John Wall is that No. 1 pick whose team has never progressed out of the high first round picks around him. How much of that is on him now? It’s a subject we’ve written about at length when we put him on our cover twice in the last year. Today his college coach, John Calipari said it’s not all on Wall — even after conceding that he “must improve” in between the rim and the three-point line — and that a 19-year-old shouldn’t be saddled with “the weight of the world” on his shoulders. It’s not even a task a guy like Anthony Davis could finish, Cal said in a radio interview Friday. This seems to be the season that experts are needing to see a tangible byproduct from the Wizards’ guard, especially because Andray Blatche was the last player from the Gilbert Arenas era the team jettisoned. It’s not just a clean slate, it’s Wall’s undisputed slate, without any ghosts of Arenas past. Time to see if he has the game and the gravitas to pull Washington out of its mediocrity. … If you want to see what $38 billion — with a B — looks like, here’s the Barclays Center ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg ($25B from Forbes) and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov ($13B). Oh yes, they were there because of the court. There were plenty of early looks at the rust-colored palace that Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson built but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of a crowd gets into the games. We hate to bring up the other team in town, the Knicks, but their crowds are legendary at Madison Square Garden. When they’re good, the Knicks are kings of the city. When they’re bad, the fans will make sure you hear it. Can the Nets bring in a rowdy atmosphere outside of the matchups with the Knicks? Let’s hope so. One guy who’s going to be leading the charge is borough president Marty Markowitz, who reportedly called the team the “soon-to-be NBA champs” in his remarks.” Um, ok, Marty. … The best NBA team of the century is — come on you know we’re not going to spoil it. But seriously, the debate about this was expected by us to be pretty heated. The No. 1 team shouldn’t get a lot of friction because it was “WOW” good, especially come playoff time. But how do you feel about KG‘s T-Wolves on there, and our argument that the team was really Sam Cassell‘s? … Denver’s Ty Lawson came out today and was brutally honest in a Dime Q&A. A couple things jumped out at us about it, and one was that he said JaVale McGee, the guy who’s given ample reasons why to think he’s not the most aware guy on the court, is no dummy. Perception isn’t reality, Lawson said, and then he let us in on a scoop: Pamela McGee‘s pride and joy has been killing his Denver teammates in runs this summer with his post moves. Remember that epic 21-point, 14-board Game 5 he had against the Lakers last year in the first round of the playoffs, when he dunked over everyone courtside, except maybe Jack Nicholson? Lawson made it sound like that was the feeling he got watching. Oh, speaking of the Lakers, he’s not impressed by the Lakers’ move with Steve Nash. Not hating on the two-time MVP’s credentials but he just thinks it doesn’t add value on defense. We can’t wait to watch. … Raja Bell still is awaiting his release from Utah, the one promised months ago. If he can bolt, he said he wants to checkout hometown Miami, where there might be reciprocated interest. … Hit the jump to hear about the forgotten part of the Dwight Howard trade …
The Los Angeles Times took an amusing angle of the Dwight Howard trade: Look at the less-interesting part who went with him. Specifically, Chris Duhon was examined as the baggage that came with Howard to Los Angeles from Orlando, and he comes off as a guy who’s been trying his hardest to cover for Howard through this whole process. He said he talked to lots of fans last year to try to sway opinion about the Howard he knew as a teammate. He wants to please everybody, he’s not like this behind closed doors. Duhon’s trying just to get on the team behind Steve Nash and Steve Blake at backup point and, as the paper pointed out, the Lakers didn’t even hold an introductory press conference for him. He believes Howard will be back soon and that he could “play today” if he needed to. We feel kind of bad for Duhon having to explain away Howard’s decisions all last year. … Everybody listen up: Delonte West just hit the mic. Like our friends at Complex wrote, this four-track mixtape is guaranteed to change the music world. Will “Texas I Like It” be filtered in between plays over the speakers at Dallas’ American Airlines Arena? Well Mark Cuban has never been one for convention, so we’d have to hope it gets at least some consideration. … Toronto signed guard Jerel McNeal and forward Chris Wright on Friday, with both of those guys being world travelers the last few years, in Italy and bumping around the D-League and 10-day callups last year, respectively. … The 76ers named Tony DiLeo as its GM. This year will be his 23rd with the team, which is a lifetime in the NBA. If you’re well-versed in your Sixer history, you’ll know he took over in 2008 when Mo Cheeks was fired as head coach, and the team actually went took its first-round series to six games under him. … We’re out like Duhon’s missing press conference.
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