– Virtual Scout School: Online Basketball Content :
– Virtual Scout School: Online Basketball Content :
– In Draft, Ainge Will Try To Channel Auerbach (from Dan Shaugnessy, Boston Globe):
– Without A Pick, Heat Mining For Undrafted Gem (from Manny Navarro, Miami Herald):
– Malachi Richardson (from Jonathan Abrams, Bleacher Report):
Read it here: http://thelab.bleacherreport.com/me-myself-and-malachi/
– Thon Maker (from Jerry Bembry, The Undefeated):
– Caris Levert (from The Players Tribune):
– Shevon Thompson (from Moke Hamilton, Basketball Insiders):
– Malik Beasley (from Dan Fatigato, bsndenver.com):
– Zhou Qi (from David Pick, Bleacher Report):
– Draft Preview (from James Holas, BBall Breakdown):
– Pacers Acquire Jeff Teague (from Gregg Doyel, indystar.com):
Read it here: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/columnists/gregg-doyel/2016/06/22/doyel-jeff-teague-george-hill-steal-pacers/86259164/ and from Nate Taylor, indystar.com: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2016/06/22/pacers-acquire-jeff-teague-trade-george-hill/86250624/
– Grading The Hawks/Jazz/Pacers Trade (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):
Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2016/06/22/jeff-teague-george-hill-trade-pacers-jazz-hawks-nba-draft-rumors and from Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/jazz-hawks-pacers-trade-is-first-shoe-to-drop/
– Hill Is What Jazz And Exum Need (from Chris Manning, Hardwood Paroxysm):
– Bulls/Knicks Trade (from KC Johnson, Chicago Tribune):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– Jerian Grant (from Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune): http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-harvey-grant-deal-20160622-story.html
– Anthony Bennett (from David Ebner (The Globe And Mail): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/anthony-bennett-battling-back-from-status-as-an-nba-draft-bust/article30566504/
– Christian Wood (from Nina Mandell, USA Today): http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/06/christian-wood-76ers-future
– Alessandro Gentile (from Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports): http://sports.yahoo.com/news/euroleague-star-wants-to-play-for-rockets-193834389.html
– Anthony Morrow (from Erik Horne, newsok.com): http://newsok.com/thunder-season-in-review-anthony-morrow-emerges-as-leader-despite-uneven-season-uncertainty-about-future-in-okc/article/5505820
– Dream Team to D-League: New FIBA schedule puts U.S. hoops in bind (from Mark Woods, ESPN):
” The U.S. men’s basketball team could go from Dream Team to D-League when it comes to qualifying for the 2019 Basketball World Cup.
With a new qualifying schedule that will feature two of the four windows of play occurring during the NBA season, it is possible the men’s national team could be comprised of D-Leaguers.
It is an issue that will have to be resolved by 2017 when FIBA’s revamped international schedule goes into effect, with the path to future World Cups — and via those, the Olympics — running through a series of games to be held during calendar windows, similar to the system employed by FIFA in soccer.
Two will be in late June and early September, theoretically allowing NBA players of all nationalities to represent their country in the offseason. The other two will be in November and February. And while most leagues around the world will simply shut down for a 10-day period to accommodate FIBA play, that concept has been deemed a non-starter in the NBA — with an early idea of allowing an out to go on national duty during All-Star Weekend taken off the table.
Utilizing a single squad drafted in from the D-League, rather than dipping into the NCAA or bringing back U.S. exports from overseas, is now seen as the most viable alternative solution.”
– Lakers Trainer Q & A: Tim DiFrancesco Reviews Summer Workouts (from Mike Trudell, Lakers.com):
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/150915_summerworkouts
– Hornets Coach Steve Clifford: More Offensive Balance is the Goal (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):
And from Spencer Percy, queencityhoops: http://queencityhoops.com/blog/steve-clifford-pre-training-camp-press-conference-notes/
– Film Room: Orlando Magic’s Athleticism (from Josh Cohen, Magic.com):
Read and view it here: http://www.nba.com/magic/film-room-magics-supreme-athleticism
– Fred Hoiberg will likely want to move Pau Gasol away from the post, will it work out better than in L.A.? (from thehungarianjordan, blogabull.com):
– How the Houston Rockets Got Here (frm Austin Peters, Hardwood Paroxysm):
” The name of the game in building an NBA team nowadays is asset collection. Make sure you win every trade so that you can gather enough assets to make a home run in the draft or another trade in the future. Nobody has adhered to this philosophy better than the Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey.
