Ben Simmons

Ex-Warriors Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala chime in on double-team debate

Ex-Warriors Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala chime in on double-team debate

We're talking about pick-up.

Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We're talking about pick-up.

Ah, yes, the doldrums of the NBA offseason. We have officially arrived. You can tell because the NBA world's focus has drifted to a rather ridiculous topic over the last 24 hours.

It all started when video surfaced of Suns guard Devin Booker getting visibly frustrated as a result of being double-teamed in a pick-up game featuring several other NBA players, including Ben Simmons, Joakim Noah and Trey Lyles.

"Hey bro, we're not doubling in open gym," Booker can be heard saying. "I see that s--t all season. Come on, man. Let's work on our games."

"Yeah, we are," Noah retorted. "It's part of the game." 

On Wednesday morning, Hawks guard Trae Young voiced his thoughts on the subject, aligning himself with his pal Booker.

Young's thoughts have since made the rounds, with numerous former and current NBA scouts and players chiming in. Ex-Warriors star Kevin Durant couldn't resist.

Apparently, this isn't the first time Durant has expressed such feelings. Two of his now-former teammates got under his skin doubling him in a practice (warning: NSFW language).

It's a bit ironic that Iguodala mentioned it being right after the All-Star break, as Twitter detectives have tracked down visual evidence of Durant himself participating in a double-team against Steph Curry in what technically was an exhibition -- the NBA All-Star game.

Durant responded to that tweet, pointing out how that double-team was drawn up by coaches, whereas there aren't typically any in your average pick-up game. That's a fair point, but here's the problem with his reasoning: Bonafide NBA players like Simmons, Noah and Lyles don't need a coach to tell them when, who or how to double-team.

[RELATED: Kerr wants Livingston involved with Warriors for years]

If Booker wants to work on his offensive game in open gym, others should be allowed to work on their defensive game, too, right? And, frankly, wouldn't Booker benefit more in the long run from working on his game against the same kind of defense he actually faces?

If you want to work on your NBA game, then don't be surprised when you encounter NBA defense. Anything else is simply batting practice.

Kings trio puts on a show at 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge in Charlotte

Kings trio puts on a show at 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge in Charlotte

If you like defense, then you probably didn’t enjoy Friday night’s 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge. If you’re all about highlight reel dunks and ill-advised alley-oop passes, then bring on the rookies and sophomores.

In a wild up-and-down game, Team USA ran away from the World Team for a 161-144 victory to help open up the first day of NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, N.C. 

If you needed a quote to describe the action on the court, 40-year-old honorary coach for the World Team Dirk Nowitzki had you covered.

“Our transition defense is like I’m out there,” Nowitzki said during the broadcast. 

Kings star De’Aaron Fox picked up the start for the American team at point guard, and looked to set up his teammates. He scored just two points, but chipped in a game-high 16 assists in the win, including a clean look to Sacramento teammate Marvin Bagley III. 

After taking home the MVP hardware last season, Kings sixth man Bogdan Bogdanovic started for the World team and finished with 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting from long range. He added six assists and five rebounds in the loss.  

Bagley, meanwhile, brought his jumping shoes, and put on an aerial assault on the rim. 

The 19-year-old made an impact on the offensive end, finishing with 14 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. He and Fox both missed a pair of crazy dunks in the final minute, but Bogdanovic threw his rookie a bone to finish the night.

[RELATED: Fox sdends message on potential Kings-Warriors series]

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kyle Kuzma dropped in 23 of his 35 points in the first half for Team USA, and came away with MVP honors. Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons scored 28 points on 14-for-17 shooting to lead the World Team.

Fox will return to the Spectrum Center to compete in the Skills Challenge on Saturday. He’ll likely stick around to cheer on Kings teammate Buddy Hield, who is scheduled to compete in the 3-point contest later that night.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned as streak ends in 113-104 loss to 76ers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned as streak ends in 113-104 loss to 76ers

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – So much for the Warriors strolling into the All-Star break with an 18-game win streak.

Their streak ended at 11 games Thursday night, when the Philadelphia 76ers muscled out a 113-104 victory before a disappointed sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena.

Though the Warriors led by as much as nine, the 76ers were relentless in coming, using rebounding and solid 3-point shooting (40.7 percent through three quarters, 33.3 for the game) as their main ingredients.

Here are three takeaways from the first of a three-game homestand:

Boogie’s Night

Banging and bumping with Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid presented DeMarcus Cousins with his biggest test yet.

Embiid got the best of this battle.

Cousins’ line: Seven points (3-of-10 shooting from the field, 0-of-2 beyond the arc), six rebounds and six assists. He played 25 minutes and finished minus-5.

Embiid’s line: 20 points (8-of-24, 0-of-5), 19 rebounds and four assists. He played 34 minutes and finished minus-1. He was not highly efficient, but he was very productive.

The bad news is that this is the first game since Cousins joined the lineup that he had a difficult time keeping up his primary assignment.

The good news is that it took Embiid, the most gifted center in the Eastern Conference, to make Cousins look like someone still rounding into game condition.

[RELATED: Klay selected to fifth straight NBA All-Star Game]

Klay Thompson was missed

Thompson’s absence left the Warriors painfully thin on the wings and forced Alfonzo McKinnie, a combo forward, into the starting lineup at shooting guard.

Moreover, it meant the Warriors were without another elite defender to deal with 76ers star Ben Simmons.

Simmons took full advantage, scoring 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Though he also had eight rebounds and six assists, it was his scoring efficiency that was really scorched the Warriors.

On the other end, Thompson’s 3-point shooting was missed. Until Kevin Durant splashed one in with 4:52 remaining, Warriors had made eight 3-pointers – all by Stephen Curry. The Warriors shot 11-of-38 (28.9 percent) from beyond the arc.

One of Thompson’s greatest virtues is that he makes both ends of the game easier for Curry, and makes team defense more manageable for those on the floor with him.

Yeah, he was missed.

[RELATED: How the Warriors could benefit from Kristaps Porzingis]

Clobbered on the glass

The 76ers entered the game ranked fourth in the NBA rebounding. The Warriors were tied for seventh.

The gap was a lot larger in this game.

Philadelphia pounded its way to a 50-37 overall advantage on the glass. The Sixers had 16 offensive rebounds to nine for the Warriors. In addition to Embiid’s 16 and Simmons’ eight, Jimmy Butler snagged nine.

The bottom line is that the 76ers are physically bigger than the Warriors, and also appeared more desperate to win the game.