Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 12/27/15

–  Apppreciating Draymond Green  (from Tim Bontemps,  Washington Post):

Read and watch it here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/12/16/mvp-of-the-golden-state-warriors-draymond-green/

–  Hornets’ Defense Anchored by Contesting Spot-up Jump Shots  (from Austin Peters, At The Hive):

Read and view it here:  http://www.atthehive.com/2015/12/27/10668692/charlotte-hornets-stat-of-the-week-spot-up-defense

–  Boris Diaw’s Shooting Efficiency  (from Paul Garcia,  Project Spurs):

Read it here:  http://projectspurs.com/2015-articles/diaws-efficient-shots-through-32-games.html

–  Knicks Need a Spark from Backcourt  (from Jared Dubin,  Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2599826-knicks-desperately-need-a-spark-from-their-backcourt

–  Recapping Saturday’s Games  (from SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/12/26/10668346/nba-schedule-results-bulls-mavericks-magic-heat

–  Raptors’ Bench Puts on Clinic in Win Over Bucks  (from Doug Smith,  Tornto Star):

Read it here:  http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2015/12/26/raptors-bench-puts-on-clinic-in-victory-over-bucks.html

–  Blazers 105, Cavs 76  (form Jason Lloyd,  Ohio.com):

Read it here:  http://www.ohio.com/blogs/cleveland-cavaliers/cleveland-cavaliers-1.275356/blazers-105-cavs-76-jason-lloyd-s-18-thoughts-on-hangovers-and-keister-kickings-1.650207

–  Coach Bickerstaff Calls Out Rockets’ Players for Misplaced Priorities  (from clutchfans.net):

Read it here:  http://rockets.clutchfans.net/9415/jb-bickerstaff-calls-out-houston-rockets/

–  How Kevin Durant Bulked Up to Become Complete Player  (from Anthony Slater,  The Oklahoman):

Read it here:  http://newsok.com/how-kevin-durant-bulked-up-his-frame-and-became-one-of-the-nbas-most-complete-players/article/5469011

–  Eric Bledsoe Reaching New Heights  (form Jesse Blancarte,  Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-saturday-eric-bledsoe-reaching-new-heights/

–  Bledsoe Suffers Knee Injury  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):   http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25427318

Wolves Focusing on Player Development  (from Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune):

Read it here:   http://www.startribune.com/former-timberwolf-budinger-returns-to-target-center-as-a-pacer/363570631/

–  Magic Not Surprised by Early Success  (from John Denton,  magic.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/magic/news/fournier-magic-not-surprised-teams-early-success

–   NBA Scouts Step it Up During the Holidays  (from Jerry Zgoda,  Star Tribune):

Read it here:  http://www.startribune.com/nba-scouts-step-it-up-during-holidays/363562281/

 Suns Hit Rock Bottom  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral.com):

Read it here: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/12/27/suns-lose-lowly-76ers-home/77925930/

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Kelly Oubre/ Jarrell Eddie  (from J. Michael, csnmidatlantic): http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/rookies-reward-wittman-trusting-them-crunch-time

 JJ Barea  (from Dwain Price,  star-telegram):   http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/nba/dallas-mavericks/article51742440.html

–  Ish Smith/Nerlens Noel  (from Keith Pompey,  philly.com):  http://mobile.philly.com/beta?wss=/philly/sports/sixers&id=363527301     and  from Braxton Carr,  The Sports Quotient:    http://thesportsquotient.com/nba/2015/12/27/ish-smith-philadelphias-unsung-hero

–  Kelly Olynyk  (from Gary Washburn,  Boston Globe):  http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/12/26/kelly-olynyk-play-leaps-into-higher-level/87yIpd5QsZxo5dy5PNLNhI/story.html

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Steve Kerr quickly fit into coaching to lead Warriors to top  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral.com):

” Golden State moves bodies and the ball. It looks like the Warriors took the old-school, three-man weave warm-up and concentrated it into 25 feet of half-court offense. More cuts, passes (half-court and upcourt) and pick-and-rolls break down defenses and set up the flow to better utilize the history-in-the-making backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Kerr has been studying for this coaching job for years, keeping a log of playbooks and rule books of other franchises that he admired over 12 years as a TNT analyst and three years with the Suns.

He made bold tweaks this season, decreasing the roles of former All-Stars David Lee and Andre Iguodala to get more from Green and Barnes. Green was clearly a difference-maker last season for his defensive versatility, which Kerr uses at center with the knowledge he is capable of handling a point guard on a switch.

Kerr also embraced his lack of experience and put (Alvin) Gentry and Ron Adams on each side of him on the bench as assistants.”

Read it here:  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/03/08/steve-kerr-quickly-fit-coaching-lead-warriors-top/24629523/

 

 

 

–  Warriors’ Supporting Cast Can Be X-Factor in 2015 Championship Run  (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2389695-golden-state-warriors-supporting-cast-can-be-x-factor-in-2015-championship-run

 

 

 

Frank  Vogel Worked His Way to the Top (from Mark Monteith, pacers.com):

Read the three-part series on the Pacers’ Head Coach here:

–  http://www.nba.com/pacers/vogel-worked-way-to-top-part-1

–  http://www.nba.com/pacers/vogel-worked-way-to-top-part-2

–  http://www.nba.com/pacers/vogel-worked-way-to-top-part-3

 

 

–  Pacers Think About Getting Better, Not About Paul George  (from Brian Mahoney, Associated Press):

” A playoff spot is within reach, with Paul George potentially available to help grab it.

Things are suddenly setting up nicely for the Indiana Pacers after they had it rough for so long. But since nothing has come easily this season, they aren’t counting on that changing now.

“Honestly, we’re not even thinking about Paul George right now,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Hopefully he can make it back this year and get in some games, but how effective is he going to be having not played in a year? This is a serious injury. He still has a lot of hurdles to pass before he’s even able to get back on the court.

“So our whole approach has been that he’s not going to play with us this year. Even right now, we’re trying to become the best possible team we can without him and if he gets back, that’s just going to be a bonus.””

Read it here:  http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/pacers-paul-george-29492632

 

 

 

–  Breaking Down Suns’  Recent Problems On Offense (from Gerald Bourguet,  valleyofthesuns.com):

” With a bottom-10 defense, the only reason the Phoenix Suns are even remotely competitive is their high-powered offense and pedal-to-the-metal tempo. They rank third in the NBA in points per game (105.3) and eighth in offensive rating (104.9 points per 100 possessions).

Staring at a two-game deficit to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the West’s final playoff spot, Phoenix also faces the league’s toughest remaining schedule. Their only hope is to run teams out of the building, but if the last few weeks have been any indication, the Suns could be in trouble.

Since the All-Star break, the new-look Suns have posted an offensive rating of 99.7 points per 100 possessions — 20th in the league during that span. With their defensive rating also lingering in the bottom third of the NBA, it’s no wonder Phoenix has struggled.

In order to assess what needs to be changed, here’s a look at the various reasons behind Phoenix’s recent offensive struggles.”

Read it here:  http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/03/09/suns-analysis-look-phoenixs-recent-problems-offense/

 

 

 

–  Globe-trotting Whiteside gets his chance to click in NBA  (from David Aldridge, NBA.com):

” After a long and winding basketball journey, big man Hassan Whiteside has found a role with the Miami Heat.”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/david_aldridge/03/09/morning-tip-rise-of-hassan-whiteside-miami-heat-taking-stock-of-advanced-stats-and-analytics-in-nba

 

 

 

– Gregg Popovich, the father of Resting Your Players  (from Buck Harvey, expressnews.com):

Read it here:  http://www.expressnews.com/sports/columnists/buck_harvey/article/Pop-as-a-father-howanother-suffers-for-it-6121626.php?t=bd25745284927fc3fb&cmpid=twitter-premium

 

 

 

– Inside the Wizards’ Steep Decline  (from Aaron Fischman,  vantagesports.com):

” On January 27, the Washington Wizards stood at 31-15, sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a .674 winning percentage. Since, they’ve lost 13 of 17 games and are in danger of being passed by the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 5 seed. Let’s look at particular areas where the Wizards have declined the most over this period.”

