Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 10/18/17

OKC & HOU: Does It Matter That There Is Only One Basketball?  (from Ben Falk, Cleaning The Glass):
Will Jrue Holiday Benefit From Playing Shooting Guard? (from Scott Rafferty, The Step Back):
Hayward’s Injury Has Changed The Celtics’ Trajectory (from Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer):
Hayward’s Injury: Understanding The Early News (from Jeff Stotts, In Street Clothes):
With Butler Joining Wiggins & Towns, Can The Wolves Become Elite? (from Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune):
Presenting The Archetypes For The 2017-18 Season (from Jared Dubin, Dime Mag):
“Betaball” Excerpt: Draymond Green (from Eric Malinowski, Dime Mag):
The Weirdest NBA Season Is Finally Here (from Nathanial Friedman/Eric Freeman, GQ):
Opening Night Observations (from Jason Patt, Fanrag Sports):
12 MVP Candidates (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):
What Nurkic Brings To The Blazers (from Ben Gordon, 94 Feet Report):
 – The Starting 5 (from Kelly Scaletta, Fanrag Sports):
Will Andre Drummond Get Another Shot At Stardom? (from Haley O’Shaughnessy, The Ringer):
Video Analysis: RHJ’s Improved Game (from Nicholas LeTourneau, Nets Daiily):
30 People Who Will Define This Season (from Dave Zarum, Sportsnet.ca):
Players Who Deserve More Run (from Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report):

Refreshed Dragic: Ready For New Season (from Manny Navarro, Miami Herald):

How The Warriors Plan To Balance Work & Fun (from Mark Medina, Mercury News):
Knicks Preview (from Marc Berman, NY Post):
Knicks: Pick-And-Roll Should Be Key On Offense (from Maxwell Ogden, Daily Knicks):

 

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, Medium.com):
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, pacers.com):
Raptors Await Full Return Of OG Anunoby (from Francis Okupa, Kwese, ESPN):
Q & A: Koby Altman (from Joe Vardon, cleveland.com):
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):

Sacramento Kings Season Preview

The stage has been set for the Kings to build a winning team.  Youthful holdovers Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere and  Willie Cauley-Stein should combine with a good draft class to provide the beginning of a growth arc that could pay dividends a few seasons from now. The influx of stars (George, Butler, Millsap, Anthony) from the Eastern Conference has strengthened an already powerful West, so the Kings are not likely to match last season’s 33 win total.  But that should be immaterial; the Kings don’t need to be chasing wins this season.  Player development should be the only goal.
What Worked Last Season:
The easy answer is that since the Kings failed to make the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season, very little worked.  However, one major midseason change was made that potentially marked the start of a long-term change to the history of futility.  Management determined that it was not going to be possible to build a winning team with DeMarcus Cousins as the centerpiece. (The Kings had very little in the way of upcoming draft picks, free agents generally did not wish to come to play alongside Cousins, and there was no one with significant trade value outside of Cousins). So DMC was traded with Omri Casspi to New Orleans at the All-Star break for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second- round 2017 draft picks. Obviously, the Kings did not receive equal talent in return, but GM Vlade Divac stated: ” It was time for a change and this was the best direction for the team. Winning begins with culture and character matters.”   Consistent with that view, the Kings soon also waived Matt Barnes.  After the trade, Hield (whose time with the Pelicans had been dismal), Labissiere and Cauley-Stein all demonstrated encouraging improvement.
What Needs Improvement
The Kings re-tool has set the stage for long-term improvement.  The team now has a collection of nice young role players and a potential future star in De’Aaron Fox.  If ownership commits to letting the front office stay with the plan of organic growth, the Kings’ future can be bright.  Avoiding chasing the fool’s gold of high-priced talent that is not a good talent- or timeline- fit will be essential to that growth.
Offseason Changes
The most important changes are rookies Fox, Frank Mason, Justin Jackson and Bogdan Bogdanovich, each of whom can be key contributors this season and in the future.  Harry Giles is another player with potential but is much more of an unknown due to his injury history.  While in high school, he was considered a likely high lottery pick but injuries have drastically impacted his abilities.  If he can recover his athleticism, he could turn out to be a second-round steal.
The Kings also brought in veterans Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and George Hill, ostensibly to “mentor” the young corps and to provide some stability. It was a somewhat risky move since those three may significantly cut into the youngsters’ floor time and therefore their development.  In addition, if they add three or four wins they could jeopardize the Kings’ ability to land a top tier player in the 2018 draft, which is of paramount importance since the Kings do not have a 1st round pick in 2019.
Additions:
* George Hill
* De’Aaron Fox
* Frank Mason
* Bogdan Bogdanovic
* Justin Jackson
 *Vince Carter
* Zach Randolph
* Harry Giles
* Jack Cooley
Subtractions: 
* Aaron Afflalo
* Darren Collison
* Tyreke Evans
* Langston Galloway
* Rudy Gay
* Ty Lawson
* Ben McLemore
* Anthony Tolliver
2017-18 Prediction
Vegas has set the Kings over/under at 28 1/2, which is about right for this young team.  If the vets get significant playing time, the Kings might get to thirty wins but that wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing.  The key to the franchise future is player development and patience.
2018 promises to have a strong-at-the-top draft.  With Marvin Bagley III’s reclassification, there could be as many as six top-tier talents, so the Kings chances of getting one are good.  This is likely to be a season that provides answers to questions about the players the Kings would like to build around.  Is Buddy Hield a one-trick pony?  Can Skal Labissiere get strong enough to be a consistent contributor?  Can Cauley-Stein add to his offensive repertoire to go along with his defensive versatility?  Will speedy De’Aaron Fox shoot well enough to justify his lofty draft selection?  The “process” has started.  Patience is now the key.

