Bulls

Korver an assist man away from the game

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Korver an assist man away from the game

Bulls sharpshooter Kyle Korvers annual winter coat drive, which took place at the United Center prior to Saturdays home win over the Bobcats, seems like a nice gesture, the type of thing people will remember. But while the initiative, which benefited Victor Herbert Elementary School and the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls fans who donated either a new childrens coat or at least 15 were entitled to meet Korver afterwards and get an autograph got more visibility because of its timing, charitable work is just the norm for the swingman.

In past his past NBA stops, Philadelphia and Utah, Korver put his stamp on the community through his organization, the Kyle Korver Foundation. While with the Sixers, Korver was known for his work with youth in impoverished sections of North Philadelphia, and when he played for the Jazz, the three-point specialist was active in work with the handicapped community of Salt Lake City.

In Chicago, however, Korver has taken a different approach. Instead of starting entirely new initiatives, his foundation has mostly partnered with local organizations and enhanced ongoing efforts.

Well, we havent started our own initiative or anything, like we did in the other cities, but we found some really great organizations and weve partnered with them. Theres this school called Brown Elementary and its right over by the United Center, and weve done several things with them, partnering with a local church Soul City in the West Loop and also just some other random people, he told CSNChicago.com recently. We helped put together a couple Christmas stores, where we got a whole bunch of things donated, bought a bunch of things and let the families from that school come and buy all their Christmas presents, but a really discounted rate. So, you could buy a pair of Chuck Taylors Korver is an endorser for Converse for like two bucks, stuff like that. So, they still come, they still buy their stuff, but then we took the money and donated it to the school, too, and started a little art program, built a parents lounge, trying to get the parents more involved in the school and weve got a couple other projects weve been helping out with, with them.

Theres an organization called Breakthrough, which is also on the West Side. Its a great organization. Weve done several things with them, partnered with them in this thing called The Hunt, in like a month or two. Its basically a big scavenger hunt, sending people all over the place, raising money for Breakthrough and awareness, and things like that. It ends up in Wrigley Field, Korver continued. Klayton Korvers younger brother is working on a bunch of stuff. Were helping put together some concerts and selling our clothing line Seer, so weve got a bunch of these things going on. We havent found that one thing that were really angling for, like we did in the other cities because Im kind of waiting for the right opportunity.

But whether in Chicago or elsewhere, the devoutly religious Korver, who got married over the summer, believes he can always give back to the less fortunate.

People have been great. I think playing all across the country, theres people everywhere that want to do good things. I think lots of times, they dont know how to get involved or what to do. I think one of the biggest things that we try to do is just find ways to get a lot of people involved and partnering with people who already have great things going, and try to help them, but overall, theres good people everywhere. Youve just got to find them, he said. I think its just a part of my faith. Its just a big part of who I want to be. I feel like Gods given me a great platform and a lot of gifts, a lot of opportunities and you just try to take advantage of them. Its justtry to live out the Golden Rule.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

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USA TODAY

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

John Calipari's 2017 recruiting class featured five McDonald's All-Americans and Hamidou Diallo, a former five-star recruit who nearly jumped to the NBA the previous year. It also included a lanky 6-foot-6 point guard named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And for the first part of the 2017-18 season, the Toronto native who played his final two high school years in Tennessee, appeared to be a nice fit off the bench for Calipari.

But something flipped. Gilgeous-Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup for good on January 9 and never looked back. He played his best basketball beginning in late February to the end of the season, a span of 10 games against eight NCAA Tournament opponents. In those games Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He shot 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and 84 percent from the free throw line, and added 1.4 steals in nearly 38 minutes per game for good measure. He was one of the best players in the country, and on a team with five McDonald's All-Americans, he was Calipari's best freshman.

"I knew with how hard I worked that anything was possible," SGA said at last week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "It was just a matter of time before it started clicking and I started to get it rolling."

That stretch included a 17-point, 10-assist double-double against Ole Miss, a 29-point showing against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, and 27 more points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Buffalo. Even in his worst game of the stretch, a 15-point effort against Kansas State in the Tournament, he made up for 2 of 10 shooting by getting to the free throw line 12, converting 11 of them.

It made his decision to make the jump to the NBA an easy one - that, and another loaded Calipari recruiting class incoming. He stands taller than just about any other point guard in the class and might have as good a jump shot as any. He's adept at getting to the rim, averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per game (that number jumped to 5.6 after he became a starter, and 7.5 in those final 10 games of the season. He isn't the quickest guard in the class, but he uses his feet well, is able to find open shooters due to his height and improved on making mistakes on drive-and-kicks as the season went on.

"I think I translate really well to the next level with there being so much more space on the floor and the open court stretched out," he said. "It only benefits me and my ability to get in the lane and make plays."

There's something to be said for him being the next in line of the Calipari point guards. The ever-growing list includes players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Murray and DeAaron Fox. It's the NBA's version of Penn State linebackers or Alabama defensive linemen. The success rate is nearly 100 percent when it comes to Calipari's freshmen point guards; even Brandon Knight averaged 18.1 points over a three-year span in the NBA.

"That’s why guys go to Kentucky," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It prepares them for the next level. Coach (Calipari) does a really good job, especially with point guards, getting them ready for that next level in a short amount of time."

Gilgeous-Alexander didn't test or play in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, but he still came out of Chicago a winner. He measured 6-foot-6 in shoes with a ridiculous 6-foot-11 1/2 wingspan, a full three inches longer than any other point guard at the Combine. He also added, rather uniquely, that he watches of film Kawhi Leonard playing defense. Most players don't mention watching film on different-position players; most players aren't 6-foot-6 point guards.

"(It's) obviously a more versatile league and playing small ball. And with me being able to guard multiple positions, a lot of teams are switching things like the pick and roll off ball screens, so me being able to switch and guard multiple positions can help an organization."

Gilgeous-Alexander's arrow is pointing way up. He appears to be teetering near Lottery pick status, though that could go one way or the other in private team workouts, especially if he's pitted against fellow top point guards like Trae Young and Collin Sexton. But if his rise at Kentucky is any indication, he'll only continue to improve his game, his stock and eventually his draft position.