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, magic.com):
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, Boston.com):
Preseason Notes & Observations (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):
How Rookie Extension Deals Are Shaping Up (from David Aldridge, NBA.com):
Suns Had Biggest Drop In 3-Pt Attempts (from John Schuhmann, NBA.com):
No Offense In Atlanta (from John Schuhmann, NBA.com):
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, digindenver.com):
J.R. Henderson Still Navigating Through Pro Ball – At 41  (from Noah Perkins, Bakersfield.com):

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/29/15

– Reviewing Wednesday night’s action (from Satchel Price, sbnation): http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/10/29/9632816/nba-scores-2015-thunder-spurs-nuggets-rockets-bulls-nets

– Nothing was more compelling on opening night than Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard (from Jenni Carlson, newsok.com): http://newsok.com/nothing-was-more-compelling-on-opening- night-than-kevin-durant-vs.-kawhi-leonard/article/5456740/?page=2

– Cavaliers show improved depth and beat the Grizzlies at their own game (from Chris Fedor, cleveland.com): http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/10/cleveland_cavaliers_show_impro.html

– Raptors adapt well in opener (from Eric Koreen, National Post): http://news.nationalpost.com/sports/nba/toronto-raptors-adapt-well-in-opener-storm-back-to-subdue-indiana-pacers

– Heat shows off depth in season opener (from Ethan J. Skolnick,Miami Herald): http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/ethan-j-skolnick/article41768553.html

– Spoelstra key to strong start for revamped Heat (from Israel Gutierrez, ESPN): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13998460/erik-spoelstra-role-most-critical-early-revamped-miami-heat

– Hornets a work-in-progress (from Rick Bonnell. Charlotte Observer): http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/article41770617.html

– Grizzlies: Defining the problem with grit and grind (from Peter Edmiston, commercialappeal.com): http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/Defining-the-problem-with-grit-and-grind-337983372.html

– Knicks’ first game makes Phil Jackson look good (from Frank Isola, NYDailyNews): http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/isola-phil-jackson-article-1.2415755

– Clippers 111, Kings 104 (from Justin Russo, clipsnation.com): http://www.clipsnation.com/2015/10/28/9633110/game-1-recap-los-angeles-clippers-sacramento-kings-october-28-2015

– 5 reasons to be optimistic about Pistons (from Jamie Samuelsen, freep.com): http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2015/10/29/detroit-pistons-jamie-samuelsen-blog/74787588/

– Notes on Tuesday’s Pistons vs Hawks game (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Pattern of Basketball): http://patternofbasketball.blogspot.com/2015/10/pistons-vs-hawks.html

-Pistons leaving no game unwatched in hopes of uncovering the NBA’s secrets (from Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated): http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/29/detroit-pistons-stan-van-gundy-reggie-jackson-andre-drummond-film-tape

– Tale of two debuts: Towns looks ready, while Russell seems to drift aimlessly (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated): http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/29/karl-anthony-towns-dangelo-russell-lakers-wolves-kevin-garnett-kobe-bryant-rookies

– Towns had solid debut (from Broderick Turner, LATimes): http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-ln-karl-anthony-towns-timberwolves-debut-20151028-story.html

– Pacers a ‘work in progress’ in season-opening loss (from Candace Buckner, indystar.com): http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2015/10/29/pacers-drop-season-opener-raptors-106-99/74726586/

– First game for Nuggets’ rookie Emmanuel Mudiay and coach Michael Malone a success (form Christopher Dempsey, Denver Post): http://www.dailycamera.com/nuggets-nba/ci_29038955/nuggets-dominate-road-win-at-houston-open-season

– Brad Stevens vows to think outside the box, shows some of that against Philadelphia 76ers (from Jay King, masslive.com): http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/10/jared_sullinger_boston_celtics_10.html

– Bulls’ Coach Fred Hoiberg Q & A (from Zach Lowe, Grantland): http://grantland.com/the-triangle/five-minutes-with-bulls-coach-fred-hoiberg/

– The Next 3-And-D Players (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown): http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/28/robert-covington-next-3-d-players/

– Dead money looks bad, but more NBA teams are smartly using it to stretch salary cap (from Brian Windhorst, ESPN): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13956906/dead-money-paying-opposing-players-looks-bad-lets-nba-teams-stretch-salary-cap

Kings Assistant Coach Nancy Lieberman: “One of the Guys” (from Nancy Lieberman, The Players Tribune): http://www.theplayerstribune.com/nancy-lieberman-kings-women-in-coaching/

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:

– Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor Era begins (from Marcus Hays, philly.com): http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20151029_Sixers__Jahlil_Okafor_Era_begins.html

– Okafor’s Debut gives Sixers’ Process Clearer Focus: (from Sean Deveney, Sporting News): http://www.sportingnews.com/nba-news/4659603-sixers-76ers-tank-rebuild-sam-hinkie-jahlil-okafor-philadelphia-nba-draft-lottery-nerlens-noel

– While his body recovers, Derrick Rose’s mind stays intact (form Vincent Goodwill, csnchicago): http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/bulls-while-his-body-recovers-derrick-roses-mind-stays-intact

– Blake Griffin showed the complete package against the Kings (from sbnation.com): http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/10/29/9634596/blake-griffin-highlights-stats-clippers-kings

– Isaiah Thomas played like a superstar in the Boston Celtics 112-95 opening night victory (from Kevin O’Connor, celticsblog.com): http://www.celticsblog.com/2015/10/29/9633966/isaiah-thomas-plays-like-a-superstar-in-boston-celtics-112-95-opening-night-win-nba-victory

– Trail Blazers’ guard CJ McCollum and his career night: ‘A long time coming’ (from Jason Quick, csnnw.com): http://www.csnnw.com/blazers/cj-mccollum-and-his-career-night-emerge-dark-place-long-time-coming

– John Wall in the Wizards’ new up-tempo system (from Jesus Gomez, sbnation.com): http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/10/29/9636536/john-wall-highlights-wizards-magic-statstics

– Jared Sullinger seizes his chance (from Gary Washburn, Boston Globe): http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/10/28/jared-sullinger-seized-his-opportunity/CshYzIPvf9xlQASTFLHRYN/story.html

– Rookie Jerian Grant soaking in advice from Knicks vets like Jose Calderon (from Ian Begley, ESPN): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13998366/nba-newyork-knicks-point-guards-jose-calderon-jerian-grant-develop-mentor-relationship

– Gordon Hayward Q & A (from Scoop Jackson, ESPN): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13994995/qa-utah-jazz-shooting-guard-gordon-hayward

– Lance Stephenson May be the Clippers X-Factor (from Sam Amick, USAToday): http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/clippers/2015/10/29/lance-stephenson-los-angeles-starter-sacramento-kings/74789162/

– Tony Parker Embracing New Role (from Michael C. Wright, ESPN): http://espn.go.com/blog/san-antonio-spurs/post/_/id/15/tony-parker-embracing-new-role-with-spurs

– Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Breaking Down his Performance (from Ryan B. Winner, nothinbutnets.com): http://nothinbutnets.com/2015/10/29/rondae-hollis-jefferson-breaking-down-his-performance/

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Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis – 10/14/15

–  James Harden:  A Mystery Wrapped Inside an Enigma Shrouded in a Beard  (from  Pablo S. Torre, ESPN):

Read and view it here:  http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/13869848/rockets-guard-james-harden-found-place-excel-show-strengths-houston

 

–  James Harden: Advanced stats help, but sometimes it’s ‘too much’  (from Brett Pollakoff,  foxsports.com):

Read it here:  http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/james-harden-houston-rockets-advanced-statistics-analytics-free-throws-three-pointers-daryl-morey-101215

 

–  Shining a spotlight on the three best second-unit rotations in the NBA  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

” NBA teams are driven by stars but sustained by depth. Almost every member of an active roster comes into play at some point of the 82-game regular season marathon; now that forward-thinking teams more closely monitor their players’ minutes and workload than ever before, the role of reserves has grown accordingly. Factor in the injuries, suspensions, matchups, and foul trouble that bring second- and third-stringers into the limelight and the need for a reliable bench becomes a matter of real consequence.

