Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 10/17/17

Dario Saric & The Sixers’ Future (from Michael Pina, VICE Sports):
The Passing Center: How Horford & Jokic Are Warping Defenses (from Alex West, 94 Feet Report):
The Bucks’ Team-Building Blueprint (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer):
How The Rockets Landed CP3: The Inside Story  (from Jackie MacMullan, ESPN):
The Basketball Dictionary: “2.9”  (from Dylan Murphy,
Inside The New Superstar Reality Of The NBA (from Howard Beck, Bleacher Report):
Hornets Rookies Monk & Bacon May Become Key Contributors (from James Blancarte, Basketball Insiders):
The Inside Story Of The Celtics’ Crazy Summer (from Adam Himmelsbach, Boston Globe):
Jimmy Butler: Leading The Young Wolves (from Shams Charania, Yahoo Sports):
Why Adam Silver Is Right In Calling For End Of “One & Done” (from Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports):
Lauren Holtkamp’s Cool Job: NBA Referee (as told to Andrew Kahn, ESPN):
Deep Dive: Myles Turner’s Scoring Ability (from Grant Afseth, Indiana Sports Coverage):
Sacramento Kings Season Preview (from Basketball Intelligence):
Rookie Contract Extensions: How They Work & Who Signed Them (from Kristian Winfield, SBNation):
Pistons: Drummond Embraces Facilitator Role (from Ansar Khan, MLive):
Pistons: Avery Bradley Adds Credibility, Respect & Big Defense (from Rod Beard, Detroit News):
4 Years Later, Damien Wilkins Reaches His Destination (from Mark Monteith,
Raptors Await Full Return Of OG Anunoby (from Francis Okupa, Kwese, ESPN):
Q & A: Koby Altman (from Joe Vardon,
Blazers Aim To Prove They Are Better On Defense (from Joe Freeman, Oregon Live):
Wizards’ Old School Centers Are Fighting For Respect (from Jerry Brewer, Washington Post):
Being Muslim In The NBA (from Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated):
Pacific Division Offseason Review (from Keith P Smith, RealGM):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 10/10/17

Don’t Try To Change Jimmy Butler (from Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated):
Steph Curry: Democracy In Action  (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer):
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The Devin Booker Hype Train: How Valid?  (from Zach Harper, Fanrag Sports):
Video Breakdown: “21 Series” Can Help Unlock Rockets’ Offense (from Alykhan Bijani, Fansided):
Film Room: Aaron Gordon’s Offensive Development (from Josh Cohen,
Anonymous NBA Scouts Preview The Southwest (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):
Anonymous NBA Scouts Preview The Southeast (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):
Anonymous Scouts Preview The Atlantic (from Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated):
How Denver Is Stealing The Warriors’ Championship Blueprint (from Micah Adams, ESPN):
Nuggets: Juancho Hernangomez Has Earned A Rotation Spot (from Ryan Blackburn, Denver Stiffs);
How Andre Roberson Complements The New Look Thunder (from Ben Gordon, 94 Feet Report):
Can Schroder Drive The Hawks Offense? (from Ian Levy, Nylon Calculus):
Deep Dive: Wiggins Vs. Advanced Statistics (from Josh Clement, Canis Hoopus):
The Next Offensive Evolution: Scoring Without Dribbling (from Seldon John Levasseur. 94 Feet Report):
Here Comes Ben Simmons (from Yaron Weitzman, Bleacher Report):
So You Think You Know Lonzo Ball (from Mirin Fader, Bleacher Report):
Raptors’ Practice Offers Insight Into Coaches’ Priorities (from Brian Boake, Raptors Rapture):
Meet Semi Ojeleye (from Nik DeCosta-Klipa,
Preseason Notes & Observations (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):
How Rookie Extension Deals Are Shaping Up (from David Aldridge,
Suns Had Biggest Drop In 3-Pt Attempts (from John Schuhmann,
No Offense In Atlanta (from John Schuhmann,
Irving’s Dribbling Won’t Be An Issue (from Joshua Bateman, Hardwood Houdini):
How Towns Can Improve His Defense (from Brian Sampson, Dunking With Wolves):
Why Fultz Changed His FT Motion (from Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer):
Wolves’ Assistant John Lucas III’s Role Models: His Dad & Coach Thibs (from Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune):
All Aboard The Jonathan Isaac Hype Train (from Luke Duffy, Hoops Habit):
Assessing The Current State Of The Nuggets (from Rafael Torres,
J.R. Henderson Still Navigating Through Pro Ball – At 41  (from Noah Perkins,


