Scott Brooks Raves About Kevin Durant’s Leadership

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Durant and head coach Brooks during NBA Global Game against Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul

Despite not suiting up for a game this season, Kevin Durant has been a presence in the Thunder’s sideline cheering on teammates, finding his way into huddles and making an impact during team meetings.

So much in fact that Oklahoma City’s head coach, Scott Brooks, jokingly referred to Durant tonight as one of the NBA’s all-time great cheerleaders.

Brooks talked with the media tonight about Durant’s huge impact on the team despite not playing a single minute yet so far this season.

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Scott Brooks Tries To Find A Silver Lining With Oklahoma City’s Recent Rash Of Injuries

Losing two all-stars for the first month of an NBA season is never ideal.

However, having Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook miss time due to injuries will allow Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks to give more minutes to Perry Jones, Reggie Jackson, Andre Roberson and Jeremy Lamb. That experience and increased confidence could pay big dividends come playoff time for the Thunder.

Brooks talked about how some of Oklahoma City’s younger players are stepping up early in the season.

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Dwane Casey Explains The Difficulties In Preparing For An Injury-Ravaged Oklahoma City Thunder Team

Dwane Casey talked about how tonight could be a trap game, the danger in playing a team with only eight players suiting up, Serge Ibaka shouldering a larger load and why Oklahoma City’s half-court sets haven’t changed much with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook out.

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Dwyane Wade Feels DeMar DeRozan Isn’t Popular Because He Plays For A Canadian Team

Canadians are notorious for having inferiority complexes.

In fact, it’s a big reason for the We The North campaign and why passionate basketball fans in Canada take offense to their country only being known for hockey and cold weather.

Dwyane Wade didn’t make any friends north of the border this weekend with his comments about DeMar DeRozan.

“The only reason we don’t hear more about him is because he’s in Toronto,” Wade joked with the media when he was asked about DeMar DeRozan before his Miami Heat hosted the Toronto Raptors.

Gulp.

The easy – and natural reaction – would be for fans to recall that Vince Carter reached the peak of his popularity at Air Canada while playing for the Raptors.

It would also be easy to tell Wade to look a couple of lockers down at teammate Chris Bosh and remember that Bosh’s best years as a professional were played in Toronto.

But the reality is those comments from Wade will sting basketball fans across Canada.

It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction the fans give former fan favourite Wade when he plays at the Air Canada Centre later this season.

Oscar Robertson’s Visit Had An Impact On The Toronto Raptors

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Oscar Robertson is one of the best players to lace up his kicks and play basketball.

Despite being caught in an era where players are now only heralded for making ESPN’s SportsCenter highlight clips or creating buzz on YouTube, it’s clear that Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson is still revered by current NBA players despite very few grainy clips of his playing career being available online.

Robertson spoke with the Raptors’ players in Orlando Friday after Wayne Embry, a good friend of the Robertson, set up the meeting.

It was clear that the players were impressed after talking with Robertson.

“They were in awe of how big he was, how he spoke about competing, how he spoke about being a good teammate,” head coach Dwane Casey told the media Saturday afternoon.

DeMar DeRozan gushed to the media after the meeting with Robertson that, “When he throws out the names of players that he played with it definitely gives you goosebumps.”

NBA Season Preview For SiriusXM

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

I joined Norm at Night on SiriusXM to preview the 20-14-15 NBA season. We talked about if the Toronto Raptors can build on last season, if the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to win a title, why the Charlotte Hornets are a sleeper team and a bunch of other topics.

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Mike Budenholzer Talks About Al Horford’s Impact

Last season the Atlanta Hawks limped into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after Al Horford was lost early in the season with a pectoral injury that required surgery.

Mike Budenholzer talked about what Horford’s return means to the Atlanta Hawks, how his all-star big man helps the rest of the team on both ends of the court and the leadership he brings on and off the court.

