Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/17/16

–  Film Room All-Stars: The Twelve Best Role Players In The NBA This Season  (from Mike Prada,  SBNation):
–  Q & A:  Pistons GM On Tobias Harris   (from Keith Langlois, pistons.com):
–  The Tobias Harris Deal  (from Bobby Marks,  Yahoo Sports):
–  Film Room:  Ilyasova’s Strengths  (from Josh Cohen, magic.com):
–  The Courtney Lee Deal  (from Bobby Marks,  Yahoo.com):
–  The One Area The Wizards Need To Improve To Make The Playoffs  (from Neil Greenberg,  Washington Post):
–  Video Breakdown:  The Blazers’ “Thumb Up” Set  (from Dane Carbaugh,  Blazers’ Edge):
 –  Anthony Davis, Chris Bosh And The Evolution of The NBA Big Man  (from Kurt Helin,  NBC Sports):
–  Sixers Players Were In Very Different Places A Year Ago  (from Jessica Camerato, csnphilly):
–  Thunder:  Daily Growth  (from Nick Gallo,  thunder.com):
–  Suns’ Earl Watson Found Great Motivation To Coach  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral):
–  Review:  Basketball Without Borders Showcase  (from Jonathan Wasserman,  Bleacher Report):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
–  Ricky Rubio  (from John Meyer,  Canis Hoopus):
–  Larry Nance, Jr   (from Mark Medina,  LA Daily News):  http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20160216/larry-nance-jrs-frustration-with-injuries-may-end-soon
–  P.J. Hairston  (from Chip Williams,  Jr,  Grizzly Bear Blues):  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2016/2/17/11027706/pj-hairston-memphis-grizzlies-trade-deadline-analysis
–  Bobby Portis  (from Tyler Pleiss,  Blogabull):  http://www.blogabull.com/2016/2/16/10989918/growing-pains-bobby-portis
Justin Anderson  (from mavs.com):  http://www.mavs.com/mavs-tribune-justin-anderson/

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/27/15

–  Our Annual Tiers of the NBA  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland):

” It’s time for our last big preseason tradition: Tiers of the NBA, where we group teams into categories meant to time-stamp both their place in the league’s hierarchy and on their own internal development path. These are not strict power rankings, and the listed order within each tier doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/our-annual-tiers-of-the-nba/

 

–  What’s changed in the NBA? A look at this year’s big moves, rule changes and rookie returns  (from Erik Horne,  newsok.com):

Read it here:  http://newsok.com/pro-basketball-whats-changed-in-the-nba-a-look-at-this-years-big-moves-rule-changes-and-rookie-returns/article/5456174/?page=2

 

–  Raptors putting the ‘D’ back in defence  (form Mike Ganter,  Toronto Sun):

Read it here:  http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/10/26/raptors-putting-the-d-back-in-defence

 

–  DeMar DeRozan: I Haven’t Blued a Play Since my Rookie Year  (from Zarar Sidiqi, Raptors republic):

Read it here:  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/10/26/demar-derozan-i-havent-blued-a-play-since-my-rookie-year/

 

–  Beneath calm exterior, a fire burns inside Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg  (from K.C. Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):

Read it here:   http://www.centredaily.com/2015/10/26/4986160_beneath-calm-exterior-a-fire-burns.html

 

Rockets: How Will Adding Ty Lawson Affect James Harden  (from Ian Levy,  Sporting News):

Read it here:  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba-news/4659286-james-harden-ty-lawson-rockets-houston-point-guard-complementary-styles

 

–  Thunder: Redefining the concept of a ‘good shot’  (from Erik Horne,  newsok.com):

Read it here:   http://newsok.com/okc-thunder-redefining-the-concept-of-a-good-shot/article/5456156/?page=2

 

–  The Hornets turned into a 3-point juggernaut during the NBA preseason  (from Liam Boylan-Pett,  SBNation):

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/10/26/9610638/charlotte-hornets-three-point-shot-offense-kemba-walker-al-jefferson-steve-clifford

 

–  A confident David Blatt is ready for Year 2 in Cleveland  (from Dave McMenamin,  ESPN):

Read it here:   http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13978110/david-blatt-ready-year-2-cleveland-cavaliers

 

–  The Atlanta Hawks are going to repeat and you will be surprised  – again  (from Jason Walker, peachtreehoops.com):

Read it here:   http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2015/10/26/9615238/atlanta-hawks-predictions-2015-2016-horford-millsap

 

–  Skiles Holds All Players Accountable, Expects Defensive Excellence  (from John Denton,  magic.com):

Read it here:   http://www.nba.com/magic/news/skiles-holds-all-players-accountable-expects-defensive-excellence

 

–  DERRICK ROSE READY FOR SEASON OPENER AGAINST CAVS   (from Sam Smith,  Bulls.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/bulls/gameday/sam-smith/derrick-rose-ready-season-opener-against-cavs

 

–  BULLS SEASON PREVIEW  (from Sam Smith,  bulls.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/samsmith/sam-smiths-bulls-season-preview

 

Jabari Parker’s return  (from Gery Woelfel, journaltimes.com):

Read it here:  http://journaltimes.com/sports/basketball/leap-of-faith-young-bucks-poised-to-make-big-step/article_7f64192c-ec7f-51ee-82c3-84329fb5c339.html

 

–  The NBA’s most interesting international players (from Jonathan Raymond,  The National):

Read it here:  http://www.thenational.ae/sport/nba/around-the-world-in-20-players-the-nbas-most-interesting-internationals-2015#full

 

–   The NBA Wages a War on Attrition  (from Ben Cohen, Wall Street Journal):

” Keeping players healthy has become a leaguewide obsession, and the difference between winning a title and a playoff exit.”

Read it here:  http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-nba-wages-a-war-on-attrition-1445878326

 

–  Aldridge’s fit with Spurs, Caron Butler Q&A, rankings and more  (from Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/27/open-floor-lamarcus-aldridge-gregg-popovich-spurs-caron-butler-kings

 

–  Do the Wizards have a capable supporting cast around John Wall?  (from Evans Clinchy, Hardwood Paroxysm):

Read and view it here:  http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/10/27/washington-wizards-john-wall-supporting-cast/

 

–  Breaking It Down: Luis Scola and Jonas Valanciunas Defensive Pairing  (from Zarar Siddiqi,  raprtospepubic.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/10/27/breaking-it-down-luis-scola-and-jonas-valanciunas-defensive-pairing/

 

–  Sixers PGs Isaiah Canaan, T.J. McConnell must keep team running  (form John Finger,  csnphilly.com):

Read it here:  http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/sixers-pgs-isaiah-canaan-tj-mcconnell-must-keep-team-running

 

–  Danny Ainge: ‘I don’t see a finish line’ on Celtics tenure  (from Steve Bulpett,  Boston Herald):

Read it here:   http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2015/10/danny_ainge_i_don_t_see_a_finish_line_on_celtics_tenure

 

–   Quin Snyder: Managing expectations (form Jared Woodcox, yardbarker.com):

Read it here:  http://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/coach_snyders_comments_shouldnt_deter_utah_jazz_fans_optimism/s1_7899_19781695

 

–  Rick Carlisle inching closer to becoming a Maverick for life  (from Eddie Sefko,  dallasnews.com):

Read it here:  http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20151026-sefko-rick-carlisle-inching-closer-to-becoming-a-maverick-for-life.ece

 

–  NBA Referee Dick Bavetta Bounced Into Hall of Fame  (from Richie Brand,  Investors.com):

Read it here:  http://news.investors.com/management-leaders-and-success/102615-777397-dick-bavetta-nba-basketball-hall-of-fame.htm

 

–  SportVU Driving School  (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

” On cue for the new season, late last week the good folks NBA.com gave us and Nylon Calc and the rest of the stats-curious community a little bit of a goodie bag in terms of the improvements and additions to the suite of publicly available SportVU data1. The biggest improvement is the ability to filter all previously available stats by date which both allows for more accurate totals2 and the game-by-game “boxscores” which Darryl introduced earlier today.

In addition to these refinements, there is some genuinely new information. In particular, the drives tab has applications to a subject near and dear to my heart as a largely unexplained phenomenon, which is to say playmaking:”

Read it here:  http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/10/26/sportvu-driving-school/#fn-8320-3

 

 “Hot Hands” in Basketball Are Real  (from Jordan Ellenberg, Slate.com):

Read it here:   http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/10/hot_hands_in_basketball_are_real_new_analysis_shows.html

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

– Kent Bazemore finally getting a shot with the Hawks  (from Paul Newberry, Associated Press):   http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/nba/2015-10-26/kent-bazemore-finally-getting-shot-hawks

 

–   Trey Burke is ‘all in’ for the Utah Jazz this season  (from Jody Gennessy,  Deseret News):   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865640008/Third-year-point-guard-Trey-Burke-is-all-in-for-the-Utah-Jazz-this-season.html?pg=all

 

–  Pacers’ C.J. Miles ready to shoot in new offense  (from Nate Taylor,  indystar.com):  http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2015/10/26/pacers-cj-miles-ready-shoot-new-offense/74641382/

 

–  Celtics’ Avery Bradley wants to shoot 40 percent from deep and emerge as one of the NBA’s best shooters  (from Jay King,  masslive.com):  http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/10/boston_celtics_avery_bradley_w.html

