After being hit with a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, Larry Sanders spoke highly of the medicinal benefits of marijuana use. While other players, such as David Harrison and Josh Howard, have previously advocated for marijuana legalization in the face of league enforcement, Sanders may be the first to do it without fear of league-wide stigmatization. All this, as rumors of a Bucks sale have his team eyeing greener pastures. Elsewhere, the NBA might have to create an award for “Most Underappreciated Player” (MUP) specifically to recognize Shaun Livingston’s efforts in Brooklyn, and DeMarcus Cousins is not releasing a hip-hop album, much to the chagrin of people who like fun everywhere.
1. Larry Sanders violates the NBA’s substance policy, then publicly states his belief in marijuana’s restorative benefits: On Friday, the NBA suspended Milwaukee Bucks big man Larry Sanders five games for marijuana use, after which he spoke out against the stigma attached to cannabis. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sanders said, “It’s something I feel strongly about, just to let you know something personal about me. I will deal with the consequences from it. It’s a banned substance in my league. But I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it. I know what it is if I’m going to use it.” Given the changing tide in marijuana regulations in the United States, Sanders has a chance to use his platform to become something of a spokesperson on this issue. At the very least, he seems better equipped to deal with any kind of fallout than J.R. Smith did earlier this year when he faced a similar suspension. In a banner day for this edition of the Bucks, the team may be close to a sale, but NOT to a Seattle-based group. Sonics fans, keep on pushing.
2. Shaun Livingston is redefining what it means to be a “point forward,” and it is sublime: This is Livingston’s shot chart from Friday night’s Nets victory over Detroit:
Livingston has been improving over the course of the season, in fact. In March, he produced his best month of the season, averaging 10.2 points per game at a 53.1% rate, up from his previous average of 46.6%. During a young April in which the Nets have already played three games, Livingston is averaging 14.7 points per game. The way he attacked the basket against the Pistons was almost Dwyane Wade-like, and his 11-14 performance included post-ups and creative cuts to the basket. It just so happens that, as The Brooklyn Game pointed out, Shaun Livingston has averaged a league-leading 1.21 points per possession on his 77 post-up plays this season. The Nets love having Livingston as a floor-spacing guard who can run the point effectively, and he seems to be as efficient with Deron Williams on the court as without. The NBA might have to create the Tim Duncan Award for most underappreciated player (because who else could possibly be a namesake for such a trophy than a San Antonio Spur, and who but Duncan? Ginobili?) for the expressed purpose of handing it to Shaun Livingston this season, whose progression has mirrored that of his team’s.
3. DeMarcus Cousins games everyone by releasing details on a forthcoming hip-hop album, only to reveal it as a hoax: Boogie Cousins is up to tomfoolery again, as he announced a hip-hop album, appropriately titled Misunderstood and under the name Boogie Smooth, which was reportedly to feature Chance the Rapper. He released album art on Instagram and changed his own homepage to feature the album press release. Alas, it was not to be. The move was apparently an “early April Fool’s joke,” which, as USA Today‘s Nate Scott pointed out, technically makes it a run-of-the-mill lie rather than a prank. Cousins had this to say about letting the world down: