Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Drew Franklin on ©March 06th, 2018 @ 9:15am
New details have emerged regarding Bam Adebayo’s alleged encounter(s) with a sports agent while Adebayo was still an amateur, and they include a receipt from everyone’s favorite chain fondue restaurant, The Melting Pot.
In a new report from Yahoo! released overnight, we learn Adebayo is alleged to have had dinner with Stephen Pina, an agent from ASM Sports; and Eric Peartree, the shady figure who once played the role of guardian and mentor in Adebayo’s life, prior to Adebayo’s move to Kentucky. The dinner occurred at The Melting Pot’s Charlottesville, Va. location, following a day at the NBA Players Association’s Top 100 Camp back in the summer before Adebayo’s senior season of high school.
According to the dinner receipt presented in the report, each of the three men had the “summer catch” for $21.99 a plate, one side of the crab snow claws for the table, and one cranberry juice. Their bill came to $89.68, on which they left an $18.00 tip to bring it to $107.68, which is well beneath the NCAA’s “payback” threshold of $200.
Yahoo!’s reporters on the story — Pat Forde (of course), Pete Thamel (of course) and Dan Wetzel — then acknowledge the dinner is “insignificant,” although it is part of a bigger problem for amateurism:
The significance of this meeting is how seemingly insignificant it was. It was dinner; a good dinner, but not some glitzy wining and dining. There is no evidence of bags of cash or new cars or anything you might see in a movie. There is no suggestion Pina was steering Adebayo to any school (he was uncommitted at the time but later attended the University of Kentucky for the 2016-17 season before becoming a first-round draft pick of the Miami Heat). Adebayo never even signed with ASM.
It reaffirms, however, the challenge for college sports leaders who are finally confronting the issue of how a young player’s free-market value runs counter to the NCAA’s standards of amateurism.
Bam Adebayo denies the meeting.
It’s also important to note that Adebayo dropped Eric Peartree from his life prior to college.
All things considered, Kentucky fans shouldn’t have any concerns about this being connected to the school in any way. If anything, we should be impressed that three people got out of The Melting Pot for under $100 before tip.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 05th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Back in late January, LaVar Ball told ESPN radio hosts he personally sent their colleague Jeff Goodman home from Lithuania for being “sheisty.”
After being with the family in the land of the beautiful basketball for a little over a week, Goodman posted an article on ESPN featuring inside information he learned from Ball about team turmoil in the Los Angeles Lakers locker room. According to Goodman’s source, i.e. LaVar Ball, there is a lack of respect for head coach Luke Walton within the organization, and the team “doesn’t want to play” for him.
The eldest Ball wasn’t a fan of that getting released to the public.
“I sent Jeff Goodman home early,” Ball said. “Otherwise he would have still been out here. But how are you going to be out here if I won’t interview with you no more? You’ve got to come home.
“I’ll never ever EVER do an interview with that guy again. He’s sheisty, and I see that. He wanted to go that route,” he continued. “He did the story he wanted to write, tried to finagle things,” Ball continued. “Guess what? He’s out of the picture now. He can’t come close to my family.”
In the latest episode of Facebook’s “Ball in the Family” documentary series, we got to see the event unfold, and the final product is hysterical.
How the tables have turned pic.twitter.com/lhZXp8EtkN
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) March 6, 2018
LaVar Ball certainly has his own issues, but seeing Goodman embarrassed on a reality show after being sent to Lithuania by ESPN is absolutely priceless. After all, whiney Jeff Goodman is the best Jeff Goodman.
Imagine becoming a journalist, only to be disliked by everyone, flying to Lithuania to cover a man and his sons that are average basketball players, then get kicked out of their circle on a reality show that airs on Facebook.
— Trey Huntsman (@TreyHuntsmanKSR) March 6, 2018
Big Baller Brand: 1
Jeff Goodman: 0
De’Aaron Fox: 39
Only five former Wildcats were in action on Saturday due to various reasons that caused Andrew Harrison (wrist), Willie Cauley-Stein (back), and Bam Adebayo (personal matters) to all miss games. Even a healthy Trey Lyles didn’t play a single minute against the Cleveland Cavaliers thanks to the return of Paul Millsap. Millsap is obviously the better player than Lyles, but for Lyles to fall completely out of the rotation over the last three games (only 19 combined minutes) is completely unnecessary and honestly confusing. Lyles is still playing at a high level and has proven himself as a long-time NBA player. Hopefully, his minutes return before the playoffs begin.
As for the good news, my pride and joy Julius Randle went for 25 points and six rebounds, including the game-securing basket at the end, in an encouraging win over the San Antonio Spurs. Jamal Murray went for 16 points in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers and De’Aaron Fox scored 17 points in a loss to the Utah Jazz (but with plenty of highlight plays).
Check out the rest of the stats below.
|Julius Randle (LAL)||116-112 W @ SAS||25||8-15 (0-0)||6||3||1||1||1||+5||33|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||91-98 L vs. UTA||17||7-14 (0-2)||4||3||2||0||3||-3||27|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||126-117 W @ CLE||16||6-11 (3-4)||3||5||1||0||1||+11||31|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||100-108 L @ POR||12||5-8 (2-3)||6||0||0||1||1||-7||33|
|Skal Labissiere (SAC)||91-98 L vs. UTA||12||4-10 (1-1)||12||3||0||3||4||-4||28|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||91-98 L vs. UTA||DNP-Back||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||126-117 W @ CLE||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Dakari Johnson (OKC)||100-108 L @ POR||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||105-96 W vs. DET||DNP-Personal Matter||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Andrew Harrison (MEM)||100-107 L @ ORL||DNP-Wrist||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
De’Aaron Fox leaves Donovan Mitchell grasping at air. pic.twitter.com/AnXO6fUHK4
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 4, 2018
Oh Lord, De’Aaron Fox just put Ricky Rubio thru the wash. pic.twitter.com/R7RwYltgF7
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 4, 2018
Keeping Up With The Canadians ??
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) March 4, 2018
Skal Labissière with the one-hand putback ? pic.twitter.com/GE5cKOrUPd
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) March 4, 2018
Tonight in the NBA
3:30: Suns (Booker, Ulis) @ Hawks
6:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Raptors
6:00: Pacers (Poythress) @ Wizards (Meeks)
7:00: Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Rondo, Liggins) @ Mavericks
8:00 (ESPN): Sixers @ Bucks
9:00: Nets @ Clippers
9:00: Knicks (Kanter) @ Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere)
Player to watch
Tonight’s player to watch is Devin Booker. Booker has seemingly been breaking all of the records over the last few weeks. He recently became the third fastest player to reach 4,000 career points behind only two guys who’ve had okay careers so far, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Over his last six games, Booker has averaged 33.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from three, which is pretty good. Someone – ANYONE – find a way to get Book out of Phoenix, please and thank you.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©March 04th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
The New Orleans Pelicans have won seven straight games and Anthony Davis is why.
Everyone thought that after the DeMarcus Cousins injury, the Pelicans would falter and slip out of the playoffs. Davis is not letting that happen.
“We’re very close,” Davis told to Nola.com. “When (Cousins) went down, we had to become even more close because guys had to step up. This is probably one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on. … These guys really like each other. They like playing with each other. When we have a team like that, we can be tough to beat.”
The month of February was a historic one for Davis. During the seven-game win streak, Davis averaged 39.3 points and 15.0 rebounds. He became the fifth player in the history of the NBA to average 35 points and 15 rebounds during a seven-game win streak, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone.
Anthony Davis in the month of February, in the absence of DeMarcus Cousins:
53 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks
45 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks
44 points, 17 rebounds
43 points, 10 rebounds
42 points, 15 rebounds
38 points, 10 rebounds
38 points, 9 rebounds
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 28, 2018
During the Pelicans 125-116 win over the Phoenix Suns, Zach Lowe of ESPN noticed that Davis’ basketball IQ has finally caught up with his athleticism.
On Monday night against Phoenix, Davis was guarding Dragan Bender when the Suns put him through a pick-and-pop. Davis corralled Devin Booker, who whipped the ball back to Bender behind the 3-point arc. Bender caught it, saw Davis recovering toward him, and unleashed a pump fake. Davis stayed down, and kept sliding toward Bender with one hand up. Bender, unnerved, shuffled his feet — a travel. Davis let out of a roar and clapped his hands.
A year ago, would Davis have leapt at that pump fake? Would he have cared quite so much about forcing a stop? It was one of those moments that stick out when a player makes another leap.
Another trick Davis has mastered: When teams switch little guys onto him, he doesn’t laze into a rote post-up 15 feet from the rim — at least not every time. Instead, he digests the mismatch, bides his time, and darts to the rim to catch a lob.
The Pelicans currently sit fifth in the Western Conference and will make the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15 season.
The Pelicans look for their eighth-straight today against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas at 7:00 pm. A win would make them 10 games over .500 for the first time since 2011.
#DavisForMVP #DavisForMVP #DavisForMVP #DavisForMVP #DavisForMVP
By Nick Roush on ©March 03rd, 2018 @ 11:00am
Devin Booker had an historic Friday night.
The former Kentucky shooting guard surpassed 4,000 career points in a 39-point performance. He’s the third-youngest to ever reach the milestone, only behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
Booker also had 8 assists and 6 rebounds in his fourth consecutive 30-point game, an achievement no Phoenix Sun has done since 2004.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 3, 2018
Booker’s former teammate did not have such a pleasant night. Karl-Anthony Towns lost his cool in Utah and picked up two quick second quarter technicals to earn an ejection after scoring just 13 points.
2 quick techs and Karl-Anthony Towns has been ejected
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) March 3, 2018
Other notes from around the BBNBA…
— Anthony Davis did not play, but yesterday he was awarded Western Conference Player of the Month for the month of February. The Unibrow led the Pelicans to a seven-game win streak and averaged 35.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.2 blocks in February.
— Eric Bledsoe scored 15 points, but only made 3-of-11 shots in the Bucks’ fourth-straight loss.
— In a game featuring three Wildcats, Jamal Murray was the best of the bunch with 9 points. Trey Lyles only scored 4 and Andrew Harrison did not play as the Nuggets beat the Grizzlies 108-102.
— Nerlens Noel was held scoreless in the Mavericks’ loss to the Bulls.
— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 9 points, an assist, a steal and a rebound in a loss to the Sixers. Malik Monk did not play.
— For the 30th time this season, Enes Kanter recorded a double-double. In the Knicks’ loss to the Clippers he had 18 points, 14 rebounds and this block:
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 3, 2018
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 02nd, 2018 @ 9:30pm
The Sacramento Kings are terrible, but former Wildcat De’Aaron Fox has established himself as the go-to man with the game on the line this season.
Last night, Fox added yet another clutch bucket to his resume, hitting a floater at the buzzer to send the game to overtime against the Brooklyn Nets.
Here’s the impressive shot:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 2, 2018
The Kings would go on to pull off the victory in OT 116-111. Fox finished the game with 21 points on 10-17 shooting, two rebounds, one assist, three steals, and three blocks in Sacramento’s big win.
On the year, Fox has hit four go-ahead or game-tying buckets in crunch time, single-handedly willing his team to victory.
When asked about the clutch performances, and specifically, his performance last night, Fox couldn’t help but give credit to two of his Wildcat teammates.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 3, 2018
“Game on the line, period,” Fox said of his clutch bucket. “The ball doesn’t have to be in my hand, we can be on defense, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like everybody likes playing in those clutch moments.”
In fact, Fox’s big bucket came on a shot we came to love in his time at Kentucky. After the game, the former Wildcat said the floater was one of his go-to’s in college, and he’s trying to work it into his game in the NBA, as well.
“This year I’m trying to pull up more or just get to the basket, that’s the way the NBA is,” Fox said. “Tonight they just played back. I’m a rookie so I’m not worried about getting calls, instead of just throwing my body in there, stop and shoot the floater. I’ve always been able to do it right hand, left hand.”
Here are Fox’s entire comments following the big victory:
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) March 2, 2018
By Aaron Torres on ©March 02nd, 2018 @ 5:00pm
In theory, Wednesday night could have gone down as one of the most significant evenings of the John Calipari era at Kentucky, not because of the opponent the Wildcats played, but because of what could have conceivably been on the line. That’s because in theory, Wednesday night’s game versus Ole Miss could have been “Senior Night” for one of the most talented recruiting classes to ever come through Kentucky, the 2014 group which included Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis and Trey Lyles.
Of course that Senior Night recognition never came, if only because that group was simply too talented to stay in Lexington for four years. Towns went on to be the No. 1 pick in the following year’s NBA Draft and earned his first All-Star nod this year. Lyles was also a first round pick that year, and Ulis came out the following season, after winning SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore.
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) February 28, 2018
Yet of all the players in that group, the one with the most intriguing future is probably Booker. Booker joked on Wednesday night that he wonders if Calipari would have actually started him on Senior Night, yet at 21-years-old is already one of the most uniquely gifted young players in the NBA.
One person who has seen Booker’s progression into a budding NBA superstar – former Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson – joined the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast on the KSR network (which you can download by clicking here) earlier this week to discuss Booker’s evolution as a pro. And it’s safe to say that Watson thinks very highly of his former star.
“‘Devin Booker [will] be the best player to ever wear the Phoenix Suns jersey,’” Watson says he told friends after Booker’s rookie season. “And I still believe it to this day.”
Watson first came to Phoenix as an assistant with the Suns, and he was actually the guy who worked out Booker during the draft process. Booker came in with the reputation as just a spot-up shooter, but Watson quickly realized there was more to his game, and began expanding it after Booker was drafted No. 13 overall that year. They worked on pick-and-roll offense and elbow jumpers behind the scenes, as Booker grew more comfortable in the NBA. In those early days, Booker wasn’t playing much. But the coach told him to be patient.
“At that time he wasn’t really playing and he was starting to get frustrated,” Watson said. “I just kept telling him ‘The NBA is 82 games. A season can change so quickly. Things can change so quickly. You always get your chance through injury, trade, or the team is not performing well. You will get your opportunity, so just be ready.’”
That moment came late in the season. By then Watson had become the Suns’ head coach and the franchise as a whole had decided to go younger. They traded away starter Markieff Morris and even at just 19-years-old, the organization made the decision that the focus of the entire team would be Booker. Booker responded by going on a tear to end the season – in his last 25 games, Booker scored in double-figures 24 times, including five separate 30-point games.
Even despite the upswing, there were still doubters.
“[I was told] You guys were young, anyone can score if they play that many minutes,’” Watson remembers friends saying to him. That’s when he made the comment that he believed Booker would go down as the best Phoenix Suns player ever.
And by the beginning of that second year, Watson looked like he might be onto something. Booker led the Suns averaging 22 points per game and added three assists and three boards a game, while becoming one of the league’s best scorers. That season was also the year that Booker went off for his monster 70-point game against the Boston Celtics, a mark that only five players in NBA history have ever reached.
Watson remembers that night vividly and shared the details with the Torres Podcast.
For starters, the Suns were playing the Celtics, a team they’d beaten just weeks before. Unfortunately it was now the end of the season, and the franchise had basically gone into ”tank mode” resting a number of key players (including, ironically, Eric Bledsoe) and were really just looking for some positive momentum for an especially young team. And it’s insane to think about just how young the Suns were. That weekend the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 was going on, and Watson says that the Suns were younger than 15 teams actually in the Sweet 16.
In terms of the particulars, the night started off mostly forgettable for Phoenix and Booker. They fell down by 13 after the first quarter, and Booker himself showed no signs that he’d soon make history. Booker had “only” 19 points at halftime and “only” 42 after three quarters. Watson planned to give Booker a rest prior to the start of the fourth quarter – but then, a couple hard fouls from Boston’s Marcus Smart changed everything.
Booker wanted back on the court, and he wanted revenge.
“Devin’s face completely changes [after those fouls],” Watson said. “The quarter ends, he looks at me, I look at him, and no words were even spoken.”
And then from there, Booker went on a tear. He made basket after basket after basket, to the point that eventually the crowd started cheering him on, even though the Suns trailed. When Watson asked his assistants what all the commotion was about, they responded simply that he had 65 points. Watson’s reaction was classic. “I said ‘Oh s**t!” he says now. “I’m coaching the score of the game. Not points per game, per player.”
Eventually Booker got his 70 and while and his teammates celebrated, both the media and opposing players criticized the decision to go for such a lofty point total. In a close game throughout, Watson defended the decision, telling the media “I was trying to get the game into overtime, so we could get him 80.”
More importantly however, Watson realized something: In their two years together, Booker had done everything his coached had asked. He had stayed strong through losing streaks and never stopped working when his team struggled. And his coach wanted to reward him.
“I had a young kid, who has been nothing but positive and high-character going into a tough situation, tough season losing, and just fighting every day for his team,” Watson said. “He deserved the opportunity to do what he can do. There’s no way I could shut him down and stay at 68 or 65 or whatever it is. There’s no way I could have done that. He deserved it. We teach them to play until the end.”
Watson also mentioned another exchange, which had happened earlier in the day which helps explain what motivated Booker that night. Watson said that in Booker’s rookie year he’d set up a meeting between Booker and Kobe Bryant before a Suns-Lakers game, and in that game, Bryant told a young Booker – a player Kobe admired – to be “legendary.” He signed a pair of sneakers with the same phrase, and it was a phrase that Watson dropped on Booker that night.
“Before the game I told Dev ‘be legendary,’” he said.
And that’s something that Booker appears on his way to being. Although Watson is no longer with the Suns, he has watched Booker continue to develop this year, to the point that he is now averaging nearly 25 points per game, tied with Russell Westbrook for ninth in the league.
Booker has the chance to be legendary. And according to Watson, he’s just now beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
“You have one of the best basketball players in the NBA regardless of age,” Watson said of Booker’s future. “And with that, anything is always possible.”
To listen to Watson’s entire interview – where he shares more stories on Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis, download the entire Aaron Torres Sports Podcast.
It’s available through the KSR feed on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Drew Franklin on ©March 02nd, 2018 @ 2:39pm
In a recent interview over in Lithuania or wherever the baby Balls are playing pro basketball these days, LaVar Ball made a shocking statement when he named Julius Randle, not Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ best player.
