Enter the Warzone, a Pokemon no one wants to catch.
▪ When Tyler Johnson arrived at Fresno State in the fall of 2010, he was a skinny kid with great slashing and jumping ability but little else to his game.
Four years later, Johnson developed a three-point shot (43.2 percent) and a couple of step-back moves that made him the toughest player to guard in the Mountain West.
Johnson kept honing his skills in the NBA, which is why the Miami Heat will be paying him $50 million over the next four years. The value of hard work has seldom been more glaringly measured.
▪ Johnson’s contract, in the words of NBA guru (and ex-Fresno Bee columnist) Adrian Wojnarowski, “represents one of the most rapid financial ascensions in recent league history.”
After making $507,000 last season, the 6-foot-4 combo guard reportedly will earn $5.6 million in 2016-17 and $5.9 million in 2017-18 before his salary escalates to $18.8 million and $19.9 million over the final two years.
We provide these figures primarily for the benefit of Fresno State’s development office, so they’ll know when to pounce.
▪ For those troubled by whether an undrafted free agent with 68 games of NBA experience over two seasons is actually worth such a lavish deal, think of it this way:
Johnson is worth whatever the market is willing to pay him.
Tim Duncan had no use for a farewell tour. One of the greatest basketball players ever stepped into retirement Monday the same way he played: quietly, gracefully and fundamentally perfect.
▪ Tim Duncan had no use for a farewell tour. One of the greatest basketball players ever stepped into retirement Monday the same way he played: quietly, gracefully and fundamentally perfect.
▪ Our all-time NBA starting five by traditional position: point guard, Magic Johnson; off guard, Michael Jordan; small forward, LeBron James; power forward, Duncan; center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
That squad has next for eternity.
▪ Sunday’s column on the Kevin Durant-Ron Adams connection didn’t have room for this Adams quote on the Golden State Warriors becoming the team that everyone hates because they’re too darned good:
“This is not a team that walks around thinking they’re God’s gift to creation. When we play opponents I think people understand that. This is not a haughty team, and I don’t expect that to change.”
This is not a team that walks around thinking they’re God’s gift to creation.
Warriors assistant Ron Adams
▪ Immediate reaction to the news the Warriors’ Draymond Green got arrested on suspicion of assault in East Lansing, Mich.
▪ Love that photo on the cover of Monday’s Sports section showing Jenna Prandini with arms extended and ponytail flying as the Clovis native somersaulted over the finish line to earn a spot in the U.S. Olympic team by 0.01 seconds.
Just as long as some part of Prandini’s body stopped the clock.
▪ Let’s see: Fresno State started a training table for student-athletes but didn’t offer high-quality food, didn’t provide a permanent location and didn’t make attendance mandatory.
And you wonder why it failed …
▪ The Bulldogs football team will bring in its own food this fall, but just in case coach Tim DeRuyter might want to pass out photos of his players to all the fast-food joints near Shaw & Cedar.
If you see these young men in your restaurant, please do not feed them.
▪ It’s a shame Brandon Crawford didn’t make the All-Star Game despite his 61 RBIs and the Giants having baseball’s best record.
On the other hand, at least he won’t have to wear those hideous brown and mustard uniforms.
61 First-half RBIs for Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, who was left off the National League All-Star team
▪ Chances of Alex Bregman still being in a Fresno Grizzlies uniform July 22 when the team returns to Chukchansi Park from an eight-game trip: somewhere between miniscule and zilch.
▪ For no particular reason: Kurt Bevacqua
▪ Decided not to compete at next month’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, due to the following health concern:
The heebie-jeebies over flying skeeters.
▪ Derek Jeter and swimsuit model Hannah Davis got married over the weekend in Napa Valley, and millions of American women are heartbroken.
But forget about them. Somewhere in TV land there’s a talking horse that refuses to utter another word.