Kurt Helin

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Dwight Howard wants to play seven more years, says he is Hall of Famer

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Dwight Howard has had both a remarkable and maligned NBA career. We’re talking about a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, eight-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star who has averaged 17.5 points and 12.7 rebounds shooting 58 percent over a 13-year career. But bring up Howard and you hear about the ugly exits from Orlando, Los Angeles, and Houston, about a guy seen as not taking himself and the game seriously enough.

Howard talks about all of this and more in a fascinating Q&A with Mark Spears at The Undefeated. Go read the entire thing. Three answers he gave stood out to me, and the first two had to do with how much longer he wants to play and if he’s already a Hall of Famer.

How much longer do you want to play?

I want to get to 20 years. Now I’m at 13.

 

Do you feel like you’ve built a resume worthy of induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?

No doubt. It’s kind of got swept under the rug because the perception of all the things that happened in Orlando. All of the media stuff. If you look at basketball itself, and I don’t ever talk about myself, but winning three Defensive Player of the Year trophies has never been done. Leading the league in rebounding six straight years. All that kind of stuff, I think that deserves it.

Howard’s critics will hate this, but he’s right — he is a future Hall of Famer. It’s not really a debate. He’s got the resume even without a ring, and if you go by the simple criteria of “one of the best of his era” then he qualifies — he was one of the league’s best players for a five-year stretch. You can argue he should have been MVP in 2011, not Derrick Rose. If you don’t think he is a lock, you didn’t watch him play in Orlando.

The other interesting question tied into him coming out of high school straight to the NBA, and whether he thinks that’s good for players.

Should high school players be allowed to go to the NBA right out of high school now?

It’s tough, because they should be able to pursue their dreams. But at the same time, there are a lot of things you can learn in college even for [one] year that can help you adjust to [the] life of being an NBA player. It’s not as easy as what people think. It’s a little different now because you have social media and all this stuff.

It’s a whole different life. You need a little bit of that being off in college and having to take care of the little money that you get. Just learn how to really take care of yourself away from home.

Adam Silver and the NBA owners would like to thank Howard for making their argument for them.

 

Nikola Jokic puts together fifth triple-double this season in win over Clippers (VIDEO)

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Second-year big man Nikola Jokic has five triple-doubles this season now.

The Nuggets are 5-0 when he does.

The fifth came Thursday night against a shorthanded Clippers team (no Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan) when Jokic had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. Denver cruised to a 129-114 win. The win moved Denver 2.5 games ahead of Portland for the final playoff slot in the West.

Zaza Pachulia’s double-double means Warriors’ coach gets a shave

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Kurtis Rayfield is the Warriors physical performance coach, and he had a bet with big man Zaza Pachulia — Rayfield Rayfield had a quality beard going, but if Pachulia had a double-double of points and rebounds in a game, plus had a dunk, they could shave it off. A strange trifecta.

For 67 games, Rayfield continued to look like a member Zach Brown band. Pachulia was not holding up his end.

That was until Thursday night’s route of the Magic, when Pachulia finally checked off all the boxes. From Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.

“I just finished cutting a lot of hair,” Pachulia said, grinning with satisfaction.

“Take a look at Kurtis next time you see him,” coach Steve Kerr said. “A lot of the guys were excited.”

Friday is Warriors’ team picture day. Pachulia said he did it just in time.

By the way, the Warriors blew out the Magic 122-92.

Three Things We Learned Thursday: Love is in the air — and on the court — for Cleveland

Associated Press
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Just relax, your bracket isn’t that bad. Yet. Wait until the end of today, then it should be a smoldering pile of rubble. Sorry, just trying to be realistic. Anyway, here’s the big takeaways from an NBA Thursday with six games.

1) Love is in the air — and on the court — for Cleveland. Kevin Love returns, Cavaliers beat Jazz. The Cavaliers went 7-6 with Kevin Love sidelined following a knee scope to clean up “loose bodies” that were irritating him. Cleveland didn’t rebound as well without Love, their floor spacing wasn’t right, and their bench was hurt.

Thursday night, Love was back. A little earlier than expected, the team had said he was going to come back on the team’s upcoming road trip, but he played in this game in Cleveland instead. Love started 4-of-5 from the floor and finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Love being back wasn’t the reason the Cavaliers beat a good Jazz team, however — that was LeBron James. He had 17 of his 33 in the fourth to give the Cavs the win.

The Cavaliers have a 2.5 game lead over Boston and, sorry Celtics fans, but you’re not catching them. With Love back, the Cavaliers will cruise to the top seed in the East now. The only question left is can anyone challenge them in the East playoffs.

2) Russell Westbrook had the pass of the year Thursday night. Oh, and another triple-double. Yes, Westbrook had 24 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds to lead the Thunder past the stumbling Raptors in Toronto. That would be 34 triple-doubles this season, if you’re counting.

But that’s not what anyone is talking about — this half-court bounce pass through the defender’s legs to Victor Oladipo is the pass of the year. This is insane.

3) Dwyane Wade is done for the season with a fractured elbow. Bulls done as well. Wednesday night, Dwyane Wade collided with Zach Randolph and injured his elbow. Thursday, the Chicago Bulls announced Wade has a fractured elbow and is done for the season.

With that, the Bulls playoff dreams died as well. They didn’t look right for a while — the Bulls are just one game back of Miami and Detroit (tied for the eighth seed), however, Chicago had lost six-of-seven and the wheels were coming off before this injury. Also, they have a rough stretch of games coming up (the next three are Wizards, Jazz, Raptors), and Wade was bringing 18.6 points per night and some of the best clutch play on the team. Now the Bulls will have to lean more on their thin bench, and there hasn’t been a lot of good shooting there either (which is what they need).

Will Wade return to the Bulls? There are 23.8 million reasons he might — that’s how much his player option is for, and at age 35 he’s not going to get that much on the open market. That said, Wade’s return to his hometown did not go well this season, he was clearly frustrated with the front office and largely just ignored the coach, and he may well just bolt. That seems to be the sense around the league, that he will not return to Chicago. He could go back to Miami, you can bet LeBron James will pressure Cleveland to go after him, and a few other teams will line up. We will see this summer what matters to Wade — money, contending, lifestyle — by the choices he makes.

New Laker GM Rob Pelinka offers Rob Lowe Lakers tickets to clear up confusion

Associated Press
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Have you ever seen Rob Lowe and Rob Pelinka in the same place at the same time?

The new Lakers’ GM has a resemblance to the actor known for his roles in West Wing and Austin Powers and… probably some other stuff if you love the ’80s, but those were the high points if you ask me.

Pelinka was answering questions on Twitter from Lakers fans when the Lowe question came up.

You know the Lowe/Pelinka photo op is coming.