“Julius Randle, in the beginning, they was ready to trade him,” Ball told Delfi TV. “I told them from the beginning, ‘He’s your best player on the team on the fact that he stronger and faster than everybody on the team.'”
He would add, “You gotta let him loose. Just because he make a few mistakes, don’t be like, ‘Hey, you gotta get out, you got an attitude. I’ma bring you off the bench.’ Now, he’s starting and doing wonders.”
It’s really hard to believe that Ball, who still claims he can beat Michael Jordan, would say any Laker is better than his son, Lonzo.
He’s not wrong, though. It’s just shocking to hear him say it.
The Timberwolves are going through the hardest part of their schedule through the first three weeks after the All-Star break, and the meniscus injury to Jimmy Butler has made the task even harder. Karl-Anthony Towns has tried to step up in Butler’s absence, but teams will collapse on him in the paint in the fourth quarter. If the Timberwolves want to keep their spot at the 3 seed in the Western Conference, they’ll need to find another serviceable wing player outside of Andrew Wiggins until Butler can return.
Last night, Towns was a beast through three and a half quarters, but he was clearly worn out by the end of the game. In typical Tom Thibodeau coaching fashion, the Timberwolves only had three guys play minutes off the bench, which is the exact opposite way to coach a playoff team. Towns played 41 minutes and racked up 34 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough as the Wolves were outlasted by the Portland Trail Blazers.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 2, 2018
|Karl-Anthony Towns||108-99 loss to Trail Blazers||34||11-19 (1-3)||17||2||2||3||1||-6||41|
|Julius Randle||131-113 win over Heat||25||8-13 (0-1)||6||2||1||1||2||+15||34|
|Bam Adebayo||131-113 loss to Lakers||15||6-7 (0-0)||10||1||0||2||1||+5||30|
|De'Aaron Fox||103-100 win over Nets||17||8-15 (1-2)||1||1||2||2||3||+3||26|
|Willie Cauley-Stein||103-100 win over Nets||17||7-14 (0-0)||7||6||0||0||1||-14||29|
|Skal Labissiere||103-100 win over Nets||11||5-10 (0-0)||4||2||2||1||1||-8||25|
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) February 25, 2018
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 2, 2018
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 2, 2018
With a dime like that, you gotta finish the play ?
Trill has 8 PTS midway throught the 1st! pic.twitter.com/2GSmER8DCL
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 2, 2018
- Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic, 7pm ET
- Charlotte Hornets (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Malik Monk) at Philadelphia 76ers, 7pm ET
- Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30pm ET
- Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards (John Wall, Jodie Meeks), 8pm ET on ESPN
- Dallas Mavericks (Nerlens Noel) at Chicago Bulls, 8pm ET
- Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles) at Memphis Grizzlies (Andrew Harrison), 8pm ET
- Indiana Pacers (Alex Poythress) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe), 8pm ET
- Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Dakari Johnson) at Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, Brandon Knight), 9pm ET
- New York Knicks (Enes Kanter) at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30pm ET
- Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Utah Jazz, 10:30pm ET on ESPN
Earl Watson joins the latest episode of the Aaron Torres Sports podcast to discuss his illustrious NBA career. From playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, to coaching Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis, Watson discussed it all. But first, Nick Coffey and Aaron get to the madness that has developed throughout college basketball over the last week:
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
NOTE: Sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast for a special price if you sign up by March 15th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Anthony Davis, man. It’s difficult to describe the performances that the former Wildcat has been putting on display. 40-point games are hardly a shock at this point. Honestly, it’s becoming a disappointment when he doesn’t score at least 30. The season-ending Achilles injury to DeMarcus Cousins could have stuck a fork in the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans season, but that hasn’t been the case in the slightest bit.
Let’s start by taking a look at some of Davis’ numbers since the Cousins injury. In 13 games without his partner in crime, Davis has averaged 33.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game. He’s doing all of this while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from three.
His last seven games are somehow even more impressive, averaging 39.3 points (uh, what?), 15.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.7 blocks during that span. To describe these as video game numbers would be an insult to his greatness.
I mean, seriously, he’s 6-foot-10 and doing things like this?
Davis has entered the field of MVP candidates, something that was long overdue. He’s easily in the discussion now and it would be hard to argue he’s not in the top 3 at this very moment (trailing only Giannis Antetokounmpo and current frontrunner James Harden). There may not be enough season left for Davis to overtake Harden, he’d have to continue this hellfire to reach that point, but there’s at least a non-zero chance he could get it done. It helps Harden’s case that he’s the best player on the hottest team in the NBA, but if Davis can will this team to the fourth or even third seed out West, the conversation will surely be a valid debate.