Morey is a pioneer and king of asset collecting, with his biggest trophy on the shelf being the James Harden trade in 2012. What people probably don’t realize is the depth and extent to which these assets were collected in order to make not only the Harden trade, but the several other moves Morey has made to build this roster since. Today, the Rockets have 14 guaranteed contracts on their books for the 2015-16 season. Of those 14, only 4 (Clint Capela, Dwight Howard, Marcus Thornton, Patrick Beverley) were acquired without giving up any “assets;” they were acquired via free agency or Houston’s own draft pick. That leaves the other ten players to essentially be “bought” with whatever Daryl Morey had at his disposal.
The roots of this roster are deep and tangled.”
– Surprising On/Off Court Stars from 2014-2015 (from Mika Honkasalo, Nylon Calculus):
” One of the best exercises to find and assess trends of success and failure in the NBA is to look at on/off-court numbers, available for every team on the NBA stats page. To me it’s in many ways the first “feel” test to quickly give some degree of verification or confidence about the direction I’m taking when it comes to forming my evaluation (positive or negative) of a player’s performance, situation and impact on the court.
Generally I think on/off-court numbers really are the first place where you’re likely to see something interesting if anything interesting is to be found. Although you could argue that there are typically multiple factors that should decrease confidence in a piece of analysis heavily influenced by on/off numbers– such as small playing time, skill level of opposition (a player going against bench heavy units), teammate skill– the degree to which each of these factors effects on/off numbers tends to be overestimated.”
– Steve Nash in talks to be a part-time consultant for Warriors (from Mark Stein, ESPN):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Top 50 NBA Players: 45-41 (from Jesse Blanchard, BBall Breakdown): http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/09/14/bballbreakdowns-top-50-nba-players-45-41/
– Dissecting LaMarcus Aldridge’s Defense (from Shane Young, hoopshabit.com):
Read and view it here: http://hoopshabit.com/2015/09/14/san-antonio-spurs-dissecting-lamarcus-aldridges-defense/
– Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Seeks a Smooth Transition to the NBA (from Alex Raskin, Wall Street Journal): http://www.wsj.com/articles/rondae-hollis-jefferson-seeks-a-smooth-transition-to-the-nba-1442343927
– Can Clint Capela make good on Hakeem Olajuwon’s praise as Rockets’ next star? (from Scott Rafferty, Sporting News): http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-09-15/clint-capela-rockets-playoffs-hakeem-olajuwon-dwight-howard-potential
– Do Bulls Need Jimmy Butler’s Offense or Defense More? (from Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report): http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2566999-do-chicago-bulls-need-jimmy-butlers-offense-or-defense-more
– Utah Jazz Ceilings and Floors, Part I: Guards and Wings (from Ben Dowsett, saltcityhoops.com): http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-ceilings-and-floors-part-i-guards-and-wings/
– Quincy Pondexter’s career has been revived by returning to New Orleans, where it all started (from Rick Stone, pelicandebrief.com): http://pelicandebrief.com/2015/09/15/new-orleans-pelicans-rank-quincy-pondexters-career-has-been-revived-by-returning-to-where-it-all-started/
– Wesley Matthews (from Bobby Karalla, Mavs.com): http://www.mavs.com/the-four-horsemen-wes-matthews/
– John Wall (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports): http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25303044/why-wizards-john-wall-faces-most-important-season-of-his-career
– Reggie Jackson ready to reap benefits after growing pains that followed mid-season trade to Pistons (from Keith Langlois, Pistons.com): http://www.nba.com/pistons/features/jackson-ready-reap-benefits-after-growing-pains-followed-mid-season-trade-pistons
– Robert Sacre’s Defensive Positioning (from Darius Soriano, forumblueandgold.com): http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2015/09/15/one-player-one-skill-robert-sacres-defensive-positioning/
– Roy Hibbert wants to rediscover his game, not his fame, with the Lakers (from Mike Bresnahan, LATimes): http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-lakers-hibbert-20150916-story.html
– Lakers made a smart gamble on defensive talent Robert Upshaw (from Apratim Ghosh, silverscreenandroll.com): http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2015/9/15/9330121/la-lakers-robert-upshaw-analysis-defense-training-camp
– What the Raptors need out of Jonas Valanciunas (from Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Insider): http://espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/13657836/nba-toronto-raptors-need-jonas-valanciunas
– Kelly Oubre’s potential (from Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report): http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2566961-kelly-oubre-is-next-washington-wizard-to-chase-his-own-potential
– Justin Holiday/Chris Copeland (from KL Chouinard, Hawks.com): http://www.nba.com/hawks/justin-holiday-ready
– Suns: Can Sonny Weems Be The Next Gerald Green? (from Gerald Bourguet, valleyofthesuns.com): http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/09/16/phoenix-suns-can-sonny-weems-be-the-next-gerald-green/
– Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (from Jim Eichenhofer, pelicans.com): http://www.nba.com/pelicans/news/pelicans-forward-ryan-anderson-says-he-has-dropped-about-20-pounds-last-season
– The Suns provided the blueprint for stopping James Harden (from Mike Prada, SBNation)
Read and view it here: http://www.sbnation.com/2015/3/22/8272337/phoenix-suns-defense-james-harden-breakdown
– Hawks concerned by recent play, but still confident (from Kris Willis, peachtreehoops.com):
“The last three games, the way teams have been able to get free and get shots and the percentages they’ve shot is a concern,” Budenholzer said. It’s a lot of little things. It starts probably with better individual defense. But I would probably be more concerned if we hadn’t shown an ability to do it a lot of the season. We need to draw on that. We need to know how important it is first, to be good defensively, and to remind us how we are good defensively, and get back to doing that.”
“We give them a lot of credit,” Budenholzer said. “Some of the things they did well I think we need to do some of those things, driving and finding guys and moving the ball. It is a lot of the stuff we have done all year. I think taking care of the paint. Just all of the little things. Decision making, quicker decisions, harder drives, better defense, better individual defense. You’ve got to do all of the little things against a good team. So tonight and other nights when we haven’t played well against the good teams, that is what you learn. Rarely is it just one big thing, it’s a lot of little things that add up to being a good team and having success.”
– Cavs have lost only six games in 10 weeks (from Terry Pluto, cleveland.com):
– Bucks disrespected JR Smith’s range and LeBron James made sure they paid (from Chris Haynes, cleveland.com):
” (W)hen the Bucks’ defense managed to cut James off, he made them pay with his court vision.
Smith is one of the better guards in the league in moving without the ball. His high basketball IQ and long distance range paired with James has been a recipe for disaster for the opposition and the Bucks were the latest victim to find that out.
“You just find him. You find him,” James said of Smith. “When I know JR has it going, which has been a lot for us, you keep giving him the ball.”
In the fourth quarter James found Smith for two of his three consecutive wide-open three-pointers. Wherever James drove, Smith rotated the opposite way to ensure a proper passing angle if James elected to dish it off. He did, and Smith knew what to do with the ball from there.
James makes the game easy for his teammates, but the Bucks made it a lot easier. Those treys Smith connected on down the stretch, no defender was within five feet of the sharpshooter.
James isn’t shocked by how well Smith has been playing. He just chalks it up to making smart basketball plays.
“I just think over the course of the years I knew what he was very good at and for me, it’s my job once a guys comes to my team, or our team, to put them in their best position to succeed,” James said. “You don’t put Tristan [Thompson] in pick-and-rolls handling the ball, you let him set it and let him roll and he cleans glass. Things of that nature.”
“With JR, you don’t have him running pick-rolls. You have me and Kyrie [Irving] running pick-and-rolls so he can be the recipient on the backside. You put guys in the right position where they succeed the most and that’s where a team comes together because everyone does their part. And that’s all part of having a role and JR fits his role tremendously and more.”
– Rebuilding plans diverge for Lakers, Sixers (from Baxter Holmes, ESPN):
” (D)espite their proud pasts, awful presents and uncertain futures, these two major-market teams have little in common. In fact, when it comes to their plan to rebound from rebuilding status, these two teams couldn’t be more different.
The Lakers not only swing for the fences, they often have a grand-slam-or-nothing mindset. Some teams go after All-Stars, but the Lakers chase future Hall of Famers and don’t settle for much less.
The 76ers have other ideas, such as aggressively trading to stockpile draft picks — even if it means trading away valuable pieces, such as Michael Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year, whom they shipped to Milwaukee in February.
All told, since Hinkie’s first draft on June, 27, 2013, the 76ers have made 21 trades, yielding 32 different players and 15 additional picks. And this June, the team could have as many as ninedraft picks — four in the first round, five in the second.
“It is extremely aggressive, it’s extremely bold,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said before the game. “We think we have to do that to get to where we want to go.”
– Sixers’ Coach Brett Brown has winning mentality (from Bob Cooney, philly.com):
” He knows a chance at the top pick in June’s draft slips with each win. Still, he won’t give in to the thinking that losing is better.
“I don’t know how to coach anymore if that becomes part of it all,” Brown said through a tightened jaw. “I really don’t. You can’t cheat the game. I get it and I understand it. I just don’t even know how to do my job, otherwise. We go about our business. I can’t walk into the locker room and do anything else for those guys. They want to play hard. They want to compete. Whatever ends up happening, ends up happening.”
Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150323_Sixers__Brown_has_winning_mentality.html
– Randy Wittman wants Wizards to focus more on defense (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):
” (W)e’re bitching about who’s getting shots and not instead of worrying about stops,” Wittman said. “What did we score, 50 at half? That’s plenty. It has nothing to do with offense. I don’t even know why you would bring that up. It’s all about focus from a defensive standpoint.
“I think we were selfish defensively,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “We weren’t helping each other, especially in pick and rolls. We were doing concepts we weren’t even planning on doing tonight. It just creates a lot of opportunities for them, open threes, easy layups, uncontested layups. We were just out of sync. We were out of character. We weren’t playing our style of basketball.
“We come to a timeout and we’re worried about turning the ball over there, let’s look to throw it in the post,” Wittman said. “No, let’s look to get some defensive stops.”
Mavs’ Over-reliance on Monta (from Bobby Karalla, mavsoutsider.com):
More on this (from Tim McMahon, ESPN) here: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4704919/too-much-monta-mavs-might-have-to-move-on
– Film room: Inside Anthony Davis passing improvements (from Matt Cianfrom, pelicansbrief.com):
” Anthony Davis has started to show off an incredible new skill that could turn him into the type of player that renders the rest of the NBA even more helpless as he continues to grow older.
What has emerged recently from Davis is a new-found passing ability that combines both excellent tough, vision and feel for the game that not many big men in basketball today have. The results have followed as well. In his last five games Davis has posted games of six, five, seven, four and five assists. While Davis won’t ever be a player that averages 10 assists per game, the improvements have shown that the Pelicans can run their offense fully and completely through Davis and not have to worry about things bogging down.
For this trip into the film room we will look at Davis throwing four different types of passes. First working out of the high post, then from the pick-and-roll, then out of the post before a final look at a pass that didn’t turn into an assist but came from his working from the perimeter.
Read and view it here: http://pelicandebrief.com/2015/03/23/film-room-inside-anthony-davis-passing-improvements/
– Grizzly Light and Leadership: Memphis is Rising to the Occasion (from Joe Mullinax, grizzlybearblues):
” The fastest way to right the wrongs of an organization and roster is to win, and win the Memphis Grizzlies did this past weekend. After a successful run against potential playoff competition, and after the worst of Memphis in the darkness, it took a return, a force of nature, and an act of selflessness to allow for leadership and light to shine through once again.”
– As Clippers season winds down, coach has no formula for resting players (from Broderick Turner, LATimes):
“What I still don’t know — and I’m not smart enough to know that — if rest in games 40-50, is that more effective than resting from games 70 to 80? We all have theories. I’m sure there actually is an answer to that. I would think later has to be better. But who the heck knows?”
“If I thought rest would help us in the playoffs, then we’re going to rest,” Rivers said. “I think that’s the better way of explaining. Because if you’re playing guys and you’re tired, you’re going to lose anyway. So give me a chance of a healthy team. I know that as a fact: A healthy team is better than an unhealthy team. I’m positive of that.”
