Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 6/28/17

Knicks Part Ways With Phil Jackson (from Scott Cacciola, NYTimes):
The Draft: Understanding How Different Pieces Of Evidence Factor Into Decision-Making (from Ben Falk, Cleaning The Glass);
Free Agency: What To Watch For  (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer):
The Top 20 Free Agents (from Bobby Marks, Yahoo Sports):
The Moments That Won Westbrook The MVP (from Royce Young, ESPN):
The Numbers Behind Patrick Beverley’s Hustle Award (from Brian Martin,
Justin Patton: From 6’1′ Point Guard To 7-foot Center (from Associated Press):
Warriors Season-In-Review Player Capsules: The Wings (from Brian Witt,
The Highest Peaks Reached By PGs In The Modern Era (from Adam Fromal,


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Different paths to rebuilding: A view of the Sixers, Celtics, Magic  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:


–  How do the Celtics go from good to great?  (from Amin Elhassan, Tom Penn, Kevin Pelton,  ESPN Insider):

Those with access to ESPN Insider can read it here:


–  The Rebuilding Of The Orlando Magic: A Look Into Their Future  (from Dakota Schmidt, BBaall Breakdown):

Read it here:


–  The NBA’s first Palestinian? Sani Sakakini’s remarkable basketball odyssey  (form Les Carpenter,

Read it here:


–  Who Still Has Cap Space and who is “staring at the luxury tax”? (from Steve Kyler, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:


–  Teams With Hard Caps For 2015/16  (from Chuck Myron,

Read it here:


–   Traded Future NBA Draft Picks, By Round  (from Marc Porcaro,

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Doug McDermott:


Jahlil Okafor:


Ersan Ilyasova/Marcus Morris:


Jrue Holiday:


Boban Marjanovic:


Andre Drummond/Aron Baynes:


Nik Stauskas:


Nikola Vucevic:


Tyler Harvey:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   The Educated Consumer’s Guide to Following the NBA Free Agency Rumor Madness  (from  Kyle Welch,

Read it here:

(NOTE: We would add: if you are offered a proposition over/under bet of 2% of free agency rumors proving out – take the under.)



–  Deeper look reveals dynamic under-the-radar free agents  (from Fran Blinebury,

Read it here:



– Sixers in tough spot with free agency, pending cap increase  (from John Gonzalez,

Read it here:



Non-guaranteed contracts play a big role in trades (from  Sporting News):

Read it here:



Thomas Robinson: Traveling Man  (from Jonathan Abrams,

Read it here:



Celtics: Youth Movement & Patience  (from wjsy,

Read it here:



–  Five Questions: Los Angeles Clippers  (from Jesse Blanchard,  Bball Breakdown):

Read it here:



–  Summer League Can Be Valuable Experience  (from Cody Taylor, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:



For those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  2015 free-agent Big Board 2.0  (from Amin Elhassan):

Read it here:




Day 6 of our continuing coverage of 2015 draft selections:


3, Philadelphia, Jahlil Okafor:


–  5, Orlando, Mario Hezonja:


16, Boston,  Terry Rozier:


20, Toronto, Delon Wright:


23, Brooklyn,  Rondae Hollis-Jefferson:


38, Detroit, Darrun Hilliard:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Noah Vonleh:


Al-Farouk Aminu:


Mason Plumlee:


James M ichael McAdoo:


Enes Kanter:


Dante Exum:


Nikola Jokic:


Josh Selby:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Brad Stevens:  Spur Execution Should be “Eye-Opener” for Celts (from Zack Cox,

Read it here:




Elfrid Payton: far More Than Just a Prospect  (from Brett David Roberts,

Read it here:

More on Elfrid here:




–  Warriors’ passing game  (from Mark Purdy,

Read it here:



Warriors:  68 Games Deep, and Still Improving (from Adam Lauridsen,
” I hope what we’re witnessing in Thompson’s absence is the Warriors’ transition from an collection of individually gifted players working unselfishly together, to an even more deeply integrated system where the absolutely buy-in and constant execution make the pieces nearly interchangeable.  That’s the level the Spurs teams hit when they’d bench their starters and still blow out talented Warriors teams.  There are signs in the minutia — like the embarrassed frustration the end-of-the-bench players showed after giving up an easy second-chance basket, up by 20+ in the final minute of garbage time — and writ large — like the Warriors’ once-again growing point differential for the season — that we’re witnessing a still evolving beast.  Cut off a leg, an arm, or even the head — and it just grows another and keeps on charging.”





–  Cavaliers notes about bench scoring and playoff position (form Terry Pluto,

Read it here:



– With playoffs looming, Cavaliers must get physical (from Marla Ridenour, Akron beacon Journal):

” After Friday’s shootaround, Love said what stood out about the Pacers was their physical style of play.

That is by design, Vogel said.

“Part of winning basketball is playing physical basketball,” Vogel said before the game. “We want to make sure there’s collisions at the rim, don’t give up anything easy, protect the paint, hit people when the shot goes up and try to rebound. Offensively we want to be more physical in the screening.

