Amar'e Stoudemire is earning the money Chris Bosh wants

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Not going to lie, people. Between the earthquakes, floods, financial crises, the Suns being the stodgy, deep, rebounding team whipping the Spurs and Amar’e Stoudemire being the mature playoff performer while Chris Bosh acts out, I’m pretty sure the end is nigh.

Seriously, where are we?

While Chris Bosh is messing with Toronto fans’ souls on Twitter, Amar’e Stoudemire is flexing, defending, and working in the playoffs. Just months ago he was a failed centerpiece who didn’t defend or rebound. Now? He’s the primary big man on a team that looks like it’s on the verge of a Western Conference Finals appearance.

How big has Stoudemire been, in the ways we’re not used to him being? In Game 2, down the stretch, with the Suns trying to desperately hold on to a lead, Stoudemire grabbed two huge offensive rebounds to extend the Suns’ possessions. He’s forcing the Spurs to collapse on him which is opening up the outside game. He’s leading. He’s winning.

Chris Bosh? Who everyone says is the best power forward on the free agent market? He’s lounging Staples-side like Keanu Reeves and pissing off fans and teammates. Meanwhile Stoudemire’s been working on an extension with the Suns and not letting it affect his game.

But the value the Suns may have previously wanted to give Stoudemire may be outdated. As the New York Times notes, Stoudemire has likely boosted his free agency value significantly. If he does opt-out and the Suns don’t reach an extension, he could end up getting the money he’s maintained he’s worthy. You know, the max contract that Chris Bosh seems to think he and his position as the primary player on the second worst defense in the league deserves.

The choice between Bosh and Amar’e would be pretty complex. If you want consistency, Bosh is your guy. He’s good for 20+ and 10+ every night. But he’s also unlikely to excel beyond his normal boundaries, while Stoudemire can disappear from game to game and then detonate for some ridiculous 30+ and 15 stuff.

But of course, people will argue that Bosh’s defense is the difference maker.

Too bad the data doesn’t necessarily support that. In addition to the fact that Bosh was a part of one of the worst defenses in the NBA, Synergy has some interesting data to add. Turns out Amar’e is a whole .5 percent worst in direct defensive play situations.

And against the pick and roll man situations, which is, you know, kind of important as it’s the most frequently used play in the NBA, Bosh gives up a score 56% of the time, versus only 38% for Stoudemire.

Bosh is a better rebounder and still worth every penny for a max contract. But if Stoudemire keeps up the way he’s been playing? You have to consider the question if Stoudemire is the better option. But hey, Bosh looks good in dress clothes.

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.