Tuesday night in Atlanta, Kobe Bryant passed Moses Malone to move into sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Kobe has shot up the list since October, having this season already passed John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes.
Next up: Shaq.
You know Kobe is going to savor that one.
But it’s going to take a while. It will be next season before it happens because Shaq is a moving target. A slowly moving target these days, but a moving target none the less as he is still active.
Right now, Kobe has 27,423 points, while Shaq is at 28,590. That’s 1,167 if you don’t want to do the math. At Kobe’s current 25 points a game pace that is 47 games if Shaq doesn’t score ever again. And he will. Someday. When he gets healthy. Which he swears will be soon.
Kobe spews the clichés but doesn’t get too excited about these records. But passing Shaq? That he will enjoy, there is still a real rivalry there, even if Kobe won’t talk about it in public much.
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.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.