Kurt Helin

Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo drops 13 points in 14 minutes for Greece (VIDEO)

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EuroBasket tips off in a couple of weeks, and for NBA teams that can be a double-edged sword. On one side, there is the risk of injury (different international event, but think Dante Exum).

On the other side, for guys that could use more development, it’s a chance to get on the court and play at a relatively high level of competition, with good coaching.

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is trying to take advantage of the latter. In a friendly against Bosnia, the Greek dropped 13 points in just 14 minutes of action. He had three rebounds and three blocks as well. Since I’m guessing you didn’t stream this live, above are some highlights.

Hat tip Sportando.

 

Kobe Bryant brings D’Angelo Russell around on who is the GOAT

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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From the first moments after the Los Angeles Lakers took him with the No. 2 pick, D’Angelo Russell has been singing the praises of Kobe Bryant. But Kobe is not his only idol, and Russell tweeted out this:

You knew Kobe wasn’t going to let that slide.

It took all of six minutes for Russell to start backpedaling.

Kobe let the rookie off the hook. At least in public.

Shock the world? For the Lakers that would be making the playoffs with this roster.

Flip Saunders counting on Kevin Garnett, Tayshaun Prince to change Timberwolves defense

Kevin Garnett
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Last season, the Timberwolves were the worst defensive team in the NBA. By far. They allowed 109.6 points per 100 possessions, which was more than six per 100 worse than the league average. If Minnesota is going to take a step forward next season, that is the obvious area for improvement (although their 26th ranked offense could use some help, too). Minnesota has a long ways to go.

More than just talent, coach Flip Saunders is counting on a veteran presence to change the Timberwolves defense around.

He tweeted as much Friday.

That doesn’t hurt. Kevin Garnett can still quarterback a defense, even if his reactions to what he recognizes are now a step slow. Tayshaun Prince still knows how to defend on the perimeter.

I can see Prince helping mentor Andrew Wiggins. I can see KG helping Karl-Anthony Townes understand how to recognize what is coming and protect the rim.

Defense at the NBA level starts with simple effort — not every team, not every player gives it. If the veterans on the Timberwolves help install a real work ethic on that end, it would be a big start.

But just a start. Minnesota has a long way to go.

NBA 2K16 celebrates James Harden’s straight out of Compton story (VIDEO)

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five
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NBA 2K16 is doing some storytelling to sell some video games. First, there was Stephen Curry.

Now, it’s James Harden. Complete with a timely Straight Outta Compton flavor.

As always, when Spike Lee narrates anything hoops related, it gets 50 percent cooler.

Kristaps Porzingis works out with Carmelo Anthony, knocks down threes

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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After a short vacation back home — where he says he no longer blends in, but did he ever at seven-foot? — Kristaps Porzingis is back in New York working out.

At Summer League Porzingis clearly made a point of not taking threes, even open ones, preferring to put the ball on the floor and work on getting to the rim. But part of the draw of his game is the shooting.

Apparently, he can knock down those outside looks.

Porzingis is a project, Knicks fans can’t ask too much of him as a rookie. But the potential is unquestionable.