Kurt Helin

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Knicks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo signs to play in Spain

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The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the fast-rising stars of the NBA.

His brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo also has a fascinating skill set, but has never quite been able to put it all together. After spending most of the last couple seasons with the Knicks’ D-League franchise — and having cups of coffee with the Knicks themselves — he is headed to Spain according to Spanish publication Gigantes, via Sportando.

Antetokounmpo averaged 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in Westchester of the D-League, but he was mostly a role player there. His length makes him a consistent defender, but he never developed a consistent offensive set of moves, mostly he’s just a threat (particularly in transition) because of his athleticism.

Maybe he will develop his game overseas and return.

 

Watch Team USA arrive in Rio (then later today watch their first game)

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Team USA has been in Rio for a couple of days — living quite comfortably on a luxury cruise ship, I might add — but before their first game on Saturday, let’s take a look back at their trip to Rio.

As for that first game, it is against China — a team they thrashed by more than 40 points in each of two exhibition games recently — and you can see it at 6 Eastern on NBC Sports Network, or streaming at NBCOlympics.com.

Brook Lopez calls Nets’ offseason “abnormal,” but he liked it

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The Brooklyn Nets are so deep in a screwed up rebuild they couldn’t even follow “the process” if they wanted to — the Celtics control the Nets first round picks for years. Throw blame at former GM Billy King, he earned some, but know he was trying to execute the unreasonable and ridiculous wishes of owner Mikhail Prokhorov — he’s the guy who deserves the ultimate blame.

New GM Sean Marks is trying to right the ship — and is doing as good a job as could be expected. He added solid veterans — such as Jeremy Lin, Luis Scola, Greivis Vasquez, Randy Foye — and with that the Nets will suck less. They aren’t going to be good, but they won’t be embarrassing. Which is a step forward.

The thing veteran Brook Lopez sees as different is guys are already in working out at the Nets’ facilities — that hasn’t happened before, he told the New York Post.

“It’s abnormal,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. I know they’ve been harping on the culture and all but it’s a completely unique feel this time, like we’re moving in that right direction. It’s something people actually want to be a part of.”

The 7-foot, 28-year-old center calls the training staff “an international work force” with “guys taking what they’ve learned all around the world, bringing it together in this eclectic fashion so we really have the best of the best.

“It’s hard,” Lopez said. “We’re together and we’re doing it. Before, we’d have guys coming in, wouldn’t really get their treatment [or] their mobilization. And they weren’t necessarily on time. It’s the way it should be now.”

Step one in turning a franchise around ins bringing in a culture of hard work and accountability. Yes, they ultimately need to get a lot more talent on the roster, but the talent without the right culture around that doesn’t lead to success (you can see that around the NBA, and other sports, all the time).

If I’m a Nets fan, what Lopez said makes me happy. The product will be better this year — and with Jeremy Lin running the show, it will be entertaining. The Nets aren’t playoff bound, but they are moving in the right direction.

Klay Thompson, other Team USA hoops stars soak up Rio Opening Ceremony

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The Rio Olympics are officially underway.

Okay, technically they were underway a couple of days ago when soccer got started early (to fit in all the games). However, the official start is always the Opening Ceremony, which took place Friday night.

Team USA’s hoop stars were soaking it in — especially Klay Thompson.

Beyond grateful what a night @olympics

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And the Team USA guys were mixing it up with other athletes from our nation and others.

Stephen Jackson: “I will be back in the NBA this year”

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Stephen Jackson reportedly had a chance to get a much-coveted seat on the Golden State coaching bench, but turned it down because he wants to play.

Let’s just say there was skepticism about his return to the NBA at age 38 — he last played in 2014 when he got in nine games for the Clippers. Who was going to give him a chance?

Some team is, according to a video Jackson himself posted to Instagram.

No teams are mentioned by name. I can’t imagine he would get anything other than a non-guaranteed, make-good training camp contract. If that. But he is suggesting we will find out soon.