With that in mind, we’ve brought our focus to the three best bench arrangements in the league at this stage in the preseason, along with the qualities and skill sets that make these particular reserves so effective.”

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/13/nba-bench-rotations-bulls-celtics-rockets-nikola-mirotic-isaiah-thomas-patrick-beverley

 

–  Forces of Character: A conversation with Gregg Popovich  (from Jon Finkel,  Hoopshype.com):

Read it here:  http://hoopshype.com/2015/10/13/forces-of-character-a-conversation-with-gregg-popovich/

 

–  Dwane Casey carries on his ‘role card’ tradition with Raptors (from Josh Lewenberg,  tsn.ca):

Read it here:  http://www.tsn.ca/talent/casey-carries-on-his-role-card-tradition-with-raptors-1.376340

 

–  DAMIAN LILLARD HAS THE MAKINGS OF A FRANCHISE PLAYER  (from Paul Flannery,  SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/10/13/9488999/damian-lillard-is-ready?_ga=1.128611147.693109471.1420357532

 

–  Warriors expect even bigger things on offense this season  (from Associated Press):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/10/13/warriors-expect-even-bigger-things-on-offense-this-season/73879006/

 

–  Trail Blazers show ‘intriguing’ smaller lineup in win over Jazz  (from Mike Richman,  oregonlive.com):

Read it here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/10/trail_blazers_show_intriguing_small_ball_lineup_in.html

 

–   NBA Training Camp Questions – Atlantic Division   (from James Holas,  BBall Breakdown):

Read it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/14/nba-training-camp-questions-atlantic-division-knicks-celtics-raptors-nets/

 

–  NBA Training Camp Questions – Southeast Division  (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown):

Read it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/13/nba-training-camp-questions-southeast-division/

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:  

 

 

John Jenkins’ preseason play is helping his case for a roster spot on the Mavs  (from Eddie Sefko,  dallasnews.com):    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20151013-sefko-john-jenkins-preseason-play-is-helping-his-case-for-a-roster-spot-on-the-mavs.ece

 

–  Lakers have a potential ‘Showtime’ revivalist in Marcelo Huertas  (from Tim Faklis,  Sporting News):  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-10-13/marcelihno-huertas-lakers-los-angeles-showtime-dangelo-russell

 

 ‘Tired of disrespect:’ Nets’ journeyman  Thomas Robinson seeking career rebirth  (from Tim Bontemps,  NYPost):   http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/tired-of-disrespect-nets-journeyman-seeking-career-rebirth/

 

–  Aaron Gordon impresses in his preseason debut  (from Josh Robbins,  Orlando Sentinel):  http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-magic-heat-preseason-game-1014-20151013-story.html

 

–  Avery Bradley the tone-setter for Celtics aggressive approach on defense  (from Scott Souza, Providence Journal):  http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20151013/SPORTS/151019699/14007

 

–  Opportunistic rookies Richaun Holmes and Christian Wood piquing 76ers interest  (from Bob Cooney, philly.com):  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20151014_Opportunistic_rookies_piquing_interest.html

 

–  Phoenix Suns’ T.J. Warren shows big love for basketball  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral.com):  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/10/13/phoenix-suns-tj-warren-shows-big-love-basketball/73893084/

 

–  Andrew Bogut’s Role After Trimming Down  (from Kevin Wang,  bluemanhoop.com):   http://bluemanhoop.com/2015/10/13/warriors-analysis-andrew-boguts-increased-role-after-trimming-down/

 

–  Collison holds huge key to Kings’ success as super-sub  (from James Ham,   csnbayarea.com):  http://www.csnbayarea.com/kings/collison-holds-huge-key-kings-success-super-sub

 

–  Jeff Teague, the Hawks’ ‘engine,’ is only revving up  (from Adi Joseph, Sporting News):  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/jeff-teague-hawks-atlanta-point-guard-dennis-schroder/16jrfi6iuffp817cph732o970q