 

–  Jared Dudley Will Fill Paul Pierce’s Shoes in Washington  (form Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/Vi5XPSEAAHUAN3Nc/jared-dudley-will-fill-paul-pierces-shoes-in-washington

 

–   Blazers’ CJ McCollum prepared for ‘delicate balance’ between scorer and point guard  (from Mike Richman,  oregonlive.com):  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/10/trail_blazers_cj_mccollum_is_navigating_the_delica.html

 

–  Suns’ Markieff Morris had Rasheed Wallace help  (from Zach Buchanan,  azcentral.com):  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/10/26/phoenix-suns-markieff-morris-had-rasheed-wallace-help/74656720/

 

–  Jabari Brown  lives on NBA fringe  (from Jeff Gordon,  stltoday.com):    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/jeff-gordon/tipsheet-ex-mizzou-star-lives-on-nba-fringe/article_b7fa2b83-d2e1-5343-a953-d0e687e904e5.html

 

–  D’Angelo Russell says he has better understanding of role with Lakers  (from Eric Pincus, LATimes):   http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-dangelo-russell-understands-role-lakers-20151026-story.html

 

–   Cavaliers X-factor for the 2015-16 NBA season: Richard Jefferson   (from Chris Haynes, cleveland.com):   http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/10/the_cleveland_cavaliers_x-facto.html

 

–  Heat taking ‘big picture’ approach when it comes to Amar’e Stoudemire’s knees, playing time  (from Manny Navarro,  Miami Herald):  http://blogs.herald.com/miami_heat/2015/10/heat-taking-big-picture-approach-when-it-comes-to-amare-stoudemires-knees-playing-time.html

 

–  Cory Joseph ready for Manu-like role in Toronto  (from Donnovan Bennett,  sportsnet.ca):  http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/cory-joseph-ready-for-manu-like-role-in-toronto/

 

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Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Quin Snyder: On Process, Patience And How An Elite Defense is Built  (from Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders):

“The biggest [challenge] offensively is spacing,” Snyder said. “When you’re the best player on the floor, sometimes it doesn’t matter where you are as much. People have to kind of react to you. And now you’re in a situation where there’s people with equal or more ability than you on the offensive end, and [you’re figuring] out how you need to space to help them, and also to help yourself to facilitate high percentage offense.”

Snyder had nowhere to go but up defensively. The Jazz were the league’s worst per-possession defense last season, with an ill-fitting scheme and a vast lack of the type of cohesiveness that defines the league’s stingier units. Quin set straight to work, identifying the largest issue immediately.

“I think pick-and-roll defense, for our group [was the biggest hurdle],” Snyder said. “Even the guys that have been here, the scheme is very different, so there’s a learning process that you go through when you’re implementing a defensive system too. And that’s such an important part of defense now in the NBA that it took some time – and not just on the ball.”

This last nugget is vital. The first step in fixing Utah’s sieve-like defense against the league’s most common and effective play type was pushing his young group to the realization that, despite there only being two players directly involved in the action, it takes all five on the court to properly defend it.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/quin-snyder-on-process-patience-and-how-an-elite-defense-is-built/

 

 

 

–  Brad Stevens is the Celtics’ greatest asset  (from Jesus Gomez,  sbnation):

” Coaching is often underrated in the NBA. It’s not uncommon to see franchises go for recognizable names, who have neither a great past record on the sideline, nor fresh ideas to bring to a team. The carousel continues and the Byron Scotts and Mike Browns of the world keep getting opportunities that should be going to more innovative coaches, who can extract the best from the talent they have.

Quin Snyder in Utah and Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta are two examples of first time NBA coaches who led their teams to significant turnarounds. Yet, there’s no better way to illustrate how important finding the right leader can be to a franchise, than to watch what Brad Stevens is doing with the Celtics.”

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/11/8387475/brad-stevens-celtics-greatest-asset

–   Why Brad Stevens Should Be Coach Of The Year  (from Stephen Varnum, hardwoordhoudini.com):

” (T)he job Stevens has done has been nothing short of a miracle with what he has had to work with.”

Read and view it here:  http://hardwoodhoudini.com/2015/04/11/why-brad-stevens-should-be-coach-of-the-year/

 

 

 

 

–  Avery Bradley believes he should make NBA All-Defensive team  (from Jay King,  masslive.com):

” Bradley was named to the All-Defensive second team as a second-year pro in 2013, but was only listed on four ballots last season, including one vote for the first team. He hasn’t heard his name mentioned much this season as a candidate, and the perceived lack of recognition is bothering him.

“I just know that (I’m the best on-ball defender),” Bradley said. “I know if players sat down and thought about it, they’re going to say me. For sure. Not to take anything away from anybody else.

“I don’t even know (if some votes are based on reputation) because I thought I had that reputation. But last year, I don’t think I got any votes (as mentioned earlier, he actually had four). It’s crazy.”

‘I don’t play for steals,’ Bradley said. “I play to stop people. That’s what wins games. It’s like they base it off of steals and stuff.”

Read it here:   http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/04/boston_celtics_avery_bradley_b.html

 

 

 

–  Jeff Hornacek Not To Blame For Suns’ Struggles  (from Gerald Bourguet, Valleyofthesuns.com):

” With the Suns having regressed from their 48-win campaign in 2013-14, Hornacek’s name has been mentioned as the scapegoat for this season’s failures.

Here’s why that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Read it here:   http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/04/11/jeff-hornacek-not-blame-suns-struggles/

 

 

 

–  Fourth quarter problems soften as Orlando Magic continue to grow  (from Philip Rossman-Reich,  orlandomagicdaily):

Read and view it here:  http://orlandomagicdaily.com/2015/04/11/fourth-quarter-problems-soften-as-orlando-magic-continue-to-grow/

 

 

 

–  Who should Andrew Wiggins study?  (from David Thorpe, ESPN):

” For Wiggins to reach his potential as a devastating scorer, he simply has to add adept ballhandling to his repertoire. Right now Wiggins can push the ball in a straight line, but he doesn’t use his dribble to help him create attacking angles in half-court isolations, where the ball actually slows him down instead.

That’s not the case with Harden, who has a better handle than any player standing over 6-foot-4. He uses his ballhandling skill like a sledgehammer, constantly destroying defenders by making them think he is attacking one way before deftly beating them off the dribble another way.

Kevin Durant is another player who exploded as a scorer once he became a far better dribbler, but it’s Harden’s change of speed and ability to use the ball to trick defenders that Wiggins should be watching all summer.”

Read and view it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12638585/andrew-wiggins-study

 

 

 

–  The fall and rise of Delonte West  (from Rick Maese, Washington Post):

“West’s Legends team, eliminated from playoff contention, is playing one of its final games. Days later most players will leave Texas and go their separate ways. Not West. He will stay in the Dallas area, convinced more than ever that everything is about to turn.

The fall and rise of Delonte West looks like this: mistakes, guns, mood disorders, money woes; second, third and fourth chances, stints in China and Venezuela; unwavering confidence that despite a nearly three-year absence from the NBA, he’ll soon be back.

West knows he has to keep explaining. Initially, he had to understand for himself how he got here, how someone who played eight NBA seasons and earned more than $16 million and who played alongside LeBron James now sleeps on a fold-out bed in the two-bedroom home of a family member. “It took me a long time to forgive myself,” he said.

But West also knows that even though he’s finally comfortable with who he is, the real key to returning to the NBA is convincing everyone else to be comfortable with who he is, too.”

Read it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/the-fall-and-rise-of-delonte-west/2015/04/10/bd0e047a-de19-11e4-b6d7-b9bc8acf16f7_story.html

 

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

 

–  Injuries place Rockets, Hawks in peril  (from Amin Elhassan):

Read it here:  http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/12661644/injuries-place-rockets-hawks-peril-nba-insider-daily

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Andrew Bogut:   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865626203/Warriors-Andrew-Bogut-reaping-rewards-of-centers-health.html

 

Joe Ingles:  http://www.slcdunk.com/2015/4/11/8387103/jazz-joe-ingles-gordon-hayward-rodney-hood-dante-exum-alec-burks-elijah-millsap-improvement

 

Mike Conley:  http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/griz-morning-after-conley-against-shutting-down

 

Ryan Kelly:  http://www.insidesocal.com/lakers/2015/04/11/lakers-ryan-kelly-eager-to-prove-he-can-play-after-experiencing-frustrating-season/

 

Dion Waiters:  http://newsok.com/dion-waiters-has-become-a-valuable-hand-for-the-short-handed-thunder/article/5409411

 

Jrue Holiday:  http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2015/04/jrue_holiday_played_his_first.html

 

Derrick Rose:  http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/bulls-butler-returning-rose-noah-have-restrictions-lessened

 

Ish Smith/Thomas Robinson/Isaiah Canaan:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150410_Sixers__rebuild_could_have_a_place_for_Smith__Robinson.html

 

Andrew Wiggins/Zach LaVine:  http://www.canishoopus.com/2015/4/9/8367705/andrew-wiggins-zach-lavine-improved-flip-saunders-three-pointers-3-point-shot

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  The Suns provided the blueprint for stopping James Harden (from Mike Prada, SBNation)

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/3/22/8272337/phoenix-suns-defense-james-harden-breakdown

 

 

–  Hawks concerned by recent play, but still confident  (from Kris Willis,  peachtreehoops.com):

“The last three games, the way teams have been able to get free and get shots and the percentages they’ve shot is a concern,” Budenholzer said. It’s a lot of little things. It starts probably with better individual defense. But I would probably be more concerned if we hadn’t shown an ability to do it a lot of the season. We need to draw on that. We need to know how important it is first, to be good defensively, and to remind us how we are good defensively, and get back to doing that.”

“We give them a lot of credit,” Budenholzer said. “Some of the things they did well I think we need to do some of those things, driving and finding guys and moving the ball. It is a lot of the stuff we have done all year. I think taking care of the paint. Just all of the little things. Decision making, quicker decisions, harder drives, better defense, better individual defense. You’ve got to do all of the little things against a good team. So tonight and other nights when we haven’t played well against the good teams, that is what you learn. Rarely is it just one big thing, it’s a lot of little things that add up to being a good team and having success.”

Read it here:  http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2015/3/23/8275519/spurs-vs-hawks-recap-mike-budenholzer

 

 

 

 Cavs have  lost only six games in 10 weeks   (from Terry Pluto,  cleveland.com):

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2015/03/cleveland_cavaliers_have_terry.html

 

 

–  Bucks disrespected JR Smith’s range and LeBron James made sure they paid  (from Chris Haynes, cleveland.com):

” (W)hen the Bucks’ defense managed to cut James off, he made them pay with his court vision.

Smith is one of the better guards in the league in moving without the ball. His high basketball IQ and long distance range paired with James has been a recipe for disaster for the opposition and the Bucks were the latest victim to find that out.

“You just find him. You find him,” James said of Smith. “When I know JR has it going, which has been a lot for us, you keep giving him the ball.”

In the fourth quarter James found Smith for two of his three consecutive wide-open three-pointers. Wherever James drove, Smith rotated the opposite way to ensure a proper passing angle if James elected to dish it off. He did, and Smith knew what to do with the ball from there.

James makes the game easy for his teammates, but the Bucks made it a lot easier. Those treys Smith connected on down the stretch, no defender was within five feet of the sharpshooter.

James isn’t shocked by how well Smith has been playing. He just chalks it up to making smart basketball plays.

“I just think over the course of the years I knew what he was very good at and for me, it’s my job once a guys comes to my team, or our team, to put them in their best position to succeed,” James said. “You don’t put Tristan [Thompson] in pick-and-rolls handling the ball, you let him set it and let him roll and he cleans glass. Things of that nature.”

“With JR, you don’t have him running pick-rolls. You have me and Kyrie [Irving] running pick-and-rolls so he can be the recipient on the backside. You put guys in the right position where they succeed the most and that’s where a team comes together because everyone does their part. And that’s all part of having a role and JR fits his role tremendously and more.”

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/03/bucks_disrespected_jr_smiths_r.html

 

 

–  Rebuilding plans diverge for Lakers, Sixers  (from Baxter Holmes,  ESPN):

” (D)espite their proud pasts, awful presents and uncertain futures, these two major-market teams have little in common. In fact, when it comes to their plan to rebound from rebuilding status, these two teams couldn’t be more different.

The Lakers not only swing for the fences, they often have a grand-slam-or-nothing mindset. Some teams go after All-Stars, but the Lakers chase future Hall of Famers and don’t settle for much less.

The 76ers have other ideas, such as aggressively trading to stockpile draft picks — even if it means trading away valuable pieces, such as Michael Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year, whom they shipped to Milwaukee in February.

All told, since Hinkie’s first draft on June, 27, 2013, the 76ers have made 21 trades, yielding 32 different players and 15 additional picks. And this June, the team could have as many as ninedraft picks — four in the first round, five in the second.

“It is extremely aggressive, it’s extremely bold,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said before the game. “We think we have to do that to get to where we want to go.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/41427/rebuilding-plans-diverge-for-lakers-sixers

 

 

 

–   Sixers’ Coach Brett Brown has winning mentality  (from Bob Cooney, philly.com):

” He knows a chance at the top pick in June’s draft slips with each win. Still, he won’t give in to the thinking that losing is better.

“I don’t know how to coach anymore if that becomes part of it all,” Brown said through a tightened jaw. “I really don’t. You can’t cheat the game. I get it and I understand it. I just don’t even know how to do my job, otherwise. We go about our business. I can’t walk into the locker room and do anything else for those guys. They want to play hard. They want to compete. Whatever ends up happening, ends up happening.”
Read it here:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150323_Sixers__Brown_has_winning_mentality.html

 

 

 

–  Randy Wittman wants Wizards to focus more on defense  (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

” (W)e’re bitching about who’s getting shots and not instead of worrying about stops,” Wittman said. “What did we score, 50 at half? That’s plenty. It has nothing to do with offense. I don’t even know why you would bring that up. It’s all about focus from a defensive standpoint.

