From conducting a record-setting basketball lesson to being awestruck by one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Kevin Durant relished his first visit to India.
The Golden State Warriors’ forward recently wrapped up a three-day trip in which he supported the continued growth of basketball in India, where the NBA is committed to developing talent at the grassroots level and shaping the game’s future there.
“The buzz around basketball here is growing and growing every single day,” Durant said. “Getting up at 6 in the morning to watch a Finals game, that shows dedication, that shows passion and love. There are so many basketball players here. It’s on us as NBA players to inspire new basketball players. … We’re just planting seeds, and hopefully by next year at this time we’ll see more and more eyes on the game of basketball.”
Durant’s jam-packed experience came six weeks after he led the Warriors to their second NBA championship in three years, earning Finals MVP honors with averages of 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists in a five-game series victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fittingly, fans showered the 28-year-old Durant with cheap nba jerseys chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P” when he arrived in New Delhi last Thursday — the first of many outpourings of support for the 2013-14 regular-season MVP in a country where basketball is the second-fastest-growing sport among boys and girls.
“It’s been overwhelming, this much love,” Durant said during the trip. “It’s definitely appreciated.”
The eight-time All-Star showed his appreciation on Friday when he became the first active NBA player to visit The NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center for the country’s top male and female prospects located in the Delhi National Capital Region.
The academy, which opened in May, builds on the NBA’s basketball and youth development initiatives in India. The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has reached more than six million youth nationwide since its launch in 2013. In addition, the first two NBA Basketball Schools — a network of tuition-based development programs around the world open to international male and female players ages 6-18 — launched in Mumbai in April and in New Delhi in June.
At the academy, Durant led prospects through a series of shooting, passing, dribbling and defensive drills before conducting a large-scale basketball lesson for 3,459 youth from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program. Between the youth on site and those who participated virtually from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata via satellite, the clinic set a Guinness World Record for the largest basketball lesson at multiple venues.
“Sharing my love of basketball with thousands of boys and girls across India was an unbelievable experience,” Durant said. “It was an honor to coach these amazing kids and to be a part of this special day.”
Durant’s day also featured the unveiling of two new basketball courts built for the Ramjas School as part of the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation. To have a person like Kevin Durant coming here and inaugurating [the courts] is a lifetime dream.”
“To have a person like Kevin Durant coming here and inaugurating [the courts] is a lifetime dream,” Ramjas Principal Rachna Pant said. “My entire school is on cloud nine.”
Another highlight for Durant in India was Saturday’s tour of the Taj Mahal. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the marble mausoleum was built in the 1600s.
“Taj Mahal, got it crossed off [my list],” Durant said in a video posted on his YouTube page. “Just the history, the deep tradition, you can really appreciate.
“When you see something that’s this old, 300-plus years, you realize that’s three centuries of culture that will forever be here to the end of times,” Durant said. “Just think about that. When they built this, they probably didn’t know how long this thing would stay up. To have this as a wonder of the world, that’s legacy-changing.”
Durant believes the legacy of Indian basketball is just beginning. He noted the recent groundbreaking accomplishments of Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh. The Canadian-born Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA when he debuted for the Sacramento Kings on April 7, 2015, while Singh became the first Indian-born player drafted into the league when the Dallas Mavericks selected him with the 52nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.
“There are two guys right now,” Durant said. “It’s just a matter of time before two becomes four and four becomes eight.”
Waiters Island is keeping its residency in Miami for at least another four years. Free agent guard Dion Waiters has agreed to a four-year deal to re-sign with the Miami Heat for $52 million, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.
Waiters chose the Heat, where he enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2016-17, after reportedly considering the New wholesale nba jerseys York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
The sharpshooting Waiters, still only 25, averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds last season while shooting 39.5 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Waiters’ re-signing helps stabilize the Heat’s backcourt for the short-term after losing out in the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes to the Boston Celtics, and gives the team a talented, young returning core that includes Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow and 2017 lottery pick Bam Adebayo.
The Spurs have been trying to clear out cap space to make a run at a big free agent cheap jerseys China in the summer. The name on everyone’s mind is Chris Paul and San Antonio might be able to get him if they have the space to do it. One of the ways they can get that space is trading Danny Green.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Spurs are currently in talks with the Cavaliers about sending Green to Cleveland. However, the asking price for Green is high and the Cavs obviously don’t want to give up anything too valuable.
Green is just the type of player the Cavs like to have on their wing. He’s a great 3-point shooter and he’s no slouch on the defensive end which is where Cleveland was at their weakest last season. However, the Cavs also lack pieces that many teams are willing to give up a player like Green for. This has been the issue for Cleveland since the finals ended. They want to improve their team through trades, but it doesn’t appear as if many teams are interested in the assets they have.
San Antonio is smart to keep the price on Green high. They might be shopping him, but he’s still a very good player and not someone that should just be dumped off for cap space or bit players.
The Washington Wizards played a total of six lineups more than 19 games in the 2017-17 NBA season. Some lineups worked much better than others.
In the modern NBA, having a lineup for every type of scenario is crucial. Since the Golden State Warriors started their reign of terror in the league, many teams have started to shift to smaller lineups, eliminating post-up play and traditional big men for crunch-time lineups.
The NBA has started a phase with an emphasis on efficient scoring, caring more about three-point percentage and shots at the rim than midrangers and post moves. In this new era of the NBA, it’s interesting to see what a team’s best and worst lineups are over an entire season. This shows exactly what type of personnel is on the court for the most successful box score numbers.
Below is the best lineup (based off of plus/minus) the Washington Wizards played more than 19 regular season games:
Lineup: cheap jerseys John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat (+3.4 plus/minus) There’s not much surprise here. The Wizards were a pretty solid team in the 2016-17 NBA season, so it makes sense their starting lineup would be their best combination. In an NBA where lineups are getting smaller and smaller, Marcin Gortat is still the best option to protect the rim and rebound for Washington.
But what might be more interesting is to take a look at the other five lineups the Washington Wizards frequented this year:
Lineup 1: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre Jr., Marcin Gortat (+2.2 plus/minus) Lineup 2: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat (+0.2 plus/minus) Lineup 3: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris (-0.1 plus/minus) Lineup 4: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Jason Smith (-1.0 plus/minus) Lineup 5: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Jason Smith, Marcin Gortat (-1.3 plus/minus) There are a couple of key takeaways from these numbers. The first one and probably most obvious is that John Wall and Bradley Beal are in every single one of these lineups. This just shows that those two are very much at the center of everything the Washington Wizards do.
The second takeaway, and the most alarming one, is that the Wizards only have two commonly used lineups from the entire NBA 2016-17 season with a plus/minus of more than 1.0. For reference, the Golden State Warriors have seven lineups that are all net positive last season. This snapshot at lineups just shows how a lack of depth is extremely detrimental to Washington. If the Wizards are unable to field more than two lineup combinations for extended periods of time, they will be in huge trouble come playoff time.
Hopefully the signings of Tim Frazier, Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott will give the Wizards more flexibility in their lineups, allowing John Wall and Bradley Beal to rest on the bench without their team crumbling around them.
The third takeaway is that the Wizards have tried to use a small-ball lineup and haven’t really figured it out yet. Lineup 3 consists of two guards and three forwards, using no traditional big man. The problem is, the lineup was a net negative for the team.
What the Warriors have (and other teams have that have succeeded with small ball lineups), is a bunch of wing forwards who can guard multiple positions. The reason the Wizards’ small-ball lineup isn’t working is most likely because Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. aren’t able to guard multiple positions yet. If those two can work on their defensive game and hold their own against opponents both smaller and bigger than them, the Wizards may have the makings of a fantastic small-ball lineup, but until then, keep the Polish Hammer Marcin Gortat on the court…please.