Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/20/15

–  It’s Good to Be Jimmy Butler  (from Bryan Smith,

” When I ask why he hates talking about the past so much, Butler shifts uncomfortably on the sectional in the grand San Diego house. “It’s because I don’t ever want that to define me,” he says. “I hated it whenever it came up because that’s all anybody ever wanted to talk about. Like, that hasn’t gotten me to where I am today. I’m a great basketball player because of my work. I’m a good basketball player because of the people I have around me. And if I continue to be stuck in the past, then I won’t get any better. I won’t change, I’ll get stuck as that kid. That’s not who I am. I’m so far ahead of that. I don’t hold grudges. I still talk to my family. My mom. My father. We love each other. That’s never going to change.”

Read it here:


–  Fred Hoiberg plans to slightly cut Jimmy Butler’s minutes  (from Vincent Goodwill,  csnchicago):

Read it here:


–  Video: Pistons Guard Spencer Dinwiddie On Playing In The NBA  (from Coach Nick,  BBall Breakdown):

Watch it here:


–  Suns eager for Bledsoe-Knight chemistry  (from Zach Buchanan,

Read it here:


–  More passes to come from Thunder bigs?  (from Erik Horne,

Read it here:


–  Mike Conley’s year, JaMychal Green’s emergence, Jarnell Stokes’ future and more  (from Chris Herringotn,

Read it here:


–  Knicks Hoping Personnel Upgrades Alleviate Last Year’s Defensive Disaster  (from Jared Dubin, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:


–  How Amir Johnson Will Improve Celtics’ Frontcourt Defense (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:


–  The Lakers, floor balance, and transition defense  (from Adam Mares,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:


–   The delicate balance of ball movement for the Suns  (from Bryan Gibberman,

“If you have three or four passes before you even really get into your play — you look at some of those teams, some of them, yea, the passes are meaningful, but then there’s other teams that when you look at the list of teams that make a lot of passes, you’re like, OK, they drove four or five passes before you even get into the action,” Hornacek said.

“If you want to count those, sure, go ahead, we prefer not to use 20 seconds of the clock. We want to get the game up and down and we’ll get into the action without the five passes.”

“We want that as the guards, Eric (Bledsoe) and Brandon (Knight), to create and these other guys they’ll get kick outs, they’ll catch balls on the run,” said Hornacek. “When your guys start breaking people down and pulling people in, then they throw it to you, that’s your opportunity to catch it on the run and make their play that way. Not catch the ball, isolate, let the defense set, try to go one-on-one.”

Read it here:


–  The Myth of DeMar DeRozan’s Athleticism  (from harshdave,

Read and view it here:

(Note: This story has an interesting take on what constitutes “athleticism”.  Some related worthwhile takes:

-from Brian McCormick’s hard2guard newsletter, 9/07:

“Steve Nash is often described as unathletic because he does not dunk. However, he is incredibly athletic. His hand-eye coordination is as good as it gets in the NBA; his reaction time is unbelievable; his lateral movement is excellent; his ability to switch from a broad or soft-centered focus to a narrow, fine-centered focus is the best in the NBA; his body awareness is exceptional; his dexterity with both hands is tops in the NBA; his first step quickness is far above average for the NBA; his core strength is unparalleled in the NBA and likely the only reason he is able to continue playing with his chronic back problems. In all these categories, he is in the top 1% of NBA players, but because he does not “look” athletic (sculpted muscles) or do obviously athletic things (dunk), the popular media characterizes him as unathletic.”


– from Vern Gambetta (1996):

” (Athleticsim is) “the ability to execute athletic movements (run, jump, throw) at optimum speed with precision, style and grace while demonstrating technical competency in the context of your sport.”

“The foundations for athleticism are basic coordinative activities..(which are)
-Balance (Maintenance of the center of gravity over tha base of support, which is both static & dynamic)
-kinesthetic differentiation (ability to feel tension in movement to achieve the desired movement)
– Spatial orientation (The control of the body in space)
– Reaction to signals (The ability to respond quickly to auditory, visual and kinesthetic cues)
-Sense of rhythm (The ability to match rhythm to time)
-Synchronization of movements in time (unrelated limb movements done in a synchronized manner)
– Movement adequacy (Ability to choose movements appropriate to the task)

The coordinative never work in isolation, they are all closely related.”

– from David Friedman’s 20 second timeout interviews with Mike D’Antoni, Dan Majerle and Steve Kerr (2007):


 James Harden’s next step; Replacing DeMarre Carroll; LaMarcus Aldridge Q&A  (form Chris Mannix,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:


–  Warriors hope to repeat; Lamar Odom; Pau Gasol Q & A  (from David Aldridge,

Read it here:


–  Being Jim Buss  (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):


Read it here:


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Cory Joseph has been pleasant surprise for Raptors  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Postmedia Network):


–  Spurs:  With chance for bench to impress, Kyle Anderson, Boban Marjanovic deliver (from Michael C. Wright,  ESPN):


–   Eric Moreland’s hustle, energy keep him in Kings’ mix  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):


–  International import Salah Mejri could play a big role for the Mavs  (from Eddie Sefko,


–  Blake Griffin trained with sprinter Carmelita Jeter to improve his speed  (from Melissa Rohlin, LA Times):


–   Re-energized Rudy Gobert raring to go for big Jazz season  (from Jody Gennesy,


–  Celtics: Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko (from Jay King,


– Extra practice has Rozier feeling confident (from Jimmy Toscano,




–  Mavericks: John Jenkins Continues to Impress  (from Jay Knodell,


Jared Sullinger Shows off His Passing Skills  (from Marc D’Amico,


–  Oladipo Spending Countless Hours in Gym Improving Shot  (from John Denton,


–  Rockets’ Joshua Smith doing utmost to fill big-man shoes  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):


–  Martell Webster seeks second opinion for injured right hip  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):


–  Raymond Felton ran the show in Cleveland  (from Bobby Karalla,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis: Part One

The Finals:


Curry and Dellavedova (from Jimmy Spencer,  Sporting News):

Read it here:

More on this (from Rodger Sherman, sbnation):





Read and view it here:




–  Five thoughts on the Finals (from Jack Armstrong,

Read it here:




–  The Cavaliers’ Defense Deserves All The Love  (from Tom Ley,

” Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson are both offensive rebound factories, and the effort required to keep them off the glass can make it difficult for the Warriors to get out on the break. The loss of Kyrie Irving meant that the Cavs almost always had their best defensive lineup on the floor, and they had success giving Andre Iguodala the Tony Allen treatment, ignoring him in the perimeter in favor of packing the paint. But above all that, what will stick with me from last night’s game is just how hard the Cavs played on the defensive end. This game was about five guys busting their asses against an a tidal wave of an offense and punching that sucker right back into the sea.”

Read it here:





” A big mistake being made right now — people are attempting to discredit both the Warriors and the non-Lebron Cavaliers. People are wrong to do both. If the Warriors win this series, it is because they have some of the best players in the world and have been the best team in basketball for the last seven or eight months. They have a great coach, a great starting five, a deep bench, and a brilliant group of assistant coaches.

But the Cavaliers aren’t just Lebron James as much as people want to shout that.

Matthew Dellavedova isn’t Kyrie Irving, but Irving also isn’t Dellavedova. Irving is a big time guard, the kind of player who can score baskets and occasionally distribute well, but he isn’t a respected defender and the big question around Irving coming into this series was going to be his defense on Curry or when switched off onto Klay Thompson.

Kevin Love was lost to injury in the first round of the playoffs, eventually Blatt settled into giving major minutes to Tristan Thompson. Thompson is perfectly suited to this series and playing in a lineup with gritty players like Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert. His constant work, similar to what Delly does, is combined with a bit more skill than what the smaller Australian-born guard offers. But they both work very hard, hustling for loose balls, drawing fouls, making their opponent work hard for whatever they get.

Both Dellavedova and Thompson are bringing something to this series that Irving and Love couldn’t, and that Lebron James desperately needed.

But it isn’t just one, or two, or three players. Cleveland also brought Mozgov in this season. The mountain of a center has given Bogut all he can handle through two games in this series.

Read it here:




–  Cavaliers are ‘All In’ when it comes to defense and team unity  (from Terry Pluto,

“It’s the grit squad that we have,” said James. “It’s not cute at all. If you’re looking for us to play sexy, cute basketball, then that’s not us… Everything is tough.”

The Cavs want to beat Golden State for every rebound, every loose ball. They want to make the Warriors work for every open shot. They want to slow the game down, to make it seem almost to crawl for a team that averaged an NBA-best 110 points per game in the regular season.

The Cavs won this game despite shooting a rim-bending 33 percent. They won because (of) a defense led by Matthew Dellavedova

Consider that Tristan Thompson scored the Cavs first two points of the series — 32 seconds into Game 1. That was his last field goal, as he’s 1-of-9 from the field. He has four total points.

But Thompson has snared 29 rebounds in the two games. He challenges opponents driving to the rim.

Thompson? Delly?

Then there’s 7-foot-1 Timofey Mozgov, who is averaging 16.5 points and shooting 56 percent from the field in this series. That makes him an offensive force for this Grit Squad.

The Russian also has 18 rebounds in the two games.”

Read it here:




LeBron James And His ‘Grit Squad’ Win Ugly And Find Their Title Identity In Game 2 (from Jack Winter,  Dime Magazine):

” The numbers have never accurately reflected the true scope of James’ influence. Like there’s no way to account for the impact of a player who guards five positions while simultaneously serving as his team’s floor general and primary scorer, there’s no way to properly assess what an all-time great at the height of his leadership and intellectual sensibilities means to Cleveland mentally, either.

“It’s the grit squad that we have. It’s not cute at all. If you’re looking for us to play sexy, cute basketball, then that’s not us,” he said. “That’s not us right now. Everything is tough. You know, we’re going to come in with an aggressive mindset defensively and offensively. And for us to win a Finals game shooting 32 percent from the field, it’s just a testament of how gritty we can be.”

Read it here:




Cavs 95, Warriors 93; Jason Lloyd’s 46 final thoughts on first NBA Finals win in franchise history  (from Jason lloyd,

Read it here:




From Steve Kerr:    “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, it doesn’t go in, it’s fine. I’ve seen it with everybody. I’ve seen it with Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan. It doesn’t matter who you are. Nobody is immune from it. Steph has been phenomenal throughout the playoffs. Doesn’t mean he’s going to light it up every single night. So you chalk it up to a bad night and see what you can do to try to free him up and maybe get him some open looks.”

“This is the Finals. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. We had a tough night. So you have to move on. You’ve got to learn from it and get better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”




And for those with access to ESPN Insider:


–   Game 2 observations: Cavs outworking Warriors on D and offensive glass  (from Kevin Pelton):

” For three rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliersrelied on a dominant but inefficient LeBron James, offensive rebounds, stout defense and opponents missing 3-point shots to go 12-2 and reach the NBA Finals.

Even before they lost starting point guard Kyrie Irving to a fractured kneecap, there was skepticism that the Cavaliers could keep it up against the tougherGolden State Warriors. But on Sunday night, that same formula allowed them to win Game 2 and tie the Finals at 1-1 heading back to Cleveland for Tuesday’s Game 3.”

Read Kevin’s  “look at the Cavaliers’ keys to victory” here:





Stories from outside the finals:


–  Billy Donovan Doing Is Best Steve Kerr Impersonation  (from Sam Livingston,

” As soon as Kerr accepted the job, he immediately began recruiting an assistant coaching staff that had a lot of NBA experience.

Now, Donovan is trying to follow suit by hiring the same type of assistants.

The purpose of hiring these assistants is the exact same reason Kerr had for hiring his: to set up a smooth transition into the NBA. There are a couple other parallels between Donovan and Kerr that suggest Donovan could very well have a similar rookie season.

First off, both are known to be very keen and creative offensive minds with systems that stress ball-movement.

(Donovan has said)  “That’s what I really believe in, ball movement, player movement, extra pass. If you’ve got a shot and someone’s got a better one, move the ball.”

Maybe the most important similarity of Donovan to Kerr is the team he is inheriting. When he signed on for the job, Kerr got an extremely deep and talented pool of players. Donovan is about to get the very same thing.”

Read it here:




–  The Pelicans’ Roster Under Gentry – What to Expect Next  (from Mason Ginsburg,

” First, Alvin Gentry. Soon after, Darren Erman & Robert Pack. The core of an excellent new Pelicans coaching staff is now in place, and with that being the case, the natural next question is how the upcoming free agency period will be affected by these changes. Below is a player-by-player look at what the Gentry hire could mean for the Pelicans this summer”

Read it here:




Scott Skiles Q & A (from Josh Robbins,

Read it here:




Chandler Parsons, Part One : Shooting (from Bobby Karalla,

Part One of a 5-part breakdown of all elements of his game.

Read and view it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Jarnell Stokes:


Norris Cole:


Matt Barnes:


Jordan McRae:


Quincy Miller:


Julius Randle:


Sergio Llull:

Today’s Top NBA Preseason Stories

– How Stan Van Gundy Is Helping Josh Smith (from Michael Pina,

With Stan Van Gundy now serving as Detroit’s head coach, the time for excuses is over. Van Gundy is one of the league’s brightest leaders, and as likely a coach as any to help get Smith’s career back on track, hopefully to the point where he is a long-term partner beside Andre Drummond. The preseason has not been all pretty – not that any preseason ever is – but in it, there have been a few things from Smith that suggest his second year with the Pistons could be far more successful than his first.

Watching Detroit in their three preseason games, the first and least surprising thing that jumps out is Van Gundy’s unwillingness to play Smith, Greg Monroe, and Drummond together. One of the three has started each game off the bench, with three different front-court combinations in the starting lineup. This is clearly a smart thing to do, and incredibly beneficial to Smith in particular, whose playmaking ability can be unleashed with another shooter on the court.

Read and view it here:

And read David Aldridge’s Q & A with SVG in yesterday’s Morning Tip (

– 33 Crazy Predictions for the NBA Season (from Zach Lowe,

” Kevin Durant’s injury is the latest reminder that preseason predictions are folly. Too many unknowns will emerge between now and June — injuries, ownership changes, firings, inexplicable slumps, and X-rated Twitter escapades.

Predictions are also fun! It’s useful to comb new rosters, league trends, and burbling scuttlebutt, and suss out things that could happen over the next 10 months. You’re mostly going to be wrong, especially on the ultraspecific calls, but it’s a good way to take in the wider NBA landscape and hazard some funky educated guesses.

Herewith, our third annual 33 Crazy Predictions for the NBA Season”

Read Zach’s predictions here:

– Raptor Lucas Nogueira (from Stephen Brotherston, Pro BBall Report):

” When the Toronto Raptors traded John Salmons earlier this summer, they received a young unsigned former first round draft pick back in addition to the veteran Lou Williams. The long lanky center Lucas ‘Bebe’ Nogueira is a potential shot swatting machine who looked good as a reserve in Spain’s top league, however, a serious nagging groin injury has left him not quite ready to play for the Raptors in preseason games. Fortunately, his return to action shouldn’t be very far off.

“I can warm up,” Nogueira said. “This is the worst experience of my life. Warm up with the team, do everything and the coach sees you, but I see the doctors and the doctors say, no you can’t play.

“I think for me, this is the best and worst experience. The best because this is my dream coming true, the first year in the NBA and worst because I can’t help my team.”

Read it here:

– Role switches for Warriors’ duo produce promising results (from Rusty Simmons,

” The Warriors returned home early Monday morning from a week in Southern California, where they went 3-0 and were applauded by their head coach for being further along than he expected two weeks into training camp.

That hasn’t stopped Steve Kerr from continuing to tinker with his lineup. Harrison Barnes replaced Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup for Sunday’s 41-point preseason win over the Lakers, and the new-look rotation just might stick for a while.

The move accomplishes two major things: First, it gets Barnes into the starting five, in which he thrived in the 2013 playoffs. Second, it allows Iguodala to act as a backup ball distributor until Shaun Livingston returns from toe surgery — a timeline that Kerr believes could stretch a week or two into the regular season.

Read it here:

And, the same subject, covered by Drew Garrison (SBNation) here:

– Harrison Barnes Scouting Report (from Rafael Uehara, BBall Breakdown):

” As a rookie, Harrison Barnes had a promising season as an important part of a Golden State Warriors team that was tied 2-2 with the San Antonio Spurs heading into game five of the Western Conference semifinals. However, be it because of Andre Iguodala’s addition changing his role or some other unknown reason, Barnes’s second season was a comparative disaster. Other than on-ball defense and transition scoring — aspects he can be easily effective in due to his physical profile and by playing hard — Barnes was found wanting in all other areas of his game.