Davis has the Pelicans riding a six-game win streak, something that seemed improbable after Cousins’ injury. But when you’re the heart, soul, bones, skin, and blood of this team and on a streak that can best be described as Kevin Garnett going super-Saiyan, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
Davis’ 53-point performance against the Phoenix Suns on Monday was the moment where everyone collectively went “Wait, what? He scored how many? AGAIN??”. With no Cousins to help share the brute of opposing defenses, there is no need to focus defensive effort anywhere else except for Davis, but it doesn’t seem to matter. He’s hitting contested pull-up jumpers in the eyes of seven-footers. Easily skying over big men for tip-ins with a touch so soft you’d think he’s trying to pet a sleeping kitten. Throwing down alley-oops where at first the ball looks like it might fly into the fourth row only for Davis to go-go-gadget extendo arm, grab the ball, and slam it home.
Anthony Davis just became the first player in history record a 50-point, 15 rebound, 5-block game.
— Kelly Scaletta (@KellyScaletta) February 27, 2018
Now, to play a little bit of devil’s advocate, the Pelicans schedule hasn’t exactly been challenging. During their seven-game winning streak, their opponents have a combined winning percentage of .56 (195-232) as of March 1st. Two of those games (Miami and Milwaukee) went into overtime and another (Brooklyn) went into double overtime. Yes, the Pelicans are winning – and that’s all that truly matters – but by slim margins against subpar teams.
The Pelicans only have 21 games left on their schedule and several of them come against the likes of the Houston Rockets (twice), the Golden State Warriors (on the road), the Cleveland Cavaliers (on the road), the Boston Celtics, and the San Antonio Spurs (twice). They’ve built a nice cushion during this win streak, moving up to fifth in the Western Conference standings and 2.5 games ahead of the ninth spot. In the West, that’s hardly comfortable, but it’s much more manageable than if they had only gone 4-3 or even 3-4 over their last six. Also, there are plenty of games left against the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and Memphis Grizzlies, so it could all cancel out in the end.
Now back to the positives, Davis isn’t necessarily doing this alone. He’s 100 percent the main concern for defenses, especially with Cousins out, but Jrue Holiday has done his part, too. Holiday is averaging 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.6 assists over the team’s last seven games. A subtle reminder that Holiday was once an All-Star and still an incredibly talented (yet overpaid) player.
Rajon Rondo may not be a good fit for most teams, but it appears New Orleans may be the closest thing. Rondo is a professional assist hunter, which can work when someone such as Davis is constantly cutting towards the rim (if the term “assists-hunter” were in the dictionary, a picture of Rondo passing up an open layup to kick it out for a contested three would be the only thing that pops up). Davis ranks in the 94.3 percentile on cuts, averaging 1.57 points per possession. Someone who cuts as much as Davis is an “ideal” counterpart for Rondo, who will gladly toss it in Davis’ vicinity whenever they lock eyes. None of this is a knock on Rondo, per se, but a testament to what Davis is doing that makes everyone around him better.
Davis is taking a page out of the ole’ book of Russell Westbrook tactics. In an interview with Rachel Nichols, Davis was open about how he’s approaching each game now that his All-Star teammate is on the bench. “You kind of have that Russell Westbrook mentality when [Kevin Durant] went out,” Davis said. “Russ just went out there and played, and he shot 40 shots sometimes, you know, whatever it takes to help your team win, and I’m kind of taking that approach.”
To be fair, that approach won Westbrook an MVP (no matter how much I disagreed with it) and Davis really has no other option at this point. The difference is that Westbrook shot 42.5 percent from the field last season. Davis is currently shooting 53.6 percent. Harden still has a healthy lead over both Davis and Antetokounmpo, but another 10 to 15 games stretch of averaging 35-plus points per game will convert some Harden haters.
Every time I write about Anthony Davis I feel the need to reemphasize this fact. He is only 24 YEARS OLD. He can’t even rent a car yet but he can drop 45 points on your favorite team.
If you haven’t been paying much attention to the NBA since the All-Star break, you’ve missed two former Kentucky Wildcats putting on a show night in and night out. We’ve mentioned on KSR how incredible Anthony Davis has been in the month of February, but on top of his performances, Devin Booker has been a walking bucket, despite the Phoenix Suns’ struggles in the win-loss column.
