Iman Shumpert, Alexis Ajinca

Report: Iman Shumpert integral in Phil Jackson’s rebuilding plan

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Phil Jackson, at his introductory press conference, said he’d determine which current New York Knicks fit – and can fit – his vision for the team.

Carmelo Anthony does, or at least can. Jackson said that very clearly.

How many other Knicks has Jackson reached a verdict on? At least one, reportedly.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Now Shumpert appears to have a legitimate future with Phil Jackson’s Knicks. According to a league source, Jackson is a fan of Shumpert.

Shumpert is a defensive-minded player who sacrifices his game and doesn’t need to score a lot to have an impact.

“Iman is still part of this,’’ a league source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking told The Post.

Shumpert is 23, an impressive athlete, a versatile defender and an intriguing offensive player. It shouldn’t have taken paying Jackson $12 million per year for Shumpert to play a prominent role in the Knicks’ future, but here we are.

Now, the question become what Shumpert does with this opportunity. He regressed a little this year, and next season will be his final year of his rookie deal. Even if Jackson likes him now, how much will he be willing to pay Shumpert on his next contract?

If Shumpert learns the nuances of the triangle offense and taps his defensive potential, it could be quite a bit. But those are still ifs – even if Shumpert is excited by Jackson. Via Berman:

“I love Phil Jackson,’’ Shumpert said. “Just being a child, seeing him, how he conducted the Bulls. I just love him.’’

Like Jackson with the Knicks, the feeling is mutual. For now.

Really, it matters only how Jackson evaluates Shumpert once he’s worked closely with him. I don’t expect the new Knicks president’s perception to change with Shumpert – at least until Shumpert’s impending raise nears.

Kevin Durant gets fouled by Stephen Curry, officials whistle Joe Johnson instead (VIDEO)

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The Golden State Warriors are so talented, perhaps the officials are predisposed to blowing whistles in their favor. At least, that’s the only explanation you could give to a Utah Jazz fan after seeing what happened between Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Utah’s Joe Johnson on Thursday night.

As Durant came off a curl on the far side of the court, he used a screen set by Curry on Johnson.

With the ball in his hands, Durant rose to fire but found himself locked in arms with another player. Durant’s shot attempt helplessly bounced away as he shot, and officials whistled Johnson on the play.

Of course, a closer look reveals that the player Durant’s arms were tangled up with was … Curry.

Yes, Curry had arm locked what he thought was Johnson on the screen but was instead his teammate and MVP candidate.

It didn’t matter, as referees awarded Durant the free throws, of which he only made 1 of 2.

Perhaps that’s some solace?

Golden State beat Utah, 106-99.

DeMarcus Cousins trolls Joakim Noah on shooting form (VIDEO)

noah cousins
AP
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New York Knicks C Joakim Noah has an awkward jumper and free throw technique, there’s no denying that. His two-handed, horizontal approach to shooting a basketball is ripe for criticism.

DeMarcus Cousins thinks so, at least.

During a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks, Cousins decided to give Noah a little tongue-in-cheek trolling about his form.

Via Twitter:

Looks about right.

LeBron James, Cavaliers Rick-roll intro video for ’80s night

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) shoots over Miami Heat's Rodney McGruder (17) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Associated Press
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The 1980s were back in Cleveland Friday night. Well, not completely, Bernie Kosar wasn’t leading the Browns to contention (although man, could they use him now).

No, the ’80s were back in the form of the throwback orange Cavaliers uniforms. And to complete the theme, the Cavaliers players dressed up and Rick-rolled the intro video — they did the complete “classic” Rick Astley hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And it was awesome.

The Cavaliers won the game 114-84 over the Heat behind 28 from Kevin Love, but that was secondary to the intro video.

Best dunk from Friday night? Houston’s Sam Dekker. Yes, Dekker. (VIDEO)

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Second-year forward Sam Dekker is finding a comfort zone in the Mike D’Antoni offense in Houston. Healthy this season, he is coming off the bench for 18 minutes a night, and his game where he is quick and can also hit the three is fitting perfectly with Houston’s system, leading him to 6.7 points a game.

Also, he can run the floor. And finish.

As Enes Kanter found out when he hustled, got back in transition defense, and wasn’t going to stop Dekker from getting to the rim.

That’s a quality dunk.

The Rockets went on to win the game 102-99, despite Russell Westbrook‘s seventh-straight triple-double.