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   Spurs will evolve, as their coach has before  (from Buck Harvey,

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–   Grizzlies face challenges as camp nears  (from Ronald Tillery,

” Despite the recurring theme of the need for long-range shooting, the Griz return with more versatility, the same expectation of winning 50-plus games and a place among the elite in the Western Conference.

There will, however, be challenges to work through during camp if the Griz are going to make good on their promise to contend”

Read it here:


–  Pelicans lineup options  (from David Fisher,

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 Lakers take different approach into season with eye on development  (from Bill Oram,

” Asked what would make for a successful year, Kupchak mentioned neither a championship nor the playoffs.

“I’d like to stay healthy,” he said. “I’d like for Kobe to have a great year. I’d like our young players to prosper and show promise so we can develop a core going forward, something to more than build on.”

“We want to exceed whatever the expectations may be,” Kupchak said. “And we want our core to develop so that the blueprint can follow the next step, which is to add more talent next year.”

The organization’s dueling objectives, however, are impossible to ignore.

Bryant is in the twilight of his career, and they want to send him out on a high note. But as long as he is in the locker room, the Lakers cannot fully commit to building around young stars, as other rebuilding teams – think Utah, Minnesota and Phoenix – have done.

Further, Bryant can be a terribly inefficient player, and Kupchak said it’s likely that when he is on the court, he will still be the first option on offense.

To what extent does Bryant’s presence, in a season that should be all about development, delay the progression of future stars?

Read it here:


–   Who will replace Marco Belinelli in the Spurs’ rotation?  (from Jesus Gomez,

Read and view it here:


–  10 QUESTIONS FOR THE BULLS HEADING INTO 2015-16   (from Sam Smith,

Read it here:


–   10 big questions for the Thunder  (from Royce Young,  ESPN):

Read it here:


–  NBA Player Stats: Top 5 Players – Catch and Shoot  (from Tamberlyn Richardson,  spacecityscoop):

Read it here:

(Note: This is Part 7 of a 9-part series)

Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  BBall Breakdown Player Rankings: Russell Westbrook # 7  (from James Holas):


Amir Johnson receives praise from Stevens early in training camp (from A. Sherrod Blaekely,


–  Avery Bradley ready to change speeds to get to the line  (from A. Sherrod Blakely,


–  Comparing  Ed Davis and Tristan Thompson  (from erastus25,


–  Aaron Gordon hopes he hasn’t lost the momentum he gained in summer league  (from Josh Robbins,  Orlando Sentinel):


–   More Free Throws Key to Vucevic’s Development  (from John Denton,


–  Damian Lillard sends a message,signaling a new age of Blazers leadership (fromJasonQuick,


–   Nikoloz Tskitishvili feels ready (from Rowan Kavner,


–   Clippers Player Profile: Branden Dawson  (from Justin Russo,


–  Klay Thompson already working with, learning finer points from Steve Nash  (from Diamond Leung,


–  Hornets offer Jeremy Lamb chance for fresh start (from Rick Bonnell,


–  Breaking Down Jusuf Nurkic Ahead of 2015-16 Season  (from Garrett Kroeger,


–  C.J.  Miles is a 10-Year Vet, But Still Eager to Improve  (from Mark Monteith,


–   Clifford says Nicolas Batum will be ‘2nd or 1st option’ in Hornets offense  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):


–  Stauskas: Analyzing His Team Canada Play  (from C. Smith,


–  Andrew Harrison To Sign In D-League  (from Chuck Myron,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis

–  How Fred Hoiberg will make the Bulls’ offense better by speeding it up  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sorts):

Read it here:



–  Film Room: Kristaps Porzingis Part One:  Passing and Vision  (from Jonah Ballow,

Read and view it here:



–  Film Room: Kristaps Porzingis Part Two:  Defensive Skills and Awareness   (from Jonah Ballow,

Read and view it here:



–  How Evan Turner’s presence could affect the Boston Celtics  (from Kevin O’Connor,

Read it here:



Lakers’ Trainer Gary Vitti Q & A  (from Mike Trudell,

” Gary Vitti’s been a Laker since I was a three-year-old, when he took over prior to the 1984-85 season.

