Stanford buckles under late Syracuse pressure


Stanford buckles under late Syracuse pressure


Stanford had a real chance to upset No. 5 Syracuse on Friday at Madison Square Garden in the preseason NIT Championship. The Cardinal lost 69-63, but was up seven with less than five minutes remaining. Some thoughts The game boiled down to Stanford not being able to handle Syracuses pressure down the stretch. Stanford turned the ball over in the backcourt too often late and rushed its offense when it broke pressure.
Point guard Aaron Bright is Stanfords only true point guard, and hes a little undersized at 5-11. He just wasnt strong enough to get the ball often enough when Stanford needed him to bring the ball up in the last five minutes.AP RECAP: No. 5 Syracuse escapes Stanford 69-63 in preseason NIT Championship
And when Bright wasnt handling, Stanford had nothing to rely on when it came to running its offense. Freshman Chasson Randle is going to be a nice player by the time his Stanford career is over, but hes not really a one. Not now anyway. Randles game is more suited to make plays for himself, and he made a couple late against Syracuse. Josh Owens was hardly a factor after his big game against Oklahoma State. Owens was every bit as athletic as any of Syracuses frontline players, but he was largely missing most of the game. Just floated for too many stretches. Owens went 2-for-8 from the field against Syracuse after a 10-for-12 game against OK State. I keep hearing that Cal is the best of the Bay Areas college teams, and I could see that as being the case. But Stanford has some athletes and a little bit of depth. If the Cardinal gets better over the course of the season, and they should because theyre very young, theyll be able to play with Cal. The one thing Stanford doesnt do well is shoot the 3. Or shoot fouls, for that matter. Other than Bright, Stanfords best 3-point shooter is probably John Gage, who is a 6-foot-9 forwardcenter. Going to check out Cal on Saturday. The Bears play Denver.

Players Voice Awards: Draymond not the 'Best Defender'


Players Voice Awards: Draymond not the 'Best Defender'

The players have spoken.

The 2017 Players Voice Awards pick for "Best Defender" goes to...

Kawhi Leonard.

On June 26, Draymond Green took home the Defensive Player of the Year award at the first annual NBA Awards Show.

He received 73 first-place votes, 22 second-place votes and three third-place votes. (Yes, he was left off of two ballots entirely)

Rudy Gobert was the runner-up with 16 first-place votes, 53 second-place votes and 30 third-place votes.

Kawhi finished in third with 11 first-place votes, 23 second-place votes and 58 third-place votes.

While the media recognized Draymond as the best defensive player in the NBA last season, his peers don't agree.

In 2015, Draymond finished runner-up and was left off 42 ballots.

In 2016, he finished runner-up and was left off nine ballots.

Bravo For Durant: No White House visit proves he has a set of principles


Bravo For Durant: No White House visit proves he has a set of principles

Though the Warriors have yet to receive an invitation to visit the White House in the wake of their championship season, one of their superstars already has decided he would not participate.

Kevin Durant, the NBA Finals MVP who grew up practically in the shadow of the White House, said he would not visit.

"Nah, I won't do that," Durant told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now."

Bravo for Durant. For speaking up when so many others are silent and, by acknowledging that this is an individual decision, proving he is willing to stand on a personal set of principles.

Visiting his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md. for “Kevin Durant Day,” the forward didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name but made clear his disdain for the man who currently occupies the White House.

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that," Durant said. "That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Durant is not the first Warrior to publicly express such sentiments. Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston have specifically said they would not be willing to make the visit that has become customary for American championship teams. Coach Steve Kerr and veteran forward David West have been vocal in denouncing Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric and boorish behavior.

Uncertain whether an invitation is forthcoming, the Warriors issued a statement in June saying any collective decision regarding a White House visit would be made “when and if necessary.”

Their championship season ended two months ago. Training camp for next season begins next month. There has been no invitation.

Durant’s comments Thursday represent his first that directly address the possibility of visiting the White House. The Warriors, after their 2105 championship, made the visit when Barack Obama was president.

"I just wanted to sit back and analyze everything and gather my thoughts," he told ESPN. "I wanted to say something immediately, but I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.”

Addressing the division that has infected the national landscape, Durant pointed directly at Trump.

"He's definitely driving it," Durant said. "I feel ever since he's got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it's not a coincidence. When Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

"So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top -- leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn't care about all people, then we won't go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won't see any progress."

Though not all Warriors have publicly commented on the subject, Durant’s hunch is accurate. This team has a collective conscience. There are causes in which every member believes, and two such causes are equality and inclusiveness.

Those alone are enough to ensure they would not splinter on this issue.