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.
Markieff Morris‘ frustrations last night didn’t end with his scuffle with teammate Archie Goodwin. They didn’t end with the Suns’ loss to the Warriors, either.
As Morris was leaving the court, a fan heckled him: “Markieff, you f—ing suck. I can’t wait until you’re traded.” Though Morris probably agrees with the second sentence, he flipped off the fan:
Though it’s difficult to confirm that video was from last night, it jibes with a previous report of the incident.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7
Morris will likely at least be fined. Considering his previous behavioral problems this season – he threw a towel at Jeff Hornacek – I wouldn’t completely rule out a suspension. But a fine seems most likely.
An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.
Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.
But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.
The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.
Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.
The slow-motion replays are absolutely brutal.