Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   Memphis Grizzlies: How To Work Around The Age Issue  (from Tom Firme,

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–  Former ref Delaney focused on improving the craft  (from

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–  The Thunder  Legacies Of Kendrick Perkins, Scott Brooks, And Derek Fisher  (from  Alex Roig,

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–   So the Rockets are Hard-Capped… Now What?  (from David Weiner,

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–   Phoenix’s history with dual playmakers lends insight into Suns’ future with Bledsoe, Knight  (from deadpoolio,

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Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–   BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Top 50 NBA Players: 35-31   (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown):


–   Pistons: What Will Be Stanley Johnson’s Best Position?  (from DeMarcus Garrett,


–   Hollis Thompson: The Anonymous Assassin  (from Sean Kennedy,  today’


–  Sam Thompson’s case for making the Charlotte Hornets 2015-2016 roster  (from Austin Peters,

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Rest remains a challenge for NBA coaches, players (from Associated Press):

” It can be a guessing game who Popovich plays; he has set the bar when it comes to resting his veterans.

Many other coaches would like to follow his lead, but even for Popovich trying to manage players’ minutes and keep them fresh through the grind of the NBA’s 82-game regular season is a tricky task.

“It’s called the seat-of-my-pants science,” Popovich quipped.”

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– The Mutually Beneficial Pairing of Rudy Gay and the Kings (from Zach Lowe,

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– Why Rudy Gay and the Kings are perfect for each other (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):

” The deal to keep Gay in Sacramento will allow the scorer to reach free agency at a better moment and ends some uncertainty for the Kings.”

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And from James Ham at Cowbell Kingdom:

– Reggie Jackson’s final shot against Rockets: designed hero-ball or rogue heat check? (from Kevin Yeung,

” After forcing a stop on a James Harden isolation late in the game last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder were only down three with 16.4 seconds left. They had a very real chance to tie the score and force an overtime against the (previously) 8-1 Houston Rockets.

But the resulting play out of the timeout was a complete dud. In the official play-by-play, it shows up as “Reggie Jackson misses 28-foot three-pointer,” coming only six seconds after the timeout. In reality, the distance was the least of Jackson’s problems. The shot he took was a simple pull-up jumper, thrown up with Dwight Howard closely contesting.”

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– Secrets to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Hot Start (from Tom Firme, Bleacher Report):

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– Mike Conley Q &A (from Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated):

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– Cavaliers’ Title Hopes Depend on Defensive Effort That Has Been Clearly Lacking (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):

” How do you create a decent defensive team when your roster is short on guys known for their defensive disposition?

“Well, you got to teach,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “You have to raise the level of expectation, and the level of accountability, and you have to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes if you’re not blessed with great individual defenders, your principles have to be that much stronger, and your helps and your court recognition have to be that much better. And that’s why it’s taken us longer in that area of the game than on the offensive end…. Defense, like offense, in a team sport, in the dynamic of a basketball game, is very much made up of team concept, team principles and the willingness of everyone to buy into that and to be accountable for that. And that’s what we’re working on.”

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– Lakers threaten to go from bad to toxic (from Baxter Holmes, ESPNLosAngeles):

” They were never supposed to have much of a season — just one, long, loss-filled trudge to the lottery. But just 10 games in, it’s starting to turn toxic.

They were never expected to have much of a team — just an aging superstar and a patchwork crew. But just a few weeks in, it’s starting to unravel at the seams.

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ defense is on pace to be one of the worst in history. Kobe Bryant is on pace to miss shots at a faster rate than anyone in history. And the team is on track to have its worst season in franchise history. ”

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– Stevens implores C’s to ‘do your job’ (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

“One of the things I really tried to emphasize today was, regardless of circumstance, we all have a job to do,” Stevens said. “And the hardest thing is to focus on that job without emotion. Things are going really well, you’ve got to focus on the task without emotion. If things are going really poorly and it feels like the weight of the world is falling on your shoulders, focus on what your job is and do it well. That’s easier said than done, but that’s our emphasis as we move forward. It should be something that we’re doing anyway.”

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– CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard Share Defensive Journey (from Willy Raedy,

” After very different NBA beginnings, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard went into this summer with the same focus – improving their pick and roll defense.”

Read and view it here:

– David Aldridge of on Steve Kerr and the Warriors, Superstars Resting and a Joe Johnson Q & A:

– Bob Delaney applies stress strategies learned in military (from Steve Aschburner,

” Staying strong emotionally plays a key role for NBA referees”

Read it here:

More player updates:

– Shawn Marion:

– Will Cherry:

– Jared Sullinger:

– Robert Covington:

– Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo:

– Joe Harris:

– Shawne Williams:

– Nate Wolters:

– Aaron Gordon:

– Matt Barnes:

– Tony Wroten:

NBA Instant Replay Likely to Grow

Instant Replay Here To Stay — And Seems Likely To Grow, As Well

by Steve Aschburner,

No game in The Finals has been decided or even tilted dramatically in the final seconds by the use of the NBA’s replay rule. But some day that will happen…

….Just the other day in Miami, as the 2013 Finals started, NBA commissioner David Stern reaffirmed his support of the rule and talked of broadening it. It’s one of the agenda items for the league’s competition committee when it meets this week in San Antonio.

“Everyone with a smart phone can see it, everyone at home can see it, and everyone who is sitting with the scoreboards that are going to be the new toy of our arenas that give a great view [can see it].” Stern said. “But the poor officials don’t really see it that way. It’s discordant to us. The idea is to have the game decided on its merits.”

Players, coaches, referees and NBA sages contacted for this story also landed overwhelmingly on the side of getting calls correct. Many suggested tweaks, but the bottom line for all was accuracy over elapsed time or any other objection.

“You’re stopping the flow of the game and you’re lengthening the game,” coach and broadcaster Hubie Brown said. “Pretty soon it’s going to be like baseball, where it never ends. But coaches and players do not want to have a game lost because somebody blew a call, either on an out-of-bounds play or a bad call.”

The last two minutes of games, in which plays such as Brown mentioned bring action to a halt, turn the spotlight on replay in a way that’s not always enjoyable. There is a delay. There is what sometimes appears to be indecision being played out in front of the world. But the alternative seems unthinkable to many.

“Hey, c’mon, they’re all big inside of two minutes,” Brown said. “If they have enough cameras on the game, they will pick up where the mistake was.”

Said Indiana forward David West: “You’d rather they have as many opportunities to get it right as possible. Especially this time of year. The biggest thing is, you don’t want to leave anything out there. They try to get rid of the human error, have as many camera views as possible. If it’s not your ball, you don’t get it.”

Miami guard Dwyane Wade smiled and admitted that he welcomes the occasional unscheduled timeout. “I’m cool with it,” he said. “Give me a little break.”

But the objective is much greater than that. “This game is so fast. With the naked eye, sometimes things look like something but it’s not,” Wade said. “If it doesn’t go your way, at least you feel better knowing you got some different eyes on it. Sometimes you think, ‘It didn’t go off me,’ but it grazed your leg on the way out and you just didn’t feel it.”

Brown would like to see the players on the court herded to their respective foul lines to prevent replay-time strategizing or rest. Stern said he gets e-mails from friends suggesting that fans would vote thumbs-down because of the time delay.

“And honestly, I say we have asked the fans, and they say it’s absolutely worth the delay,” the commissioner said.

Or as Stu Jackson, senior vice president of basketball operations, said: “If you don’t go, you’re always going to be subject to situation where you say, ‘Yes, they knew they were right. That’s why they didn’t go to replay — only to find out seconds later on the broadcast, or worse yet the next day, that they were wrong.’ Then everybody loses in that case.”

Van Gundy has been a vocal critic of the review process. One in particular drew a chuckle from Bob Delaney, the longtime NBA referee who, now retired, provides insight for NBA TV. Late in an East semifinals game between Miami and Indiana, a ball went over the end line. The crew went to replay.

“The original call was that it was Miami ball. When in reality, Dwyane Wade touched that ball,” Delaney said. “And Jeff says he thinks the referees got it right and ‘I think they know they have it right.’ But Jeff has the capability [on the announcers’ monitor] to see it before the referees even see it. So he waits until he sees it, then says, ‘Yeah, they got it right. But I don’t know why we have to wait for them to go see it.’

“Well, Jeff, it wasn’t until you saw that it was confirmed that you were so adamant we should not go over to the side.”

Delaney laughed. “I love Jeff’s terminology: ‘That’s an obvious call.’ Yeah, when you’re sitting there with a replay it’s obvious. It’s easy when you’re sitting in the stands. It’s easy from my couch — I haven’t gotten a call wrong yet. But it’s hard when you’re running around out there on the floor.”

There are problems with it, no doubt. Sometimes a replay of a boundary call will reveal an uncalled foul smiling back at the referees. That’s a judgment call that — as the rules currently are written — cannot be reviewed or overturned.

Delaney wanted that point to be clear to fans: The referees only enforce the rules they are given. The competition committee and the Board of Governors are the ones who will restrict or, more likely, broaden the use of replay and its triggers — up from two when it started in 2002 to 13 now — in the future.

Where is that future taking everyone? Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver talked about the advantages of off-site replay reviews, similar to what the NHL does (plays are replayed in the league office, with game officials notified by phone).

“An off‑site review would potentially speed up the process,” Silver said. “In addition to the noise and the complication, you have an official trying to talk to a producer in the truck calling for a particular replays. … If you have a group of officials in a broadcast center somewhere, location could almost be anywhere in this day of age of digital media, there wouldn’t be that delay which officials need to walk over, turn the monitor around, put the headphones on, call for the replays.  You could have off‑site officials looking at multiple monitors at once.”

…. the NFL — thanks largely to the pace of its games — has taken replay use to its highest point.

“There’s very little talk about NFL officiating because every one of their calls is confirmed or denied up top,” Delaney said. “There [was] a Super Bowl a few years back where there were eight overturned calls. Well, if we didn’t have replay, at the end of that game people would all be talking about the officiating. But because they have replay and they get the calls right, there was no conversation about officiating.”

….“We can’t have it both ways,” Delaney said. “We either have to be willing to say we’ll take a delay in the game in order to have the call right – and quite honestly, that’s all referees want – or we won’t. I don’t see where this delay causes that big of a problem. We’d be writing a lot more articles about bad calls than we will about delays.”