Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 4/5/18

Zach Lowe’s 7th Annual “Luke Walton All-Stars” (from ESPN):
Brett Brown On The Sixers’ Rebuild (from Michael Lee, Yahoo Sports):
Ben Simmons’ NBA Career: Off To Better Start Than LBJ’s? (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):
The Rockets Have Become The Dubs’ Biggest Obstacle (from Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer):
Draymond Green: Embracing Added Responsibilities (from Mark Medina, Mercury News):
Preparing Book On Rockets’ Potential First-Round Foes Is A Busy Task (from Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle):
20 Ways Injuries Have Impacted The Season & The Playoff Race (from James Herbert, CBS Sports):
Pacers: The Least Talked-About Playoff Team (from John Gonzalez, The Ringer):
CJ McCollum Is Kind Of A Ball Hog.  Does It Matter?  (from Eric Griffith, Blazer’s Edge):
How Have The Raptors’ Most Used Lineups Held Up & Can They Be Improved? (from Daniel Hackett, Raptors HQ):
Spotlight On Raptors’ Assistant Rex Kalamian (from Joel Stephens, Raptors HQ):
Taj Gibson Makes Minnesota Go (from Haley O’ Shaughnessy, The Ringer):
Video: “Red” Defensive Coverage (from Zak Boisvert, Pick And Pop):
Aaron Gordon: Working On Shot Selection To End The Season (from Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily):
DWade: “I’m Not For Everyone, I’m For Miami” (from Seerat Sohi, SBNation):
6MOY Candidates (from Scott Rafferty, The Step Back):
DPOY Candidates (from Kelly Scaletta, The Step Back):
Picking The DPOY & Every All-Defense Position (from Kevin Pelton, ESPN):
Q & A: Walter McCarty (from Harry Lyles, Jr, SBNation):
Inaugurating Our WNBA Coverage:
WNBA Free Agency Winners & Losers (from Eli Horowitz, ESPN):

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

CAVS-HAWKS Game 4 Stats (from SportVU/NBA.com):

“Examining  LeBron James’ isolations, Atlanta’s 3-point struggles, Cleveland’s offensive rebounding and more.”

Read it here:  http://stats.nba.com/featured/sportvu_hawks_cavaliers_gm4_2015_05_26.html

 

 

 

–  Cavs stay true to their Finals road map  (from Dave McMenamin,  ESPN):

” In the postgame locker room a couple of days before the end of the regular season, LeBron James was asked the kind of question that would usually receive a perfunctory response at best, considering the mass-scrum setting.

So LeBron, the question went, what does it take to be a champion?

Rather than slip into a cliché or hesitate to think up a worthy answer, James spoke extemporaneously coming from a place of honesty and experience.

“It takes sacrifice,” James said back on April 13. “That’s the ultimate thing, and that’s the thing that everyone talks about, but no one sees it when things are hard. We know we have guys that we can rely on and our guys are really committed to sacrificing everything for them personally and for the good of the team.

“If you can do that and all 15 guys are on the same page and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing individually, it’s all about team, making the next play for your teammate, covering for your teammate, playing for your teammate [then you will succeed]. Doing everything. Living, waking up for your teammate in the postseason. To become a champion, you got to do it. I think that’s the ultimate.”

It was the road map the Cavs would have to stay true to in order to get where they were on Tuesday, just four wins away from…(a) championship.”

Read it here:  http://www.espn.co.uk/blog/cleveland-cavaliers/post/_/id/1002/cavs-stay-true-to-their-road-map-to-finals

 

 

 

 Dan Gilbert says he never considered letting go of David Blatt  (from Chris Haynes,  cleveland.com):

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/05/cavaliers_owner_dan_gilbert_sa.html

 

 

What’s Next For the Hawks?  (from Kevin Arnovitz,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/3659/the-atlanta-hawks-next-flight

 

 

 

–  How James Harden regained his groove and cooked the Warriors  (from Jason Patt,  sbnation.com):

” The Rockets made some excellent adjustments to free their superstar from the Warriors’ stifling Game 3 defense. The result: a 45-point performance.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/5/26/8659639/james-harden-highlights-stats-breakdown-warriors-game-4

 

 

 

How and why the Warriors decided Steph Curry was OK to return to Game 4  (from Tim Kawakami, mercurynews.com):

Read it here:  http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2015/05/26/how-and-why-the-warriors-decided-steph-curry-was-ok-to-return-to-game-4-and-when-bob-myers-knew-for-sure/

 

 

 

–  How did Stephen Curry not get a concussion? Medical expert explains  (from Sporting News):

” Stephen Curry was diagnosed with a head contusion but may not be clear of a potential concussion yet.”

Read it here:  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/stephen-curry-head-injury-contusion-concussion-protocol-warriors-rockets-game-4/48npmzgi02gb1u9s441b5n350

 

 

 

– The Post Post-Play World  (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):

” With the way the math works in the modern NBA, building a team around post play requires walking on a razor’s edge. Unless you have the best of the best doing it, it’s not something you want to try at home. The problem is that the skills that allow you to efficiently score with your back to the basket – overwhelming size, an intuitive feel for the game, soft touch around the rim – don’t necessarily translate to playing great defense against pace-and-space teams. It’s about finding that combination of skills in one big man and it’s always going to be much easier to pair more limited big men with great play from the guard and wing positions.”

Read it here:  http://basketball.realgm.com/article/237962/The-Post-Post-Play-World

 

 

 

Bulls front office has to realize that the key to stopping LeBron James resides in their own building  (from Joe Cowley,  suntimes.com):

” The only resistance (did LBJ ) get along the way (to the finals)?

 “Thibs, man, Thibs,’’ James said of coach Tom Thibodeau during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bulls, when discussing his struggles in that series that lasted six games.

And the idea that two of James’ three-worst playoff performances have now come against Thibodeau-coached teams shouldn’t be as overlooked as it apparently is by the coach’s bosses.

Especially when this postseason involved Thibodeau working with a starting group that played just 21 regular-season games together, and was dealing with a bench that had the likes of Tony Snell shooting 34 percent from the field for the playoffs and coveted rookie Nikola Mirotic shooting 30 percent.

No, the Bulls had the right coach in place to try and dethrone James. Maybe it’s time to start again looking at the personnel, as well as a front-office mindset of minutes restrictions and babying players.”

Read it here:  http://chicago.suntimes.com/basketball/7/71/639495/bulls-front-office-realize-key-stopping-lebron-james-resides-building

 

–  There’s no such thing as a sure thing in NBA Draft (from Gary Washburn, Boston Globe):

” Determining whether a player can endure the rigors of professional sport is difficult, especially in today’s climate, where teams are constantly suffering buyer’s remorse after taking chances on players with questionable backgrounds, skeletons in their closets, and well-chronicled mistakes. Teams are buying out contracts, releasing players, and trading malcontents.

It’s a treacherous task because questionable prospects, some of whom have associated with agents since high school, are well-versed in selling themselves, and the ones who aren’t tend to drop in the draft”

Teams want to know everything: What kind of teammate was he? Does he like to drink? Is he a leader or follower? What was his circle of friends like? Family structure? Not all the questions are directly related to basketball, but the answers can derail a promising career or burn GMs who may have foolishly believed the promises of a 20-year-old kid who may have been hustling them.

“What makes it tough — and I don’t want to give names of players because I don’t want to break that trust — but there are kids that were squeaky-clean kids in college and did everything right and got to the NBA and fell apart,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “And there have been kids that lost their way in college that turned out to be model citizens in the NBA. There are no guarantees in any of this.”

Read it here:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/05/26/there-such-thing-sure-thing-nba-draft/OyNUDndtFMJwsxgas02bAL/

 

 

 

–  Shot Arc Analysis  (from Michael Beouy, inpredictable.com):

” (W)ith a little freshman-level physics, I can now tease out the likely “true” trajectory of each shot, and from that, develop a whole host of new shot-based statistics. How high was the ball when it was released? And with what velocity? How high did the ball go (i.e. is this a shooter with a “high arc”)? At what angle and speed did the ball approach the rim? Was it on target?

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the NBA (and perhaps of all time). He is known for a quick release and a high shot arc. Good shooters are often distinguished by their high, arching shots. For one, it makes one’s shot harder to block, but that’s not really a consideration for free throws. A high arc also allows the ball to approach the basket at a more direct angle, making the hoop appear larger and more forgiving. For shots with a low, line drive trajectory, the hoop is a narrow ellipse, or a small thermal exhaust port if you will, allowing for little margin of error on approach.

But a high arc comes with a tradeoff, and that is speed. In order to achieve that higher arc, yet still have the ball reach the basket, the shooter must release the ball with a higher velocity. Presumably the faster a ball is released, the more difficult it is to control. So how do NBA shooters balance this tradeoff?

Read it here: http://www.inpredictable.com/2015/05/introducing-sharc-shot-arc-analysis.html

 

 

 

–  Al Attles, Part of Warriors’ Past, Is Still a Presence (from William C. Rhoden, NYTimes):

Read it here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/27/sports/basketball/al-attles-part-of-warriors-past-is-still-a-presence.html

 

 

 

–  Notes from “The WNBA Analytics Scrimmage”  (from Matt D’Anna, NylonCalculus.com):

Read it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/05/27/dispatch-phone-booth-notes-analytics-scrimmage/

And from Clinton yates, Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/05/26/what-is-an-analytics-scrimmage-and-why-did-the-mystics-and-lynx-play-in-one/

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

DeMarre Carroll:  http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Opportunity-Knocks-DeMarre-Carrolls-Long-and-Winding-Road-to-Stardom-5019

 

Jae Crowder:  http://hardwoodhoudini.com/2015/05/27/boston-celtics-player-review-jae-crowder/

 

Michael Carter-Williams:  http://www.brewhoop.com/2015/5/27/8662435/michael-carter-williams-jason-kidd-challenge-positional-prototype

 

Jonas Valanciunas:  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/05/27/3-things-jonas-valanciunas-needs-to-work-on-this-summer/

 

Paul Pierce:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/05/27/paul-pierce-season-in-review-veterans-first-season-in-washington-was-impactful-but-will-it-be-the-only-one/

 

James Young:  http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4719396/young-and-hungry

 

Lester Hudson:  http://www.clipsnation.com/2015/5/27/8663693/2014-2015-exit-interviews-lester-hudson

 

Joel Embiid:  http://thesixersense.com/2015/05/27/5-things-remember-joel-embiid/

 

Mitch McGary:  http://newsok.com/okc-thunder-grading-mitch-mcgarys-rookie-season/article/5422715

 

Andre Roberson:  http://www.nba.com/thunder/feature/checkin_roberson_150527

 

Noah Vonlehhttp://www.nba.com/hornets/clone-2014-15-season-review-noah-vonleh

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

 Old-school coach Brown learning new-school methods (from Bob Cooney, philly.com):

“Just the quantity of information and people that you now have that you can allocate to specific things,” he said of the main differences from his time under Gregg Popovich. “Shooting coaches, two or three strength and conditioning coaches, a wealth of analytics, outside of just a coach and a player getting on the floor and working on a jump shot or a dribble. The ratio of coaches to players has changed dramatically since my first year [in San Antonio], where I was responsible for 15 players and you had to compartmentalize and run the gym with groups and sections, and you had to allocate chunks of time, pre- and post-practice. That fundamental formula still exists, but the resources that you apply to it are far greater. I came into the league and there were three of me [directors of development], and now every team probably has two or three. It’s like hitting coaches in baseball; shooting coaches are going to be the emerging thing. I think that nearly half of the NBA teams have an isolated, dedicated shooting coach. We’re going to blink and, in 5 years, everybody is going to have one of those, too. Development just spins off on so many areas with so many people nowadays.”

“[The one-on-one] is a thing that I miss the most. It’s a relationship thing, it’s a sweat-equity thing. It’s something that’s personal. Now in my role, because I oversee, I think, 13 coaches of some sort underneath me, from intern video guys to full-on bench assistants, coaching the coaches for me is almost at times harder than coaching the players. They didn’t know me. I didn’t know them. And to surround yourself with 13, 14 new voices and faces . . . I need loyalty, I need expertise, I need for them to have the same voice and philosophy that I have, I need to be open to say, ‘Hey, what do you think?’

“I got good people from lots of different programs with a lot of experience that I can learn from them, too. That dynamic and then how you distribute coaches to players, I have platooned everybody up. If we’ve done anything well, I feel comfortable that everybody has a role”
Read it here:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150109_Old-school_coach_Brown_learning_new-school_methods.html

 

 Boston’s big(s) problem (from Ryan Sharry, celticsblog.com):

” Obtaining assets is certainly important for a rebuilding team like the Celtics, but not when the players coming to town can disturb the rotation. You can never have enough picks, but there is a point where you can have too many young players. Right now, there are 15 guys on the Celtics roster who think they should be getting minutes, and that is a dangerous thing. There haven’t been any major disruptions as of yet, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future. Wright just came from playing 18 minutes a game on a title contender to sitting an entire game for a team that is 12-21. Regardless of how great an attitude he has, that would wear on anyone.

The Celtics owe it to themselves to see if Wright can put up numbers away from the juggernaut in Dallas so they can determine if he could be a guy they want to resign this offseason. It is impossible to make that evaluation with Wright getting DNP’s. The obvious guy to sit would be Bass, who is also a free agent after this year. However, he is such a hard worker and solid role player that Stevens can’t – or won’t – leave him on the bench. If Wright was going to be the low man on the Celtics frontcourt totem pole, then there doesn’t seem to be much sense in acquiring him as the centerpiece of a Rondo deal.”

Read it here:  http://www.celticsblog.com/2015/1/8/7518257/bostons-big-s-problem

 

 Behind scenes, Boston Celtics rookie Marcus Smart developing point guard skills (from Jay King, MLive.com):

” Open your eyes wide – or even just pay a small bit of attention; that works too – and you will see Boston Celtics rookie Marcus Smart beginning to fill in the outline of his future self. He remains, like all rookies, an amorphous pile of unfulfilled potential. But his development, so important to the franchise’s future, is happening every day.

Smart has played on and off the ball all season, which, it should be noted, his defensive versatility allows. But head coach Brad Stevens does not seem to hold doubts about the rookie’s ultimate position.

“I think long term, he’s a point,” Stevens said Wednesday night, without hesitation, before an 89-81 win against the Brooklyn Nets.

For now, though, Smart is learning how to become one.

Twenty games into Smart’s career, it’s easy to see why the Celtics drafted him. He is an agitator, a competitor, a worker, a plus defender at an age when almost nobody is. But he remains incomplete, a young guard very much learning how to command an offense and maximize his physical traits.”

Read it here:  http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/01/behind_scenes_boston_celtics_r.html

 

– The Magic Of Four-Out Basketball (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):

“It’s night and day,” said Chandler Parsons when asked to compare this version of the Pistons to the team the Mavs had beaten the month before. “It’s all confidence. They obviously always had the talent, same coach, same plays, same system. They’re playing free and they’re playing confident right now.”

The mistake in looking at this situation is to make it a referendum on Josh Smith’s career. What is happening in Detroit is a lot bigger than Josh Smith. This is the triumph of four-out basketball in action, a team being radically transformed from one of the worst teams in the NBA to one of the best merely by doing a better job of spacing the floor. By releasing Smith and making a few tweaks to their rotation, the Pistons went from 1-2 three-point shooters to 3-4 three-point shooters on the floor for most of the game. When guys are allowed to play in space, the game becomes really easy.

Read it here:  http://basketball.realgm.com/article/236184/The-Magic-Of-Four-Out-Basketball

 

–  Playing Marc Gasol and Kosta Koufos together (from Kevin Yeung, grizzlybearblues.com):

” Something that Dave Joerger has experimented with before is a twin towers lineup of Marc Gasol and Kosta Koufos. In the absence of a particularly good backup power forward and with two terrific centers at his disposal, it’s not surprising that Joerger would try the twin towers look. And in spot minutes, it worked out.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/1/8/7504955/memphis-grizzlies-twin-towers-playing-marc-gasol-and-kosta-koufos-together

 

 

–   Vucevic: “Had to Make A Lot of Sacrifices” (from John Denton, magic.com):

” Magic center reflects back on journey to NBA”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/magic/vucevic-had-make-lot-sacrifices

 

– Magic’s Maurice Harkless is trying to remain patient (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):

”  (N)o one on the Magic has endured a more frustrating start to this season than Harkless. He started 59 games as a rookie in 2012-13 and 41 games last season, but he’s played sparingly this season. Though Harkless is injury-free, the Magic have kept him on their inactive list since Jan. 2.

“It’s just easy to just look at the situation and just be negative about it,” Harkless said Thursday.

“It’s hard to try to just stay positive and stay focused and not let it get you down, and that’s something that I’ve been trying to do. It’s something I think I’ve been doing well, just staying positive and just still working hard and not letting this define me.”

Read it here:  http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-magic-maurice-harkless-0109-20150108-story.html

 

 Enes Kanter Trade Bait With Emergence Of Rudy Gobert? (from Clint Peterson, purpleandblues.com):

”  What do you do with Enes Kanter now? After recent generous strides in his game it hardly seems scrupulous to bench him when healthy. In the same respect, it’s onerous to willfully head back to mediocrity and frustration with the tantalizing possibility of winning with Gobert.

There are no immediately easy decisions ahead for Quin Snyder, concerning Kanter and Gobert. And the brass have it even harder, with less than 50 games to decide how much they’d be willing to match a contract for the emerging Turk after Kanter’s camp declined extension overtures from the Jazz last October.

Someone will be willing to pay handsomely for the skills Kanter possesses, and it will surely be an amount intended to make Jazz brass scoff at matching it when they have Gobert waiting in the wings to take over. This leaves the Utah Jazz front office entertaining Enes Kanter trade offers.”

Read it here:  http://purpleandblues.com/2015/01/08/enes-kanter-trade-bait-emergence-rudy-gobert/

(BI Note:  We usually ignore trade speculation stories because, generally, they are not worth the electrons expended to publish them.  This story is one of the rare exceptions.)

 

 Raptors: It’s Time For A Reality Gut-Check (from Michael Holian, hoopshabit.com):

Read it here:  http://hoopshabit.com/2015/01/08/toronto-raptors-time-reality-gut-check/

 

 

 How Andrew Wiggins Has Changed His Game (from Eric, canishoopus.com):

” Over the last eight games, Andrew Wiggins has begun to resemble the rookie all Wolves fans hoped we were getting when he was the centerpiece of the Kevin Love trade last summer. It’s being noticed around the league, and Wiggins got a chance to display his wares before a national television audience on Wednesday night when he scored 25 points in a tough 113-111 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

So what’s different about Wiggins over the last eight games compared to the first 26 of the season?”

Read and view it here:  http://www.canishoopus.com/2015/1/9/7518853/how-andrew-wiggins-has-changed-his-game

–  X’s and O’s — Did the Pelicans 4th Quarter Defense Bend or Break Against the Hornets? (from Oleh, the birdwrites.com):

Read it here: http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/1/9/7519321/xs-and-os-pelicans-4th-quarter-collapse-against-the-hornets

 

 

 Bulls: Pau, Butler and Future Star Nikola Mirotic (from Tom West, sircharlesincharge):

” Before the 2014-15 season, the Chicago Bulls were anointed by many as not only the top contender in the Eastern Conference but as one of the most star-studded teams in the entire league. That was even before Pau Gasol re-emerged as an elite power forward and Jimmy Butler made the leap to NBA stardom.

Just these two alone have made the Bulls even better than we might have expected and, to top it all off, rookie Nikola Mirotic is proving why he’s a future franchise player.

Read it here:  http://sircharlesincharge.com/2015/01/09/chicago-bulls-future-star-nikola-mirotic/

 

 

–  Andrew Bogut makes celebrated NBA return after knee injury (from Roy Ward, smh.com.au):

” Bogut believes the fact many of the NBA’s best teams this season have shunned the long-used isolation offences is an exciting trend.

“All the good teams in the league right now have adopted the Spurs’ model of moving the ball,” Bogut said.

“You still have to have your closer [big shot taker] and your guy you can go to in the clutch but I think if you move the ball effectively it gives everyone confidence as opposed to having an “iso” guy who plays isolation all game then gets double teamed when he tries to take the last shot and throws it to a guy in the corner who hasn’t touched the ball in 10 plays.

“With us, everyone touches the ball and is moving and cutting – it’s just a joy to play with and coach has done a great job emphasising that.””

Read it here:  http://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/andrew-bogut-makes-celebrated-nba-return-after-knee-injury-20150109-12kezr.htm

 

 

Rebuilding the Wolves (from Zach Harper,  awolfamongwolves.com):

” Read it here:  The injuries have taken their toll on the Wolves this season, which is the main reason for their record being as abysmal as it appears. Ricky Rubio’s high ankle injury, Nikola Pekovic’s sprained wrist and ankle, and Kevin Martin’s broken wrist have decimated the veteran leadership on the court and the organization needed to remain competitive most nights. NBA.com has the Wolves with the worst defense in the NBA at a rating of 110.2 points per 100 possessions allowed. The Los Angeles Lakers are the second worst at 109.8 per 100. They have the fifth worst offense at 99.2 points per 100 possessions scored. Only the Sixers have a worse net rating (minus-12.9 points per 100) than the Wolves (minus-11.0).

I never thought the Wolves would be good this season and hopes of them approaching what they did last season with a deeper team seemed foolish and too Disney story for my liking. But expecting them to be this bad would also have been crazy, if you assumed this team was going to be healthy. Since they are currently this bad and looking like they’re officially focused more on the future than the present (we’ll see how it goes when the veterans get healthy), I thought we could take a look as we approach the mid point of the season and look at the long-term, rebuilding prospects of each player on this team. ”

Read it here:  http://www.awolfamongwolves.com/2015/01/rebuilding-the-wolves-vol-1-or-vol-11-one-of-those/

 

 

Timofey Mozgov In Cleveland: Stopgap Or Genuine Answer? (from Seth Partnow, Bball Breakdown):

Read it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/01/08/timofey-mozgov-cleveland-stopgap-genuine-answer/

 

 

 Hawks make it 6 in a row with win over Grizzlies (from Yaron Weitzman, SBNation):

” (W)hile the balanced, Spurs-like offense that former San Antonio assistant coach Mike Budenholzer has installed gets much of the attention, it’s actually been the defense which has propelled Atlanta to the top of the NBA standings.

Wednesday night that stout defense was on display. The Hawks held the Grizzlies to 44 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers. Neither Marc Gasol (6-of-12, 16 points) or Mike Conley (7-of-15, 17 points) were given room to operate. The Hawks pressured the ball, leading to 17 steals, and were smart and on point with their defensive rotations.

That was especially so with Kyle Korver. Known more for his three-point stroke, and for good reason (he hit 4-of-9 from behind the arc and had 14 points on Wednesday), Korver has also developed into an intelligent and valuable defensive player.

Suffocating opponents and taking away their primary options is nothing new for Atlanta. The Hawks are holding teams to 100.2 points per 100 possessions, the fifth best mark in the league. In this 25-game stretch that number has dropped to 98. Paring a defense like this with a balanced and efficient offense — five Hawks scored in double figures on Wednesday — is a championship recipe.

That, of course, doesn’t mean the Hawks are guaranteed to have the No. 1 seed, though they are in the driver’s seat. What it does mean, though, is that we should all stop acting surprised every time they beat a good team.

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/1/8/7511841/nba-scores-hawks-win-grizzlies-pistons

 

 

–  A Look at Neil Olshey’s Success With the Blazers (from Yannis Koutroupis, BasketballInsiders):

Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-a-look-at-neil-olsheys-success-with-the-blazers/

 

 

 Lauren Holtkamp’s Guide to Becoming an NBA Referee (from Fred Katz, Grantland.com):

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/lauren-holtkamp-nba-referee-d-league-wnba/

 

 

Additional Player Updates:

Justin Holidayhttp://bluemanhoop.com/2015/01/08/justin-holidays-rise-to-relevancy-with-golden-state-warriors/

Mason Plumlee:  http://www.netsdaily.com/2015/1/8/7517645/espn-mason-plumlee-free-throw-shooting

Jusuf Nurkic:  http://www.dailycamera.com/nuggets-nba/ci_27286809/ready-or-not-nurkic-center-attention

Darius Morris:  http://doublegsports.com/well-traveled-youngster-darius-morris-getting-chance-brooklyn/

–  Wesley Johnson:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2323869-wesley-johnson-finally-showing-why-he-should-be-part-of-lakers-uncertain-future

Tristan Thompson:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/01/tristan_thompson_told_hed_come.html

Tiago Splitter:   http://www.poundingtherock.com/2015/1/8/7517059/whats-wrong-with-tiago-splitters-defense

ORL,GSW,MIN,SAC,BKN,MIL,Centers,WNBA,FIBA,More

– Q&A: Victor Oladipo (from James Herbert, CBS Sports):

Read it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24688000/qa-victor-oladipo-on-leadership-losing-and-being-sick-of-2nd-place

– Getting To Know Leandro Barbosa (from Saam Esfandiari, warriorsworld.com):

” The Warriors signed Leandro Barbosa to a veteran’s minimum contract. Barbosa is best known for his time with the Phoenix Suns. Barbosa spent the first 7 years of his career in Phoenix, highlighted by winning the 2006-07 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. Last season, he re-joined the Suns midseason for a brief stint before breaking his hand and ending his year.”

– Meet Marcelinho Huertas, the X-Factor for Brazil’s 2014 FIBA Team (from Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report):

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2181667-meet-marcelinho-huertas-the-x-factor-for-brazils-2014-fiba-team

– In the W.N.B.A., Women’s Coaching Journey Gets Easier (from Seth Berkman, NYTimes):

” Seventeen years ago, Lin Dunn was coaching the Portland Power of the short-lived American Basketball League. Dunn believed in sharing her knowledge of the game, so she allowed college coaches to watch her practices.

One of them was Pokey Chatman, then a young assistant coach at Louisiana State. Chatman stayed for a week learning from Dunn, whom she remembered as a volleyball coach at Mississippi in the late 1970s.

On Saturday, Chatman, now coach of the Chicago Sky, faced Dunn’s Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the W.N.B.A. Eastern Conference finals. The Western Conference finals began Friday, with the Phoenix Mercury, led by Sandy Brondello, beating the Minnesota Lynx, coached by Cheryl Reeve.

This is the first time that four female head coaches have led their teams to the league’s conference finals, only weeks after the former W.N.B.A. star Becky Hammon became the N.B.A.’s first female full-time assistant coach, with the San Antonio Spurs.”

Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/sports/basketball/in-the-wnba-womens-coaching-journey-gets-easier.html

– How should the Wolves handle the Ricky Rubio situation? (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):

Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24689023/how-should-the-wolves-handle-the-ricky-rubio-situation

– What “pace” means for the 2014-15 Sacramento Kings (from James Ham, cowbellkingdom.com):

” A buzzword has developed for the 2014-15 Sacramento Kings season.  The term “pace” is being jammed down our throats like we are geese being primed for a fine foie gras.  The catch phrase has come from every angle, but what exactly does it mean?

According to Basketball-Reference.com:

Pace: Pace Factor; the formula is 48 * ((TmPoss +OppPoss) / (2 * (TmMP / 5))). Pace factor is an estimate of the number of possessions per 48 minutes by a team.

Last season, the Kings ranked 14th in the NBA at 94.4 points per 100 possessions.  From the general manager down to the head coach, 14th isn’t good enough.”

Read it here: http://cowbellkingdom.com/sunday-musings-what-pace-means-for-the-2014-15-sacramento-kings/

– Lionel Hollins looked for staff with best ‘fit’ (from Mike Mazzeo, ESPNewyork):

Read it here: http://www.netsdaily.com/2014/8/31/6089341/lionel-hollins-hints-starting-lineup-up-for-grabs

– Centers on the Rise in 2014-15 (from John Zitzler, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/five-centers-on-the-rise-in-2014-15/

– Basketball fame, fortune came to Wiggins at a young age (from Jerry Zgoda, startribune.com):

” ‘I wanted to go to a place where I’m pushed to do a lot and become a special piece for the team. It’ll help me reach my potential. … I said I wanted to play for a team that wanted me, and now I’m here and I feel nothing but love.’

“And through it all, Wiggins walks like a man out for a stroll in the park, like he has done this almost all his life.

“At age 19, given his YouTube notoriety, that’s not far off.

” ‘I’m always comfortable… “I like it. I like to take on challenges. I’m prepared. I know I’m ready.’ “

Read it here: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/273333081.html?page=3&c=y

Predicting Jabari Parker’s rookie season (from Andrew Unterberger, Hoop365):

Read and view it here: http://www.hoop365.com/nba/why-jabari-parker-might-struggle-initially/

– Schea Cotton: Ex-prep school basketball phenom finds his place (from Gary Washburn, Boston Globe):

” In the visiting locker room at KeyArena, Kevin Garnett, then a first-year Celtic, was deep into his pregame ritual before Boston faced the Seattle SuperSonics. In the midst of his meditation, he was handed a 13-year-old high school basketball magazine that outlined the nation’s top players from 1995, including he and Paul Pierce.

In that magazine, a reporter detailed how a burly phenom dominated Garnett in an AAU game. He used his physicality to push around the lanky, 6-foot-10-inch Garnett, using his lefthanded dribble to score at will, stunning onlookers because he was just a freshman. That wunderkind’s name was Schea Cotton, and while Garnett’s Celtics teammates were chiding him for the magazine story, Garnett made a statement that has stuck with Cotton the past decade.

“Y’all don’t understand,” Garnett told his laughing teammates. “This dude was LeBron before LeBron.”

Indeed, Cotton was LeBron James before we ever heard of St. Vincent-St. Mary.”

Read it here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/08/31/high-school-basketball-phenom-finds-his-place/oNalL0XtdpWyZoUQO0McmJ/story.html