Over at CBSSports Eye on Basketball, they put together a “likability index” — NBA players you just like the most based on game and personality — and Durant came out on top. He’s the league’s two-time scoring champ, led the USA to gold in the FIBA World Championships, has a pure game, is humble, is thoughtful, wears a backpack, not a guy who parties like Dennis Rodman, doesn’t have a lot of tattoos…
Um, about that last one.
Durant likes his ink, as the guys at The Basketball Jones pointed out, using a photo from Durant’s current trip to Asia. He just crams all those tattoos into the parts of his body covered by his jersey.
Why? Marketing. He knows he’s the clean-cut image guy, this way he looks like he doesn’t have tats while he plays. Okay, maybe that’s too cynical, maybe he likes just getting tattoos on his torso… no, I have a hard time thinking that’s the case. Whatever. It really doesn’t matter.
That a guy in the NBA has tattoos — a lot of them, even — is not a sign of some “thug” life. It’s generational, and while the 50-somethings in the luxury suites don’t get it, their favorite 20-something up-and-comers at their law offices have tats under their suits.
The world should be a meritocracy — you advance up the ladder based on what you do not how you look. An accounting firm should be that way. The NBA should be that way. Durant can flat out play, he’s young and already come up big on big stages. It really doesn’t matter if he has tattoos on his arms or not.
Just don’t think he is ink free.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.