Kevin Durant says Giannis Antetokounmpo could become GOAT

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is a player you can’t take your eyes off of, with his long strides and graceful attack of the rim he has become such a force his name comes up in future MVP discussions. Last season, at age 22, he averaged 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game, leading the Bucks in all those categories as well as steals and blocks. Still, it feels like we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of his talent, like 90 percent of it is still underwater and yet to be exposed.

All that, and still I don’t think as much of the Greek Freak as Kevin Durant. He posted a Q&A video on his YouTube page and was asked about his favorite player to watch.

“I like long, athletic guys. That’s just who I am. The Greek Freak I think is a force, and I’ve never seen anything like him. And his ceiling is probably—he could end up being the best player to ever play if he really wanted to. That’s pretty scary to think about. But he’s by far my favorite player to watch.”

First, it’s not shocking Durant that likes long, athletic players.

Second, it is hard to say what Antetokounmpo’s ceiling really is, but this may be a bit more of a goal than he needs. Kobe Bryant challenged Antetokounmpo to be the MVP this year, which was already a lofty goal but seems reasonable. The GOAT? I love to watch him play too, but we’re all a long way from there.

Besides, Antetokounmpo could lead the Bucks to seven straight titles, win five MVPs, and 50% of the basketball world would still try to tear him down and say he’s no Jordan.

 

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.