 

–  Nene is a better backup than a starter, but he may no longer fit with the Wizards at all  (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2015/10/13/nene-is-a-better-backup-than-a-starter-but-he-may-no-longer-fit-with-the-wizards-at-all/

 

–  Derrick Williams: Knicks’ triangle will shatter bust reputation  (from Marc Berman,  NYPost):  http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/derrick-williams-knicks-triangle-will-shatter-bust-reputation/

 

–  Zaza Pachulia’s passing leads to easy offense for the Mavs  (from Bobby Karalla,  mavs.com):  http://www.mavs.com/zaza-pachulias-passing-leads-to-easy-offense-for-the-mavs/

 

–  Jerian Grant is  winning the Knicks over  (from Marc Berman,  NYPost):  http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/jerian-grant-won-brothers-bet-and-is-now-winning-knicks-over/

 

–  Cory Joseph making smooth transition with Raptors  (from Chris O’Leary,  thestar.com):   http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2015/10/13/cory-joseph-making-smooth-transition-with-raptors.html

 

–  Cory Joseph: Keeping it Simple  (from Zarar Siddiqi,  raptorsrepublic.com):  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/10/14/corey-joseph-keeping-it-simple/

 

Manu Ginobili  Q & A (from Peter Keating,  ESPN): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13873880/san-antonio-spurs-star-manu-ginobili-talks-playing-best-franchise-sports

 

–   It’s Otto Porter Season in Washington  (form Andrew Sharp,  Grantland):   http://grantland.com/the-triangle/its-otto-porter-season-in-washington-d-c/?ex_cid=story-twitter

 

–  Rudy Gay (from Matthew Way/Adam Spinella,  BBall Breakdown):  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/13/rudy-gay-eye-teststats-discussion/

 

Josh Harrellson (from J. Michael, csnmidatlantic.com):  http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/morning-tip-josh-harrellsons-ticket-back-nba

Latest NBA Preseason News and Much More

– Why Cleveland Cavaliers Defense Can Be Better Than You Think (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

” LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but that doesn’t mean we should discount this title contender’s potential on the other end.

To be fair, it’s easy to see why the consensus says the Cavs will be elite on offense: Irving is a ball-handling maestro, Love is the game’s most prolific floor-spacing big and James is the most complete offensive force in basketball.

Blindfold those three, and they’ll still figure out how to get the Cavaliers offense into the top five by the end of the 2014-15 season.

The Cavs have an embarrassment of secondary offensive riches as well. Mike Miller is still nails from deep, Shawn Marion can still cut and swoop like a man 10 years his junior and Tristan Thompson, limited as he is, can clean up the mess on the offensive glass.

Don’t forget Dion Waiters, who could use a lesson in restraint but is a tough cover nonetheless.

We get it; Cleveland is going to score.

It might be pretty darn good on D, too.”

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2224018-why-cleveland-cavaliers-defense-can-be-better-than-you-think

– Rebounding is key to Cavaliers’ plans (from Matthew Florjancic, WKYC):

” According to Blatt, rebounding is a tactical part of the game, and it is something he looks forward to developing with his players.

“The good thing and the fortunate thing is rebounding, particularly on the defensive end, is very, very tactical and a very clear-cut science,” Blatt said. “You box your man out, either to allow your teammates to take the ball or you box him out and go get it yourself.

“Offensive rebounding, there is a tactic behind it, but it has a lot to do with your nose for the ball, your ability to read where the ball is going to fall, and your relentless effort in going after the ball. I think we’ve got a few guys like that. That’s an art. It’s not necessarily tactically planned. We’ve definitely got guys that can just go get it, and they did.”

Read it here: http://www.wkyc.com/story/sports/nba/cavaliers/2014/10/07/rebounding-is-key-to-cavaliers-plans/16876939/

–  Two young Timberwolves hope intense training regimen helps reshape careers (from Andy Greder, twincities.com):

”  After a rookie season that included time in the NBA’s Development League, Muhammad was ready for a change. So was teammate Anthony Bennett, another highly rated rookie who struggled during a long, injury-plagued first season in Cleveland after the Cavaliers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.

The Wolves suggested “Chameleon Training,” an intensive regimen under trainer Frank Matrisciano. Muhammad, Bennett and veteran reserve center Ronny Turiaf signed on. Muhammad dropped 20 pounds in five weeks and showed off his washboard abs on social media. Bennett, a 6-8 power forward, dropped 7 pounds to 243.

The most challenging task?

“Everything,” said Bennett, who spent three weeks in the program. “I can’t pick out one thing. It was intense.”

Read it here: http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_26681194/two-young-timberwolves-hope-intense-training-regime-helps

– Amar’e Stoudemire feels like forgotten man with Knicks, wants to get back to his ‘dominant self’  (from Peter Botte, New York Daily News):

” Derek Fisher called the 6-11 forward ‘invaluable’ to what the team is trying to do in the triangle offense. Stoudemire says his ‘body feels great’ after a few injury-plagued years.”

Read it here: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/forgotten-amar-stoudemire-rebound-difficult-year-article-1.1966569

– Hawks high on Muscala’s development (from Chris Vivlamore, myajc.com):

” In 20 NBA games, Muscala averaged 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10.7 minutes. He spent much of his summer working out in Atlanta and coach Mike Budenholzer has noticed a difference — but there is still work to be done.

“There is a little bit of a calming and confidence-type growth,” Budenholzer said. “He plays so hard, which is a huge skill. It sounds easy but it’s important, and it’s going to allow him a chance to be good. You also have to have a confidence and a poise when you are playing really hard, which is not easy and it kind of counterintuitive. I think he’s calmed down a little bit. He’s confident. He knows how to play hard and how to still function on the court and get positive things.

“Playing without fouling, screening, he still has a lot of areas in understanding the nuances of the offense and ball movement and trusting the system and the teammates. He’s still got a ways to go.”

Read it here: http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/hawks-high-on-muscalas-development/nhdcQ/

– There’s a method to Thibs’ madness (from Nick Friedell, ESPNChicago):

” There are 5.3 seconds left in overtime of an otherwise meaningless preseason game against the Detroit Pistons, and Tom Thibodeau is coaching as if it were Game 7 of the NBA Finals. With his team down by two points, the Chicago Bulls head coach is screaming at little-used second-round pick Cameron Baristow to deny the basketball.

“Five! Five! Five!” Thibodeau barks at the officials while holding five fingers in the air.

The ball is inbounded just before the officials blow their whistles. The Bulls have to foul. Pistons big man Greg Monroe hits his free throws and pushes the lead to four points with just 0.9 seconds left. Game over, right?

Not for Thibodeau.

He decides to use a 20-second timeout to draw up a play that results in a long-range jumper for second-year man Tony Snell. The Bulls lose 111-109, but as usual, Thibodeau has drained every possible learning moment out of the game. He has shown his team one more time that every step counts. There are no wasted teaching moments for a team that wants to win a championship”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bulls/post/_/id/20298/theres-a-method-to-thibs-madness

Road To Recovery: Warriors Wing Brandon Rush (from Warren Shaw, Dimemag.com):

” In this installment of our Road to Recovery series we catch up with Brandon Rush from the Golden State Warriors. He’s been a very good role player throughout his career who owns a 40 percent career average shooting from deep. But now he wants to carve out any niche the Warriors may need without any real agenda of his own.

After playing just 38 games with the Utah Jazz last season in an attempt to recover from the ACL injury that robbed him of all but 2 games in 2012-13, Rush is back playing for the Dubs despite being traded from them the previous summer. He took some time after a Warriors practice to discuss with us his rehab process, his troubles in Utah, why he returned to Golden State and all that is in store for him as the NBA season draws near.”

Read the Q & A here: http://dimemag.com/2014/10/road-recovery-warriors-wing-brandon-rush/

– Elfrid Payton impresses as Magic open preseason with 108-101 OT win over Heat (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):

” “I thought he had great composure on the floor, and I love watching him play,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He has just a great feel for who to get the ball to, when to get into the paint. He did a great job tonight of just orchestrating and being a leader on the floor.””

