Kyrie Irving is one of the best young players in the NBA right now and the centerpiece of a Cleveland Cavaliers squad that could develop into a very good team in a couple of years. The team’s point guard was hesitant to confirm that he’d still be a Cavalier when the team’s potential meets reality, however, when he was questioned at his basketball camp this weekend.
“I’m not really worried about that right now. Right now I’m focusing on the year ahead, my third year, then I’ll worry about that in the summertime,” Irving said. “Right now I’m a Cavalier. This is where I am. All that future stuff, I’m not really worried about.”
Irving’s comments obviously don’t mean that he’s intent on turning down the max offer when it’s extended next summer, but it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement that he plans to stay when his rookie contract ends, either. That portion has to be a bit surprising to the Cavs, considering they’ve built around him with a young team that also includes top-five picks Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson along with the high-impact, injury-prone Andrew Bynum in the center slot.
The Cavs wouldn’t be lost without Irving, but the young All-Star certainly isn’t easily replaceable. And, if he forces the Cavs to try and do just that, the fan base that lost LeBron James isn’t going to be happy to lose another former No. 1 pick — especially if he joins a ready-made championship team somewhere else.
It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway
Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.
One shoe Kevin Durant is officially the greatest rim protector of all time.
He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.
Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”
I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.
His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”
He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.
Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.
Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling