September 18, 2014
Don’t think for a second that players recruiting each other will go away any time soon.
There just isn’t enough hate in the NBA these days.
‘‘Back in the day, a kid who’s in the top 10 or 15 in Seattle, you might see him once a year and hate his guts and want to kill him on the court because he was a top-ranked player, maybe ahead of you,’’ Bulls 16-year veteran Nazr Mohammed said. ‘‘You have that animosity where you wanted to outplay him, and that stays with you as you come up and throughout your career.
‘‘AAU, social media, that’s all gone. Basketball on a high school level has just meshed all these kids from all over the country, especially with social media, so playing with each other at this level is no big deal. There’s no longer that dislike.’’
Plus, as the Miami Heat has shown, players taking control and making decisions works.
‘‘Ultimately, it’s good for the league,’’ Mohammed said. ‘‘You’ve got guys that like each other, want to play with each other. Why not? The collective-bargaining agreement is going to settle some of it because either guys are going to take huge pay cuts to play with their best friends or you can’t do it because of the CBA.’’
Player of the week
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors guard: Anyone expecting the Raptors to fade down the stretch is getting a serious dose of reality. They can hold on to the No. 3 seed, and they have DeRozan to thank for it. He entered play Friday averaging 32 points in his last three games.
Team of the week
Bulls: There have been very few slip-ups for the Bulls since Feb. 9. It’s test time on the schedule, though.
The big five
1. Heat, 2. Indiana Pacers, 3. Oklahoma City Thunder, 4. San Antonio Spurs, 5. Houston Rockets.
Awful for Andrew
The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Milwaukee Bucks, 2. Philadelphia 76ers, 3. Orlando Magic.
60 The Charlotte Bobcats became the third team to allow two players to score 60 or more points against them in a season. The 1960-61 and 1961-62 New York Knicks were the other two.
Two to watch
Spurs at Bulls, 7 p.m. Tuesday: It’s getting to the point where it’s time to whip the horse and see how it runs. Big measuring-stick game for the Bulls.
Brooklyn Nets at Heat, 6 p.m. Wednesday: Is it the best game of the week? Absolutely not. Is it the one filled with the most hate? Likely. These teams don’t like each other.