Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/8/18

Heat: Josh Richardson Flourishing Despite Losing Streak (from Simon Smith, All U Can Heat):
HOU 109, MIA 101 (from Manny Navarro, Miami Herald):
NOTE: The following story was published prior to yesterday’s game vs CLE.  In that sense, it may be about the Cavs’ defense as much as it is about the Wolves’ offense:
How The Wolves Have Defied The “Modern NBA” To Achieve Offensive Success (from Charlie Johnson, Canis Hoopus):
If The Cavs Can’t Fix Their Defense, They Won’t Fix Their Season (from Michael D. Sykes II, SBNation):
Cavs: Promise Of More Playing Time For Osman After Strong Effort Vs. Wolves (from Dave McMenamin, ESPN):
CLE-MIN: LBJ’s Ridiculous Final 30 Seconds (from Emma Baccellieri, Deadspin):
OKC vs. GSW: Paul George’s Defensive Brilliance (from Whitney Medworth, SBNation):
Thunder: How Does An NBA Team Replace The Irreplaceable? (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):
How The Pistons Are Working Blake Griffin Into Their Offense (from Mo Dakhil, The Jump Ball):
DET 111, POR 91 (from Rod Beard, Detroit News):
Raptors’ Process-Oriented Approach Is Working (from Seerat Sohi, The Athletic):
Raptors’ Blowout Of BOS: A Warning To East’s Elite (from Daniel O’Brien, Fanrag Sports):
Raptors’ Youngsters Form One Of The NBA’s Bench Units (from Rachel Brady, The Globe And Mail):
Video Breakdown: Pacers’ “Curl Down Flare” (from Tony East, 8 Points, 9 Seconds):
Wolves: How Butler & Gibson Have Helped Coach Thibs Set The Tone (from Joseph Casciaro, The Score):
The Knicks Must Solidify Their Foundation (from Maxwell Ogden, Daily Knicks):
Knicks: KP Injury Has No Silver Lining (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):
Welcome Back, Emeka Okafor (from Jackson Lloyd, 94 Feet Report):
Glossary: Traded Player Exception  (from Luke Adams, Hoops Rumors):
The Underdog: Torrey Craig (from Mike Olson, Denver Stiffs):
Trey Burke: Embracing His New Opportunity (from Ben Nadeau, Basketball Insiders):
Kris Dunn: Eager To Exit Concussion Protocol & Get Back To Work (from KC Johnson, Chicago Tribune):
Jahlil Okafor: Struggling In Brooklyn (from Christopher Kline, The Sixer Sense):
Wizards: Mike Scott, Quirky Locker Room Favorite (from Candace Buckner, Washington Post):

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/7/18

Paul George Has Evolved Into Westbrook’s Ideal Sidekick (from Scott Rafferty, The Step Back):

OKC’s Turnover-Forcing Defense & How It Fuels Their Offense (from SBNation):
The Raptors Show How Good They Can Be (from Michael D. Sykes II, SBNation):
Raptors & Celtics Are Examples Of Importance Of Player Development (from Eric Koreen, The Athletic):
KP’s ACL Tear: A Franchise Altering Injury (from Jared Dubin, The Step Back):
Behind The Scenes Story Of A Deadline Deal That Changed The Trajectory Of A Franchise (from Ben Falk, Cleaning The Glass):
Jazz Sets That Create Open 3s (from Mike Zavagno):
Meet The Nuggets’ Point Guard: Center Nikola Jokic  (from Josh Plaos, Washington Post):
Oladipo’s Underrated Defense (from Tony East, 8 Points, 9 Seconds):
Pacers: Why Making No Move At The Trade Deadline May Be Their Best Move (from Adam Friedman, Indy Cornrows):
Grading 2017’s Deadline Deals One Year Later (from Dan Favale, Bleacher Report):
Reggie Bullock Has Been A Delightful Surprise For The Pistons This Season (from Bryan Kalbrosky, Hoops Hype):
The Distance Between LBJ & The Cavs Is Growing (from Jason LLoyd, The Athletic):
Cristiano Felicio: Trying To Show He’s Still Got Game (from Will Gottlieb, The Athletic):
Sixers Assistant Coach Billy Lange’s Role Regarding Markelle Fultz (from Bret Stuter, The Sixer Sense):
Sixers: The Fultz Saga Continues (from Sarah Todd, philly.com):
Trade Deadline BS Meter (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):
Seth Curry’s Injury Changed The Season For The Mavericks (from Isaac Harris, The Smoking Cuban):

Key Factors In ORL’s Improved Play: Trust & Jonathon Simmons (from Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily):

Michael Beasley Is Instant Offense But He’s Stuck Being An NBA Nomad (from Chris Herring, FiveThirtyEight):
How Steve Kerr’s Talented Roster Helped Him Build The Culture He Wanted (from Mark Medina, Mercury News):
Read it here:  https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/06/how-steve-kerrs-talented-roster-helped-him-build-culture-he-wanted/

Blake Griffin’s Leadership Style (from Rod Beard, Detroit News):
Has SVG Finally Figured Out The Stanley Johnson Puzzle? (from Ku Khahlil, Piston Powered):
Juancho Hernangomez: Staying Patient & Prepared (from Brendan Vogt, Mile High Sports):
Heat: Spoelstra Looking To Play Whiteside & Adebayo Together More  (from Manny Navarro, Miami Herald):
16 Years, Nine Teams, One Love (from Caron Butler, The Players Tribune):
What’s Next For The Bulls’ Rebuild? (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher Report):
Shabazz Napier: Seizing Opportunity With The Blazers (from Dan Feldman, NBC Sports):
Cavs: How To Solve Their IT Problem  (from Greg Swartz, Bleacher Report):

The Three Easiest Types Of Players To Integrate At The Trade Deadline

The three easiest types of players to integrate at the trade deadline

by Adam Spinella

Division III Assistant Coach

One of the structural aspects of the NBA that sets it apart from other leagues is its high-intensity and incredibly active trade deadline. Each February teams are active in trade talks, with rumors swirling for months about which players will get dealt and which franchises are buyers and sellers. The excitement is unfathomable from the comfortable confines of fandom and a fantastic exercise in strategic thinking for those who put their analyst cap on.

From a coaching perspective though the trade deadline is one of the more difficult aspects of managing the NBA season. Integrating the new into the culture of the old with limited practice time is no easy task. The greater the player and more of a role he has on his new team, the more difficult it can be to catch them up on both offensive and defensive schemes, play calls, and coaching preferences. That doesn’t even factor in how a player learns to gel with their teammates.

With all the warnings to heed, there are certain types of players that are easier than others to integrate at the trade deadline or work into a rotation on relatively little experience with their new team:

1.     The Veteran Point Guard

There’s an old saying within basketball circles that the point guard is “the extension of the coach on the floor.” Getting used to a new offense is always difficult for the maestro that helps orchestrate it, but veterans who have run multiple schemes throughout their NBA careers have a large bank of knowledge to draw upon. Jarrett Jack, for example, currently playing with the New York Knicks, has already been led by nine different head coaches during his career. If that doesn’t prepare someone to pick up a new offense quickly, nothing will.

Most teams looking to bring in a veteran point guard do so for a backup role, hoping that a steady hand controlling tempo can help anchor a bench unit. The role isn’t too large, and regardless of play type or scheme the point guard can make a great impact on the game by getting teammates easy baskets no matter what the play call is.

2.     The sharpshooting wing

No role is more universally transferable across any offense than the ability to catch-and-shoot. Instant offense on the wings provides spacing around other more cornerstone players that most organizations try to build around. Ball handlers/ focal points of an offense are constants, as are big men that patrol the paint or set screens. Those shooters that stretch defenses out provide immediate relief for those players, giving them more space to operate and let their own skills thrive.

Sharpshooters are usually acquired solely because the team trading for them has an absence of perimeter shooting, meaning they’ll be propelled into the rotation right away. That can mean two different things from a coaching perspective. First, the team could run their offense entirely the same way as before the trade, just with a better player in the shooter’s spot, serving as a decoy away from the ball or a knockdown threat to run actions for. There’s advantage to the rest of the team to not overhaul an offense at the trade deadline; continuity helps make the first four months of the season feel as important as the final two.

The second path is to gradually incorporate new sets and plays that leverage the skills of elite shooters. Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers did this with Kyle Korver, using his elite shooting as a gravitational force to suck defenders away from the rim. That opened up more space for LeBron James, Kevin Love and company to operate in the lane.

Adding a shooter doesn’t require a complete retooling of the offense, but it can provide coaches an important toy that allows them to leverage their best player’s skills to their fullest. Those few feet of space created on any given play can be the difference for a team during crunch time in the postseason.

3.     The pick-and-pop big man

The term “stretch-4” is synonymous with pick-and-pop big men, a positional skill almost vital in the modern NBA. With the league drifting towards being ball screen-dominant over the last decade, the need for spreading out players away from the ball on offense became paramount. Instead of having two big men on the floor with one standing at the block the entire possession, coaches began to move the 4 to the perimeter, opening up the lane completely for rim attacks off drives or vicious dunks from the roll man.

Player skills have caught up, as big men now shoot the three-pointer with high efficiency and confidence. That being said, being a reliable pick-and-pop threat that can defend against the same action is highly coveted, and much more rare than it might seem. The reason pick-and-pops are so effective on offense is that most big men struggle to guard those actions. Elite shooters from the big man position are still a thorn in the sides of defenses.

Pick-and-pops aren’t generally difficult plays in design – the execution of them is what creates the advantage, not the trickery before the screen. A role is always there in today’s NBA for a big man that comes off the bench and stretches the defense. Once that big gets accustomed to the team’s pick-and-roll scheme on the defensive end of the floor there’s very little that could keep them off the floor during crunch time.