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Michael Jordan? Puh-leeze! Bill Russell is the NBA’s G.O.A.T. | Commentary

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Michael Jordan? Puh-Leeze! Bill Russell Is The Nba’s G.o.a.t. | Commentary
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Shame on us.

All of us.

Or, at least, most of us.

Shame on us for always declaring Michael Jordan to be the NBA’s G.O.A.T. — Greatest Of All Time.

Shame on us for also including LeBron James in the G.O.A.T. conversation or Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Kobe Bryant.

But never Bill Russell.

The only time, it seems, Bill Russell has ever been mentioned as the G.O.A.T. is when our fathers or grandfathers joined the conversation and we just rolled our eyes and thought to ourselves, “Shut up, old man!”

“There are a lot of people, particularly young people, who have no idea of Bill Russell’s impact on and off the court,” says UCF professor and lifelong civil rights activist Dr. Richard Lapchick. “The contributions Bill Russell made in sport, and even more so in American society, are immense.”

So immense that after Russell’s death on July 31 at the age of 88, the NBA made the unprecedented move on Thursday of retiring his No. 6 jersey leaguewide — the first time in history that has ever happened.

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”

How in the world could we be such prisoners of the moment as to overlook Russell — inarguably the greatest champion in the history of American team sports and arguably the greatest social justice warrior in American sports history — as the undisputed G.O.A.T.?

Is it because he didn’t score a bunch of points like M.J. and LeBron or didn’t have the captivating smile like Magic? We’re talking about the greatest player of all time; not the greatest scorer of all time; not the most exciting player of all time; not the most charismatic player of all time. We’re talking about the greatest. And greatness should encapsulate everything, not just how many points you scored or championships you won, but the impact you had.

On the court, Russell won 11 of a possible 13 championships with the Boston Celtics, including eight in a row. He appeared in 10 Game 7s during his career and his Celtics won all 10 of them. He also won back-to-back NCAA titles at the University of San Francisco and an Olympic gold medal. He is the greatest defensive player in the history of the NBA and showed that a player could dominate the game by rebounding and playing defense.

He averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game, and there’s no telling how many blocks Russell would have had in his career if the NBA had tracked shot rejections during his career. How many superstars of today would be willing to sacrifice getting shots and scoring points to concentrate on blocking shots and getting rebounds?

“Practically everything we did was predicated on Bill rebounding the ball or blocking a shot and starting our fastbreak,” Celtics Hall-of-Fame point guard Bob Cousy once said.

Said Don Nelson, another former Celtics teammate and ex-NBA head coach: “There are two types of superstars. One makes himself look good at the expense of the other guys on the floor. But there’s another type who makes the players around him look better than they are, and that’s the type Russell was.”

Even more than the championships he won, Russell is the G.O.A.T. because of the trails he blazed and the stances he took. He became the NBA’s first Black head coach and the first Black coach in the four major professional sports leagues to win a championship.

And while he wasn’t the first Black player in the NBA, he is the player most responsible for league’s massive integration during the 1960s. He was the league’s first Black superstar and spoke out against racial quotas on NBA rosters. During his rookie season, Russell was the only Black player on the Celtics roster, but by 1964 the Celtics had the first all-Black starting lineup in NBA history.

When a hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, refused to serve food to two of his Black teammates — Sam Jones and Satch Sanders — in 1961, Russell organized a boycott and forced the cancellation of the NBA exhibition game the world-champion Celtics were in town to play.

At a volatile time when most Black athletes didn’t want to make waves, Russell created tsunamis. He was a staunch civil rights leader who marched on the nation’s capital with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was front and center for King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

He put his life in jeopardy and incurred the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan by visiting the state of Mississippi just days after civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated there in 1963.

Russell, along with Abdul-Jabbar and Jim Brown, angered white America when they sat beside Muhammad Ali in Cleveland in 1967 when Ali announced he was refusing induction into the U.S. military to fight in the Vietnam War. “No Viet Cong ever called me a [n-word],” Ali reportedly said at the time.

Russell being at the forefront of the civil rights movement rattled racist cages throughout the country, including many of those in Boston. One summer when he was on vacation, burglars broke into Russell’s Boston-area home, destroyed his trophies, vandalized his walls by scrawling the n-word on them and even disgustingly defecated on his bed. That incident drove a lifelong wedge between Russell and the city where he won so many championships.

Russell refused to sugarcoat any of the racism he experienced when his searing, groundbreaking autobiography Go Up For Glory was first published in 1966. Unlike the feel-good sports books of the day, Russell’s story was an unfiltered look at the racist incidents he endured throughout his life and playing career in Boston.

That book inspired Joe Lapchick, the former New York Knicks coach, to also start speaking out against the racism he faced when he integrated the Knicks by signing the team’s first Black player — Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton. It also helped inspire Joe Lapchick’s son, Richard, to dedicate his career to making sports more inclusive and diverse.

“If any other member of the Celtics like Sam Jones or K.C. Jones had written that book, they would have been cut from the league,” Richard Lapchick says, “but Bill Russell was simply too great a player for that to happen to. Bill Russell showed everyone that you could be an unbelievably talented player and champion but still speak out on social justice issues that are important to the country.”

This is why Bill Russell isn’t just the NBA’S G.O.A.T.; he is the NBA’s lion.

While there are certainly other great players such as Michael Jordan who belong on the league’s Mount Rushmore, there’s only one player — William Felton Russell — who stands alone on the league’s Mount Everest.

Email me at [email protected]. Hit me up on Twitter @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show every weekday from 6 to 9:30 a.m. on FM 96.9, AM 740 and HD 101.1-2

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Tommies men’s hockey ready to show ‘a different identity’ with revamped roster

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Tommies Men’s Hockey Ready To Show ‘A Different Identity’ With Revamped Roster
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There were no bold predictions coming from the St. Thomas men’s hockey team as it prepared to open its second season at the Division I level against St. Cloud State on Saturday night at St. Thomas Ice Arena.

But a major roster turnover is only part of the reason why the Tommies are confident this season will prove to be more rewarding from a win-lose perspective that last year’s 3-32-1 campaign.

“You can tell that there’s a different identity,” said senior forward Luke Manning, a Stillwater native. “We still need to establish that identity in a game, but we’re more of a skilled team. We’ve got a better flow to our game. Being able to translate that to the ice this first weekend is going to be important to us.

“We’re kind of treating it like there’s no more excuses this year. We’re expected to compete with top-end teams, and we’ve got plenty of them on our schedule. If we don’t compete with them, it definitely will be a disappointment for us.”

The Tommies’ roster includes 12 freshmen, and head coach Rico Blasi said they all will get a chance to play right away. “They all have some unique skill set that they bring to the team.” he said. “That was all part of our madness in the lab — we need to have this, we need to have that.”

One player who would seem to have a shot at adding some scoring punch right away is Lucas Wahlin, a Hill-Murray grad who scored 31 goals for Lincoln in the USHL last season.

“Lucas committed to us really early,” Blasi said, “and he just had a great year in the USHL. He really popped.”

Manning led the Tommies last season with eight goals, so finding some more offensive production is a must.

“We’ve got the makings of guys who can put the puck in the net,” Blasi said. “It’s just a matter of getting up to speed on playing major college hockey.”

The goaltending will be in the hands of a pair of freshmen, Aaron Trotter, from Victoria, British Columbia, and Ethan Roberts, from Cary, N.C.

“We’re definitely not worried about our goaltending,” Manning said. “They fact that they’re freshmen, we’re confident they will be able to step in and have an impact right away. The veteran presence we have on defense will be huge for us, too. We’ve got some big bodies back there now, too, so we definitely can play physical.”

Along with the 12 freshmen, three other defensemen committed to the Tommies but have elected to play another year in the USHL before joining the program. Blasi and his staff added three veteran defensemen through the transfer portal.

“We needed to make sure we had that stop gap,” Blasi said. “We added guys who are a little older, and while they might not have a lot of game experience, they come from good programs and practiced against high-quality players. So we feel they can help us compete on the back end.”

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NHL roster slowly starting to take shape for Wild as training camp continues

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Nhl Roster Slowly Starting To Take Shape For Wild As Training Camp Continues
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With the Oct. 13 season opener only a couple of weeks away, the Wild are getting closer to figuring out what their actual roster is going to look like.

After mixing and matching the groups throughout training camp, the Wild had 24 players on the ice for Friday’s practice at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul.

It felt very close to the NHL roster the Wild will trot out when they host the New York Rangers in Game 1 at Xcel Energy Center.

“We have a thought process we’ve talked about,” coach Dean Evason said. “We’ve practiced with different types of units, and today was likely a little closer.”

The fact that Marco Rossi and Calen Addison were both a part of that group felt significant. It indicated that both prospects appear to have the inside track at making the team out to start the season.

Not that Evason wants them to read too much into that.

“We talk to players all the time,” Evason said. “We want them all to keep competing against each other for the right to compete with each other.”

That shouldn’t be a problem for Rossi and Addison. They made it clear that they aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves. They have both been down this road and they know they still have a lot to prove before they can feel like they actually made it.

“The biggest thing for me is the experience from last year,” Rossi said. “I always say that because last year I didn’t really know what’s going to be expected of me. Now I have more expectations for myself, too, and I know what I have to do.”

“You’ve got to come in focused every day,” Addison added. “It’s never going to be handed to us. They have made that very clear to us younger guys. I just come in and try to prove it and work as hard as I can every day. You can’t take anything for granted here.”

As for Friday’s practice, the main focus was fixing the power play. After struggling with the man advantage last season, Evason noted that there would be personnel changes this season. It looks like Rossi and Addison are going to be part of that.

The first unit consisted of Addison playing the point with Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Boldy and Joel Eriksson Ek. The second unit consisted of Rossi playing with Ryan Hartman, Marcus Foligno, Freddy Gaudreau and Jared Spurgeon.

Asked about Rossi and Addison getting looks on the power play, Evason replied, “That’s why they’re here, right? That’s what they do. That’s what they’re going to do here.”

“There will be lots of different looks,” the coach said. “You’ve seen our power plays through our games. We think we have a lot of people that can play on our power play. That’s pretty exciting for us.”

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Nick Cannon In A Baby-Producing Competition With Rapper NBA Youngboy As Nick Also Welcomes His 10th Baby With His Baby Mama Brittany Bell

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Look, something has to be done to stop Nick Cannon and rapper NBA Youngboy from bringing new kids into this chaotic world—because it’s getting out of hand. I blame these women for opening their legs for these men to make babies with them.

And it looks like Nick and Youngboy are in some baby-producing competition looking at how they are welcoming kids left, right, and center.

Just a few hours after news went viral about NBA Youngboy welcoming his 10th child, Nick Cannon also announced the birth of his 10th child with his third baby mama Brittany Bell.

The proud father of 10, Nick Cannon hopped on his Instagram page and joyfully announced the birth of his 10th child.

Here is what Nick wrote;

Another Blessing!!! As my journey on this planet becomes more and more remarkable and unfathomable, all I can do is thank God and continue to ask the Most High to order my steps. He has given me stewardship and dominion over a family dynamic that to some is unimaginable. But more importantly he has blessed me with loving individuals to guide me with care through this purposeful life. I am so indebted and grateful for the matriarch energy in my time of need. @missbbell has been the rock and foundation of my Fatherhood journey. She has taught me so much about parenting, psychology, spirituality, love and just life in general. For our third child she told me she didn’t want a baby shower and needed NOTHING! All she desired was PRAYER from her authentic Loved Ones! I am learning that is the best GIFT! She introduced me to the concept of a BlessingWay! As you can see in the video, a bunch of powerful prayer warriors interceding for our new child’s entrance to Earth! And boy did we need it! Probably the most difficult labor and delivery I have ever witnessed! 48 hours of excruciating pain and life risking danger to welcome 10 pounds of Love and joy named RISE MESSIAH CANNON.🙏🏾

Thank you Brittany for my fellow little Libra! I love you and our Incredible Family!

According to ET:

Cannon’s growing family started after he married Mariah Carey in 2008. Though the pair split in 2016, they share 11-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan. It was then that Cannon’s “unorthodox” approach to dating and child rearing began, with Cannon going on to welcome eight more children by five other women. He’s currently expecting his 11th child with Abby De La Rosa.

Inside Nick Cannon’s growing family tree;

Cannon and Carey married in 2008, and in April of 2011, they welcomed twins Monroe and Moroccan. Though the couple divorced in 2016, Cannon has continued to co-parent with Carey and remain a constant part of the twins’ lives.

In February 2017, Cannon welcomed son Golden Sagon with Bell. The pair would later welcome a daughter, Powerful Queen, 1, in December 2020, and another son, Rise Messiah, on Sept. 23, 2022.

In June 2021, Cannon welcomed his next set of twins, fathering Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir with De La Rosa. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the pair are expecting their third child together, due in October.

Also in June 2021, Cannon welcomed Zen, with Scott. Zen tragically died in December at just 5 months old, after a battle with brain cancer.

In January 2022, just a month after Zen’s death, Cannon revealed that he was expecting his eighth child with the model-turned-real estate reality star. They welcomed their son, Legendary, in July.

The Masked Singer host announced that he and photographer LaNisha Cole had welcomed their first child together on Sept. 15, 2022, a daughter named Onyx Ice Cole Cannon. 

While it’s been difficult for many to understand how Cannon juggles a busy career and his growing family, he told ET last month that he dedicates his “entire day” to his children.

“It’s not as difficult as people think it would be, but I understand [their concern] because it is a very unorthodox scenario,” Cannon explained. “I dedicate probably my entire day to my children. Luckily, we are in a world where I’m blessed with the opportunity. I get to spend more time with my children every single day because of my world and my business model.”

Congratulations to Nick Cannon and all his baby mommas!!! You people have a strong heart to tolerate BS!!!

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The post Nick Cannon In A Baby-Producing Competition With Rapper NBA Youngboy As Nick Also Welcomes His 10th Baby With His Baby Mama Brittany Bell appeared first on TheGossipScoop.com.

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Chicago Bears could be without kicker Cairo Santos for their Week 4 road game

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Chicago Bears Could Be Without Kicker Cairo Santos For Their Week 4 Road Game
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The Chicago Bears are bracing for the possibility they will be without kicker Cairo Santos when they play the New York Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Santos was excused from Thursday’s practice for personal reasons and was not spotted when Friday’s short practice was open for media viewing. Multiple sources said the team scheduled a tryout for specialists on Friday, meaning the Bears could be considering a potential replacement for Santos.

The Bears listed Santos as questionable on their injury report Friday.

Santos made field goals from 47 and 50 yards before hitting the 30-yarder on the final play of a 23-20 win over the Houston Texans last Sunday at Soldier Field. He’s 4-for-4 on field goals on the season and rebounded from two missed extra points during a driving rainstorm in the Week 1 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

He set a franchise record in 2020 when he made 30-of-32 field goal attempts (93.8%), earning a $9 million, three-year contract. Santos followed it up by going 26-of-30 on field goals in 2021.

If Santos doesn’t play, special teams coordinator Richard Hightower will also need a replacement on kickoffs. It’s a chore Santos split in preseason with punter Trenton Gill, so it’s possible the rookie would handle those duties. Overall, Santos has made 89.7% of his field goals since joining the team for a second stint in 2020, taking the job when Eddy Pineiro was sidelined by injury.

The Bears had punter James Smith in for a tryout Thursday along with long snapper Mitchell Fraboni. Smith was likely in because he kicks with his left foot. Giants punter Jamie Gillan is left-footed and it is not uncommon for teams to want their returners to get reps catching balls from left-footed kickers to get accustomed to the spin. That workout would not seem to involve Santos’ situation.

On the sideline and not participating when media viewed practice Friday were cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quad), tight end Ryan Griffin (Achilles) and defensive back Dane Cruikshank (hamstring). Johnson was injured in practice last week and will potentially miss his second consecutive game. Johnson and Cruikshank were ruled out for the Week 4 game.

Not spotted was running back David Montgomery (ankle), who has not practiced this week and was ruled out. That means Khalil Herbert, fresh off a 157-yard effort with two touchdowns against the Texans, will be the primary ball carrier Sunday.

Defensive end Robert Quinn, who was out Thursday with an illness, was on the field and listed as questionable on the injury report.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘Couldn’t believe what I saw’ with Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s head injury

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Ravens Coach John Harbaugh: ‘Couldn’t Believe What I Saw’ With Dolphins Qb Tua Tagovailoa’s Head Injury
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Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he “couldn’t believe what I saw last night” when discussing the head injury suffered by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The frightening injury, suffered four days after Tagovailoa hit his head in Miami’s previous game, inspired a swift, fierce debate about the NFL’s handling of concussion protocols.

Harbaugh did not analyze the specifics of Tagovailoa’s situation but expressed confidence in the Ravens’ strict handling of head and neck injuries.

“It was just something that was astonishing to see,” he said. “I’ve been coaching for 40 years in college and the NFL. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I really appreciate our doctors, appreciate our owner, appreciate our general manager from the standpoint that there’s two things you have to keep in mind: One of them is, a lot of time players want to play. Sometimes, you just have to tell them no. No has got to be the answer. … Then sometimes, guys might be there physically where they’re sound, but they’re not confident yet. They’re not quite there yet, and we’ve had that this year. We’ve had both those situations this year. You don’t put them out there until they’re ready.”

He noted that the Ravens held out wide receiver Devin Duvernay for the conclusion of their Week 2 loss to the Dolphins despite the fact he had not showed symptoms when he went into concussion protocol, a six-step evaluation by a team physician and unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants.

“I think [our doctors] would probably call themselves conservative, but that’s what they should be,” Harbaugh said. “The other part of it, [what happened] last night, was not something you want to see.”

Tagovailoa hit his head on the ground in the first half of Miami’s game Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. He got up but wobbled and nearly collapsed as he tried to jog back to the huddle. He returned to play in the second half, and the Dolphins said he was dealing with a back injury, not head trauma.

He started four days later against the Bengals but hit his head again when he was whipped to the turf in the second quarter. That led to a frightening scene which ended with an immobilized Tua being driven off the field on a stretcher and taken to taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The Dolphins announced he had remained conscious, with movement in all extremities, and he was discharged later in the evening in time to fly back to Miami with the team.

Speaking to local reporters Friday, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa was cleared “by several layers of medical professionals” of having “any head injury whatsoever” against Buffalo. He was listed as questionable to play entering Thursday’s game with back and ankle injuries.

“If there would have been anything lingering with his head, of course I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there in harm’s way,” McDaniel said. “This is a relationship I have with this human being. I take that seriously.”

McDaniel did not have a timetable for Tagovailoa’s return.

“It was scary,” said Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell, a 15-year veteran who has served in leadership positions with the NFL Players Association. The union has said it’s investigating the circumstances that led to Tagovailoa returning to the Bills game.

“I think there are a lot of things other than concussions that can cause serious issues as well that we need to evolve on,” Campbell said. “I’m not a doctor. I don’t know what the response was with Tua that made him think he should be comfortable playing football. But I do know that something was wrong, and from the looks of it, he shouldn’t have been out there. And we definitely need to take a look at that, to figure out how a player who was in a compromised situation was put on the field and put at risk for more serious injuries. That’s not OK. The league has to take a strong look at that.”

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Kevin Durant explains why he rescinded trade request from Nets: ‘I’m glad I’m here now’

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Kevin Durant Explains Why He Rescinded Trade Request From Nets: ‘I’m Glad I’m Here Now’
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Nets star Kevin Durant said he returned to Brooklyn after his unfulfilled trade request because the Nets were still “a great option.”

Durant, who requested a trade twice in the offseason and reportedly asked team owner Joe Tsai to fire both general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash, chose to stay put even though there’s overwhelming evidence proving superstars who want out can ultimately force their way.

James Harden, for instance, forced a midseason trade from Brooklyn to Philadelphia after forcing a trade from Houston to Brooklyn.

“[I came back because] I felt like we had a good team. I felt like this is a place that I said I wanted to be and we’re starting to set something up in the future to be a solid team,” he said after Day 4 of Nets training camp at the HSS Training Facility in Industry City on Friday. “So to be honest, I thought [Brooklyn] was still a great option, too. I didn’t want [the trade request] to get in the way of the games being played.

“I still love my teammates, I love playing at the Barclays. So I felt like regardless it’s gonna be an easy decision to come back and play because I love the hoop. This has been a good environment for me the last two years, even though I had some doubts, but overall, looking at it, I still like to come in here and get work in.”

Durant echoed the same sentiments shared by both Marks and Nash on Media Day. Durant met with Marks, Nash and Tsai after issuing the ultimatum, and the group cleared the air to help put the superstar forward’s concerns at ease.

On Media Day, Durant said he requested a trade because of a lack of accountability and championship culture in Brooklyn.

“I was upset, and as a family, they understood that I was upset,” he said on Friday. “Some of the stuff they agreed with, and so we talked about it, and it was over a couple of weeks towards the end of that where we talked about it, and we came out and we voiced all our concerns about how we all can be better, and it just worked out from there.

“I’m glad I’m here now.”

Durant — who said he expects to play in all four preseason games, though he doesn’t anticipate a heavy minutes load — was also complimentary of the roster moves the Nets made this summer. Marks’ offseason included trading for 3-and-D wing Royce O’Neale, signing T.J. Warren and Edmond Sumner, and re-signing both Nic Claxton and Patty Mills to two-year deals. The Nets also welcomed Ben Simmons (back) and Joe Harris (ankle) back from injuries. The roster additions were one of the reasons Durant felt comfortable returning to Brooklyn after wanting out.

“Oh yeah, we’re versatile,” said Durant. “We’ve got bigger guys. Last year in the playoffs we played a lot of smaller guys under 6-4; a lot of them played against a big team in the Celtics. I think we got bigger as a group overall. And we’ve got a lot of IQ in the building as well.

“Royce played in some playoff stretches. Ben obviously. Seth. So we’ve got some playoff experience in here that’s going to help down the line.”

The two-time Finals MVP and one-time NBA Most Valuable Player of the Year said he believes the team can be successful this season because they are entering training camp almost fully healthy.

“We look at it in the grand scheme of things, like we haven’t been healthy at all for two years,” he said. “It’s been, each playoffs, we’ve had major guys just miss minutes, like not just role players, guys that make a lot of money. So when you got $50 million on your bench this last playoffs with Joe and Ben, and then playoffs before that — I want to see what our team looks like in full with guys being healthy and us having a little bit of continuity. So we’ll see what happens.”

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