Grant Williams: Kevin Durant was the hardest person to guard in the league by far in my eyes, but Stephen Curry is the most impactful player on a team in the league. You have to guard him as well on the ball as well as off the ball. Once he gets off the ball, you probably get more scared than when he’s on the ball.
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Kevin Durant is serious about basketball. He’ll discuss the game with anyone. He’ll even jump into Twitter Spaces to talk to fans about the game. So it makes sense he’d want his show, “Swagger,” the Apple TV+ series loosely based on his high school days on and off the court, to be as authentic as possible. And it would take someone just as serious about the game to play the lead role. That makes Isaiah Hill the ideal actor for the show. He’s not just an actor being asked to play basketball; he was a three-star recruit at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., and a national top-300 player in the 2021 class, according to 247sports.com. -via The Athletic / July 20, 2023
Hill said his teammates on the series are a “real basketball team” because Durant’s “spirit of hard work is deeply embedded in this show.” He points to Jason Rivera-Torres as an example of that spirit. Rivera-Torres not only is an actor, he’s also a 6-foot-6 guard and a four-star basketball recruit who is preparing for his freshman season at Vanderbilt this fall. “In season one, he was weaker than me. I was pushing him around, and he constantly just learned from me every day,” Hill said of Rivera-Torres. “We worked, and then season two, he came back stronger and taller, and we were just going at it every day. … He’s just a walking testimony of the work we do here at ‘Swagger.’” -via The Athletic / July 20, 2023
But they stood still in February when much of their competition didn’t, ripped off a win streak after the All-Star break and secured the third seed. Internally, they feel strong about their performance in that first-round, seven-game defeat against the Warriors. “At the time, (the league) had (Kevin Durant) going to Phoenix, (Russell) Westbrook going to the Clippers, Kyrie (Irving to Dallas) and all this stuff. We kind of stood pat…” McNair said. “We didn’t do anything major, and we were kind of relying on the continuity of what we’d built and our chemistry. We certainly got lucky. We had some injuries on other teams that helped us out coming out of the break. But I do think you see (that) trying to assimilate new players and new coaches and things like that on the fly can work, but it also carries risk.” -via The Athletic / July 19, 2023
In 2015, Goran Dragic signed a five-year, $85 million contract that paid him $14.78 million in year one — 21.1 percent of the cap. In 2025, if the cap goes up the maximum 10 percent each summer, a player signing for that same percent of the cap would make $33.38 million during the 2025-26 season — and be worth roughly $193.6 million over five seasons, assuming the same eight percent annual raises. Expect salaries to keep rising. If a supermax contract kicked in that summer, at that same salary-cap amount, that player would get about $57.6 million for the 2025-26 season — that’s more than $9 million more than Steph Curry made this season as the league’s highest-paid player. Then, it’ll keep going up $4.6 million each season for the length of the deal, amounting to a five-year deal worth nearly $334 million. -via The Athletic / July 20, 2023
Clutch Points: “It’s honestly hell… You literally can’t ever relax. I remember Game 1 and 2, chasing him and Klay around, and I couldn’t make a shot… I’m like ‘I ain’t got no legs!’” Austin Reaves describes guarding Steph Curry in the Playoffs🥵 (via @shobasketball) pic.twitter.com/EmxJMCwph7 -via Twitter @ClutchPointsApp / July 20, 2023
In a recent interview with NBA Today following his celebrity golf triumph in the ACC, Curry was asked about his interest to potentially play for the United States in next year’s Olympics in Paris. The Golden State Warriors superstar, in response, can only drop an anticipating word for international hoop fans. “That’s the one piece of the resume that coach [Steve Kerr] always likes to joke that I don’t have,” Curry said. “He’s already kind of recruiting for next summer… “I have no idea what the next summer will look like. It obviously is an extra bonus that coach Kerr is leading that charge. I love to play for him any day of the week. We’ll see how it goes come summer of 2024. -via TalkBasket / July 18, 2023
Grant Williams on Luka Doncic vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: I got Luka, just because I think Luka has more game-winners and proven stuff because that step back to his left, I don’t know if I have ever seen it get stopped or blocked and it’s the same spot over and over again. And the thing is about Luka, and I know he’s lost a lot of weight, but back when he was a rookie, he was dunking on people. Nowadays, he’s shooting regular slow-step layups and you’re like, ‘Cmon bro, that’s tough.’ With Shai, he’s working for the buckets, maybe to him, he’s not, but you feel like you’re making him work. -via YouTube / July 20, 2023
Grant Williams on back-and-forth trash talk with Jimmy Butler in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals: That’s a funny thing that happened. We’re playing that game, I think we’re up by eight, I’m playing well. And Jimmy says, ‘Hell naw, he ain’t here.’ So I made a three and I said, ‘Hell naw, m***********, I’m here.’ I said it to him, barking, because I’m always gonna respond. I never talk trash myself… I’m not a trash talker, I’m too nerdy. Next thing you know, I’m saying ‘Hell naw, m***********, I’m here.’ … So next thing you know, that happens, then, the next play, Jimmy, hesi, boom, stops, pivots, and-1. So Jimmy says, ‘I’m here, too, m***********.’ And so I’m like, ‘I don’t give a f***,’ we’re going back and forth, because I’m not backing down. We were missing in that series, they were punking us the entire time. We go back and forth, and it’s crazy, I always look back [and realize] I scored our last 10 points. Jimmy had eight. But the difference is, Max Strus made a three, Gabe Vincent made a three, so they end up winning that game. If that doesn’t happen, we win the game and no one is bringing that up, the poking-the-bear stuff. … After the game in media, I said, ‘He busted my ass, I’m gonna be able to come back next game, I’m not running from anybody, I’m not scared, I’m not gonna get punked.’ Next game, you saw, I defended really well, Jimmy didn’t play well, I blocked his shot, I palmed it. Jimmy knows it’s all love, we’re just competitors naturally. Afterward, he even said he respected me because I’m a competitor, I just do this stuff to get myself going. I respect it, too, because everyone has their own thing. So we end up losing the series and it sucks because get to the Finals and who knows what happens? World works in mysterious ways. -via Twitter / July 20, 2023
When Grant Williams first heard that he was on the Mavericks’ radar as a restricted free agent, it got his attention. “I remember being super stoked and excited because of the organization and the people there,” Williams said Friday while taking in the Mavericks’ 112-91 victory over Indiana at the NBA 2K24 Summer League. “And also the team and the potential there and the growth they have shown. Coming off a Western Conference finals appearance two years ago. And the past year not necessarily having the year they wanted to have, and getting Kyrie and trying to accustom themselves to a new group. “Being a part of that (the goal is to) hopefully building a foundation to have great success and get back to not only the Western Conference finals, but further.” -via mavs.com / July 16, 2023