Posts Tagged ‘Comparisons’

Russell Westbrook might be the most aggressive basketball player on the planet.

That approach to the game had Jason Kidd comparing the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard to one of the most feared boxers ever.

“He is the (Mike) Tyson of basketball,” the Milwaukee Bucks coach said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

“When the jump ball (goes up), he is coming as Tyson did (in getting) off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed and that’s fast and hard.”

Kidd, who had a Hall of Fame-worthy career as an NBA guard, wasn’t done praising Westbrook.

“He’s the best in the game,” the 10-time All-Star said. “Puts a lot of pressure on your defense, offensively and defensively.”

Those words rang true later Tuesday, as the reigning league MVP registered 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in 26 minutes as OKC stomped the Bucks 110-91 at Bradley Center.

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Comparing modern-day athletes to the stars of yesteryear is a sports tradition, but Steve Kerr took that the extra mile Thursday.

In heaping praise upon his point guard Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors coach made two separate comparisons that shed light on how Kerr views Curry’s ascension over the last few years.

“I’ve said it many times, he reminds me so much of Tim Duncan,” Kerr said, according to 95.7 The Game’s John Dickinson. “He’s got this incredible package of skill, arrogance, and humility. That’s a weird combination.”

While Duncan and Curry play vastly different positions, their influence over their respective championship teams was, and is, unquestioned. When the Warriors rose to prominence in 2014, one of the most automatic analogies was to compare them to the “:07 Seconds or LessPhoenix Suns squads of the mid-2000s, led by Steve Nash.

As such, Kerr reiterated something he’s said in the past, that Curry is a more bionic version of Nash. “Steph is like Nash on steroids,” the coach said. “He’s faster and quicker and he’s shooting from 35 feet instead of 25 feet.”

While Curry remains the Warriors’ catalyst, it’s difficult to see him winning a third NBA MVP award on a roster that now features Kevin Durant. He’s still in solid aforementioned company however – like both Duncan and Nash, collecting two Maurice Podoloff Trophies.

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Boy, is Kyrie Irving glad to be out of Cleveland.

The All-Star point guard was traded to the Boston Celtics in the offseason after informing the Cavaliers he wanted to be dealt. It’s believed he grew tired of playing in LeBron James‘ shadow and wanted to be the focal point of another squad.

Ahead of his fourth preseason game with his new team, the 25-year-old raved about Beantown.

“Boston, I’m driving in and (thinking), ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?” Irving said Wednesday, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.

The 2016 champ wasn’t done there.

“A lot of different cultures, food, and people. You get it all, especially in Boston. You would go to Cleveland and it would be at nighttime and things would be going on, but you just see a vast difference.”

Irving paced the C’s with 16 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and a steal in their 108-100 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. With the win, Boston finished the preseason undefeated, while his former team is 0-4 in exhibition play.

Of course, none of those results matter. They will, though, in the regular season, which begins Tuesday when the Cavaliers host the Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena.

Hopefully, Irving can find an alternate route to the stadium around the bridge he burned.

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Entering the season in search of their third championship in four years, the Golden State Warriors have the makings of a dynasty.

As the defending champs focus on continuing their run as the NBA’s best team, they’re poised to elevate their already mass appeal around the world, as well as their place in the history books.

While in China for the preseason, the club has received a level of fanfare reminiscent of the global attention afforded to the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s. Klay Thompson was asked if the Warriors are the closest an NBA team’s come to Michael Jordan’s Bulls, who claimed titles in 1991-1993, and 1996-1998.

“What’s that, six championships in eight years?” Thompson said, as quoted by ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “So we’re, what, like only a third of the way there? I think it’s close. We still have a long way to go, but I do see the fandom, the fanfare like the Bulls had in the 90s.

“Every time the Bulls came to town that was the ticket of the year. Now it’s when the Warriors come to town, that’s the must-see game. And we don’t take that for granted; that’s such a cool position to be in. We rarely play in front of a crowd that’s not sold out. That’s so special. It’s hard to really grasp that as a player. So I think it’s close, I still think we’re not on their level yet, but that’s what we aspire to be of the 2000s. We aspire to be that dynasty that will be in the minds of NBA fans forever.”

Golden State has made three straight NBA Finals, and it took a historic comeback from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 to stop the Warriors from claiming all three titles. That the Dubs squandered a 3-1 lead in the Finals marked an unfortunate end to the best regular season of all time, when they went 73-9 and broke ’96 Bulls’ record.

Thompson, 27, is humbled by comparisons to that club and hopes to match their legacy.

“It was cool a couple years ago when we were chasing that 73-win season,” the All-Star shooting guard said. “Just being compared to that team is an honor. There’s definitely motivation. I would love to match up, play against Michael Jordan. That would be a dream. Obviously we don’t have a time machine, but that would be pretty special to see that. There’s definitely motivation to leave that type of legacy.”