Read it here: http://ht.ly/CpLt7

– George Hill’s aggressive play fuels Pacers (from Candace Buckner, indystar.com):

” The start of any Indiana Pacers season would not be complete until a story is written about point guard George Hill embracing his aggressive side. The regular season rite of passage should include all the favorite components such as teammates adding their insight as to how the Pacers are a different squad when Hill goes off, and even the subject himself stating how a boost of confidence precedes his rare takeover moments.

So here comes the inaugural “George Hill played aggressive” script.

…(I)f Indiana expects to compete when the games begin to matter, this plot twist must be more than the sporadic filler.

More than any other time in his Pacers career, Hill has to make aggressiveness a habit. He can’t just show this side – scoring on a variety of pull-ups, floaters and putbacks – every now and then. The absence of last year’s starting wings, Lance Stephenson and Paul George, have left craters in the Pacers’ system. However, Hill can help fill the void by playing as he did Tuesday night, reacting instinctively to the rhythm of the game for his own shots while still helping his teammates get looks.”

Read it here: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/10/07/indiana-pacers-george-hill-aggressive-for-a-start/16893071/

– K. J. McDaniels a pleasant surprise on defense in the early going (from Jake Caplan, Philly.com):

” I feel like I do [surprise opponents with my shot-blocking ability],” (KJ) said after yesterday’s practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where the team readied for tonight’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Wells Fargo Center. “They’re not expecting a ‘two’ guard to go block shots, but I feel like I’ve got to have my teammates’ back, so I go out there and do whatever I need to.”

” And most importantly is guard your man, be tenacious defensively. And I think that that is in [McDaniels]. If we wants to know where his bread is buttered, that’s where it is, is on the defensive side.”, said Coach Brett Brown

Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20141008_McDaniels_a_pleasant_surprise_on_defense_in_the_early_going.html

– There’s nothing abnormal about the Jazz (from Gordon Monson, Salt Lake Tribune):

” There’s transition basketball, transition defense and transition offense, and then there’s transitioning a team. That’s what the Jazz are doing here. They themselves are in transition. Everything is moving from the old to the new: new season, new coaches, new schemes, new priorities, new players, new lineups, new rotations, new hopes, new ways of thinking, new ways of playing, new ways of being.”

Read it here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/jazz/58498666-87/story.csp

– Marcus Smart wise beyond his years on defense (from Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston.com):

” “I think he’s capable of helping us a lot,” Bradley said. “He puts pressure on the offensive player every single time down the floor, and he doesn’t gamble. That’s crazy because he’s young, and a lot of young guys like to gamble. He just plays great, solid defense.” ”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4714898/smart-wise-beyond-his-years-on-defense

– Biggest Adjustments Detroit Pistons Must Make This Coming Season (from Jakub Rudnik, Bleacher Report):

” After their fifth consecutive season with 30 or fewer wins, the Detroit Pistons are certainly looking to make big adjustments for what they hope will be a turnaround season.

Major changes in the front office, coaching staff and roster already guarantee this team looks much different than it did a year ago. Stan Van Gundy takes over as team president and head coach, and he has already begun reshaping the team to fit his preferred style of play with the acquisitions of six new players.

But there are still a good number of holdovers in the team’s core, and they’ll need to combine with the newcomers and make big on-court changes in order to have a chance at making the playoffs in the spring.

There’s new talent in Detroit, as well as a top-tier head coach. But will this team come together and embrace what it needs to do to be successful?”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2224401-biggest-adjustments-detroit-pistons-must-make-this-coming-season

And two more on the Pistons, including takes on last night’s games:

Read them here:

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/drew-sharp/2014/10/08/pistons-exhibition-opener-chicago-drew-sharp/16894517/

http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2014/10/8/6945369/greg-monroe-josh-smith-bench-stan-van-gundy

–  Nuggets must bank on Kenneth Faried (from Mark Kiszla, Denver Post):

”  What’s most amazing about Faried isn’t the spring in his legs or 24/7 energy. It’s a relentless urge to shock the basketball world. He came into the NBA as a rookie in 2011 with one definable skill: rebounding. His defense on the floor was shaky. Other than a dunk, his offensive repertoire was nonexistent. At this time a year ago, rookie Nuggets coach Brian Shaw seem stumped as to how to utilize Faried as anything more than an energy guy off the bench.

But Faried averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds down the stretch last season, then found a roster spot on Team USA, where the most valuable thing he gained was not gold but the trust of Mike Krzyzewski, the most-respected basketball coach on the planet. The two most-powerful words in coaching are: good job.

Coach K told Faried: “Hey, you can do anything, Kenneth.”

 

“I think Kenneth is an underrated offensive player. He’s a guy who is starting to get comfortable with getting his own shot on the block with a hook of his left shoulder, and not just being a player whose points come off transition,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said.”

Read it here: http://www.denverpost.com/kiszla/ci_26683359/nuggets-must-bank-faried

– Glimpse of new Warriors emerges  (from Monte Poole,  CSNBayArea.com):

” The early play was more choppy than impressive. But once the teams settled into a rhythm and simply played basketball, a glimpse of the new Warriors began to emerge.

They will be, a very, very different team on offense.

That’s what first-year head coach Steve Kerr has promised, and some of those differences were highly visible in his unofficial debut, a 112-94 preseason win over the Clippers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.”

Read it here:  http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/rewind-glimpse-new-warriors-emerges

– Andrew Wiggins: An NBA Scouting Report (from Rafael Uehara, BBallBreakdown.com):

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/andrew-wiggins-scouting-report/2014/10/07/

– Brett Brown sees daylight at end of 76ers’ dark tunnel (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

“I feel that trying to coach with a very long lens is important,” Brown said. “I see daylight here in this program. Michael’s three-point shot, Nerlens’ progression at the foul line, Tony Wroten’s assist-to-turnover ratio, all those types of things are development things that are our measurements this year. That’s our report card and it’s done with a very long lens.”

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/10/8/6943417/brett-brown-philadelphia-76ers-coach-rebuild

– Rockets Bench (from Jonathan Tjarks,  Pattern of Basketball):

” One of the main points of interest for me in the Rockets-Mavs preseason game on Tuesday was all the new players on Houston’s second unit. Of the nine guys who came off the bench for them, five were not in the NBA last season and one of the ones who was (Troy Daniels) spent most of the year in the D-League. After losing Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, a few of those guys are going to have to play big minutes for them this season.

There’s only so much you take away from a pre-season game, obviously, particularly the first
one of the year. The refs were calling fouls almost every possession – it was a sloppy game
with no flow and it was hard for anyone on either team to get in a rhythm. I was at the AAC
and it was still difficult to be totally focused on what was happening on the court. So take
this with a grain of salt, but here are my first impressions of all the new guys in Houston.”
Read it here:  http://patternofbasketball.blogspot.com/2014/10/rockets-bench.html
Another take on Rockets’ rotation players (from Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle):
Read it here: http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2014/10/rockets-report-mchale-will-not-
rush-search-for-rotation-players/#27356101=0
– Knicks Reverse Course on Defense (from Chris Herring, Wall Street Journal):
” Coach Derek Fisher insists that only one player, Carmelo Anthony, has a guaranteed spot in
the starting five. And Fisher has been mum on whether he prefers a traditional lineup over
the small-ball system that has worked for the Knicks in the past couple seasons.

 

But those questions will be merely academic if the Knicks can’t improve a defense that ranked 24th in the NBA last season with a puzzling system of switching and double-teaming at inopportune times. The Knicks didn’t add much, if any, individual defensive talent during the off-season, so they will have to build a new system if they want to improve defensively.

Guard J.R. Smith said the new plan is based on pressuring opponents toward the sidelines. “We’re going to push everything to the sideline and keep people out of the middle,” said Smith, explaining the biggest difference between Fisher’s philosophy and that of former coach Mike Woodson. “Last year, it was more about trying to force people to the middle of the floor.”