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Observations From Raptors’ Locker Room After Beating Hawks 109-102

Here are eight observations, notes and quotes from the Toronto Raptors locker room after the team beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-102:

  • Dwane Casey has a funny analogy about how it only matters what you do when the popcorn’s popping. It’s his way of saying big players step up in big moments when fans are packed in the stands. After the game Casey was asked about Amir Johnson being ready to play when the popcorn was popping and couldn’t resist letting loose with this great quote: “He put butter on it and salt and everything else. He was ready to roll tonight and I was really happy with his energy.”
  • Lucas Nogueira never stops smiling. Literally.
  • Amir Johnson: “We have a lot of things to clean up. They shot the hell out of the ball and we were lucky to get the win.”
  • Greivis Vasquez was wearing combat boots and Wu-Tang socks. Awesome combo.
  • Speaking of fashion, Lou Williams was wearing a Hawaiian-esque jacket.
  • Terrence Ross on the fans: “I mean, you can’t really explain it. You just have to experience it. It’s unbelievable how they mobbed out like this.”
  • DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are proud dads. DeRozan has a prominent picture in his locker of him kissing his daughter while Lowry has a big picture of himself watching TV with his son.
  • Tyler Hansbrough: “I feel much more comfortable this year. I came into training camp having already learned all of the plays so I was able to pick up on things a lot faster than I did last year. I’m really comfortable this year and I hope I can continue to bring a spark off the bench for this team.”

Podcap: Raptors Beat Hawks 109-102

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Here’s audio from Dwane Casey, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and Tyler Hansbrough after Toronto’s 109-102 win over Atlanta.

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Podcast: 2014-14 NBA Season Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

McNeill and Mark and back with another Hoops Addict Podcast. We break down the big changes in each conference, make some fearless predictions for the upcoming season, talk about Byron Scott ripping on Dwight Howard, Steve Nash not playing this season and the brilliance of LeBron James.

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Stephen Curry: The Perfect Shot

Leading up to the start of the regular season, the Muscle Milk brand produced a two-minute content video telling the story of how Stephen Curry changed his entire shot form in high school to set him apart from taller opponents.  

Curry channels his “I Can Do All Things” mindset in the piece to give you a quick inside look at the practice, process and perseverance that led him to develop the perfect shot.

LeBron James Raves About Steve Nash

“It’s tough. You hate to see anyone have the game be taken away from him because of injury and especially a talent like that. Obviously he’s worked his tail off to try to be healthy and play for that franchise and over his career he’s always kept his body in shape, we all knew that. For his body to fail him at a time where he still feels like he has something to give to the game, I think it sucks. At the same time, he has nothing to be ashamed of. He should be proud of every moment that he had in this league — from him waiting behind and sitting on the bench behind J-Kidd (Jason Kidd) to finally getting his opportunity in Dallas and going back to Phoenix and having an unbelievable career, the two MVPs, and doing the things that he did. You just look at him, you would never (know). If you’re playing street basketball and he’s out on the side, you’re not going to pick him. And then when he finally gets his chance to pick the four guys that he wants to run with, then you’re going to be like, ‘Damn! I should have took that guy. I should have took him.’ And he’s part of that 90-50-40 club (with) a few guys — (Kevin) Durant, (Larry) Bird, Dirk (Nowitzki). Nash, he did it multiple years. I think 4-5 years straight, which is crazy. And never one of the most athletic guys. Always just played with his mind and his agility. So it sucks. It’s always bad when a guy, like I said before, I’ll harp on it again, when your career is kind of shortened because of injury.”

LeBron James raves about Steve Nash

Derrick Rose Introduced His New “D Rose 5 Boost”

On Saturday, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose introduced his new signature shoe, the D Rose 5 Boost to fans in Chicago.

He hosted 20 kids from local nonprofit After School Matters at the adidas store for an intimate Q&A session where he gave advice on how to pursue your dreams,  work hard and stay hungry. Rose gave each fan with their own pair of the D Rose 5 Boost, signed autographs and took photos to commemorate the moment.

Here are some photos of the event.

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