Avery Johnson: Kobe “could be 1-A” to Jordan’s 1-B

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In a story that’s sure to invite no comments below, Avery Johnson today essentially said he believes Kobe Bryant to be “as great” as Michael Jordan. From the New York Post:

“[Bryant] could arguably be 1. In some polls, he’ll be 2,” the Nets coach said yesterday about the players he has seen since he entered the NBA in 1988. “He could be 1-A and Jordan can be 1-B or Jordan, some polls they’ll be flipped.

“Fortunately I had a chance to play against both of them and now played and coached against Kobe. And boy, sometimes they’re looking like the same player.”

I’m sure none of you have any comments about this.

Bryant recently passed John Havlicek for 11th and should he keep up his expected production, will likely finish this season in the top six. With so many years in front of him, he’s got a shot at reaching Jordan. If he were to continue to average his career average of 25 points a game (not likely), it would take him a little more than 3 seasons to get there, playing 82 games a year. It’s out there but not unreasonable given Bryant’s work ethic. He will very likely end up with six rings to match Jordan, only one MVP but many, many people feel he deserves more.

So on this Sunday night after the Lakers won another uninspired game against the Nets, that’s the question: Is Avery Johnson nuts, or does he have a point? Has Bryant hit the point where we really need to start looking at whether he’s as good as Jordan or not?

 

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.