Read it here:  http://online.wsj.com/articles/knicks-avoid-middle-ground-1412728887

– The Sam Dalembert Problem (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Pattern of Basketball):
” The Knicks have a new coaching staff, a new front office and some exciting young players,
but when you really start to break down their roster, I’m not sure there’s much reason for
excitement. The problem starts upfront, where I think they will miss Tyson Chandler a lot
more than most people realize.

They are asking Sam Dalembert to replace Chandler and that will go about as well as it went

in Dallas, where Dalembert was a maddeningly inconsistent player who started but averaged
only 20 minutes a game and was often the least effective of their three-man rotation at
center. While there are still some things that Dalembert does well, one of the main reasons
for his inconsistency is that he’s only effective in certain match-ups.”
Read it here:  http://patternofbasketball.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-sam-dalembert-
problem.html
– Chandler Parsons and  the Texas Love Triangle (from Marc Stein, ESPN):
” How the Chandler Parsons deal escalated the intensity of the Mavs-Rockets rivalry”
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11654821/how-dallas-mavericks-stole-
chandler-parsons-houston-rockets
– New Faces in New Places (from Basketball Insiders):
Southeast Division (from Cody Taylor):
Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/new-faces-in-new-places-southeast-division/
Central Division (from John Zitzler):
Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/new-faces-in-new-places-central-division/
– What Is A Cap Hold, And Why Might One Matter? (from Mark Deeks, BBall Breakdown):
” The calculation of a team’s cap space would, you would hope, be as easy as looking at their
owed contracts to both current and waive players, and subtracting it from the salary cap
amount for that year.

 

Nope, not close.

There are a few extra things that go into the determination of a team’s “team salary” amount, and by association that team salary amount’s proximity to the salary cap thresholds. And of these extra things, the most important, obvious and prevalent are things we know as “cap holds”. There are two types of cap hold – a free agent’s cap hold, and a draft pick’s cap hold.”

Read it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/what-is-a-cap-hold-and-why-might-one-matter/2014/10/06/

– The Most Consistent 3- pt Shooters In The NBA (from Arturo Galetti, BBall Breakdown):

” I gathered all the play by play data for last season. I looked at all the three point attempts for the season for each player and I divided them up into threes at less than or equal to 30 feet from the basket or heaves over 30 feet. I also looked at make streaks and miss streaks for those non-heave threes. Finally, I looked at the standard deviation of five shot samples for each player. I then worked out three base numbers:

  • Non-Heave 3Pt FG%: Percent of makes from three when the shot is 30 feet or less
  • Make/Miss Streak Ratio: Average numbers of consecutive non-heave makes divided by Average numbers of consecutive non-heave misses
  • Bad day 3Pt FG%: Non-Heave 3Pt FG% minus the standard deviation of the consecutive five shot samples for each player

I then used these numbers to build a composite ranking. If I keep it to just the players with at least 80 non-heave attempts for last season we get a very interesting looking top 30″

Read it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/the-most-consistent-shooters-in-the-nba-the-list-will-surprise-you/2014/10/06/

– Dajuan Wagner aims to play again in NBA (from Phil Anastasia, Philadlephia Inquirer):

” Lately, Wagner has done more than wonder about what might have happened had he stayed healthy. He has committed to an intensive workout program that he hopes will lead to a resurrection of his career at the age of 31.

A chiseled 200 pounds, the 6-foot-2 Wagner believes he has begun to regain the explosive athletic ability that was as much the source of his success in the sport as his jump shot, ballhandling and court sense.

After another training session on a recent afternoon at the Adrenaline Sports Performance facility in Cherry Hill, where he is part-owner, Wagner said he is determined to push himself to see if he can play again at the highest level of the sport – in the NBA.”

Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers

/20141008_Camden_s_Dajuan_Wagner_aims_to_play_again_in_NBA.html
 – The Shooting Hop (from Pro Shot Shooting System):
View it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN-5n9DQ-oA&feature=youtu.be