting for the interview to begin, Drummond apparently forgot he was on camera and decided to just get out the jam…
Last night featured the biggest slate of NBA games since April, with 15 teams in action. The usual wonders of athleticism were on display from the usual suspects: James Harden, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, et al. Equally on display were the abnormal number of buckets swished right before end-of-the quarter horns.
Everybody who has put up shots alone has done it. “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …” Launch. In the Bulls-Pistons overtime affair, there were four buzzer-beaters to close a frame. And on and on it went, an endless loop of dramatic finishes, celebrations and dejection.
Another night like this and I don’t know if I can wait another three weeks for opening night.
By Jeff Case
We like Andre Drummond around these parts because he reflects a lot of what the All Ball Blog is all about — fun off the court, a flair for social media and a general sense of not taking oneself too seriously.
A frequent user of Vine, Drummond showed off in his latest video just why NBA players should steer clear of the bowling lanes (bonus points for including Sweet Georgia Brown, there, Andre) …
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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA players traditionally use their summer break to work on parts of their game that can use improving. Last summer we saw Detroit big man Andre Drummond and Nate Robinson employ unique strategies to improve their dribbling, as both practiced dribbling through crowded airports.
Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan appears to have borrowed this tact, and in this Instagram video he tries to perfect his handle as he dribbles up and down the aisles at his local Walmart.
By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Though he is just now in his second season in the NBA, Pistons big man Andre Drummond attended college for one season at the University of Connecticut. If he had stayed in college instead of joining the NBA, Drummond would just now be a junior. So many of his former teammates are still playing for the Huskies.
After playing at Philadelphia on Saturday, the Pistons had a day off on Sunday. Drummond swung by New York City to see his Huskies play in the Elite Eight against Michigan State.
And when UConn won and punched their ticket to the Final Four, Drummond couldn’t resist filming a selfie on the court …
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just as important as any great dunk is the celebration that follows. And we aren’t only talking about the way the dunker himself lets the world know he threw down, but the way his teammates get into the act and celebrate. To that end, let’s take a look at a couple of recent bench celebrations and see which bench celebrated best.
1. Detroit Pistons
A few days ago the Pistons hosted the Atlanta Hawks, and Pistons big man Andre Drummond got a steal and a dunk on Elton Brand. It wasn’t a dunk on as much as it was a dunk around as Brand tried to deliver a foul. Still, Brand went reeling, making it look worse than it probably was. Either way, as it was down the stretch in a close game, the Pistons bench turned in a celebration for the ages.
VIDEO: Drummond dunks on Brand
And how about that Pistons bench? Coaches and players alike went wild, although it’s always hard to top Pistons assistant coach Rasheed Wallace…
2. Golden State Warriors
Last night against the same Pistons team, Golden State’s Klay Thompson dunked on Kyle Singler. Singler’s legs got tangled or went numb or something, and following the dunk Singler did a stiff-legged stumble into the photographers along the baseline.
VIDEO: Thompson On Singler
It’s a bit tougher to see the bench celebration on this one, but even without Kent Bazemore there to lead the way, the Warriors bench knows how to be explosive after a big play. Watch this GIF of the play and see how the bench shows out. (There’s also the great juxtoposition of the bench getting up as Singler goes down.)
Doc Rivers recently said that his starting center DeAndre Jordan carries qualities of legendary center Bill Russell. Though it’s no surprise for coaches to veer into the realm of hyperbole to unlock potential of their players (think of Mark Jackson’s declaration of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson being the best shooting backcourt in NBA history), Rivers isn’t wrong. DJ is springy, he lives on the glass and deters weak and strong forays to the basket alike.
There was another element about Russell. The Lord of the Rings is praised for his ability to turn a block into a turnover, making defense offensive and piling on assists from the defensive end. More than anybody, in the process of altering shots his own way, Russell altered the way practitioners and fans viewed defense on the hardwood.
On Monday night, there were plenty of stout rejections, but it was the Pistons’ young pivot Andre Drummond who demonstrated to a new generation the art of turning a block into a quick two:
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.
In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.
But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.
So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.
To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.
So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!