Since the All-Star break, Booker has scored 30+ in three of the four games, and he had 27 in the fourth game. He’s averaging 32.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists, while hitting 32 of his 37 attempted free throws. If Booker was on a playoff caliber team, he would be talked about as one of the best scorers in the league.
|Devin Booker||110-102 win over Grizzlies||34||12-29 (1-6)||6||1||3||0||2||+10||39|
|Andrew Harrison||110-102 loss to Suns||20||5-11 (3-5)||5||7||2||1||2||-19||38|
|Anthony Davis||121-116 win over Spurs||26||9-19 (0-0)||15||1||2||0||4||+5||37|
|Rajon Rondo||121-116 win over Spurs||13||6-13 (1-4)||8||12||1||0||1||+1||32|
|Darius Miller||121-116 win over Spurs||11||4-8 (3-5)||3||3||1||0||0||+12||33|
|Eric Bledsoe||110-87 loss to Pistons||19||5-10 (2-4)||6||4||1||0||1||-15||30|
|Jodie Meeks||109-101 loss to Warriors||8||3-6 (0-2)||7||2||2||1||0||+10||16|
|Patrick Patterson||111-110 win over Mavericks||4||2-5 (0-3)||2||0||1||0||1||+0||16|
|Nerlens Noel||111-110 loss to Thunder||4||2-4 (0-0)||3||1||1||1||3||-5||16|
|Malik Monk||134-106 loss to Celtics||3||1-7 (1-3)||0||2||1||0||0||-7||19|
1? in the NBA in PPG (35.9)
2? in SPG (2.6)
3? in RPG (12.3)
3? in BPG (2.4)
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 27, 2018
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) March 1, 2018
The best of Eric Bledsoe tonight in Detroit:
19 PTS | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL pic.twitter.com/juxC5xWBlw
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 1, 2018
- Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo), 7:30pm ET
- Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 8pm ET on TNT
- Brooklyn Nets at Sacramento Kings (De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere), 10pm ET
- Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Portland Trail Blazers, 10:30pm ET on TNT
By Sam Gormley on ©February 28th, 2018 @ 11:30am
Willie Cauley-Stein’s double-double was not enough as the Sacramento Kings fell to the Trail Blazers. The former Cat had 17 points, while also pulling down 10 rebounds. De’Aaron Fox also added 13 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.
In other BBNBA news, Jamal Murray scored 18 points, but the Nuggets lost to the Clippers. Murray is turning in a nice sophomore campaign and is being rewarded with a lot more playing time.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left the Hornets win over the Bulls after suffering a hamstring strain. Anyone that has had that injury knows how painful it is, here is to hoping that MKG can make a quick recovery.
Here are your full BBNBA stats:
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||118-103 W vs. Chi||0||0-0||0||0||1||0||0||+3||6|
|Malik Monk||118-103 W vs. Chi||0||0-1 (0-1)||0||0||0||0||0||+0||1|
|Bam Adebayo||102-101 W vs. Phi||0||0-2||4||0||0||2||1||-17||7|
|Jodie Meeks||107-104 W vs. Mil||8||3-5 (1-2)||0||0||0||0||0||-7||16|
|Eric Bledsoe||107-104 L vs. Wsh||17||6-15 (3-7)||1||3||2||0||4||-9||35|
|Willie Cauley-Stein||116-99 L vs. Por||17||8-13||10||1||2||1||2||-2||31|
|De'Aaron Fox||116-99 L vs. Por||13||5-15 (1-4)||3||8||3||0||3||-9||33|
|Skal Labissiere||116-99 L vs. Por||6||1-5||3||0||0||1||0||-17||26|
|Jamal Murray||122-120 L vs. LAC||18||7-11 (0-2)||2||5||1||0||5||+7||33|
|Trey Lyles||122-120 L vs. LAC||0||0-3 (0-2)||0||0||1||1||0||-1||5|
The Kings Social Media department ha!
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 28, 2018
This look familiar to anyone?
More like Willie Cauley-Flyin’! pic.twitter.com/oApyLcQD4B
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 28, 2018
Jamal Murray starts off a good possession with a DIRTY pass
see below for very good basketball pic.twitter.com/1zLw0Bjpvd
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 28, 2018
The Bucks call it a “Bled-Show”
Highlights of The Bledshow with 17 points and 3 assists!! pic.twitter.com/rLYHRmjJDp
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 28, 2018
- Bucks (Bledsoe) at Pistons- 7pm
- Raptors at Magic- 7pm
- Pacers (Poythress) at Hawks- 7:30pm
- Hornets (Monk and MKG) at Celtics- 7:30pm
- Warriors at Wizards (Meeks)– 8pm (ESPN)
- Suns (Booker and Ulis) at Grizzlies (Harrison)- 8pm
- Thunder (Patterson and Johnson) at Mavericks- 8:30pm
- Pelicans (Miller, Davis, Liggins, and Rondo) at Spurs- 8:30pm
- Rockets at Clippers- 10:30pm (ESPN)
Not NBA, but the one that really matters:
- Ole Miss at Kentucky- 7pm (ESPN2)
There isn’t an adjective in the English dictionary that can properly describe what Anthony Davis is doing to the rest of the basketball world. If anyone thinks of one that can accurately sum up his play over the last two weeks, try again, because it isn’t good enough.
Here’s a quick overview of Anthony Davis’ last six games:
Anthony Davis’ last 6 games:
44 pts & 17 rebs vs BKN
38 pts & 10 rebs vs DET
42 pts & 15 rebs vs LAL
45 pts & 17 rebs vs MIA
27 pts & 13 rebs vs MIL
53 pts & 18 rebs vs PHX pic.twitter.com/Vo6Ul3gsy8
— Doctor NBA (@DoctorNBA) February 27, 2018
That is insane. I have no words (although I will soon). Davis is amazing, an MVP candidate, and basketball king.
Before my infatuation with Davis goes too far, he wasn’t the only former Wildcat with a big game last night.
Devin Booker, who dropped 40-points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists performance AGAINST Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, is the forgotten man of the night. Booker had one of the best night’s of his career, but it doesn’t matter when Davis is doing what he’s doing (okay I promise I’m done talking about AD).
The Sacramento Kings trio of Cauley-Stein, Fox, and Labissiere scored a combined 50 points in a losing effort to Karl-Anthony Towns (who posted 26 points and 17 rebounds) and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Check out the rest of the stats below.
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||125-116 W vs. PHX||53||16-29 (0-1)||18||3||1||5||1||+9||38|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||116-125 L @ NOP||40||14-28 (3-10)||10||7||1||0||3||-3||40|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||118-100 W @ SAC||26||9-10 (0-0)||17||4||2||2||5||+21||38|
|Skal Labissiere (SAC)||100-118 L vs. MIN||20||8-11 (1-3)||4||0||1||0||0||-20||31|
|Julius Randle (LAL)||123-104 W @ ATL||19||8-13 (0-0)||10||2||1||1||3||+15||29|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||100-118 L vs. MIN||17||7-13 (0-0)||5||3||0||0||2||-6||29|
|Andrew Harrison (MEM)||98-109 L @ BOS||14||4-12 (0-5)||7||7||0||0||1||-1||32|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||100-118 L vs. MIN||13||5-9 (3-4)||2||5||0||0||2||-13||27|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||112-105 W vs. ORL||11||4-4 (2-2)||2||3||0||0||1||+12||16|
|Enes Kanter (NYK)||111-125 L vs. GSW||10||5-9 (0-0)||7||0||0||0||1||-15||17|
|Rajon Rondo (NOP)||125-116 W vs. PHX||6||2-9 (0-2)||5||12||0||0||5||+18||35|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||125-116 W vs. PHX||5||2-6 (1-5)||3||3||1||0||1||+2||26|
|DeAndre Liggins (NOP)||125-116 W vs. PHX||3||1-1 (1-1)||1||1||0||0||0||-7||7|
|Alex Poythress (IND)||103-109 L @ DAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Dakari Johnson (OKC)||112-105 W vs. ORL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Tyler Ulis (PHX)||116-125 L @ NOP||DNP-Back||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Nerlens Noel (DAL)||109-103 W vs. IND||DNP-Thumb||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (NOP)||125-116 W vs. PHX||DNP-Achillies||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
Tonight in the NBA
7:00: Bulls @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)
7:00: Nets @ Cavaliers
7:30: Sixers @ Heat (Adebayo)
8:00 (TNT): Wizards (Meeks) @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
10:00: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Trail Blazers
10:30 (TNT): Clippers @ Nuggets (Murray, Lyles)
Player to watch
Tonight’s player to watch is Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo. Adebayo is playing superb basketball for a rookie, slowly moving his way up the Heat player power rankings. Averaging 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds over his last 10 games, Adebayo is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Miami and a realistic piece they can build their future around. A matchup against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers should be an exciting test for the 20-year old. But, honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you spent all day watching Anthony Davis highlights (which is exactly what I’ll be doing).
By Nick Roush on ©February 27th, 2018 @ 11:00am
In the final game of Team USA’s World Cup qualifying tournament, Aaron Harrison was the best player on the court.
The former Kentucky Wildcat shooting guard made four-of-seven three-pointers to score a team-high 16 points in the 83-75 win over Puerto Rico. Harrison came out hot. He scored his first eight points in the first eight minutes of the first quarter, including this runner down the lane.
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) February 27, 2018
Derek Willis did not play against Puerto Rico, but he scored 2 points in six minutes vs. Cuba. Harrison added nine points in the route.
World Cup qualifiers resume in June, but Team USA will likely look much different this summer.