Like with every long season, we have reach the midway point of the NBA season with All-Star weekend. While there are some players who will partake in the many events (i.e. Rising Stars game, All-Star Game, Dunk Content), most view this time as a minor break during a long season and will take the next few days to relax, regroup, and refocus for that second half push to the playoffs. Even so as things are slowing down, there’s been quiet a buzz in the NBA landscape.
Fisher Out of New York
So far this season, things have not been so hot for NBA coaches this year. Already there have been 3 firings in just the first month and a half into 2016. Then this past Monday, the total got raided up to 4 as the New York Knickerbockers decided to part ways with their head coach, Derek Fisher.
Fisher was hired by team president Phil Jackson back on June 10, 2014, after the team had fired the previous coach Mike Woodson. Brought in due to his past relationship with Jackson (former player and assistant coach), Fisher looked to install the triangle offense within the Knicks. However things didn’t go as plan. In his rookie season, the Knicks went a franchise worse 17-65 (.207). During the 2015-16 season, Fisher guided the team to a 22-22 before the team lost 9 of its last 10 games to fall to 23-31 prior to his firing.
In his year and a half with the Knicks, Fisher finished 40-96 (.294) with no playoff appearances. Taking over the Knicks’ head coaching job on an interim basis is assistant head coach Kurt Rambis, another former Phil Jackson assistant coach.
Just a couple of weeks ago, it was discovered that Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin got into an altercation with a team staff member back on January 23, during an away visit in Toronto, Canada, as the team played the Toronto Raptors. It then came out later that Griffin had broken his shooting hand during the altercation and was going to miss 4-6 weeks.
This past, the team had announced that after his hand has healed and he’s healthy and been cleared to play, Blake Griffin will be suspended for 4 games without pay as well as dock him a game check after his suspension. Griffin’s decision to get into that altercation will cost him $859,442 of his season salary ($18,907,725).
A team spokesperson said that the team’s punishment was on their accord and that the NBA had assisted in the investigation and the disciplinary action and that there will be no additional punishment from the league office. The team also announced that it will donate Griffin’s fine total to local charities that help disadvantaged youths in the city.
Pistons Retire Billups’s Jersey
For a player, one of the greatest honors to have is for a team to retire your jersey number. It means that you were a significant part to that team and they have the utmost respect for you. Last Wednesday, the Detroit Pistons bestowed that honor to one of its former players, Chauncey Billups.
During his 17-year seasons in the NBA, Billups spent 8 of those seasons with Detroit. He first signed with the team before the 2002 NBA season as a free agent point guard coming over from the Minnesota Timberwolves (terms of the contract were 6-years, $35 million). He then spent 8 seasons with the Pistons before getting traded the Denver Nuggets (Billups is a native of Denver) after two games in the 2008-09 NBA season.
During his tenure with the Pistons, Billups started 470 out of 482 games with the team. He averaged 16.5 points per game, 6.2 assists per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, and 1.0 steals per game. Billups’ Piston career field goal shooting percentage was .422 (2357-of-5583), including 3-point shooting percentage of .397 (890-of-2240), and had a free throw percentage of .892 (2336-of-2620).
He was named to the NBA All-Star Team 3 times (2005-2008), All-NBA Second Team (2006), All NBA Third Team (2007), and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team twice (2005-2006). Billups also went to the NBA Finals twice (2004, 2005), winning the 2004 NBA finals in five games and being named the MVP.
On hand with Billups for the ceremony at the Palace in Auburn Hills, were his former Piston teammates Ben Wallace, Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshuan Prince, and Pistons great, point guard Isiah Thomas.
NBA Unveils New Social Media for All-Star Voting
As you may know, it’s All-Star weekend. With the actual All-Star game taking place this Sunday night, the NBA decided to break new grounds in social media this past Thursday. Beginning at the start of the fourth quarter, fans can register MVP votes during a 30-minute allotted window via Twitter. Fans on twitter would need to use the hashtag #KiaAllStarMVP and the hashtag of one of names from the 24 All-Stars appearing in the game (i.e. #IsaiahThomas, #StephenCurry, #CarmeloAnthony).
At the same time, the NBA has also revealed emojis of the participating All-Star players as well. Each player has their own special emoji. For example, by typing in #KobeBryant, you will see a black mamba emoji (in reference to Kobe’ nickname the Black Mamba). Other emojis include a king’s crown with the Cavaliers logo for #LeBronJames, James Harden’s facial hair for #JamesHarden, and a flaming No. 3 for #DwayneWade.
Fans can use these emojis now through Monday, Feburary 15.
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