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Brad Hurt

Close call: Grizzlies rally for sweep posted by Brad Hurt

It was anything but easy, but the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Golden State Warriors, 88-81 in overtime on Wednesday night to complete a perfect West Coast road trip.

The comeback happened largely thanks to the team's Grit N Grind mentality.  After spotting the home team a double-digit lead in the opening quarter, the Grizzlies (7-5) relied on strong defense to get back into the game.  They had to overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half to escape with their 11th consecutive head-to-head win over the 8-4 Warriors.  They won the third quarter 25-13 behind a 17-2 run led by Zach Randolph's eight points in the period.  Randolph finished with another double-double of a team-high 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Ball control played a huge part in the win as the Grizzlies turned the ball over only seven times.

The Grizzlies shot only 38 percent for the game, led by Marc Gasol's 6-of-14 effort.  Gasol added 11 rebounds to his 18 points to join Randolph with a double-double.  His pair of free throws with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime.  Mike Conley also finished in double figures scoring for the Grizzlies, scoring 19 points and draining the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime.  The Grizzlies' bench came up large, outscoring the Warriors' reserves 16-7.  Kosta Koufos led the Grizzlies subs with seven points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Andrew Bogut led the Warriors with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

This trip proved the Grizzlies can compete with some of the top teams in the West.  It is never easy to win away from home, and putting together a streak like this shows the character and fight this team has.

Continue reading "Close call: Grizzlies rally for sweep"


Brad Hurt

Grizzlies seek first road sweep since '04 posted by Brad Hurt

The Grizzlies have reeled off three straight wins on the road since falling at home to Toronto last Wednesday.  West Coast trips are usually daunting, but the Grizzlies have found ways to win to this point.  Their current trip reaches its conclusion tonight in Oakland as the Grizzlies (6-5) take on the Pacific-leading Golden State Warriors (8-3), winners of four straight.  So someone will see a streak end.  If the Grizz get the win, they will have their first road sweep of at least four games since March 2004.  The Warriors are 5-0 at home this season, a mark the Clippers also had before falling to the Grizzlies on Monday.

The Warriors boast five players averaging double figures in scoring at this point in the season, led by Klay Thompson's 20.5 points per game.  Sensational guard Stephen Curry is a close second with 19.9 points per game.  Curry, who usually gets top billing as the team's superstar leader, will miss Wednesday's game with a concussion.

The Grizzlies have seen good balance offensively.  Mike Conley is off to a good start, scoring 18.7 points and dishing out around six assists per game.  As he has gone over the past few years, so have gone the Grizzlies.  He seems to be over the confidence issues and inconsistency that plagued him a couple of years ago, when trade rumors surrounded him.  Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have been key for the Grizzlies, continuing to comprise one of the biggest post tandem threats in the league.  Gasol is putting up 17 points and seven rebounds per game on the season.  However, on this trip he is scoring over 20 points per game with 8+ rebounds and 8+ assists.  Randolph is leading the team with 9.2 rebounds per game while scoring 16.1 points per contest on a career-high 55 percent shooting clip.

Continue reading "Grizzlies seek first road sweep since '04"


Charles Bisbee

NBA Anarchy posted by Charles Bisbee

The NBA is completely bonkers right now. With less than two weeks until season’s tip-off, players are being flipped faster than flapjacks at IHOP. Chris Paul has been perfecting his start-and-stop from the comfort of his living room. Dwight Howard can't seem to decipher his own feelings about the Magic. Lamar Odom, as collateral from the Paul fall-out, whined his way to the Mavs, who were spurned earlier in the week by Tyson Chandler (Knicks). Chauncey Billups took his frequent flier miles to the Clips (though he could be dealt again by the time I finish this sentence) and Big Baby was swapped for Brandon Bass.

Wait, there's more! The Celtics thought they had Baby's replacement in David West (Paul’s former right-hand man) but the Pacers swooped in and snagged him for a cool $20 mil. Consequently, the Hornets are trying to fill out a roster with Quincy Pondexter and a collection of ball boys. Vinsanity joined Odom in Dallas, which lost Caron Butler to the Clippers, which matched Golden State’s absurd, $43 million qualifying offer to DeAndre Jordan (he with the career 5.9 ppg). T-Mac, Rip Hamilton, Chris Wilcox, Mike Bibby and Dunleavy are on the move as well, though these names seem like afterthoughts compared to the seismic activity higher up. 

And all this happened in slightly over a week. It’s certainly enough to make the casual fan's head spin. The ramifications of this unforseen, pre-season turbulence on the regular season, though, is what really boggles the mind. With little time to mesh, little time to prepare, and a season packed tighter than Delta coach, teams should be in for a wild ride. We're staring down the barrel of the most slapdash, unforseen and chemistry-bungled season since, dare I say, 1998! Should be a wild ride. 

Continue reading "NBA Anarchy"


john howard

Bucks trade Gadzuric, Bell for Maggette posted by john howard

The Milwaukee Bucks traded Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzurik to the Golden State Warrios for Corey Magette.

 This is a good move for both teams and potentially a great move for Milwuakee.

Golden State is changing ownership and wants to get a younger nucleus to build around.  The Trade of Magette rids the team of $31 million for the next  3 years. 

As far as the Bucks go, this was a good move for a couple of reasons. One, if John Salmons leaves, then they have his replacement.  But, if they can resign Salmons, there is a lot more firepower for this team.  The Bucks made the playoffs and had a good showing without their top inside threat in Andrew Bogut. 

Small news, but could be a big deal.

Continue reading "Bucks trade Gadzuric, Bell for Maggette"


Amari Harris

Humpday Huddle posted by Amari Harris

I’ve been extremely busy lately so I haven’t had as much time to write, but I have wanted to weigh in on a few topics before the week is over and hopefully I can come through with a column for tomorrow.  Let’s be random…

 

Did I hear that correctly?  Appartently the Golden State Warriors turned down a trade that would have netted them O.J. Mayo and Nasheen Thabeet for Monta Ellis…craziness

 

There are a lot of interesting rumblings coming out of the 2010 Draft/Combine.  Tim Tebow is working on changing his throwing motion.  This is one of the more intriguing stories of the draft.  It is easy to root for Tebow because of his faith and his character but I just don’t see him being an effective NFL quarterback.  NFL defenses are too fast, too smart and too powerful for a guy who dominated the college ranks with those same traits.  His passing ability is very suspect because of that long wind-up release.  The transformation that he’s attempting will be very difficult as he has thrown with the same motion for the last 20 years.  Some people try to compare Tebow to Vince Young, but VY has demonstrated the tools and ability to excel on the NFL level.  Young does everything Tebow does, but way better.  This should be an interesting development and I’m sure there are GMs and teams out there that can make this marriage work, but I would stay away from this guy for the most part.

 

Free Agency is upon us and there are some pretty sexy story lines surfacing as the off-season progresses.  Julius Peppers will be the hottest free agent on the market despite being 30 years old and having questionable work ethic.  Peppers seems to be a bit selfish as he is looking for the biggest pay day and he doesn’t play the run very well.  Under the right conditions, Peppers could be a defensive MVP. I’m not sure those conditions exist right now however.  Many people are speculating that Peppers would go to the Patriots, but I don’t see the economics being there, and the Patriots have a lack of leadership on the defensive side of the ball…Peppers won’t help.  I’d be more inclined to see Peppers as a Jet or Charger.  These teams have shown promise for years to come and Peppers could be the missing piece for each team.  I also wouldn’t write off the New Orleans Saints.  This is a team that thrived off of turnovers this past season and Peppers is a turnover specialist.  I think he would be a good fit in their hybrid defensive packages that Greg Williams’ deploys.

Continue reading "Humpday Huddle"


Sabrina

Welcome Back Rip! posted by Sabrina

For starters, welcome back Rip Hamilton! With an impressive 18 points this game against the Golden State Warriors, Rip made sure his return was not overseen. Although Rip was the talk of the game, Rodney Stuckey was the point leader with an impressive 29 points this game.

Rodney Stuckey has proven that he is not a rookie anymore. He is much more consistent in his shot and now has found a place as a leader of the team. This team has definitely changed since winning the 2004 Finals, but it's a great way to start over. Stuckey has found his place and so have Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. The three rookies all had playing time this game and showed that they have potential. Jonas Jerebko had a few amazing plays, shots and assists, and Austin Daye showed his confidence as he took a chance when he scored tonight. Jerebko and Daye are shining, but Dajuan Summers seems to be left behind. It's a question whether his lack of playing time is due to his lack of skill or adjustment to the NBA, but Jerebko and Daye are taking the spotlight.

A big question in mind was if the chemisty of the team would be broken when Rip and Tayshaun come back, but Rip has shown anyone with doubt that the Pistons can adjust and work together as a team. With Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince still out, the Pistons were able to extend their winning streak to a 5 game streak. The expected date for Ben Gordon and Tayshaun's return have not been confirmed, but it seems like they will be playing soon. Tayshaun, please come back soon. I've been saving you on my fantasy basketball team haha. The Pistons may see a positive change with all their injured players back in the line up, bringing the Pistons back to their full potential.

Continue reading "Welcome Back Rip!"


Scott Shepherd

That Guy Scored 50?? posted by Scott Shepherd

A few days ago I posted a blog listing the best scorers in the NBA today that have yet to have a 50-point scoring game.

While researching that post, I had an even more interesting idea for a post.

It’s a list of guys who, unbelievably, had a 50-point game in their career.

Since I was using www.basketball-reference.com to research the list, we’re only going back to the 1986-87 season. It’s far enough back in time to make some of the guys on the list obscure, but not far enough back to where you won’t remember them.

In no order, here are some of the more random players to score 50 points in an NBA game over the past 24 seasons.

Vernon Maxwell

Before Ron Artest and the “Malice at the Palace”, there was Vernon Maxwell running into the stands and punching a fan. While “Mad Max” will be remembered most for that, he also finds himself in elite company as one of only 60 players to score 50 or more points in a game since the start of the 1986-87 season.

Maxwell may be most remembered for his volatility, but at one point he was very dangerous on the court as well. He dropped for 30 points in the fourth quarter on January 26th, 1991 against the Cavs en route to a career-high 51 points.

Charles Smith

The former number three overall pick had a solid first few seasons with the Clippers, but a series of knee injuries cut his career short after a few other stops. For his career, he averaged 14.4 points per game.

Though he never developed into a big time NBA player, Smith dropped 52 on the Nuggets in December of 1990. It was the only time in his nine year career the Smith scored more than 40 points in a game.
Continue reading "That Guy Scored 50??"


Scott Shepherd

Fun With Box Scores posted by Scott Shepherd

Every Monday, with the assistance of the good people over at www.basketball-reference.com, I like to take a look deep into the statistics of teams and players from around the league in a little post I like to call “Fun with Box Scores”.

Some of the gems I came across this week:

-Quinten Richardson has gone 9 games, 275 minutes played, without taking a single free throw this season.

-Even more remarkably, Jason Kidd has taken just 2 free throws in 347 minutes this season.

 

-73% of Daniel Gibson’s shots this season have been from beyond the three point line, by far the highest percentage of any player in the league with at least 50 shots taken.

 

-Since 1986, the record for most 40+ point games before December 1st is 14. Brandon Jennings’ 55 point outburst on Saturday was the 14th time that someone has scored at least 40 this season, tying the record, and we’ve still got 15 days left in the month.

 

-Speaking of Jennings, since 1986, no player has had a better three point field goal percentage during a 50-point game than he did on Saturday (minimum 3 attempts).

 

-In that same time span, Jennings is the youngest player ever to shoot at least 34 shots in a game.

 

-Nazr Mohammed led the Bobcats in scoring on Wednesday with a whopping 13 points. In nine games this season, the Cat’s have failed to have a player reach 20 points in five of them, by far the most in the league.

 

-Golden State has given up at least 100 points in every game this season. They are the only team in the league to do so this season.

Continue reading "Fun With Box Scores"


Brad Hurt

Warriors 113, Grizzlies 105 posted by Brad Hurt

In order to be successful in basketball, a team has to protect the ball, play solid defense and make free throws, among other things.  The Grizzlies did none of those on Wednesday as they fell to Golden State.  Specifically, the Grizzlies need to figure out how to play from ahead.  They know plenty about playing from behind, but they can't seem to hold on to their lead.  This season they are getting off to good starts but allowing their opponents to chip away at their lead, and it happened again against the Warriors.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, but the lead shrank steadily from there.  Anthony Morrow tied the game with a 3-pointer at the 5-minute mark of the second quarter, and the lead went back and forth into the third.  The Warriors then pulled away with an 11-2 run late in the third.  Until that point, the Grizzlies had played a good third quarter by their standards.

This was Rudy Gay's night.  Allen Iverson got the Grizzlies started, but Rudy took over hitting clutch jumpers to save countless possessions.  He finished with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting.  It's a shame that he most likely will not be in a Memphis uniform next season unless negotiations pick up.  I don't think the Grizzlies are going to give him the money he wants, which is typical of this organization.  Plus, I'm sure Rudy wants to play for a playoff contender, and the Grizzlies are still not at that point.  He is streaky, but when he is hot, as he was in this game, he can take over.

Continue reading "Warriors 113, Grizzlies 105"


Andy Charles

Jackson just can’t get his way posted by Andy Charles

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Jackson just can’t seemingly learn how to behave – it doesn’t matter where he plays or what he does, he’s always in the headlines for the wrong reasons either on or off the court.

After a relatively quiet start to his career in San Antonio and Atlanta, ever since he arrived with the dysfunctional Indiana Pacers at the start of the 2004-5 season it has been a long downhill run for the swingman.

Within a couple of months of his Pacer debut, he was handed a 30-game ban for his role in the Palace of Auburn Hills brawl and the season after he was charged with criminal recklessness for firing his gun during an altercation outside a strip club in Indianapolis.

Although things were better for him after a trade to Golden State in early 2007, he was ejected twice during their NBA playoff series win over Dallas, but he did go on to become an important cog in Don Nelson’s team until his demand for a trade this summer.

His latest indiscretion came last week when he had a very public falling out with coach Nelson on the bench at an exhibition game with the Los Angeles Lakers and was suspended for two further games, albeit pre-season warm-ups.

Sadly for the Warriors, Jackson is their best option at the swing position and they are keen to get him back on court, but is a disgruntled player going to be much help to their younger stars in the making, players who have a big future in front of them like Stephen Curry, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow.

But they cannot afford to buy Jackson out given that his contract calls for him to be paid $7.6m this season before an extension kicks in at the start of next season that will earn him $27.8m more over three years.

Continue reading "Jackson just can’t get his way"

Golden State Warriors News

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Why wouldn't Klay Thompson's agent dub his client 'the top two-way, two-guard in basketball%

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have carried the NBA's top two-way, two-guard torch for 30 years, but Klay Thompson's agent says his client just staked claim to the top of that mountain, and that might be more of a commentary on the league's shooting guards than an inflammatory statement. Bill Duffy, who just so happens not to represent any other contenders for this title, told USA Today's Sam Amick that Thompson isn't just better than Bryant, but everybody else that plays the position. "I don't want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there's some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season)," Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. "But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it's pretty clear." As long as we're basing Bryant's current abilities on six games worth of production last season, then an awful lot of shooting guards can claim they're better than the five-time champ at this point. Kobe may be 36 years old, no longer elite defensively and coming off two major injuries, but he's still Kobe Bryant — 15-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Defensive selection — so any time somebody knocks him down a peg, it will raise eyebrows, especially when that someone hasn't even made his first All-Star Game yet. But this isn't just somebody saying this; it's Thompson's agent, and did we mention the 24-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie contract? Duffy's currently demanding a max contract from the Golden State Warriors, whether in the form of an extension by Oct. 31 or as a restricted free agent come next summer, so it behooves him to label his client as the NBA's top two-way performer at his position. If Thompson's USA Basketball teammates DeMar DeRozan and James Harden — the latter of whom actually dubbed himself " the best all-around basketball player in the NBA " this summer — were Duffy's clients, the uber-agent would have a tougher time walking that tightrope. Same goes for over-30 two-guards Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili, who have combined to win seven titles during Kobe's career. In reality, Thompson isn't the best two-guard on his own team, as fellow Splash Bro Stephen Curry showed in securing the starting spot on Team USA this summer. Heck, another Warriors teammate, Andre Iguodala, earned First Team All-Defensive honors as a guard/forward this past season. But Curry plays the point and Iguodala small forward for the Warriors, so the amalgamation of positions — combo guards, wings, point forwards, etc. — makes naming someone the best at one in particular all the more difficult in the increasing absence of prototypical shooting guards like Jordan, Bryant and, yes, Thompson. Recent young All-NBA selections Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Goran Dragic (another Duffy client) might also lay claim to that honor had they primarily played the position. Still, few two-guards enoyed a better year than Thompson, who averaged 18.4 points on 41.7 percent 3-point shooting, assumed the unfortunate responsibility of defending Chris Paul in Golden State's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and bounced back with a gold medal for Team USA. (For the record, CP3 had a sublime series opposite the defensive effort Duffy is touting for Thompson.) Throw Bradley Beal, Lance Stephenson and Jimmy Butler into the conversation with Thompson, DeRozan and Harden, and it should be a fun battle for Bryant's shooting guard torch in the 25-and-under crowd. But there's no obvious heir apparent, and that allows Duffy to throw his client's hat into the ring. Not that Bryant will be releasing his grasp on the title any time soon, since it took Jordan until the age of 40 to officially step down from atop the NBA's shooting guard mountain. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Warriors' Andrew Bogut hoping for a healthy season (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Andrew Bogut saw Marreese Speights driving to the rim during a pickup game at the Golden State Warriors' practice facility a couple weeks ago and never second-guessed what to do next. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Why wouldn't Klay Thompson's agent dub his client 'the top two-way, two-guard in basketball%

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have carried the NBA's top two-way, two-guard torch for 30 years, but Klay Thompson's agent says his client just staked claim to the top of that mountain, and that might be more of a commentary on the league's shooting guards than an inflammatory statement. Bill Duffy, who just so happens not to represent any other contenders for this title, told USA Today's Sam Amick that Thompson isn't just better than Bryant, but everybody else that plays the position. "I don't want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there's some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season)," Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. "But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it's pretty clear." As long as we're basing Bryant's current abilities on six games worth of production last season, then an awful lot of shooting guards can claim they're better than the five-time champ at this point. Kobe may be 36 years old, no longer elite defensively and coming off two major injuries, but he's still Kobe Bryant — 15-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Defensive selection — soany time somebody knocks him down a peg, it will raise eyebrows, especially when that someone hasn't even made his first All-Star Game yet. But this isn't just somebody saying this; it's Thompson's agent, and did we mention the 24-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie contract? Duffy's currently demanding a max contract from the Golden State Warriors, whether in the form of an extension by Oct. 31 or as a restricted free agent come next summer, so it behooves him to label his client as the NBA's top two-way performer at his position. If Thompson's USA Basketball teammates DeMar DeRozan and James Harden — the latter of whom actually dubbed himself " the best all-around basketball player in the NBA " this summer — were Duffy's clients, the uber-agent would have a tougher time walking that tightrope. Same goes for over-30 two-guards Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili, who have combined to win seven titles during Kobe's career. In reality, Thompson isn't the best two-guard on his own team, as fellow Splash Bro Stephen Curry showed in securing the starting spot on Team USA this summer. Heck, another Warriors teammate, Andre Iguodala, earned First Team All-Defensive honors as a guard/forward this past season. But Curry plays the point and Iguodala small forward for the Warriors, so the amalgamation of positions — combo guards, wings, point forwards, etc. — makes naming someone the best at one in particular all the more difficult in the increasing absence of prototypical shooting guards like Jordan, Bryant and, yes, Thompson. Recent young All-NBA selections Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Goran Dragic (another Duffy client) might also lay claim to that honor had they primarily played the position. Still, few two-guards enoyed a better year than Thompson, who averaged 18.4 points on 41.7 percent 3-point shooting, assumed the unfortunate responsibility of defending Chris Paul in Golden State's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and bounced back with a gold medal for Team USA. (For the record, CP3 had a sublime series opposite the defensive effort Duffy is touting for Thompson.) Throw Bradley Beal, Lance Stephenson and Jimmy Butler into the conversation with Thompson, DeRozan and Harden, and it should be a fun battle for Bryant's shooting guard torch in the 25-and-under crowd. But there's no obvious heir apparent, and that allows Duffy to throw his client's hat into the ring. Not that Bryant will be releasing his grasp on the title any time soon, since it took Jordan until the age of 40 to officially step down from atop the NBA's shooting guard mountain. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Why wouldn't Klay Thompson's agent dub his client 'the top two-way, two-guard in basketball%

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have carried the NBA's top two-way, two-guard torch for 30 years, but Klay Thompson's agent says his client just staked claim to the top of that mountain, and that might be more of a commentary on the league's shooting guards than an inflammatory statement. Bill Duffy, who just so happens not to represent any other contenders for this title, told USA Today's Sam Amick that Thompson isn't just better than Bryant, but everybody else that plays the position. "I don't want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there's some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season)," Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. "But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it's pretty clear." As long as we're basing Bryant's current abilities on six games worth of production last season, then an awful lot of shooting guards can claim they're better than the five-time champ at this point. Kobe may be 36 years old, no longer elite defensively and coming off two major injuries, but he's still Kobe Bryant — 15-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Defensive selection — so any time somebody knocks him down a peg, it will raise eyebrows, especially when that someone hasn't even made his first All-Star Game yet. But this isn't just somebody saying this; it's Thompson's agent, and did we mention the 24-year-old is entering the final year of his rookiecontract? Duffy's currently demanding a max contract from the Golden State Warriors, whether in the form of an extension by Oct. 31 or as a restricted free agent come next summer, so it behooves him to label his client as the NBA's top two-way performer at his position. If Thompson's USA Basketball teammates DeMar DeRozan and James Harden — the latter of whom actually dubbed himself " the best all-around basketball player in the NBA " this summer — were Duffy's clients, the uber-agent would have a tougher time walking that tightrope. Same goes for over-30 two-guards Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili, who have combined to win seven titles during Kobe's career. In reality, Thompson isn't the best two-guard on his own team, as fellow Splash Bro Stephen Curry showed in securing the starting spot on Team USA this summer. Heck, another Warriors teammate, Andre Iguodala, earned First Team All-Defensive honors as a guard/forward this past season. But Curry plays the point and Iguodala small forward for the Warriors, so the amalgamation of positions — combo guards, wings, point forwards, etc. — makes naming someone the best at one in particular all the more difficult in the increasing absence of prototypical shooting guards like Jordan, Bryant and, yes, Thompson. Recent young All-NBA selections Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Goran Dragic (another Duffy client) might also lay claim to that honor had they primarily played the position. Still, few two-guards enoyed a better year than Thompson, who averaged 18.4 points on 41.7 percent 3-point shooting, assumed the unfortunate responsibility of defending Chris Paul in Golden State's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and bounced back with a gold medal for Team USA. (For the record, CP3 had a sublime series opposite the defensive effort Duffy is touting for Thompson.) Throw Bradley Beal, Lance Stephenson and Jimmy Butler into the conversation with Thompson, DeRozan and Harden, and it should be a fun battle for Bryant's shooting guard torch in the 25-and-under crowd. But there's no obvious heir apparent, and that allows Duffy to throw his client's hat into the ring. Not that Bryant will be releasing his grasp on the title any time soon, since it took Jordan until the age of 40 to officially step down from atop the NBA's shooting guard mountain. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Why wouldn't Klay Thompson's agent dub his client 'the top two-way, two-guard in basketball%

