Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  David Griffin Deserves Praise as Cleveland Cavaliers’ Overlooked Architect  (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

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Lute  Olson knew Kerr would deliver  (from Bruce Pascoe,

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–  The Warriors Secret Key To Beating LeBron James And The Cavs  (from Coach Nick,  Bball Breakdown):

” Coach Nick broke down the key After Time Out plays by both teams, and it revealed distinctly different methods of attack. The Cleveland Cavaliers squandered more of their opportunities to run good sets to get their players open for good shots, while the Warriors executed theirs to an elite level. These types of plays, in a close game, could mean the difference between winning and losing a championship.”

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–  Isaiah Austin: A story of faith, courage, and the tenacity to overcome   (from

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–  Karl Towns may very well be the next step in the revolution Kevin Garnett started  (from Key Dae,

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–  Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Jahlil Okafor: One man’s opinion  (from Zach Harper,

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” Sam Smith of opens his Ask Sam mailbag and responds to the latest round of emails from his readers”

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San Antonio Spurs shuffle  (from Half Court Hoops):

Watch it here:  and see the options diagrammed here:



–   Five Questions: San Antonio Spurs  (from Jesse Blanchard, BBall Breakdown):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Omer Asik/Roy Hibbert:


Dante Cunningham:


Karl-Anthony Towns/Devin Booker:

Today’s Top NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  How  Cavs’ defense has improved with Timofey Mozgov and Kyrie Irving (from Terry Pluto,

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–  Hassan Whiteside Has Gone from Novelty to Necessity for Miami Heat (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):

”  Every time Hassan Whiteside appears on the floor now, there’s an assumption his output will be astonishing. There’s an expectation the NBA‘s unforeseen emerging force will stamp the stat sheet with some more say-what-wait-what(?!) numbers.”

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–  Quin Snyder, Enes Kanter have differing views of   Andrew Bogut (from Randy Hollis,

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Celtics  give glimpse of defensive potential (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

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Pat Riley addresses Heat’s depth deficit (from Ira Winderman

“I don’t think there’s a player in the NBA DL I want to bring in right now,” Riley said. “And I don’t think there’s a veteran two that we’ve been offered that isn’t just of a short term.

“If I can move down the road, what I would like to move down the road with is I want to get to ‘great’ fast. I want to get there. I don’t want to get to good. I want to get to great. We’re waiting to see if something opens up. And there’s about three or four teams that are still, ‘Well, are we in or are we out?’, that all of a sudden will say, ‘OK, he’s available, they’re available.’ ”

Riley stressed while patience can be difficult at times such as these, prudence also is essential as the Feb. 19 trading deadline draws closer.

“If I could find a backup two that I really liked, that Coach really liked, that fits with us, that can be a player for us, then we probably already would have made that move,” he said. “But I also don’t want to be extorted. I don’t want to be give up too much. The cupboard is bare.”

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–   Andre Roberson is Oklahoma City’s X-Factor (from Jacob Eisenberg,

”  In spite of his offensive deficiencies, in the context of the Thunder’s personnel, Roberson has actually proved to be Oklahoma City’s most valuable perimeter player not named Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook on both sides of the ball.

How, you ask? His defense is simply so good that it creates free offense for his teammates. When Roberson is on the court, the Thunder allow just 101.1 points per 100 possessions. That’s the best individual defensive rating on the team and would make OKC the second best defense in the league behind the Warriors if they kept up that pace for 48 minutes. However, once Roberson sits, Oklahoma City’s defense regresses to allow 105.3 points per 100 possessions. Those extra 4.2 points allowed per 100 possessions slide Oklahoma City from the second best to the 12th best defense in the league.

Herein lies a common misconception about basketball: you don’t necessarily need to have offensive skills to be a valuable player toward your team’s offense. If you assumed that Roberson’s defensive contributions were negated on the other side by his limited offense, you wouldn’t be alone. But you’d also be wrong.

When Roberson plays, Oklahoma City scores 106.7 points per 100 offensive possessions. That’s not an incredible clip, but it’s good enough to tie them with Sacramento and Utah for the 14th best offense in the league. When Roberson sits and is replaced by one of OKC’s three offensive-minded wings, Dion Waiters, Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson, the Thunder’s offense slides to just 103.5 points per 100 possessions — a mark on par with the Knicks for 23rd best in the league.

The explanation for his positive offense : Primarily, Roberson’s defense is so good that he single handedly creates fast break opportunities for his team several times per game.”

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–  Time to lead fast approaching for soft-spoken Kawhi Leonard  (from Ian Thomsen,

“He’s so quiet it’s unbelievable,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “You could get him wrong, just thinking that he’s surly or whatever. But he’s really quiet, really respectful and he really cares.”

“We talk about the fact that he’s going to have to speak more — he’s going to have to,” said Popovich. “When these guys are gone, what’s he going to do? Is he going to play in a phone booth all by himself and not talk to anybody? It’s a big deal. He has become more social. But he’s going to have to become more social geometrically compared to what he is now.”

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–  Assessing LaMarcus Aldridge: How has the injured Blazer big adjusted his game? (from Evans Clinchy,

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–  Wizards’ Defense Thrives With Pierce, Despite Losing Ariza (from Jon Munshaw,

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Additional Player Updates:


Brandon Bass:


Orlando Sanchez


Errick McCollum:


Jarrett Jack:   and


Isaiah Austin:


Enes Kanter:


Cody Zeller:


Jordan Clarkson:


Ryan Kelly:


– Milos Milisavljevic:


Michael Carter-Williams/Nerlens Noel:

NBA Draft, Melo, Jim Barnett, Ron Adams

OKC Thunder’s big night comes Thursday: The NBA Draft (from Darnell Mayberry,

” The most important date on the NBA calendar for the Oklahoma City Thunder arrives Thursday.

The NBA Draft.

Plucking players from the annual amateur pool has and always will be the most critical component to the team’s roster-building. Being on the cusp of a championship will not change that.”

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Thibodeau is all in on Bulls pursuit of ‘Melo (from Joe Cowley,

“The push to make sure Carmelo Anthony is wearing a Bulls uniform continues heating up heading into the NBA’s draft week, and maybe no one wants the forward’s services more than coach Tom Thibodeau.

According to one former NBA coach who had Anthony on his team, Thibodeau has not only reached out to him with numerous calls, but several other coaches that worked with Anthony on a daily basis.

“I even told Tom that there may be days he will want to blow his own head off when it comes to ‘Melo’s defense, but he keeps saying he knows he can make it work,’’ the coach said. “It’s not that Carmelo can’t play defense, it’s just how often, and he knows every trick in the book on getting around that.’’”

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And from Spencer Lund,




Aaron Gordon learns lessons from brother’s NBA draft nightmare (from Marc Spears, Yahoo Sports):

This NBA draft will be remarkably different for Aaron Gordon’s family. Disappointment in 2012, when Gordon’s brother, Drew, never heard his name called during the draft, will likely be replaced with tears of joy on Thursday night, when Aaron is expected to be selected as high as fourth.

“Knowing that Aaron is going to be a lottery pick, it should be a lot better of a day for the Gordon household,” said Drew, who went undrafted out of New Mexico. “I’m real excited to be a part of it and enjoy the feeling of having a name called from the Gordon household.”

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NBA position will be crucial with Aaron Gordon ( from Baxter Holmes, Boston Globe):

” Aaron Gordon possesses the athleticism, size, instincts, and talent. He has, as NBA types like to say, the motor.

The rangy, high-flying 6-foot-9-inch forward also can be a matchup nightmare, as the tantalizing highlights from his freshman year at Arizona attest.

He is also the youngest player in Thursday’s NBA Draft, as he won’t turn 19 until Sept. 16. Add it all up, and Gordon is considered a top-10 lock. But once he is selected, Gordon will, according to NBA scouts and executives, be forced to go down one of two roads.

“If he embraces what he does really well, which is run, jump, play with energy, play above the rim, he’s going to have a phenomenal NBA career,” said an Eastern Conference scout. “If he wants to prove to everyone that he’s a wing and he can shoot, then I think you’re going to have some problems, a la Derrick Williams.”

“The problem with him, the thing that I don’t like is that he doesn’t know who he is,” said (an) Eastern Conference executive. “So when the coach tells him who he is, maybe that will help, but he thinks he’s a [small forward]. He wants to push the ball. He wants to cross people over. I’m like, ‘Dude, stay in your lane. Do what you do. Seriously. You want to help us win, you have to rebound and run the court.’ ”

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Danny Ainge aims to outwork others in NBA Draft (from Baxter Homes, Boston Globe):

” Danny Ainge figures that he watches at least two full basketball games per day, whether college, NBA, or European. And some days, he’ll watch as many as six, catching West Coast NBA games late at night after his wife and children have gone to bed.

The Celtics president of basketball operations estimates that he’s on road for about 100 days per year, scouting all over the country and globe, and that members of the Celtics personnel staff are on the road just as much, if not more.

“I’m just a firm believer in work and in outworking and out-scouting and out-film-watching,” Ainge said. “As a staff, we have great workers and people dedicated to trying to get it right.””

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Isaiah Austin’s basketball career ended by Marfan syndrome (from , Washington Post):

” Isaiah Austin was so close. To an NBA career. To buying his mom something nice with his first NBA paycheck. To having the life he dreamed of for the past 20 years.

But then the former Baylor University star center received news that changed everything. After a standard NBA physical, his electrocardiogram test was abnormal. A series of further genetic blood tests revealed a positive diagnosis for Marfan syndrome.

If you haven’t heard of Marfan syndrome, it’s because only one in 5,000 people have it. It’s a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue and can cause aortic enlargement, which can be life-threatening.

Translation: Austin’s basketball career is over days before the NBA draft.”

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2014 NBA draft prospects look to follow in dads’ footsteps (from Laine Higgins, USA Today):

“When the NBA draft tips off June 26 in Brooklyn, a handful of players will be looking to enter what has become the de facto family business – professional basketball.

Nineteen sons of former NBA players saw action this past season. The 2014 draft features five prospects with fathers who played in the NBA, the most in any class over the past 10 years: Jabari Parker, Jerami Grant, Glenn Robinson III and Andrew and Nick Wiggins. Andrew Wiggins and Parker are expected to be top lottery picks.”

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Barnett back on Warriors games (from Lowell Cohn,

” A funny thing happened to Jim Barnett on the way to retirement. The Warriors unretired him.

The unretirement took place a few weeks ago. The Warriors, who wanted to replace Barnett as TV analyst, decided not to replace Barnett. So, all praise to the Warriors.

Barnett turns 70 next month and it seems the Warriors wanted someone different, maybe a little younger. Stuff like that. They would keep Barnett as a team ambassador. With his enthusiasm and energy he’d be great. Then there was talk of Barnett doing some road radio games. Then there’s this — forget everything you learned about Barnett stepping away. It’s like it never happened. Barnett is not gone. He will do all TV games next season

Has Barnett talked to new coach Steve Kerr?

“One time. He’s the type of guy — just like Don Nelson did when he came back the second time — he reached out to me and said he wanted to sit down when everything settles and talk about the players. He realizes I’ve been around here and know these players. We’ll sit down and share ideas.

“He’s a real leader. He’s going to be terrific. I am so excited about Steve Kerr. He wants the best people around him. The first thing he said was, ‘One of my assistants has to have head-coaching experience.’ I love that about him. He’s secure in himself. He’s going to empower people around him who are going to share. That’s how you get better.”

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Warriors sign Ron Adams as assistant coach.

Read an interesting story about Coach Adams that we linked to in October here:


NBA Finals, Dr. Jack, D-League, Brad Beal, Isaiah Austin, Oh Canada

Diaw finally finds comfort zone (from Sekou Smith,

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Spurs swing and attack (from John Schuhmann,

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– Popovich’s learning process: Less is more (from Mike Monroe,

“Asked to describe his evolution as a coach over 17-plus seasons with the Spurs, the reigning coach of the year astounded a room full of cynics. The essence of his answer: Learning that less is more. In that spirit, here he is, unfiltered:

 “I think I’ve learned to shut up more, and that probably is due to Manu Ginobili. When he first came, I was going to make him a heck of a player. And after 20 minutes, I realized that he didn’t need me to do that. He was already a heck of a player. Sometimes being quiet and letting the player play is much more important than trying to be Mr. Coach and teach him this or teach him that.

“So I think as time evolves and you get older in the business, you figure out what’s really important, and you don’t waste time trying to make people what they’re not going to be. I didn’t make him a competitor, and there is no way I could make him a non-competitor, so you’ve just got to figure out who people are and what they can give you and take advantage of their positives.”

Read it here: /sports/spurs/article/Popovich-s-learning-process-Less-is-more-5546021.php?cmpid=twitter-premium&t=f49d2d7b4de4660723

– Spurs Set Records, and Their Shooting Guru Offers Only a Shrug (from Scott Cacciola, NYTimes):

” The San Antonio Spurs were well on their way to obliterating all kinds of records for shooting proficiency, and the one man who might have allowed himself to delight in what was happening Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena instead seemed completely unaffected by it all.

Chip Engelland, an assistant coach for the Spurs, is also the team’s designated shooting guru. He counsels and instructs, dismantles and reassembles. His work with individual players is sometimes painful: fixing a squeaky (or downright broken) jump shot often means that things get worse before they get better. But such is the price that must be paid in pursuit of consistency.

“The objective is just to be solid,” Engelland said Wednesday afternoon, “so when the coach calls your name, he knows he’s going to get a consistent performance from you, which is hard to do.””

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– How the Spurs’ offense helped Kawhi Leonard to a career night (from Coach Nick, SBNation):

” On 10-of-13 shooting, Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 29

points in the San Antonio Spurs‘ Game 3 victory against the Miami Heat, but it was pushes in transition and patience thereafter that allowed him to get solid looks. The Spurs also had a strong showing defensively against Miami.”

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– Secret to Spurs’ system? Selfless stars (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

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– Heat Trying to Restore Chalmers’ Confidence (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders):

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Dr. Jack Ramsay: Coach, mentor, friend (from Michael Wallace, ESPN):

” Hubie Brown still cherishes Dr. Jack Ramsay’s memory to the point of choking up when he talks about him.

There aren’t many highlights in Brown’s decorated career as an NBA coach, ambassador and broadcaster that rival the April day in 2005 when he received a call from the Basketball Hall of Fame informing him of his induction.

But the occasion meant just as much to Brown because of the man with whom it was shared.

The official from the Hall of Fame had a routine request for all new inductees.

“By the way, we’re going to send to you a list of the Hall of Fame people that are still alive, and that you would prefer to have one walk you up [for presentation],” Brown said Wednesday as he recalled what he was told by the representative from the Hall. “I said, ‘You don’t have to send that list. If Jack Ramsay is available, he’s the only one I want to walk [me] up.”

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– 43 percent of the NBA is getting left behind on the D-League (from Caleb Nordgren, Hardwood Paroxysm):

” With news breaking yesterday that the Utah Jazz and Idaho Stampede have entered into a one-to-one affiliation agreement, the NBA finds itself on the brink of a new era. 17 NBA teams now have their own exclusive D-League franchises, which is good. 17 NBA teams — the Jazz, the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings — are now primed to take full advantage of everything the Development League has to offer.

The other 13 get — for all intents and purposes — nothing.

Right now, there are 18 D-League franchises. As those of you who can do

basic math may notice, that leaves exactly one D-League franchise — the Fort Wayne Mad Ants — to serve as the affiliate of the other 13 NBA teams. This strikes me as less than ideal, and it’s why those 13 teams need to pull their heads out of the sand and do something about it before they get left behind.”

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– Bradley Beal took next step in meeting his great expectations (from Brandon Parker, Washington Post):

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– Isaiah Austin brings ‘inspirational’ story to NBA Draft  (from A. Sherrod Blakely, csnne,com):

” Every player you talk to leading up to the NBA draft has a story.

Some had a tough home life growing up that was filled with both physical and mental abuse.

Others play with a ginormous chip on their shoulders after putting up big numbers at a small school few outside the high school-sized student body, have ever heard of.

And then you hear former Baylor center Isaiah Austin tell you his tale, the kind of narrative that speaks to the human spirit of perseverance and faith that provides this 20-year-old the kind of clarity to keep doing what few in his size 18 shoes would ever think was possible.”

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– 2014 Basketball Prospects Putting Canada on Basketball Map (from Jonathan Santiago,

Tyler Ennis and other 2014 NBA Draft prospects putting Canada on basketball map – See more at: