Dan Feldman

Knicks’ Ron Baker crashes into Ben Stiller to save loose ball (video)

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Joel Embiid wasn’t the only player to crash into someone courtside while saving a loose ball last night.

But while Ron Baker, unlike Embiid, actually saved the ball to a teammate, Baker didn’t even star in his highlight. That honor goes to Ben Stiller, the famous actor who isn’t an undrafted rookie.

Jeff Teague fakes pass while maintaining his dribble on fastbreak, slices in for layup (video)

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I’m honestly not sure the headline accurately conveys what Jeff Teague did, but I’ve never seen anything like that.

Neither had the Magic, apparently.

Joel Embiid dives into 76ers bench to save loose ball (video)

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The 76ers are being cautious with Joel Embiid, but the third-year rookie sure isn’t playing that way.

There’s a reason Embiid is endearing himself now that he’s finally on the court.

Marcus Smart flops his way out of getting humiliatingly dunked on by Solomon Hill (video)

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Solomon Hill dunked straight over Marcus Smart – reminiscent of Vince Carter over Frederic Weis (besides the height difference).

But before the Celtics guard got roasted for being on the wrong end of the jam, he fell to the ground, and referees bailed him out by calling an offensive foul.

I don’t love the flop. But the over-the-top charge celebration? I appreciate the gall.

Kevin Durant: Contrary to initial claim, I wanted to be No. 1 pick over Greg Oden in 2007 draft

2007 ESPY Awards - Press Room
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
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In 2007, there was genuine debate about whether the Trail Blazers should draft Greg Oden over Kevin Durant with the No. 1 pick.

Durant said he didn’t care whether he went No. 1 or No. 2 to the SuperSonics.

Of course, Portland took Oden – the more-popular, though hardly unanimous, choice – and Oden fizzled out of the NBA due to injuries. Durant became a superstar with the Thunder and Warriors.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“I definitely wanted to be the No. 1 pick, but I landed in a great situation. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I would love to play with LaMarcus and Brandon Roy, but when I was the second pick, I was very excited to get to Seattle. We had traded Ray Allen, like, two picks later and I was like, ‘Wow. They’re really opening it up for me and really allowing me to grow as a player.’ So I didn’t even worry about being the No. 1 pick after that. Once we traded Ray Allen, I was like, ‘This is my team.’ They’re going to allow me to grow and make my mistakes. So I was looking forward to it.”

Of course Durant wanted to be the No. 1 pick. There wasn’t an appreciable difference in the quality of the top two teams, and the top selection got greater recognition and a higher salary. I’m not sure why Durant denied it in the first place.

How different would the league be today if Durant went to Portland and Oden went to Seattle then Oklahoma City? The ripple effects would be huge.

But I doubt the Trail Blazers picked Oden over a misunderstanding about Durant’s desire to go No. 1. They, like a lot of people, thought Oden was the better prospect.

Durant also addressed Oden’s claim that he’ll be “remembered as the biggest bust in NBA history.””

Durant, via Haynes:

“Nonsense. That’s nonsense,” Durant adamantly told ESPN Sunday evening. “In order for you to be a bust, you have to actually play and show people that you progressed as a player. He didn’t get a chance to.”

Personally, I don’t care whether players with major injuries are included in bust discussions. It’s worth acknowledging when that’s a factor, but their teams still don’t get the desired production. When talking busts, there are two overlapping conversations to have – one that exempts injured players and one that doesn’t. Both are valid.