This is one of those poster dunks where the guy who gets posterized deserves some credit — Glen Davis could have let DeAndre Jordan have the transition dunk and taken the ball out of bounds. Instead Davis went for the block, he tried to make a play on the ball.
It failed. Pretty miserably.
This pretty much summed up how the game went for Orlando. They got crushed. Pretty much like Davis.
David West: “I would say Kevin Durant is back with the Warriors next season”
Kevin Durant doesn’t know what Kevin Durant is going to do next summer.
It is entirely possible he chooses to remain a Golden State Warrior, on a team that has dominated the West since his arrival and remains the clear favorite to win it all again (despite some stumbles early in the season). Plus, they can offer more money than any other team.
That’s not what is expected around the league — most sources think he is bolting. Where is unknown — the Clippers and the Knicks are the most mentioned but the Lakers and other teams come up — but the consensus is he will be in a new jersey next season.
Former teammate David West is in the first camp, as he told Steinmetz and Guru on 95.7 the Game, the Warriors radio flagship.
“I would say Kevin Durant is back with the Warriors next season.”
Kevin Durant is not the most decisive person in the world — what he thinks about free agency today may not be what he’s going to think about it in a week, or a month. Or, more importantly, next July.
West doesn’t see what others do, but then again West left $11 million on the table to chase a ring. He’s not the norm that way. His biases may cloud what he expects from the superstar.
Durant is having another in-the-MVP-conversation season, averaging 28.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game, and he carried the team while Stephen Curry was out. Durant is the two-time Finals MVP and in the conversation for the best player on the planet. There are 29 teams that would bend over backward to get him on their roster.
What Durant wants in the mystery. Maybe West is right.
Parker is having a dismal season. His defense has been as advertised. He’s shooting a lot and inefficiently and turning the ball over too much.
He’s also earning $20 million this season, which will make matching salary in a trade difficult.
At least Parker is on a de facto expiring contract. (His $20 million team option for next season will surely be declined.) His contract could help facilitate a trade. Maybe the Bulls deal him for an unwanted player with a multi-year guarantee plus sweeteners. Chicago is far enough from winning that punting 2019 cap space for draft picks and young players makes sense.
Parker is just 23 and talented. While his expiring contract is likely to be the central appeal of any trade, his potential is higher than the typical player in such a deal. That only helps his value.
The Bulls won’t get much for Parker. He’s not even good enough to play on their lousy team. But both sides are probably ready to move on, and maybe they can make it happen.
“He knows the city,” Yannick Noah said. “He was born here. It’s not like he’s coming from the countryside and he’s coming to New York City. He lived here for a long time. Of course, it can be dangerous for an athlete. But he knows and he’s so motivated. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s going to give all he has for the city.”
Noah played terribly, got suspended for taking a banned substance and feuded with his coach. Before this season, the Knicks cut him, preferring to pay him out than have him continue to occupy a roster spot.
Noah, who previously played for the Bulls, signed with the Grizzlies. He’s now addressing what went wrong in New York.
Noah on the Chris Vernon Show:
I could look back on it and say I thought I was ready for New York City, but I wasn’t. And it’s something that I’ve got to live with.
Not just the pressure. I remember after the first game, I probably had, like, 60 people in my house. I’m too lit. I’m too lit to play in New York City. I’m too lit to play in New York City. Memphis is perfect for me.
We were lit in Chicago, but I was young. So, you recover faster, you know? You recover faster.
I respect the honesty. Not many players would have revealed so much about their partying.
But I’m also not convinced a smaller market will fix Noah.
The 33-year-old might just be too worn down to help an NBA team.
DETROIT –Anthony Davis repeatedly entered and exited the visitors’ locker room after the Pelicans win over the Pistons on Sunday. At a time most players go from their locker to the shower and back then leave, Davis was busy. He visited with people in the hall. He breezed back by his locker then left to attend to other matters. He returned again and, before showering, turned to the assembled media.
“Y’all need me?” Davis asked.
Davis is used to getting pulled in every direction and still being needed even more.
The superstar is having another MVP-ballot-caliber season. Yet, New Orleans is just 15-15, 11th in the Western Conference.
It’s for a lack of effort by Davis. He has expanded his game offensively. Playing center regularly, his defensive responsibilities are as great as ever. And he leads the NBA with 37.0 minutes per game.
“You don’t have Secretariat run half the race then step out because it might be too far,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “No. You’ve got a great player, you use him the best you can.”
New Orleans has little choice but to lean heavily on Davis. With him on the floor vs. off, the Pelicans score 9.7 more points and allow 6.2 fewer points per 100 possessions.
Put another way: New Orleans plays like a 59-win team with Davis and a 20-win team without him.
Here are the leaders in win-rate difference with off-court on the left, on-court on the right and difference between (minimum: 300 minutes):
It helps Davis plays a large majority of minutes with Jrue Holiday, who actually rates better by this metric. But Davis is clearly driving New Orleans’ success.
Not only does Davis lead the NBA in real plus-minus (+7.11), he does so with an unparalleled two-way efficiency. Nobody nears his combination of offensive (+3.73) and defensive (+3.38) real plus-minus.
Here’s every NBA player by offensive and defensive real plus-minus with the positive outliers’ photos:
Davis is producing in all his usual ways – 28.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. But he’s also averaging 4.7 assists per game, more than double his previous career high.
The Pelicans increased their pace and passing last year, and the system did wonders for setting up Davis. But they lost key component Rajon Rondo in free agency last summer, and replacement starting point guard Elfrid Payton has missed most of this season due to injury.
So, Davis has stepped up.
He’s done it while continuing to protect the ball, an overlooked but important aspect of his game. His assist-to-turnover ratio is better than 2-to-1, impressive for a big.
Davis faces frequent double-teams and generates many of his assists by passing out of those:
After scoring so well in transition for so long, Davis is now taking advantage of his speed by playmaking in the open court:
Davis has also become adept at flipping short passes to a teammate then walking into a screen ball screen. That threat has sparked more creative options with Davis’ improved distributing abilities:
Davis’ teammates appear invigorated to receive his passes.
They run the court with him on fastbreaks. They cut actively. They re-position themselves around the 3-point arc to create passing angles.
With Davis attracting so much defensive attention, openings abound.
“He just finds me, and it’s an easy look,” said Nikola Mirotic, who’s shooting 70% on 2-pointers and 52% on 3-pointers off passes from Davis.
New Orleans is trying to keep up. The Pelicans are reportedly one of the most active buyers on the trade market, but they lack trade chips beyond their draft picks. Davis is propping up a mediocre supporting cast.
Of course, Davis will be eligible for a super-max extension – which projects to be worth about $240 million over five years – this offseason. That will be the moment of truth for his future in New Orleans.