It’s a great barstool debate: Who do you want taking the final shot with the game on the line?
General Managers around the NBA say Kevin Durant.
For many years that question was one Kobe Bryant owned in the annual NBA.com GM survey, but for the second straight GMs picked the scoring machine out of Oklahoma City over him. This year 39.3 percent of GMs went with Durant, 32.1 percent with Kobe, while Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James each got 7.1 percent of the vote. (Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Paul each also got a vote… pray that the GM who would still give Ginobili the ball at the end of the game is not the one from your team.)
What do the stats say?
In the final 10 seconds of a game where their team was +/- three points, Durant was 0-of-5 last season but he did get to the free throw line for nine shots (hitting 8), while Kobe was 3-of-9 from the field and got to the stripe eight times (hitting 7). To throw the other guys in there, LeBron James was 4-of-10 from the field with four free throw attempts, while Carmelo was 0-of-4 with just two trips to the line.
The guy I would give the ball to? Joe Johnson of the Nets — 4-of-4 from the field plus he got to the line 8 times. He’s been clutch. But that Durant guy is still a good call.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.