<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

New Orleans Pelicans v Denver Nuggets

PBT Extra: Anthony Davis’s MVP-level play, the Spurs and things to be thankful for


It’s that time of year when we should take stock of our lives and the things we have to be thankful for — and as NBA fans this season we have an overflowing cornucopia of fun and exciting things.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss just three of them in this latest edition of PBT Extra. First is getting to watch Anthony Davis blossom into a top three player before our eyes — he has been the NBA’s best player the first month of the season.

Then there are the Spurs — the best power forward ever, a couple other Hall of Famers and they play a beautiful, selfless brand of basketball. We need to enjoy this while we can because it could all end soon.

Finally, Canadian Thanksgiving took place last month but I’m not taking the Raptors off my list. This team is fun to watch, playing great on both ends of the ball and the Bulls and Cavaliers both have a lot of work to do to clear the bar that the Raptors are setting. This is a quality team.

Tyson Chandler faces Knicks, will remind them he’s very good when healthy, used properly

Tyson Chandler

Tyson Chandler became a scapegoat for everything that went wrong with the pre-Phil Jackson Knicks. Last season he missed a lot of time with a broken leg and was never fully back and in his groove. On his way out the door, Phil Jackson took a shot at Chandler as he traded him to Dallas, saying moving him and Raymond Felton was part of changing the chemistry with the Knicks.

Tonight, Knicks fans can get a reminder of what a healthy, motivated Chandler looks like when New York travels to Dallas — he looks defensively back closer to the guy that won a Defensive Player of the Year award in New York. Think the Knicks could use a defender like that in their lineup right about now?

Chandler was annoyed with the comments from Jackson but told the New York Post he’s moved on.

“I don’t know why they did that,’’ Chandler said of Jackson’s remark about needing to change the chemistry with the Chandler-Felton trade in late June. “Only they can answer that question. I’ve since then moved on and don’t pay it any much attention. I know a lot of the media will be returning and me going against my former team. But in all honesty I’ve kind of swept it behind. It’s in the past and under the rug and I’m moving on with my future here.’’

His future is bright because Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows how to use him.

Chandler is a poor fit in the triangle because he isn’t a classic post-up big nor does he have an elbow/midrange jumper. So you can defend Jackson for shipping Chandler out because he would have added to the mess that is New York’s rhombus-looking offense.

But he has real strengths — he sets a mean pick and rolls hard to the rim, has good hands and can finish. So that’s what the Mavs and their elite offense do — Jameer Nelson or Monta Ellis come off his big picks then make their plays. The result is that Chandler is averaging 10.3 points a game on a ridiculous 69.7 percent shooting. So far this season he has an All-Star level PER of 22.7, which would be a career high (a number bolstered by his 10.3 rebounds a game).

He’s key to their offense because when he rolls they space the floor with Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons, guys you can’t help off. The result is a 115.2 points per 100 possessions offense in Dallas — that is five points better than the No. 2 team (Toronto).

Zach Lowe said it beautifully at Grantland.

Most of us read the Chandler trade as the Mavs plugging the dam on a bottom-10 defense, and to a large degree, that was accurate. But Dallas also viewed Chandler as a keystone in what could be a historically great offense — a scoring machine so ruthless, the Mavs could chase a title in Dirk Nowitzki’s twilight without an elite defense.

“When we can spread the floor with Tyson or [Brandan Wright] rolling,” Nowitzki says, “it’s a bitch to guard.”

Dallas has a ways to go, as an ugly loss to Indiana this week showed. They are a work in process.

But Chandler still has a lot of good basketball left in him. Something the Knicks will get reminded of Wednesday night.

Adam Silver meets with community leaders in Milwaukee trying to pave way for new arena

Adam Silver

The Milwaukee Bucks are just fun this season — young, athletic, they get out and run and with Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo there are must watch guys. This is how you sell hope to a fan base — the Bucks are 8-7 this young season (that’s better than the Cavaliers) and you see the potential for growth. Like the top of the league potential.

It would be devastating to see another long-time strong NBA market lose its team just as that team is ascending like this.

The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have pulled no punches — the Bucks need a new arena. The BMO Harris Bradley Center no longer meets NBA standards. The problem is while there is some money in the pot for a new arena — new owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry have promised $100 million toward the building, as did former owner Herb Kohl, and there are other, smaller investors — that’s about half of what a new arena will cost. It’s going to take some form of public assistance, and that is going to be a hard sell.

Silver was in Milwaukee making that pitch to community leaders and working on the steps, he told the Associated Press.

“We accomplished a lot today,” Silver said. “There’s a tremendous amount of positive energy in the community. There are always bumps in the road, but there’s no doubt here that the people, the fans, the elected officials, they all recognize the value this team brings to the community.”

The new owners hope to have a site announced for the new building by the end of the year, or certainly not far into the new year. That’s a first step and a very good sign. But there is still a lot of steps left to climb the mountain.

Silver, more than his predecessor, does not like to see teams moved (he pushed for the Sacramento group to get their chance to keep the Kings). He has said he wants the Bucks to stay.

That said, this is a business. If construction of a new arena is not underway by the end of 2017, the league can buy back the Bucks from the Edens and Lasry. Then things would really be up in the air for the franchise.

Andre Drummond shuts down Jabari Parker, Josh Smith does not (VIDEOS)

Jabari Parker

The Bucks are just fun to watch. Even when, like in the video above, things don’t work out as planned.

That is some nice hustle by Andre Drummond, who blocks Jabari Parker at one end, hustles down the court and gets the slam on the other.

But the Bucks had their revenge. Mostly by winning the game, but there was also this play where 7-footer Giannis Antetokounmpo  leads the break, finds Parker with a well-timed pass, who finishes all over Josh Smith.

Kobe Bryant: “We’re not a 3-11 team. We’re not.”

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells once said: “You are what your record says you are.”

Kobe Bryant disagrees.

Via Baxter Holmes of ESPNLA.com.

There are a lot of people who side with Kobe, at least around this Lakers team, which is 3-11 to start. A lot of die hards around the Lakers and in the organization think this team will prove better than their early record indicates.

Here’s why not: Their defense is historically bad.

Their offense is not good, it’s a relic of the 1990s before zone defenses and a change in the hand checking rules altered offenses and opened them up. There is too much Kobe isolation on the wing, too little swinging of the ball to the weakside on an overloaded defense.

But that’s not the problem. According to NBA.com, the Lakers are surrendering 114.4 points per 100 possessions so far this season, no team in the last 15 years of the NBA has been that bad, which is as far back as their stats track. Basketball-Reference.com uses a different possessions calculation and says the Lakers’ defense surrenders 117.2 points per 100, while the worst defenses ever — the 91-92 Nuggets, the 92-93 Mavericks, and the 08-09 Kings — surrendered 114.7 points per 100.

While we need to put in a “small sample size alert” this early in the season… yes, the Lakers are that bad. They are what their record says they are. And unless some defensive help is on the way in an unforseen form, they will stay pretty much that bad.