The 2015-16 season will be his last as the head athletic trainer.

Every summer, I sit down with Vitti after the draft, free agency and Summer League have concluded to look ahead to the coming-soon-enough season. Hopefully, this will continue prior to the 2016-17 season, when Vitti will remain with the Lakers to help ease the transition to the new head trainer, and into the future as he serves the organization as a consultant.

The following is a full transcription of our conversation with Vitti about his stepping down from the head job, Kobe Bryant’s 20th season, details of the soon-to-be-built new Lakers’ facility, his thoughts on Purple and Gold youngsters Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, and more:”

Read it here:



Stan Van Gundy discusses losing Greg Monroe  (from Jason Brunskowski,

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 A conversation with Sam Mitchell about coaching and leadership  (from Tim Faklis,

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Kobe Bryant Q & A (from Marc Spears,  Yahoo Sports):

Read it here:–kobe-bryant-talks-retirement–playoffs-and-life-after-basketball-141155813.html



–  Introducing Scoring Types, a Visual Way to Contextualize Points  (from Kelly Scaletta,  BBall Breakdown):

Read it here:



–  NBA D-League Head Coaching Tracker for the 2015-16 Season  (from Keith Schlosser,

” Here’s a look at the status of all NBA D-League head coaching positions heading into the 2015-16 season thus far.”

Read it here:



–  Players Eligible For Rookie Scale Extensions  (from Chuck Myron,

See the list here:



Remembering Chick Hearn  (from Bruce Newman,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Myles Turner:


Darrun Hilliard:


Glenn Robinson III:


Greg Monroe:


Bismack Biyombo:


Justise Winslow:


Andre Miller:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   Film-Study: Breaking down James Harden’s Game 2  (from alykhanb,

” For the majority of his tenure in Houston, James Harden has been the best pick-and-roll ball-handler in basketball. The combination of crafty handles to lull the opposing defender to sleep, nifty and poetic finishing moves around the basket, and incredible passing accuracy in the half-court makes him one of the league’s most un-guardable playmakers.

Thursday night in Oakland, Harden epitomized this description and tried to will his team to a Game 2 victory. Even though James Harden could not capitalize on a last-second possession, he deserves nothing but praise and admiration for carrying his team and putting them in position, two games in a row, to win and steal a game at the Oracle.

James Harden was playing checkers, not chess, with the Warriors defense.

He moved up the board slowly, probing the opponent and analyzing different movements and tendencies. Smart and calculated, James Harden was opportunistic with his drives and play-making. His patience and basketball IQ combined with his athleticism, speed, and versatility earned him a historic performance.

In an effort to truly understand and appreciate Harden’s 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists line, I decided to go back and look at the film. Three points will be discussed: patience and play making, scoring, and the final possession.”

Read and view it here:




How Steph Curry Keeps Getting Open  (from Coach Nick, BBall B reakdown):

Read and view it here:




– Harden and Curry Are En Fuego; Rockets Do Work on the Pick-and-Roll; West Features Defenses Heading in Opposite Directions (from Ian Levy, Vantage Sports):

Read it here:




–  With no Kyrie Irving, LeBron James hit another gear of greatness as a point guard  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):

“LeBron, he sees things ahead of time,” Blatt said. “Whether it’s knowing the play that we’re running and understanding where guys are going to be or whether he’s taken very quick mental pictures of where the defense is or where there’s just understanding by his feel for how defenses play him, who’s going to be open where when he makes a move to the baseline or to the middle, or whether it’s the fact that he has terrific court vision and he uses his size so well to see over guys.”

There’s also a fundamental part.

“Finally, not a lot of guys deliver the ball in the shooting pocket seemingly every time,” Blatt said. “That’s unusual. To throw a pass from here over there to that basket is not easy under pressure. To throw it right here where the guy simply catches and in one motion is able to shoot the ball, that’s extraordinary, and he’s got that capability.”

