Terrence Ross says Kevin Garnett NBA’s best pick-setter ‘because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught,’ wants Nets in playoffs

24 Comments

I didn’t want Toronto to trade Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, because I think the Raptors are one of the most fun teams in the NBA. They’re young and hungry, and they have a solid shot of winning just the second playoff series in franchise history. Even if Lowry’s impending free agency forces tough decisions this summer, this season’s run justifies itself. It wasn’t the time to break up such an enjoyable group.

A key figure on this fun roster: Terrence Ross.

Ross is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the league, and participating in a reddit AMA only endears him further – especially these fearless answers.

Question:

Who do you think is best at setting picks in the NBA, and why is it Amir Johnson?

Ross:

best at setting picks is kevin garnett because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught. he’ll literally hold you and you can’t get around him.

Question:

Also, who do you want as a first round matchup in the playoffs?

Ross:

i want brooklyn personally.

The Raptors are currently third in the East, but just a half game ahead of the Bulls. The Nets are fifth, ahead of the sixth-place Wizards by about a tenth of a percent. There a lot of ways the standings could fall into a Toronto-Brooklyn matchup, and I’m rooting for any of them.

Most players won’t be so open about their desired opponent, saying they’ll be glad to to face any challenge in the playoffs. But Ross, and these Raptors, march to their own drum. That’s what makes them so enjoyable.

In the AMA, Ross also praises Lowry – the most-deserving player not selected to the All-Star game – in ways opposing coaches who vote for reserves should have recognized.

Question:

Who talks on D? Who is the most vocal and who calls out the opposing team’s plays?

Ross:

kyle lowry. always. before every play i ask him, ‘yo what they running?’.

usually the team come down the court, lowry will recognize the play and call out what they’re doing.

Question:

Who’s the one teammate on the Raptors you look up to for leadership?

Ross:

kyle lowry because he’s the smartest guy on the team. he makes the biggest impact on the games.

In perhaps the gem of the chat, Ross called Tyler Hansbrough ‘psycho t,’ which led to this question:

i thought he hated being called psycho t?

Ross:

maybe, but i still call him that! his other nickname is chops. he calls himself chops, but we don’t. he’s crazy, so we still call him psycho t.

Kurt and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on nicknames. When Kevin Durant disproved of his “Slim Reaper” nickname, Kurt argued that made it a better nickname. “You’re not supposed to like your nickname,” he said. I, on the other hand, believe someone should some have some limited right of refusal on his nickname.

But we, and I presume everyone else in the entire world besides Koko Costanza, definitely agree someone can’t choose his own nickname.

Chops? Get the heck out of here with that. Psycho T it is.

After Thunder win, Russell Westbrook trolls Joel Embiid, waves goodbye, tells him to “go home”

Associated Press
8 Comments

Joel Embiid was making friends all over the court on Friday night.

First, he got into a jawing match with Carmelo Anthony. Also during the first overtime, Embiid blocked Russell Westbrook‘s driving attempt at a game winner.

After the Thunder, Westbrook trolled Embiid by waving goodbye to the Sixers’ center, who was yelling back at him.

When asked about it, Westbrook said Embiid was talking a lot so he told the Sixers center to go home.

That can have some serious connotations — Embiid was born in Cameroon. Westbrook may have meant “go to the locker room” or “go to where you live,” but considering Embiid is an immigrant it comes off very poorly for Westbrook.

Embiid threw a little fire back at Westbrook.

The league office is going to be looking into this one.

DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t expect Pelicans to trade him at the deadline

Getty Images
2 Comments

The New Orleans Pelicans have a decision to make as they approach the trade deadline: Do they think they can re-sign DeMarcus Cousins next summer to stay in the Big Easy with Anthony Davis?

If the answer is no, then they have to consider trading Cousins at the deadline to at least get something back. There is a lot of context, however, that makes this seeming binary trade/keep decision far more complicated.

Cousins himself doesn’t think he is going anywhere, as he told Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated.

While the Pelicans have a lot to consider with the unrestricted free agent, Cousins says he is confident that he will still be playing for New Orleans after the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

“I am confident in my team,” Cousins said. “I am starting to understand this business a lot more than I did before. You can kind of tell when things are about to come about. We’re a very competitive team. A talented team. I don’t think that will be the case at all….

“A.D. hits me with little jabs about free agency all the time, but he also understands,” Cousins said. “It was Jrue in that situation last [offseason], and we understood his situation. Of course, they throw their little jabs. They throw their little jokes. But they are serious at the same time. They are respectful about it at the same time.

The Pelicans are 15-14 and the seven seed in the West entering Friday night’s games, and if New Orleans has a shot at the playoffs come the deadline there is no way he gets moved. Ownership and management want a playoff appearance. They have greenlit adding one of the game’s top centers (Cousins) to go next to Davis, and last summer they paid big to keep Jrue Holiday at the point in New Orleans. If the Pelicans don’t make the playoffs (and possibly even if they do squeak in and get swept out in an ugly fashion), everyone in the organization expects a housecleaning. They have been on edge all season. With jobs on the line, they are not trading Cousins and getting worse short term even if you could argue it was the right basketball move long term.

Will Cousins re-sign with the Pelicans next summer? That will be about the money — what the Pelicans offer, and what other teams will offer in what is expected to be a tight free agent market, especially for centers.  DeAndre Jordan will be on the market as well, not to mention second-tier guys who will be more affordable for teams such as Brook Lopez. In that market, Cousins may want to stay where he likes his teammates and seems happy.

But first he has to get past the trade deadline.

Joel Embiid scores over Carmelo Anthony, then they exchange words (VIDEO)

Associated Press
7 Comments

Joel Embiid gives zero… well, you know where I’m going with that.

Embiid trolls the world and backs down from no man, and that includes Carmelo Anthony. Late in the fourth quarter of the barn burner between the Thunder and 76ers Friday night, Embiid backed ‘Melo down and scored over him, then did a little jawing — which Anthony didn’t appreciate.

I love that Embiid egged on the Sixers crowd after this. He knows his audience. After the game he said this.

Embiid talks a lot — A LOT — but he is backing it up.

For example, in the first overtime Russell Westbrook thought he made a drive that was going to win the game, and Embiid rejected him.

If you did not watch this game, go find a replay. This is the new best game of the season.

Rudy Gobert leaves game vs. Celtics with likely knee sprain. Again.

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rudy Gobert missed 11 games this season due to a bone bruise in his knee. While the Jazz defense suffered as should have been expected with their anchor gone, their offense found a groove without him — and with more Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors — resulting in Utah going 7-4 with their star center out.

Now the Jazz will be without him again for a while — he seems to have sprained his left knee just minutes into Friday night’s game against the Celtics when Favors fell back into him. That is the same knee he injured before. Gobert was forced to leave and will not return to the game.

If that diagnosis holds, it will be weeks again the Jazz will be without Gobert.

The Jazz know how to play without Gobert. Favors moves to center and while he’s not near the same defender his offensive skills got them buckets and opened up the floor. The rookie Mitchell, as well as Ricky Rubio at points, took advantage of it to give the Jazz a top-10 offense with Gobert out. They need to find that groove again.

Still, Utah needs Gobert back and himself to really reach the heights they are capable of.