Short class this week, gang. The All-Star Break interrupts an intense Western Conference playoff race, and one of its most entertaining teams just made a key hire, perhaps in a case of too little, too late. Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony seems destined for a shutdown after the break, and the NBA is celebrating the rich history of basketball in New York City. Which borough would you take?
1. The Sacramento Kings announce George Karl as their next head coach, replacing interim Tyrone Corbin: The Kings were really great, and then they were really bad, and now they’re sort of just products of an ultra-competitive Western Conference and the fact that they lost their star player for a significant stretch earlier this season. Mike Malone seemed to have been in control of the Boogie situation until some…creative differences forced him from the job (namely, his refusal to play 4-on-5 defense, among other owner-recommended schemes). Tyrone Corbin took over as the interim coach (and did a pretty decent job), but now Sacramento has handed the reigns to George Karl, who was last seen winning an NBA Coach of the Year Award right before getting fired in Denver. Karl has reportedly been the Kings’ target since Malone’s ousting, and DeMarcus Cousins may or may not already have a problem with his new head coach. Same as it ever was.
2. Carmelo Anthony will probably play his last game of the season on Sunday: Representing one of the hometown teams in the All-Star Game is an honor, regardless of the sport. It goes double for Melo, whose youthful roots extend to Brooklyn. The All-Star Game is meant to be fun, and it will be. That doesn’t change a few facts: Anthony has been struggling with injuries for essentially the entirety of the season, playing for a team which is playing to lose (Let’s hear it for a New York Knicks first-round draft pick! THIS IS LIKE HALLEY’S COMET TO SOME PEOPLE, and maybe more like Hale-Bopp to others [Sorry, Karl Anthony-Towns/Jahlil Okafor]). In recent days, both the team and Anthony have been more open to the idea of shutting down the soon-to-be 31-year-old scoring machine in preparation for what hopes to be a much brighter future. Surely, it can’t get much darker than this.
(The Knicks lose out this season before trading the eventual #1 pick to Cleveland for Mike Miller, who retires).
3. The NBA celebrates New York City, and the New York Post publishes several related listicles: The coolest thing about the All-Star Weekends each year is what the league does to showcase its host city. This year, the NBA’s job is almost unfairly easy. As the home of Madison Square Garden and Holcombe Rucker Park, New York City has long laid its claim as the Mecca of Basketball, and though the city’s representation in the league has dwindled to reflect changes in youth basketball development, the city’s influence remains. As such, the NBA’s campaign has taken the approach of promoting “The City Game,” which brilliantly compartmentalizes the city’s style and, in fact, the styles of each borough. An incredible map of people and places gave way to a web series documenting what New York has meant to basketball. Then, the New York Post issued lists of the city’s greatest players (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, formerly Lou Alcindor, ranked on top) as well as all-borough teams:
Manhattan has the upper hand, what with the greatest scorer in league history as its big man, but New York is and always has been a city of guards. The Bronx would handle the rest of these squads. Represent represent!