– The San Antonio Spurs and Fundamentals (from JC Sites, Vantage Sports):
“The core fundamentals are clean passing (i.e., no deflections), solid screening, staying in front of the offensive player, rebounding, and getting and making open shots. This is a broad group, but with Vantage Stats, we can inspect each fundamental aspect of the Spurs’ game.”
– Khris Middleton Q & A (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:
– Zach LaVine/Kevin Martin/Chase Budinger: http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/ThreePoint_Play_LaVines_recent_play_reinventing_Martin_Budinger032215
– Breaking Down How Timofey Mozgov Changes the Cleveland Cavaliers Defense (from Dylan Murphy, Bleacher Report):
– Examining Mike Conley’s unorthodox right-handed floater (from Andrew Ford, Grizzlybearblues.com):
“Floater” as a basketball term is defined as an early layup taken by a player moving towards the rim where, upon release, the ball floats in the air over the top of a defender before dropping softly into the hoop. It’s otherwise known as a tear-drop or a runner. The definition makes it sound simple, but it is one of the hardest shots in basketball to perfect.
Long a weapon of choice for the undersized of the NBA, the floater requires a tremendous amount of body control, solid footwork, and soft touch. There is only a handful of players who even utilize the shot with regularity, and there are even fewer who have mastered the shot. Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, and Rajon Rondo have all developed a reputation as guys that are the best in the game at taking and making floaters.
Mike Conley is another player who has developed a notable floater during his NBA career. Each one of the aforementioned players shoots the floater a bit differently, but none of them shoot it like Conley. A predominantly left-handed shooter, Conley essentially only shoots floaters with his weaker right hand.
Shooting with the weak hand is not a high-percentage event for most NBA players, particularly outside of shooting point-blank layups. The special thing about Conley, though, is that he doesn’t have much of a “weak” hand. He’s been adept at driving and finishing with both hands dating back to high school, and he’s only honed his ambidextrous craft even more since entering the NBA.”
Brad Stevens Wants C’s to Soar Like Hawks (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):
” “We had a long talk [Wednesday] as a staff, we all want these guys to all be able to do things that the Teagues, the Korvers and those guys do on an every-night basis,” Stevens said. “I think that’s part of the process.”
On the court, the Hawks run the motion-heavy, pass-happy, up-tempo offense that Stevens desires from his team. Defensively, the Hawks put themselves in all the right spots and work together to cover missteps, while adding some physicality despite their lack of front-line size.
“They just play the right way,” Stevens said. “Defensively, they are very connected. They play very hard and the numbers bear that out. And, offensively, I think they are one of the elite teams in the league, just because of the way they spread the floor, the multiple skilled bigs that they have that allow them to play — either with rolling, but also with driving and spacing. Then you’ve got guards, you’ve got two guards that can get wherever they want to go with the ball. And then guys that can shoot around them. Heck of a mix.” ”
– Atlanta Hawks’ Unstoppable Surge (from Ben Watanabe, nesn.com):
– Kyle Korver (from Dei Lynam, csnphilly.com):
“We are a true team,” Korver said. “We do not have a superstar that we are going to play through every night. We don’t have one person dominate the ball. We find the open man and knock down shots. We have a lot of guys who can shoot, so we spread the floor, and when everybody is touching the ball everybody plays a little harder.”
Korver is playing, arguably, the best basketball of his 12 NBA seasons. He leads the league in three-point percentage at 52.5, and his 115 made threes are the second-most among NBA players this season.
“Being around him every day we are very fortunate,” Budenholzer said. “He makes the coaches look a lot better and a lot smarter. He is such a professional and Korver works so hard. Besides him being a shooter, I think other parts of his game are underrated. His efforts defensively and his efforts on the boards set a tone. His example is he is going to do everything he can to help us win.”
– Lionel Hollins molded a title contender — 1,000 miles away (from Tim Bontemps, NYPost):
“We were together for a long time,” Hollins said. “Those guys were puppies, and now they’re men. It’s good to see them, but it’s not good to compete against them when they’re firing on all cylinders like they were [tonight].”
Before the game, his former players were in a reflective mood about Hollins, who led Memphis to an improved winning percentage in each of his four-plus years there.
“He did a lot [for me],” Gasol said. “But first he showed me that in the NBA it’s a serious thing and a serious business.
“[He] changed a lot of things in the organization, and he made us bond together. He made us work from Day 1. We believed in each other. He preached a lot and he’s somebody that means a lot to me and we stayed in touch after that because that was the kind of impact he’s had on me.”
Allen, in particular, praised Hollins for helping him be named to an All-Defensive team each of their four seasons together.
“All I can remember [from] me being under him is he enhanced my level of play,” Allen said. “I thought he brought the best out of me.”
– Magic vs. Rockets notebook: Orlando pushes the pace for its second straight win (from Zach Oliver, orlandopinstripedpost.com):
– What Is Orlando Trying to Do? (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
Read and view it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/a-rabbit-in-the-hat-what-is-orlando-trying-to-do/
– Utah’s Smart Approach to Offensive Boards (from Ben Dowsett, Vantage Sports):
” But what’s crafty about their prowess here is the method to their attack. Utah is just 22nd in the NBA for OReb Pursuit Rate, or the percentage of reboundable opportunities where a player moves out of his area chasing the board, at 48.79 percent—a curiously low figure for a team that can be so successful on the offensive glass. On the flip side, Utah is 2nd in OBlockouts per 100 Opportunities at 3.67, trailing only Portland. This distinction is of particular importance. Utah coach Quin Snyder has made transition defense a huge priority in his first year at the helm and knows full well that irresponsibly chasing unlikely offensive boards can lead to opposing numbers advantages on the other end when the gamble fails to pay off.
As a result, Snyder’s group, and especially his bigs, are selective with their aggression. They’ll pursue when they’ve got good position, especially when given a chance to actively box out a potential defensive rebounder, but will mostly back off if chasing the board requires jumping themselves out of position or leaving their transition defense at a deficit.”
– Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Great Defense on Lillard Overcomes Aldridge’s Offense (from Dave Deckard, blazersdedge.com):
“The Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers put on a display of playoff-level basketball tonight in the Moda Center. The game had everything you’d want from a Western-Conference showdown: big stars shining, great plays, fast tempo, and neither team led by double-digits at any point in the contest.”
– Wizards make Bulls disappear again in 105-99 Bulls loss (from Sam Smith, bulls.com):
“I look at it as a part of the path and an opportunity for us to understand we still have a lot of work to do to improve,” said Gasol of the loss. “I think it’s important to go through obstacles and adversity and utilize it to make your stronger. So that’s what we have to do.”
If not a crisis, it is a time of uncertainty, and even Thibodeau seems to be crying out for help. Some suggestion of how can we do the job these days compared to just doing your job.
“It’s not that we’re going to the hot hand,” said Thibodeau. “It’s who’s available. It’s tough to build continuity that way when you have guys in and out. That’s our reality; we have to figure it out, we have to deal with it. There’s times we have three point guards on the floor and they have (Paul) Pierce out there. But we still have to find a way to win. We can’t hang our heads and we can’t make excuses. We’ve just got to find a way to win.”
– Square Pegs, Round Holes, and the Raptors’ Defense (from Phil Davey, vantagesports.com):
” The Toronto Raptors have been one of the more surprising teams this season. Despite LeBron and Love joining the Cavaliers and the Warriors possessing the best record in the league, the Raptors lead the league in Offensive Rating through nearly half the season.
Although they were certainly expected to be a good team this year, it likely comes as a surprise to most that they’re performing this well on offense, particularly given they’ve been missing DeMar DeRozan for an extended period of time. At their best, the Raptors spread the floor beautifully and combine a mix of quick ball movement, strong play in the pick-and-roll, and the ability to score in isolation situations to create a potent product.
Instead, their defense has been the Raptors’ shortcoming this season.
Currently, the Raptors sit 22nd in Defensive Rating, and the inability to consistently get stops has been their downfall this season, particularly against other potent offensive teams, who have had a tendency to blow them out over the last few weeks (such as the Warriors and the Suns). The Raptors have some perfectly capable defensive players on their roster, but there are a few reasons that they still have a below-average defense, mostly revolving around player fit.”
– Kendrick Perkins (from Jenni Carlson, newsok.com):
– Thunder is not asking Dion Waiters to be a James Harden clone (from Darnell Mayberry, newsok.com):
” We’re still figuring out how he fits in and who he fits in with,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I don’t know what his best lineup will be. But we have some time to work on that… I like his competitive spirit. That’s the only thing that I know right now that he brings to our team for sure.”
Brooks said it could take weeks to learn where Waiters is most effective. Subtleties such as where Waiters likes to get the ball and how he likes to set up his defender, when he cuts versus spots up and when he shoots versus sets up others, will crystalize over the next several contests.
“I really don’t have a good grip of that yet,” Brooks said. “We just have to continue to build on what he can do to help us win games.”
An examination of Waiters’ past production provides a glimpse into how he might fit with the Thunder.
Based on his body of work over the past 11/2 seasons, Waiters is really good in the restricted area, most efficient from long range, particularly the left corner, when assisted and has a knack for creating his own shot. Each of those strengths could blend nicely with the Thunder if used appropriately.”
– Why This Proposed Austin Rivers–Clippers Trade Seems Like a Bad Idea (from Jason Concepcion, Grantland.com):
– Reggie Jackson’s Oklahoma City Problem (from Andrew Sharp, Grantland.com):
– Do the Hornets have an identity crisis? (from Bryan Mears, atthehive.com):
” The Hornets look much different with and without Al Jefferson. Which version is better and which should they build around moving forward?”
– The Evolution of Blake Griffin’s Game (from Zachary Krajkowski, numberfire.com):
– Jason Kidd Proving His Place as an NBA Head Coach (from Fred katz, Bleacher report):
– Bismack Biyombo, after losing starting job and nearly half his minutes, happily helping Hornets (from Dan Feldman, NBC Sports):
– Bismack Biyombo was amazing in loss to Spurs (from Tom Sorenson, charlotteobserver.com):
– Charlotte Reborn in Absence of Jefferson (from Cameron Purn, Vantagesports.com):
– Top 10 D-League Showcase prospects (from Marc Spears, Yahoo Sports):
“The NBA Development League’s Showcase begins Thursday in Santa Cruz, Calif., and one long-time scout thinks there will be plenty of talent to consider among the 16 D-League teams.
Here’s 10 potential call-ups to watch at the D-League Showcase:
1. Quincy Miller, Reno Bighorns, F, 6-10, 219 pounds: “He’s still young and might be the best prospect with his length, ability to play small forward and power forward, make 3-pointers and handle the ball, too.”
Read about potential call-ups 2-10 here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/top-10-d-league-prospects-040307317.html
– Top Storylines of the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase (from Brian Kotloff, nbadleadgue.com):
For those with access to ESPN Insider:
– Picking NBA All-Star starters (from Amin Elhassan):
” On Monday, Jan. 19, the balloting for the NBA All-Star starters closes, with the 10 lucky individuals being named on the 22nd (reserves are named a week later). Inevitably, the All-Star announcements come with a prerequisite amount of outrage, as the vagaries of fan voting often result in the awarding of berths to popular players, but not necessarily deserving ones.
That ripple effect is then felt by the coaches, who are often forced to make tough decisions between deserving players fighting to make the reserve selection list. That’s not to say coaching selections are infallible either; it’s not like coaches sit around all day trying to discern the most worthy players — they are preoccupied with winning the real games on their schedule (as they should).
With that in mind, I’ve taken on the “burden” of making the All-Star selections for the starting berths in both conferences.”
Read it here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12170708
(BI Note: If only. A true all-star game with lineups like these would probably be worth watching – unlike the Popularity Contest Game that we are faced with instead.)
Additional player notes:
– James Johnson/Terrence Ross: http://www.tsn.ca/talent/johnson-pushes-ross-for-starting-spot-alongside-derozan-1.183182
– Zaza Pechulia/John Henson: http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/01/15/john-henson-zaza-pachulia-carrying-milwaukee-bucks/
– PJ Tucker/Brandan Wright: http://www.nba.com/suns/blog/arizona-sports-mcdonough-tuckers-value-wright-trade