Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• Miami’s big three as depicted in gigantic foam statues (picture to the right). The word you are looking for is creepy.
• The corner three is one of the most efficient shots on the floor — teams that make a lot win a lot, teams that defend it well win a lot, also. Here are the guys who take most of their threes from the corner.
• Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen with an odd response to an unflattering column in a Portland paper.
• As societal attitudes shift, do you view athletes who use marijuana differently.
• They are talking tanking at Grantland, and really you can’t rail against how the Warriors and a few other teams treating this season enough.
• Greg Stiemsma is a restricted free agent this summer but wants to return to Boston. The feeling is mutual.
• Gerald Green wants to stay with the Nets, and will even give them a discount.
• The Wizards are shutting down Andre Blatche for the season. Will anybody notice?
• Bulls rookie Jimmy Butler gives a twitter tour of his apartment. With a small stuffed dog.
• A Q&A with the Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas.
• Bucks coach Scott Skiles has put his home up for sale in Milwaukee, according to a note at Sheridanhoops.com. Read into that what you will, but can you really see Skiles coaching a Monta Ellis/Brandon Jennings backcourt?
• What do you think it is like to be an NBA beat writer? One of the best — Kevin Ding, who covers the Lakers for the Orange County Register — answers some questions.
• The lawsuit NBA writer Chris Sheridan filed against Peter Vecsey of the New York Post has been settled.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.