NBA Review: Antetokounmpo leads Buck sweep of Pistons

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharak&Lance Whittaker April 23, 2019

Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 41 points as Bucks sweep by Piston.

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    Believe it or not NBA free agency is still happening, even if there are not any All-Star calibre players remaining on the market.

    Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Khris Middleton, Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard are all spoken for. But there are still players available who can make a difference.

    Let's look at some of the top role players for hire this offseason.

     

    Carmelo Anthony

    No one really knows what Anthony plans on doing. The 35-year-old forward only played in 10 games for the Houston Rockets in 2018-19 before stepping away after the team decided he was not a good fit. He was later traded to the Chicago Bulls and released.

    Some wonder if Anthony is just washed up and should retire, but he can still have some value as a spark plug off the bench. It is just a matter of whether he is willing to accept that role.

    The 10-time All-Star has a career scoring average of 24.0 points per game and averaged more than 20 points for his first 14 seasons in the league. His already questionable efficiency has dropped in recent years, but plenty of teams need firepower from their reserves.

    Everybody shipped Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers after he was released by the Bulls. But that did not pan out. Nevertheless, it is not crazy to think a team will take a chance on signing a consistent double-digit scorer for the league minimum.

    Thabo Sefolosha

    Sefolosha can be plugged into basically any line-up, making him one of the best catches available.

    The three-and-D wing has length at 6-7 and can pester opposing teams on the ball or off it. He shot 43.6 per cent from beyond the arc with the Utah Jazz last season. However, his durability could be looked at as a major concern, as he has played more than 70 games just five times in his 13-year career.

    Sefolosha consistently demonstrates his skillset and knows exactly what role he is brought in to fill, regardless of schemes.

    Kenneth Faried

    Whoever signs Faried will get the ultimate hustle guy.

    The 6-8 big man is undersized but can bring an influx of energy to any line-up when he is on the court. Faried catches lobs, blocks shots and grabs rebounds with an intensity that is rarely matched by the opposition.

    Faried did not make any noise as a reserve of the Brooklyn Nets last season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds. Once Brooklyn waived him, he tallied 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds on a significantly better Rockets team.

    Faried is a product of his environment and plenty of teams could benefit from his grit and relentless effort. He is called "The Manimal" for a reason.

  • Rockets' James Harden on reported feud with Chris Paul: 'It was a lot of false talk' Rockets' James Harden on reported feud with Chris Paul: 'It was a lot of false talk'

    James Harden insists there is no bad blood between him and Chris Paul.

    The Houston Rockets star was rumoured to have had enough of Paul following their second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in May.

    Some reports stated Harden would not answer Paul's phone calls after last season and claimed the duo's relationship was "unsalvageable."

    Paul has since been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Russell Westbrook coming the other way in a blockbuster deal.

    However, Harden told reporters on Saturday that speculation of friction between him and Paul was not accurate.

    "It was a lot of false talk," Harden said. "Obviously as team-mates, as competitors we argue on the court. You have your disagreements on the court. Your arguments on the court. But that's just part of basketball. Everybody has that. No matter what level of basketball you're in.

    "All the negative media stuff and all the stuff that was running, it wasn't true. Me and Chris had constant communication and you know, we're good."

    With Paul now out of the picture, Harden is set for a reunion with Westbrook, who he played alongside in Oklahoma City from 2009-12 before being traded to the Rockets.

    Harden led the NBA in scoring with 36.1 points per game while Westbrook averaged a triple-double for a third straight year in 2018-19.

    "I'm excited for this opportunity," Harden said. "It's a new chapter, but I know he's [Westbrook] excited."

     

  • Hughes, Blake bested by Simbine in London Hughes, Blake bested by Simbine in London

    African champion Akani Simbine notched his first Diamond League win of the season, holding off Anguilla-born Briton Zharnel Hughes at the London Diamond League meeting on Saturday. 

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