Around the Association: Stars Aligning in Sacramento, 20 Years of LeBrons, Simmons Returns to Philly, More

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Around the Association: Stars Aligning in Sacramento, 20 Years of LeBrons, Simmons Returns to Philly, More

Chicago Bulls

The Sacramento Kings are quickly becoming this season’s Cinderella Story with an efficient offense, a young roster, and a fun vibe.

Kings Riding Seven-Game Win Streak

The Sacramento Kings top-rated offense (by efficiency standards) was tasked with its toughest test yet on Tuesday night when they visited the Memphis Grizzlies, the team that led the NBA in forced turnovers last season.

Sacramento answered the call for the majority of the game, leading the Grizzlies by 12 with about four minutes to play in the game when Memphis ratcheted up the defensive intensity, and forced six turnovers in the final four minutes, giving Memphis a chance to win the game.

Yet the Kings were able to hold on for a 113-109 win over the Grizzlies, an escape act impressive as any we’ve seen this season, pushing their record to 10-6 with their seventh straight win after starting the season 3-6.

A month into Mike Brown’s first season in Sacramento and the Kings have their longest winning streak since 2004 as they try to snap a 16-season playoff drought.

The Kings early-season success may be a surprise to some, but no Da’Aaron Fox, who said before the season started that the stars were beginning to align in Sacramento:

The Athletic Ranks LeBron’s Greatest Sneakers

I’m not much more than a comfortable pair of Nike running shoe kind of guy these days in my early 30s, but back in the day, circa 2003, when I was 13 years old, and LeBron James was the most anticipated NBA prospect since Kobe Bryant, I was a big sneakers fan.

I mean, how could I not be, right? I grew up in Chicago, and my parents always ensured I had a fresh pair of Jordans for — at a minimum — back-to-school season. But being born in 1990 and not old enough to truly appreciate Jordan’s greatness until he was in the twilight of his career, I always looked for a new, more followable NBA star to gravitate to.

LeBron was that guy back then, and his $90 million contract with Nike ensured that both worlds collided for me. I’ll never forget the Nike Air Zoom Lebron 1, or even more so, the Nike LeBron Zoom 2 with the St. Vincent-St. Mary Irish colorway. Being a South Side kid, the Irish moniker and colorway was another mashup of different avenues of my life and culture. I rocked those with the Nike SVSM Irish jersey circa 8th-grade times.

The Athletic ranked the 20 best LeBron sneakers in honor of the release of his 20th signature show and two decades since he took the NBA and sneaker world by storm.

Check it out if that is (or was) your cup of tea:

Ben Simmons’ Return to Philly

To say that Ben Simmons isn’t a very popular fellow in the Philadelphia area would be an understatement. Charles Barkley gave us a good laugh before Simmons, and the Nets took on the Sixers last night when he joked that Simmons needed an oversized jacket to cover up some protective gear for his return to Philly.

But it was Simmons that had the last laugh this time around. Simmons knocked down a pair of first-quarter free throws amid a flurry of loud boos from Philadelphia fans. Simmons wanted those badly. A career 60 percent free throw shooter, you know he loved putting them down as the boos rained down on him.

Simmons logged 11 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds, but the Sixers beat the Nets 115-106 on Tuesday night. Simmons, however, has found a spark of late after reports of teammates and coaches being unhappy with him and questioning his passion for the game. Simmons is averaging 14.8 points, 6.5 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game on 79 percent shooting over his last four.

And Ones

  • Was there ever a better gamesman than Michael Jordan?
  • Is ‘The Brow’ back?
  • I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t envious of the team that the Cleveland Cavaliers have put together, especially this guy:
  • We’ve got heckuva slate on tap tonight for all you hoop-heads. Dallas and Boston are in the early slot on ESPN with the Clippers and Warriors as the night cap, the Bulls and Bucks (locally) and 10 NBA League Pass games:
  • Remember when Kevin Love scored 34 points in a first quarter, BY HIMSELF!?
  • Happy Thanksgiving!

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.