Wednesday And-1 links: Who is the NBA’s coolest player?

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Here is our regular 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 like Apple fanatics love new, expensive toys.

The Basketball Jones asks: Who is the coolest player in the NBA? Apparently those Canadian bloggers are hipsters as they choose James Harden and his beard. I might have voted for Tony Allen, who listens to his pre-game music louder than anyone in the league. By far.

• It is finally official, the Nets have formally signed Andray Blatche. Our long national nightmare is over (well, unless you’re a Nets fan).

• Once you get past the Matt Barnes info from Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated, he goes on to say both Kenyon Martin and Derek Fisher could wait until mid-season and hope a good team comes calling with an offer for a veteran, because they don’t like what is out there now. And if that doesn’t work, they could retire.

• Here is a really interesting Q&A with Ron Shelton, they guy behind “White Men Can’t Jump.”

• Today’s “guys close to the team say watch for X to have a big year” note goes to Rodney Stuckey of the Pistons.

• Along those same lines, Pistons coach Lawrence Frank is praising the improvement since Summer League of rookie Khris Middleton.

• Forward Malcolm Thomas will be working out for the Knicks this week, trying to earn a roster spot.

• Terrence Williams is working out for the Pistons trying to get one of their roster spots.

• Blazers snakebit guard Elliot Williams will have ankle surgery on his torn Achilles, but it is not yet scheduled as they wait for the swelling to go down.

• The Wizards have rounded out their training camp roster, which includes bringing in Shavlik Randolph and Steven Gray for training camp.

• Will Conroy has inked a partially guaranteed contract and will be training camp fodder for the Timberwolves.

• Along those same lines, Ronald DuPree will be in Memphis’ training camp.

• Oklahoma City has inked DeAndre Liggins for training camp.

• Thursday Nets guard Tyshawn Taylor will be giving away back-to-school items to needy students in his hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.