Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis – Part I – 3/15/16

 

 

–   Hawks’ Defense Doesn’t Rest  (from Chris Vivlamore,  myajc.com):
–  What Nuggets Basketball Is To Coach Malone (from Christopher Dempsey,  Denver Post):
–  Damian Lillard; Hawks’ Cutting Edge Training; Vince Carter Q & A  (from David Aldridge,  NBA.com):
–  Coach Snyder Says Season Won’t Be A Failure Even If Jazz Don’t Make Playoffs  (from Tony Jones and Aaron Falk,  Salt Lake Tribune):
–  Believe The Hype:  The Raptors  (from BBall Breakdown):
Mavericks Snap Losing Streak With Grinding Defensive Effort  (from Eddie Sefko,  Dallas Morning News):
–  Pachulia Not Concerned With Limited Playing Time (from Eddie Sefko,  Dallas Morning News):
–  Sloppy Play Ends For Durant, Westbrook  (from Berry Tramel,  newsok.com):
–  Monday’s Roundup (from Grant Hughes,  Bleacher Report):
–  Recapping Monday’s Games  (from SBNation):
–  The Wizards Struggle In The Half-Court  (from Jake Whitacre,  Bullets Forever):
–  Video Breakdown: Defending AD; Defending Steph  (from EricApricot, Golden State Of Mind):
–  Why Scouts Botched It So Bad On Steph Curry In The 2009 NBA Draft  (from Scott Rafferty, Sporting News):
–  Screen Usage And Refusal Rates  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
Giannis Antetokuonmpo  (from Yaron Weitzman,  SBNation):  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2016/3/14/11219378/giannis-antetokounmpo-bucks-point-guard

–  Garrett Temple  (from Bryant Frantz,  CBSDC):  http://washington.cbslocal.com/2016/03/15/garrett-temple-bad-defender/

–  Greg Monroe  (from Arman Bery,  almightyballer.com):  http://www.almightyballer.com/2016/03/15/greg-monroe-the-choice-between-adaptation-or-regression-by-arman-bery/

 

 

–  Ben Simmons  (from Jonathan Givony,  Yahoo Sports):  https://sports.yahoo.com/news/why-ben-simmons-isn-t-the-top-prospect-in-the-2016-nba-draft-190023711.html

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Seven Questions That Will Shape the NBA Finals  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/seven-questions-that-will-shape-the-nba-finals/

 

 

 

–  How The Cavs Use LeBron In Their Offense  (from Bball Breakdown):

” Coach Gibson Pyper broke down the most common sets the Cleveland Cavaliers run to leverage the immense talents of LeBron James into a cohesive offensive scoring machine.”

Watch it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/06/01/how-the-cavs-use-lebron-in-their-offense/

 

 

 

Andrew Bogut appears content to fill role defined for him by the Golden State Warriors (from NYTimes):

Read it here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/02/sports/basketball/warriors-andrew-bogut-seems-content-with-role-defined-for-him.html

 

 

 

–  Warriors coach Steve Kerr — fire and fun (from Tim Kawakami,  mercurynews.com):

Read it here:  http://www.montereyherald.com/sports/20150601/tim-kawakami-warriors-coach-steve-kerr-x2014-fire-and-fun

 

 

 

Steph Curry: the Stories Behind the Stories (from Adi Joseph, Sporting News):

Read it here:  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-06-02/stephen-curry-media-warriors-interviews-riley-family-honesty-davidson-size

 

 

 

–  Luc Longley looks on as NBA Finals take an Australian flavour  (from Angus Crawford, NBA.com):

Read it here:  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/tall-tales-longley-looks-on-as-nba-finals-take-an-australian-flavour/1h8oxk75rtmdk176768o77o7qf

 

 

 

 

–  SI.com’s 2015 NBA Finals predictions (from Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/06/02/nba-finals-predictions-warriors-cavaliers-lebron-james-stephen-curry

 

 

 

–  The Warriors should not double-team LeBron James  (from Mike Prada,  sbnation):

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/6/2/8695117/warriors-defense-strategy-lebron-james

 

 

 

 Steph Curry’s rise from question mark to the MVP  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

Read and view it  here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25199374/2015-nba-finals-steph-currys-rise-from-question-mark-to-the-mvp

 

 

 

–  The Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals because of 3 players the Knicks ditched  (from jesus Gomez,  SBNation):

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/6/1/8687839/jr-smith-iman-shumpert-timofey-mozgov-cavaliers-knicks-nba-finals-2015

 

 

 

Harrison Barnes (from Scott Sargent,  waitingfornextyear.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/06/know-your-foe-harrison-barnes-golden-state-warriors-cleveland-cavaliers-nba-finals/

 

 

 

–  The Splash Fathers ( Dell Curry and Mychal Thompson) know best (form Tom Friend, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/12819951/splash-fathers-dell-curry-mychal-thompson

 

 

 

–   Klay Thompson’s uncertain status highlights lack of understanding on concussions (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):

Read and view it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/playoffs/2015/06/01/klay-thompson-jeffrey-kutcher-concussion-nba-finals-warriors/28314221/

 

 

 

–  Jeff Van Gundy on Cavaliers head coach David Blatt: ‘He was masterful’  (from Dan Labbe,  cleveland.com):

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/06/jeff_van_gundy_on_cavaliers_he.html

 

 

 

– What kind of coach is Chicago getting with Fred Hoiberg?  (from Kurt Helin, NBC Sports):

Read it here:  http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/06/02/what-kind-of-coach-is-chicago-getting-with-fred-hoiberg/

 

 

 

– Comparing On-Ball and Off-Ball Screens  (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):

Read  it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VVjDSyYAACYA6kTr/comparing-on-ball-and-off-ball-screens

 

 

 

–  PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – THREE PHASES OF THE OFF-SEASON  (from garrett Thornton,  oregonsportsnews.com):

Read it here:  http://oregonsportsnews.com/team-news/portland-trail-blazers/portland-trail-blazers-three-phases-of-the-off-season.html

 

 

 

–  Who Has the Best Post Moves in NBA History?  (from John Amaechi, slate.com):

Read it here:  http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2015/06/02/nba_history_who_has_the_best_post_moves.html

 

 

 

– NBA DRAFT: THE VALUE OF THE 2ND ROUND  (from Matt Lurie,  sportsblog.com):

Read it here:  http://lurienba.sportsblog.com/posts/2582179/nba-draft–the-value-of-the-2nd-round.html

 

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

 

 

–  Hoiberg and Donovan’s college teams hint to how Bulls, Thunder will play  (from Kevin Pelton):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/12996078/nba-how-fred-hoiberg-billy-donovan-styles-translate-pros

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Draymond Green:  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/green-proves-his-worth-three-years-after-draft-night-snub/1wrygac2ncalv1uj3g91j7ok1v

 

Timofey Mozgov:   http://nypost.com/2015/06/01/how-mozgov-went-from-stunned-knicks-throw-in-to-nba-finals/

 

Tony Allen:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/6/2/8694311/memphis-grizzlies-2014-2015-player-reviews-tony-allen-NBA-first-team-defense

 

Miles Plumlee:  http://behindthebuckpass.com/2015/06/02/2014-15-season-review-miles-plumlee/

 

Garrett Temple:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/06/02/garrett-temple-season-in-review-injuries-both-helped-and-hindered-role-in-back-court/

 

Jordan Clarkson:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VVtvnCYAACIAx2Mv/rookie-wrap-up–jordan-clarkson

 

Fab Melo:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/fab-melo-eyeing-nba-comeback/

 

Chris Smith:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2450329-as-jr-smith-reaches-peak-of-hoops-career-brother-chris-fights-to-save-his

 

Alex Abrines:  http://www.welcometoloudcity.com/2015/6/2/8648817/alex-abrines-will-never-join-the-thunder

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analyisis

– Golden Warriors (from Ken Berger, CBS Sports):

” STEPH CURRY AND THE WARRIORS HAVE TAKEN THE NBA BY STORM, BUT NOW THE HARD PART BEGINS”

Read it here:   http://www.cbssports.com/nba/feature/25006230/golden-warriors

 

 

Tom Thibodeau Q & A (from Sam Amick,  USAToday):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/bulls/2015/01/29/tom-thibodeau-bulls-no-regrets/22520951/

 

 

–  The Trey Burke Bench Effect (from Clint Peterson, purpleandblues.com):

” When Dante Exum was inserted into the staring lineup four games ago I worried there might be an adverse effect on Derrick Favors’ game due the move. Through four games, the numbers show rather drastic ramifications via the Trey Burke bench effect.”

Read it here: http://purpleandblues.com/2015/01/30/trey-burke-bench-effect/

 

 

Can Miles Plumlee still fit in Phoenix  (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown):

” After a frustrating rookie season for Miles Plumlee, in which he appeared in only 15 games for the Indiana Pacers after being drafted with the 26th pick, he managed to find some reclamation after being jettisoned to the Phoenix Suns. Traded along with Gerald Green and a future first round pick in exchange for Luis Scola, Plumlee enjoyed a successful sophomore campaign that saw him start 80 games while averaging 11.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per 36 minutes, shooting 51.7% from the floor in just over 24 minutes per game.

This season, however, Plumlee has seen a decrease in both minutes played and production this season. With rumors swirling that he is available for a first round pick, why has he fallen out of favor so quickly in Phoenix?”

Read it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/01/29/can-miles-plumlee-still-fit-in-phoenix/

 

 

Blazers’ Assistant Coach Nate Tibbetts (from Erik Gundersen, thecolumbian.com):

”  The journey of Nate Tibbetts to the coaching ranks of the NBA sounds like a classic basketball story told time and again.

Being a coach was his destiny. The son of a high school coach in South Dakota, Tibbetts grew to play point guard at University of South Dakota.

“My Dad was the guy that I looked to all the time growing up,” Tibbetts said. “And I knew I wasn’t going to play overseas at the professional level so I got into coaching fairly quickly.”

And on the bench with the Trail Blazers, Tibbetts still gets a sweat on.

Recently, he played LaMarcus Aldridge in one-on-one as Aldridge tested the brace on his left thumb that has a torn radial collateral ligament.

But the journey from South Dakota to the NBA is not a common road. When Tibbetts started coaching back in 2001, the NBA D-League did not yet exist. He began his career at a liberal arts college, University of Sioux Falls, which was then an NAIA school.

But in 2005, Tibbetts matriculated to the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce where he eventually became the head coach before the 2007-08 season. It was there in Sioux Falls that Tibbetts met Terry Stotts who was then the D-League’s coaching consultant.”

Read it here:  http://www.columbian.com/news/2015/jan/30/blazers-tibbetts-not-afraid-to-sweat-it-out/

 

 

–  D-League Will See Influx of Talent as China’s CBA Wraps Up (from Chris Reichert, roadtotheassociation.com):

Read it here:  http://roadtotheassociation.com/2015/01/20/d-league-will-see-influx-talent-chinas-cba-wraps/

 

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

 

–  NBA’s late-developing PG trend (from Kevin Pelton):

”  Conley, Lowry latest examples of teams needing to be patient with their PGs”

Read it here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12246814/nba-mike-conley-examples-late-developing-pgs

 

 

Additional Player Updates:

 

Vander Blue:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2347466-la-lakers-should-give-d-league-stud-vander-blue-an-extended-look-this-season

 

Michael Carter- Williams:  http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/michael-carter-williams-showed-growth-rout-pistons

 

Garrett Temple:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/01/29/garrett-temple-wants-to-play-but-is-willing-to-impact-wizards-in-other-ways/

 

Joe Ingles:  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620737/Joe-Ingles-may-be-a-rookie-but-doesnt-play-like-one.html

 

Kris Humphries:  http://hoopdistrict.net/analysis-hump-merrier/

 

Jordan McRae:  http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/sport/basketball/2015/01/31/sharp-shooter-jordan-mcrae-23-basketballer/14226228001419#.VMud2UfF_wp

 

Terrence Williams:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/terrence-williams-looking-for-new-overseas-deal/

 

Oscar Who? (how does this possibly happen):

 

http://www.700wlw.com/onair/lance-mcalister-7818/oscar-who-how-does-this-possibly-13204934

 

(BI Note:  Even worse was Reggie Miller disrespect for Oscar on TNT recently)

Today’s Top NBA Stories

Klay Thompson playing at the star-like level many saw for him (from Marcus Thompson II, insidebayarea.com):

” Three games into the season, no one is thinking about how the Warriors missed out on Kevin Love. The sentiment that the Warriors overpaid at four years, about $70 million, has already been silenced.

That’s how good Klay Thompson is, and how good he can be.
But this isn’t a revelation as much as it is the fulfillment of a prophecy. Many other NBA executives
and experts saw this coming. That includes legend Jerry West, the Warriors consultant who
advocated the drafting of Thompson. That includes coach Steve Kerr, the former championship
player and general manager, who lobbied with West to keep Thompson instead of trading him for
Love.
Warriors management knew all along what the rest of the league did: Thompson was bound to be
an NBA star. He has all the tools. He’s got the supporting cast around him. And, now, he’s getting
mature enough to put it all together.

Read it here: http://www.insidebayarea.com/marcus-thompson/ci_26865276/thompson-golden-state-warriors-klay-thompson-playing-at

 

Klay Thompson’s Early Season Offensive Improvement (from Seth Partnow, Bball Breakdown):

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/04/by-the-numbers-klay-thompsons-early-season-offensive-improvement/

 

How Mavericks’ diverse attack is helping Chandler Parsons heat up as a scorer (from Eddie Sefko, dallasnews.com):

“I’m just in a good rhythm,” he said. “I’m trying not to force anything. And I’m getting more comfortable playing with them. With our personnel, it’s great. You’ve got Tyson [Chandler], and he’s always a target at the rim.

“There are always three or four shooters on the floor capable of knocking down 3s. It’s a fun way to play. Not many teams are going to be able to control what we do on the offensive end.”

What fans have seen in the quick glimpse that is a marathon NBA season is that Parsons appears to be getting a lot of good opportunities offensively. Dirk Nowitzki still commands attention. Jameer Nelson stations himself on the perimeter and can’t be left. Monta Ellis is always a threat anywhere he’s at on the court. And Chandler is lethal with his rolls to the basket for lob passes.

It adds up to a recipe for Parsons to get equal opportunities at the 3-point arc and on slashes to the basket. He’s already had a handful of one-hand throwdown dunks, and his long ball has perked up during the winning streak.

“They can do so much offensively, there’s way less help because guys don’t want to leave certain guys, and it allows me to create more for myself and get to the basket,” Parsons said.”

Read it here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20141104-sefko-how-mavericks-diverse-attack-is-helping-chandler-parsons-heat-up-as-a-scorer.ece

LeBron opts for new leadership style (from Brian Windhorst, ESPN):

” This is a conscious decision on how he plans to operate in a passive-aggressive mission to yank some teammates toward his way of thinking. Let some of them fail at their way so they will be open to new ideas, is what it looks and sounds like.

“Everyone wants to win, I would hope,” James said. “Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose, or play unselfish basketball and sacrifice and win? So you pick it.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11824708/lebron-james-opts-new-leadership-style-young-cleveland-cavaliers

 

Chicago Bulls’ Soft November Schedule Helps Set Up Derrick Rose Maintenance Plan (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher report):

” “When you’re going to the hole, you’ve really got to have balance,” Rose said after shootaround on Tuesday. “And one way to have balance is through your ankles. So when your ankles are sore, you’re not going to have balance and you end up hurting something else. I’m just trying to be smart.”

“I’m just looking for that burst and that speed,” Rose said. “If I can get to a spot, I’ll play. But if not, if I’m not 100 percent, if I can’t play the way I normally play, there’s no point in me being out there right now.”

If everything goes according to plan, Rose will be playing like his old self come playoff time. But getting there involves a lot of planning and patience, and there’s no better time to put that to the test than now.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2256181-chicago-bulls-soft-november-schedule-helps-set-up-derrick-rose-maintenance-plan

Wizards establish blueprint to stop Knicks (from Ian Begley, ESPNNewYork):

” It’s early, but there might already be a blueprint out there for how to slow down the New York Knicks’ new offense: pressure the ball.

The Washington Wizards employed the strategy to perfection on Tuesday night. Their ball pressure helped hold the Knicks to 37 percent shooting in a 98-83 win.

“Tonight, their pressure caused us some problems,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said after his team fell to 2-2. “I think it got frustrating for all of our guys out there, not to be able to execute the things that we’re capable of doing.”

The Knicks’ offense is predicated on well-timed cuts, ball movement and proper spacing. Washington used pressure defense on the perimeter and strong denials in the passing lanes to disrupt things on Tuesday.

The Wizards’ game plan was eerily similar to the strategy the Chicago Bulls used in their blowout of the Knicks on opening night.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/59585/wizards-establish-blueprint-to-stop-bockers

And from Brett Pollakoff, NBC Sportshttp://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/05/knicks-struggling-to-deal-with-perimeter-pressure-in-early-days-of-learing-the-triangle-offense/

The Wolves’ Dilemma with the D-League (from ZacharyBD, Canishoopus):

” It appears Flip Saunders won’t be quick to send players to the D-League this season. Here’s why.”

Read it here: http://www.canishoopus.com/2014/11/5/7156973/Timberwolves-NBA-dleague-dilemma-glenn-robinson-shabazz-muhammad-zach-lavine

The Houston Rockets are Shooting Threes at an Absurd Pace (from Jacob Rosen, nyloncalculus.com):

” The Rockets, those poor sad Rockets that missed out on a superstar and lost three key rotation players, are currently the NBA’s best team. It’s very, very early, but they’re not just beating opponents, they’re destroying them. And they’re doing it in uber-Morey fashion.

Thus far, they’re taking an earth-shattering number of three pointers. In five games, 10 percent more of their field goal attempts are occurring beyond the arc. And they already led the league in this category last season!”

Read it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/11/05/houston-rockets-shooting-threes-early-pace/

–  Top 5 HORNS Plays Of The Week Episode 1 (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

” Coach Nick broke down the best examples of NBA teams running HORNS. Check out how the Sixers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Jazz, and Clippers all throw wrinkles at the defense to make it difficult to stop.”

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqJSjudpFP0&feature=youtu.be

Garrett Temple explains how he’s worked to improve his jump shot (from Mike Prada, bulletsforever.com):

” The Wizards’ shooting guard is off to a hot start from downtown after struggling earlier in his career. He talks to Bullets Forever about how he’s worked to improve his jumper.”

Read the Q & A here: http://www.bulletsforever.com/2014/11/4/7155121/garrett-temple-jump-shot-washington-wizards

Can Paul Pierce handle the truth? (from Michael Wallace, ESPN):

” The Wizards have been down this road before. Future Hall of Famers have passed through Washington late in their careers, but none have been able to translate it to postseason success. It didn’t work when Bernard King arrived in his early 30s during the late 1980s, or when Mitch Richmond showed up in his mid-30s during the late 1990s. Not even a twice-retired Michael Jordan could make much of an impact on the standings in the early 2000s.

How can Pierce?

“The difference is, we already have our anchors in Wall and Beal,” said Phil Chenier, a shooting guard on Washington’s 1978 NBA championship team and a local television analyst for the past three decades. “When Bernard came, he was our new identity. When Mitch came, we were still expecting him to be a 20-point scorer every night. And even Michael, even though he retired and came back again and again, he was still M.J., and that expectation to be M.J. was there.”

“Paul still has a lot to offer. But he’s not coming to save a team. He’s coming to supplement a team that was very close a year ago to the conference finals.”

Read it here:  http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/paul-pierce-handle-truth/story?id=26706350&singlePage=true

 

Can Pierce Turn Wizards Into a Contender? (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insdiers):

” Washington is a young squad that is extremely hungry after experiencing a little bit of success in last year’s postseason. Last year’s group managed to win 44 games, which was good for fifth place in the East. Washington defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, before being eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games.

Pierce has experienced just about everything a player can in the NBA, so he’s an amazing resource for these young Wizards. Pierce said that he’ll do his best to offer his help throughout the course of the season.

“I just try to keep everyone focused,” Pierce said. “I want them to understand what it’s going to take when you’re coming off of a loss and in a back-to-back situation. That’s what I’m going to give them all year long. If we’re going to try to take that next step from what the Wizards did a year ago, then it’s got to be mental. It’s got to be every night, consistency in practices and in games.”

Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-can-pierce-turn-wizards-into-a-contender/

 

Doc’s cure for shooting woes: Don’t let up (from Arash Markazi, ESPNLosAngeles):

” “It’s a make-or-miss league,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It always will be. We could go on a streak in the middle of the season and make half of them and look brilliant. I am never going to tell J.J. Redick to pass up a wide-open jump shot. That would be silly. And he missed a bunch of wide-open jump shots [Sunday]. Spencer Hawes missed a bunch of wide-open shots. Is it too many 3s? Probably. A lot of them are wide open. Should you tell them not to shoot them? I don’t think so.”

“I’m thinking if we played at a little faster pace, we’d get more to the basket,” Rivers said. “That would take some of those [3-pointers] away, but when you watch the film, which I have — I have them all taken and looked at every single one — they’re wide open. And they’re wide open for our guys that have to make them. Honestly, [Chris Douglas-Roberts], on a couple of his, probably should drive. Matt [Barnes], on a couple of his, probably could drive, but J.J.? Shoot the ball. All the other guys who have them? Shoot the ball.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles-clippers/post/_/id/6851/docs-cure-for-shooting-woes-dont-let-up

Early impressions: Is there hope for the Sacramento Kings? (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):

” When is it OK to have hope? How soon is too soon to enjoy success? And if you have to start somewhere, why is starting anywhere seemingly less proof of basketball life than failing out of the gate. Welcome to life in the NBA when it comes to your 3-1 Sacramento Kings.

The Kings opened with a dismal loss to the Warriors and it seemed par for the course. A bad team whose offseason moves were panned (particularly the loss of Isaiah Thomas and the replacement thereof with Darren Collison) gets slammed against the locker by the division favorites, setting off yet another disappointing, if expectedly so, season.

And then a funny thing thing happened.

The Kings have rattled off three straight, yes, three whole games, but had this been an East Coast jaunt vs. the Sixers, Magic, and some banged up squad, it would be one thing. Instead, they knocked off the Blazers, then the Clippers, in Los Angeles. On Monday, they were stacked against the schedule: the dreaded back-to-back in the altitude of Denver vs. the Nuggets. That’s a schedule loss. I know it. You know it. The teams themselves know it. You lose those games.”

Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24783646/early-impressions-is-there-hope-for-the-sacramento-kings

 

Anthony Davis taking flight, lifting Pelicans in third season  (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

” “I just go out there and play. What people expect of me? That’s on them,” Davis said, recently. “I don’t pay attention to all the stuff that they’re saying because that kind of messes with your head and you start getting complacent. That’s for the fans to read it and listen to it. My objective is to help this team win.””

Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2014/11/05/the-big-shot-anthony-davis-taking-flight-lifting-pelicans-in-third-season/

 

Deron Williams Played A Perfect Game, And Few Even Noticed (from Miles Wray, BBall Breakdown):

” When I watch Williams, it almost seems impossible that he would ever be the type of player to cause locker room strife. There is no direct correlation between on-court unselfishness and off-court behaviour, of course, yet Deron is playing with an unselfishness that makes any connection hard to fathom. Williams makes the game look easy; he plays with total court awareness, and he is always looking to get the ball in the hands of the open man. Sometimes he is that open man, and he does not hesitate to take those in-flow shots. But most of the time, when he is not that open man, Williams makes Brooklyn’s offense hum by smartly looking for the open man without forcing situations or demanding that he get his prerequisite number of shots.

On Monday night, the Nets dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-85. The popular takeaway from the game is no doubt to be that a seriously injured Thunder squad simply did not have the bodies to keep up with a presumed playoff team like the Nets. This is a part of the story, to be sure. They could not keep up. But in the Nets, I also saw a veteran team working as a single and cohesive unit to find the open man, their individual personal statistics be damned.”

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/04/an-evening-with-deron/

 

A look at what the other top NBA rosters would look like with the Thunder’s current injury situation (from Anthony Slater, newsok.com):

Read it here: http://newsok.com/okc-thunder-a-look-at-what-the-other-top-nba-rosters-would-look-like-with-the-thunders-current-injury-situation/article/5363780

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

Ariza, D driving Houston’s hot start (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read it here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11825292/houston-rockets-better-chandler-parsons-nba-insider-daily

 

More player updates:

Brook Lopez: http://nypost.com/2014/11/04/a-closer-look-at-how-brook-lopezs-return-boosts-nets/

Jason Thompson: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article3566702.html   and      http://cowbellkingdom.com/a-closer-look-at-jason-thompsons-improved-defense/

Nikola Mirotic: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/nikola-mirotic-proving-his-worth-versatility-bulls-win

Marcus Morris: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2014/11/04/notes-phoenix-suns-forward-marcus-morris-gets-defensive/18509303/

Joe Johnson: http://basketball.realgm.com/blog/235452/Joe-Johnson-Beyond-The-Contract

Jeff Green: http://www.celticsblog.com/2014/11/5/7159909/jeff-green-torched-mavs

Tim Hardaway, Jrhttp://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/59566/hardaway-cant-complain-about-minutes

K.J. McDaniels: http://www.libertyballers.com/the-liberty-beat/2014/11/5/7159801/k-j-mcdaniels-showcasing-incredible-defensive-potential

Nerlens Noel: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2256376-nerlens-noels-defensive-flashes-show-making-of-bright-nba-future  and   http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pattisonave/Nerlens-Noel-showing-signs.html

Mike Scott: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/03/ekpe-udoh-is-both-underrated-and-important/

Ekpe Udoh: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/03/ekpe-udoh-is-both-underrated-and-important/

Today’s Best NBA Stories

Why Memphis Grizzlies Are NBA’s Most Dangerous Dark Horse (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

” What’s so scary about this Memphis team? How is this version of the Grizzlies any different from the ones we’ve always ignored until that “Hey, wait a minute; Memphis is good” moment in the season’s final weeks? Let’s break it down.”

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2255029-why-memphis-grizzlies-are-nbas-most-dangerous-dark-horse

And from Zach Thomas at 3sob.com: http://www.3sob.com/2014/november-2014/memphis-is-4-0-quicksand-is-the-new-mud/19324/

 

Lance Stephenson Vows To Take Charlotte’s Offense Into His Own Hands (from Michael Scotto, Sheridanhoops.com):

” In Charlotte, Stephenson must learn how to play cohesively with a fellow New York City point guard who has a similar game, Kemba Walker.

“We’re similar, he’s just in a little body,” Stephenson said. “He’s a great point guard, he’s smart with making decisions, he’s a winner and when you need that big shot, he’s there to make that. Just being on his side and being on this team is incredible.”

Walker represents a stark contrast to Stephenson’s previous backcourt mate in Indiana, George Hill.

Walker flourishes with the ball in his hands while creating his own offense with a deadly step-back dribble at the top of the key and crossover to penetrate into the paint.

Hill is a solid shooter capable of freelancing without the basketball around the perimeter, which freed Stephenson to dominate the ball as the primary playmaker.”

Read it here: http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2014/11/03/scotto-lance-stephenson-vows-to-take-charlottes-offense-into-his-own-hands/

 

Raptors offense productive early despite warts (from Blake Murphy, raptorsrepublic.com):

” There is one primary reason why the offense hasn’t looked great aesthetically but has been effective nonetheless: the things they’re doing well don’t necessarily stand out. The two areas the Raptors are thriving are in ball control, which is more often picked up for its absence than presence, and getting to the free throw line, which is more noticeable but not exactly pretty, and at times irritating to watch (again, from, an aesthetic standpoint only).”

Read it here: http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2014/11/04/47786/

 

Warriors vs. Clippers: Introducing the New Faces of the Clippers (from Chris Nielsen, goldenstateofmind.com):

” How is this season’s version of the Clippers different? How do the Warriors matchup against them?”

Read it here: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/2014/11/4/7153019/Warriors-vs-clippers-preview-Blake-griffin

 

Steve Kerr has Warriors on the move (from Antonio Gonzalez, Associated Press):

” (W)hat Kerr expects out of the Warriors: unselfish basketball without worrying about individual accomplishments.

Kerr has gotten players to embrace that philosophy, rolling out a new offense and a new rotation that are working wonders for the Warriors so far. Golden State is 3-0 for the first time in 20 years, and Kerr is the franchise’s first coach to begin his career with three consecutive wins since Neil Johnston did it to start the 1959-60 season.

Kerr said he has been proud of the way his players have accepted his way of doing things, which could’ve been complicated after the team fired popular predecessor Mark Jackson following a 51-win season and back-to-back playoff berths. He’s also quick to note that the season is just a week old and his rotation is far from flawless.

What has pleased Kerr most is that the Warriors are still winning while adjusting.”

Read it here: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/sports/3059718-181/kerr-has-warriors-on-the#page=0

Festus Ezeli is back and a defensive bully again (from Andy Liu, goldenstateofmind.com):

” After a year and change without playing professional five-on-five basketball, Festus Ezeli is back. Noticeably skinnier, he looks just as explosive as before.

Read and view it here: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/2014/11/4/7153773/golde-state-warriors-festus-ezeli-defense-healthy

 

Trail Blazers look inward at a ‘laundry list’ of issues (from Joe Freeman, oregonian.com):

” When you open a season of expectations with just one win in three games, when your All-Star point guard is in a funk, when your starting small forward looks distracted and when your best and most trusted asset — a high-powered offense — is stuck in neutral, you tend to look inward rather than outward.

And, for the Blazers, there are a host off issues to reflect on. When coach Terry Stotts addressed reporters Monday afternoon, he held a stack of papers in his hands and waved them about, noting that one of them contained a “laundry list” of issues plaguing the Blazers. The “laundry list” featured 10 items that ranged from cutting and screening to ball movement and pace.”

Read it here: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/11/trail_blazers_look_inward_at_a_laundry_list.html

 

Lakers’ Downward Spiral Raises Plenty of Questions but Has Few Easy Solutions (from Kevin Ding,  Bleacher Report):

” The Lakers are putting in a new system under a new coach—unlike all four of their opponents so far—with their one star player having played just six shaky games in the past year and a half. They had significant and demoralizing injury absences—unlike all four teams they faced. And without having built a post-Mike D’Antoni defensive identity yet, they were playing four games in five nights for the only time all season…against four excellent offenses.

Throw in the fact that the Lakers aren’t quite stacked with talent in the first place…

With full acknowledgement that 0-4 is as much of a failure as could possibly be recorded right now, it’s still a little early to be calling anything or anybody a real failure.”

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2255363-lakers-downward-spiral-raises-plenty-of-questions-but-has-few-easy-solutions

 

The Lakers’ roster doesn’t fit (from The Great Mambino, silverscreenandroll.com):

”  (P)rofessional basketball isn’t playing checkers — it’s playing three dimensional chess. Against a robot. That Bruce Wayne designed. It’s never an apples to apples comparison when evaluating two players. One can’t simply say that Jerry West was a better player than Hakeem Olajuwon. There are too many variables to consider — positional differentiation, offensive statistics, defensive metrics, teammates, minutes played, offense and defensive systems played in, usage rate …. I could go on. But the point is, taking a player, or a group of players, and assigning overall value to them without looking at varying factors doesn’t a fair contrast make. That’s like saying a meal in Mexico is better than a meal in Seattle because you shelled out more coins for it. You’ve got to have context.

In comparing last year’s team to this one, it isn’t about the amount of talent, it’s how that talent fits.”

Read it here: http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2014/11/4/7146927/la-lakers-roster-problems

–  Life Without Westbrook and Durant (from Zach Lowe, grantland.com):

” The Thunder will use the absence of Durant and Westbrook as an opportunity to build a motion offense that is less predictable and less prone to stagnancy. The Thunder have been a scoring powerhouse at full health, but in one-possession games against elite playoff defenses geared up for the Durant and Westbrook show, having an extra counter or two every trip can be the difference between winning and losing.

“We can still get better in that area,” Collison says. “Everyone asks: ‘Why don’t they move the ball?’ But it takes time. We have two 25-year-olds that can just take their man and score. But now it’s about balance and having faith in what is the correct way to play.””

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/oklahoma-city-thunder-nba-playoffs/

 

Bulls having fun again on offense (from K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

” Fun isn’t a word that would be associated with watching the Bulls’ offense last season. Sleep-inducing, painful and challenging are words that better fit the overall experience.

This is what can happen when Derrick Rose is lost for the season and Luol Deng is traded to avoid a luxury tax payment: The Bulls averaged a league-worst 93.7 points, a full 1.3 points behind the next-lowest team in Utah. They shot 43.2 percent, also an NBA low.

Three games represent a small sample size. But with an average of 106 points, fourth-best in the league entering Monday night, and 47.8 percent shooting, one word about the offense kept surfacing following Monday’s practice.

“It’s fun, really fun,” Taj Gibson said. “The thing about this squad is everybody’s really unselfish. Everyone wants everybody to succeed. It’s never, ‘Why didn’t you look for me on that last shot?’ Everybody’s like, ‘Take that shot. We’ll live with it.’ ”

Read it here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-bulls-spt-1104-20141103-story.html

And Luol Deng compares Bulls/Heat offensive philosophies (from Joseph Goodman, Miami Herald):

http://blogs.herald.com/miami_heat/2014/11/luol-deng-compares-offensive-philosophies-for-heat-and-bulls.html

 

Can Perry Jones Be OKC’s Unlikely Savior? (from Danny Chau, grantland.com):

” The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of a two-month-long doomsday prep drill. Except, as it turns out, this is not a drill. The stakes are too high, and the margin for error is too slim and getting slimmer still. The reasons for competing haven’t changed, but almost everything else has. Seven different players are injured; Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are both out until around December. In only the second game of the season, the Thunder saw the floor beneath them collapse into oblivion. And yet spirits are high — as high as they can be in such ruin. It didn’t take long for the Thunder to find a small silver lining. Perry Jones has become the team’s unlikely savior. A few months ago, he was an afterthought, a player with no guarantee as a rotation player on the team. So then, how did this happen?”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/perry-jones-oklahoma-city-thunder-savior/

 

Quick Hitters for Tuesday (from Jeff Fogle, nyloncalculus.com):

“How bad are the Lakers, How Good are the Warriors, How Fast are the 76ers?”

” We’re already seeing a big difference between the NBA and basketball reference estimates (of the # of offensive possessions per game) before the tabulations come into play… What’s going to happen when critics of basketball analytics find out that there isn’t agreement on how to count to 100?!”

Read it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/11/04/nylon-notebook-quick-hitters-tuesday/

 

Previewing this week’s games (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

” With so many games, the savvy NBA consumer needs to plot out their week in advance. This week, we’ll be paying attention to the Warriors’ difficult schedule and six other intriguing matchups”

Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/11/3/7149757/nba-schedule-2014-viewing-guide-golden-state-warriors

 

More player updates:

J.R. Smith: http://theknicksblog.com/knicks/examining-the-motivations-for-trading-j-r-smith/

Patrick Patterson: http://probballreport.com/raptors-patterson-credits-john-calipari-for-his-defense/

Trevor Booker: http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2014/11/04/trevor-booker-three-pointers-like-paul-millsap/

Brandon Knight: http://www.bucksketball.com/2014/11/offense-optional-milwaukee-bucks-indiana-pacers-preview/