Minnesota Timberwolves v Boston Celtics

The other side of Kevin Love’s outlet passes, where Calvin Johnson comparisons make sense


Kevin Love’s outlet passes are a thing of beauty to any basketball lover. I could watch the above video over and over. Actually, while embedding it into this post, I did.

Outlet passes are an overlooked skill, and Love is the best outlet passer the NBA has seen in quite some time. Players like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are also good outlet passers and have been around seemingly forever, but they don’t turn outlets into highlights as regularly as Love.

When watching Love’s best outlets, though, it’s easy to forget about the player on the receiving end.

In Minnesota, that’s often Corey Brewer, and he has to make some impressive catches to make the plays work.

Brewer, via Steve McPherson for ESPN:

“I played receiver — it’s basically the same,” he said. “If I’m running a route, when I come out of my break or my cut, the ball is there. Kevin’s throwing it to a spot, so you’re actually running to the spot. So when I look at him and I know he’s going to throw it, I just try to run. If I can get in front of the last defender, I just know it’s going to drop right there. If it’s just a regular point guard, go for it. It’s like a smaller defensive back on Calvin Johnson.”

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $12,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Sunday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $2,500. Starts at 6pm ET on Sunday. Here’s the FanDuel link.Obviously, Johnson catching passes is more important to the Detroit Lions than Brewer catching outlet passes is to the Timberwolves. That’s just the nature of the sports and why Brewer doesn’t hold a candle to Johnson in terms of overall value.But as far as what type of play they’re making on the ball, yeah, the comparison makes sense. Both require great focus and body control, an remarkable duality in its own right.Maybe someone should make a video featuring the best outlet-pass catches. I might not watch that multiple times, but I’d at least look once.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.