There is a lot of masked, subtle brilliance to what Kevin Durant does. It’s almost like drinking a fine wine — you have to know what flavors you’re looking for to appreciate it fully.
Durant had one particular sequence against the Dallas Mavericks yesterday that embodies that. His block on Darren Collison wasn’t just a 6-foot-10 guy blocking a much shorter guy; it was speed and timing blended beautifully. Watch Durant beat Collison in a dead heat from half court and then time his strides perfectly to meet the ball at the top of the square on the backboard. A nanosecond later and it’s goaltending, but if he comes any earlier Collison probably draws the foul.
Of course, this is where it gets fun. Durant then takes the ball from one baseline (he was actually out of bounds, so there’s that) all the way to the other to dunk on Chris Kaman, a 7-footer that had all the time in the world to prepare himself. But again, the dunk itself might not even be the most impressive thing here. Watch how effortlessly Durant takes the ball 94 feet in six dribbles. Six! Watch him bounce like a long-jumper on his approach to the rim, building up his momentum to elevate towards the rim. Sometimes with Durant, the lead-up to the highlight play is actually better than the payoff:
For all the flipping between the triangle and a more modern offense, despite ball stopping by Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks offense is 17th in the NBA for the season. Not good, but the middle of the pack, right around Oklahoma City, Miami, and Memphis — all playoff teams (or potential ones in Miami’s case).
The reason the Knicks season ends in seven games is their defense — 25th in the NBA. Put the triangle in (and get players who fit the system) or don’t, but that’s not the end of the court where the Knicks need to improve. And while system matters on defense, the fact of the matter the Knicks roster is loaded with poor and/or indifferent individual defenders.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek emphasized all this speaking to ESPN’s Ian Begley.
“I think if you look at our defense this year, we can use some more defensive players,” Hornacek said. “[Management] will look at that. [General manager] Steve [Mills] and [president] Phil [Jackson] and those guys will look at whatever can help us out. We know we need some help there.”
Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Now comes the time for action.
The Knicks are going to have a Top 10 draft pick (currently sixth) plus max-player money in free agency. Also, they are looking to move Anthony this summer (he has a no-trade clause so he will have to agree to it). All of which is to say they have a chance to reshape this roster into one that will have more of a defensive focus. Or any defensive focus for that matter.
It will be interesting to see if the Knicks target more defensive minded free agents this summer, ones who might fit the triangle offense such as Thabo Sefolosha, or to a lesser extent Tony Allen. It’s going to be a fascinating summer in New York.
Did you know Master P had two NBA contracts?
Percy Miller was with the Hornets before the 1999 season and the Raptors before the 1999-00 season. But he was cut in the preseason both times.
These were mostly publicity stunts. Still, the rapper could actually play a bit. NBA quality? He long insisted yes, though his music career provided a convenient and lucrative excuse for sidetracking his basketball ambitions.
Yet, now, the New Orleans native says he wants back in the NBA with the Pelicans — in a different role.
Master P, via TMZ:
I think they need me to be an assistant coach.
I’m serious about coaching.
I don’t think he’s actually serious.
But if he is, would it be a good idea? Probably not. The Pelicans have real issues integrating Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and they need devoted coaches, not passing entertainers, to solve this.
Would it be fun? Heck yeah.
Sending an inbound pass through the rim is, of course, a turnover.
But sending an inbound pass off the rim to a teammate who converts the shot? Sure, that counts.
Ray McCallum and Ramon Harris gave the Pistons-affiliated Grand Rapids Drive a win over the Pacers-affiliated Fort Wayne Mad Ants on a play the D-League amusingly dubbed a “put-back.”
About a year ago, Harry Giles looked like he could be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
But multiple knee injuries have added up and contributed to a lackluster freshman year at Duke, especially considering Giles started the season late due to his latest knee surgery.
Where does this leave him with the NBA?
We’ll find out.
Duke freshman forward Harry Giles has announced that he will enter his name in the 2017 NBA Draft.
At his best, Giles is an athletic power forward who plays with skill and energy. But we didn’t see much, if any, of that player during 11.5 minutes per game in just 26 contests at Duke.
Medical testing will define everything for Giles. He’s projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, but that’s a wide range with so much uncertainty about his knees.
Helping Giles: Joel Embiid‘s success after entering the NBA with major red flags about his health. Even though Embiid is again injured, he was so good while on the court for the 76ers. That’s a favorable recent comparison for Giles.