Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/14/18 PART ONE

Jabari Parker: Staying Humble, Guarded In Latest Comeback (form Yaron Weitzman, BleacherReport):
New Age Of Center Play (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):
Hawks: Dedmon Has Picked Up Where He Left Off (from Chris Guest, Soaring Down South):
Pelicans: Explaining The Spain Pick & Roll (from Kumar, Bourbon Street Shots):
The Porzingis Post-Surgery Timetable (from Marc Berman, NY Post):
Steve Kerr Let The Players Do The Coaching  (from Marcus Thompson II, The Athletic):
Inside The 24 Hours That Changed The Cavs’ Season (from Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN):
LBJ’s Versatility Is The Key To Cavs’ Success (from Michael D. Sykes II, SBNation):
The Cavs’ Looming Luxury Tax Bill (from Buddy Grizzard, Basketball Insiders):
Will IT Ever Be Last Season’s Player Again? (from John Gonzalez, The Ringer):
Pacers Are Building A Winning Culture (from Grant Afseth, Kokomo Tribune):
The Jazz’ Recent Roll (from Zach Lowe,ESPN):
Jazz: So Far, No Moment Has Been Too Big For Royce O’Neale (from Kyle Goon, Salt Lake Tribune):
Trade Deadline Takeaways (from David Aldridge, NBA.com):
Mavericks: This Is How Young Players Learn (from Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News):
Ranking The Best Buyout Players (from Bobby Marks, ESPN):
– Second Look: Pistons Vs Pelicans (from Joseph Sinke, Piston Powered):
Pistons: A Whole New World For James Ennis (from Rod Beard, Detroit News):
Can Greg Monroe Save The Celtics’ 2nd Unit? (from Graham Allen Celtics Hub):
Wolves: Teague Adjusts To Unfamiliar Role (from Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune):
Clippers: Big Decisions Loom (from Shaun Powell, NBA.com):
Khem Birch’s Unique Journey To The NBA (from Josh Cohen, magic.com):
Jahlil Okafor Is Tanking A Team With Nothing To Tank For (from Jason Patt, Fanrag Sports):
Cristiano Felicio Overcame Prep School Nightmare To Achieve His NBA Dream  (from Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated):
Lakers: Alex Caruso Finds His Role (from David Ramil, Fanrag Sports):
Is Jaren Jackson, Jr The Most Versatile Player In The 2018 Draft?  (from Zach Harper, Fanrag Sports):
Five Draft Prospects Who Deserve More Shine (from Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated):
Raptors: Caboclo Was A Worthwhile Gamble (from Blake Murphy, VICE Sports):

 

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How Memphis is creating space through Marc Gasol

By Eli Horowitz, assistant men’s basketball coach at Caltech & NBA/WNBA analyst

 

The Memphis Grizzlies have made the postseason seven straight years. They’ve done it with defense, rebounding, physicality and just enough offense. But with the losses of Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, the NBA Twitter community largely excluded this club from their Western Conference playoff lists. With the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets and Thunder as locks, there are only four spots for the Blazers, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Clippers, Jazz, Pelicans and Grizzlies. With Minnesota adding Jimmy Butler, Denver adding Paul Millsap, and Portland having a full season of Jusuf Nurkic alongside their talented backcourt, it’s understandable why many felt Memphis could fizzle out of the picture.

But so far, the Grizzlies are showing that with a healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, they can play with anyone. They’re 3-0 with double digit wins over the Pelicans and Warriors, and an eight point road victory over the Rockets in which they held Houston to 33 second-half points. Memphis is currently sixth if defensive rating, per NBA.com, and they’ll need that to continue to nab one of those final four playoff spots.

But doubt about Memphis was never about defense; projections that have the Grizzlies in the playoffs assume they’ll finish top ten on that end. Last year, the Grizzlies finished seventh in defense and 18th in offense to earn the seven seed. Grizzlies pessimists might have felt that if the offense slips to 20, and the defense to 10 without Allen, the Grizzlies could be on the outside looking in. In an even more stacked Western Conference, the Grizzlies may need a top 10-15 offense to secure a playoff berth, even with a great defense.

So far, they’re 11th in offensive rating, starting the likes of Jarell Martin, James Ennis III and Andrew Harrison. With teams locked in on Conley, the Grizzlies are using Marc Gasol out in space to get easy baskets. Watch here how Gasol receives a screen from Conley and gets a dunk:

 

The Grizzlies set up in a Horns look with Ennis and Harrison in the corners. After Conley gets the ball to Martin, he cuts through and comes back up to screen Gasol at the opposite elbow. The Grizzlies wisely attack away from Trevor Ariza, who’s on Ennis in the strong side corner and can’t help. Watch and notice James Harden is in help, but won’t be effective at the rim against Gasol, whereas Ariza at least has some length. Clint Capela has to play up on Gasol due to his shooting ability.

As the play develops, Conley gets just enough of Capela on the screen to force Eric Gordon to have to bump Gasol. But rather that just switch, Gordon tries to fight over Gasol and switch back onto Conley. As that happens, Capela is trailing Gasol, who basket cuts away from the help to get the pass from Martin and an easy finish.

The Grizzlies take advantage of the Rockets here by running the screen inside the paint. Gordon and Capela are not used to communicating on an action on this spot of the floor. Additionally, by making Conley the screener and Gasol the recipient, Capela is in the precarious position of having to fight over a screen. Gasol’s ability to stretch the floor and handle the ball is forcing opposing centers out of the paint where Gasol can play with space.

When the Grizzlies go to a more traditional post-up, they’re getting switches that create easy looks for Gasol. Teams don’t want to switch, but Gasol will set a screen and then seal and bury the guards defender to force the switch. Here, Harden is on Harrison and Capela is on Gasol. Before the clip starts, Gasol seals Harden after screening him and gets the mismatch:

 

Not only do the Grizzlies get Gasol a paint look against a guard, but by getting the switch through a high pick and roll, Capela is now out at the three point line and in no position to come help when Gasol spins baseline. Ariza could be more aggressive in help, which means Ryan Anderson would need to drop to the level off the ball and prevent a pass to the weak side corner, but even if that happens, the Grizzlies have a three on two on the weak side and are getting an open shot.

The above play is completely different than the first clip, but in both cases, Marc Gasol starts operating outside the paint and without the ball in order to get a smaller defender onto him when he makes his move towards the rim.

Here is another look that gets the same outcome. This time Nene is in the game, and the Rockets sprint back on defense. Rather than find Gasol, Nene is ready in the paint. Normally, he could expect to wait and pick up the opposing center by the basket. But Gasol stops on the perimeter, forcing Harden to pick him up and sending Nene to the corner on Martin. Watch how Gasol immediately attacks off the catch:

 

As soon as Gasol catches, the paint is open as the Grizzlies are in a spread. With Harden standing upright, Gasol is able to easily get by him as he doesn’t put up much of a fight. As the drive happens, Nene is taking steps towards the corner, so he’s unable to get to the rim quick enough to contest Gasol.

In one quarter, Gasol gets three dunks; none from direct post-ups (the second clip doesn’t include the initial pick and roll Gasol uses to seal Harden). What the Grizzlies lack in traditional spacing garnered through shooting and driving, they’re getting from Gasol’s ability to operate on the perimeter and the elbow extended areas. Teams will have to pack it in against these actions and force the Grizzlies’ unheralded wings to make plays. If the Grizzlies aren’t able to knock down shots, it will be a struggle to score. But early in the season, if teams continue to play the Grizzlies straight up, Gasol will feast.

There’s not enough firepower for the Grizzlies to be an elite offense. Teams with new additions will improve their chemistry and move up the rankings. But even in a brutal Western Conference, if the Grizzlies can remain a top 15 offense, their defense can carry them to the playoffs.