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 10/11/17

Warriors: How History’s Most Explosive Offense Began (from Baxter Holmes, ESPN):
Traffic Cones & High-Fives: A Glimpse Behind The Warriors’ Curtain (from Scott Cacciola, NY Times):
Isaiah Thomas: “Best Year Of My Career, Worst Year Of My Life” (from Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated):
Is This The Season Gary Harris Becomes One Of NBA’s Best SGs?  (from Scott Rafferty, The Step Back):
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Pindown Defense: “Top-Lock”  (from Dylan Murphy, medium.com):
Dennis Smith, Jr. Turns Heads As He Adjusts (from Alex Kennedy, Hoops Hype):
Jokic Has Revolutionized The Nuggets’ Offense (from Brandon Jefferson, The Step Back):
Paul George: Feeling Right At Home In OKC (from Chris Mannix, Yahoo Sports):
Anonymous NBA Scouts Preview The Northwest (from Sports Illustrated):
Anonymous NBA Scouts Preview the Pacific (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):
How The Blazers Make Flare Screens Unstoppable (from Jeff Siegel, The Step Back):
Blazers: Nurkic Sparked Post-Break Turnaround (from John Schuhmann, NBA.com):
 – Bucks Live In The Paint (from John Schuhmann, NBA.com):
Nuggets Need To Get Easy Stops (from Ian Levy, Fansided):
Celtics’ Depth Is A Good Problem To Have (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):
Can Terry Rozier Become A Traditional Facilitator? (from Matt Chin, Celtics Blog):
Celtics Still Have A Rebounding Problem (from Jacob Goldstein, Nylon Calculus):
Cracking Down On Faux “Shooting Fouls”  (from Berry Tramel, newsok.com):
Nets Need To Make Open 3s (from Ian Levy, Nylon Calculus):
This Season Will Be Doc Rivers’ Greatest Coaching Challenge  (from Robert Flom, clipsnation.com):
Hornets Can’t Keep Allowing Open 3s (from Max Schimanski, Nylon Calculus):
Embiid’s Deal Protects Sixers In Case Of Contractually Specific Injuries  (from Adrain Wojnarowski/Bobby Marks, ESPN):
Grading The Raptors’ Roster (from Adam Fromal, NBA Math):
Sabonis, Stephenson Make Early Connection (from Mark Monteith, pacers.com):
Vucevic Hopes To Be Stretch-5 That Works The Post (from Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily):
Top 100 Euroleague Players: 21-30 (from Sportando):
McGruder’s Long, Winding Path To The NBA (from Aaron Torres, Washington Post):
Meet Alfonzo McKinnie (from Curtis Rafter, Hashtag Basketball):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 10/9/17

Rating NBA Tiers: From Warriors To Worst (from Zach Lowe, ESPN):
Teodosic: Already Giving Clippers Joy & Pace (from Tom West, Fanrag Sports):
Basketball Intelligence Offering:

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Breakout Watch: Norman Powell  (from Vivek Jacob, BBball Breakdwon):
Nets: Is Allen Crabbe A Perfect Fit?  (from Kristian Winfield, SBNation):
Q & A: Vince Carter (from Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated):
Player Preview: Nikola Jokic  (from Tyler Bowen, Hoops Nations):
The New-Look Hawks’ Offense (from Glen Willis, Peachtree Hoops):
Is Kuzma The Real Deal? (from Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer):
Four Atlantic Division Breakout Players  (from Matt Chin, otgbasketball.com):
Marcus Smart’s Scrappiness Is Rubbing Off On New Teammates  (from Taylor C. Snow, Celtics.com):
Yabusele: Strengths & Weaknesses  (from Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com):
Spurs: Lauvergne Looking Like Good Fit (from Jared Johnson, Fanrag Sports):
Podcast: Nuggets’ President Tim Connelly (from Adrian Wojnarowski):
The Cavs Are Counting On LBJ’s Defense (from Dan Gilinsky, King James Gospel):
Grizzlies: Playoff Hopes Depend On Four Comeback Candidates (from Chris Herrington, Commercial Appeal):
Every Teams’ Best Case Scenario (from Ti Windisch, Fansided):
Wolves: Thibodeau Executes The Rerunning Of The Bulls (from Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune):
Grading The Spurs’ Roster (from Adam Fromal, NBA Math):
Summer Internship Could Help Willy Hernangomez Separate Himself (from Marc Berman, NY Post):
There Is More To Dion Than Waiters Island (from Rohan Nadkarni, Sports Illustrated):
Coach Vogel: Excited About Orlando’s Modernized Style Of Play (from John Denton, magic.com):
Lakers’ Preseason: Data Takeaways  (from Cranjis McBasketball, Forum Blue And Gold):
–  Jazz: Joe Johnson Can Still Play (from Tony Jones, Salt Lake Tribune):
The Top 5 Prospects From the 2017 Draft (from Christopher Kline, The Sixer Sense):
Pistons Like Moreland’s Energy, Not His Lapses (from Rod Beard, Detroit News):
Euroleague Season Preview (from Trevor Magnotti, The Step Back):
Top 100 Euroleague Players: 31-40  (from Sportando):