Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 5/26/18

Can Houston Win Without CP3? (from Kevin Pelton, ESPN):
Film Breakdown: With CP3 Out, Rockets Will Have To Rely More On Their Defense & Eric Gordon (from Alykhan Bijani, The Athletic):
Blueprint For Life Without CP3 (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):
Who Rockets Play In Place Of CP3 Will Tell How They Want To Play (from Jared Dubin, The Step Back):
Chris Paul: The NBA’s Greatest Combination Of Will Power + Strategy (from Jesse Blanchard, Clutch Points):
GSW Turning Into OKC Warriors & That’s A Problem (from Tom Haberstroh, Bleacher Report):
Warriors’ Sloppiness Catching Up To Them Vs. Physical Rockets (from Jason Patt, The Step Back):
The Warriors Aren’t Passing Like They Used To (from Ian Levy, Nylon Calculus):
Video: The Origins Of Steve Kerr’s “Strength In Numbers” Ideology (form Eric Apricot, Golden State Of Mind):
CLE 109, BOS 99:
How The Cavs Would Be Different Without KLove In Game 7 (from Chris Fedor, cleveland.com):
Brad Stevens Is A Genius – Just Not In The Way You Think (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):
Butler AD Reflects On Monumental Hiring Of Brad Stevens (from Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports):
It Is Difficult To Process How Good Jayson Tatum Already Is (from Michael Pina, VICE Sports):
How The Pacers Can Get Needed Improvement From Their P&R Roll Men (from Grant Afseth, Indiana Sports Coverage):
Season Review: Domantas Sabonis (from Mark Monteith, pacers.com):
Grizzlies Offseason Preview (from Danny Leroux, The Athletic):
Fringe Prospects See Value In Testing NBA Draft Waters (from Gina Mizell, Denver Post):
Does NCAA’s Top 3-Point Shooter Have An NBA Future? (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):
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Spurs

This year’s Spurs are better equipped to defend the Warriors

(Note:  We are expanding our original content at Basketball Intelligence.  Starting today, we will be including a weekly feature from our rotation of outstanding NBA analysts.

Today’s feature is from Eli Horowitz, assistant men’s basketball coach at Caltech & NBA/WNBA analyst):

 

Barring injury, the Warriors should repeat as NBA champions in 2017-2018. But after an enthralling offseason that saw the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder add future hall of famers in an effort to compete with the Warriors, it’s easy to forget how close the Spurs were to going up 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals, with a chance to put pressure on Golden State. Unlike other teams in the West that added superstars, the Spurs’ offseason was ridiculed as they overpaid Pau Gasol, added injury-prone Rudy Gay and lost Jonathon Simmons, who played a significant role in the playoffs last year. Put it all together, and many feel like the Thunder and Rockets moved ahead of San Antonio with their respective additions of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and several good role players. Although criticism off the offseason has some merit, you can’t win games in the summer. The Spurs won 67 games in 2015-2016 and 61 games in 2016-2017, and may be even better equipped to defend the Warriors this year:

Size across the roster

When people talk about size, they mistakenly think about big men clanking post-ups and an inefficient style of play in the modern NBA. But the Spurs have size throughout their roster, starting in the backcourt. Dejounte Murray is a 6-foot-5 point guard with the length to disrupt opposing lead guards and some wings:

He was unafraid in the playoffs last year, and should breakout in year two as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich trusts him more. His shooting mechanics leave a lot to be desired, but his ability to penetrate and finish at difficult angles should offset the loss of Simmons.

The Spurs have the best defensive wing combo in the league in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Both can guard positions one through four, and their ability to take turns on opposing stars is a rarity in the NBA. Rudy Gay presents a third long perimeter defender, albeit nowhere near Leonard or Green, who could shine at the four. Add LaMarcus Aldridge, who is a huge body at the four, and who is still big at the five against the Warriors lineup of death, and the Spurs have big bodies that make it difficult for opponents to move through their offense.

Losing Dewayne Dedmon is notable. But Pau Gasol was key to stopping the Rockets in last year’s playoffs. He’s a liability out in space, but the Spurs have the perimeter defense to fight over, under and through screens and allow the Gasol to hang out by the basket. You know Popovich will somehow turn Joffrey Lauvergne into a competent defender as well, much like he did with David Lee last season.

If the Warriors have shown any weakness it’s to long, athletic teams that can also pound the offensive glass. The Oklahoma City Thunder went up 3-1 playing this style two postseasons ago and the Spurs have shown it to work themselves, until Leonard’s injury in last year’s semifinals. It’s annoying to go up against players who can both pressure up on the ball and have the length and quickness to stay with the play and prevent straight line drives to the rim. It’s probably not enough, but the Spurs positional size will force the Warriors go to plan C.

Versatility at the four

Rudy Gay will be the biggest experiment nobody is talking about this NBA season. There’s too many flashy storylines elsewhere, too many All-Stars who switched teams that will get first billing. But Rudy Gay unleashes a potential lineup of Murray-Green-Leonard-Gay-Aldridge that will be as good as it gets against the Warriors. Aldridge’s defense has been solid for the Spurs, and he can hang with Draymond Green, knowing their are four long defenders who can help at the rim. We’ll see if Murray can stick with Steph Curry, but that would allow Green, Leonard and Gay to rotate on Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala. If Murray isn’t ready, Patty Mills will at least scrap on defense and is an offensive upgrade. Better yet, let Murray hang on Iguodala and let Green or Leonard challenge Steph.

If the Spurs want to get really crazy, Gay can even play the five at times:

This would allow the Spurs to play both Mills and Murray, or give Davis Bertans more minutes. Bertans was surprisingly stout defending in the paint last year. Stick him on Iguodala or even Green and he might just hold up. If the Warriors counter by posting him up, that’s a win for San Antonio as it halts the continuous movement of the Warriors and gives the Spurs a break.

The Thunder and Rockets have defensive lineups that might be even more potent, but they sacrifice offense. Carmelo Anthony will struggle on any Warrior defensively, and Andre Roberson is an offensive liability. The Rockets best offensive and defensive lineups are vastly different. The Spurs might be the team with the best defensive lineup that sacrifices the least offense.

Coaching

Between the draft, free agency, summer league and an onslaught of trades, the NBA world has spent the last five months talking about players. But coaching still matters, especially in the playoffs. After watching the Rockets embarrass his team in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals last year, Popovich pushed all the right buttons to adjust on James Harden. They went over and zoned up pick and rolls to force midrange jumpers. They event went under some screens and personalized their pick and roll coverage depending on who was involved. It was complex, and completely gassed the Rockets, who lost the next four out of five.

Popovich has now had three years to learn the Warriors. He’s had small victories along the way even while balancing the late stage careers of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. His schemes alone won’t be enough to stop Golden State, but he’s a lot closer to figuring it out than his colleagues.

It wasn’t a stellar summer for San Antonio, but the addition of Gay, the sophomore campaigns of Murray and Bertans, a refocused Aldridge and the continued evolution of Leonard are more than enough to keep the Spurs in the mix. They don’t have the sheer talent of Houston or Oklahoma City, but they might have the best defensive lineups to throw at the Warriors.

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 6/30/17

Draymond Green Q & A (from Anthony Slater, Mercury News):
Jimmy Butler’s Go-To Scoring Guide (from Brian Sampson, Dunking With Wolves):
A Lineup-Based Analysis Of CP3 Trade (from Senthil Natarajan, Nylon Calculus):
Chris Paul: The Rockets Add The Missing Piece (from Duncan Smith, 16 Wins):
The Clippers’ Front Office: Making The Best Of It (from Tom West, 16 Wins):
Explaining The Cash Considerations Of The CP3 Trade (from Rodger Sherman, The Ringer):
Sixers: Extending Robert Covington Is A Must (from Jason Dandy, The Sixer Sense):
Dion Waiters Reflects On His Darkest Moments (from Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report):
Meet Bogdan Bogdanovic (from Charles Cotton, NY Post):
 Podcast: Fran Fraschilla On The Kings (from Bill Herenda, KFBK):
Film Study: Josh Jackson’s Playmaking (from Evan Sidery, Bright Side Of The Sun):
Everything To Know About Free Agency (from Brandon Anderson, Arc Digital):
The New CBA Is Already Changing The NBA (from Jared Dubin, VICE Sports):
Free Agency And The Supermax Paradox (from Andrew Sharp, Sports Illustrated):
2017 NBA Manifesto (from Mark Deeks, shamsports.com):
” The idea of the manifesto is thus. It outlines the assets available to every NBA team. It looks at what their financial situation is, what instruments and exceptions they have for spending, and their total salary outlook. It does the same with their draft position. It looks at the players they already have on their roster, plus the issues that need addressing as a team. And then it thinks aloud about what to do with it all.
It does this 30 times for 30 teams. All in all, it gets quite big.”
2018 Draft: An Early Look At Luka Doncic (from Daniel O’Brien, Fanrag Sports):
The 2017 No-Defense Team (from Tim Kawakami, Mercury News):
Prospects To Watch In Orlando & Utah Summer Leagues (from Trevor Magnotti, The Step Back):
Damyean Dotson Could Thrive In More Wide-Open Knicks Offense (from Adam Zagoria, Fanrag Sports):
Who Is Running The Bucks? (from Zach Lowe/Brian Windhorst, ESPN):
Join Basketball Intelligence at the Sports Management Worldwide Basketball Career Conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 9th.  Use the discount code BI (upper case), short for Basketball Intelligence, for $100 off making it only $125 for students, $150 for general admission.
Sunday’s speakers include:
  • Former Cleveland Cavs GM David Griffin
  • Chicago Bulls Asst GM Brian Hagen
  • Charlotte Hornets Asst. GM Chad Buchanan
  • New York Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Warkentien
  • FIBA Agent Jan Wieland
  • NBA Agent Bret Kanis
  • CBS Sports “The Agent’s Take” Joel Corry
  • ESPN Amin Elhassan
  • Basketball Analytics Guru Dean Oliver
  • Reno Bighorns Director of Basketball Operations Kyle Nishimoto
  • Portland Trail Blazers Video Coordinator John Ross
  • Creative Artists Agency Consultant Shareen Lavi
  • South Bay Lakers GM Nick Mazzella
  • SMWW President Dr. Lynn Lashbrook
  • and many more
Vegas hotel rooms only $119 plus tax,  available with the SMWW discount located walking distance to the Thomas & Mack with free hot breakfast, wifi, and parking.

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 6/29/17

The Rockets’ Fascinating Gamble (from Zach Lowe, ESPN):
How Will Paul & Harden Fit Together? (from Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer):
Mike D’Antoni On The Trade: Q & A (from Sam Amick, USA Today):
Daryl Morey Painted A Masterpiece (from Jeff Siegel, Medium.com):
At Least Phil Jackson Didn’t Leave The Knicks In Ruins (from Kyle Wagner, FiveThirtyEight):
D’Angelo Russell, The Passer (from Anthony Puccio, Nets Daily):
Raptors Promote Bobby Webster To GM (from Blake Murphy, Raptors Republic):
Hoiberg Is Still Confident In Himself (from KC Johnson, Chicago Tribune):
Grading Draft Graders (from Ryan Chen, 16 Wins):
The Strength Of The Weak Side (from Bradley Heltzel, Medium.com):
2017 Playoffs Best Sets (from Half Court Hoops):
Join Basketball Intelligence at the Sports Management Worldwide Basketball Career Conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 9th.  Use the discount code BI (upper case), short for Basketball Intelligence, for $100 off making it only $125 for students, $150 for general admission.
Sunday’s speakers include:
  • Former Cleveland Cavs GM David Griffin
  • Chicago Bulls Asst GM Brian Hagen
  • Charlotte Hornets Asst. GM Chad Buchanan
  • New York Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Warkentien
  • FIBA Agent Jan Wieland
  • NBA Agent Bret Kanis
  • CBS Sports “The Agent’s Take” Joel Corry
  • ESPN Amin Elhassan
  • Basketball Analytics Guru Dean Oliver
  • Reno Bighorns Director of Basketball Operations Kyle Nishimoto
  • Portland Trail Blazers Video Coordinator John Ross
  • Creative Artists Agency Consultant Shareen Lavi
  • South Bay Lakers GM Nick Mazzella
  • SMWW President Dr. Lynn Lashbrook
  • and many more
Vegas hotel rooms only $119 plus tax,  available with the SMWW discount located walking distance to the Thomas & Mack with free hot breakfast, wifi, and parking.

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 4/26/16

–  What’s Ahead For The Clippers Without CP3? (from J.A.Adande, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2016/story/_/id/15371146/more-questions-answers-playoffs-far

–  Trail Blazers’ Luck:  Where Preparation Meets Opportunity  (from Arash markazi,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2016/story/_/id/15373184/trail-blazers-seized-opportunity-where-find-it

 Getting To The Playoffs Was Never Enough For The Blazers  (from Casey Holdahl,  forwardcenter.net):

Read it here:  http://forwardcenter.net/despite-what-they-say-just-getting-to-the-playoffs-was-never-enough-for-these-trail-blazers/

–  Spurs Will Test Thunder In Ways The Mavs Couldn’t  (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2016/04/26/nba-playoffs-thunder-beat-mavericks-await-spurs

–  How Bad Is Curry’s Injury?  (from Al Saracevic/Maddie Lee,  sfgate.com):

Read it here:  http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Curry-s-knee-injury-How-bad-is-it-7346762.php  and from Tim Grover, Yahoo Sports:  https://sports.yahoo.com/news/the-truth-about-steph-curry-s-injury-005912613.html

–  The Warriors Without Curry  (from Micah Adams, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/117252/how-good-are-the-warriors-without-stephen-curry

–  Kemba Walker Leads Hornets To Series Tie  (from Liam Boylan-Pett,  SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2016/4/25/11505878/hornets-heat-2016-results-score-nba-playoffs-game-4-kemba-walker-jeremy-lin/in/11269901

–  Lin’s Ability To Drive One Of The Keys To Hornets’ Victory  (from Jonathan Jones, Charlotte Observer):

Read it here:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/article73887287.html

–  Backcourt Heroics Help Hornet Even Series  (from Matt Rochinsky,  hornets.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/hornets/backcourts-heroics-help-hornets-even-series-2-2

–  Raptors’ Adjustment Options  (from  Dave Feschuk,  Toronto Star):

Read it here:  http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2016/04/25/youve-got-to-have-faith-as-blind-as-it-is-feschuk.html   and from Michael Grange,  sportsnet.ca:   http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/scola-centre-raptors-game-5-adjustments/

–  Pacers’ Coach Vogel Has Had To Unlearn A Lot  (from Candace Buckner,  indystar.com):

Read it here:  http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2016/04/25/insider-vogel-has-had-un-learn-lot-what-he-believes/83502024/

–  Brad Stevens: Next Superstar Coach  (from Jackie MacMullan,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/15356168/brad-stevens-next-superstar-head-coach

–  Celtics’ Multiple Defensive Looks Causing Problems For Hawks’ Point Guards  (from Kris Willis, peachtreehoops):

Read and view it here:  http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2016/4/26/11506004/hawks-celtics-point-guards-dennis-schroder-jeff-teague-isaiah-thomas

–  One Change To LBJ’s Game Has Altered The Cavs’ Offense Entirely  (from Josh Planos, Washington Post):

Read it here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2016/04/26/one-change-to-lebron-jamess-game-has-altered-the-cavs-offense-entirely

–  Tyronn Lue Compares LBJ’s Treatment To Shaq’s  (form Dave McMenamin, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/15314895/cleveland-cavaliers-coach-tyronn-lue-compares-lebron-james-foul-treatment-shaquille-oneal

–  Brooks’ Path To $35 Million Coach Began In CBA Draft’s 2nd Round (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

Read it here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/scott-brookss-path-to-7-million-nba-coach-began-in-the-cba-drafts-2nd-round/2016/04/25/f3c24910-0aee-11e6-bfa1-4efa856caf2a_story.html

–  Why Some Bigs Are Bad Foul Shooters  (from Steve Kyler,  Basketball Insiders):

Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-am-why-some-guys-are-bad-foul-shooters/

–  Every Trade That Has And Could Affect The 2016 Draft  (from Sam Vecenie,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25565523/heres-every-trade-that-has-and-could-affect-the-2016-nba-draft

Mavs: Positive Takeaways From This Season (from Cole Mentzel,  hoopshabit.com):

Read it here:  http://hoopshabit.com/2016/04/26/dallas-mavericks-3-positive-takeaways-2015-16/

–  Keeping The Thunder On Their Game  (from Marc Tracy,  NY Times):

Read it here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/sports/basketball/oklahoma-city-thunder-on-their-game.html

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Kevin Martin  (from Tom Orsborne, expressnews.com):   http://www.expressnews.com/sports/spurs/article/Unorthodox-Martin-fitting-in-well-with-Spurs-7275611.php?t=7bb2b58b92927fc3fb&cmpid=twitter-premium

–  DeMarre Carroll  (from Ryan Wolstat, Toronto Sun):  http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/25/raptors-demarre-carroll-brings-the-mojo

Meyers Leonard (from Kerry Eggers, Portland Tribune):  http://portlandtribune.com/pt/12-sports/303584-181456-support-from-behind-bench-

C.J.Miles  (from Mark Monteith,  pacers.com):  http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/miles-continues-work-and-wait