Tuesday And-1 links: Felton starts but does Kidd close for Knicks?

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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 old people love In The Heat of the Night.

• Raymond Felton will start games at point for the New York Knicks, but don’t be shocked if Jason Kidd closes them.

• Every time some player says “I don’t care about my next contract” I think they are lying, but Manu Ginobili may be the exception to that rule.

• Watch Kevin Love go yard while taking batting practice before a Twins game.

• Rockets camp is getting off to a tough start, and the next three posts show why. First, Jon Brockman has an eye injury severe enough to keep him out of practice all week.

• Royce White has not been at the first two days of Rockets training camp as he deals with ongoing anxiety disorder issues, something that was a concern of some teams during the draft.

• Chase Budinger sat out some drills at Rockets practice due to a tweaked left hamstring.

• Zach Randolph says his knee is just fine, thanks for asking.

• Zaza Pachulia was held out of some drills at Hawks camp due to knee concerns Tuesday.

• There is plenty of buzz around the league that Monta Ellis will opt out of his deal in Milwaukee after this season and test the free agent market.

• The Nets are going to use Andray Blatche as a backup five, not so much at the four.

Another story about how James Harden is confident he will work out a contract extension with the Thunder. Everyone says that but at this point I’ll believe it when I see it.

• Magic Johnson says the Miami Heat are the team to beat for the NBA title. Like a broken clock that is still right twice a day, Magic is correct here.

• The Mavericks waived center D.J. Mbenga Tuesday, and that made me a little sad.

• Little shake up in the agent ranks — following LeBron James leaving CAA, four other players have filed to do the same according to ESPN: Denver’s Ty Lawson, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe and the San Antonio’s Cory Joseph.

• A nice recap of Denver Nuggets media day. They are my early favorite for “most fun team to watch” this season.

• New Yorkers, you can hang out in one of the Jay-Z designed Vault Suites at the New Barclay Center — oh, and get to watch a Brooklyn Nets and meet Deron Williams — by submitting a short video “demonstrating their commitment as the ultimate fan of sports, music or entertainment” to this site at American Express.

• Mark Cuban dancing Gangnam style at a bar in Indiana. Just because we can.

Kobe is the Lakers’ all-time leader in steals (and other trivia rookies don’t know)

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“He played 20 years … I mean, yeah I guess.”

That’s what Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball had to say in this video after learning that Kobe Bryant was the all-time leader in steals for his franchise. You have to hand it to him, it is a little surprising. Even more surprising is that Bryant has 220 more than Magic Johnson at No. 2.

In a video posted to YouTube by Complex on Saturday, rookies tried to answer questions similar to the one Ball pondered over, like what team drafted their head coach, who the NBA all-time leading scorer is, and what day the first game of the season starts on.

A lot of the responses were pretty funny, including the guys getting wrong what year Adam Silver became NBA commissioner. Poor David Stern has already been forgotten about!

Meanwhile, Ball looked the sharpest. He’s going to come in handy when the Lakers play pub trivia.

Artist makes other 29 NBA team logos featuring the Toronto Raptor (PHOTO)

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It’s summertime in the NBA, which means a lot of us are just trying to find ways to keep our minds occupied until training camp starts.

Thankfully, some of us are artists, including u/bbnexus over at the r/NBA subreddit. Apparently they wanted to use some of the free time we have here during the NBA offseason for a little art project. Specifically, turning all of the remaining 29 NBA team logos into one featuring the Toronto Raptor.

The result is a pretty impressive amount of effort having gone into these logos. I personally think the edition for the Hawks, Timberwolves, and Celtics are the best ones.

Via Reddit:


A fun game to play here is to figure out which logo goes to which team.

Based on how some of the new Nike uniforms have turned out for teams this year, perhaps u/bbnexus should get the job designing a future ones based off of these logos.

Kevin Durant responds to school handout telling kids to avoid being like him

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Kevin Durant is having a pretty good summer. He is obviously in a full on “I have a ring now” mode and is just battling everyone he can set his sights on. He’s confident, as he should be.

Durrant responded to critical comments conservative commentator and ex-ESPNer Britt McHenry made about the Golden State Warriors forward not wanting to visit the White House should an invitation come for the team.

Now, Durant has seen a handout that a teacher gave to kids in school comparing him and Michael Jordan. In the handout, it asks kids to refrain from being like Durant, asking them not to take the easy way out by cheating in class. Instead, it asks them to be more like Michael Jordan and not take shortcuts.

That’s not even a correct interpretation of the facts, much less a very good analogy. Nevertheless, when SB nation published an article on an image of the handout on Twitter, Durant responded.

Via Twitter:

Firing might be a little harsh but perhaps the person who wrote this handout could put their hardcore sports allegiances away for a minute? Things like this and up on the Internet, you know?

Stan Van Gundy talks up Pistons’ rookie Luke Kennard

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Luke Kennard came out of Duke with one of the best jump shots in the draft — he’s got a skill that translates to the NBA and will help the Pistons. The questions were about his defense and athleticism, but he started to answer those when he averaged 17.2 points a game in the Orlando Summer League. He hit threes but generally just looks like a guy who just knows how to get buckets.

So far, at the Pistons’ training facility and in the Orlando Summer League, coach and decision maker with the Pistons Stan Van Gundy likes what he sees from his rookie, he told the Pistons’ official website.

“Pretty much what we thought offensively, maybe even did a better job passing the ball than I thought,” Van Gundy said. “He’s able to make plays off the dribble , that nice change of pace, and things I hadn’t seen a lot of. He really has a great feel for the game and how to play in addition to clearly his ability to shoot the ball….

“We’ve seen that a lot. He’s got great mental toughness,” Van Gundy said. “The thing I have great confidence in is that as he runs into challenges in the league – and everybody does and he’ll be no exception – I just think he’s a smart guy who’s adaptable. I think he’ll figure out a way to combat it. I’ve got great confidence in his ability to do that….

“The thing I didn’t know that he showed me is he has the ability to move his feet defensively. Now, he’s still got a long way to go in terms of handling some of the other things, rotations and things like that. But he certainly showed that he can get down in a stance and move his feet. I did not have a good feel for that going into the draft, so that was a positive.”

Yes, you should take a coach talking up a rookie before a game is played with a grain of salt.

However, the comment about the potential to defend is good news. SVG is right that mental toughness, and willingness to put in the work, is what will allow Kennard to take steps forward, but he has to have a baseline to get there and Van Gundy thinks he has that. Kennard has challenges ahead of him but if he can keep hitting shots the Pistons will give him time to work out everything else.

Kennard is going to get plenty of run as the backup to Avery Bradley at the two in Detroit. In with a second unit of guys like Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver, Kennard is going to get his chances to score. He could put up decent numbers for a rookie.