Head coach Steve Kerr, who won three championships playing for the Bulls, isn’t ready to rank his current squad up there with his former one.

“We can’t match what the Bulls did,” the 52-year-old said. “They won six championships in eight years. And we have two in three years which is great but we’d like to keep going; we’d like to win more, so we have a chance to do something great not only this year but the next few years. But we have to work hard and also get lucky, too. You have to stay healthy and things have to go your way, so we’ll do our best and enjoy the ride while we’re on it.”

Thompson was drafted by Golden State in 2011, and has two season left on his contract. The sharpshooter said earlier this week he’d consider taking a discount to stay with the team and keep their star-studded core intact.

He’ll have to put his money where his mouth is to help keep the Dubs’ dynasty going.

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Lamar Odom is doing well these days, and on Wednesday he appeared on an episode of Complex’s “Everyday Struggle” to discuss everything under the sun.

When it came to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ off-court fiasco from two seasons ago when D’Angelo Russell surreptitiously recorded and broadcast video of Nick Young talking about a woman who wasn’t his girlfriend, he said Young didn’t go far enough in administering punishment.

“If I was Nick Young, I would’ve put my hands on him,” Odom said. “And I was expecting motherfuckers on the team to put their hands on him. That would’ve showed camaraderie.”

These were the Bryon Scott-coached 2015-16 Lakers of Kobe Bryant’s swan song, youthful pieces like Russell, and jokester journeymen like Young. They finished 17-65, the worst record in franchise history.

“Maybe they would have won a couple more games,” Odom added.

When asked about another Lakers scandal, Odom said Shaquille O’Neal also should’ve roughed up Bryant after he reportedly discussed O’Neal’s alleged extramarital activities during his 2003 sexual assault case.

Odom was traded by the Miami Heat to the Lakers for O’Neal in 2004, and played seven seasons with Bryant. Russell and Young no longer play for the Lakers.

The 37-year-old Odom, who is approaching the second anniversary of nearly dying from a drug overdose, said he wishes nothing but the best to ex-wife Khloe Kardashian – now reportedly pregnant with the child of Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson.

“From a distance I wish her well,” he said. “Still got love for her.”

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Don’t tell Damian Lillard to stick to sports.

The Portland Trail Blazers star has been vocal about his thoughts on politics and current affairs, and doesn’t plan on holding back just because some people think athletes aren’t qualified to speak on such matters.

The 27-year-old point guard called the notion “very saddening” and compared it to slavery.

“Looking at it now, how they just want us to go out and play basketball and you know, ‘put that jersey on and be proud’ and ‘don’t represent anything,’ ‘don’t stand for anything,’ ‘don’t have an opinion, just be respectful,’ and ‘go out there and play for me’ – it makes me think about kind of the way it was with slavery, when it was, they want the young, strong and you know, ‘His arms are long and he’s got big calves.’ It reminds me of that,” Lillard told Oregon Public Broadcasting, as transcribed by Willamette Week’s Sophia June.

“They want us to go out and do what we’re built to do. We’re good athletes; we’re physically strong; we’re very capable … They don’t want to know what we think; they don’t care how we feel about something. It’s just ‘Go out there and do what your job is.'”

Lillard has spoken out about many issues, including police brutality after an officer shot and killed Philando Castile last year. More recently, he called out President Donald Trump for his profane attack on anthem protesters.

“I think it’s sad that with all that’s going on in the world, our president is concerned with football and basketball,” Lillard told reporters at Media Day.

The two-time All-Star also trolled the president after he withdrew his invitation for the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House, because Stephen Curry did not want to go.

Asked if he’d go to the Oval Office if invited by Trump, Lillard replied:

“No. I would not.”

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He may be wearing Cleveland Cavaliers colors in 2017-18, but before he hangs up his kicks for good, Dwyane Wade will make sure he returns to the Miami Heat.

“Miami, the door’s always unlocked,” Wade told The Associated Press. “One day I want to retire in a Miami Heat jersey. I don’t know how that will happen, but I definitely want to make sure that when I decide to hang it up, that jersey is on. Whether it’s being back there or signing a one-day deal like Paul Pierce, I want to make sure that I go out the way I came in.”

Wade spent the first 13 seasons of his career in South Beach after being drafted fifth overall in 2003. He captured three championships with the organization, and remains the team’s all-time leader in games played, minutes, points, assists, and steals.

A reunion was on the table once the 35-year-old was bought out of his contract with the Chicago Bulls, yet Wade elected for a different reunion with his former Heat teammate in LeBron James.

Wade also feels Miami has a good thing going with the pieces they have in place, and should look to build off its prosperous finish to the 2016-17 regular season.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel they needed me there,” Wade said. “I feel that those guys are in a good place. They deserve to come back this year and see what that 30-11 was about. They don’t need me there over their shoulder or anything like that. That’s kind of how I approached it.”