“It’s the style of play I believe that works for this group. I believe there’s a lot of styles that work in the playoffs. I’m not one of those guys who believes small ball doesn’t work in the playoffs or running teams don’t work in the playoffs. You’ve seen over the last few years different styles can be successful. You’ve got to play a style that fits your personnel.”

Cavs coach David Blatt agrees with Vogel’s point on physical basketball.

“We have tried to raise our level of physicality in the last few months and I think we’ve done a good job of that, not only Moz, but all of the guys,” Blatt said before the game.

But he doesn’t agree with a thug mentality like some teams have used to rough up LeBron James.

“There’s physical play and then there’s correct play,” Blatt said. “If you’re just physical but you’re not playing correctly there’s not a great deal of value in it. If you’re playing correctly but you’re not being physical at all, that’s also going to cost you.

“You really want to have both of them together. You want to play the game right and play the game hard. If you want to compete at the highest level, you’re going to have to be physical. That’s 1 through 13; it’s not one guy.”

–  J.J. Redick Is the Secret Ingredient to Clippers’ Offense  (from  Josh Martin, Bleacher Report):
“(T)here’s much more to Redick’s repertoire nowadays than running around the hardwood and shooting. He’s not a defensive stopper by any means, but he’s become a pesky opponent on that end—particularly when assigned to James Harden. He’s a willing facilitator, passing up good shots for great ones. Put the ball in Redick’s hands, and he’s liable to make a play off the dribble.
“Stan [Van Gundy] talked about his pick-and-roll play,” Rivers said of his conversations with the former Magic head coach two summers ago. “He said, ‘You’re going to be surprised what he does with the ball besides his shooting’, and Stan’s right.”
“I just thought he might at the next level be a standstill shooter,” saidDahntay Jones, who was a senior at Duke when Redick was a freshman. “I didn’t think that he could play in this capacity. It’s great to see him develop into this.”
And more on Redick (from Arash Markazi, ESPN):
–  We Need to Talk About Kevin: On Life Without Durant for the Oklahoma City Thunder  (from Zach Lowe,




Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:


Wayne Ellington:


Udonis Haslem:


–  Tyler Zeller:


Andre Drummond:


Nikola Mirotic:


Quincy Miller/Spencer Dinwiddie/Jodie Meeks:


Jae Crowder:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Aldridge returns, Blazers beat Wizards 103-96 (from Eric Gundersen,

” “Even if he didn’t have the monster game that he did, I think his presence and his sacrifice of his own body and for him to recognize how special this season is and can be and continue to be, for him to give that up to be out there with us in the trenches, it speaks volumes,” Wesley Matthews said.”

Read it here:


–  LaMarcus Aldridge Q&A (from Mike Richman,

Read it here:


–  Marcus Smart showcased pick-and-roll improvements in latest Boston Celtics win (from Jay King,

” Marcus Smart’s stat line Friday night against the Denver Nuggets looked underwhelming. Heck, he had more fouls (five) than either points (four) or assists (three). Yet as one of my old golf partners used to say, the scorecard does not include any of the finer details.

When Smart checked in midway through the third quarter, the Celtics trailed 63-56. They had already started a bit of a comeback, but over the next four minutes, Smart pushed them into the lead with a string of successful pick-and-rolls – showing intelligence and poise in an area that hasn’t been a real strength of his this season.”

Read it here:


–  How Marcus Smart Developed Into A Knockdown 3 Point Shooter (from Kevin O’Connor, BBall breakdown):

Read and view it here:


– Magic’s defense getting worse (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):

Read it here:


–  Brett Brown’s job more difficult than most other coaches’ (from Keith Pompey,

Read it here:


–  For Stephen Curry, basketball in hands is masterpiece theater (from Ron Kroichick,

”   In the quiet of summer, at a gym in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., Stephen Curry works on his ballhandling. He dribbles two basketballs at once, he dribbles while tossing a tennis ball to a nearby trainer and he dribbles side-to-side with a resistance band wrapped around his waist.

Most intriguingly, Curry also dribbles while five lights alternately flash on a wall in front of him. His quest in this innovative drill is to quickly react to the lights, making a specific move — yellow might mean “crossover” — and reaching out with his other hand to tap the light and hurry to the next one.

“The lights mimic what’s happening on the court,” Curry said. “If there’s a defender in front of me, then I’ve got to know where he is and still be ready to initiate whatever move I’m going to make.”

Curry long ago gained acclaim as one of the NBA’s best outside shooters, but the roots of his captivating game rest in his extraordinary ballhandling. He has all but mastered the art of dribbling, a fundamental and sublime skill closely connected to all those majestic jumpers.”

Read and view it here:


–  For streaking Atlanta Hawks, it’s all about the balance (from Paul Newberry, Associated Press);

” “Give me four or five really good players compared to just one superstar,” Millsap said. “I’ll take that any day.”

The deep roster has created a camaraderie that might be unmatched on any team. Those who aren’t in the game can usually be found hooting and hollering on the sideline, cheering on their teammates, everyone fully invested.

“It’s kind of like a college team,” Carroll said. “Everything we do, we do as a group. We know we’ve got each other’s backs.””

Read it here:



(BI Note: As always, you can learn just about everything you need/want to know about what’s happening with the Bulls by reading Sam’s weekly responses to the email he has received.)

Read it here:


–  Hassan Whiteside, Announcing Himself (from Ben Dowsett, BBall breakdown):

”  Each NBA season brings us a number of “breakout” performances, in varying tiers. There are younger players progressing more quickly than expected, like a Draymond Green in Golden State or Rudy Gobert in Utah. Not to be outdone are guys like Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson, big talents projected for eventual greatness but exploding at such a vast rate as to make them especially noticeable. But perhaps the most intriguing group, probably because they’re the rarest, are the true out-of-nowhere­ surprises, the guys miles away from anyone’s radar who burst onto the scene to make a tangible impact.

He’s barely played enough minutes to even qualify for that designation, but upstart Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been doing his best to earn it so far this year. He was the toast of the league around the turn of the new year, rising from complete obscurity to an eventual Heat starter before a high ankle sprain temporarily slowed the train Tuesday night against the Thunder. But he’s expected to return in short order, and any resemblance to his pre-injury performance will cement his status as one of the more unexpected ascensions in recent memory.”

Read and view it here:



–   Defense is not fun, but the result of it is, says Cavs’ Iman Shumpert (from Josh Weir,

” A good athlete and tenacious competitor, Shumpert realizes his biggest impact for this Cavs team, considering the remarkable offensive players they possess, is guarding some of the better wing players they face.

“I have the ability to make it hard for guys that can score,” Shumpert said. “Everybody in this league can score. I think everybody knows that. But a lot of times you have guys that are damn-near unstoppable scoring the ball and can get into zones where they get red hot. I just take the challenge upon myself to try to knock guys off their kilter. At times, during the playoffs, you’re going to need somebody that can knock a guy off their rhythm. And I’m willing to sacrifice my points for that, (to) sacrifice that energy on offense to make sure I lock them down. That’s what I’m looking to add.”

Read it here:



–  Clarifying the Luxury Tax System (from Jon Hamm,

” Fans and media call for NBA contenders to “just pay the tax!” It’s more than just a financial decision. It’s a strategic one.”

Read it here:


–  The Milwaukee Bucks’ Beast of a Bench (from John Zitzler, Basketball Insiders):

” Since the start of the season, Kidd has relied heavily on his bench. The Bucks are near the top of the league in almost every bench statistic. They rank first in minutes (22.3), first in assists (10.9), first in steals (4) and second in points scored (43.6). There isn’t one single player, a Jamal Crawford type, who carries the group; instead, the Bucks rely on a number of different guys to provide the team with a balanced attack off the pine.”

Read it here:


–  Mason Plumlee forced to become Brooklyn’s finest (from Howard Megdal,  USA Today):

”  It’s easy to dismiss Plumlee as a kind of pogo stick show of freak athleticism, a leaper and nothing more. It’s also far from the reality of an Indiana boy seemingly bred to play basketball since before birth, with both brothers, both parents, his grandfather and two uncles all earning time on college teams. He’s a careful student of the game, who’s taken his lessons from the family court, to a pretty successful college program at Duke and on to a Nets team where Kevin Garnett has made a point to mentor him.

“People talk about athleticism,” Plumlee said. “It’s a ton of work to maximize athleticism. Look, my parents were good athletes. I was blessed genetically. But it’s also something I work to maximize. I’m in the weight room four days a week. I take care of my body. I eat right, I sleep right, I get the treatment I need. There’s a lot that goes into being able to run and jump at Game 80. Everybody starts out running and jumping at Games 2, 3, 4, 5.”

And while Plumlee’s dunks are what usually end up on the highlights, he pointed out, accurately, that dunks are a small part of what he does on the court.”

Read it here:


–  Sixers aren’t likely to use cap space on big-money free agent (from Tom Moore,

” (Sam Hinkie) prefers to build the Sixers through the draft rather than adding a player with an eight-figure annual salary via free agency.

The idea is to keep adding young assets, let them play together and develop. The best-case scenario would be for the Sixers to make steady progress and continue working their way up the standings until they are Eastern Conference contenders in three or four years.”

Read it here:


–  Let’s look at the play the Knicks ran for two dagger threes! (from Seth,

Read and view it here:




And for those with access to ESPN Insider:


Brandon Knight Q & A (from Bradford Doolittle):

Read it here:



Additional Player Updates:


Alexis Ajinca:

Elijah Millsap:

Monta Ellis:…-and-winning.ece

DeAndre Jordan:

CJ Wilcox:

Nic Batum:

Joe Ingles/Dante Exum:  and

Cory Joseph:

Tyler Zeller:

Eric Gordon:   and

Dion Waiters:

Avery Bradley:

Shaun Livingston:

Gerald Wallace: