There's a fun read on former Sixer Kyle Korver by Zach Lowe on Grantland today that is great if you enjoy learning about how a guy can go from a mediocre player known for his long hair* and poor defense to one of the most lethal shooters in the game.
One of the more humorous anecdotes is how the Nets traded him to Philly immediately after drafting him in the second round.
With none of their preferred choices on the board, the Nets brass selected Creighton forward Kyle Korver with the 51st pick — and immediately sold his draft rights to the Sixers for $125,000. That covered summer league. With the leftover cash, the Nets bought a new copy machine.
Imagine the Brooklyn Nets with their Russian billionaire money pulling such a move for a copy machine now.
Also of interest to the Philly hoops crowd is the stark contrast between former head coaches Randy Ayers and Jim O'Brien (God, remember how many coaches we had?).
It’s a telling contrast with Korver’s first season in Philly, when Randy Ayers, the team’s head coach, pushed Korver away from the 3-point arc. Ayers wanted his rookie to develop a midrange game and attack the basket before launching triples.
That changed when Philly fired Ayers and hired Jim O’Brien, late of the Celtics, before Korver’s second season in 2004-05. In the team’s very first practice, Allen Iverson ran a two-on-one fast break with Korver filling the wing. Iverson dished to Korver behind the 3-point arc. Korver took two dribbles, nailed a 17-footer, and waited for the applause.
O’Brien was livid. He screamed for Korver to look down at the 3-point line. O’Brien told him that if Korver ever passed up another open 3-pointer, he would remove him from the game. Korver remembers one thought flying through his head during O’Brien’s tirade: This is awesome.
Korver didn't work out in Philly and was never really loved or hated here. Probably because those teams he played for were so nondescript.
But if you're interested in how a guy can work hard, transform his game, and find ways for his team to adapt to exploit his unique skills, the profile is a must read.
*remember how excited people got about his dumb bobblehead?