Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets

2014 PBT Awards: All-NBA team

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Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

First team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Forward was just brutal — Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge are not on here for me and if I could find a way they would be. I moved Paul George up to guard just to get him out of the forward slot and get him recognition he deserves. Glad to finally get Al Jefferson some deserved pub.

Brett Pollakoff

First team

  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

The biggest surprise when choosing these teams was how easy it was to leave off players from the two teams that finished with the best records in their respective conferences — the Spurs and the Pacers. Curry and Harden were interchangeable in the final guard spot on the first team for me, and third team features three guys who all had fantastic seasons and were instrumental in their teams’ success in Jefferson, Lowry and Dragic.

Dan Feldman

First team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Slotting all three centers was difficult, and I left out DeMarcus Cousins, who is close but might not get All-NBA credit from anyone. The forwards cleanly broke into two-man tiers. Anthony Davis just missed too many games in a crowded field for third team, and Carmelo Anthony was also a tough cut there. With all due respect to Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge, they didn’t play enough to claim a spot at this position. At guard, Harden stands in a class alone, below Curry and Paul, but above Dragic and Lowry. Separating Dragic and Lowry was difficult, but Dragic gets the edge for producing in the more-competitive West. Lillard narrowly beat John Wall and Mike Conley for third-team guard. None of those three seem All-NBA caliber, but one of them had to be with Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose missing too many games due to injury.

Report: Sacramento Kings reach one-year deal with Ty Lawson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23:  Ty Lawson #10 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates against the Toronto Raptors during game four of the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 23, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Ty Lawson said that wherever he signed, “they’re going to get me for cheaper than I feel I’m worth … I feel like I’m overlooked in free agency.”

That lucky team — at least in Lawson’s mind — is the Sacramento Kings.

They have reached a one-year deal with him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Lawson bounced between Houston and Indiana last season, and struggled at both stops — he shot 39.3 percent last season with a far wbelow replacement lever PER of 9.7. He was better in Indiana than Houston.

Lawson also brings the baggage of a couple of DUIs in recent years and a reputation as a partier — including showing up to practice with alcohol on his breath. That hurt is free agent prospects, and is something Lawson denied to The Undefeated.

But I’m not a person out here like everyone thinks that I’m drunk all day. No, I don’t do that. A lot of my friends, we go out and celebrate. But I’m not that person in the morning getting drunk before practice. I think there is a big misconception about what everybody thinks. That’s what I basically tell them. I keep it honest.

The Kings will start Darren Collison at the point, but Lawson should get a decent run as a backup. Lawson is a solid playmaker and has a spot up shot, when he is right.

What the 28-year-old Lawson also will get is another chance — he hasn’t impressed in his past few stops and if that doesn’t change his NBA career could end soon.

Watch 50 top clutch shots of last NBA season

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There are 1,230 NBA games in a season, and decent amount of those come down to which team executes better in a close game late. (By the way, the best teams don’t win the most close games, the best teams have the most blowouts and aren’t in as many close games.)

What that means is there are a lot of game winners, a lot of clutch shots every season. The folks at NBA.com compiled them for you, and what else do you have to do on a Sunday night but watch 13 minutes of them.

Yes, there is plenty of Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook in this one, but the clutch shot of the season belonged to Kyrie Irving.

Jason Terry chose Bucks because he wants to play, not just mentor

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 27:  Jason Terry #31 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 27, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Jason Terry has talked about reaching out to multiple teams, including contenders, during free agency before settling on the Milwaukee Bucks. When he talked about why the Bucks, he spoke of believing in what Jason Kidd was building.

There may have been another reason: Minutes.

From Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:

Some NBA officials contend he signed with Milwaukee and rejected overtures from a handful of teams, including the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, because of potential playing time.

“He wants his minutes,’’ said an NBA executive, whose team had shown some interest in signing Terry. “He didn’t go there (Milwaukee) to sit on the bench.’’

Terry’s agent denied this, saying he wanted to be part of the Bucks.

If minutes was a key part of his decision, so what? Guys choose teams for money (usually), wins, to play with friends, lifestyle, and weather, plus other reasons — how much run they get is in that mix. It’s never just one thing. And playing time matters.

No doubt Terry will get run with the Bucks behind Matthew Dellavedova, although Giannis Antetokounmpo with the ball as point guard is what is going to make this team fun to watch.

Report: Other league executives don’t expect DeMarcus Cousins to stay in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings stands on the court during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena on February 26, 2016 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The vultures have been circling.

Other teams have called Sacramento GM Vlade Divac since the day he took office to inquire about the availability of DeMarcus Cousins — however, only George Karl took those calls and tried to run with it. The Kings know they have a franchise player, the best traditional center in the game right now, in Cousins and that is hard to come by. While it may not be easy — Cousins has always been demanding of those around him — they need to make it work.

Enter coach Dave Joerger, the guy who had success with difficult personalities in Memphis and got that team to the conference finals a couple of times.

Cousins has this season and next on his deal, and around the league the conventional wisdom is he bolts when this contract is up (hence the trade calls). Here is what one executive told Zach Harper of CBSSports.com.

“They’re fooling themselves if they think he’s sticking around,” said one league executive. “The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn’t a point of no return in which you’re not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn’t go for the biggest money in free agency but you’d love to have that card to play.”

The Kings aren’t giving up on being able to keep Cousins. They hope Joerger, the Olympics experience, some winning, a new building, and a trip to the playoffs will have Cousins thinking Sacramento is his home, where he wants to stay and build something.

I’d be surprised if the Kings seriously considered any move before next summer. But if Divac and company get the sense after this contract that they may not be able to keep Cousins — and let’s be clear, up to this point the organization has given him little reason to put his faith in them, Cousins is not unreasonable here — they have to make a move. This is not Oklahoma City where they can just turn the team over to Russell Westbrook, if Cousins goes it’s a rebuild in Sacramento (for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade).

Celtics fans (and the rest of you convinced Cousins is coming your way), you need to wait it out. This is not going to be some quick move this summer.

But the vultures are circling.