Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 3/17/16

 Nuggets Defense Crumbling Inside The Paint (from Christopher Dempsey,  Denver Post):

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–   Pistons Defense: Coach Van Gundy Has No Answers  (from Vince Ellis,  Detroit Free Press):

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–  The T’wolves Best Offensive Lineup  (from Michael Rand,

Read it here:  Timberwolves offense has taken off with Zach LaVine at shooting guard

–  Sixers’ First Round Draft Odds Are Much Better This Year  (from Bret Stuter,  The Sixer Sense):

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Draymond Green’s Defense Keys Warriors’ Win  (from Rusty Simmons,

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–  The Spurs’ Ball Movement  (from Eli Horowitz/J.R. Wilco,  Pounding The Rock):

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–  His Players Back/Respect Suns’ Coach Earl Watson  (from Craig Grialou,

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–  Pacers’ Bench Is Becoming Effective  (from Mark Monteith,

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–  Recapping  Wednesday’s Games  (from SBNation):

Pistons’ Assistant Coach Charles Klask  Q & A  (from Aaron McMann,

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–  Sioux Falls Head Coach Dan Craig  (from Brian Rzeppa,  Ridiculous Upside):

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 Jabari Parker  (from Jared Dubin,  Bleacher Report):

C.J. McCollum  (from AJ Neuharth-Keusch,  USA Today):    and from Eric Griffith, Blazers’ Edge:

–  Jonas Valanciunas/Bismack Biyombo  (from Joshua Priemski, Raptors Republic ):

–  Hassan Whiteside  (from Dave Hyde,

–  Jermaine O’Neal  (from Chris Ballard,  Sports Illustrated):

–  Jared Cunningham  (from Matt Velazquez,

–  Norman Powell (from Donnovan Bennett,

–  Alec Burks  (from Allthatamar,

–  Luis Montero/Cliff Alexander  (from Mike Richman,  Oregon Live):

–  Deshaun Thomas  (from Brian Rzeppa,  Ridiculous Upside):

–  Sim Bhullar  (from Brian Rzeppa,  Ridiculous Upside):

Kris Dunn (from Ron Morris,

Best NBA Reporting: Must Reads from Media Day

–  Pistons:  random thoughts and expectations for the season ahead  (form Keith Langlois,

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–   Raptors hope for better fit, ‘different type of basketball’ after off-season changes  (from Eric Koreen,

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Villanova Coach  Jay Wright talks Okafor, Noel with Brett Brown  (from Bob Ford,  Philadelphia Inquirer):

“He’s very committed to the fact that he wants to adjust to his personnel. I love how he sees himself as a coach: ‘You give me the players and I’ve got to figure out a way to make them successful. How can this person I’ve been given be most successful?’ That’s a lot better than a guy who says, ‘This has to be done my way.’ ”


–  7 Undrafted Free Agents to Watch in 2015-16 NBA Training Camps (from Jonathan Wasserman,  Bleacher Report):

” Going undrafted doesn’t mean the NBA dream is over. We see undrafted players make rosters every year. And a handful of them manage to secure legitimate rotation spots.

Langston Galloway, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown were just a few from last season.

Of course, the fit has to be right. Each of the following prospects offers something specific, whether it’s upside, shooting ability or energy, that their training-camp team must value.

These potential rookies have all signed partially guaranteed deals and will be players to watch over the next few weeks as they look to make an NBA roster.”

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–   Breaking Down the Miami Heat’s Training Camp Roster  (from Wes Goldberg,

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–   Three Point Plinko and the Minnesota Timberwolves  (from Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus):

” We still don’t know an awful lot about the process of shot and offense creation in the NBA. We’ve gotten pretty good at describing the inputs in terms of what various players bring to the table, and the outputs in terms of team level offensive success or lack thereof. But in between, how a given set of players interact with an offensive system to arrive at the shots actually taken, remains something of a black box, at least from an analytic view.

From a qualitative standpoint, coaches know a great deal about what kinds of actions will tend to produce the best shot, but even in that frame of reference it resembles a game of plinko. The structure of a team’s offense and personnel determine the placement of the pegs, and the play call is choosing which slot to drop in the pellet. But from there, the series of bounces, the intricacies of the offensive and defensive execution of any given play, determine the outcome in a not entirely predictable way.

Open threes are usually the end result of good things happening throughout the offensive process. Which leads me to the problem with Mitchell’s statement: Minnesota’s process, their “flow”, stunk.

Getting back to the plinko analogy, one season of low three point rates might be an unfortunate happenstance of roster construction or random variation. But Flip Saunders’ offenses (as well as those of his disciple, Washington’s Randy Wittman) have always produced three pointers at well below league average rates and long twos at higher than average rates3. That “flow” Mitchell was speaking of, from which threes must naturally arise is not an accident, an exogenous force with which the Wolves must deal. That “flow” is the result of design. And that design consistently produces the worst shot in basketball, the long two.”

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–   Abundance of questions surround start of 2015-16  (from David Aldridge,

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Q & A: Beat Writer John Reid on the Pelicans  (from Chuck Myron,

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–   An American coach is trying to lead Palestine to the Olympics – and it’s all even crazier than you think  (from Jorge Sierra,

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Bball Breakdown Player Rankings: Chris Paul, #6  (from Jesse Blanchard):


–  Why Harrison Barnes Could Be the Most Intriguing Free Agent of 2016  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland):


–  Why David West gave back $11 million to join the Spurs  (from Adrian Wojnarowski,  Yahoo Sports):–11-million-to-join-the-spurs-195800859.html


Finally united with coach Alvin Gentry, Pelicans guard Eric Gordon is eager to push the tempo (from Brett Dawson,


–  Tyreke Evans set to play primarily at point guard  (from John Reid,


Meyers Leonard Talks Versatility and Off-season Focus  (from David MacKay,


Trail Blazers Moe Harkless and Cliff Alexander  (from Jason Quick,


Vogel won’t ‘waste’ Paul George’s defensive skills  (from Candace Buckner,


–  Jameer Nelson the leader the Denver Nuggets need  (from Adam Kinney,


Kyle Lowry fit and fuelled for a rebound  (form Bruce Arthur,


Elfrid Payton learning to think like a shooter  (from Philip Rossman-Reich,


–  The Kevin Garnett Files  (from Michael Boosalis,


–  Michael Malone wants to find Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris consistent role  (from Nate Timmons,


Myles Turner (from Gregg Doyel,


–  Kyrie Irving wants to change his game so his scoring stays up and he won’t get knocked down (from Chris Haynes,


–   The Versatile Nikola Mirotic  (from Brandon Pence,


–  Croatian Dragan Bender at epicenter of historic Maccabi-Milano rivalry tour  (from Jake Fischer,  Sports Illustrated):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Can a Fred Hoiberg-Sized Paradigm Shift Save the Chicago Bulls?  (from Kelly Scaletta,

” It’s not often that a non-number can do so much to define a team’s season, but the Chicago Bulls have one that’ll stop you in your tracks. Their net rating with a lineup of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah was — they didn’t have one. That lineup failed to play a single regular-season minute together.

And that encapsulates everything that went wrong for the Bulls last year, and to a point, the years around it as well. The injuries, the glut at the power-forward spot, the stubbornness of Tom Thibodeau, and his refusal to try new and intriguing lineups all coalesce on the simple fact that not for one second did the most obvious quintet of players evertake the court together.

The Bulls have shooters in Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and Dunleavy. They have slashers in Butler and Rose. They have bigs who can pass in Gasol and Noah. They have bigs who can shoot in Portis and Mirotic. They have bigs who can post up in Gasol and Gibson.

In short, they already have the tools you need to generate a spread offense. What they lacked last year was imagination, creativity and a general  acknowledgment that it’s 2015.”

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–  Here are the key NBA players competing with their national teams this month  (from Satchel Price,

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–   Checking in on Kentucky’s historic draft class — from top pick Karl-Anthony Towns to undrafted Aaron Harrison — during the summer before their first NBA seasons  (from Jonathan Abrams, Grantland):

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–  Karl-Anthony Towns Season Preview  (from UMN_Shazzy,

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–  Raptors: Rebirth of a system  (from Deighton Goode,

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 ‘Iron man’ Bavetta known for fun-loving attitude, rapport  (from Steve Aschburner,

HOF Class of 2015: ” Official never missed an assignment in 39-year career”

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Kyle O’Quinn is set to bust out  (from Jonathan Schulman,


–  BLAZERS ROSTER BREAKDOWN – CLIFF ALEXANDER (from  Bryant Knox & Jared Wright,


–  Ryan Anderson is poised for a breakout season (from Oleh,


Player to Watch: Rodney Hood  (from David J Smith,


– Rookie Wrap-up: Langston Galloway  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):–langston-galloway


 Rookie Wrap-up: Jusuf Nurkic  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):


–   Phoenix Suns roster spot is Henry Sims’ target  (from Paul Coro,


 JJ Redick: The Forgotten Man  (from Robert Flom,


–   Ed Davis’ streamlined offense could benefit Portland Trail Blazers  (from David Mackay,


–  Clint Capela is ready to prove playoff breakout is no fluke  (from Ethan Rothstein,


–  Terrico White Hoping for Big Break  (from Alex Kennedy.  Basketball Insiders):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  NBA Free Agency, Day 2: Sacramento’s Crazy Salary Dump and Greg Monroe’s Milwaukee Move  (from Zach Lowe,  Grantland):

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–  Week In Review  (from Eddie Scarito,

” The NBA’s free agent signing period is underway and there have already been a flurry of deals agreed upon, though, these pacts cannot become official until after the moratorium is lifted on July 9th. Before the next wave of wheeling and dealing begins, here’s a look back at the week that was.”

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–  Tracking the Journeys of Free Agents and Traded Players  (from Jessica Camerato, Basketball Insiders):

” In the opening days of NBA free agency, players have shuffled around the league. Add this to a handful of trades, and there will be new faces in new places next season. Basketball is a business, though, and these players have been through this before. See just how many organizations those in the news this week have played for over the years.”

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Fred Hoiberg Q & A (from K.C. Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):

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–  Five to watch at Orlando Summer League  (from Michael Wallace,  ESPN):

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–  Talents to watch in Orlando Summer League  (from Brett David Roberts,

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–  D-League alums to watch at the Orlando Summer League  (from Chris Reichert,

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–  NBA Summer League 2015: Rosters for Orlando and Vegas Teams  (from Alec nathan, Bleacher Report):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


DeAndre Jordan:


Robin Lopez:–continue-to-build-toward-a-new-normal-165821385.html   and


Tiago Splitter:


Hassan Whiteside:


Greg Monroe:


Brandan Wright:


Tobias Harris:


Jae Crowder:


Wesley Matthews:


Aaron Baynes:


Spencer Dinwiddie:


Bismack Biyombo:


Phil Pressey:


Aaron Craft:


Jack Cooley:


Cliff Alexander: