Author: Brett Pollakoff

Milwaukee Bucks v Portland Trail Blazers

Giannis Antetokounmpo with the crossover, spin move and slam (VIDEO)


Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 29 points in a loss to the Pelicans on Monday, and a lot of them looked just like this.

Giannis has become a handful for opposing defenses, mainly due to having an uncommon level of agility and ball-handling skills for someone in close to a seven-foot tall frame.

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He’s also just 20 years old, which makes the fact that he’s this good this soon somewhat ridiculous.

J.R. Smith drops Brandon Knight with the crossover (VIDEO)

Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers

There’s a reason that crossovers, when executed properly, work so well.

The defender is usually putting all of his effort into going one direction, so when the player with the ball suddenly makes a move to go toward the opposite one, it often times creates an embarrassing situation.

Brandon Knight, meet J.R. Smith.

Knight clearly believes Smith is headed baseline, but a sharp behind-the-back crossover leaves Knight in the dust, and when the help defense tries to recover, it leads to a wide open look from three-point distance, which Kevin Love knocks down with ease.

NBA says Replay Center helped incorrectly overturn call late during Heat-Wizards

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls

The NBA installed a centralized replay center this season, in order to have a single location that could feed relevant video to officials in real time so that upon the utilization of the replay rules, they could get the call right.

While it works well in most instances, some plays are simply beyond reproach — and even with the help of the replay center, it’s possible for a call to be incorrectly overturned once the play is put under even further scrutinization.

This happened late in Friday night’s contest between the Heat and the Wizards. As Miami’s Tyler Johnson went in for a put-back tip-in with 1:08 remaining, the initial ruling was that he touched the ball while it was in the cylinder, and the basket was disallowed. But the replay center overturned the call (well, technically the officials in the arena did with the center’s assistance) and awarded the Heat with two points.

The game’s Last Two Minute Report, however, graded that overturning as incorrect, stating that Johnson touched the ball again after the initial legal tap, which should have negated the play altogether.

I don’t know about that. After multiple viewings, it’s possible that Johnson may have touched the ball one more time, but the video evidence seemed to be inconclusive, at best.

What this tells us more than anything is that the legality of a given play can sometimes be impossible to discern in real time, or even with the help of an entire team of people feeding video to the officials onsite.

Report: Bucks will be paying Larry Sanders for the next seven years

larry sanders

The Bucks reached a buyout deal with Larry Sanders a couple of weeks ago, after Sanders needed time off for both personal reasons and league-mandated suspensions for violating the drug policy earlier this season.

There were different numbers reported as to just how much Milwaukee would be on the hook for, and for how long.

But we now have some clarity on the matter, and it looks as though the Bucks will choose to take as long as allowed under the league’s collective bargaining agreement to financially sort things out.

From Gery Woelfel of

In recent days, league sources claim the Bucks will use every year they are allotted under the NBA’s “stretch provision.” And that means the Bucks will pay Sanders in annual increments of approximately $1.9 million over a seven-year period. That amount will be applied to the Bucks’ salary cap each season through the 2021-2022 season.

The stretch provision allows teams to make their payments for twice the number of years remaining on a contract, plus an additional year. Sanders has three years remaining on his contract.

Sanders, who was twice suspended by the NBA for drug infractions – last season for five games and 10 games this season – will thus collect about $22 million – or half of his original $44 million deal.

It’s a small hit in terms of the actual cap space the agreement will take up, but it will be a long and painful reminder that the team gave Sanders too much too soon, when some signs were there that could have indicated that this might not have been the wisest of decisions.

Bucks general manager John Hammond and Bucks owner Herb Kohl made the egregious decision to give Sanders a contract extension in August of 2013.

It immediately brought wide-spread disbelief around the NBA, especially considering Sanders had only one quality season with the Bucks, had several run-ins with teammates and still had another season remaining on his contract before he became a restricted free agent.

Sanders reportedly has no interest in pursuing basketball at this time, as he looks to get his personal life in order first.

MORE: CSN Washington subscriber? Watch Bucks-Wizards Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET 

Report: No team watched Kentucky more in person this season than the Knicks

Kentucky at Mississippi State

The Knicks are finishing out one of the worst seasons in franchise history, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of where they may select in the first round of this summer’s NBA Draft.

And the team wants to make sure it’s as prepared as possible.

New York brass has been spending a ton of time around the Kentucky Wildcats, the undefeated college squad that features Karl-Anthony Towns, who along with Duke’s Jahlil Okafor is considered to be one of the top prospects of this year’s class.

From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

The Knicks have been very visible in the blue grass state. Perhaps no team watched Kentucky more in person this winter than the Knicks, who will likely select anywhere from one through five in June which would place them in a position to draft either Towns or his athletic 7-foot teammate, center Willie Cauley-Stein.

According to several sources close to the Kentucky program, the Knicks top scout Mark Warkentien has attended nearly a dozen Wildcats practices as the club prepares for the most important decision of the Jackson regime. …

“If you are looking for a guy that can help you right away, I think Okafor will have a bigger impact as a rookie,” says one NBA executive whose team is expected to have a top 12 pick. “But if you’re an owner and you’re looking for a guy that can change your franchise over the next three years, I’d say Towns.”

The Knicks are in need of a franchise overhaul, one that will include cornerstone-level talent capable of helping to build sustained success that can last for the next several seasons.

We don’t know where New York’s first round draft pick will land, but it appears as though the team has invested heavily in scouting Kentucky, just in case it ends up having a shot at someone like Towns.