There was a big difference in the way in which he was used. Barnes spent 1318 of his 2058 minutes in his first season in five-man lineups that had all of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee in them. Once the Warriors acquired Iguodala, however, head coach Mark Jackson installed the veteran in Barnes’s place and designated the 21-year-old as the leader of his second unit. A second unit is a mostly outdated concept, as it is now widely understood that the best way to manage your rotation is by staggering minutes in order to always have one of your best players on the court and limit the drop-off in production once you substitute. Jackson, however, was not much of a forward thinker in that department.”

Read it here:

And Harrison Barnes Q & A at

– Jarrett Jack finds ‘new beginning’ in Brooklyn (from Mike Mazzeo, EspnNewYork):

” During the 2012-13 playoffs, Jarrett Jack was unstoppable.

He averaged 17.2 points and 4.7 assists in 35.5 minutes per game for the Golden State Warriors while shooting 50.6 percent from the field. The 12-game stretch represented the best stretch of basketball Jack has played during his 10-year career.

He parlayed that postseason success into a four-year, $25 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but struggled to produce on a young team which quickly found itself in rebuilding mode.
The Nets, who coveted Jack dating back to last season’s trade deadline, acquired him in a three-way deal over the summer — which enabled Cleveland to bring back superstar LeBron James with its extra cap space — with the hope that he can rediscover his sparkplug scoring ways off their bench.

Jack believes he’s primed to have a big year in Brooklyn. “No question,” he said. “With the combination of the system and then the players that draw so much attention themselves, it allows opportunities for all of us to be successful.””

Read it here:

– Replacing Bradley Beal will be a team effort for Washington Wizards (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

Read it here:

– Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau envious of Spurs’ model   (from Mark Strotman,

” A main theme of Tom Thibodeau’s messages to his team this preseason has been preparing, practicing and playing as if it were the regular season.

And the way the Bulls head coach sees it, if the defending champions are doing it, it’s probably a good idea to follow suit.

“I’m watching San Antonio and they’re going after it,” Thibodeau said prior to the Bulls’ Monday night contest against the Denver Nuggets. “(Tony) Parker, (Tim) Duncan are playing huge minutes right off the start. I think that’s a sign of their readiness to start the season.”

Read it here:

– Bulls, Nuggets draft-night trade paying off for both sides  (from Mike Singer,

” There’s only been a small sample size, but the draft-night trade between the Bulls and Nuggets has seen positive returns for both parties.

The Bulls acquired Doug McDermott, the 11th pick, in exchange for Nos. 16 and 19, which became 6-foot-11 center Jusuf Nurkic and Michigan State guard Gary Harris. When Harris was chosen at No. 19, he said he already knew that he was headed to the Nuggets, despite wearing a Bulls hat as he crossed the stage.”

Read it here:

– Payton Continues to Show Plenty of Promise (from John Denton,

” In a matter of seconds on Monday night, rookie Elfrid Payton showed off the rare combination of skills that made the Orlando Magic fall in love with him in last June’s NBA Draft and eagerly anticipate his future.

However, in a game-turning fourth quarter, Payton’s strong start to the night was undone when he was forced to stomach a hearty taste of reality.

It is merely the preseason and plenty of growing pains are undoubtedly ahead, but Payton showed promise in the first start of his professional career. If there were any nerves, the 20-year-old didn’t show any in the Magic’s 99-97 loss to the Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.”

Read it here:

– The Playmaking of Shabazz Napier and James Ennis  (from Couper Moorhead,

” Youth with potential is a great thing to have in any context. But as soon as that youth is on your roster, the discovery process begins.

What does this potential mean?

How likely is this player to realize it?

From afar, two of Miami’s rookies might appear to fit into fairly typical molds. James Ennis the hyper-athletic wing who slashes to the rim and finishes on the break, and Shabazz Napier the super-quick point guard who makes a living scoring off the dribble. With enough efficiency and effectiveness, each is a useful player type to have in a rotation, particularly in combination with young, energized legs.

Just three games in their first preseason, however, it’s far too early to start worrying about slotting either player into pre-defined roles. This is especially true when each has already shown a more complete skillset than is to be expected in the early hours of the league’s marathon season, and part of that arsenal includes one of the most valuable, yet underrated, skills in the game: passing.”

Read it here:

– Blazers’ Matthews enters final year of his contract (from Eric Gundersen,

” Nicolas Batum said Matthews’ defense against James Harden, who shot 37 percent against Portland in the six-game series, was “unbelievable,” saying he was the “maybe the best defender in the NBA” during the series.

While Portland’s shooting guard isn’t focused on winning NBA honors like being selected to the All-Defensive team, he’s certainly not bashful about his place in the league.

“I’m never going to be the type that gets gaudy numbers to make an All-Defensive team,” said Matthews before getting to his case.

“Do I think I’m All-Defense? Absolutely. I think I’m the best two-way two-guard in the NBA. But I feel like we need to be a good defensive team within the scheme of the game. We’re not out there gambling, trying to reach and get steals. That would put us in a bind if I don’t get it,” Matthews said.”

Read it here:

– Back at the Garden, a Different Knicks Team Is in Search of Chemistry (from Scott Cacciola, NYTimes):

” Fisher reiterated that he was not focusing on wins and losses. The preseason, he said, is an opportunity for him to experiment with lineups and rotations, and for the players to unearth some chemistry.”

Read it here:

– Rookie Rodney Hood and Utah Jazz have plenty of reasons to smile in his big debut (from Jody Genessy, Deseret News):

” Hood, whose birthday is Oct. 20, was terrific in his first taste of NBA action, which included his first minutes of the exhibition season and his first start because of a new injury to Alec Burks (right shoulder bruise).

“Clearly,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, “he had an impact on the game with his ability to space the floor.”

Read it here:

– Derrick Rose shows stretches of old self in Bulls win  (from Mark Strotman,

” It’s not all back for Derrick Rose, but the glimpses are becoming more frequent.

If the Bulls point guard showed flashes of his old self in the preseason opener a week ago and showed glimpses in a pair of games last week, it’s fair to say that Rose has graduated to showing stretches of his former self following his performance in Monday’s 110-90 win over the Nuggets.”

Read and view it here:

– Bulls’ Jimmy Butler: ‘I’m not even supposed to be in the NBA’  (from Mike Singer,

” Jimmy Butler has always been a menace on the defensive end, but the fourth-year guard is starting to realize his immense potential on the offensive end as well. ”

Read it here:

– How Will Paul Pierce Fit in Washington? (from Bobby Karalla, BBall Breakdown):

Read it here”

– Michael Jordan becoming great owner, too, for Hornets (from Sam Amick, USA Today):

” As Michael Jordan knows better than anyone from his legendary playing days, one good season does not a reputation make.

Respect and credibility are built over time, with one’s career a compilation of the good, the bad and — as had been the case in Jordan’s post-playing life as an owner and executive — the ugly.

But nearly 15 years after his management-ownership career began with the Washington Wizards, has Jordan finally become an effective boss? It’s certainly starting to seem that way.”

Read it here:

Additional player updates worth perusing:

– Giannis Antetokuonmpo:

– Jusuf Nurkic:

– Jarnell Stokes:

– Nikola Mirotic:

– Eric Gordon:

– Jordan Clarkson/Jabari Brown:

– Mo Williams:

QOTD (from Turkish coach Dusan Ivkovic) re: the global problem in European basketball of talent moving to the NBA: ” I coached many players who succeeded in the NBA because they left at the right moment, with maturity and experience. Now, many leave too young and unprepared, then come back worse players than they when they left. They wasted time by being impatient.”

Cavs,Lakers,Pistons,Hawks,Griz,OKC,Bucks,Bulls,Warriors,SW Div

– David Blatt’s Biggest Scheme Challenges with Much-Improved Cleveland Cavaliers (from Greg Swartz, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:

– How an Unknown Coach Will Make LeBron Even Better (from Ben Cohen/Andrew Beaton, Wall Street Journal):

“Cavaliers’ New Hire David Blatt Has a European Basketball Pedigree That Can Benefit James”

Read it here:

– Byron Scott brings calm to Lakers’ storm, making him the right choice (from Bill Plaschke, LATimes):

” The fiercest of winds is upon them, swirling in every direction, dust and debris everywhere, their once-strong aura shaking at its cracked foundation.

The Lakers didn’t need a head coach, they needed some old-fashioned storm shutters.

For this, Byron Scott will do nicely.

Their old friend and new boss won’t give them more curb appeal or move them into a better neighborhood, but for the next couple of years he should keep them from turning into a pile of rubble, and at this tenuous point, can the Lakers really ask for anything more?”

Read it here:

– Greg Monroe’s Paradox (from Jim Cavan,

” He’s young, productive, and without a real position in the modern NBA. Is that why no one wants to pay him?”

Read it here:

– Grizzlies’ Stokes a Diamond in the Rough (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders):

” Jarnell Stokes had mixed emotions on the night of the 2014 NBA Draft.

On one hand, he was disappointed. He had hoped to be a first-round pick, but he slipped into the second round and was ultimately selected 35th overall. Stokes watched as player after player came off of the board before him, many of whom hadn’t experienced the success that the 6’9 forward had at Tennessee. It was frustrating for the 20-year-old, but he remained patient and waited to hear his name.

On the other hand, when he was finally picked, he was thrilled because he landed in a perfect situation. The Utah Jazz drafted Stokes, but traded his rights to the Memphis Grizzlies shortly after. Once he realized that he was landing in Memphis, where he was born and raised, Stokes cheered up. Now, he could stay close to his family and friends and continue to play in Tennessee. He was also excited about the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies, a playoff team in need of a reserve power forward. Suddenly, slipping to the second round didn’t seem so bad, since he was staying home and entering a situation where he could potentially play from day one.”

Read it here:

– Can Kendall Marshall Win Starting Job with Milwaukee Bucks? (from JM Poulard, Bleacher Report):
Read it here:
– Kyle Korver: An Offense Unto Himself (from Zach Lowe,
” How the Hawks sharpshooter became one of the most uniquely valuable players in the NBA”
Read it here:
– A mature, patient Derrick Rose begins another comeback (from Ken Berger, CBS Sports):
Read it here:
Serge Ibaka Q & A (from Jared Zwerling, Bleacher report):
Read it here:
– TeamSPACE: How the (South)West was Won (from Matt D’anna,
” Welcome to the first installment of the TeamSPACE-based NBA season in review. I’ll be covering the league one division at a time, using a TeamSPACE chart for each team’s most used lineup during the 2013-2014 season. In theory, this approach will highlight relative strengths, weaknesses, commonalities, and anomalies.”
Read and view it here:
– Draymond Green’s underutilized, but successful, season in review (from Andy Liu,

” Draymond Green was very good. He barely played, anyway. What does it all mean?!”
Read it here:

NBA Draft Preview, Knicks-Mavs Trade

– SB Nation has posted a team-by-team “draft and off-season preview”:

Read each team’s preview here:

– Kyle Anderson is the most unique player in the NBA Draft (from Ricky O’Donnell, SBNation):

”  The UCLA product is tall, big and slow. He looks nothing like a point guard, and doesn’t even see himself as one. Maybe that’s because he’s just a basketball player.”

Read it here:

– Here are the NBA Draft’s 3 biggest sleepers (from Tyler Lashbrook, SBNation):

” Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes are legitimate NBA players and they probably won’t get picked until the end of the first round, if not later. Here’s why teams should select them sooner.”

Read it here:

– P.J. Hairston‘s biggest NBA challenge is his past (from Jonathan Jones,

” P.J. Hairston is an NBA-ready shooter who plays above-average defense and has the size, at 6-foot-5 and 229 pounds, to make an immediate impact.

In all those ways, he’s just what the Charlotte Hornets need. They have the ninth and 24th picks in the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft and have shown interest in Hairston by bringing him in for two workouts.

The questions about Hairston aren’t whether he’s physically ready – but whether he’s mature enough to overcome his troubled past.”

Read it here:

– Humility, work ethic carry Thanasis Antetokounmpo to brink of NBA dream (from Jeff Zillgitt, USAToday):

” A year ago, Thanasis Antetokounmpo was eating souvlaki in an Athens restaurant and wondered if he would ever get a chance to play in the NBA. He had his doubts shortly after the Milwaukee Bucks drafted his older brother, Giannis, with the No. 15 pick.

“I said ‘Believe me and believe in yourself. What your brother did a few days, you can do it, too,’ ” Greece-based agent Nick Lotsos recalls telling Thanasis.

“He looked at me and said, ‘If it was coming from anybody else from you, I wouldn’t believe it,’ ” Lotsos said. “He saw his younger brother moving up and was worried about what would happen to him. I said ‘Do your work and I won’t let you down.’ One year later, we are there.”

Read it here:

– Mentor David West will attend NBA Draft with T.J. Warren (from Candace Buckner,

” With all due respect to the Indiana Pacers and their No. 57th pick tonight, forward David West will not be paying attention to that late selection as he sits inside Barclays Center for the 2014 NBA Draft.

Instead, West will be in attendance for a special reason. North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren, a projected first-round pick who was invited to sit in the green room tonight, played his youth career in West’s family AAU Garner Road Basketball Club program. Thursday will make history for West and the program as Warren will become the first player whom he directly mentored to make it to the NBA.”

Read it here:

– Meet Aaron Gordon, the NBA Draft’s Truly Elite Defender (from Fred Katz, Bleacher Report):

” Aaron Gordon is more NBA ready than people realize.

The 18-year-old kid from Arizona surely has his weaknesses: He hasn’t developed much of a shot, he struggles creating for himself off the dribble, and he hit just 42.2 percent of free throws in his freshman season, his only year as a Wildcat.

But boy, can the kid defend.”

Read and view it here:

– Vonleh Reaching NBA After Refusing to Leave Gym (from Jessica Camerato, Basketball Insdiers):

” There were never enough hours in the day, not when the athletic club closed around nine o’clock and he could have stayed on the court all night. Not when every minute he wasn’t practicing was 60 seconds that passed without improving.

“In any given day, you either get better or worse. You never stay the same,” his AAU coach told him.

Noah Vonleh didn’t just believe that mantra, he lived it.

Read it here:

– Meet the men actually making the picks in the 2014 NBA Draft (from Mark Deeks, SBNation):
” Draft night is one of the biggest for the 30 men in charge of NBA teams. Based on their draft

history, what can we expect from the general managers picking at the top of the draft?”

Read it here:

– Spencer Dinwiddie: Back On His Feet (from Holly McKenzie,

” In addition to being the most important night of Dinwiddie’s basketball career thus far, Thursday will also mark less than six months since one of his worst.

On Jan. 12, 2014, Stephanie and Malcolm Dinwiddie were watching along with their younger son, Taylor, as the 6-foot-6 Dinwiddie crumbled to the ground in a game against Washington.

They waited for him to get up. It didn’t happen. More than 30 minutes later, the Dinwiddies still hadn’t received an update. Stephanie tried calling his phone. On the other end, Dinwiddie’s incoherent response after learning he had torn his ACL was all she needed to hear to know her presence was needed in Colorado when he returned with the team from Washington.

“By the time Spencer came in [the hotel room] on the crutches, it was a tough moment, but I needed to be positive,” Stephanie said. “I needed at that point to be able to embody for him our faith. That it’s going to be okay. We don’t know how quite yet, but it’s going to be okay. ”

Read it here:!4kXqy

– After leaving Texas for Olympiacos, Ioannis Papapetrou now hopes to be picked on Draft night (from Jake Fischer,

Read it here:

– The Talent Evaluation Secrets of the NBA (from Ilan Mochari, inccom):

” Thursday night is the annual NBA Draft–and the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first day as a basketball pro. (Jordan, after his junior year at the University of North Carolina, was the third pick of the 1984 draft.)

In search of the next Jordan, NBA teams devote tons of time and cash to in-person scouting. They also deploy analytics, hoping to find and exploit “moneyball” inefficiencies in the talent supply. But finding top talent isn’t easy. After all, when you watch a young player, all you really is how he fares against weak competition. What lessons, then, have NBA teams learned about discovering high-upside performers? Plenty. Here are two of them, which you can apply to your own recruiting and hiring efforts. ”

Read it here:

– Mavericks acquire Tyson Chandler, set offseason plans in motion (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

” Even though the transaction has been completed, the dust won’t settle on this particular exchange for months. The work of improving and maintaining an NBA roster is never really finished, especially in June.

This deal, then, is a prelude.

It fills a clear need for Dallas and rounds out a prospective starting lineup. It nets New York a triangle-worthy point guard and a trio of young assets between Larkin and the two picks. Those are moves worth making, though hardly an end in themselves for two teams with bigger plays yet to come.”

Read it here:

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