Kurt Helin

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

PBT Extra: Will Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade be moving on?


The summertime NBA rumor season is here. Even if there are a few games left to play (just a little thing like the NBA Finals with LeBron James and Stephen Curry).

Kevin Love says he will stay in Cleveland, but does he mean it?

Are the Nets going to try and move Deron Williams and Joe Johnson?

Could the Dwyane Wade posturing with Miami lead to him skipping town?

Jenna Corrado and I get into all of it in this PBT Extra.

Warriors’ Klay Thompson cleared to play in Game 1

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

The first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals is going to be rusty after both teams have been off for more than a week. It’s just another reason the league will regret that start date.

However, Warriors are fine with that start date — they got Kay Thompson back.

He was officially cleared to play in Game 1 Thursday after passing the NBA’s concussion protocol.

Thompson suffered a concussion in Game 5 against the Rockets after an inadvertent knee to his head from Trevor Ariza. If the Warriors had continued on in that series he would have missed time, but the length break in the schedule paid off for him.

This was expected, Thompson went through a three-hour practice and workout Monday and reportedly showed no ill effects.

Having him in the lineup is huge for the Warriors. First, the Warriors were +18.2 points per 48 minutes when Thompson and Curry were paired in the regular season, and they are +10.5 in the postseason. Thompson is a quality perimeter defender (who will likely draw considerable time on Kyrie Irving this series). Plus, he and Curry make it difficult to match up with the Warriors for the Cavs if Irving isn’t 100 percent — either of them will be able to create space and get looks.

Plus, when Curry sits, Thompson can take over, remember he had a 37-point quarter this season.

PBT Extra: Who is better positioned as a new coach, Hoiberg or Gentry?

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Fred Hoiberg landed in a pretty good spot in the NBA — he’s got Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and more, a quality roster that won 50 games this past season.

But even in the short term, I think Alvin Gentry may be in a better spot.

It’s not just Anthony Davis, although that certainly helps. It’s that Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson missed large chunks of time due to injury but should be healthy next season. Plus just playing faster and focusing on defense — something the Pelicans clearly will try to do — will make them better very quickly. Even in the deep West.

Plus, way better gumbo where Gentry is going.

Warriors betting favorites to win NBA Finals, but money pouring in on Cavaliers

AP Money Found

This is not a simple NBA Finals to predict.

On one hand, the Golden State Warriors have been the best team in the NBA all season — 67 wins, No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense in the land. They only lost three games in getting out of the deep Western Conference in the playoffs. They have the MVP in Stephen Curry and the versatility and depth to beat teams in a variety of ways.

On the other hand, the Cavaliers have LeBron James. They also are a team playing their best defense of the season, their role players are stepping up, and they dropped only two games in getting out of the East.

Not surprisingly, the Warriors are the betting favorites heading into the Finals, reports online gambling site bovda.lv. The Warriors are -200 to win the series, meaning you have to bet $200 to win $100. The Cavaliers are +170, meaning bet $100 and you win $170.

The fact there is a better payout — and, again, LeBron James —has the money flowing in on Cleveland.

“I am a bit surprised how one-sided the betting on the finals is with the Cavs taking close to 60 percent of the money,” said Kevin Bradley, the sports book manager for Bovada.lv.

He added the popularity of the teams in this series means his book will likely do double the business they would have gotten from a Rockets/Hawks Finals.

As for Finals MVP… who do you think are the two favorites?

Stephen Curry (GSW) 5/8
LeBron James (CLE) 17/10
Klay Thompson (GSW) 12/1
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 12/1
Draymond Green (GSW) 14/1
JR Smith (CLE) 30/1
Harrison Barnes (GSW) 40/1
Tristan Thompson (CLE) 40/1
Andrew Bogut (GSW) 100/1
Andre Iguodala (GSW) 125/1

If you are betting on J.R. Smith or Iguodala to win the Finals MVP, just donate that money to charity. That way at least it would do some good.

Steve Nash says Stephen Curry is the best shooter ever

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

The quick release. The accuracy. The ability to shoot off the dribble going either way. The high IQ game.

Steve Nash had all of it — he’s a career 42.8 percent shooter from three and arguably the best shooter off the dribble the game has ever seen.

Until Stephen Curry came along. Nash is willing to give the title of best shooter in NBA history to Curry right now. After six years in the league and at age 27. Look at what Nash told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report.

“The only pause I have is from fear of being ignorant,” he said. “Am I missing someone? Does he need to play longer or do it longer? Does he have to do it in the playoffs more years? But my first reaction is, ‘Why not?’ He’s as good as anyone I can think of on every level—pure shooting, array of shots, percentage, getting hot, plays to the end—he checks all the boxes….

“Consistency,” Nash said. “Can someone consistently make shots, night in and night out, year after year? That’s the true mark of a player. You could break it down a lot of ways, but that’s the bottom line. How rare are off nights? There are certain guys, they shoot the ball, you always think it’s going in. Steph is able to seamlessly get his feet down, gather his weight between his feet and go up in the air and shoot it in rhythm as if he’d just been standing there, caught it and shot it.

“Truly, from the eye test, he’s the greatest there’s ever been.”

And about shooting off the bounce?

“Steph takes it to another level,” Nash said. “I was able to do it going left and right, and we can both do it at speed, but I was always trying to get to the three-point line. He can do it from deeper and, frankly, I never took a step-back. He has no trouble taking a step-back and making it. You add that to all the other shots. It could be a clincher in this game of deciding who’s the best.”

It’s a little challenging to compare NBA shooters across eras because the older guys never had a three point line, then with the change in defensive rules and philosophy there is more of an emphasis on that shot now.

Still, have you seen Curry shoot?

Nash notes that Curry will likely finish with a lower career shooting percentage than himself, but that’s only because he shoots more often, while Nash resisted that urge (and the pleas of some of his coaches) to set up teammates more. But already Curry has to be up there with the best of them.

There is Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Drazen Petrovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry West, Larry Bird and whomever else you want on that list, Curry belongs there. Whether you go by stats or the eye test, Curry passes.