Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant on His Legendary Game at Harlem’s Rucker Park

Sure, you know about KD’s heroics in last year’s NBA Finals. But have you heard about the time he scored a whopping 66 points playing streetball at Rucker Park?

Kevin Durant on His Legendary Game at Harlem’s Rucker Park

Sure, you know about KD’s heroics in last year’s NBA Finals. But have you heard about the time he scored a whopping 66 points playing streetball at Rucker Park?

Kevin Durant on His Legendary Game at Harlem’s Rucker Park

Sure, you know about KD’s heroics in last year’s NBA Finals. But have you heard about the time he scored a whopping 66 points playing streetball at Rucker Park?

Kevin Durant on His Legendary Game at Harlem’s Rucker Park

Sure, you know about KD’s heroics in last year’s NBA Finals. But have you heard about the time he scored a whopping 66 points playing streetball at Rucker Park?

NBA Draft Roundtable: Most Fascinating Prospect?

With the college basketball season underway and The Crossover’s Front Office up and running, seven writers weigh in on which potential NBA players currently have their attention. From top-five picks to potentially undrafted sleepers, here are our most fascinating prospects to watch.

Also, be sure to check out Jeremy Woo's 2018 NBA Mock Draft along with his Stock Watch from Tuesday night's Champions Classic.

Without further ado, the Front Office examines the most intriguing prospects in the 2018 NBA draft.

Jeremy Woo: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

The only thing better than a sneaky, obscure and fun prospect is a sneaky, obscure fun prospect with a cool backstory. Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura has a great chance to become just the second Japanese-born NBA player ever (with Yuta Tabuse being the first). Hachimura played sparingly last season for the Zags, playing just 4.6 minutes per game on a Final Four team, and then…he went to the U19 World Cup and exploded.

Because he sat much of last season, most scouts haven’t seen enough of him for him to rank high on any boards. What we think we have here is a long, well-built combo forward who might be able to shoot it at the next level, make the occasional play off the dribble and work hard on the glass and defensive end. He can drop his shoulder and attack the basket off the dribble, and has the athleticism to get to the rim. It’s no longer an explicit negative to be positionless, and his evolving perimeter game and feel suggests he might eventually slot in nicely as a combo forward. The back of the first round is pretty wide–open, and as a part of a sneaky–fun Gonzaga team, Hachmura’s breakout could very well be imminent.

Ben Golliver: Michael Porter Jr., Missouri

There are longer wingspans, bigger mysteries, and perhaps even higher-upside prospects in the 2018 draft class, but potential No. 1 overall pick Michael Porter Jr. remains as intriguing as any of his peers. Porter checks all the boxes as a possible perennial All-Star who should acclimate quickly to the modern NBA game: The Missouri freshman can play either forward position, he can create his own shot with a smooth and natural handle, he can pull up comfortably and shoot from beyond the arc, he can collapse a defense without losing control, and he can finish above the rim thanks to his explosive quick leaping. Porter boasts solid feel for a teenager and a calculating attack mindset; It’s not hard to envision him leading a bad team in scoring as a high-usage/middling-efficiency rookie.

Porter doesn’t profile as a rim-protecting four or a play-making point forward, thereby docking his stock relative to past high-profile prospects like Kevin Durant or Ben Simmons. But Jayson Tatum’s early success in Boston should help stoke expectations for what Porter can accomplish out of the gate. Like Tatum, Porter appears to have the necessary mobility to defend wings and switch onto guards without succumbing to panicky feet and reaching fouls. What's more, in a league increasingly loaded with four-out and five-out lineups, Porter should thrive thanks to his athleticism, his developed one-on-one offensive repertoire, and his interchangeability on the defensive end. Questions about his “true position” miss a larger point: His offensive self-sufficiency and defensive flexibility make him an easy centerpiece for lineup-building. In sum, Porter is absolutely worth tanking for given his level of polish and his strong stylistic fit in today’s game. Good luck, Mark Cuban, Gar Forman, Vlade Divac and Travis Schlenk.

Dan Greene: Mitchell Robinson, ex-Western Kentucky

If you want to watch the most fascinating first-round pick in next year’s draft, you won’t find him in any college game, nor on any court in Europe. Instead you’ll probably have to head to Dallas and make arrangements with Mitchell Robinson yourself. The saga that precipitated these circumstances was winding. A somewhat succinct version: Robinson enrolled at Western Kentucky over the summer, then left campus a few weeks after his godfather, Shammond Williams, resigned from the staff; visited Kansas and New Orleans as potential transfer destinations; re-enrolled at WKU in August; and finally left WKU for good in September to begin his draft prep in Texas.

For college hoops fans, it was a dramatic road to nowhere. For NBA draftniks, however, the moves wound up creating a particularly intriguing and mysterious prospect. A consensus top-10 recruit, the 6’11” Robinson projected as an excellent rebounder and interior defender at the college level, where he would have gotten tons of run to showcase his game. Now he’s been reduced to a series of YouTube highlight compilations from the high school level. There are no meaningful stats to parse, nor a rich trove of game tape to scout. Robinson will enter the pre-draft process as unknown as he is talented.

Andrew Sharp: Mohamed Bamba, Texas

There are a number of reasons to be intrigued by Mo Bamba. First, the name. Mo Bamba. It rolls off the tongue, and it would be delightful to follow an NBA superstar named Mo Bamba. But mo' importantly—(sorry)—Bamba has the crazy kind of length that makes you wonder about the future of the sport. According to Draft Express, his wingspan measured out to 7'9" at 2017 Hoop Summit, with a standing reach of 9'6".

We've already seen Rudy Gobert become one of the best defenders in the league thanks to his freakish 7'8 1/2" wingspan, while Giannis has used his own 7'4" wingspan to render jumpshots an afterthought and insert himself into every MVP conversation for the next 10 years. And that's before you get to Kristaps Porzingis (7'6" wingspan), Anthony Davis (7'5 1/2" wingspan), and Ben Simmons (7' wingspan) in Philly. Looking around the NBA, size and length—especially when paired with mobility—might be the most valuable skills for the next decade of pro basketball.

Bamba will need to refine his offense, he'll need to add weight, and he's probably needs a few more years to be able to bang with NBA big men, even in the small ball era. But he's big, he's fast, and he's got some of the longest arms we've seen since Giannis and Gobert. Are you not intrigued?

Chris Johnson: Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

The odds of Colson hearing his name called in the first round are long. He’s nearly 22 years old and entering his fourth season at Notre Dame. The reason Colson is so intriguing as a prospect is simple: He plays much taller than his height. The Fighting Irish list Colson at 6’6"—but that might be a stretch. Most college big men are no match for him anyway.

One explanation for Colson's success is that he has a 6’11 1/2’’ wingspan, which helps him snare rebounds over opponents, swat shots and finish over length in traffic. A better one is that he has a next-level understanding about where he needs to be, and when, to make plays on both ends of the floor. High-difficulty flip shots are standard fare for Colson, and he can offset his lacking run-and-jump athleticism by outmaneuvering opposing big men in the paint. With a sturdy, 224-pound frame, Colson can absorb bumps and shoves without ceding ground, and he’ll make teams pay for putting him on the free-throw line (78.3 FT% last season). Colson’s already proven he can score efficiently inside the arc. To raise his stock before next summer’s draft, he’ll need to prove he can approximate the 43.3% three-point shooting he put up last season over a larger sample size.

Jake Fischer: Landry Shamet, Wichita State

A 6'4 point guard with length, shooting prowess and off-the-bounce playmaking ability? That sounds like a prospect that would have been grouped with the elite lead ball handlers of last year's loaded class, right? Shamet should assume an even larger role this season with the Shockers after a sterling NCAA tournament run last spring. Wichita State is a veteran bunch, fully primed for a run at the national title, and Shamet should exhibit an increase in scoring ability. He has tremendous patience in pick-and-rolls and can change pace effectively to score and set up his diving big man. Shamet drilled 43.9% of his triples a year ago, and he uses that threat to toy with defenses in addition to sniping for three points.

He has all the makings of a first–round pick, and could very feasibly rise into the late lottery a la Cameron Payne a few years ago (this is a thought exercise on draft trends, not a player comparison). Now two years removed from an ankle injury that forced him to redshirt his freshman campaign, Shamet will turn 21 during the season and is fresh off recuperating from a stress fracture in his right foot. He's healed now, playing in both of Wichita State's games so far, but scouts have certainly flagged him as a potential medical risk with two serious foot injuries on his résumé. Shamet's a tantalizing prospect otherwise. Can his play plus a deep run in March quiet those questions and his skeptics?

Eric Single: Matthew Fisher-Davis, SG, Vanderbilt

When most of America last saw Matthew Fisher-Davis, he was bent over in a shell-shocked daze after committing the biggest mental error of the 2017 NCAA tournament: intentionally fouling Northwestern's best player in the final seconds despite holding a one-point lead. And that foul wasn't the only black mark on Fisher-Davis's year; three separate disciplinary incidents during the season cost him playing time ranging from a spot in the starting lineup to an entire conference game. But amid all that, he led the Commodores in scoring at 13.9 points per game, taking 66 more threes than the next closest player in a lineup full of long-range gunners.

This year, he's expected to take on an even bigger load on another perimeter-oriented team—SI projects him to finish among Division I's top 100 scorers—but pro scouts will take note of the athleticism and base strength that allows him to launch his jump shots beyond tight contests and play above the rim when necessary. In addition, his awareness (get your Northwestern foul jokes in here) makes him an opportunistic defender, if not a relentless one. He's still a work in progress at creating his own shot, but he's farther along in that endeavor than 2012 first-round pick John Jenkins was entering his final season at Vandy. The Commodores figure to have little choice but to let him fire at will this season.

NBA Draft Roundtable: Most Fascinating Prospect?

With the college basketball season underway and The Crossover’s Front Office up and running, seven writers weigh in on which potential NBA players currently have their attention. From top-five picks to potentially undrafted sleepers, here are our most fascinating prospects to watch.

Also, be sure to check out Jeremy Woo's 2018 NBA Mock Draft along with his Stock Watch from Tuesday night's Champions Classic.

Without further ado, the Front Office examines the most intriguing prospects in the 2018 NBA draft.

Jeremy Woo: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

The only thing better than a sneaky, obscure and fun prospect is a sneaky, obscure fun prospect with a cool backstory. Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura has a great chance to become just the second Japanese-born NBA player ever (with Yuta Tabuse being the first). Hachimura played sparingly last season for the Zags, playing just 4.6 minutes per game on a Final Four team, and then…he went to the U19 World Cup and exploded.

Because he sat much of last season, most scouts haven’t seen enough of him for him to rank high on any boards. What we think we have here is a long, well-built combo forward who might be able to shoot it at the next level, make the occasional play off the dribble and work hard on the glass and defensive end. He can drop his shoulder and attack the basket off the dribble, and has the athleticism to get to the rim. It’s no longer an explicit negative to be positionless, and his evolving perimeter game and feel suggests he might eventually slot in nicely as a combo forward. The back of the first round is pretty wide–open, and as a part of a sneaky–fun Gonzaga team, Hachmura’s breakout could very well be imminent.

Ben Golliver: Michael Porter Jr., Missouri

There are longer wingspans, bigger mysteries, and perhaps even higher-upside prospects in the 2018 draft class, but potential No. 1 overall pick Michael Porter Jr. remains as intriguing as any of his peers. Porter checks all the boxes as a possible perennial All-Star who should acclimate quickly to the modern NBA game: The Missouri freshman can play either forward position, he can create his own shot with a smooth and natural handle, he can pull up comfortably and shoot from beyond the arc, he can collapse a defense without losing control, and he can finish above the rim thanks to his explosive quick leaping. Porter boasts solid feel for a teenager and a calculating attack mindset; It’s not hard to envision him leading a bad team in scoring as a high-usage/middling-efficiency rookie.

Porter doesn’t profile as a rim-protecting four or a play-making point forward, thereby docking his stock relative to past high-profile prospects like Kevin Durant or Ben Simmons. But Jayson Tatum’s early success in Boston should help stoke expectations for what Porter can accomplish out of the gate. Like Tatum, Porter appears to have the necessary mobility to defend wings and switch onto guards without succumbing to panicky feet and reaching fouls. What's more, in a league increasingly loaded with four-out and five-out lineups, Porter should thrive thanks to his athleticism, his developed one-on-one offensive repertoire, and his interchangeability on the defensive end. Questions about his “true position” miss a larger point: His offensive self-sufficiency and defensive flexibility make him an easy centerpiece for lineup-building. In sum, Porter is absolutely worth tanking for given his level of polish and his strong stylistic fit in today’s game. Good luck, Mark Cuban, Gar Forman, Vlade Divac and Travis Schlenk.

Dan Greene: Mitchell Robinson, ex-Western Kentucky

If you want to watch the most fascinating first-round pick in next year’s draft, you won’t find him in any college game, nor on any court in Europe. Instead you’ll probably have to head to Dallas and make arrangements with Mitchell Robinson yourself. The saga that precipitated these circumstances was winding. A somewhat succinct version: Robinson enrolled at Western Kentucky over the summer, then left campus a few weeks after his godfather, Shammond Williams, resigned from the staff; visited Kansas and New Orleans as potential transfer destinations; re-enrolled at WKU in August; and finally left WKU for good in September to begin his draft prep in Texas.

For college hoops fans, it was a dramatic road to nowhere. For NBA draftniks, however, the moves wound up creating a particularly intriguing and mysterious prospect. A consensus top-10 recruit, the 6’11” Robinson projected as an excellent rebounder and interior defender at the college level, where he would have gotten tons of run to showcase his game. Now he’s been reduced to a series of YouTube highlight compilations from the high school level. There are no meaningful stats to parse, nor a rich trove of game tape to scout. Robinson will enter the pre-draft process as unknown as he is talented.

Andrew Sharp: Mohamed Bamba, Texas

There are a number of reasons to be intrigued by Mo Bamba. First, the name. Mo Bamba. It rolls off the tongue, and it would be delightful to follow an NBA superstar named Mo Bamba. But mo' importantly—(sorry)—Bamba has the crazy kind of length that makes you wonder about the future of the sport. According to Draft Express, his wingspan measured out to 7'9" at 2017 Hoop Summit, with a standing reach of 9'6".

We've already seen Rudy Gobert become one of the best defenders in the league thanks to his freakish 7'8 1/2" wingspan, while Giannis has used his own 7'4" wingspan to render jumpshots an afterthought and insert himself into every MVP conversation for the next 10 years. And that's before you get to Kristaps Porzingis (7'6" wingspan), Anthony Davis (7'5 1/2" wingspan), and Ben Simmons (7' wingspan) in Philly. Looking around the NBA, size and length—especially when paired with mobility—might be the most valuable skills for the next decade of pro basketball.

Bamba will need to refine his offense, he'll need to add weight, and he's probably needs a few more years to be able to bang with NBA big men, even in the small ball era. But he's big, he's fast, and he's got some of the longest arms we've seen since Giannis and Gobert. Are you not intrigued?

Chris Johnson: Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

The odds of Colson hearing his name called in the first round are long. He’s nearly 22 years old and entering his fourth season at Notre Dame. The reason Colson is so intriguing as a prospect is simple: He plays much taller than his height. The Fighting Irish list Colson at 6’6"—but that might be a stretch. Most college big men are no match for him anyway.

One explanation for Colson's success is that he has a 6’11 1/2’’ wingspan, which helps him snare rebounds over opponents, swat shots and finish over length in traffic. A better one is that he has a next-level understanding about where he needs to be, and when, to make plays on both ends of the floor. High-difficulty flip shots are standard fare for Colson, and he can offset his lacking run-and-jump athleticism by outmaneuvering opposing big men in the paint. With a sturdy, 224-pound frame, Colson can absorb bumps and shoves without ceding ground, and he’ll make teams pay for putting him on the free-throw line (78.3 FT% last season). Colson’s already proven he can score efficiently inside the arc. To raise his stock before next summer’s draft, he’ll need to prove he can approximate the 43.3% three-point shooting he put up last season over a larger sample size.

Jake Fischer: Landry Shamet, Wichita State

A 6'4 point guard with length, shooting prowess and off-the-bounce playmaking ability? That sounds like a prospect that would have been grouped with the elite lead ball handlers of last year's loaded class, right? Shamet should assume an even larger role this season with the Shockers after a sterling NCAA tournament run last spring. Wichita State is a veteran bunch, fully primed for a run at the national title, and Shamet should exhibit an increase in scoring ability. He has tremendous patience in pick-and-rolls and can change pace effectively to score and set up his diving big man. Shamet drilled 43.9% of his triples a year ago, and he uses that threat to toy with defenses in addition to sniping for three points.

He has all the makings of a first–round pick, and could very feasibly rise into the late lottery a la Cameron Payne a few years ago (this is a thought exercise on draft trends, not a player comparison). Now two years removed from an ankle injury that forced him to redshirt his freshman campaign, Shamet will turn 21 during the season and is fresh off recuperating from a stress fracture in his right foot. He's healed now, playing in both of Wichita State's games so far, but scouts have certainly flagged him as a potential medical risk with two serious foot injuries on his résumé. Shamet's a tantalizing prospect otherwise. Can his play plus a deep run in March quiet those questions and his skeptics?

Eric Single: Matthew Fisher-Davis, SG, Vanderbilt

When most of America last saw Matthew Fisher-Davis, he was bent over in a shell-shocked daze after committing the biggest mental error of the 2017 NCAA tournament: intentionally fouling Northwestern's best player in the final seconds despite holding a one-point lead. And that foul wasn't the only black mark on Fisher-Davis's year; three separate disciplinary incidents during the season cost him playing time ranging from a spot in the starting lineup to an entire conference game. But amid all that, he led the Commodores in scoring at 13.9 points per game, taking 66 more threes than the next closest player in a lineup full of long-range gunners.

This year, he's expected to take on an even bigger load on another perimeter-oriented team—SI projects him to finish among Division I's top 100 scorers—but pro scouts will take note of the athleticism and base strength that allows him to launch his jump shots beyond tight contests and play above the rim when necessary. In addition, his awareness (get your Northwestern foul jokes in here) makes him an opportunistic defender, if not a relentless one. He's still a work in progress at creating his own shot, but he's farther along in that endeavor than 2012 first-round pick John Jenkins was entering his final season at Vandy. The Commodores figure to have little choice but to let him fire at will this season.

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer has been part of a miserable Browns team but looked better against the Lions on Sunday.

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

DeShone Kizer has been part of a miserable Browns team but looked better against the Lions on Sunday.

DeShone Kizer, Kevin Durant and the myth of the wayward black athlete

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) looks to pass away from Orlando Magic's Evan Fournier, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

GAME RECAP: Warriors 110, Magic 100

Kevin Durant drops 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds as the Warriors pull away from the Magic 110-100. Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points for Orlando in the loss.

GAME RECAP: Warriors 110, Magic 100

Kevin Durant drops 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds as the Warriors pull away from the Magic 110-100. Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points for Orlando in the loss.

GAME RECAP: Warriors 110, Magic 100

Kevin Durant drops 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds as the Warriors pull away from the Magic 110-100. Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points for Orlando in the loss.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors

November 13, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks the basketball against Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross (31) during the first half at Oracle Arena. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

GAME RECAP: Warriors 110, Magic 100

Kevin Durant drops 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds as the Warriors pull away from the Magic 110-100. Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points for Orlando in the loss.

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, on November 13, 2017

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) goes to the basket in front of Orlando Magic's Bismack Biyombo, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won 110-100. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Carolina's Offense Might Be Back; the Defense Never Left

For as long as he's in Charlotte, Cam Newton will be the face of the Panthers. His celebrations, his clothes, his press conferences, his evolving playing style, it's all been discussed ad nauseam. But Newton isn't the biggest reason Carolina is 7-3, firmly in the NFC mix after a 45-21 victory over the Dolphins on Monday night. Instead, the Panthers are to be feared because of what happens when Newton is standing on the sideline—when All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and the defense are on the field.

Coming into Monday, Carolina was 24th in offensive yards per game, carried by a defense that ranked first in yards allowed. On Monday, the defense put on another clinic, this time against one of the league's weaker attacks. With the home team up just three in the first half's final minute, Kuechly essentially ran tight end Julius Thomas's corner route, easily intercepting the Jay Cutler pass. Set up with a short field, Newton hit tight end Ed Dickson for a touchdown four plays later. On the other side of halftime, Miami attempted a run on fourth-and-1 at midfield. But there was Kuechly—along with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short—to stuff Damien Williams. The Dolphins finished with 313 yards (with that number bolstered by a Kenyan Drake 66-yard rushing score and a meaningless touchdown drive late).

Today, Cam Newton deserves the discussion. He channeled his 2015 MVP form to the tune of four TD passes. And the rest of the offense found itself, too. Jonathan Stewart had his first 100-yard game of the year. Rookie Christian McCaffrey had his first multi-touchdown game as a pro. Look for the team to get better when center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen get healthy and return to the lineup as well. But while you're talking about the suddenly scary Panthers, keep in mind the defense has carried them to this point. It hasn't gotten the buzz that other units have this season, but it's been every bit as good. And if Carolina makes another Super Bowl run, it will be the engine.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King's weekly column ... Andy Benoit looks at Brett Hundley ... and more.

LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Our newest Power Rankings Poll ... Ben Baskin goes deep on Julio Jones's hands ... and more. Stay tuned.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Panthers 45, Dolphins 21. Sick of watching Miami in primetime? After three straight weeks, we get some time off from the Dolphins. (They will be back though, facing the Patriots on a Monday night in December.)

2. GQ named Colin Kaepernick one if its Men of the Year (along with Kevin Durant, Stephen Colbert and Gal Gadot). For the occasion, the likes of Ava DuVernay and Harry Belafonte spoke about the former 49ers QB. "In my 90th year of life, to see people like Colin Kaepernick having gotten the message and carrying the cause forward is the greatest reward I could ask for," Belafonte said. On Instagram, Kaepernick said he was honored by the award.

3. Despite the Giants' loss to previously winless San Francisco, ownership expressed its support for coach Ben McAdoo Monday. "While we appreciate that our fans are unhappy with what has occurred, nobody is more upset than we are," the owners said in a statement. "Our plan is to do what we have always done, which is to not offer a running commentary on the season. It is our responsibility to determine the reasons for our poor performance and at the end of the year, we will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety and make a determination on how we move forward."

4. Week 10 brought several more instances of teams receiving scrutiny for their concussion testing protocols, notably in Indianapolis, where Jacoby Brissett was allowed to return to the game after receiving a hit to the back of the head. Chuck Pagano defended the team's handling of the situation.

5. Asked about claims that refs provoked Vontaze Burfict's actions before he was ejected Sunday, Marvin Lewis said he wasn't buying it. "The officials have a job to do," the Bengals coach said. "I've explained this to Vontaze. He understands that. They have a job to do . . . We don't need to jaw with anyone after the play, any of the players."

6. The Packers finally have a formula for success with Brett Hundley. It involved running the ball more times in a game than Green Bay had since 2015.

7. The Vikings are 7-2 thanks in part to Pat Shurmur's expansive playbook, "culled from his upbringing in the West Coast offense and flavored with influences from his days as Chip Kelly's offensive coordinator in Philadelphia," with "enough elements that the Vikings are hard to typecast." As for who will execute those plays this week, Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater? Mike Zimmer isn't ready to say.

8. The story of Marquise Goodwin's emotional Sunday has gone mainstream. The 49ers wideout and his wife lost their son early Sunday morning after a premature delivery. In the afternoon, he fell to his knees in the end zone following an 83-yard touchdown.

9. Now, the injury report. The Cowboys could be without linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) for nearly a month. A shin injury will end first-round CB Gareon Conley's rookie season in Oakland. Philip Rivers is in the concussion protocol after playing all of an overtime loss in Jacksonville. And a bit of good news: Cardinals running back David Johnson had his left wrist cast removed.

10. Ahead of Thursday night's matchup with the Titans, Ben Roethlisberger joined the group of players railing against the concept of midweek games. "It's miserable. It's terrible," he said. "They need to get rid of this game."

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

On the "Ellen" show, former NFL player Jon Dorenbos talked about how a trade saved his life.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

Carolina's Offense Might Be Back; the Defense Never Left

For as long as he's in Charlotte, Cam Newton will be the face of the Panthers. His celebrations, his clothes, his press conferences, his evolving playing style, it's all been discussed ad nauseam. But Newton isn't the biggest reason Carolina is 7-3, firmly in the NFC mix after a 45-21 victory over the Dolphins on Monday night. Instead, the Panthers are to be feared because of what happens when Newton is standing on the sideline—when All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and the defense are on the field.

Coming into Monday, Carolina was 24th in offensive yards per game, carried by a defense that ranked first in yards allowed. On Monday, the defense put on another clinic, this time against one of the league's weaker attacks. With the home team up just three in the first half's final minute, Kuechly essentially ran tight end Julius Thomas's corner route, easily intercepting the Jay Cutler pass. Set up with a short field, Newton hit tight end Ed Dickson for a touchdown four plays later. On the other side of halftime, Miami attempted a run on fourth-and-1 at midfield. But there was Kuechly—along with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short—to stuff Damien Williams. The Dolphins finished with 313 yards (with that number bolstered by a Kenyan Drake 66-yard rushing score and a meaningless touchdown drive late).

Today, Cam Newton deserves the discussion. He channeled his 2015 MVP form to the tune of four TD passes. And the rest of the offense found itself, too. Jonathan Stewart had his first 100-yard game of the year. Rookie Christian McCaffrey had his first multi-touchdown game as a pro. Look for the team to get better when center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen get healthy and return to the lineup as well. But while you're talking about the suddenly scary Panthers, keep in mind the defense has carried them to this point. It hasn't gotten the buzz that other units have this season, but it's been every bit as good. And if Carolina makes another Super Bowl run, it will be the engine.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King's weekly column ... Andy Benoit looks at Brett Hundley ... and more.

LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Our newest Power Rankings Poll ... Ben Baskin goes deep on Julio Jones's hands ... and more. Stay tuned.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Panthers 45, Dolphins 21. Sick of watching Miami in primetime? After three straight weeks, we get some time off from the Dolphins. (They will be back though, facing the Patriots on a Monday night in December.)

2. GQ named Colin Kaepernick one if its Men of the Year (along with Kevin Durant, Stephen Colbert and Gal Gadot). For the occasion, the likes of Ava DuVernay and Harry Belafonte spoke about the former 49ers QB. "In my 90th year of life, to see people like Colin Kaepernick having gotten the message and carrying the cause forward is the greatest reward I could ask for," Belafonte said. On Instagram, Kaepernick said he was honored by the award.

3. Despite the Giants' loss to previously winless San Francisco, ownership expressed its support for coach Ben McAdoo Monday. "While we appreciate that our fans are unhappy with what has occurred, nobody is more upset than we are," the owners said in a statement. "Our plan is to do what we have always done, which is to not offer a running commentary on the season. It is our responsibility to determine the reasons for our poor performance and at the end of the year, we will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety and make a determination on how we move forward."

4. Week 10 brought several more instances of teams receiving scrutiny for their concussion testing protocols, notably in Indianapolis, where Jacoby Brissett was allowed to return to the game after receiving a hit to the back of the head. Chuck Pagano defended the team's handling of the situation.

5. Asked about claims that refs provoked Vontaze Burfict's actions before he was ejected Sunday, Marvin Lewis said he wasn't buying it. "The officials have a job to do," the Bengals coach said. "I've explained this to Vontaze. He understands that. They have a job to do . . . We don't need to jaw with anyone after the play, any of the players."

6. The Packers finally have a formula for success with Brett Hundley. It involved running the ball more times in a game than Green Bay had since 2015.

7. The Vikings are 7-2 thanks in part to Pat Shurmur's expansive playbook, "culled from his upbringing in the West Coast offense and flavored with influences from his days as Chip Kelly's offensive coordinator in Philadelphia," with "enough elements that the Vikings are hard to typecast." As for who will execute those plays this week, Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater? Mike Zimmer isn't ready to say.

8. The story of Marquise Goodwin's emotional Sunday has gone mainstream. The 49ers wideout and his wife lost their son early Sunday morning after a premature delivery. In the afternoon, he fell to his knees in the end zone following an 83-yard touchdown.

9. Now, the injury report. The Cowboys could be without linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) for nearly a month. A shin injury will end first-round CB Gareon Conley's rookie season in Oakland. Philip Rivers is in the concussion protocol after playing all of an overtime loss in Jacksonville. And a bit of good news: Cardinals running back David Johnson had his left wrist cast removed.

10. Ahead of Thursday night's matchup with the Titans, Ben Roethlisberger joined the group of players railing against the concept of midweek games. "It's miserable. It's terrible," he said. "They need to get rid of this game."

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

On the "Ellen" show, former NFL player Jon Dorenbos talked about how a trade saved his life.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

Carolina's Offense Might Be Back; the Defense Never Left

For as long as he's in Charlotte, Cam Newton will be the face of the Panthers. His celebrations, his clothes, his press conferences, his evolving playing style, it's all been discussed ad nauseam. But Newton isn't the biggest reason Carolina is 7-3, firmly in the NFC mix after a 45-21 victory over the Dolphins on Monday night. Instead, the Panthers are to be feared because of what happens when Newton is standing on the sideline—when All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and the defense are on the field.

Coming into Monday, Carolina was 24th in offensive yards per game, carried by a defense that ranked first in yards allowed. On Monday, the defense put on another clinic, this time against one of the league's weaker attacks. With the home team up just three in the first half's final minute, Kuechly essentially ran tight end Julius Thomas's corner route, easily intercepting the Jay Cutler pass. Set up with a short field, Newton hit tight end Ed Dickson for a touchdown four plays later. On the other side of halftime, Miami attempted a run on fourth-and-1 at midfield. But there was Kuechly—along with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short—to stuff Damien Williams. The Dolphins finished with 313 yards (with that number bolstered by a Kenyan Drake 66-yard rushing score and a meaningless touchdown drive late).

Today, Cam Newton deserves the discussion. He channeled his 2015 MVP form to the tune of four TD passes. And the rest of the offense found itself, too. Jonathan Stewart had his first 100-yard game of the year. Rookie Christian McCaffrey had his first multi-touchdown game as a pro. Look for the team to get better when center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen get healthy and return to the lineup as well. But while you're talking about the suddenly scary Panthers, keep in mind the defense has carried them to this point. It hasn't gotten the buzz that other units have this season, but it's been every bit as good. And if Carolina makes another Super Bowl run, it will be the engine.

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PRESS COVERAGE

1. Panthers 45, Dolphins 21. Sick of watching Miami in primetime? After three straight weeks, we get some time off from the Dolphins. (They will be back though, facing the Patriots on a Monday night in December.)

2. GQ named Colin Kaepernick one if its Men of the Year (along with Kevin Durant, Stephen Colbert and Gal Gadot). For the occasion, the likes of Ava DuVernay and Harry Belafonte spoke about the former 49ers QB. "In my 90th year of life, to see people like Colin Kaepernick having gotten the message and carrying the cause forward is the greatest reward I could ask for," Belafonte said. On Instagram, Kaepernick said he was honored by the award.

3. Despite the Giants' loss to previously winless San Francisco, ownership expressed its support for coach Ben McAdoo Monday. "While we appreciate that our fans are unhappy with what has occurred, nobody is more upset than we are," the owners said in a statement. "Our plan is to do what we have always done, which is to not offer a running commentary on the season. It is our responsibility to determine the reasons for our poor performance and at the end of the year, we will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety and make a determination on how we move forward."

4. Week 10 brought several more instances of teams receiving scrutiny for their concussion testing protocols, notably in Indianapolis, where Jacoby Brissett was allowed to return to the game after receiving a hit to the back of the head. Chuck Pagano defended the team's handling of the situation.

5. Asked about claims that refs provoked Vontaze Burfict's actions before he was ejected Sunday, Marvin Lewis said he wasn't buying it. "The officials have a job to do," the Bengals coach said. "I've explained this to Vontaze. He understands that. They have a job to do . . . We don't need to jaw with anyone after the play, any of the players."

6. The Packers finally have a formula for success with Brett Hundley. It involved running the ball more times in a game than Green Bay had since 2015.

7. The Vikings are 7-2 thanks in part to Pat Shurmur's expansive playbook, "culled from his upbringing in the West Coast offense and flavored with influences from his days as Chip Kelly's offensive coordinator in Philadelphia," with "enough elements that the Vikings are hard to typecast." As for who will execute those plays this week, Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater? Mike Zimmer isn't ready to say.

8. The story of Marquise Goodwin's emotional Sunday has gone mainstream. The 49ers wideout and his wife lost their son early Sunday morning after a premature delivery. In the afternoon, he fell to his knees in the end zone following an 83-yard touchdown.

9. Now, the injury report. The Cowboys could be without linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) for nearly a month. A shin injury will end first-round CB Gareon Conley's rookie season in Oakland. Philip Rivers is in the concussion protocol after playing all of an overtime loss in Jacksonville. And a bit of good news: Cardinals running back David Johnson had his left wrist cast removed.

10. Ahead of Thursday night's matchup with the Titans, Ben Roethlisberger joined the group of players railing against the concept of midweek games. "It's miserable. It's terrible," he said. "They need to get rid of this game."

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

On the "Ellen" show, former NFL player Jon Dorenbos talked about how a trade saved his life.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, on November 13, 2017

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, on November 13, 2017

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, on November 13, 2017 (AFP Photo/EZRA SHAW)

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant celebrates after scoring against the Orlando Magic during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won 110-100. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant lays up a shot against the Orlando Magic during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Gordon Transition Three

Aaron Gordon goes with a crossover on Kevin Durant in transition before burying the 3-pointer.

Gordon Transition Three

Aaron Gordon goes with a crossover on Kevin Durant in transition before burying the 3-pointer.

Gordon Transition Three

Aaron Gordon goes with a crossover on Kevin Durant in transition before burying the 3-pointer.

Gordon Transition Three

Aaron Gordon goes with a crossover on Kevin Durant in transition before burying the 3-pointer.

Kevin Durant 'honored' to share GQ cover with Colin Kaepernick

Kevin Durant 'honored' to share GQ cover with Colin Kaepernick

Kevin Durant 'honored' to share GQ cover with Colin Kaepernick

The Warriors star is "honored and humbled" to be featured in the magazine alongside the former 49ers quarterback and social justice icon.

Kevin Durant 'honored' to share GQ cover with Colin Kaepernick

Kevin Durant 'honored' to share GQ cover with Colin Kaepernick

NFL protest leader Colin Kaepernick named 'citizen of the year' by GQ

An NFL player who led a spate of protests by kneeling during the national anthem has been named 'citizen of the year' by GQ magazine. Colin Kaepernick began kneeling instead of standing during the American national anthem, played at the start of  games, last season to highlight racial inequality and police brutality. The move sparked a wave of protests from Mr Kaepernick's fellow players but was heavily criticised by some - including from Donald Trump. The US president said players who kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be fired. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game  Credit: AP During a radio interview Mr Trump also said of the football player: "Maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won't happen." Mr Kaepernick has been publicly silent as his protest gesture was adopted by other players but the quarterback opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March. He led the team to the 2013 Super Bowl, where they lost to Baltimore 34-31. Activists Protest Outside NFL Fall League Meeting In New York Credit: Spencer Platt  He has not been signed by any other team since leaving the 49ers. In making the selection, GQ compared Mr Kaepernick to American sports icons such as boxer Muhammad Ali, who opposed the Vietnam War, and Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball. I'm honored to be recognized by @GQMagazine as Citizen of the Year. https://t.co/s6wBZTa6tH— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2017 The magazine said of Mr Kaepernick's protest: "It cost him his job. It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance". He declined to be interviewed by GQ but posed for pictures and Tweeted to say he was "honoured' by the recognition. The magazine 's story includes comments from several of Kaepernick's supporters and confidants.  Rapper J. Cole said the American football player "sacrificed his dream" to stand for something.  How the NFL anthem protest has evolved 02:09 Ninety-year-old singer and activist Harry Belafonte said seeing people like Mr Kaepernick taking action is "the greatest reward" he could ask for. Actress Gal Gadot, the star of Hollywood blockbuster Wonder Woman, basketball player Kevin Durant and Late Show host Stephen Colbert were also recognised by the magazine.  Ms Gadot was aptly named Wonder Woman of the Year, Mr Durant was named Champion of the Year and Mr Colbert was named GQ's Bad Hombre of the Year.

NFL protest leader Colin Kaepernick named 'citizen of the year' by GQ

An NFL player who led a spate of protests by kneeling during the national anthem has been named 'citizen of the year' by GQ magazine. Colin Kaepernick began kneeling instead of standing during the American national anthem, played at the start of  games, last season to highlight racial inequality and police brutality. The move sparked a wave of protests from Mr Kaepernick's fellow players but was heavily criticised by some - including from Donald Trump. The US president said players who kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be fired. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game  Credit: AP During a radio interview Mr Trump also said of the football player: "Maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won't happen." Mr Kaepernick has been publicly silent as his protest gesture was adopted by other players but the quarterback opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March. He led the team to the 2013 Super Bowl, where they lost to Baltimore 34-31. Activists Protest Outside NFL Fall League Meeting In New York Credit: Spencer Platt  He has not been signed by any other team since leaving the 49ers. In making the selection, GQ compared Mr Kaepernick to American sports icons such as boxer Muhammad Ali, who opposed the Vietnam War, and Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball. I'm honored to be recognized by @GQMagazine as Citizen of the Year. https://t.co/s6wBZTa6tH— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2017 The magazine said of Mr Kaepernick's protest: "It cost him his job. It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance". He declined to be interviewed by GQ but posed for pictures and Tweeted to say he was "honoured' by the recognition. The magazine 's story includes comments from several of Kaepernick's supporters and confidants.  Rapper J. Cole said the American football player "sacrificed his dream" to stand for something.  How the NFL anthem protest has evolved 02:09 Ninety-year-old singer and activist Harry Belafonte said seeing people like Mr Kaepernick taking action is "the greatest reward" he could ask for. Actress Gal Gadot, the star of Hollywood blockbuster Wonder Woman, basketball player Kevin Durant and Late Show host Stephen Colbert were also recognised by the magazine.  Ms Gadot was aptly named Wonder Woman of the Year, Mr Durant was named Champion of the Year and Mr Colbert was named GQ's Bad Hombre of the Year.

Colin Kaepernick lands the cover of GQ in magazine's first 'Citizen of the Year'

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of police brutality, it sparked a national conversation—one that has blackballed him from the NFL but is still echoing strong, as evidenced by GQ magazine.

It named the former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback their first 'citizens of the year' on Monday.

Kaepernick has remained silent throughout the majority of his activism (spare clarifying the intent of his actions). That's made room for his protest to be interpreted in different ways, but rather than let "detractors will only twist your words and use them against you" as the GQ piece reads, the magazine invited Kaepernick's friends, mentors, and former teammates to shed light on why the purpose of his protest should not be diluted over time.  

Director Ava Duvernay, rapper J. Cole, Women's March organizers Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, actor and activist Harry Belafonte were all quoted in the piece, speaking about Kaepernick, activism and the legacy of protests from athletes. 

Kaepernick took to social media on Monday morning to share the exciting cover, and while there is no shortage of haters on Twitter, the majority of responses to the magazine's choice of featuring him were overwhelmingly grateful. 

Salute brother. You jeopardized your career to stand for everything you believe in. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this than you. Colin Kaepernick. A black American hero. pic.twitter.com/obcb28XnUr

— Creative Gold (@CREATIVE_GOLD) November 13, 2017

That GQ named Colin Kaepernick its Citizen of the Year reminds us that his movement is not just about football. It's about racial justice and equity for all of us. ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏻 pic.twitter.com/Wk4ONM0InW

— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) November 13, 2017

GQ's Citizen of the Year, has been announced as Colin Kaepernick.

Perhaps you all don't agree with him kneeling, but there is no doubting the fact that this man put his career in jeopardy in order to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves.

Thank you Colin!

— Brian Krassenstein🐬 (@krassenstein) November 13, 2017

I know there's some confusion, so let me clarify. It was never about the flag, our soldiers, our anthem. Instead of doing nothing in the face of social injustice, Colin Kaepernick took a stand (by taking a knee). I salute him, and GQ for recognizing him as Citizen of the Year!

— Brandon Besserer (@BrandonBesserer) November 13, 2017

You can’t crush the resistance to injustice. You can only strengthen its resolve and grow its numbers. pic.twitter.com/1R4wZIkHT0

— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 13, 2017

Kaepernick is joined by Gal Gadot, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Colbert in the "Citizens of the Year" issue, available now. 

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