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Culture Nets built was what lured Durant, Irving, says DeAndre Jordan

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For much of the season, the buzz around the league was that Kevin Durant was headed to the Knicks. As the season moved along and it became clear things were not right between Kyrie Irving and the Celtics, his name also became part of that New York rumors (turns out Irving and Durant had talked about teaming up before the season even tipped off).

In the end, they chose the crosstown Brooklyn Nets, not the Knicks.

It was the team culture GM Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson has built in Brooklyn — one that got the overachieving Nets to the playoffs last season — that tipped the scales, according to DeAndre Jordan. He should know, he spent 19 games with the Knicks at the end of last season. Durant and Irving took a little less money each (before incentives) to make room for Jordan to come to Brooklyn, too. DJ talked about all of it with Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

“Not to knock the culture the Knicks are creating, but we like what Kenny’s doing and Sean’s been awesome and the organization, from top to bottom, has been great,” Jordan said. “So you want to be a part of something like that, especially when you have a chance to play with other great players and build something.”

Fans often think about teams in a long-term, historical way, players (and agents) tend to go off what they have seen in the past few years. The reason the Nets — and, on the other coast, the Clippers — were able to win a recruiting battle against a bigger brand in the same city was the chance to win and the culture. The Nets built a foundation of good young players — Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and before he was traded D'Angelo Russell — as well as one of hard work and accountability. The Nets had built a situation players want to come to.

The Knicks need to do that to start drawing those big names.

Jordan was part of a potential contender in his time with the Clippers — the Lob City years — that was knocking on the door of the Finals but never came together in the way needed to win at the highest levels. There were a variety of reasons for that, but can Jordan bring what he learned from that experience to the Brooklyn locker room and get them to that higher level (likely next season, when Durant is back and closer to his old self)?

Atkinson will have a challenge this season dividing time between Jordan — the veteran beloved by the two biggest stars in the franchise — and the up-and-coming Jarrett Allen. In terms of pure basketball, the younger and more athletic Allen should get more run, but the politics of the locker room will make the experiment interesting.

 

 

Marcus Smart announces he recovered, cleared of coronavirus

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Marcus Smart stepped forward and self-identified as having tested positive for the coronavirus. He wasn’t showing any symptoms and went into self-quarantine, and last we heard was doing well.

Sunday, Smart said that two days ago he was cleared and has fully recovered from the virus.

Most importantly, this is excellent news for Smart and his friends and family (and, by extension, the Celtics). His health is the most important thing in this story.

The NBA has asked recovered players to donate plasma because scientists are hoping to use the blood — which has developed immunities — to help create a vaccine or medicine to slow COVID-19. It’s optional, but the league is encouraging players to help.

There have been 10 players and five NBA off-court staff — including Knicks owner James Dolan — who have tested positive for the disease. Fortunately, none of them have shown any advanced symptoms that required hospitalization.

Colorado junior forward Tyler Bey declares for NBA Draft

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University of Colorado forward Tyler Bey has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The junior averaged 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for the Buffaloes. Bey shot 53% from the field overall and 74.3% at the free throw line.

Bey also extended his range a bit in his third year at Colorado. He knocked down 13-of-31 three-pointers (41.9%) on the season. At just six-foot-seven, he’ll need to be able to score from behind the arc to find a place in the NBA.

Most draft analysts have Bey pegged as an early second-round pick. Some thought he could play his way into the back-end of the first-round with strong pre-draft workouts. With the pre-draft process up in the air, NBA front offices may have to make their decisions based on what they’ve already seen in person and on tape.

Stephon Marbury has arrangement to procure 10 million medical masks for New York

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Former NBA player Stephon Marbury told The New York Post that he’s arranged a deal to deliver 10 million N95 medical masks to New York. These masks are much-needed among healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marbury is having the masks produced at cost in China, where he played the last seven years of his career.

Although Marbury currently lives in Beijing, China, he said “At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn. This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

While growing up, Marbury starred at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and on New York City’s famed playgrounds. After one year at Georgia Tech, Marbury left for the NBA. The high-scoring guard played for five teams during his 13-year NBA career, including his hometown New York Knicks.

After sitting out for two seasons, Marbury signed to play for the Beijing Ducks in 2011. The move was initially seen as a way for Marbury to prove he could still play at an NBA level. Instead, Beijing became home-away-from home for the New Yorker.

Marbury averaged 21.6 points per game in 271 contests spread over seven seasons with the Ducks.

Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung told ESPN Jonathan Givony that he’s declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

McClung first came to national prominence when his high school highlights blew up on YouTube:

In his second season at Georgetown, McClung averaged 15.7 points and 1.4 steals per game. A foot injury in late-January kept McClung out of the lineup for nearly a month. He returned for one game in late-February, but played just eight minutes off the Hoyas’ bench.

The six-foot-two guard is known for his deep shooting range and his highlight dunks. McClung’s shot is inconsistent however, as he shot under 40% in each of his first two seasons at Georgetown. McClung’s defense also needs work.

McClung projects to be a point guard in the NBA, due to his size. To make it as a lead guard, he’ll need to work on his ballhandling and playmaking. With those question marks, McClung is seen as a stretch to be drafted in the second round.

McClung stated he’s signing with an NBA/NCAA approved agent. That will allow him to keep his college eligibility as he goes through the pre-draft process.