Simmons on NBA trade value

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Well-known ESPN scribe Bill Simmons has come out with one of his most anticipated columns of each year, his ranking of the 40 NBA players with the highest “trade value.” 

Simmons puts five players above the rest of the NBA in terms of their overall value: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James. The biggest surprise is probably Durant, who has yet to play in an NBA playoff game and is still only 21 years old. While Durant may lack experience, his credentials speak for themselves. The Thunder have become a contender in the West, and Durant is well on his way to being one of the best scorers ever. If LeBron James did not exist, Durant would likely be the front-runner for the MVP award at this point in the season. 
Just missing the “completely untouchable” designation are Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. This represents a move upward for Anthony, and a move in the other direction for CP3. Anthony has carried the Nuggets this season, and seems to have become a complete player. Paul was having another of the best statistical seasons ever, but injuries and a weak supporting cast have caused him to slip from the NBA’s highest circle. Over the next few years, it will be interesting to see if Durant can retain his lofty status, and who else will be joining him as one of the NBA’s true untouchables. 

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.