A good way to gauge a player’s star value is to watch how opposing crowds treat him. With the Cavaliers visiting Brooklyn tonight, Kyrie Irving absolutely wowed the crowd with his insane handling and off the cuff passes, winning over the fans like he was Rocky in Russia. How good was Irving in a night he set a career-high for points with 34? Nearly every time he started his approach to the rim, the crowd buzzed in anticipation, waiting to see his next trick. Although the Cavaliers lost because they were essentially playing 2-on-5, Irving was still the main attraction of the evening.
While Irving was still in college at Duke, I heard current Blazers GM Neil Olshey say that Kyrie Irving was the next Chris Paul. I scoffed at the notion at the time. After all, you can make the argument, and I have, that Chris Paul is on a path to be the greatest point guard ever. But when you see Irving pull off moves from out of nowhere like this one, the comparison starts to make some sense. Here’s video of Irving gluing Kris Humphries to the floor with one of the best recoveries and passes you’ll see all year:
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.