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Friday, November 24, 2017

Knicks Morning News (2017.06.13)

  • [NYTimes] Warriors 129, Cavaliers 120: Warriors Win N.B.A. Title, Avenging Themselves Against the Cavaliers
    (Tuesday, June 13, 2017 4:49:18 AM)

    Golden State defeated Cleveland, four games to one, dominating the team that rallied to stun them in last year’s finals. Kevin Durant was named the most valuable player of the series.

  • [NYTimes] Warriors Look Like a Dynasty After Winning Another N.B.A. Championship
    (Tuesday, June 13, 2017 3:54:13 AM)

    The Warriors won their second title in three years behind the hot shooting of Kevin Durant, who they signed after losing to the Cavaliers last year.

  • [NYPost] Michael Sweetney tried to kill himself as a Knicks rookie
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 4:29:45 PM)

    At the time in his life when Michael Sweetney should have been at his highest point, a tragedy sent him to rock bottom. Sweetney, selected by the Knicks with the ninth pick in the 2003 NBA draft, lost his father, Samuel, to a heart attack days before he was to start his first NBA training…

  • [NYPost] Mystery French draft prospect: Why I’m a fit for Phil Jackson
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 11:32:57 AM)

    Perhaps it’s a good omen. The French word for triangle is triangle. Whether it’s Phil Jackson’s offense, relating to Kristaps Porzingis or adapting to New York City, 18-year-old point guard Frank Ntilikina said he would be a good fit if the Knicks draft him at No. 8. Ntilikina brought up Jackson’s system, unsolicited. “I watch…

  • [NYDN] Knicks’ interest in French point guard Frank Ntilikina is mutual
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 10:19:13 PM)

    Frank Ntilikina’s path to the NBA draft is unique, sort of like the 7-foot wingspan he possesses as a point guard.

  • [NYDN] Dolan sticking with ‘Ask Phil’ isn’t the right answer anymore
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 10:18:23 PM)

    James Dolan needs to come up with a better answer than “Ask Phil.”

  • [NYDN] Ex-Knick Michael Sweetney says he attempted suicide as rookie
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 5:23:53 PM)

    Under a cloud of depression and during a disappointing season with the Knicks, Michael Sweetney tried to kill himself.

  • [SNY Knicks] Is Frank Ntilikina next international prospect to play for Knicks?
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 12:30:37 PM)

    After having success with prospects from abroad in the past, could the Knicks be targeting Frank Ntilikina as their next international prospect?

  • [SNY Knicks] James Dolan has no involvement in Knicks’ moves, says “Ask Phil”
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 10:00:11 AM)

    Knicks owner, James Dolan, told Fox 5 Monday that whenever he is asked about the Knicks, he responds by saying, “Ask Phil.”

  • [SNY Knicks] Vandy’s Luke Kornet gets a feel for the triangle in Knicks’ workout
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 9:40:30 AM)

    Vanderbilt center, Luke Kornet, got a taste of the triangle offense in his workout with the Knicks last week, per ESPN’s Ian Begley.

  • [SNY Knicks] New York Sports Today: Knicks preparing for draft
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 9:39:59 AM)

  • [NY Newsday] James Dolan on the Knicks: ‘Ask Phil’
    (Monday, June 12, 2017 3:25:00 PM)

    Knicks owner James Dolan gave his usual answer when he was asked about his basketball team during an appearance on “Good Day New York” on Fox.

  • 141 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2017.06.13)

    1. Z-man

      So who won last night?

      Now that that bs is over, we can start talking about important stuff, like how we can break the 32-win barrier this season before watching the GSW go 16-2 in the playoffs again.

    2. Totes McGoats

      I hope Phil has been on the horn since the end of the game talking up a Melo for Love swap after Love’s dud. Hell..throw in the 2nd rounders if you have to. He’s gotta know he can flip Love to Boston, Portland, LAL, and maybe even Detroit or Miami and get a good return, right?

    3. heavencent35

      “I’d rather be a part of something that could leave a legacy. There is more to basketball than getting yours, or being the guy. I hope I do this for a long time for the Warriors.”
      -klay Thompson

    4. geehee

      On another note, that was probably the most boring playoffs series I’ve seen. Two incredibly stacked teams demolishing everyone and then one demolishing the other in the finals. Thanks KD. This is your fault.

    5. DRed

      Love was alright. 3rd in pts score, 2nd in rebounds, 1st in steals and blocks, averaged 16/11 per game. Would have hoped he’d score a bit more efficiently, and he’s a part of the Cavs lousy defense, but the Cavs just got beat by a better team

    6. yellowboy90

      Would Detroit/Cleveland trade Harris and Jackson for Love and Shump?

      Would Jackson accept a back up role knowing he’ll make the finals.

    7. DS

      So do Steph and KD retire at the top of their game or do they get overtaken at some point?

      On another note, that was probably the most boring playoffs series I’ve seen. Two incredibly stacked teams demolishing everyone and then one demolishing the other in the finals. Thanks KD. This is your fault.

      IMHO, it’s the league’s fault. The rules should have allowed OKC to outbid KD or for KD to get paid so much money that it wouldn’t have fit under the Warriors’ cap.

      On the other hand, it’ll be fun if they actually lose. I LOVED watching LeBron’s Heat getting beaten; it added spice to Finals featuring the Spurs and Mavs which would have been kind of bland.

    8. DRed

      This finals wasn’t that good, but I’ve seen worse. The best player ever vs the best team ever is compelling.

    9. DS

      This finals wasn’t that good, but I’ve seen worse. The best player ever vs the best team ever is compelling.

      No, that would be Nets/Lakers or some other Pre-LeBron Finals. Those Eastern Conf. teams were like Republican in a general election in Brooklyn… this feels more like Jordan-era Bulls level of competition.

    10. MSA

      On another note, that was probably the most boring playoffs series I’ve seen. Two incredibly stacked teams demolishing everyone and then one demolishing the other in the finals. Thanks KD. This is your fault.

      Well, Lebron doesn’t play for the Warriors so at least half the boredom doesn’t have anything to do with KD.

    11. Frank

      Meh

      This series sort of reminded me of when I went to the first Knicks-Heat game after Lebron went to Miami. We had that sort-of-fun team with Wilson Chandler, Amare, Gallo, etc., and there was that 2 min period in the 3rd quarter where it seemed we might actually be able to compete before Lebron put the hammer down. So it was fun a for moment, but obviously not a contest.

      The Death Lineup had a +50 net rating in 30-odd minutes. Kinda feels like maybe Kerr knows it’s an unfair lineup and so only put it out there occasionally so the league could save face.

    12. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      “I’d rather be a part of something that could leave a legacy. There is more to basketball than getting yours, or being the guy. I hope I do this for a long time for the Warriors.”
      -klay Thompson

      Until I got to the last 2 lines I was sure that was a Melo quote.

    13. stratomatic

      If the Cavs didn’t blow game 3, it could have been a great series.

      To be honest, I don’t think there’s as much of a gap between these 2 teams as everyone thinks. The Cavs were probably close to break even when James was on the floor even though there were 3 games in GS and only 2 in Cleveland. It was when James was off the floor that they got exposed badly.

      Aside from defense, the major problem is their bench depth. The Warriors have some legitimate starters on their bench. The Cavs have a bunch of dead bodies that can’t create anything without James on the floor and can’t even play solid defense. Shumpert is totally useless on both ends. Deron Williams is a shell. Kyle Korver can knock down 3s if he’s wide open, but he can’t do anything else so he’s easy to take out of the game. Jefferson tries really hard and did well, but he’s ancient.

      The Cavs need another scorer that can create for himself. That way when James is off the floor Kyrie and player X can hold down the fort for a few minutes and James can be fresher down the stretch. They also need a real backup PG. When James is off the floor they don’t have anyone that can run the offense. Kyrie is terrific player, but he’s not a real PG. I guess Deron Williams was supposed to be that guy, but he has nothing left.

    14. lavor postell

      @14

      Kyrie not being able to run an offense for even a 2-3 minute stretch without Lebron is the biggest problem IMO. Their offense stagnates and collapses every single time he’s tasked with running the show solo without Lebron and he struggles to do so. He’s an amazing scorer, but his PG skills haven’t advanced much at all since he’s entered the league. Unless he’s on fire in his ISO ball during those stints the Cavs are a tire fire.

      Like you said, Deron was supposed to be that guy, but he’s not capable at that level.

      Also y’all see that Josh Jackson cancelled his workout for the Celtics?

      http://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/josh-jackson-cancels-workout-with-celtics-could-go-to-the-lakers/

      Might have got a promise from the Lakers.

    15. stratomatic

      If I was Klay I wouldn’t stay in GS. He’s the 3rd scoring option with Durant and Curry. In the post game celebration management didn’t even mention him. He was 4th fiddle after Green. Klay was the 2nd option on a team that won 73 games and he plays excellent defense! He’s already got 2 rings. If I was him I think I’d try to get a ring as part of a more challenging effort where I was in the same position I was in before Durant came. Then again, players these days are not looking for challenges. They just want rings.

    16. Frank

      McCaw gave the Dubs some great minutes yesterday. Still so annoying that the Warriors wanted him and were able to get him just with $$. WTF didn’t Phil buy a 2nd round pick last year. It’s a small thing but if you can get a guy who can actually play minutes in an NBA finals game and not embarrass himself for a bought second round pick, that is just fantastic value.

    17. DRed

      I’m sure Knicks-Spurs wasn’t that compelling either for the rest of the country.

      Klay is something like the 5th best player on that team, and it’s going to get him into the hall of fame and lots of money.

      Josh Jackson’s agent also might know the Celtics are taking Fultz or Ball and told him not to risk getting hurt for a team that’s not going to draft him.

    18. d-mar

      Think about if the Spurs could have grabbed a rebound in game 6 of the 2013 Finals and Draymond Green doesn’t get suspended for game 5 last year. LeBron might be 1-7 in NBA finals and there would be some very interesting (and probably misguided) discussions about his legacy.

    19. thenamestsam

      I actually thought the Cavs played better in this years finals than last year, they just ran into an absolute juggernaut. If the Warriors hadn’t lost that obviously somewhat fluky finals last year the “best team ever” chatter would be deafening right now. 3 consecutive years of 67+ wins, including 73, and a 16-1 postseason? Absent the Cavs miracle comeback last year no team has a 3-year stretch that can match that. They certainly belong in the conversation.

      I know we all dream of some kind of Melo-Love swap, but the guys the Cavs really need is Paul George I think. They already have Kyrie to share some offensive load with Lebron. They need someone who can do the same defensively and give them more lineup flexibility against the Warriors small lineups. Love and a 1st for George might be the only trade that can make next year interesting. Otherwise it seems like the only drama will be whether Golden State has injury issues, whether they care to try to set the regular season wins record any higher, and whether they can pull off 16-0.

    20. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      The Cavs were hugging KD after the championship was won while the Warriors were nowhere near him. I found that odd.

    21. Frank

      I don’t think Love and a 1st gets it done for Paul George, although I guess you never know what might happen if George tells whoever is running Indy that he’s definitely not re-signing. But you have to figure they will get much superior offers (ie. from the Celtics).

      I mean, the Celtics could give the Pacers Bradley + Crowder + the Nets 2018 pick +filler and it’d be a win for both sides.

    22. Frank

      Kind of think Ntilikina is our guy at #8. He paid tribute to the Triangle yesterday and that probably made Phil feel all warm inside.

      The only team I can see taking him before us is Minnesota, and if they do that, then someone like Isaac will fall to us. Could Dallas jump us? I don’t see them doing that, especially when their consolation prize could be Dennis Smith, Monk, or Isaac.

    23. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      Then again, players these days are not looking for challenges. They just want rings.

      In my day, we left our closest, most loyal friends behind just to make new, douchier friends who were worse at friendship. These days, people are not looking for challenges. They just want friends.

    24. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      The Cavs were hugging KD after the championship was won while the Warriors were nowhere near him. I found that odd.

      Of course you did. The Cavs were not going to stay on that court long, so he was shaking hands before they bailed.

      If he didn’t seek them out? “Poor sportsmanship.” I know how you operate.

    25. thenamestsam

      I don’t think Love and a 1st gets it done for Paul George, although I guess you never know what might happen if George tells whoever is running Indy that he’s definitely not re-signing. But you have to figure they will get much superior offers (ie. from the Celtics).

      I mean, the Celtics could give the Pacers Bradley + Crowder + the Nets 2018 pick +filler and it’d be a win for both sides.

      Yeah, you’re probably right about that. I guess my thinking is that Indy seems like one of those teams where they really want to remain competitive (because of market size etc.) and if George is going to leave, getting a “star” (and a white one at that, can’t hurt in Indiana) in return that can theoretically still keep them in the playoff mix, give them something to sell to season ticket holders etc. might be more appealing than an offer with more overall value like what you laid out.

      If they can’t get George there just aren’t that many guys who fit that big versatile wing category that they really need. Could they do some kind of sign and trade to get Hayward where Utah gets back Love? Maybe Denver as a potential trade partner? It’s not easy to dream up ways that get them to Golden States level.

    26. lavor postell

      I mean, the Celtics could give the Pacers Bradley + Crowder + the Nets 2018 pick +filler and it’d be a win for both sides.

      If I was Indiana I would bite the Cavs hand off if they offered up Love for George. PG is expiring and everybody seems well aware that he’s headed to LA which has significantly cooled the type of offers they can get for him. Love on the other hand has 3 years on his deal at right around $24m/yr AAV and likely has much more value in a trade down the road. You could probably engage a 3rd team and net a nice package out of the deal, better than you’d likely get for George right now.

    27. swiftandabundant

      Man, Ewing, Barkley, Malone, Reggie Miller…what a bunch of suckers! They should have joined the Bulls! I mean they all ready were wining titles and setting records for most wins in a season. Instead of trying to beat The Bulls, those suckers should have joined MJ and Pippen and Rodman. Then they would have been even more of a super team! Imagine how fun it would have been to watch them dominate even more! They could have won all their playoff games! It would have been beautiful “team” basketball. Man, Ewing, Barkley, Malone, Miller, Peyton. What a bunch of suckers! The stat sheet for those teams would have been so beautiful to look at!

    28. djphan

      love for george would be interesting and make sense…. i’d love to see that happen actually…

    29. danvt

      I think CP3 / LBJ tandem is logical and the only upgrade to make CLE better going forward. I’m hoping they get Melo too, just for the bromance part, though there are probably better, less expensive upgrades. Then again, I think Melo would look great as part of that core and what they lose in rebounding (Love leaving) could be made up for with a low cost banger of some kind. CLE just didn’t seem physical enough and that was part of the problem. They really missed Mozgov and Delly IMHO.

      Only chance of Knicks getting someone to take Melo is if they take an albatross in return, probably. Get ready for J Crawford Redux. Still better than Melo on the team. Just don’t believe we’ll ever make progress sharing the ball as long as he’s de facto captain.

      On the finals. I loved KD + Dubs. I know it was wholesale slaughter but gosh it was that fun to watch. Like Princeton on steroids. Plus, that’s a likable team, unlike the Heatles, who were really miserable in their egoism.

    30. d-mar

      Plus, that’s a likable team, unlike the Heatles, who were really miserable in their egoism.

      IDK, Steph has started to become a bit of a dick with all his antics and gyrations after made buckets. And Draymond complains about every single foul call.

    31. djphan

      i really don’t enjoy the warriors.. the style of play is fun but when you outclass the opposition at 4 out of 5 positions every time on the court it’s going to look alot like that… it’s up there with the lakers vs magic or lakers vs nets as least entertaining finals ever…

      kyrie still has some growth left in his game and i think he still needs to stay on the team… if he matures into a better facilitator and if lebron let’s him do that.. then that’ll propel the cavs to another tier… he just turned 25 if you can believe that…

      the cavs won’t be competitive with the warriors with love on the floor… if they do anything else this summer i think they should make a play for chandler to see if they can dump anything onto the suns… their rotations and overall defense was just not good and certainly not good enough against the warriors and the lack of a rim protector was a major reason why…

    32. wetbandit

      – I can’t blame Durant, but watching blowouts is never fun. I hate stupid sports narratives, but the fact remains that Ewing/Barkley/whoever would never join the Bulls, even if it’s just because of the blowback.

      – I never really got the love for Paul George. Is he even that good defensively? Too much midrange, ISO, and poor shot choices for me offensively. He should have a higher than .586 TS and .127 WS if he’s shooting .393 from 3, and taking 6.6 of them per 36. He’s in need of a system, coach, and point guard. LeBron would be good for him.

      – Cavs could use Melo, Lee, and O’Quinn. And I’m lying about Melo.

    33. Frank

      well whatever. I get to watch Aaron Judge most days of the week. I guess I can’t have that AND a competitive NBA finals.

    34. DRed

      Man, Ewing, Barkley, Malone, Miller, Peyton. What a bunch of suckers!

      They played in a league under a much different salary system. Ewing for example signed a 10 year deal as a rookie, and I don’t think he was ever a free agent as a Knick.

    35. nicos

      In a vacuum Love is better than George but George is a better fit against GS. Everyone knows George wants to go to L.A. after next year- would Boston trade Crowder, Bradley or Smart, and pick knowing that they’re probably still not going to beat the Cavs and he might leave? At least with the Cavs George should make the finals and maybe that’d get him to stay there. If I’m the Cavs I’d take that Boston package for Love over George- Crowder gives you most of what George would give you as a third option on the Cavs’ offense and is a better defender plus the whoever else you get will add much needed depth.

    36. swiftandabundant

      @ 37 – that is true. But you know, maybe that’s the problem.

      Look, GSW won’t last forever. I was sick of the Bulls by the end of their second 3peat. Curry gets injured again and he could lose a step and be done. Hell, Durant could get hurt too. They’ll dominate a few more years if they stay healthy and then someone will get hurt or will want to leave and it will be over. But to watch 2 teams absolutely dominate the playoffs every series, meet in the finals and then one team dominate the other team…these playoffs fucking sucked.

      And next year a few teams like the Cavs will try to reload and get better and everyone else is gonna run for cover and rebuild around youth, wait till GSW is done. But I think the next few years are gonna be super boring come playoff time.

      I just think Durant took the short cut. Dudes like Jowles can make fun of me all they want. At least LeBron joined a heat team that wasn’t all ready dominate. Durant basically tipped the scales of competition so far in favor towards the warriors that he’s singlehandedly made the NBA boring.

      If he wanted an easier path to the Finals he could have gone to the Wizards. That would have been a great move. Go to a team with a great PG in Wall, have an easier path…he would still need to get past LeBron but he’d be in the east so the conference finals would have been pretty much guaranteed. But no, he took the super easy path. And please don’t try to convince me he was clutch bc he iced game 3 when they were up 2-0 all ready. Having a great game in a crucial series game when you’re on a way better team isn’t clutch.

    37. danvt

      Dubs could have been challenged more. If Kawhi hadn’t been hurt, if CLE hadn’t imploded in game 3. I still think they would’ve won but it could have been harder. They’re great but not as untouchable as it might seem. Also, all the super team hate seems overplayed considering KD’s the only top 5 pick on the team. And OKC is very much to blame for his defection. They were too scared to over the threshold to pay for Harden or think how good that team would have been. Then it was two guys taking turns taking shots plus Steven Adams to get them the ball back. That’s the NBA stuff to hate. I’m a big fan of the dubs and I don’t see why they get quite as much hate as they do. Curry, pound for pound, is probably the best player I’ve ever seen, and his attitude is nowhere near as horrific as James, Westbrook, Harden, etc. He gets excited, yeah, but lacks the “I’m a badass” swagger. KD seems super level headed as well. Dubs just play ball, very well, and as a team.

    38. DS

      would Boston trade Crowder, Bradley or Smart, and pick knowing that they’re probably still not going to beat the Cavs and he might leave?

      I think you answered your own question. Plus they’re projected to have about $30 million in cap space for 2017-2018.

    39. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      I just think Durant took the short cut.

      Did you see how hard that guy plays? I feel like I’m in some alternate reality with these Durant haters, who apparently assume that Durant can just press L1 and X at the same time to “simulate entire season” like it’s a video game.

      In my job, if I’m offered a solid team who can support me and my work, or a shittier team that’s going to make my hard work less effective, which one do you think I’m going to choose? How is Durant any different? Because you don’t like watching it?

      It’s just a shitty hot take. You can complain about diminished entertainment, but Durant is incentivized to win, not put on a show for you. If crabwalking backward down the court while crossing his eyes increased his shooting percentage by 10%, I’m sure he’d do that too, whether you found it aethetically appealing or not.

      And your shit about “clutch” is fucking stupid. It’s unbelievably stupid, somehow dumber than your opinions of Bargnani. That’s saying a lot.

    40. lavor postell

      At the end of the day Nike’s the big winner here with KD going to GSW and raising his star above Curry and Under Armour.

    41. swiftandabundant

      Yes, just because I don’t like watching it. The NBA is entertainment. Plain and Simple. I watch the games to be entertained and to hopefully have some drama filled games. I don’t care if the teams are big market or small. This isn’t the Olympics where I can watch a stacked team and enjoy it because its for a medal and I get to watch all these players play together for a few weeks. Its the NBA. I want the playoffs to be interesting and I want the finals to be competitive.

      Fuck Durant. And yes, its a hot take. Its my hot take. Dude took a short cut to a championship team. You will never convince me otherwise.

    42. swiftandabundant

      There’s nothing clutch about playing on a stacked team. If he underperformed in game 3, they still most likely win the series because the entire team is stacked. So there’s no pressure to rise up and perform. He came up short year after year with OKC and said “Fuck it” and took a short cut. Good for him. I’ll never respect that.

    43. d-mar

      Some prominent Las Vegas oddsmaker said the Warriors will be the biggest favorites to win the championship next year in the history of organized sports.

      Should be a compelling season!

    44. Z-man

      I’m totally fine with Durant’s decision-making, and I thought the finals were pretty entertaining. Other teams will eventually catch up. I mean, this isn’t the Russell Celtics, or probably even the Jordan Bulls.

      My quibble is with the 3-point shot in general. Curry and Durant (and to a much lesser degree, Thompson) are so good from out there AND everywhere else that you have to double-team both of them 5 feet beyond the line and it still doesn’t stop them, while opening things up for everyone else at the rim. At the end of the game, GSW were getting dunks and layups b/c of the dominance from 3. In the old days, it was the post players that got doubled and tripled and although that opened things up for others, at least the defense was still in the vicinity of the paint and could contest others.

      I mean, the Durant/Curry show from 25+ feet is like a carnival act.

    45. DRed

      Everyone who joins a good team is taking a short cut to success. Why did Tim Duncan stay with the Spurs like a coward instead of joining a team like the Wizards and showing he could win without the Spurs system?

    46. ClashFan

      The team stacking mentality exists in all levels of society. I don’t like it, but that’s the way that it is, so I can’t condemn Durant for what he did. LBJ did it a few years ago.

      I’ve played in lots of local leagues/teams for years, including some pretty good softball teams (years ago before my shoulder had enough of playing SS) and USTA tennis teams (recently). I’ve enjoyed winning some city and state championships, and in tennis even competing in some Southern Sectional tournaments that were very fun to play in.

      There was a very strong team stacking mentality throughout. I know what it is like to see other teams use “ringers” to win, and in tennis I had a couple of chances to be one (esp. after I went 16-0 in one USTA league season at the local, state (TN) and SS level). I always declined. I enjoy winning as an underdog and being loyal to my current team/captain much more than winning as expected. But, to each his own.

    47. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      Fuck Durant. And yes, its a hot take. Its my hot take. Dude took a short cut to a championship team. You will never convince me otherwise.

      Somehow worse than SAS. Amazing.

      Did you ever come around on Bargnani?

    48. Philmelo

      Of course, when Carmelo was asked a few months ago about accepting a sixth man role with a contender his response was "come on man, really?"— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) June 13, 2017

      Its shit like this which is the reason why Melo has always rubbed me the wrong way. He’s getting to the same point in his career like Paul Pierce did when he accepted a diminished role to continue playing on contending teams. But he doesn’t want to sacrifice to be part of a winner, he’d rather be the captain on a sinking ship.

    49. djphan

      competitive balance is better for the game in the long run… if a champion.. esp these warriors go unchallenged for another 3 years then i guarantee it will damage the game… lebron did something similar but in my eyes.. losing that first series against the mavs and then the spurs silenced the haters a bit because those heat teams did have to evolve and step up their game despite their talents…

      durant’s situation is different… and for those who don’t understand… if lebron were to roll up in a warriors jersey next year … i’m sure most ppl would throw up in their mouths at that thought… and it would be the same exact reasons that durant gave for joining the warriors this season…

      for some.. or maybe even many.. that line was already crossed with durant… if the warriors actually do get seriously challenged along the way then they will probably get more credit … but an untested champion is not good for the game…

    50. Philmelo

      Durant looks bad after he complained on social media about Lebron forming a superteam in Miami. Remember this 2010 tweet?

      Now everybody wanna play for the heat and the Lakers? Let's go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 16, 2010

    51. Frank

      Yeah I’m on board with swiftandabundant re: Durant.

      He may or may not have been having a good time in OKC, but he had his chance to go to the finals with OKC in game 6 against the Warriors last year, and threw up a 10/31 from the field, a TS of 41%, and had his worst rebounding game of the series (a Bargnani-like 8.1 TRB%) when rebounding was one of the main reasons they had dominated GS earlier in the series . And for all the hero-ball he accused Westbrook of, Russ had an assist% of 44.6 that game and Durant’s was 11.8.

      I don’t blame him at all for going to GS. I’d live in the Bay Area in a second over OKC, and it’s undoubtedly more fun to play with the Warriors than with Westbrook. That said — OKC was just an average KD game away from beating the 73 win Warriors. Instead, rather than come up big in that specific game, he came up small. There’s no getting around that. Then, rather than challenge himself to be better, he actively sought out a solution in which he would be less challenged. It’s fine, it was his right, etc., but it just seems weak.

      IMHO it’d be one thing if OKC lost in 5 games to GS and it didn’t look even remotely possible. But they were so close and he played so badly that game 6, that it feels to me like he just didn’t want to take the chance that he might fail again.

      Durant was obviously awesome in this series and so the obvious response to my post would be to say that he came up big, but coming up big when you have literally all the talent in the world around you making your life easy seems a little different to me.

      Basically, we want our heroes to overcome adversity and rise to the occasion, rather than avoid it altogether. It’s like nearly summitting Everest after years of work and training, returning home, then summitting Mt. Rainier instead the next time and saying “Yeah, I climbed a tall mountain”.

    52. MKinLA

      @47 I’m too lazy to try to find the numbers, but my hunch is that, as a result of all the deep 3s spacing the floor, the Warriors generate more points in the paint than those old post-up teams.

      So, what you’re really missing is, what, exactly? Mid-range jumpers going in at a 43 rate%?

    53. swiftandabundant

      @ 50 – Jowles – let me frame it to you this way cause I know you’re a Bernie supporter. Side note – I think we probably would be good friends in real life even though we fight on this blog cause I’m on your side with Bernie.

      Do you think its fair that the one percent get all the breaks in this country tax wise? Or that the richest corporations in the world get tax subsidies? Or that universal health care is a non starter with our government? Do you think the hallowing out of the middle class is just competition and that’s fine?

      I bet you don’t. Yet you support a one percenter in basketball creating an unfair advantage for himself by joining an all ready stacked team.

      I know its a stretch..my analogy. But my point is that while we like competition we also want some sense of fairness and balance. We all like to see great teams. What makes them great is when they are actually challenged and yes, that is mainly because of the entertainment factor. But what’s the fucking point in watching NBA basketball if you know the outcome before the season even starts?

      Again, Durant can do whatever he wants. I just won’t ever think of him as clutch or as being an all time great bc he joined an all ready stacked team to win a title. That’s my opinion and I’m allowed to have it cause AMERICA!

    54. Philmelo

      BTW, yesterday should put an end to that bullshit meme about how ex-Knicks leave the team and flourish elsewhere. Yeah, JR had a usual JR game where he exploded with ungodly range. But Iman Shumpert is pure trash propped up by the fact that Lebron will cover his teammates’ deficiencies.

    55. danvt

      Is anyone mad at Danny Ainge? He gets his team to the conference semis and gets the first pick. The nerve of that guy! That’s bad for competitive balance. He should give Fultz to the Knicks. Teams with good management that are already good and then get better are obviously taking short cuts.

    56. swiftandabundant

      @ 58 – yeah cause that is totally the same thing.

      1. The Celtics got swept against the Cavs. So they aren’t at that level yet.
      2. Whoever they pick with the draft pick will be a rookie and could very well be a bust.

      But please. Lets try to say its anything close to the same thing. That’s a GM doing his job. Durant took the short cut.

    57. Philmelo

      NYK owner James Dolan says that he's not involved in basketball decisions during Fox 5 interview. More: https://t.co/eg09gqBuGQ— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 12, 2017

      Knicks owner James Dolan, appearing on Fox 5, says people always ask him about the Knicks and his answer is always the same: "Ask Phil"— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 12, 2017

    58. JK47

      I bet you don’t. Yet you support a one percenter in basketball creating an unfair advantage for himself by joining an all ready stacked team.

      This analogy sucks.

      There is socialism in the NBA in the form of a salary cap. Every team gets the same resources to put together their team. Players like “one percenter” Kevin Durant aren’t actually paid what they would be worth in a true free market. He’s a fucking awesome player. He’d be worth what, like $50M or something if there was no salary cap?

      So Kevin Durant is supposed to both take less money than he’s worth because of the NBA’s badly flawed salary cap system, and simultaneously also toil away for his whole career in the shithole known as Oklahoma City trying to rip the basketball out of Russell Westbrook’s hands until his prime is over, because if he doesn’t he isn’t a true ruff rydah?

      Fuck that.

    59. danvt

      Durant took the short cut.

      Respectfully disagree. OKC is a second rate organization who didn’t want to go over the luxury threshold or would have had the kind of organic super team a fella like you could believe in. They clearly got every ounce out of the team that took GSW to six games and weren’t going to get better than that. Durant took an amazing opportunity and, here’s the thing, still had to play the games and win them and make, yes, clutch plays. Nothing was guaranteed.

      I’m not mad when the NBA system allows good teams to get better or when a great player chooses an optimal situation. Especially in the case of GSW who, to my mind are rootable, unlike Heatles and Celtics big three who I despised.

      I’m more mad at NBA rules that incentivize losing and teams like PHI who give their fans nothing and hand victories to teams ahead of NYK in the standings while trying to game the system year after year.

    60. JK47

      Here’s the other thing: without Durant last year, Golden State LOST. This year, with Durant playing sublime basketball, they WON. He was a difference maker. His brilliant play in the Finals this year was kind of like a pretty big reason why they won, and didn’t lose the way they did last year.

      Maybe, just maybe, with Harry Barnes out there again instead of Durant, they would have lost again this year.

    61. Frank

      @61 – I get what you’re trying to say with the “rip the basketball out of Russ’s hands” bit, but his usage in GS actually went DOWN after he got away from Russ, from a career average of 30 to 27.8 this past season. His % of baskets assisted this year were career high percentages — the 3 years prior to 16-17 his % assisted FG on 2’s were 45, 51, and 52%, and this year was 56.5%. his % assisted 3’s were 56, 65, and 64%, and was 80% this year. So basically he went a lot more 1-on-1 last year than this year, which is hard work.

      He just wanted to do less on his own. You could certainly make the case that he wanted to play more “team basketball”, but you could also make the case that it was just too hard playing the way OKC plays.

    62. the don nelson era

      Golden State LOST when Draymond got himself suspended for two games. If Dray keeps his foot out of LeBron’s groin, the Warriors don’t blow a 3 game lead.

      Durant obviously played well, but the Warriors were a historic team without him. They didn’t need him to win a title or 73 games. The difference KD made was to their margin of victory.

    63. Brian Cronin

      So Kevin Durant is supposed to both take less money than he’s worth because of the NBA’s badly flawed salary cap system, and simultaneously also toil away for his whole career in the shithole known as Oklahoma City trying to rip the basketball out of Russell Westbrook’s hands until his prime is over, because if he doesn’t he isn’t a true ruff rydah?

      Not only that, but then get shit for not winning a title in OKC.

      And Charles Barkley did try to form a super team when he joined Houston. It just didn’t work out for him.

      The current system is just the owners being cheap fucks and thus not making it harder for guys like Durant to switch teams and still make the same money as they would have made in their old city. If they want to change the system to keep this from happening, they could, but they much prefer keeping the top salaries down.

    64. Brian Cronin

      Golden State LOST when Draymond got himself suspended for two games. If Dray keeps his foot out of LeBron’s groin, the Warriors don’t blow a 3 game lead.

      He got suspended for one game. The Cavs then beat the Warriors in Game 6 and 7 with Green there, so it seems like a huge stretch to say that despite beating them with Green in Games 6 and 7 that there was no way that they could beat the Warriors in Game 5 with Green there (although obviously, it helped to not have Green there for a game).

    65. chrisk06811

      Love for George would mean Cle needs a big. Kyle O’Quinn would complete the dynasty. plus he could teach lebron how to grow a real beard.

    66. Frank

      So how would everyone feel if Lebron decided to leave Cleveland to join Golden State this year?

      Same story —

      – his current team just isn’t good enough – they tried super hard but maybe this Cavs team has hit its peak
      – he needed to do too much for this Cleveland team and there was too much iso-ball from one of his PG teammates
      – looking forward it doesn’t look like Cleveland will have enough to overcome the Warriors
      – he’d be leaving a team that just lost to the Warriors despite his best efforts
      – if he goes to GS, he won’t need to have a usage of 35+ and deal with the annoyingness and sulkiness and ball-hogginess of his current teammates
      – Cleveland the city sucks, he’d rather live in the Bay Area

      So JK47 and Jowles, that’s all good to you? Lebron’s just doing the smart thing?

    67. Brian Cronin

      I’m never going to judge a player for doing what he wants with his career. Period (like I don’t judge Melo for looking for as much money as he can possibly get in his career, despite it hurting his ability to win a title). I can hope for a system that doesn’t allow players to do it (like I didn’t like that the system allowed Karl Malone to sign a tiny contract to try to get a ring with the Lakers), but if the players want to work the system as it currently stands, then it’s fine by me.

    68. thenoblefacehumper

      I don’t place one bit of blame on Durant or the Warriors’ front office (or anyone else in the organization). They both made decisions that were so clearly in their best interests that, looking back on it, it almost would’ve been downright bizarre for either party to not agree.

      Having said that, I do think these playoffs were lacking in intrigue. This year the sheer ridiculousness of the Warriors alone was enough to keep people interested, so the NBA isn’t in crisis mode yet. If the Warriors win the next three finals or something, my guess is people will lose interest (though predicting consumer behavior is well beyond my pay grade). I wouldn’t be surprised if the CBA has to be adjusted accordingly, which ironically might lead to the situation the owners have fought tooth and nail to avoid–uncapped individual salaries.

      That’s not Durant’s fault or the Warriors’ fault, though, and if the long term effect of the Warriors is other front offices feeling like there’s less margin for error the NBA will be better for it. It’s past time for owners and front offices to realize that the best teams have nearly eliminated bad decision making. The people who should actually be blamed for the lack of parity are the Phil Jacksons of the NBA world who destroy their teams’ chances of competition via objectively idiotic moves.

    69. Frank

      I’m never going to judge a player for doing what he wants with his career. Period (like I don’t judge Melo for looking for as much money as he can possibly get in his career, despite it hurting his ability to win a title). I can hope for a system that doesn’t allow players to do it (like I didn’t like that the system allowed Karl Malone to sign a tiny contract to try to get a ring with the Lakers), but if the players want to work the system, then it’s fine by me.

      You may not judge them out loud. You might say – “hey, it’s his prerogative”, and “it’s not Lebron’s fault that players are judged on # of championships”, and “it’s the best thing for winning”, and “that’s why players fought for free agency”. But you most certainly would look down on Lebron if he decided to leave the Cavs and join the Warriors this offseason.

    70. Brian Cronin

      I wouldn’t like to watch it, sure, but I didn’t like watching the Heat, as well. I didn’t begrudge Lebron for doing it. If he seriously wanted to join Golden State on some sort of mini-MLE, I’d prefer he not do it, but I wouldn’t give him shit about it. Lebron owes me nothing.

      I didn’t want Durant to go to Golden State, either. But I don’t begrudge him for the choice.

    71. Frank

      I wouldn’t like to watch it, sure, but I didn’t like watching the Heat, as well. I didn’t begrudge Lebron for doing it. If he seriously wanted to join Golden State on some sort of mini-MLE, I’d prefer he not do it, but I wouldn’t give him shit about it. Lebron owes me nothing.

      I’m not talking about going to his house and egging it, or yelling at him at press conferences. We don’t know any of these players. But you wouldn’t be disappointed in his competitiveness if he did such a thing?

    72. Brian Cronin

      These guys are all strong competitors who play in a system where they don’t have a lot of freedom. If they want to use what little freedom they have however they want, that’s totally fine by me. Lebron is amazing. I’m cool with whatever he wants to do with his career. Would I be disappointed by it? Sure, but just for my own enjoyment reasons. These guys control their own legacies – I support them however they want their legacies to go. If Melo wants to be the guy who gets paid the most money he possibly can while living in the best city in the world and giving his kid a stable life, I am not going to judge him for it because it doesn’t fit what I’d like to see from a guy like him. Likewise, if a guy prioritizes winning a title above all else, I also don’t judge him for that.

      Now, would I prefer a system where Lebron was not allowed to sign with the Warriors? Or that Durant was not allowed to sign with the Warriors? Sure, but that’s not the system that exists now. I blame the people who created the system specifically to keep the salaries of the greatest players down.

    73. Frank

      This is the best way I can say it.

      I don’t begrudge anyone choices they make in life. It’s their life, not mine.

      That said, when judging people who make their living at the highest level of competition, it’s the competition that matters.

      Tommy Beer just posted this on twitter:

      Media/fans: “All that matters is RINGS!!”

      *player puts himself in best position to win title*

      Media/fans: “why would you join that team??”

      And my reply is that “RINGZ” is not just about winning. “RINGZ” is competing at the highest level and overcoming adversity. Why RINGZZZ are important is because overcoming adversity (ie. winning a ring) is qualitatively different from just participating in adversity (making it to the final). In my mind, and in many other fans’ minds, what KD did was just lower the bar of adversity that he had to get over.

      I made the analogy of Mount Everest vs. Mount Rainier, and i think it’s appropriate. It would definitely have been harder for KD to win in OKC (=Everest) although not impossible. Instead, he decided he’d rather climb a smaller mountain. Sure, it’s his choice. No I don’t think he’s a bad person for it. But do I admire a guy who could climb Everest but instead decides to climb Rainier?

    74. Brian Cronin

      There’s nothing wrong with you preferring to see the guy climb Everest rather than Ranier, but there’s no character flaw of the guy if he doesn’t want to climb Everest. He’s not a loser for being a kick ass climber who’d prefer to do things his own way.

    75. lavor postell

      There’s nothing wrong with you preferring to see the guy climb Everest rather than Ranier, but there’s no character flaw of the guy if he doesn’t want to climb Everest. He’s not a loser for being a kick ass climber who’d prefer to do things his own way.

      Sure, but it’s also my right to think it’s a bit lame that he didn’t fully max himself out. Doesn’t mean the guy isn’t a hell of basketball player and a first ballot HOFer regardless.

    76. JK47

      So how would everyone feel if Lebron decided to leave Cleveland to join Golden State this year?

      I don’t know how they’d fit LeBron, Steph, Durant, Draymond and Klay under the salary cap. I guess in this scenario LeBron plays for the MLE or something? I don’t honestly know what I’d make of that very unlikely scenario. Uh, I guess that would make him less of a ruff rydah, playing for like 20 percent of his market rate just so he could cream people in Golden State? That would be a pretty egregious case of abusing the salary cap rules, so it’s pretty different from Durant signing a max contract with a team that had the cap space.

    77. Brian Cronin

      Even there, though, I think it’d be the fault of the rules. That’s essentially what Karl Malone did in 2003 (despite earlier being used as an example of a player who wouldn’t do something like this). He took the veteran exception so that he could win a title with the Lakers (while Gary Payton took the MLE). I think that there should be some sort of rule preventing players from doing that. Utah (and other teams) would have paid Malone $20 million to play for them, but he took $1 million to play for the Lakers.

    78. Frank

      I’m not talking $$. These guys all make ridiculous amounts of money regardless of the CBA.

      I’m talking about leaving your losing team to join the team that just beat you, thereby creating a superteam that makes the entire league a foregone conclusion.

    79. lavor postell

      Malone also wasn’t in his prime, at the peak of his powers. That scenario unfolded at a much later stage in his career.

    80. Totes McGoats

      Did you see how hard that guy plays? I feel like I’m in some alternate reality with these Durant haters, who apparently assume that Durant can just press L1 and X at the same time to “simulate entire season” like it’s a video game.

      In my job, if I’m offered a solid team who can support me and my work, or a shittier team that’s going to make my hard work less effective, which one do you think I’m going to choose? How is Durant any different? Because you don’t like watching it?

      Aside from the elephant in the room that is the mentality of “can’t beat em, join em” of an elite player, my issue with KD joining the Dubs is simple. Can we really know how good he is playing on that team that offers him elite support? That’s it. He was nowhere near as efficient and dominant playing with Westbrook. It kinda skews his value in that sense, if only just a little. The arguably 2nd best player in the league signed with the team who just broke the win total record for a season, and now the game is easier for him. He’s now showing things he couldn’t show with Westbrook because he had to work harder to be the KD we know and love.

      I don’t wanna insinuate that his job this season was easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it definitely was easier than it was in OKC. KD is a great great player no matter where he plays, but unfortunately we’re gonna always wonder at the least if winning a chip this season was based more on his own merits or the merits of an already outstanding team without him. But nevertheless, I’m happy for him. He and his mom almost got me choked up. Ewing, Barkley, Stockton & Malone all deserved that feeling but when some of them ring chased- it was too late because they were fiercely loyal players. KD just realized that his time to realize a dream is finite, so he went out and got it. You can never call him a sucker for that.

    81. Brian Cronin

      Ewing and Stockton never ring chased

      Ewing never had a chance to ring chase, since he was a pretty bad player by the time he became a free agent in his late 30s. Stockton, though, did not. That is true.

      Ewing, by the way, very possibly leaves the Knicks in 1991 if he didn’t lose his arbitration case that prevented him from becoming a free agent that year. When he did reach free agency in 1993, Riley had remade the roster and made the Knicks more appealing to Ewing, so he stayed (for a hefty raise in the context of the times). Had he been a free agent when he wanted to, though, in 1991, I think that there is a very good chance he leaves the Knicks.

    82. Totes McGoats

      @85

      Ewing, Barkley, Stockton & Malone all deserved that feeling but when some of them ring chased- it was too late because they were fiercely loyal players

      Maybe you read me wrong. I just didn’t feel like typing “when Barkley & Malone ring chased”
      My bad. I should have been more concise.

    83. djphan

      durant is an entertainer… and so if his choices make it less entertaining for you. then you certainly can begrudge his choices…. it’s like yoko ono and john lennon… he certainly made his life choices… and i think everyone hopes he was happy.. but it’s a source of contempt for some beatles fans…

      dolan makes choices all the time… and we begrudge him entirely for every single one… so does phil and so did isiah thomas… this is not some off limits type of thing that he’s being criticized for… if i don’t enjoy the games because of his choices i’m going to voice my displeasure… if you enjoy it .. then you enjoy it.. at the end of the day this isn’t black and white… and no one is right or wrong… it is all about how you view and derive enjoyment out of a game…

    84. lavor postell

      @Totes
      Gotcha

      @BC
      Maybe, but ultimately he didn’t and he never played with the talent KD did.

      Look, I don’t really care that he left OKC. He didn’t owe them anything, but I do think going to GSW is like the least competitive thing he could have done and in my own personal ranking of all time greats, which means absolutely nothing, I knock him a bit for it.

      That said I don’t blame him for creating a superteam. The league and it’s greedy ass owners created the circumstances for this to occur and Lebron already paved the way with his jumping from Cleveland to Miami and back to Cleveland again. KD just took advantage of a very unique situation as is his right.

    85. Brian Cronin

      Maybe, but ultimately he didn’t and he never played with the talent KD did.

      I’m just taking issue with the “fiercely loyal” stuff. He tried to get out of New York and when he failed, they improved the team and then two years later (with the team coming off a 60-win season) he got the biggest contract in NBA history (at the time) in 1993. So it’s hard to talk about how “fiercely loyal” the guy was.

      It reminds me a bit of the great line some critic had about American Beauty – “Wes Bentley’s character sees the beauty in everything, even his hot girlfriend’s gorgeous naked breasts.” Similarly, Ewing was fiercely loyal, especially when playing for a 60-win team that made him the highest paid player in NBA history.

    86. ClashFan

      Agree with those of you noting that this is the current NBA system. I don’t like it, but I don’t blame players and teams for doing what they do.

      Each player has to decide what is important to him. I mean, if Malone gave up lots of $ toward the end of his career to try to get just that one ring, more power to him.

      Now, if LBJ would take an MLE to hook up with GS, I’d have more of a problem with that, partly b/c of his big deal of coming home, etc. etc. Then stay home!?

      Also, he’s got a couple of rings, but Durant did not. Nor did Malone years ago. In LBJ’s case, I guess it would be like Gordon Gecko: “How many yachts can you water ski behind?”

      The answer is, “as many has he wants.”
      :-)

    87. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      “KD took a plane to the top of Everest and parachuted down.”

      And when he landed with the ringz and other sustenance that the real summit climbers had craved he was met with not much more than a polite thank you for they knew that he hadn’t climbed the summit or sacrificed as they had done.

    88. thenamestsam

      Aside from the elephant in the room that is the mentality of “can’t beat em, join em” of an elite player, my issue with KD joining the Dubs is simple. Can we really know how good he is playing on that team that offers him elite support?

      I couldn’t agree more. KD was insanely dominant in the finals and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a good player have such a low degree of difficulty. Not only did he not see any double teams, but at times (esspecially in game 1 and 2) the Cavs actively left him open as they tried to shut down the guards (e.g. there was a memorable transition dunk where JR sprinted to the corner to cut off a pass to Curry letting Durant walk down the lane).

      Everything about the situation just bums me out. I’m glad Durant is happy and fulfilled, but it didn’t make for very fulfilling basketball for me. As JVG has said a bunch of times what makes sports interesting to me isn’t just seeing the greatness of the players, but seeing them tested. I didn’t feel like either Durant or Golden State got tested this year.

    89. stratomatic

      In my day, we left our closest, most loyal friends behind just to make new, douchier friends who were worse at friendship. These days, people are not looking for challenges. They just want friends.

      I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. Players leave for all sorts of reasons and these days one of them is CLEARLY to look for an easier ring and to avoid a challenge. That wasn’t always the case, at least not until the end of player’s career.

      Lebron left his HOME TOWN in his prime to get a ring.

      Lebron left his best buddies in Miami because they were getting old, he wanted more rings, and he figured he had a better shot at it with Kyrie and Love where he could also repair his reputation.

      Do you think anyone would even be discussing CP3 and the Spurs if it wasn’t for an easier ring? (money and LA vs San Antonio?)

      Why is Paul George suddenly unhappy?

      What you see very little of these days is players like Reggie Miller who don’t just want to win a ring, they want to win it in a place like Indiana for Indiana and they are willing to struggle to get there even though the odds are against it. I would say Westbrook is a throwback. He wants to be alpha. He wants to win in OKC. He knows it’s going to be extremely difficult, but he’s up for it.

      Durant left for one reason and one reason only. He wanted a ring. He was scared to death to be Reggie Miller. Everything else is BS.

      Klay may choose to stay because he wants to win more rings, because he’s happy in Golden State, and because he loves his teammates. Some say guys like that are unselfish and willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. They are right. But it also means he’s willing to be 4th fiddle rather than stake his own claim and help lead a team to a title.

      It’s not my place to tell someone else what their values should be, but that doesn’t mean I can’t call them the way I see them when they make choices.

    90. DS

      @95 – Perfectly said… Durant is a better basketball player than Dirk Nowitzki. He played great in the Finals. But Nowitzki’s one ring is a superior accomplishment to Durant’s when compared side-by-side. Dirk had to compete to attain his title. Durant made a move that would minimize the competition he would encounter.

    91. DRed

      Can we really know how good he is playing on that team that offers him elite support? That’s it. He was nowhere near as efficient and dominant playing with Westbrook.

      He beat his previous career high in TS% by .004 this season. Last 3 years he was in the 63% range-this year he was 65%. So let’s say that 2% is playing with either the Warriors or with a PG who isn’t a ballhog. This was definitely one of his best seasons, but it’s not clearly his best. So I’m not sure what your point is.

      Strat you keep ignoring the contract structure back in the day made it less likely that guys could move. Guys could (and often did) sign really long deals. Really long contracts inhibit ring chasing.

    92. ess-dog

      I’m more annoyed that the 3 point shot has all but eliminated the midrange. That and “touch calls” have kind of flattened out the game. Physical strength needs to be rewarded somehow in the game. Some things that could help: Lengthening the shot clock to 30 seconds, extending the 3 pt line a little and/or getting rid of the corner 3 (or widening the court), have the refs let more body contact go, or make the 3 second violation into a 5 second one (not that they ever call that anyway).

    93. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      That said — OKC was just an average KD game away from beating the 73 win Warriors. Instead, rather than come up big in that specific game, he came up small. There’s no getting around that.

      bruh did you not look at his incredible Game 7 box score? his team shit the bed

    94. DS

      @99 – And anyone who fakes a jumper, makes his defender leaves his feet, then jumps into the defender to draw a shooting foul should be punished by death.

    95. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      Having said that, I do think these playoffs were lacking in intrigue. This year the sheer ridiculousness of the Warriors alone was enough to keep people interested, so the NBA isn’t in crisis mode yet.

      They were certainly lacking compared to last season, which boasted an all-time great WCF and Finals. Similarly, the Yankees’ dynastic World Series run was unlikely/thrilling (1996) and boring (1998) and mostly boring (1999) and somewhat thrilling (2000) and thrilling/heartbreaking (2001). It didn’t ruin the league that some of those series featured blowouts.

      2014 Spurs 4-1
      2012 Heat 4-1
      2009 Lakers 4-1
      2007 Spurs 4-0
      2004 Pistons 4-1
      2002 Lakers 4-0
      2001 Lakers 4-1
      1999 Spurs 4-1

      The league didn’t die from nearly half the series since 2000 being “uncompetitive.” Players age. Underrated role players get plucked off championship rosters. Stars get hurt. Draymond kicks testicles. This isn’t the end of parity.

      This Finals went 5 games and 3 of them were unbelievably competitive on a possession-by-possession basis. That’s a pretty good series, and it could very well have been a 7-game series if LeGoat’s LeTeammates didn’t blow their LeAd in Game 3.

    96. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      Some things that could help: Lengthening the shot clock to 30 seconds, extending the 3 pt line a little and/or getting rid of the corner 3 (or widening the court), have the refs let more body contact go, or make the 3 second violation into a 5 second one (not that they ever call that anyway).

      But how would that make the game better? The NBA wants its stars to stay healthy and spry, and so should its fans. Watching DeMarcus Cousins bulldoze defenders isn’t nearly as fun as watching Irving or Curry drive with space to finish.

    97. Brian Cronin

      Yeah, compared to the early 2000s, this is darn near nirvana. Remember the streak of Finals involving the Sixers and Nets from 2001-2003? Those were some disgusting NBA Finals. We can’t be nostalgic for that gross ass Sixers team, we just can’t! George Lynch was the small forward on that team! Aaron McKie was their two guard!

    98. lavor postell

      Yeah, compared to the early 2000s, this is darn near nirvana. Remember the streak of Finals involving the Sixers and Nets from 2001-2003? Those were some disgusting NBA Finals. We can’t be nostalgic for that gross ass Sixers team, we just can’t!

      Sure, but the late 80’s, early-to-mid 90’s ball was captivating in it’s own way.

      I think a good compromise would be to stop rewarding the blatant foul seeking, unnatural shooting motion behaviors, actually call moving screens and to allow hand checking on the perimeter again. As somebody who isn’t a huge fan with how much importance the 3 point shot has now, I don’t think it makes much sense or is realistic to expect the NBA to change the current dimensions of the floor.

      I think those would at least give perimeter defenders a chance to contain penetration without totally altering the current landscape of the game.

    99. Totes McGoats

      I’m just taking issue with the “fiercely loyal” stuff. He tried to get out of New York and when he failed, they improved the team and then two years later (with the team coming off a 60-win season) he got the biggest contract in NBA history (at the time) in 1993. So it’s hard to talk about how “fiercely loyal” the guy was.

      Point taken BC. I completely forgot Ewing at one point was ready to leave. Although, for the most part- Ewing was pretty loyal.

    100. Brian Cronin

      I think a good compromise would be to stop rewarding the blatant foul seeking

      Agreed, but this should just be done under the current rules, ya know?

    101. Brian Cronin

      Point taken BC. I completely forgot Ewing at one point was ready to leave. Although, for the most part- Ewing was pretty loyal.

      It allowed me to use that American Beauty quote, so I’m pleased. :)

    102. lavor postell

      Agreed, but this should just be done under the current rules, ya know?

      Right, but the current rules are’t even enforced properly. It’s virtually impossible to play good defense when you have to negotiate moving screens on every possession, guys can launch themselves and contort their bodies in all kinds of ways to draw shooting fouls and you can’t put your hands on guys on the perimeter. I don’t care if it’s an actual enforcement of rules in place, a point of focus going into next season or a new rule put in place, but watching playoff games where teams are in the bonus with more than half a quarter remaining isn’t what I think should be happening at the pinnacle of the sport.

    103. Brian Cronin

      Sure, I’m down with that. Just saying that we don’t even need to change the current rules to improve some of the problem areas. Just enforce the actual rules they already have.

    104. Totes McGoats

      This Cameron Oliver kid..I don’t think it would be a reach to draft him with our last pick. He can fill the role Derrick Williams had but with better shooting and defense. He also is a pretty good passer from the 4 and can play the 3 in spurts. So, assuming Phil stands pat- if we come away with Ntilikina, Mason, and Oliver- would that be a good draft? I think so. 3 high IQ, athletic, defensive minded players who can shoot. I like that.

    105. MSA

      In 1982 Moses Malone left the weak Houston Rockets to join the NBA finalist Philadelphia 76ers.

      CHARACTER FLAW!

      KD will be a hall of famer and soon nobody will care about all this crap the same way Lebron’s “Decision” is not a big deal anymore.

    106. DS

      In 1982 Moses Malone left the weak Houston Rockets to join the NBA finalist Philadelphia 76ers.

      Malone was a RFA and Houston didn’t match the offer sheet, LIAR!!!!

    107. MSA

      Malone was a RFA and Houston didn’t match the offer sheet, LIAR!!!!

      Yeah, but Malone wasn’t forced to sign the contract with Philly. He could had just stayed in Houston and be a real ruff rydah.

    108. Cock Jowles, An Intriguing Physical Specimen with a High Ceiling

      Sometimes I forget that Karl Malone played in all but 8 scheduled regular-season games between 1985 and 2000. That’s absurd. Our $18M center might not play 8 full games next year.

    109. stratomatic

      I think the league likes the high scoring games because it thinks that’s what the fans want.

    110. DS

      Yeah, but Malone wasn’t forced to sign the contract with Philly. He could had just stayed in Houston and be a real ruff rydah.

      Don’t get salty just because your half-truths have been brought to the light.

    111. Brian Cronin

      Yeah, there’s no doubt that the league thinks that the fans want high scoring games. The debate is whether the league thinks they want stuff like the flopping and stuff like that. Remember how worried they got about Hack-a-Jordan?

    112. dtrickey

      Gotta say, everyone is making some pretty good arguments today, so well done on the discussion front folks.

