Derrick Rose

Thibodeau says Rose has improved range on jumper. If so, watch out.

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When Derrick Rose got injured, long before the silly kerfuffle about his return date, Tim Hardaway was saying Rose could come back with an improved jump shot. Which would make the explosive former MVP even more dangerous.

Apparently Hardaway knows what he is talking about (he did go through the same injury and all).

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau went out to the Los Angeles area to watch Rose workout (before he leaves on another tour of China to sell shoes) and told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune Rose has added some weapons.

Thibodeau traveled west Wednesday to check in on Rose, who is sporting increased range on his jumper and a left-handed floater that he has worked on extensively this offseason….

“What the summer has done is it’s given him more time to build confidence and strength in his leg,” Thibodeau said in Las Vegas in July. “His entire body is a lot stronger.”

A lefty floater and a more deadly jump shot would be nice steps forward for the Bulls. Rose shot 31.2 percent on threes two seasons ago, which is right at his career average. If that number goes up and he can just step back off a pick he is that much harder to cover.

We will see if, once the season starts, Thibodeau tries to keep the minutes in check for Rose (not to mention Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and others). He has been known to ride his starters big minutes and we’ll see if the rash of injuries the Bulls have battled through (related to the minutes or not) impacts his choices. Could Thibodeau sacrifice a couple wins to keep Rose’s minutes down?

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.