Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Jennings’

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 1)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And here we are again. Summer has officially given way to fall, which means many things, but really only means one thing that we care about around these parts: IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR A NEW NBA SEASON.

And when training camps convene around the country, that means it’s time for … wait for it … MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper used to always say that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of MUSCLE. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thaddeus Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

MUSCLEWATCH has truly evolved from when it was Matt and I sitting around our apartment cracking jokes. I thought we’d come a long way a year ago when the official television network of the NBA was running promos for it…

And now actual NBA teams are referencing #MUSCLEWATCH…

.

I feel like we’ve got a movement on our hands. This is a wonderful thing.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday were putting in work. Let’s get into the muscles…

• The biggest story in the NBA this summer was LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But pretty soon after the dust settled from The Announcement, LeBron started posting photos online where he looked drastically thinner than he looked last season.

In an interview this week with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, LeBron talked about his weight loss. (Around the 2:45 mark here.) According to LeBron he’s around 250 pounds — even though he’s been listed at 249 for years — thanks to eating only fish, meat, fruits and vegetables for 67 days. He also said, “I had the Cookie Monster chasing me in my dreams a few times.

We don’t know exactly how much weight LeBron lost or even how much he weighed before, unless someone gets it out of him at Cleveland’s media day, which I’m afraid makes him ineligible to win the MUSCLEWATCH title this season.

Instead, LeBron, in recognition of your efforts, we will give you this GIF of Cookie Monster dancing …

cookiedance

• While we’re talking about the NBA’s bold names, how about Carmelo Anthony slimming down?

Last season Melo was listed at 240, but he has apparently been making better choices when eating, according to this article. No Cookie Monster nightmares that we know about yet, however. YET.

• There were reports earlier this summer that Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings had added 25 pounds of muscle (more…)

Summer MUSCLEWATCH Round-up


VIDEO: Jrue MUSCLEWATCH

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are still a few months until NBA training camps begin, so NBA players still have time to get in the weight room and add 15 pounds of muscle, the amount they always seem to add, and make an appearance on MUSCLEWATCH. Once camps start up we’ll launch our official MUSCLEWATCH 2014, but right now with plenty of guys playing in summer league, we can make an initial check-in and see how MUSCLEWATCH is shaping up.

What, you may be asking, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that out local paper used to always say that players had gained 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of muscle. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay. If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

On to the MUSCLEWATCH…

Anthony Davis is already making a case to be a MUSCLEWATCH winner this season.

• In the video above, AD’s teammate Jrue Holiday talks about adding muscle and strengthening the leg he had surgery on. We don’t get any concrete numbers, but he still has months to go.

• One of the big stories from summer league has been the newly-slimmed Anthony Bennett, who looks much different. According to our man Steve Aschburner, Bennett has lost 15 pounds from his playing weight last season. I also love this quote from Bennett so much: “It wasn’t really that tough. My body is kind of weird. I can gain weight fast, I can lose weight fast. So it was just me maintaining it. Watching what I eat at night.”

• Bulls forward Tony Snell arrived for summer league not only with his braids gone, but with 10 pounds of muscle added. “I’ve been in the weight room a lot and I’m eating right,” Snell said. That’ll do it, Tony.

Victor Oladipo is dropping weight this summer. Might want to slow the pace a bit, Vic, considering we have a few months to go…

• Battling with Anthony Davis for MUSCLEWATCH honors may be Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, who has added 17 pounds(!) since the season ended and has plans to keep going. Do it, Gorgui!

• Finally, Brandon Jennings has some vague weight goals on his mind…

Andre Drummond Channels Bill Russell

Doc Rivers recently said that his starting center DeAndre Jordan carries qualities of legendary center Bill RussellThough 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:


VIDEO: Andre Drummond swats Nando De Colo’s attempt to the running Brandon Jennings

NBA Players Display Multi-Armed Offense, Defense In NBA Store Ad

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here’s the latest spot for NBAStore.com, where you can order all kinds of gear and, if this commercial is correct, team up with your favorite players — such as Brandon Jennings, Chandler Parsons, Carlos Boozer and Andre Iguodala — to create huge mythological figures that apparently make scoring impossible.


VIDEO: New NBA Store Ad

Harden, Bosh Headline All-Lefty Squad


VIDEO: Lefties dominate throughout as Grizzlies cruise past Pistons

At tipoff of the vaunted meeting between Grizzlies and Pistons today, there were six left-handed players at center court.

Michael Conley, Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, and Josh Smith played a part in history. Never before has there ever been this many non-right-handed players to start an NBA game.

OK, maybe that’s not true. But if it has happened, I’ve never seen or heard of it. As a fellow left-handed practitioner, I won’t complain. It’s about time.

So how did the lefties fare? As the 112-84 score indicates, the odd ones in Memphis reigned. The Grizzlies’ southpaw quad — Conley, Ed Davis, Prince, Randolph — combined for 63 of their 112 points. The Pistons’ trio — Jennings, Monroe, Smith — put up 36 of their 84 points. Jennings struggled, scoring four points, but led both teams with 11 assists.

To cap off the seminal clash, Davis gave a lefty send-off to the diminished Detroit crowd:


VIDEO: Ed Davis finishes “lucky” dunk with left hand

Who starts on your 2013-14 All-Lefty team? My starting five: Conley (slight edge over Goran Dragic), James Harden, Manu Ginobili (maybe a stretch to play at the 3, but I’ll chance it), Randolph and Chris Bosh. There are a few to choose from in addition to the names above, including David Lee, DeAndre JordanIsaiah Thomas and Thaddeus Young.

Who starts for you?  

The Next Level Of The Alley-Oop


VIDEO: Check out out the best off-the-glass alley oops

It’s always been thought that if you can make those around you better, everyone wins. And there’s no better way to do that in the NBA than sharing the ball and putting your teammates in position to thrive. À la, the alley-oop.

What we’re starting to see lately in the NBA is an evolution of sorts of that all-to-familiar notion. Sure, Lob City  is always fun. But now that we’re into the new year, it’s all about pushing things forward. And this season, we’ve been bearing witness to some creative two-way hook-ups: backboard alley-oops.

Pistons tandem Brandon Jennings and Andre Drummond kicked things off early in the season with one of the showiest of Showtime plays you’ve probably ever seen on the L.A. hardwood. Not to be outdone, Isaiah Thomas and new Kings high-flyer Derrick Williams brought the Hollywood show to northern Cali with their own backboard rendition.

As they’ve shown before, this is nothing new for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who have taken a keen liking to the glass connection. They’ve pulled it off not once, but twice this season, with the second edition coming in front of a national audience on Christmas Day for all to see.

Is this the start of something big? Only time will tell. But at this point, there’s a new alley-oop sheriff in town and it’s being joined by its newest partner in crime, the backboard.

As always, make sure to check out the Dunk HQ, our rolling countdown of the season’s best jams!

Michael Carter-Williams Is Ballin’ On A Budget

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Making it to the NBA is usually not only the culmination of a lifetime of hard work, it can also be something of a financial jackpot. Which then opens the Pandora’s Box of, How do you deal with becoming rich beyond your wildest dreams, overnight?

The problems with professional athletes holding on to their new-found wealth has been well-documented. But one method for dealing with this seems to be adhering to a strict budget, at least early in your career. There’s an interesting profile of 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams in the Philadelphia Inquirer which not only details his family background, but explains how his family has set up his financial arrangements early on…

Nowadays, Carter-Zegarowski and her best friend, Tracie Tracy, are running his management team. They are taking a proactive approach to make sure he doesn’t spend all his money in a couple of years.

His rookie contract guarantees him $4.5 million over his first two seasons. He could make a total of $10 million if the Sixers pick up the final two seasons of his contract.

But his salary is deposited into a trust he can’t touch for three years. Carter-Williams is living off endorsement deals with Nike and Panini trading cards.

That’s just one of the benefits of having caring parents.

This isn’t exactly a novel concept: Shaquille O’Neal has said repeatedly that he never cashed his NBA checks and instead lived off his endorsement deals. When Brandon Jennings was a rookie in Milwaukee, instead of splurging on a luxury car, he went for a more economical Ford. It may not be the most exciting lifestyle, but in the long run, perhaps it’s the wisest way to go.

Jennings’ Move To The Pistons Should Have Been Pretty Obvious

The Brandon Jennings era in Milwaukee is officially over after he was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Savla Kravtsov on Wednesday. This move surprised a lot of people as many expected Jennings to accept the Bucks one year, $4.5 million qualifying offer to return to Milwaukee for a final season. But this trade should have obviously been in the works for a while if you’d paid attention to Jennings’ clothes and shoes over the recent days and years.

First, Jennings wore a Pistons Bad Boys shirt to the Drew League last weekend. That seems like a pretty clear signal.

Then Jennings released a photo of his new colorway for his shoe line with Under Armour two weeks ago. It looks very Piston-y.

Finally, and most importantly, this picture of a young Jennings in a Grant Hill Pistons jersey should have been enough evidence to predict this trade years ago.

(h/t @SoleCollector)

NBA Style: Spotlight On Trends



By The NBA.com Style Crew –

While many NBA players have brought their unique style to the podium during the 2013 playoffs, some trends have popped up multiple times throughout the first week.

DENIM: This postseason, players have embraced the utilitarian fabric to make bold statements. In the gallery below, Blake Griffin and Raymond Felton wear tailored denim button down shirts, while James Harden has an edgier take with a distressed shirt and plaid vest. Brandon Jennings looks summer-ready with a faded chambray shirt and white ankle pants, while LeBron James mixes it up by pairing a crisp denim button down with a black tie under a shawl collar sweater.

PINK: The color has range. Brandon Jennings spruces up a classic tan blazer with a warm pink button down, and Deron Williams wears the same shade under his gray jacket. For bolder variations, Caron Butler’s pink shirt pops under a gray suit and muted blue tie, while Matt Barnes pairs mauve pants with a black jacket and tie.

Let us know who wore these trends best, and if you could imagine them in your closet, tell us about it on Twitter using the hashtag #NBAStyle…
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NBA Style: First Week Playoff Fashions



By the NBA.com Style Crew

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER Part of the fun of the NBA Playoffs is that everything is amplified, from the intensity to the passion to the very stakes everyone is playing for. it is win or go home, and frankly, win or go home, NBA players want to look as sharp as they can while doing either.

Check out some of the looks these NBA stars put together over the first week of the Playoffs, from the fashion forward styles of guys like Russell Westbrook and James Harden, to LeBron James‘ sweater/blazer combo, to the classic suits on players like Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala. Skinny ties are worn by several players, and dudes like Mike Conley (cardigan) and Harden (plaid vest with a pocket square) displayed popular recent trends. And also, Russell Westbrook wore a leather shirt.

All these players and more are featured in the gallery below. Who wore it best? Give us your thoughts in the comments section, and keep the conversation going on Twitter by using #NBAStyle.