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 9/15/17

Time For Marc Gasol & Grizzlies To Enter New Era  (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer):
Assessing The Cavs’ Top EC Challengers (from James Herbert, CBS Sports):
Don’t Overlook The Wizards (from Jack Winter, Fanrag Sports):
More Than Ever, LBJ Bears Cavs’ Hopes Of Reaching Finals (from Shaun Powell, NBA.com):
Denver’s Backcourt Rotation: Key To Nuggets’ Improvement  (from Eric Spyropolous, NBA Math):
Daniel Theis’ EuroBasket Performance & Role With Celtics  (from Matt Chin, Celtics Blog):
Aaron Gordon Is The Key To Orlando’s Success…Or Failure (from Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily):
Are Concerns About Pelicans’ Three-Point Shooting Overblown? (from Oleh Kosel, The Bird Writes):
Top 100 Players: 1-10 (from ESPN):
Stanley Johnson: Ready To Seize Opportunity (from Keith Langlois, pistons.com):
What CJ Miles Brings To The Raptors (from Raptors Republic):
Young Players Who Are Future Top 100 Candidates (from Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated):

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 6/5/17

Game Two Recap (from Gerald Bourguet, Hoops Habit):
Video Breakdown: Warriors Run Crafty Floppy ATO To Get Steph Wide Open 3 (from Dane Carbaugh, NBC Sports):
Kyrie Irving’s Struggles (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):
Steve Kerr And The Decision To Return (from Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports):
KD Isn’t The Cavs Only Problem (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):
Coach Lue’s Game Two Post-Game Media Session Transcript (from Nathaniel Cline, cleveland.com):
Cavs Have No Margin For Error (from Nate Scott, Fox Sports):
Neutralizing Tristan Thompson Is Killing The Cavs (from Marcus Thompson II, Mercury News):
Dakari Johnson Q & A (from Brett Dawson, NewsOK):
In The Shadow Of A Superstar: The Story Of Jason Peters And Marc Gasol (from Marcus Gronauer, Beale Street Bears):
Terrance Ferguson Scouting Report (from Trevor Magnotti, The Step Back):
International Draft Prospects’ Profiles (from Brian Seltzer, sixers.com):
Jaylen Brown: Setting The Standard For Rookies (from Joshua Bateman, Hardwood Houdini):
Spurs: Who Is Adam Hanga? (from Rob Wolkenbrod, Air Alamo):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 4/6/17

Understanding The Contenders’ Playoff Rotations  (from Brendon Kleen, The Step Back):

Read it here: http://fansided.com/2017/04/06/nba-playoffs-rotations-cavs-warriors/

–  Analyzing The Bucks’ Defensive Style  (from Ben Falk, Cleaning The Glass):

Read and watch it here: https://cleaningtheglass.com/do-the-bucks-stop-here/

CLE 114, BOS 91  (from Gary Washburn, Boston Globe):

Read it here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/celtics/2017/04/05/onhoop/qlCBUZvrYVYC30VEYjT6DO/story.html

From Jay King, Masslive.com: http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2017/04/boston_celtics_cleveland_caval_16.html

 

 

 

DPOY Candidates: Gobert, D. Green, Leonard  (from Philip Rossman-Reich, The Step Back):

Read it here:  http://fansided.com/2017/04/06/argument-every-2016-17-defensive-player-year-candidate/

Richaun Holmes: Proving He Belongs In Sixers’ Rotation (from Bryan Toporek, BBall Breakdown):

Read and watch it here:  https://bballbreakdown.com/2017/04/05/richaun-holmes-proving-belongs-philadelphia-76ers-rotation/

Buddy Hield Is Stepping Up (from Tom West, 16 Wins):

Read and watch it here:  https://16winsaring.com/buddy-hield-has-work-to-do-but-hes-stepping-up-with-sacramento-kings-2bb529014d9f

–  Mavs Have Bright Future With Harrison Barnes (from Paolo Pascual, The Smoking Cuban):

Read and watch it here:  http://hoopshabit.com/2017/04/05/dallas-mavericks-bright-future-barnes/

