We use the phrase here regularly: Kevin Durant is the second best basketball player walking the planet earth right now.
Durant is sick of having that title. He has said it before and he said it again in an interview set to air on “60 Minutes Sports” which will air on Showtime tonight (10 ET). You can see a highlight of the interview below, but here is the money quote he gave James Brown.
“…People would just always say that it’s cool, you’re top three, that’s cool. That’s good to be there. It’s alright to be a top-three player in the world…I mean…I’m just tired of settling for that, tired of saying that, tired of hearing it,”
The piece appears to chronicle just how popular Durant is in OKC. Something he certainly is. Durant also projects a humble, everyman image that plays well in the midwestern market. Durant is pretty much that guy and they talk to his mother about how she raised him and worked to not let his ego get too big.
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Durant likes Oklahoma City and the team a lot, and he’s under contract for two seasons after this one. We’re a long time away from the summer of 2016 when he can be a free agent, it’s too early to speculate on how he might choose to handle that, too early to have an idea where the Thunder will be as a team at that point.
For now, Durant just wants to start racking up some of that hardware LeBron James has been hoarding the past couple seasons.
The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.
Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.
On offensive problems:
I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball
On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:
He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.
On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:
We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.
Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.
But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.
Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.
Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.
He’d appreciate them getting this message.
Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.
So, um, did he have offseason surgery?
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.
We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?