“I think we were selfish defensively,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “We weren’t helping each other, especially in pick and rolls. We were doing concepts we weren’t even planning on doing tonight. It just creates a lot of opportunities for them, open threes, easy layups, uncontested layups. We were just out of sync. We were out of character. We weren’t playing our style of basketball.

“We come to a timeout and we’re worried about turning the ball over there, let’s look to throw it in the post,” Wittman said. “No, let’s look to get some defensive stops.”

Read  it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/03/22/randy-wittman-wants-wizards-to-focus-more-on-defense/

 

 

 

Mavs’ Over-reliance on Monta  (from Bobby Karalla,  mavsoutsider.com):

Read it here:  http://www.mavsoutsider.com/2015/03/23/ride-or-die-on-offense/

More on this (from Tim McMahon, ESPN) here:   http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4704919/too-much-monta-mavs-might-have-to-move-on

 

 

 

–  Film room: Inside Anthony Davis passing improvements  (from Matt Cianfrom,  pelicansbrief.com):

” Anthony Davis has started to show off an incredible new skill that could turn him into the type of player that renders the rest of the NBA even more helpless as he continues to grow older.

What has emerged recently from Davis is a new-found passing ability that combines both excellent tough, vision and feel for the game that not many big men in basketball today have. The results have followed as well. In his last five games Davis has posted games of six, five, seven, four and five assists. While Davis won’t ever be a player that averages 10 assists per game, the improvements have shown that the Pelicans can run their offense fully and completely through Davis and not have to worry about things bogging down.

For this trip into the film room we will look at Davis throwing four different types of passes. First working out of the high post, then from the pick-and-roll, then out of the post before a final look at a pass that didn’t turn into an assist but came from his working from the perimeter.

Read and view it here:  http://pelicandebrief.com/2015/03/23/film-room-inside-anthony-davis-passing-improvements/

 

 

 

Grizzly Light and Leadership: Memphis is Rising to the Occasion  (from Joe Mullinax,  grizzlybearblues):

” The fastest way to right the wrongs of an organization and roster is to win, and win the Memphis Grizzlies did this past weekend. After a successful run against potential playoff competition, and after the worst of Memphis in the darkness, it took a return, a force of nature, and an act of selflessness to allow for leadership and light to shine through once again.”

Read and view it here:   http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/3/23/8273227/memphis-grizzlies-leadership-green-conley-allen-greater

 

 

 

– As Clippers season winds down, coach has no formula for resting players  (from Broderick Turner,  LATimes):

“What I still don’t know — and I’m not smart enough to know that — if rest in games 40-50, is that more effective than resting from games 70 to 80? We all have theories. I’m sure there actually is an answer to that. I would think later has to be better. But who the heck knows?”

“If I thought rest would help us in the playoffs, then we’re going to rest,” Rivers said. “I think that’s the better way of explaining. Because if you’re playing guys and you’re tired, you’re going to lose anyway. So give me a chance of a healthy team. I know that as a fact: A healthy team is better than an unhealthy team. I’m positive of that.”

Read it here:   http://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/la-sp-clippers-fyi-20150323-story.html

 

 

–  The San Antonio Spurs and Fundamentals  (from JC Sites,  Vantage Sports):

“The core fundamentals are clean passing (i.e., no deflections), solid screening, staying in front of the offensive player, rebounding, and getting and making open shots. This is a broad group, but with Vantage Stats, we can inspect each fundamental aspect of the Spurs’ game.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VPinSykAAN8tlLoH/the-slam-debunk-the-san-antonio-spurs-and-fundamentals

 

 

 

Khris Middleton Q & A (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/qa-with-milwaukees-khris-middleton-on-impending-free-agency-cereal-and-more/

 

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:

 

Isaiah Canaan:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2402598-isaiah-canaan-writing-blueprint-for-philadelphia-76ers-point-guard-role

 

Ish Smith:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150323_Sixers__Brown_has_winning_mentality.html

 

Nikola Mirotic:  http://chicago.suntimes.com/basketball/7/71/462268/bulls-red-hot-nikola-mirotic-finally-getting-hang-defense

 

Ricky Ledo:  http://nypost.com/2015/03/22/shved-injury-opens-door-for-newest-shoot-happy-knick/

 

Rudy Gay:  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article16059656.html

 

Justin Holiday:  http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_27764366/warriors-justin-holiday-making-most-time-court

 

Zach LaVine/Kevin Martin/Chase Budinger:  http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/ThreePoint_Play_LaVines_recent_play_reinventing_Martin_Budinger032215

 

Elfrid Payton:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/3/22/8273579/elfrid-payton-rookie-stats-triple-double-orlando-magic

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Pat Riley:   NBA’s Ultimate Lifer Fights on in Post-LeBron Era  (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):

”  These may seem to some like silly questions to ask someone like this, someone sitting in a spacious office that speaks to the spoils of victory, from the spectacular view of Biscayne Bay to a half-century’s worth of hard-earned artifacts adorning the bookcases.