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have carried the NBA's top two-way, two-guard torch for 30 years, but Klay Thompson's agent says his client just staked claim to the top of that mountain, and that might be more of a commentary on the league's shooting guards than an inflammatory statement. Bill Duffy, who just so happens not to represent any other contenders for this title, told USA Today's Sam Amick that Thompson isn't just better than Bryant, but everybody else that plays the position. "I don't want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there's some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season)," Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. "But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it's pretty clear." As long as we're basing Bryant's current abilities on six games worth of production last season, then an awful lot of shooting guards can claim they're better than the five-time champ at this point. Kobe may be 36 years old, no longer elite defensively and coming off two major injuries, but he's still Kobe Bryant — 15-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Defensive selection — so any time somebody knocks him down a peg, it will raise eyebrows, especially when that someone hasn't even made his first All-Star Game yet. But this isn't just somebody saying this; it's Thompson's agent, and did we mention the 24-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie contract? Duffy's currently demanding a max contract from the Golden State Warriors, whether in the form of an extension by Oct. 31 or as a restricted free agent come next summer, so it behooves him to label his client as the NBA's top two-way performer at his position. If Thompson's USA Basketball teammates DeMar DeRozan and James Harden — the latter of whom actually dubbed himself " the best all-around basketball player in the NBA " this summer — were Duffy's clients, the uber-agent would have a tougher time walking that tightrope. Same goes for over-30 two-guards Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili, who have combined to win seven titles during Kobe's career. In reality, Thompson isn't the best two-guard on his own team, as fellow Splash Bro Stephen Curry showed in securing the starting spot on Team USA this summer. Heck, another Warriors teammate, Andre Iguodala, earned First Team All-Defensive honors as a guard/forward this past season. But Curry plays the point and Iguodala small forward for the Warriors, so the amalgamation of positions — combo guards, wings, point forwards, etc. — makes naming someone the best at one in particular all the more difficult in the increasing absence of prototypical shooting guards like Jordan, Bryant and, yes, Thompson. Recent young All-NBA selections Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Goran Dragic (another Duffy client) might also lay claim to that honor had they primarily played the position. Still, few two-guards enoyed a better year than Thompson, who averaged 18.4 points on 41.7 percent 3-point shooting, assumed the unfortunate responsibility of defending Chris Paul in Golden State's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and bounced back with a gold medal for Team USA. (For the record, CP3 had a sublime series opposite the defensive effort Duffy is touting for Thompson.) Throw Bradley Beal, Lance Stephenson and Jimmy Butler into the conversation with Thompson, DeRozan and Harden, and it should be a fun battle for Bryant's shooting guard torch in the 25-and-under crowd. But there's no obvious heir apparent, and that allows Duffy to throw his client's hat into the ring. Not that Bryant will be releasing his grasp on the title any time soon, since it took Jordan until the age of 40 to officially step down from atop the NBA's shooting guard mountain. [read full article]

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