The Warriors were prepping for the incoming Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday when Andre Iguodala “suggested” a subtle change of strategy.
The plan was for Klay Thompson, emerging as an elite defender, to guard Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, who is a handful. But with Stephen Curry out of action with a concussion, Thompson’s scoring would be more important than usual, so …
“Andre wanted to take the pressure off Klay from having to chase Mike Conley, knowing that we’re going to need Klay’s offense,” head coach Mark Jackson said before Wednesday’s game. “Andre made his way toward the guy who was pretending to be Mike Conley, and suggested (the switch). It sounded good to me.”
Iguodala thinks of stuff like that all the time, and Thompson really appreciates the thought.
Thompson relishes defensive challenges, but that dirty work has to take something away from his offense. I asked him if he ever wishes he could take a night off as defensive demon and concentrate on scoring.
“That’s what Andre helps me with so much,” Thompson said. “If he sees me gassed, (he’ll trade defensive assignments) for a few possessions. He’s a great teammate and a very smart basketball player.”
That will be a recurring theme this season, Iguodala as handyman helper, but this column is about Thompson. Iguodala is a factor in Thompson’s improvement this season — he’s playing a notch above last season and about four notches above his rookie season — but there are other factors.
–Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle
It is possible that I did attend some classes as a sixth-grader back in Ohio. But I have no memory of that. The playground is what I remember.
The playground was where epic basketball games unfolded. The playground was where arguments raged over the Cleveland Browns’ wins or losses. The playground was where sixth-grade girls gazed at us from “their” side of the asphalt as we pretended to act cool.
And the playground was where I heard that President Kennedy had been shot and killed.
Fifty years on, I still shake my head at the notion that a fifth-grader — a fifth-grader! — had to break the news to me. That Friday afternoon, Kennedy’s death in Dallas was announced about 45 minutes before school ended. Teachers were informed and given an option whether to inform their students. The fifth-grade teacher had told her kids. The sixth-grade teacher had not. When I hit the playground after dismissal for the weekend, a fifth-grader came up and said the president had been gunned down.
“I don’t believe you,” I said.
“Go home and see,” he answered.
My house was just a few blocks away. Opening the front door, I found my mom on her knees in the living room beside the couch. She was saying a rosary. She was in tears. So I knew it was true.
I don’t think this is a unique story. Millions of people in my age bracket have similar ones. Those are indelible memories. Yet here is what an 11-year-old kid could not have realized at the time, not knowing his future profession: Kennedy’s assassination would forever affect the sports world’s approach to such national tragedies. Over the years, I’ve continued to draw upon it as a resource when someone offers up the misguided opinion that it’s wrong to cancel games because we need the entertainment more than the reflection.
I recall so much about that weekend in 1963. I recall the television constantly humming, a sorrowful drone. I recall adults talking softly. I recall the speeches by Lyndon Johnson, the new president. I recall the creepy face of Lee Harvey Oswald as cops dragged him in front of the cameras. I recall the flag-draped casket in the rotunda.
What I do not recall is being deliriously happy that the Browns and other National Football League teams still played games that Sunday. I just thought it was kind of strange, even as a grade school kid. There was no big public debate about it, even. Pete Rozelle, then the NFL commissioner, said he had called someone he knew at the White House and announced that the schedule would proceed as usual.
– Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
While his counterpart in San Francisco has ranged from mum to prickly on the matter, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on Wednesday offered reasons why a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick might encounter growing pains in his second season as a starter.
“I think the quarterback position is growth,” Shanahan said of Kaepernick, his opponent, during a conference call. “And you can see what a great arm he has and what great speed he has. I don’t know him, but he seems like a great guy and a natural leader. It just takes awhile. Every year is a learning experience.”
Shanahan is well-versed on the topic this year after fielding similar questions about his own second-year starter, Robert Griffin III. Like Kaepernick, Griffin has struggled after a sensational 2012 debut.
Griffin led the Redskins to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, finished with a 102.4 passer rating and scored seven rushing touchdowns. This year, Washington is 3-7, Griffin’s passer rating has dropped to 83.6 and, following an offseason in which two knee ligaments were surgically repaired, he has yet to run for a touchdown.
Shanahan said all quarterbacks, particularly passers like Griffin and Kaepernick who played in wide-open systems in college, must work through obstacles in the NFL. He said drop-back passing has been a particular challenge for quarterbacks accustomed to working out of the shotgun formation.
–Matthew Barrows, Sacramento Bee