By the start of next week, Anthony Bennett will almost certainly be a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. As part of a three-team trade going down this weekend that will land Kevin Love next to LeBron James in Cleveland, Bennett will wind up next to Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel in Philly.
The few times Andrew Wiggins has been asked about the pending trade he has handled it as well as you could ask a 19-year-old rookie to, saying he just wants to play and he understands the NBA is a business. Would he like to have played next to LeBron? Of course. But life takes its own path sometimes.
Now it was Anthony Bennett’s turn.
He was in Canada working out for a Team Americas tournament and said all the right things when asked about the trade by Gregory Strong of the Toronto Star.
“I’m just a young man that’s ready to work,” he said. “Wherever I end up, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to play basketball.”
It’s the only think he can say.
Bennett had a rough rookie season where he played as poorly as any No. 1 pick in history. Make no mistake, it was as ugly as his shot. However he showed up to Summer League in Las Vegas this year in shape and healthy, and with that came a much better performance. He looked like an NBA player, defending and hitting the boards hard. He looked like a rotation big on an NBA team, a guy you could play 15 minutes a night, which is a big step forward for him. In Philly Bennett could get a lot of run and have the chance to show some of that potential — he’s never going to live up to the No. 1 pick hype, but he can stick around in the NBA for a while.
After that up and down rookie year, does Bennett have any advice for Wiggins? The two have talked Bennett, said.
“Pretty much I just told him to work hard,” he said. “Just try not to listen to everybody. You can have one bad game, you can have one real good game. But you know, it’s just a long season full of ups and downs.”
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.
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.