Coaches teach that to players at the earliest stages of basketball. Pass the ball to a player where the shooting motion begins.

Then, there’s the philosophical part and the part about being unselfish.

“Probably more than anything else, it’s the fact that he’s willing to pass the ball and that he believes in his teammates, and they feel that, they sense that, and that makes them more efficient and effective shooters,” Blatt said.

Read it here:


More on this (from Dave McMenamin,  ESPN):



–   Cavaliers are now ‘The Big One,’ and it’s more than LeBron James  (from Terry Pluto,

” (T)his was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference and the Cavs were on the road in Philips Arena. The Cavs were without Kyrie Irving (sore knee). They have been without Kevin Love (shoulder surgery) since the first round against Boston.

“Our guys just play the game right,” said coach David Blatt.

“We’re the Big One … One Team,” said Blatt. “We are One Team … we are playing as a team and making the whole better than the parts.”

Read it here:




 What we learned from Hawks-Cavaliers Game 2  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports)

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–  Cleveland’s defense is fueling the Cavs’ postseason run  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

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–  Eight Things to Watch for This Weekend in the NBA Conference Finals  (from Zach Lowe, Grantlabd):

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–  The NBA’s Best Hedging Screen Defenders  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:




Tom Thibodeau:  Like every game is his last  (from Nick Friedell,  ESPN):

” Tom Thibodeau is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the NBA. He loves being in Chicago and coaching a Bulls team that has undergone a renaissance over his tenure over the last five years. So why is there such a widespread belief throughout the league that Thibodeau will be coaching elsewhere next season? Why is there very little hope within the Bulls organization that a reconciliation between Thibodeau, Bulls GM Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson is possible?

Here is a look back at the most tumultuous times of Thibodeau’s reign — filled with ups and downs that left the Bulls wondering about their future.”

Read it here:




–  Mystics and Lynx to test ‘analytic’ scrimmage at Verizon Center  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):

” It’s no secret that advanced analytics have emerged to increasingly dictate how NBA teams operate in recent years. Analytics, basically numbers dissecting and uncovering different aspects of the game, were first met with resistance but their acceptance throughout the league is obvious. Front offices across the sport have analytics departments and a few teams are even headed by analytics-centric general managers. For further evidence, all one needs to do is look at the final four teams remaining in the playoffs.

But the NBA hasn’t done what a couple WNBA teams are set to do on Tuesday. The Washington Mystics and Minnesota Lynx are scheduled to play what is being billed as an “analytic” scrimmage at 2 p.m. at Verizon Center after a “normal” scrimmage at 1 p.m. Owner Ted Leonsis, also owner of the Wizards, will be available to the media before the scrimmages to discuss the unique event.

The analytic session will consist of two 10-minute periods with different rules. The first period will be played with “modified location scoring” that will completely negate midrange field goals — the least efficient shot in basketball. Made midrange jumpers will not count. Instead, they will result in a loss of possession. The second period will feature “modified pacing rules,” notably a 20-second shot clock.”

Read it here:




–  The Contract Cost Of Each Lottery Pick  (from Chuck Myron,

”  The rookie scale contract for the No. 1 overall pick this year will be worth more than $26.6MM over its four-year span if his team pays him 120% of the rookie scale amount, as is almost certain to happen. That’s almost $16.7MM more than the approximately $9.9MM the rookie deal for the 14th overall pick will likely be worth. Naturally, that would be water under the bridge if the top pick turns out to be a superstar, but it seems that for every Anthony Davis, there’s an Anthony Bennett. The costs increase with each rung up the lottery ladder, and while most teams would surely celebrate a leap in draft position tonight, a higher pick carries consequences, particularly for teams like the Thunder, who already seem destined to pay the tax next season.

Below is a look at each lottery pick and the cost of the rookie scale contract associated with it, assuming that the team will pay the standard 120% of the scale amounts. Only the first two seasons of these deals are guaranteed, but it would be quite surprising if a team declined either its third or fourth year team option on its contract with a lottery pick.”

Read it here:



Addiitonal Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Clint Capela:




Bismack Biyombo:


Robert Covington:


Brandon Knight:


Ben Gordon:


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: