Kurt Helin

Anthony Davis

If you throw the alley-oop pass in the building Anthony Davis will finish (VIDEO)

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Just your daily reminder that Anthony Davis is an unstoppable freak of nature.

He got out on the break with relatively new Pelicans teammate Norris Cole, who threw an alley-oop pass only Davis and Reed Richards could have pulled down. It’s just another insane highlight from Davis.

It wasn’t Davis’ best night overall — 15 points on 16 shots — but the Pelicans had six players with at least a dozen points, plus they went on a 21-3 run late in the second quarter into the start of the third. That was enough. New Orleans beat Brooklyn by 20 and stay in the playoff mix in the West.

Vlade Divac on Kobe Bryant: “He’s definitely, by far, the best talent that I ever, ever played with”

Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers has his
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Vlade Divac is back in the NBA. That’s a very good thing.

He’s one of the pioneers of Europeans coming to the NBA and having success, having been a key part of the Lakers and Kings. He was an All-Star in 2001 and a guy known for a polished offensive game both back to the basket and from the midrange, his passing, smoking cigarettes, and flopping. He was eventually appreciated in Los Angeles (it was not easy to replace Kareem) but he was beloved in Sacramento, where he has returned to work with the organization’s basketball operations.

Divac also is remembered as the guy the Lakers traded for Kobe Bryant. Charlotte drafted Bryant on a pre-arranged deal to send him West. Which is why it was interesting when Divac sat down with the USA Today’s Sam Amick and said this about Kobe.

“It was a lovely story that I finished my career with Kobe, with somebody who I was traded for. I have a lot of respect for the guy. I think he’s definitely, by far, the best talent that I ever, ever played with. (It’s) obviously very close with Magic (Johnson) and Chris Webber, Glen Rice and Peja Stojakovic — it’s unbelievable experience for me to have a teammate like that next to me.”

More talented than Magic? That is high praise.

You should also read Divac’s comments on flopping — he says he did it because it was the only way he could defend the man-child that was Shaq, but he doesn’t like where it is in the game now.

Seattle teen wrote every NBA team asking why he should root for them. Only Minnesota responded.

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When was the last time you sent a letter? Not an email, an actual letter, on paper, with a stamp and everything.

One Seattle area teen recently sent out 30 letters, one to each NBA franchise asking why he should be a fan of their team (since it could be a little while before Seattle gets a team again). This was no form letter, each one was handwritten and included a drawing of the team logo. Here is what 16-year-old Connor posted on Reddit.

The Timberwolves were the only ones to respond to my letters!

Not only respond, they sent a letter with 10 reasons to be a Timberwolves fan — which was heavy on Andrew Wiggins related answers, as it should be — but also an autographed ball. Sure, the ball is a few years old (no Wiggins or Kevin Garnett signatures, but it did have Luke Ridnour) but still they responded and sent a ball.

source:

That is how you win a fan for life. Or at least until a team moves to Seattle. Well done, Minnesota.

Conner said he would be a Wolves fan on Reddit.

I’m probably not switching teams though because a response may be an attempt to compensate for this reddit post. Needless to say, I’m a Timberwolves fan now!”

 

Jimmy Butler likes to play country music during warmups. His teammates are not fans.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls
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Music can fill NBA locker rooms. Mostly it’s guys listening on headphones; sometimes it’s blaring out loud. If it’s Tony Allen listening on headphones everyone gets to hear it anyway at the volumes he plays.

But it’s almost always hip-hop. Some Drake, Kanye West, sometime’s it’s edgier stuff. Sometimes it’s throwbacks like Biggie, Tupac, DMX.

And if it’s Jimmy Butler’s turn in the Chicago locker room, it’s some country too.

“I get my own playlist in warmups sometimes,” Butler told ProBasketballTalk. “My teammates don’t like it very much because it’s country music, but they get over it.”

Country? Yes. Starting with Taylor Swift.

“I like Taylor Swift,” Butler said. “I like music as a whole, but her music is kinda catchy. I’m sure she’ll hear this interview now and be like ‘what’s going on?’”

So what’s on his playlist?

“I like country music. I listen to a little hip-hop,” Butler told us. “But I try to listen to people I’ve gained relationships with over the years, so whether it’s Ludacris or Lee Brice or Jason Aldean, whoever it is I try to support them just like they support me.”

Butler remains out of the lineup right now, recovering from a strained elbow.

“The elbow is great, it is getting better,” Butler said. “I’m taking care of my body, so I’ll be back in no time.”

Butler is spending some of his time off the court working on Kellogg’s Give a Child Breakfast efforts. It’s a charity issue he says is not just a tax write off, this is something finds very personal — making sure children get fed breakfast before school. He was at a Chicago-area school last week to help promote the effort.

“We just want to raise awareness that one in every five kids may go to school hungry in the morning, and to try and change that we want to try and provide 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks by the end of 2016 and a million breakfasts by the end of 2015,” Butler said of the Kellogg’s Give a Child Breakfast campaign.

And if the kids at that schools he visits want to dance to a little Taylor Swift, he’s good with that.

Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri wants to get Canadian players on Toronto roster

Masai Ujiri
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There are a number of young Canadian players in the NBA — Andrew Wiggin, Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk, Andrew Nicholson, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis, and the list goes on — but none of them are on the roster of the NBA’s one Canadian team.

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wants to change that.

As part of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s Canadian Basketball Speakers forum, Ujiri said that he would love to get a young Canadian on his team’s roster, although he was careful to avoid naming names as that would be tampering, reports Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

“We are an NBA team, it’s important we look for talent everywhere, but it is on our minds to get a Canadian player or Canadian players,” Ujiri said at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, after he had delivered his address…

“We are studying it. I even considered last year hiring somebody to concentrate just on Canadian players and I think I’m going to go through with it because the growth of the game here is so big,” he said.

“It’s the fit. We can maybe take our time and study it a little bit so it is the right fit and not do it just to do it. It’s going to come, there is no doubt in my mind. It’s an obligation that I think we have to fulfil. We are a Canadian team and I think to have Canadian players, I think will be phenomenal.”

Of course, the Canadian they would most want is Wiggins, who is on his way to being named Rookie of the Year and is showing signs of being a potential superstar in the league (his jumper has made leaps this season). However, Wiggins is in the first year of his rookie deal and the Timberwolves are not about to move him. What’s more, even when his rookie contract is up, he’d have to take a pay cut (and take a risk with injuries at the end of that deal) to get out of town — players almost never turn down a max extention to their rookie contracts. If Wiggins is offered one he likely stays another five years after this first deal. Meaning it’s going to be after 2020 before Wiggins might be a Raptor.

But the other names on that list above, and others coming in the pipeline will become available. There are quality guys Ujiri can get.

And it sounds like he may do just that.