Morning shootaround — Oct. 8


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Oct. 7

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Curry responds to Harden’s MVP comments | LeBron not expecting to carry Cavs as much | Bennett’s fresh start in Toronto

No. 1: Curry responds to Harden’s MVP comments — If you think the top names in the NBA aren’t already campaigning for the 2016 Kia MVP, you haven’t been paying attention. Earlier this week, Houston Rockets star James Harden told our Fran Blinebury that he still feels he should have won MVP in 2015 (and not Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors). Sacramento Kings star DeMarcus Cousins says the 2016 MVP is ‘mine to grab’. So what does Curry have to say about all this (and Harden’s words in particular)? Not a whole lot, writes Monte Pool of CSNBayArea.com:

Steph Curry’s response Wednesday to Harden’s latest comments, which amounted to a vote for James Harden, was an understated mic drop.

“It doesn’t change what happened last year,” Curry, who actually took home the hardware, said after Warriors practice.

Curry didn’t so much as revisit the topic as search for reasons why Harden did.

“I don’t know,” Curry said. “Different guys find different ways of motivating themselves. I’ve never been one to just . . . I’m obviously confident in what I do, and I know he’s confident in what he does. It might come out in a different way.

“I try not to do a lot of talking, especially (regarding) things that have passed. Obviously, you’ve got to motivate yourself and I’m sure he’s motivated this year to do some special things. I’m the same way.”

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No. 2: LeBron: ‘I won’t have to carry’ Cavs — Season No. 13 is just days away for superstar LeBron James and, according to him, this may be one where he doesn’t have to do it all. Despite the Cleveland Cavaliers still having to deal with Tristan Thompson‘s contract dispute and other factors, James is confident the Cavs’ depth will be a huge asset to him and the team this season. ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin has more:

“I will lead this team, but I don’t have to carry it,” James said before shootaround as the Cavs prepared to play the Atlanta Hawks in their preseason opener at Xavier University on Wednesday night. “We have enough guys until all our guys get here.

“Until Kyrie [Irving] and Tristan [Thompson] and [Iman Shumpert] is ready, we have enough guys that will all help. It’s not about me carrying the team and that nature. We’re all grown men, we’re all professionals and they’re here to do their job.”

Even though Cleveland addressed its depth in the offseason by adding Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson and Sasha Kaun to the mix, injuries have already turned that luxury into a necessity as Irving and Kevin Love didn’t even accompany the Cavs on their two-game preseason road trip this week.

James is already doing his part to prepare J.R. Smith for the season opener vs. Chicago on Oct. 27. The pair showed up an hour before Wednesday’s shootaround to get shots up before the rest of the team arrived. It’s a tradition the two started in the postseason last spring.

“Just trying to get better,” James explained. “It’s all about repetition. In order to try to be as good as you can, it’s about getting on the floor and getting extra work in. And that’s what we do. Myself and J.R., we got some chemistry. We got some great chemistry and we just try to give it our all.”

Cleveland’s schedule to start the season is relatively easy — only three of the Cavs’ first 10 games are against teams that made the playoffs last season — but lacking a full roster always makes things difficult.

“I mean, every game is important,” James said. “The East has gotten better. And I understand not to put too much into the beginning of the season, but I’m a guy who is all about chemistry and camaraderie on the floor. But you need your guys to be healthy. So I’m not quite sure if Kev [will be ready]. Obviously we know Kyrie won’t be available. Shump won’t be available. So it’s unfortunate, but we want to get these guys healthy and get them to 100 percent as close as possible.”

“I think just as far as a franchise and how we carry ourselves every day is a lot different,” James said. “Last year at the start of the season, I don’t think people saw the vision and didn’t understand the process. I think guys do now. We know how important every practice, every day is for us to get better.

“And until we’re whole, we still won’t understand it as a full unit. But we’ll approach the game as we should and our coaching staff is going to prepare us the best way every night to be ready for anything, both on and off the floor.”

 

VIDEO: Hassan Whiteside gives an update on his injury and status

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No. 3: Bennett embraces fresh start with Raptors — Facts are facts and for Anthony Bennett, he will always be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the two years since then, his career failed to get of the ground and a few weeks back, was bought out by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has since landed with the Toronto Raptors on a one-year deal and both he and the team are adjusting their expectations for 2015-16. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports has more:

Anthony Bennett made history by becoming the first Canadian to be named the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Now a little more than just two years later, and on his third team, the newToronto Raptors forward is back home with hopes of removing a far less flattering title from his résumé: bust.

“Lots of ups and downs,” Bennett told Yahoo Sports prior to the Raptors preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. “There a couple [things] you got to avoid. There are also a lot of people you have to have in your circle, like family and friends, who tell you to keep your head up. That’s pretty much what I’ve been going through.”

When asked what he is trying to avoid, Bennett said: “Just the media stuff. I try not to look too much into that stuff.”

Does Bennett wish he wasn’t selected No. 1?

“I’m cool with it,” he said. “Going No. 1 made history for Canada. For myself, it was a big accomplishment, but it’s a lot of work.”

Bennett had a childhood dream of playing for Toronto and grew up a huge Vince Carter fan. He signed a one-year deal with the Raptors for the veteran’s minimum at $947,928.

“I feel like there is no bad,” Bennett said. “I’m in a comfortable position. It’s a solid position like it has been in the past.”

For the Raptors, there is little risk and huge potential in Bennett. Toronto needs help at the power forward position. There is no promise of him being in the playing rotation, but he will be on the regular-season roster.

“We look at giving Anthony an opportunity to actually grow and be a player,” GM Masai Ujiri said. “It’s not a one-year thing here. It’s going to take time. All that No. 1 pick and all that stuff, we had a conversation with him. Let’s move on from that. Now it’s about how you become a very good NBA player, which we all know he can be.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey says Bennett reminds him of Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Bass, who he coached with the Dallas Mavericks, and is impressive defensively. Casey doesn’t plan to use him at small forward.

“He came in refreshed a little bit,” Casey said. “The [pressure] is off. Just come in and play basketball. There are no expectations. We don’t expect him to come in and be the so-called No. 1 pick. Coming back to Toronto having to live up to that, I thought that would be the biggest hurdle. It hasn’t been.

“All that pressure has been lifted by being bought out, almost hitting rock bottom so to speak. Now he’s getting another chance to come out and play.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Former Warriors star David Lee sees a lot of Golden State-like qualities in his Boston Celtics … Does Jimmy Butler not respect Derrick Rose‘s work ethic? … Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is in favor of an NBA supplemental draft … How Enes Kanter may fit into coach Billy Donovan‘s defensive schemes in Oklahoma City …Shotblocker Jeff Withey is making a serious bid for a roster spot with the Utah Jazz

ICYMI of the Night: Richard Jefferson welcomes 7-foot-3 rookie Walter Tavares to the NBA with a monster jam in his face 


VIDEO: Richard Jefferson posterizes rookie Walter Tavares

13 Comments

  1. DWAYNE FOREMAN says:

    Look at the head to head matchup between Warriors and Houston and it will be clear who should have been MVP. Houston was, 1-7 against the Warriors in the Regular Season and Playoffs. So tell me, what in his mind makes him think that he deserves the MVP? Could it be those 7 defeats at the hands of Stephen Curry and the Warriors?

  2. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Ever year the MVP should go to King James

  3. Joe Crislip says:

    Could somebody explain to me why Lebron averages just a little over 1 Offensive Rebound per game? He claims to know the game so well. Any Coach knows the value of getting 2nd and 3rd Chances. Maybe there is something about NBA Basketball that I don’t understand. Would really appreciate an explanation!

  4. taekayo says:

    1. Curry led a very special team (that goes up with the MJ’s Bulls, Magic’s Laker, Bird’s Celtics) last year, we can never take that away from him. If Harden thinks he was that great, let’s not forget TMac during his time, he has done better, but he ain’t going to win an MVP.

    2. Until LBJ learns to trust his coach and a system, he will always “carry” his team. The only bail-out he had was having DWade (who at a time was better than him). MJ trusted Phil, Duncan trusted Pop. If LBJ wants to be “the King” of everything, he has to wish the Kyrie or Love would be at DWade level. Or he could again go to another team.

    3. He is a bust if he’s still seen as a 1st pick. But he would be a great addition or even a steal if he’s viewed as a second rounder. This isn’t about talent, and not about effort and hard work. Its wasn’t his fault he was drafted that high, but he could definitely play in the NBA, but not a #1 pick though.

  5. WJS says:

    What! The King carry the Cav’s. He has never carried the Cav’s anywhere. He is not a team player. The only time that he’s ever won anything was when The Heat Players were allowed to play. Caves only runthree plays. Post up for the King, pick and roll for the King and an isolation for the King. It won’t work again.

  6. NBAfan says:

    Its funny Harden continues to be bitter about a regular season award and personal records when he should be focused on erasing his new title as bigtime playoff choker the last few seasons.. Its sad thinking the record of note this guy holds in the history books, is most turnovers by single player in a playoff game. And then he still continues to motivate himself by trying to tell everyone he’s the best player in the game.
    Please just let your defense and winning in the post season do the talking..

  7. Moynathoue says:

    Both players could have won MVP in my opinion but we all know that WIN/LOSS factor played a huge part in it which is why Curry won. Simple as that!

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    3. I’ve got a feeling Anthony Bennett is going to play well for the Raptors. The pressure is largely off as Dwayne Casey says, he’s always been a Raptors fan and his performances for Canada weren’t bad.
    J R Smith looks a lot more interested these days.

  9. NIck says:

    “I will lead this team, but I don’t have to carry it,” … Let’s hope James remembers that every game. In my opinion the Cavs would have done a lot better in the finals if Lebron remembered he had a team with him on the court. He made a lot of terrible plays and forced shots as his teammates were relegated to watching the game from the floor. It was frustrating – and boring – to watch. And what a contrast when Golden State had possession! Ball movement, unselfishness – basketball the way it was meant to be played.

  10. Caldron Pool says:

    Oh flop-a-Harden . . . did you really believe that wrapping your flabby arms around defenders while squirming around and tossing the ball into the air all season should have won you the MVP?

    He’s lucky to have even made the all-NBA squad. What a dork.

    • Anonymouse ^-^ says:

      Caldron, I am almost 100% sure you are a diehard Warriors fan. I feel Stephen Curry deserved the MVP no more than James Harden did. James Harden is just as good as Stephen Curry (and maybe worse in your terms), and they both can get the job done.