Former Orlando Magic player and NBA Analyst Dennis Scott talks with The Starting Point

IMG_0811.JPGBy Stefan Anderson 

I had the opportunity to chop it up with former sharpshooter Dennis Scott during a charity event held in Poughkeepsie,NY for the Teen Resource Activity Center. 

SA: Earlier in your career you played in Orlando, where you witnessed a star leave in Shaq. Oklahoma City is in a similar situation. How do you think they’ll respond after Kevin Durant ?

DS: As a organization, I like what Sam Presti did. He said hey Russ, I don’t want to go through the same thing I went through with KD. Here is the extension if you want to stay. I’ll trade you if you want to leave. Now we have to see what kind of leader Russell Westbrook is going to be. KD missed 57 games last year and Russell had 18 triple-doubles. Does that now translate to wins ? You have Oladipo now, do you make him a better player? Do you make Kanter a better player ? It all depends on how Russell Westbrook leads.

SA: You were a great shooter during your career. In fact, you led the league in 3’s in 1995-1996. Who are some of your favorite shooters to watch today?

DS: It’s been well documented that they call me Uncle Splash. I am really cool with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they are probably my two favorites. I do enjoy Damian Lillard, I like the way he shoots the basketball and I think Paul George is an underrated shooter because he does so many things on the floor. I think the three-ball is used differently now, compared to when it wasn’t used as much as it is now. Every team has at least two or three guys shoot the ball well.

SA: You always played with some great guards in your time, Kenny Anderson during college and Penny Hardaway with the Magic. How would you compare the guards from your era to the guards of today?

DS: The key phrase is mentality. The guards of the 80’s and 90’s goal was to set the team up, run the offense and get your team involved. The guards of today, the Stephs, Kyries , Damian Lillards, the Allen Iversons, I think that today’s guards have the mentality that I can take my man when I want to  and also be a traditional guard and set my teammates up and make them better. That’s why Kyrie and Steph are the best two today.

SA: What are you looking forward to this season ?

DS: How does San Antonio weather the storm, no Tim Duncan? That’s kind of crazy–for the last 20 years we’ve been seeing Timmy and Pop, it’s going to be weird seeing no Timmy and Pop. OKC,that’s an obvious. But I’m really interested in seeing the young guys. Ben Simmons, does he make Philadelphia better ?  Kris Dunn, does he come in and take Ricky Rubio starting point guard position? That a little more intriguing instead of the obvious stuff like guys changing teams. Also, D-Wade in Chicago, how does that play out?

 

 

Love Is Stronger Than Pride

 

By Stefan Anderson

In 1992, when FIBA allowed professional players to participate in the Olympic competition the United States have always decided to assemble the greatest rosters known to man on their Men’s National Team. The United States later seen their fate in the 2004 Olympics, where the roster they put together looked inferior to its international competitors. Ultimately the Men’s national team left Greece with a bronze medal, walking away with an Olympic gold medal for the 3rd time in their illustrious history.

The bronze medal affected the stars of the NBA and brought their attention back to international competition as Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, LeBron James and company all signed to compete in the 2008 Olympics to help “redeem” the United States pride and bring the gold back to their native country.  They did just so and with the opportunity to play along the best competition in the NBA and under legendary Coach K, players are honored to join the national team again.

In a friendly, Blue versus White competition between the USA’s prospects, the attitude for the Men’s national team changes. One of the rising stars and premier players of the NBA, Paul George suffered a tragic injury, shown above.  Not only players, but the brass of each organization are now speculating if they are going to let their star and prized franchise players continue to compete in international games in the future.

George’s injury could be a freak accident and could happen anytime you step on a court; it still makes many conscious about the situation. Mark Cuban, one of the most outspoken people in the NBA, of course has his opinion about what he thinks about international competition and NBA players in it. Cuban takes his jabs at the IOC and NBA by stating “The (International Olympic Committee) is playing the NBA. The IOC is an organization that has been rife with corruption, to the point where a member was accused of trying to fix an Olympic event in Salt Lake. The IOC (pulls in) billions of dollars.”

The Mavericks also went on talk on why he believes there should be a separate World Cup and went on to add “The pros in multiple sports are smart enough to not play when they are eligible free agents. But teams take on huge financial risk so that the IOC committee members can line their pockets. The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money.”

Also, The NBA’s MVP and the proclaimed leader of this summer’s World Cup team, Kevin Durant, withdrew himself from the competition. Stating that he would rather take the time to focus and prepare himself for the upcoming season.

Based on speculation, many believe that the George’s incident can be a cause especially because the injury could taint the young superstar career forever. Also with superstars not willing sacrifice their career for a game that only happens once every 3 to 4 years makes no sense to some. Kobe Bryant never played in international competition until “The Redeem Team” came about so it’s not unusual to see that happen.

All sides have a valid point and make clear arguments but what the Olympic games does for certain superstars are unparalleled because it has a lot more pros then cons. Players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, are great examples of that, when went and played in FIBA world championship games and then returned to the NBA, you seen the great impact on their games it had. Many players on the 2008 team refer to playing with true professional like Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant have shaped their NBA careers in a great direction.

Of course the cons that can happen like injury can happen but it is ultimately apart the NBA and playing basketball in general.  Seeing the greatest athletes compete with and against each other makes a great sight for viewers and gives the players their best chance to succeed as well. So NBA owners and GM’s should continue their star players and franchise players continue to compete and solely leave that reasonability on the players themselves who rave for the opportunity in most cases.