Yet, in light of the Miami Heat’s recent losses to the roster and on the court, the inquiries seemed apropos.

Any shot that Pat Riley, team president and patriarch, has lost a little faith?

That the past nine months have shaken him?

“No,” Riley said, during an hour-long interview with Bleacher Report, while nearing a 70th birthday he’d rather nobody notice, even with the book Younger Next Year prominently displayed behind him. “Just disappointed. Disappointed for Erik [Spoelstra] and for Micky [Arison] and for our fans. Really disappointed.””

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2392668-the-exclusive-pat-riley-qa-nbas-ultimate-lifer-fights-on-in-post-lebron-era

 

 

–  How Goran Dragic Is Fitting in with the Miami Heat  (from Dylan Murphy, Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2393237-breaking-down-how-goran-dragic-is-fitting-in-with-the-miami-heat

 

 

 

Brad  Stevens scribbling Celtics to victories (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

” The Boston Celtics were down two with less than a minute to play Wednesday when coach Brad Stevens calmly jotted down a play on his trusty whiteboard. The play was designed to get the ball into Kelly Olynyk’s hands but, before breaking the huddle, Stevens told Evan Turner to look for Marcus Smart curling to the hoop for a potential early-action lob.

In the game’s most pivotal moment, Turner confidently threw an alley-oop lob to a 6-foot-4 rookie who had a single field goal up to that point. Smart caught the ball with the Memphis Grizzlies’ Courtney Lee scrambling to catch up, drew contact and then muscled home the bucket off the glass as TD Garden exploded.

Just another late-game gem from Stevens.

There has been no greater transformation for this Celtics team this season than its sudden ability to convert in clutch situations. Much of that can be traced to Stevens tasking his charges with simple but effective play-calling that doesn’t overwhelm his players and strives to put them in position to succeed.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4718348/stevens-scribbling-cs-to-victories

 

 

 

–  Master of the Mid-range shot: Chris Paul’s Deadly Elbow Jumper  (from Kirk Goldsberry,  Grantland.com):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/monster-of-the-midrange-dont-sleep-on-chris-pauls-deadly-elbow-jumper/

 

 

 

Darren Collison Q & A  (from Blake Ellington, sactownroyalty.com):

Read it here:  http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2015/3/12/8198507/darren-collison-rehab-injury

 

 

 

–  The good and bad news about the Cavaliers’ improved defense  (from Matt Moore,  cbssports.com):

”  While everyone was busy last summer standing agape at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ conceptual offensive firepower, at the idea of those side pick and rolls with LeBron James and Kevin Love (that we still never see, by the way) with Kyrie Irving spacing the other side and Mike Miller up top, there were concerns hidden away about the defense.

The Cavaliers entered the year without a true rim protector, needing LeBron’s individual athletic and skill superiority combined with Anderson Varejao’s savvy and some veteran high basketball IQ to compensate for what was an alarming lack of perimeter and interior defenders. And for those first three months, both before and after Anderson Varejao’s season ending injury, the Cavaliers were a mess defensively.

They were lost, they were sluggish. James looked a step slow behind the men he was supposed to be chasing, Love looked completely overwhelmed and was constantly victimized, Tristan Thompson’s tremendous rebounding and effort could not compensate for constant schematic lapses.

So the Cavs took the most direct route from A to B. They went the easy (and sensible) route. They got better players. The acquisition of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Timofey Mozgov changed everything for the Cavaliers. It gave them superior defenders in isolation situations on the wing and in post up situations down low. And it provided the kind of help defense to substantially help their pick and roll defense.

In short: the Cavs got better players, and got a lot better at defense. Before the All-Star Break, the cavs gave up 105.1 points per 100 possessions. Since the All-Star Break, that number is down to 98.0 . That’s a jump from 22nd in the league to seventh. It’s a testament to David Blatt for implementing new pieces and for the players (particularly LeBron) for stepping up to get things under control.

The Cavs are a better defensive team.

But there are still lapses, and not “well, every team has weak points” lapses. They have “they better figure this out in the next six weeks or they are going to be in trouble,” lapses.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25103654/the-good-and-bad-news-about-the-cavaliers-improved-defense

 

 

–  SPURS WILL MAKE YOU PUT THE BALL ON THE FLOOR  (from John Schuhmann,  NBA.com):

” One reason the Spurs are so good defensively is their ability to limit their opponent’s catch-and-shoot jumpers. They allow just 21.2 per game, the fewest in the league.

Effective field goal percentage drops significantly when you can make your opponent put the ball on the floor, mostly because your pushing him inside the 3-point line. But catch-and-shoot jumpers are also better shots (for the offense) from a pure make-or-miss perspective.

The Spurs limit their opponent’s catch-and-shoot opportunities in a few different ways…

  1. They pressure the ball, making it tougher to make a direct pass to an open shooter.
  2. Their bigs hang back on pick-and-rolls, so that their teammates don’t have to help much on the roll man and can stay at home on the shooters.
  3. They close out aggressively, but at an angle to keep the ball away from the middle of the floor, where more passing lanes are available.
  4. If there is any help on pick-and-rolls, it doesn’t come out of the strong-side corner.”

Read and view it here:  http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2015/03/12/one-stat-one-play-spurs-will-make-you-put-the-ball-on-the-floor/

 

 

 

–  The Case for Each Most Improved Player Candidate (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-the-case-for-most-improved-player-candidates/

 

 

 

–  The Nuggets look like a completely different team since firing Brian Shaw  (from jesus Gomez, sbnation.com):

Read it here:   http://www.sbnation.com/2015/3/12/8199827/nuggets-brian-shaw-fired-melvin-hunt

 

 

 

 

– NBA stars jump through hoops to perfect shot with specialist Bob Thate  (from Chris Erskine, LA Times):

Read it here:  http://www.centredaily.com/2015/03/12/4646461_chris-erskine-nba-stars-jump-through.html?&rh=1

 

 

 

–  A chat with the Nuggets Strength and Conditioning Coach (from Mike Olson, denverstiffs.com):

Read it here:  http://www.denverstiffs.com/2015/3/12/8187397/blessed-like-hess-a-chat-with-the-nuggets-strength-and-conditioning

 

 

 

–  The problem with the Tellem’s draft and D-League overhaul proposal  (from Matt Mooe, cbssports.com):

Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25102954/the-problem-with-the-tellems-draft-and-d-league-overhaul-proposal

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Nerlens Noel:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nerlens-noel-the-other-rookie-of-the-year/

 

Andrew Bogut:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2393562-its-time-to-give-andrew-bogut-some-credit

 

Chris Paul:  http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/clippers/post/_/id/7554/paul-has-own-mvp-showing-vs-westbrook

 

Ben McLemore:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2393287-sacramento-kings-still-searching-for-the-real-ben-mclemore

 

Rodney Hood:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/03/11/jazz-hood/index.html

 

Kelly Olynyk:  http://www.csnne.com/blog/celtics-talk/olynyk-finding-his-game-shooting-ball-more

 

Isaiah Thomas/Jae Crowder/Jonas Jerebko/Gigi Datome:  http://www.celticshub.com/2015/03/12/isaiah-thomas-jae-crowder-boston-celtics-new-players-progress-report/

 

Kelly Olynyk/Jae Crowder:  http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/03/boston_celtics_notes_jae_crowd_2.html

 

Danny Green:  http://www.poundingtherock.com/2015/3/11/8194075/danny-green-free-agent-career-year-synergy-sports

 

Terrence Jones:  http://www.oregonlive.com/nba/index.ssf/2015/03/terrence_jones_playing_well_in.html

 

John Wall:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/03/12/a-rejuvenated-john-wall-makes-a-significant-difference-for-wizards/

 

Alexis Ajinca:  http://www.nba.com/pelicans/news/pelicans-center-alexis-ajinca-makes-dramatic-improvement-now-thriving-during-second-nba-stint

 

Sim Bhullar:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2383520-will-sim-bhullar-become-the-next-big-thing-from-the-nba-d-league

 

Jeff Green:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/3/12/8198647/grizzlies-dispatch-from-boston-maximizing-the-jeff-green-effect

 

Iman Shumpert:  http://www.news-herald.com/sports/20150311/cleveland-cavaliers-iman-shumpert-making-his-mark-on-defense

 

Dwight Powell:  http://www.mavs.com/how-dwight-powell-is-making-a-name-for-himself/

 

Derrick Williams:  http://aroyalpain.com/2015/03/12/george-karl-has-momentarily-fixed-derrick-williams/

 

Isaiah Canaan:  http://isportsweb.com/2015/03/12/canaan-ball-isaiah-makes-splash-for-philadelphia-76ers/

 

Seth Curry:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/03/11/can-seth-curry-succeed-in-the-nba/

 

James Harden/Enes Kanter:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VPzheykAACgAnSUK/pivot-point-19-death-taxes-and-harden-drawing-fouls-kanter-is-playing-defense