Author: Brett Pollakoff

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond converts reverse alley-oop in win over Grizzlies (VIDEO)


The Pistons snapped a 10-game losing streak with a win over the Pistons on Tuesday, and Andre Drummond’s play was a big reason why.

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Sure, Reggie Jackson’s 20 assists were nice, too. But Drummond was big on both ends of the floor, and ended up with 16 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots against a formidable front line that features Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

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Vlade Divac: ‘Shaq wasn’t talented, he was just strong’

Shaquille O'Neal

Vlade Divac recently said that Kobe Bryant was the best talent that he ever played with, but his words weren’t nearly as glowing when discussing the abilities of one of Bryant’s Hall of Fame caliber teammates.

Divac had many battles with Shaquille O’Neal during his playing days with the Sacramento Kings, and told me last summer that the flopping style of play he became known for was a direct result of  O’Neal’s bruising style of play.

Now in a front office role with the Kings, Divac had some harsh criticism for O’Neal’s game when talking up the current face of the Sacramento franchise, DeMarcus Cousins.

From the Associated Press:

“I’ve been in basketball a long, long time, and I have to say he’s the most talented big guy I have ever seen,” Divac said Monday. “Shaq wasn’t talented — he was just strong. I was talented, but I wasn’t strong.”

Divac went on to call O’Neal one of the most dominant players ever. O’Neal, who knocked Divac and the Kings out of the playoffs in three straight seasons from 1999-2001, is now a minority owner with the team and one of Divac’s bosses.

“He always was my boss,” Divac said.

This comes across as bitterness from Divac, and not much else.

It’s not only disingenuous to say that O’Neal wasn’t talented; it’s a flat-out lie. There are plenty of players in the league that have traded on their size and strength over the years (Dwight Howard is a current example), but few if any were ever as dominant as O’Neal was while in his prime offensively. And, the way he developed an ability to pass out of double teams to find cutters or shooters for easy looks was just as important as the powerful scoring opportunities that he converted inside.

It’s possible to describe one player’s greatness without tearing another one down in the process. Those battles with Shaq back in the day were personal as far as Divac is concerned, and remarks like these make it clear he still harbors some resentment over how things went down, even all these years later.

Stephen Curry would vote for LeBron James as MVP

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 1

Stephen Curry is at the top of many MVP ballots, and rightfully so. As the best player on what’s been one of the league’s best teams all season long, there’s little argument to be made that he doesn’t deserve it.

But it’s an unusually crowded race this season.

We’ve got James Harden carrying the Rockets with Dwight Howard out of the lineup; we’ve got Russell Westbrook putting up triple-doubles on a consistent basis to keep the Thunder in the playoff hunt with Kevin Durant (and now Serge Ibaka) sidelined; we’ve got Anthony Davis just playing at a statistically freakish level; oh, and we’ve got that LeBron James guy, who’s been pretty good for a Cavaliers team that has posted a record of 24-6 since Jan. 15.

Curry wasn’t modest when he was asked who he’d vote for if he had the chance; he admitted he’d take himself. But when that option was off the table, he went with LeBron James.

Check out Curry’s remarks, which he made during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, by viewing the video clip above.

Adam Silver on potential work stoppage in 2017: ‘It’s not something I’m talking to teams about yet’

Adam Silver

Michele Roberts has taken a hard-line against seemingly every idea that’s been publicly posited by Adam Silver, and as executive director of the union for the players, this has many concerned that the league may be headed for a work stoppage in advance of the 2017 season.

Silver, however, is not one of those people.

Speaking to reporters in Indianapolis on Monday, the NBA’s commissioner believes the possibility is too far off to begin worrying about just yet.

From Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star:

Silver praised front-office personnel (Larry Bird, Kevin Pritchard and Donnie Walsh) for the Pacers’ success since February, calling the team’s 13-3 record “just fantastic.” However, not once during Silver’s whirlwind tour — that also included a luncheon at the local rotary club — did the topic of a potential NBA work stoppage in 2017 arise in conversation.

“Believe it or not — I can’t speak for the union or anything — but it’s not something I’m talking to teams about yet,” Silver said. “I think it’s premature.” …

Roberts is on record as stating that the union plans to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement as soon as it is able, which means another round of labor negotiations are in store. And the last time that happened, we had a lockout that cost us the first three months of the 2011-12 season.

The hard-line stance Roberts has taken on recent issues — like Silver’s salary cap smoothing proposal and the NBA’s age limit — is posturing at this point more than anything else. She needs buy-in from the players before going to battle at the negotiating table, and publicly sticking up for the issues they care about is one way to get it.

But we have no idea what will actually take place behind those bargaining session closed doors, or which issues Roberts will choose to prioritize when it’s truly time for the deal-making to begin. And Silver knows that better than anyone else.

PBT Podcast: Tanking Nuggets, East and West playoff races, and who to watch in the NCAA Tournament

Notre Dame at Duke
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In this edition of the podcast, Kurt Helin and I kick things off by discussing the tanking Denver Nuggets, and wonder whether that’s the wisest of moves by the organization given all of the turmoil they’ve recently experienced.

We then look at the Cavaliers, and the difference of opinion LeBron James has with his head coach about playoff positioning to end the regular season. From there we break down the playoff races in each conference, while talking a lot about the damage the Thunder might do — before conceding that there’s no guarantee that they make it at all.

To wrap things up, Kurt had an extended conversation with Rotoworld’s Ed Isaacson about the players to watch when the NCAA Tournament gets underway later this week.

Listen in the embedded player below, or download the file to hear at your convenience.