The Warriors’ Dominance (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):
” (M)any seem reluctant to acknowledge their dominance. Their resistance often drips with old-school nostalgia. A common complaint is that jump-shooting teams don’t win championships, which completely ignores what the Spurs did last season. Wait until the postseason when the games will slow down and opponents will get more physical — that’s another popular theory. Except that no one has been able to do that yet and all we have to go on is the here and now.
You can’t compete with ghosts, as Bill Russell famously said, meaning that you can only be judged by the standards of your era. From that standpoint, the Warriors have mastered the modern version of the game with a wonderful mix of shooting and individual creativity combined with an airtight defense augmented by versatile lineups. For their part, the Warriors have gone about their business unconcerned with outside distractions.
“We talk constantly about big picture stuff, getting better,” Steve Kerr said earlier this month when the Warriors came through Boston. “We don’t talk about record. We don’t talk about playing seeding. We just talk about where we need to improve. You can’t cheat any of this stuff. You can talk about it but you have to grow organically. One of the great things about our team is that our group has been together for a couple of years, even though our staff is new. This group has been together and they know each other well.”
I asked Kerr if he had more to learn about his team in the remaining weeks.
“I learn every single day from our team,” he said. “We sort through lineups and combinations. There’s a lot of things. It’s not like all of a sudden you say, ‘Alright. We got it.’ You never have it. Everything is constantly changing.”
Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/3/29/8307511/sunday-shootaround-no-one-can-stop-the-warriors
– For Warriors and Festus Ezeli, patience is paying off at the right time (from Steve Berman, bayareasportsguy.com):
” Remember when the Warriors were supposedly interested in JaVale McGee as possible insurance for Andrew Bogut? Chris Broussard had a source and everything! McGee’s contract demands might have made that a non-starter, but in reality the Warriors have had one of the better backup centers in the league for about a month now.
“I’m getting my athleticism back. With injuries you never know how that stuff goes, but I’m happy to be back with the team again and playing,” Festus Ezeli said after the Warriors obliterated the Hawks on Wednesday, thanks in part to 10 savage minutes off the bench in the second half from the third-year center. “I’m happy to be feeling good again.”
Read it here: http://www.bayareasportsguy.com/for-warriors-and-festus-ezeli-patience-is-paying-off-at-the-right-time/
(BI Note: We loved Warriors TV play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald’s take on the supposed rumor in which he divided big men into two categories: “There are folks like Javale who make an occasional good play and then there are basketball players.”)
– Nuggets Interim Coach Melvin Hunt shaped by 16 seasons of experience in the NBA (from Christopher Dempsey, Denver Post):
” (He is) generating wins, support in quest to take over Nuggets full time”
Read it here: http://www.dailycamera.com/nuggets-nba/ci_27806864/hunt-shaped-by-16-seasons-experience-nba
– The Evolution Of DeMarcus Cousins (from Gerald Bourguet, hoopshabit.com):
” But as the best season of his five-year career winds down, it’s worth taking a look at what makes DeMarcus Cousins such an underrated star and misunderstood leader. Cuz still has a lot to improve on, but if you think he’s an overrated head case who’s not capable of leading a franchise, you haven’t been paying attention.”
Read it here: http://hoopshabit.com/2015/03/27/sacramento-kings-evolution-demarcus-cousins/
– Dwyane Wade trudges on without LeBron James, injured Bosh (from Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated):
” Miami expected to be better than this. The Bosh injury hit the hardest. The acquisition of Dragic—who, not for nothing, delivered a textbook lesson on how to force your way out of town last month, when his agent, Bill Duffy, informed Phoenix that Dragic would not re-sign two days before the trade deadline and Dragic napalming the situation 24 hours later—created an enviable starting lineup of Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Whiteside. Privately, the Heat believed that if all five could stay healthy the team could challenge in a top-heavy conference. That hope vaporized quickly after Bosh was diagnosed with his season-ending ailment.
The news likely hit Wade, 33, the hardest as he inches slowly, sometimes painfully, toward the end. It won’t come anytime soon, of course. Wade is averaging 21.6 points—his highest in three years—on a respectable 48.1% shooting. This month, he’s averaging a season-best 25 points, some of which have come from a season-high 6.9 free throw attempts per game, evidence that, when needed, the old Flash can still make an appearance. In typical fashion, Wade credits his teammates for passing, screening and setting him up; but there is no question that, with Miami in the thick of a playoff race, Wade has ratcheted his game up.”
Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/27/dwyane-wade-heat-lebron-james-chris-bosh-dallas-rajon-rondo
– One more thing Durant and Westbrook’s injuries have taken from the Thunder (from Berry Tramel, newsok.com):
” Three years ago, the Thunder went to the NBA Finals, mended its wounds from a five-game licking by the Heat and knew exactly where it stood in the world basketball order. Great, just not quite great enough.
Since then, the meter is broken. The mirror doesn’t reflect. The Thunder has no true measure of its position to win an NBA championship. Russell Westbrook’s knee injury two years ago and Kevin Durant’s foot injury this season have robbed the Thunder not only of championship hopes in the playoffs of 2013 and 2015, but the gauge to know how near or far is a championship parade on the Bricktown Canal.
The meniscus and the metatarsal are the curses that keep on cursing.”
Read it here: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-thunder-heres-one-more-thing-kevin-durant-and-russell-westbrooks-injuries-have-taken-from-the-thunder/article/5405559
– Much to consider if Pistons must replace Greg Monroe (from Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press):
” It’s a no-brainer, right?
The Detroit Pistons have won five games out of six. Point guard Reggie Jackson is flourishing and center Andre Drummond is dunking and rebounding.
All of this while starting power forward Greg Monroe is nursing a right knee strain.
Anthony Tolliver has assumed the starting power forward spot and his outside shooting has helped create space for Jackson and Drummond – franchise cornerstones.
So when Monroe likely walks this summer as a free agent, will Pistons czar Stan Van Gundy look to continue to play this way – a brand of small ball he helped popularize when he was the coach of the Orlando Magic from 2007-12?
Not so fast.
I asked Van Gundy about his preferences Friday morning – a few hours before the Pistons beat the Magic, 111-97.
He said to truly be a great team you have to be able to defend the physical, bruising opponents (Memphis, Indiana) – as well as the teams that spread the floor and rain triples.
“I think ideally what you’d like to have is both,” Van Gundy said. “Then you have the opportunity to play big and small.”
– Hinkie got it right when he got Noel (from Keith Pompey, philly.com):
” (N)ow that he’s playing, it’s clear that he has a very good chance to be the headliner of his draft class.Of the five picked ahead of him, Oladipo is the only key player with his franchise. Len and Zeller are basically role players. Porter and Bennett, who was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in August, have been disappointments.
Luckily for the Sixers, Hinkie got it right.
Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150329_Inside_the_Sixers__Hinkie_got_it_right_when_he_got_Noel.html
– Sixers Observations (from Dei Lynam, csnphilly.com):
Read it here: http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/sixers-observations-forget-no-1-pick-nba-draft-nerlens-noel-blossoming
– Sixers look to future : Summer League could be debut of Noel, Embiid as twin towers (from Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com):
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/03/28/76ers-look-ahead-with-noel-and-embiid/
– Kendrick Perkins: Are they talking about the same team I’m playing on? (from Ken berger, CBS Sports):
“I turn on ESPN and I see, ‘No Love for K-Love,’ or something like that, and it’s kind of silly to me,” Perkins said. “I haven’t seen anything to the point that it’s drama.”
Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/writer/ken-berger/25125114/with-lessons-learned-from-past-big-threes-cavs-know-winning-cures-all
– Inside Jeremy Lin (from Pablo S. Torre, ESPN):
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12561636/inside-jeremy-lin-life-linsanity-new-york-knicks
– Pop on Becky Hammon (from Gery Woelfel, journaltimes.com):
“San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he’s been highly impressed with Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, who is the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history.
“She is really a knowledgeable coach,’’ Popovich said. “She’s kind of like a female Jason Kidd, so to speak. Most of Jason’s experiences, coaching wise, have come from all the guys he played for and all the people he played with and all the experience he gained over the years. That’s really valuable.
“And Becky is the same way. She was a point guard. Very successful. Ran the show and understands what wins and what loses. It’s the same game. It’s basketball, so her knowledge and feel for the game, like Jason’s, is really impressive.
“At the same time, she’s got a good way of communicating. She instills confidence in other players; they respect her quickly. I think her presence and intelligence have been most impressive.’’
Could Pop envision Hammon eventually becoming a head coach?
“I don’t think about expectations or where anybody is going to go,’’ Popovich said. “I never thought I’d be doing what I’m doing. I’m still wondering what I’m doing here. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know why I am here. I don’t know why I should continue to be here and here I am.
“So I’m not going to try and figure out what’s going to happen to somebody else in their life. I mean all of us have taken different turns. We’re going this way and then all of a sudden we’re going that way. It’ll be the same for her.
“Who knows? Maybe she’ll become a doctor. I don’t know.’’
Or maybe a newspaper reporter?
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– Brandon Knight: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/03/28/phoenix-suns-guard-brandon-knight-feels-return-of-pre-injury-explosiveness/70609854/
– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope/Reggie Jackson: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/03/detroit_pistons_kentavious_cal_10.html and http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2015/03/28/caldwell-pope-jackson-backcourt-tandem-potential/70611092/
– Enes Kanter: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12576601/enes-kanter-passively-rips-former-team-utah-jazz-comparison-oklahoma-city-thunder
– Thomas Robinson: http://thesportsquotient.com/nba/2015/3/29/glass-eaters-anonymous-thomas-robinson-on-the-rebound-in-philly
– Michael Kidd- Gilchrist: http://thesportsquotient.com/nba/2015/3/26/michael-kidd-gilchrist-is-no-bust
– Khris Middleton: http://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/30lsmn/who_is_khris_middleton_oc/
– Tyreke Evans: http://www.nba.com/pelicans/tyreke-evans-has-evolved-variety-ways-coming-pelicans
– Corey Brewer: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2412416-corey-brewer-has-been-perfect-fit-for-houston-rockets-and-vice-versa
– Trevor Ariza: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/rockets/article/Rockets-benefit-from-Ariza-s-stint-as-Wizards-6165615.php?cmpid=twitter-premium&t=1c07966b66f992f472
– Furkan Aldemir: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150326_Turkish_native_Aldemir_eager_to_adjust_to_the_NBA_game.html
– James Harden: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b18e142eede9479488e8675e040e50a1/james-hardens-focus-vaults-him-nba-mvp-conversation
– Alex Len: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/03/26/phoenix-suns-alex-len-nba/70519352/
– Timofey Mozgov: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/steve_aschburner/03/25/timofey-mozgov-finds-stable-footing-with-cleveland-cavaliers/index.html
– Trey Burke: http://saltcityhoops.com/trey-burke-searching-for-an-identity/