Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/24/15

–  Blazers Offense: Looking to Claim an Identity  (from Joel Viss,

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–  Trail Blazers forced to evolve without LaMarcus Aldridge  (from Wes Goldberg,  Hardwood Paroxusm):

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–  The Bulls’ complicated frontcourt puzzle has no clear solution  (from Tim Cato,

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–  Rose Returns: Bulls close preseason 4-4 with last second win over Dallas  (from Sam Smith,

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–  Derrick Rose can’t stop raving about the Bulls’ new offense under Fred Hoiberg  (from Ricky O’Donnell,

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–  The Thunder and the NBA are trying to be more careful about concussions  (form Anthony Slater,

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–  NBA tries to learn from painful injury lessons of last year   (from Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press):

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–  Flip Saunders will not return to coach Wolves this season  (from Jerry Zgoda,

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–  Gregg Popovich to succeed Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of USA Basketball  (from Tim Cato,

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–  The phone call that led to Gregg Popovich becoming Team USA’s coach  (from Adrian Wojnarowski,  Yahoo Sports):

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–  Every NBA Team’s Biggest Training-Camp Revelation so Far  (from Dan Favale, Bleacher Report):

” Training camp and preseason revelations do, in fact, have a place in the NBA.

Exhibition play is too often dismissed as meaningless, because the games do not count toward the standings and rotations league-wide are littered with players who won’t make the roster or get much regular-season burn.

But those caveats do not render the preseason worthless. To the contrary, the Assocation’s beta period is a time for learning, for figuring out what a team has to work with and for small- or large-scale epiphanies.

These realizations can be anything, on- or off-court related. Is a certain player prepared to make the leap? Does a rotation long shot now deserve regular-season playing time? Have any key team pieces fallen out of favor? Is one squad unexpectedly good at something? Is another shockingly bad at something else?

Nothing and no one is off-limits here, folks. Surprises, disappointments, random but meaningful observations and everything else you can possibly think of are all rolled into one as we search for what to watch ahead of opening night.”

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One player from each team who could break out in 2015  (from Scott Davis,

” In a sport that features shorter rotations and heavy minutes, it can be tough to have a breakout season in the NBA.

Nonetheless, every once in a while, an NBA coach puts their trust in a youngster and a hole in the rotation opens up just right to give a player a chance to shine.

Sometimes these are rookies who come into the NBA ready to play, sometimes they’re second-year players who are finally getting a crack, and sometimes they’re older players who are simply in a better position than in past seasons.

With the NBA season rapidly approaching, we broke down one player on each team who could have a breakout season in 2015.”

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–  Hornets preseason play is encouraging  (from Chris barnewall,

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Monta Ellis: ‘Basketball was my escape. I really didn’t have a childhood’  (from Candace Buckner,


–  Isaiah Canaan learning a balancing act at point guard  (from Bob Cooney,


Damian Lillard And Getting To The Line  (form Casey Holdahl,


–  Stauskas’ Potential  (form Andy Jasner,


–  Matt Barnes: At Home with the Grizzlies (from Shaun Powell,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   The Last Ride of the Spurs Dynasty: Appreciating San Antonio’s Final Hurrah   (from Zach Lowe,

” The Spurs should be the biggest story of the postseason as long as they’re kicking. There are other meaty issues: the Warriors’ quest to cap their historically dominant regular season; LeBron James, redeeming Cleveland and dunking Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving into the playoff baptismal pool; Derrick Rose’s desperate search for his MVP zip; the trumped-up battle over Chris Paul’s “legacy”; the Hawks, once the NBA’s most vanilla organization, soldiering through tabloid headlines and the possibility that police brutality ended Thabo Sefolosha’s season; and the Wizards’ and Raptors’ dual quest to play a passable professional basketball game.

But nothing tops what could be the last stand of the Spurs as we know them. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are 381 and 37, respectively, and both could retire — even though each is clearly capable of playing at a high level beyond this season. Six other rotation players are free agents, including Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, perhaps the best two-way starting wing combination in the league. The Spurs are down 1-0, with Game 2 on the road against the strongest first-round opponent they’ve faced in the Tim Duncan era.

The Spurs could easily win this series,2 repeat as champions, and re-sign their aging stars to one- or two-year contracts. This could all be much ado about nothing. The franchise hasn’t faced this level of top-to-bottom uncertainty since Duncan dined with the Magic in 2000, and it’s hard to quash the feeling of preemptive nostalgia as you watch Duncan drain bank shots and nail every rotation while Ginobili dances steps he literally invented. Appreciate it all, because this really could be the last springtime run for one of the greatest core groups in the history of team sports.”

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(NOTE:  This story also includes Zach’s takes on a number of the other playoff series)




– Let’s Look at the Clippers’ Perfect Offensive Scheme  (from Sagar Panchal,

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 Draymond Green:  Brow’s shadow steps into spotlight  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN):

” After the Golden State Warriors finally closed out the scrapping New Orleans Pelicans 97-87 in Game 2, Klay Thompson got the national TV interview. Draymond Green, whose defense was astounding on Monday night, talked for the local feed. It happened that way because that’s how we’ve always done things. If you scored the most points and your team won, you’re getting the biggest spotlight. It’s the formula because scoring a basket is obvious and preventing one is less obvious.

Though Thompson certainly deserves acclaim for a great shooting game, this particular space will mostly be reserved for crediting Green, fulcrum of a Golden State defense that held New Orleans to 37.8 percent shooting. Green’s overall defense on Monday night was brilliant, but most especially against Anthony Davis. Their battles echo those of the shorter Tony Allen throwing everything atKevin Durant — the undersized grinder going up against young Goliath.

In theory, this should have been too large a task for Green, who’s the size of a wing player. “It’s tough, man,” he said after the game. “Most guys I give up length to who I guard, most them aren’t as quick as me though.”

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–  Draymond Green, Warriors’ bench fuel Game 2 win against pesky Pelicans (from Phil Taylor,  Sports Illustrated):

”  The Warrior reserves were missing in action in Game 1, but they re-emerged on Monday night at the best possible time for Golden State. The Warriors trailed 28-17 after the first quarter and were badly in need of a boost. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to score eight points on an assortment of drives and jumpers, Marreese Speightsdrilled a couple of mid-range shots and Andre Iguodala made a corner three after some crisp ball movement.

Boost provided.

“Nobody will write it, nobody will talk about it, but the bench won us the game,” Green said. “When they left the game we were still down seven, but they changed the complete pace and tempo of the game. We were getting punched and getting punched and getting punched, and then the second unit came out and threw a punch.”’

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–  This is why you pay Draymond Green his money (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):

” In the context of the Warriors, Draymond Green is a virtuoso. There is absolutely no reason for Golden State to abandon the relationship.”

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–  The Other Guy: Klay Thompson on His Sensational Season  (from Kirk Goldsberry,

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–  Nets look to get Brook Lopez going  (from Mike Mazzeo,  ESPN):

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–  How the Atlanta Hawks (and Lionel Hollins) Limited Brook Lopez in Game 1  (from Paul Mitchell,

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–  Film Study: The Nets ability to stop the Hawks 3-point assault  (from  Reed Wallach,

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–  How Can the Celtics Slow Down Kyrie Irving?  (from Jordan Greer,

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–  Kyrie Was Hot but Celtics’  TO% and Cavs’  OReb Pursuit Rate Are More Telling  (from Kevin O’Connor,  Vantage Sports):

” “The turnovers kill you. The offensive rebounds kill you,” (Celtics’ Coach Brad) Stevens said. “The superhuman shots do not.”

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–  Video Review: How the Rockets ran the ball down the Mavericks’ throat  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

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–  Digging deeper into James Harden’s Game 1  (from Jake Garcia,

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Rockets-Mavs:  WHAT TO WATCH FOR: GAME 2 (from Bobby Karalla,

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–  How the Mavericks can fix the problem of Dirk Nowitzki’s defense  (from Josh Bowe,

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–  Dwight Howard plans to stop using ‘weight-room muscles’ against Mavericks in Game 2  (from Eddie Sefko,

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Butler’s Efficient Scoring Helped by Bulls’ Assist Rate as Bucks Fail to Keep Pace  (from Bob macKinnon, Vantage Sports):

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– Bucks offense stagnates with lack of passing in Game 2 loss  (from Mark Strotman,

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George Karl on the playoffs (from Bill Herenda,

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–  Player development a Scott Brooks strength  (from Berry Tramel,

” (A) criticism I’ve heard about Brooks is measureable. And quite absurd. The idea that Brooks doesn’t develop players.

What can anyone possibly be talking about? Player development has been a Thunder mantra since the franchise hit town, and it’s not just talk. The Thunder develops players wonderfully, and coaching has to be a major part of that. Let’s go down the list:”

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–   With Enes Kanter, the Thunder plugged one hole but opened another  (from Berry Tramel,

” Kanter could score. but his defense was atrocious”

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–  A year of familiarity figures to get Pistons closer to top-10 D standing SVG craves  (from Keith Langlois,

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Paul Millsap:


James Johnson:


James Harden:


Jimmy Butler:


Mike Conley:


Terrence Ross:


Robin Lopez:


Clint Capela:


Jordan Adams:


Elfrid Payton;


Isaiah Canaan:


Nik Stauskas:


Tyler Johnson:


Furkan Aldemir:


Ish Smith: