One player skimmed through The Athletic article prior t…

One player skimmed through The Athletic article prior to the game. In it, players complained about long film sessions, Beilein’s repeated nitpicking over basic fundamentals, not enough versatility on offense and a lack of understanding of the NBA game and opposing players. When that player, sitting at his locker, saw some of the quotes, he couldn’t help but chuckle. “What are we even mad about,” he asked. “It’s a story about nothing. I’ve enjoyed my time with coach thus far.”
Storyline: Cleveland Cavaliers Turmoil?
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January 24, 2020 | 11:28 pm UTC Update
January 24, 2020 | 11:16 pm UTC Update
After the game, Irving was asked about his history with James, and the Nets guard was very appreciative for his time with the 15-time All-Star. “We do have history. I think that the magnitude of our relationship extends way beyond the floor,” Irving said. “I’m just appreciative. I’ve learned so much from that guy, and to see what he’s doing at this age and this many years in the league, he’s consistent, and that’s a great player right there.”
Irving said he can learn plenty from James’ patience with the Lakers last season and how they’ve turned things around so quickly. “Just stay patient. Really stay patient and don’t get ahead of myself, talking too soon,” Irving said. “I think that’s the most important thing, and really stay confident. Keep the guys engaged, make sure everyone’s sticking to the game plan and we’re just continuing to get better. That’s the best way I can describe it, just continue to get better and go from there.”
Storyline: LeBron-Kyrie Dynamic
January 24, 2020 | 10:34 pm UTC Update
January 24, 2020 | 10:11 pm UTC Update

Joel Embiid back next week?

Joel Embiid, who practiced Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his finger, said he hopes to return to the court for the Philadelphia 76ers next week. “Just trying to get back into it and make the progress that’s necessary,” Embiid said after a lengthy post-practice workout Friday afternoon. “But I feel good. … I think my finger feels good.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 608 more rumors
Embiid said he would have to continue to keep wearing the protective device on his hand when he returns. “Still getting used to it,” Embiid said of playing again post-surgery. “From time to time, you get slapped on the hand, so going through practice and going through those scenarios and seeing how it goes and also getting back into it. I had a little time off where I couldn’t do anything with the surgery, so probably a little bit winded, and have to get my conditioning back.”
The Houston Rockets sent a video message wishing fans a happy Chinese New Year on Friday, months after the team’s general manager ignited an international controversy that caused major disruption to the NBA’s business in China. “To all the Chinese fans: we appreciate your love and support,” Rockets stars Russell Westbrook and James Harden said in the video, which features most of the team’s roster sending holiday greetings.
Storyline: Morey's Hong Kong Tweet
January 24, 2020 | 8:56 pm UTC Update
Michael Jordan recalled playing in the French capital in a preseason tournament in 1996 and placed it as part of the legacy of the NBA’s international growth. “The game has grown tremendously since I played here 23 years ago,” he said. “The Dream Team had started it. Then there was the time I played here. Now we have two teams playing a regular-season game here. We have expanded to Africa and China.”
Jordan was also asked for his thoughts on Zion Williamson’s explosive debut for the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. The 2019 No1 overall draft pick recently signed a deal with Jordan Brand. “It’s not just me. The NBA is very fortunate to have a young man who shows so much passion for the game, he said. “That is something you can’t give. You are born with it and you want to share it with the rest of the world. Jordan Brand looks at Zion as an impact player who brings energy to the game of basketball. We were fortunate he chose us.”
Fans will be able to bid on the plaques of Magic Johnson, Julius “Dr. J” Erving and ‘His Airness’ himself, Michael Jordan. Auction winners will get the 25-by-28-inch black-and-white portrait that was previously found on the Hall’s domed ceiling for every person inducted. Other portraits that can be bid on include Rick Barry, Bob Cousy, Patrick Ewing, Pete Maravich, Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal and Jerry West.
January 24, 2020 | 8:54 pm UTC Update
“Everything happens for a reason, you know what I’m saying?” Dennis Smith Jr. said after Thursday’s practice in Tarrytown. “It was already written, God’s plan, I just gotta execute my part, put my work in and everything will work out. It’s a business. I’m here, playing for the New York Knicks, that’s my job right now, so that’s what I’m focused on. You realized [last year] anything can happen, so you just gotta be the best version of yourself.”
Storyline: Dennis Smith Trade?
“Dennis has been a professional,” Knicks interim coach Mike Miller said. “We’ve maintained communication all the way through. He continues to work on the things that he needs to do. It’s the same thing — can we just keep working to get better every day? Part of it, he goes through an injury where he can’t do a lot because of the nature of the injury. He had to look at doing some other things”
January 24, 2020 | 8:44 pm UTC Update
So with all that rigmarole out of the way, let’s go to the leaderboard. We’ll look at points created per 36 minutes to account for differences in playing time (along with a minimum of 750 total minutes played). This distinction is important because the Bucks’ frequent blowouts mean Giannis doesn’t play nearly as much as other stars. Among qualified players, Harden ranks first in minutes per game while Giannis ranks 68th; the Rockets star enjoys 21 percent more playing time in which to collect stats than his Bucks counterpart. And, voila, that adjustment moves Giannis to first place in our humble little stat.
Sabonis is second in screen assist points but also contributes to double-digit points with his passing, so he ranks no. 1 even as LeBron holds a healthy lead for the actually recognized assists crown. The Pacers big man won’t enter the MVP discussion, and nor should he, given the absurd talent and statistics of the top quartet. But he’s the fulcrum the Indiana offense rests on, and he adds value in a comprehensive way beyond the basic box score. One wonders whether he’ll maintain this level of productivity once Victor Oladipo returns from injury.
January 24, 2020 | 8:15 pm UTC Update
Less than two weeks from the trade deadline, the Pistons’ market on center Andre Drummond seems to be stagnant. Three teams that have inquired with the Pistons — Atlanta, New York and Boston — are believed to be bypassing further pursuit, sources said. The Pistons’ asking price of a first-round draft pick or a quality young player has not yielded a quality offer yet, according to sources.
Storyline: Andre Drummond Trade?
Thunder center Nerlens Noel entered the NBA with concerns about his work habits, maturity and professionalism, but rival team executives have noticed significant growth in him during his consecutive seasons with the Thunder. Noel joined OKC in 2018, understanding he needed to mature, and his play has improved. Noel is averaging 8.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals in 18.8 minutes per game.
Rockets players, coaches and team officials are said to believe that Westbrook’s recent efforts are a strong sign of motivation and leadership. Westbrook wants badly to win, wearing his passion on his sleeve as he always does, and there have been several passionate messages from him in team settings, according to sources. As The Athletic Houston’s Kelly Iko reported, a recent example came on Jan. 15 when Westbrook led a team meeting after a 117-107 home loss to Portland.
In the video, Booker tells Fitzgerald that after the Cardinals star had invited him to an event not long after Booker came to town, Booker told his father, Melvin, that he wanted to be like Fitzgerald, building a reputation for his involvement in the community as well as his ability on the court. “It just says a lot about character,” Booker said. “Like I said, he has been that blueprint for me since I’ve been here. Just the way you hear a regular fan talk about Larry Fitzgerald, that’s something hopefully I can strive to be known as — (and) at the same time, to be a hundred percent locked in on the field at all times and be one of the best players at his position. “To find that balance to still be heavily involved in the community, carry a great reputation and be known as a competitor on the field is just unbelievable.”
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