      Personally, I don’t begrudge KD. Ultimately he had a choice, and assuming he did a SWOT analysis, GSW came out as the best option for him. GSW and KD then, within the rules of the game, made it happen. Would most of us outside of the Bay Area liked to have seen KD stay with OKC? Of course, but 10 years from now, no one is going to care that KD opted for the ‘easy option'; because when you read over the history books, they don’t put an asterick next to a Finals MVP’s name. No body looks back at MJ, Shaq and Kobe’s achievements and notes how easy that had it because they were on really good teams.

      Obviously as fans we want the theater and drama of underdog teams making a meteoric rise to the top (i.e. Dallas beating the Heat, Cleveland last year), but end of the day that is a very rare scenario. This playoffs was probably the least intriguing in recent years, but SAS was a Leonard away from making life tough for the Warriors, and Cleveland were a few patches of bad basketball away from making the series more competitive in the W-L column. So for my mind, the competitive balance is fine for now.

    113. stratomatic

      The debate is whether the league thinks they want stuff like the flopping and stuff like that.

      I liked when the game was more physical. I hate flopping and all these ticky tack fouls. It feels “weak” to me. I like tougher players. I used to absolutely love 3 point shooting as a strategy when it was still somewhat controversial and less used. But now there are way too many players that are so outrageously proficient at it, imo it’s taking away from the rest of the game. I think the 3 point line has to be moved back a few feet. There is precedent for moving it.

    114. nicos

      Here’s a question- If you gave everybody in the NBA the choice how many would take being universally acknowledged as the best player in the game over winning a ring? My guess would be more than a few. As well as Durant played in the series (and he was fantastic) at the end of it I think just about everybody is still in the LBJ is the best player in the NBA camp- if he’d stayed at OKC and they beat both the Warriors and the Cavs with him playing like he did I think the narrative might be different. While Durant didn’t remove his name from the best player argument, he certainly made it much tougher to gain that title.

    115. Dough Chew, Ntank Commander

      These are some of the worst fucking hot takes I’ve ever read.

      I think the playoffs this year lacked some intrigue and felt more anticlimactic, but KD has the right to be himself and make his own choices. I’m not entitled to judge him.

    116. Dough Chew, Ntank Commander

      VSB detonating a truth bomb:

      It’s easy for us to attach a pretend and hypocritical romanticism to great players stuck in ungreat environments. Because it’s not us and our legacies and careers at sake. But mainly because it doesn’t actually exist. Well, it doesn’t actually exist anymore. They both know that today, in 2017, in order to be considered an all-time great, the arbitrary criteria for this distinction requires you to win multiple NBA championships. It’s not enough for you to be great. Or great with flawed teammates and/or front offices. Or great but cursed with the misfortune of playing against greater teams. Or great but unlucky. Your greatness has to be so great that it wills opponents to miss shots and your teammates to make them. Your killer instinct must be so ethereal and sublime that it leaves your body like a mist and chokes the life out of anyone who dares breathe in your presence. Your force of personality so all-encompassing that you can just look at a basketball and wilt it into clutch threes.

      It hasn’t always been like this. There was a time when greatness was just assessed on the grade of greatness and not whether the great player happened to be on a great team too. Despite losing the first eight times he reached the Finals, Jerry West is roundly considered one of the 15 greatest players ever …[And] how about Michael Jordan? By his third year in the league, there was no doubt he was already one of the greatest ever, and it wasn’t a crime to admit that even though the Bulls still sucked. The Celtics used to kick the Bulls’ ass, and Larry Bird still called him “God disguised as Michael Jordan.” Rings didn’t validate Jordan’s greatness. His greatness validated his greatness. Rings just meant his greatness was finally surrounded by the right pieces and he was lucky enough to receive the right breaks.

    117. DS

      “These are some of the worst fucking hot takes I’ve ever read,” he said with no sense of irony.

    118. Brian Cronin

      Unfortunately, Jordan’s success altered what’s necessary to qualify as great. Now, for those committed to protecting Jordan’s legacy — and there are A LOT of those stanning-ass sentinel motherfuckers out there — the greatness argument begins and ends with rings; an edict that ignores the myriad and almost hilariously random set of circumstances that enable a team to win a championship.

      That’s a really well-written article. Thanks, Doug.

      I like how that article also allowed for the fact that it’s totally cool for us all to not want Lebron and Durant to make the decisions that they did. That’s totally fine. It’s just not some knock on their character that they did it.

    119. Z-man

      I was just looking at Draymond Green’s draft analysis. So-so athlete, undersized but with long arms. great passer, high IQ, suspect defensively, not in great shape, sometimes the last guy up the court…

      Man, have the GSW been lucky. Sure hope we can find someone like him in the 2nd round.

    120. Brian Cronin

      I was just looking at Draymond Green’s draft analysis. So-so athlete, undersized but with long arms. great passer, high IQ, suspect defensively, not in great shape, sometimes the last guy up the court…

      Yeah, it seems like there are always a half dozen guys like Green (not as good as Green, but generally the same idea – big men who aren’t that big who aren’t seen as all that athletic) in the late first round/early second round and most of them bust, but every year one or two hit and hit big (Millsap is another one, David Lee is another).

    121. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      In other news, I think the more I look at Lonzo Ball, the more I think his proper role is as an off guard who brings the ball up the court.

      He’s really bad in the pick and roll and at creating his own shot in general but he’s an excellent cutter, shooter, and passer. He’d be perfect with someone like Kyrie or another skilled scorer in the lead guard position and he’s still a plus rebounder from the shooting guard position and could probably be adequate (not plus level tho) defensively given his size and length

      He’s the most unique prospect I’ve seen in a while. He’d be perfect for the triangle.

    122. Brian Cronin

      I think a Russell/Ball backcourt could really work.

      Now, imagine a Simmons/Ball ballhandling backcourt. That’d be nucking futs. Ball/Outside shooter (Reddick?)/Simmons/Saric/Embiid. That’s an interesting as heck team, with Okafor off of the bench.

    123. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      Yeah he’d be perfect on the 76ers (since Simmons is excellent in the pnr/ISO iirc) or as the lead guard in the triangle since they generally have less ISO/shot creating responsibility

      The 76ers would also have plus passers at 4 positions which would be excellent and super fun to watch

    124. Totes McGoats

      Let’s have a hypothetical stand pat scenario here. Say Melo stays and Phil doesn’t pick up an extra pick. Does anybody here think Phil can still make smart, smaller moves that improves the team?

      Imagine drafting Ntilikina, Frank Mason, and Cameron Oliver. Then he and Hornacek decide it’s time to make KP a center and start KOQ. And say we sign Patty Mills or Tyler Ennis as a stopgap. Now we suddenly have great spacing and a nice offense/defense balance. We would also be looking at a lengthy bench of Baker(6’8″ wingspan), Ntilikina (7’1″ wingspan), Kuz (6’11” wingspan) , Lance (7’0″ wingspan), Oliver (7’1″ wingspan), Randle (6’7″ wingspan), and Holiday (7′ wingspan)- anchored in the paint by Willy(who also has a nice wingspan to use when he gets better at defense) and heady play and hustle of Thomas/Baker/Holiday plus Kuz’ instant offense. No way that’s not an improvement over last season. Right? That’s actually not bad if Phil can pull it off. A lot of youth and athleticism there with good shooting up & down the roster too. But the board has to fall just right and Phil has to get out of Hornacek’s way

    125. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I think we’ll improve next season just by virtue of KP and Willy getting older/better plus less minutes taken by Derrick fucking Rose

    126. djphan

      the best outcome is going to be one of ball, tatum, smith or isaac falling to 8 and us actually picking them… any other scenario is going to be wildly disappointing…

      there are good second round names out there but it would help if we scored some useful players with both picks… we should try to standpat in FA if only to help the tank next year but i don’t mind patty mills…

    127. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I want Jawun Evans if we can acquire a late first.

      I’d be fine w pairing him w Ntilikina if we couldn’t get Smith/Isaac/Ball

    128. Brian Cronin

      I’d be fine with any of the likely picks outside of Monk, and even Monk wouldn’t be the end of the world or anything. Just disappointing.

    129. djphan

      there are a ton of decent pg bets in the 2nd/late first area… jawun evans is one of them… and he’s better than mitchell in my eyes… nigel williams-goss, edmund sumner, monte morris… not a big mason fan tho… if we come away with any of those names i think it’s a small win…

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