Phoenix Suns superstar forward Kevin Durant shone on his much-anticipated Suns debut in the NBA on Wednesday (Mar. 1).
In other news, projected 2023 No. 2 NBA draft pick Scoot Henderson has said that he’s ready for the draft. On that note, here’s the latest news from around the NBA as of Mar. 2, 2023.
Kevin Durant shines on Phoenix Suns debut
Kevin Durant made his Suns debut on Wednesday (Mar. 1) against Charlotte and did not disappoint.
Durant, who had been out since Jan. 8 while recovering from a right MCL sprain, operated on a minutes restriction but was still highly productive. He finished with 23 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks on 66.7% shooting in 26 minutes as Phoenix cruised to a 105-91 win.
Durant’s co-star Devin Booker led with 37 points to go along with six rebounds, seven assists and two blocks on 57.7% shooting. Meanwhile, Charlotte was led by veteran wing Kelly Oubre Jr. with 26 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and one block on 37.5% shooting.
The Suns (34-29, fourth in the West) will next play against Chicago (29-34, 11th in the East) on the road on Friday (Mar. 3).
Scoot Henderson says he’s ready for NBA draft
French big man Victor Wembanyama is seen as the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft and the top prize for lottery teams. However, NBA G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson isn’t too far behind.
Henderson is viewed as the consensus No. 2 pick due to his elite athleticism and finishing ability at the guard spot. He has even been compared with former MVPs Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
Henderson said that he’s ready for the draft:.
“I’m just ready. I’m just trying to prepare myself for the next level. I feel right there.”
Henderson is averaging 16.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.5 apg and 1.2 spg on 45.4% shooting in 15 games with the Ignite this season.
Paul George says he can’t be best player on a championship team
LA Clippers star wing Paul George has long been considered one of the premier wing talents in the NBA.
That dates back to the early 2010s when he carried the Indiana Pacers deep into the playoffs. Many viewed George as a player who could be a No. 1 option on a championship team at that time.
However, over the last few years, George has settled into a role as a second option for LA behind co-star Kawhi Leonard. According to George, he made the decision to accept this role, as he felt like he needed to do so to contend for a title.
George spoke about his transition to being a No. 2 option on “The Old Man & The Three” with JJ Redick:
“I had to be honest with myself. In order for me to win at the highest level or get to where I want to get to. I don’t think I’m the No. 1 guy. I can score with the best. I can take over games with the best. But I don’t honestly think that’s what my game is if I want to win a championship.”
The Clippers (33-31, sixth in the West) haven’t had as strong a season as many expected. They also haven’t made an NBA Finals appearance since acquiring Leonard and George in 2019. However, most agree that the Clippers have the pieces to make a deep playoff run this season with a healty roster.
George is averaging 23.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.9 3-pointers per game on 46.2% in 47 games.
Klay Thompson says no team wants to face healthy Warriors in playoffs
Following their 2022 NBA title, the Golden State Warriors (32-30, fifth in the West) have been a middle-of-the-pack team this season.
The team has struggled with injuries to key players like superstar point guard Steph Curry as well as a lack of depth. However, they have been trending up recently, winning three straight games. That has Warriors veteran shooting guard Klay Thompson feeling confident in Golden State’s chances to move up the West standings.
Following the Warriors’ 123-105 win over Portland on Tuesday (Mar. 1), Thompson spoke about the team’s rest-of-season goals:
“I feel it, yeah. We all feel it. With 20 games left, it’s such a golden opportunity for us to increase our seeding: just get in a great rhythm, and these role (players) are getting such great experience right now, it’s going to pay off huge come playoff time.”
Thompson warned opposing teams that they don’t want to see a full-strength Golden State team in the NBA playoffs:
“And I promise you this: when we’re healthy, no one wants to see us in the postseason. I promise you that.”
Ja Morant accused of threatening security officer, punching teen
Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant is facing multiple allegations of violent behavior.
According to The Washington Post, a police report alleges that the NBA player threatened the head security guard at a Memphis mall last summer. Meanwhile, one of Morant’s companions allegedly shoved the guard in the head. That came after Morant and his companions showed up at the mall to defend his mother, who was having a dispute with a mall employee.
“Let me find out what time he gets off,” Morant reportedly said in reference to the guard.
Despite the police report, no charges were filed.
Four days after the mall incident, Morant was also accused of punching a 17-year-old boy during a pickup basketball game at his house in Memphis. Morant reportedly told police he acted in self-defense after the boy threw a basketball at his head. However, the boy alleges that the ball accidentally hit Morant in the face as he checked the ball, but Morant responded violently:
“The teenager drew the task of guarding one of the world’s most electric scorers. When Morant threw the ball hard at the boy’s chest as he attempted to check it in, the boy threw it back just as hard. The ball “slipped through (Morant’s) hands,” the teenager said, and it hit Morant’s chin.
“The teenager told police Morant then put his chin on the boy’s shoulder and asked his friend, ‘Do I do it to him?’ The friend responded, ‘Yeah, do it.’ “Morant then punched the boy in his jaw, the boy told police, and without warning, the friend struck him on the other side,” The Washington Post reported.
The boy alleges that Morant later hit him 12 to 13 times, while Morant’s companion hit him four or five times as well. Moreover, he said that Morant went inside his house to retrieve a gun. However, he never pulled it out on the boy but instead just flashed it on his waist.
Both sides reportedly filed police reports following the incident. The boy and his family also filed a lawsuit against Morant and his companion, Davonte Pack. Morant and his agent have since denied the allegations.
However, it’s still not a good look for Morant, who was already involved in a separate off-court controversy last month.