Just 14 players have ranked in the top 25 for PER in each of the last two seasons: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Brandan Wright, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry.
The 13 highest-paid members of that group, even when weighed down by Irving’s and Curry’s rookie contracts, made more than $13.8 million per season in that span.
Player No. 14, Wright, made the league minimum each year – $915,852 and
According to a source, the Mavs, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks all expressed interest in Wright during the opening hours of free agency.
Credit Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks for helping to revitalize the career of Wright, the No. 8 pick in the 2007 draft who appeared headed out of the league before Dallas signed him. Carlisle put Wright in position to do only what he does best: finish near the rim and block shots without being in position for offensive players to take advantage of his slender frame.
But that’s also the reason Wright won’t approach his PER peers in salary. Wright hasn’t shown he can do much more than fill a role similar to the one Dallas gave him. Although Wright fills that role very well, those extremely high salaries are reserved for players who can take on more.
Wright has done a great job of putting himself in a position of strength this summer, but that strength is relative to his bargain-bin salary the last two years.
While the Spurs were running the Warriors out of Oracle Arena — a 129-100 Spurs win — Simmons had a fantastic chasedown block on Stephen Curry. It was one of the plays of the game (most of the rest came from Kawhi Leonard).
Simmons had 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting off the bench for the Spurs in the win, which included a poster dunk on JaVale McGee late. Just to put some icing on the win.
Late in the third quarter of Cleveland’s blowout opening night win over New York, the Cavalier’s Iman Shumpert lowered his head and tried to drive the lane, where he collided with Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. It looked like Shumpert’s head hit Porzingis’ hip and elbow.
Shumpert instantly went to the ground, then needed help to come off the court. He was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, the team announced. Apparently, Porzingis is a rock.
That puts Shumpert in the league’s concussion protocol, and he’s going to miss time, notes Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
A source questioned whether Shumpert would be available for either of the Cavs’ next two games, Friday in Toronto and Saturday against Orlando at The Q. To play, Shumpert would need to be symptom free, pass a series of tests, and show no symptoms after each test.
There is no set timeline with a concussion. In the short term, this will mean more DeAndre Liggins on the court until Shumpert returns.
There’s a good reason LeBron James has been to six straight NBA Finals. It’s not all about his incredible physical gifts. It’s not about the quality of his teammates.
It’s about will.
On a night when a lot of teams play like their hungover — the night they get their championship rings and a banner is raised to the rafters — LeBron played harder than anyone and pulled his team along.
LeBron had a triple-double — 19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds — and led the Cavaliers to an easy win over the Knicks, 117-86. Kyrie Irving had 29 points — 19 in the third — and Kevin Love added 23 in the win.
But mostly it was the Cavaliers’ offense getting whatever shot it wanted and the Knicks watching dunks from up close.
Over the course of this season, these Knicks will evolve into something better than they showed opening night. No Derrick Rose (trial) and no Joakim Noah (injury) meant the Knicks starting five didn’t have a lot of cohesion and chemistry from the start.
After a sluggish first five minutes by both teams — they were a combined 6-of-22 shooting to open the game — the Cavaliers slowly started to create a little space behind 10 first quarter points from Love. That lead really started to grow as the Knicks bench came in and went 0-of-6 shooting to end the quarter, with Brandon Jennings making questionable decisions. Tack on seven Knick turnovers and the first and they were down 10 after 12 minutes.
The Cavs were in control through much of the second quarter until the Knicks went on a 10-0 run to make it a game again. It was Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony driving the team — they shot a combined 12-of-20 in the first half, the rest of the Knicks were 5-of-23. It was 48-45 Cavaliers at the break.
In the third quarter the Cavaliers starters cranked it up behind Kyrie Irving and tighter defense — the third quarter saw Kyrie Irving with 19 points and the entire Knicks team with 19. It was 82-64 Cavs after three and the celebration was on.
Kristaps Porzingis showed some moments but his 16 points came on 5-of-13 shooting. Anthony had 19 points on 18 shots. Rose had 17 points but four turnovers and one assist. Brandon Jennings came off the bench to shoot 1-of-7. It was not their best night.
For the Cavs, it was one to remember — the first banner in 52 years went up.
But mostly, LeBron James was dunking. And racking up a triple-double (19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds). But mostly just dunking. Like you see above. Or there is this alley-oop.
Or, there was this putback throwdown.
And we can throw in a block on Courtney Lee just for fun.