 Heat Find Success By Spreading The Wealth On Offense (from Nick Sciria, Nylon Calculus):

Read it here: http://fansided.com/2017/04/06/nylon-calculus-miami-heat-find-success-spreading-wealth-offense/

Don’t Hold Spurs’ System Against Kawhi In MVP Race (from Eli Horowitz, Fanrag Sports):

Read it here: https://www.fanragsports.com/nba/spurs/column-spurs-system-held-kawhi-leonard-mvp-race/

Jason Smith: The Ultimate Teammate Always Stays Ready  (from Zach Rosen, Washington Wizards Blog):

Read it here:  https://washingtonwizardsblog.monumentalsportsnetwork.com/2017/04/06/the-ultimate-teammate-jason-smith-always-stays-ready

Pin-Down Passing (from Zak Boisvert, pickandpop.net):

Watch it here: http://pickandpop.net/2017/04/pin-down-passing/

Role Player Of The Week: Frank Kaminsky  (from Donnie Kolakowski, Fanrag Sports):

Read and watch it here: https://www.fanragsports.com/nba/hornets/role-player-of-the-week-frank-kaminsky/

Steph Curry In Middle School: Origin Of The Baby-Faced Assassin (from Marcus Thompson II, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2695972-stephen-curry-in-middle-school-the-origin-of-the-baby-faced-assassin

Brook Lopez: The (Offensive) Force Awakens  (from Charles Maniego, 16 Wins:

Read and watch it here: https://16winsaring.com/brook-lopez-the-offensive-force-awakens-dec531e6aade

TOR 105, DET 102 :10 Observations (from William Lou, The Defeated):

Read it here: https://medium.com/the-defeated/10-things-i-saw-from-raptors-pistons-holy-shit-lowry-is-back-4e0c37740670

Blazers: Surviving Without Nurkic  (from Raymond Simms, Hoops Habit):

Read and watch it here: http://hoopshabit.com/2017/04/05/portland-trail-blazers-barely-surviving/

Morey’s Case For Exec Of The Year  (from Eric Spyropolous, Hoops Habit):

Read it here:  http://hoopshabit.com/2017/04/06/daryl-morey-case-executive-year/

Korver Returns To 3-Point Leaderboard  (from Positive Residual, Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:  http://fansided.com/2017/04/06/kyle-korver-3-point-leaderboard/

Gasol, Grizzlies Focused On Finding Rhythm  (from Ronald Tillery, Commercial Appeal):

Read it here: http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/sports/nba/grizzlies/2017/04/06/grizzlies-morning-after-gasol-grizzlies-focused-finding-rhythm/100116862/

Increase In Confidence Key For Luwawu-Caborrot  (from Brian Seltzer, Sixers.com):

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/sixers/news/game-preview-increase-confidence-key-luwawu-cabarrot

Monty Williams: Life After Tragedy (from Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  https://www.si.com/nba/2017/04/06/monty-williams-wife-ingrid-family-tragedy-spurs-thunder-pelicans

5 Things We Learned From Eurocup 2016-17  (from Trevor Magnotti, The Step Back):

Read and watch it here:  http://fansided.com/2017/04/06/5-things-learned-eurocup-2016-2017/

Isaiah Thomas: Picture Me Rollin’  (from Peter Walsh, slamonline.com):

Read it here:  http://www.slamonline.com/the-magazine/features/isaiah-thomas-celtics-cover-story/#L2Ut5Ji5ajPlhuiR.97

–  Nets’ Turnaround Coincides With Lin’s Return  (from Greg Logan, Newsday):

Read it here: http://www.newsday.com/sports/basketball/nets/nets-turnaround-coincides-with-jeremy-lin-s-return-1.13367899

The NBA’s Subtle, Vital Scheduling Factor  (from Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/the-nbas-subtle-vital-scheduling-factor/

Langston Galloway: Ready And Steady  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):

Read and watch it here: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article142963964.html