The Plain Dealer had fun with that.
Minnesota Twins broadcaster Kris Atteberry:
Now, the Warriors star is intensifying the rhetoric.
Durant, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
But watching Kobe and Mike, I’m like, ‘How do you not realize how good these dudes are?’ How do you not say they’re by far better than anybody who’s played the game? Just by the way they move, how fluid they are.
“Everybody that comes to my house, whether it’s friends or family, I make them watch Jordan highlights. This is equivalent to (Albert) Einstein … fucking (Ludwig van) Beethoven … or (Barack) Obama. This is the greatest talent and athletes and minds of the world. Just because they play sports, people think one way. But they’re masters, they’re geniuses. I just started realizing that a few years ago: Watching those guys can really spark my creativity.”
I don’t view basketball the same way Durant does. The players with the most skills are not necessarily the greatest players. Not all skills are equally important. I’d rank players with narrower skill sets – like Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal – ahead of Bryant. Duncan and O’Neal were so efficient in what they did, and they were far better than Bryant at avoiding miscues like missed shots and turnovers. I care more about the end effectiveness than the means to get there when ranking greatness.
And what about LeBron James? I’d rate Jordan and LeBron top-two by my criteria. But even by Durant’s, I’m not sure why he doesn’t consider LeBron in that elite pantheon of skills. LeBron does everything.
“Scorers that go get baskets, especially inside the 3-point line, they’re like extinct at this point. Because games are so fast, and it takes Zo longer in a possession to get his game off. So, a lot of people bypass that. But everybody needs a scorer on their team.
“I think just natural scorers, the guys that get baskets before anything, they’re kind of frowned upon in this league. But that’s the core of the game to me.”
That’s the mindset of someone who calls Bryant and Jordan “far better than anybody who’s played the game.”
This all also speaks to how Durant views himself. He tries to perfect different aspects of his game. He entered the NBA as a scorer, but he since added rebounding, passing, defense, playing like a big. I’ve never been convinced Durant cares as much about willing his team to victory as he cares about expanding his skill set (which obviously indirectly helps his team win).
There’s nowhere Durant can try new skills like Golden State. The Warriors’ elite roster offers him room to experiment and keep winning, anyway. Just something to consider as he enters free agency next summer.
Tension between new Bulls coach Jim Boylen and his players boiled over Sunday. When Boylen called for a practice the day after a back-to-back, some players threatened to boycott. They ultimately compromised on a team meeting.
So, guard Zach LaVine met individually with Boylen.
“You just want to be real with people,” LaVine told ESPN. “There shouldn’t be any clouds. I think of myself as one of the leaders on the team. I just wanted to voice my opinion to them.”
“This is a business, this isn’t a dictatorship. We are all grown men, so everybody has a voice.”
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
“We had a situation over the weekend that could have been handled by a leadership group walking into my office and saying, ‘You know what, Coach? This is how we feel today. What do you think?’ That was the teaching moment,” Boylen said. “I’m juiced, man. I’m jacked up about it.”
A leadership committee sounds like the type of thing college teams have – which makes sense, because Boylen is treating the Bulls like a college team. Frequent and long practices. Harsh public criticism. Five-man substitutions. These are not normal power dynamics in the NBA.
Chicago players are already running thin on patience for Boylen. But he has plenty of job security. So, hopefully for everyone involved, he has learned as much as he indicates. He can’t keep coaching like this without inciting a mutiny.
Tristan Thompson has been one of the biggest bright spots in an otherwise miserable Cavaliers season. The center is averaging 12.0 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He has also taken on more leadership.
And now he’s out.
Cavaliers forward/center Tristan Thompson will miss approximately 2-4 weeks with a left foot sprain. Thompson was injured in last night’s road game at Milwaukee late in the third quarter
This will help Cleveland improve its draft position, though it’s not as if Cleveland (6-21) was having much issue losing even with Thompson.
At least the Cavs have plenty of options at center. Expect Larry Nance Jr. to take a larger role. Ante Zizic likely joins the rotation. Cleveland could dust off Channing Frye. Kevin Love might return before Thompson.
Seven of the top eight picks in the 2018 NBA draft are scoring double-digit points per game.
The exception: Magic center Mohamed Bamba.
But this won’t help Bamba catch up. He missed Orlando’s 101-76 loss to the Mavericks last night.
Bamba, who was suspended for a game for being late for the team walk-through at the hotel in Dallas on Monday
“It was a violation of team rules,” Clifford said. “It’s just a one-game thing. Mo will play again on Thursday, but that’s what it was.”
“It’s just bad on my part and I just need to be better … just gotta be on time,” Bamba said. “It’s very difficult because you want to be out there and impact the game in any way possible and hope for a different outcome.”
I doubt Magic coach Steve Clifford suspended Bamba for a single instance of tardiness. This was likely a culmination.
Orlando (12-15) is eighth in the Eastern Conference, in the thick of the playoff race. If the Magic are going to take advantage of the low bar for making the postseason, they need all hands on deck – including Bamba.