Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunde

Durant agrees to Bosh: Lakers best team “on paper”


Chris Bosh came out last week and said that “on paper” the Lakers had the best team, but they were going to have to prove they could live up to that billing, and that is an entirely different thing.

Kevin Durant said basically the same thing.

Durant spoke with Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports as he was promoting his movie Thunderstruck — which I’m sure all of you saw over the weekend — and Spears got him to talk about the Lakers, who added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this summer.

“People outside, fans, media, of course they are going to say [the Lakers are the favorites] because on paper they have the best lineup in the league. But you still got to play the games. We respect everybody. We are going to go through the league respecting everybody as well…

“It was a great move for [the Lakers],” Durant said. “[Howard] is the most dominant center in the league. It’s going to make it tough on other teams. But I like that challenge. We all like that challenge in OKC. It should be fun.”

The Thunder have proved they’re elite. The Heat have proved they’re champions. This group of Lakers needs to prove that still. And if Lakers fans think that is a lock, they may want to ask Eagles fans about their unbeatable team last season.

It will not be easy for L.A. to prove they belong. The Thunder are going to be a better team than they were last season. The Heat will be better as well. But the Lakers have pushed their way into that title conversation. Bosh and Durant may be right, the Lakers may have the most talent.

But we need to see who is healthy come March and into the playoffs. We need to see how all three of those teams are executing. We need to see who is defending.

Durant and Bosh are right, simply assembling the most talent does not guarantee a title. But with the veterans the Lakers have pulled together, I don’t think that chemistry, or getting to play off one another, is going to be the problem.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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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.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

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.