Read it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VPy2KikAAN8tnM4p/inside-the-wizards-steep-decline

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

DeMarcus Cousins:  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article13051646.html

 

Gigi Datome:  http://www.csnne.com/blog/celtics-talk/datome-makes-most-out-playing-time-vs-magic

 

Andrea Bargnani:  http://nypost.com/2015/03/08/knicks-thinking-unthinkable-with-excelling-bargnani-a-return/

 

Brandon Bass:  http://www.csnne.com/blog/celtics-talk/bass-stepping-celtics-sullingers-absence

 

Enes Kanter:  http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-thunder-enes-kanter-answers-the-call-helps-thunder-hold-off-toronto/article/5399700

 

Elfrid Payton:   http://orlandomagicdaily.com/2015/03/08/elfrid-paytons-continued-confidence-driving-success/

 

Jared Dudley:   http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/jared-dudley-struggling-through-shooting-slump-b99457885z1-295558621.html

 

Victor Oladipo:  http://www.nba.com/magic/news/oladipo-plays-extremely-high-basketball-iq

 

Dante Exum:   http://www.foxsports.com.au/more-sports/nba-wrap-dante-exum-responds-to-utah-jazz-teammates-criticism-patty-mills-stars-for-spurs/story-e6frf56c-1227254789836

 

Jamaal Franklin:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2389765-jamaal-franklin-making-impressive-case-to-join-los-angeles-lakers-next-season

 

Andre Miller:  http://cowbellkingdom.com/andre-miller-student-and-teacher-of-the-game/

 

Jason Richardson:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150309_Inside_the_Sixers___Veteran_Richardson_is_a_plus.html

 

Monta Ellis:  http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4704808/welcome-back-monta-ellis

 

Nerlens Noel:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150309_Noel_and_Sixers_making_strides.html

 

Jarrell Eddie:  http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2015/3/9/8174717/jarell-eddie-scouting-report-atlanta-hawks

 

Isaiah Canaan/Will Barton/Mo Williams:   http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/03/09/making-the-most-of-it-three-players-whove-done-well-since-the-trade-deadline/

 

John Wall:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/john-wall-plays-through-the-pain-as-wizards-try-to-emerge-from-funk/2015/03/08/b067d704-c5ce-11e4-a199-6cb5e63819d2_story.html

 

Langston Galloway:  http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/03/09/undrafted-langston-galloway-making-mark-with-knicks-has-sights-set-even-higher/

 

Bobby Brown:  http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2015/03/wizards-interested-bobby.html

 

Danilo Gallinari:  http://hoopshabit.com/2015/03/09/denver-nuggets-danilo-gallinari-returns-form/

Today’s Top NBA Preseason Stories

– DeRozan sheds losing seasons, shows an underdog’s hunger (from Rachel Brady, theglobeandmail.com):

” DeRozan’s first four years in Toronto were all losing seasons, but his average points a game swelled with each year, his game improved and his value deepened. Last season, he ranked 10th in the NBA with a career-best 22.7 points a game, helping lead the Raptors to a franchise-high 48-win season and their first playoff appearance since 2008. From there, the 6-foot-6 workhorse threw himself into the off-season, hiring a ball-handling specialist, pushing his conditioning to the limits back in California and doing everyday things with his left hand in the hopes it could strengthen his off-hand play on the court. Any little thing to help sustain the magic the Raptors created last season, a playoff magnetism that had sold-out crowds stoked and rollicking in the Air Canada Centre and another 10,000 watching outside, just to be near it.

Now, entering his sixth NBA season, 25-year-old DeRozan has arrived.”

Read it here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/derozan-sheds-losing-seasons-shows-an-underdogs-hunger/article21307044/

– 10 things we learned about the Kings from Preseason (from Aykis16, sactownroyalty.com):

” With yesterday’s win over the Lakers, the Kings have officially completed preseason and are busy getting ready for the actual season to start this Wednesday.  Sacramento finished 3-4 in the preseason and along the way we learned a few things.”

Read it here: http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2014/10/25/7069129/sacramento-kings-preseason-recap

– Five reasons the Hawks could win 50 games (from Chris Vivlamore, ajc.com):

Read it here: http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/basketball/five-reasons-the-hawks-could-win-50-games/nhpzj/

– Memphis Grizzlies Preseason Fantasy/Reality: What was real and what was a mirage? (from Chris Faulkner):

” The 8-game preseason has concluded for the Memphis Grizzlies. Let’s sort out what’s likely to continue and what was fool’s gold (or fool’s coal, as the case may be).”

Read it here: http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2014/10/25/7068953/memphis-grizzlies-preseason-fantasy-reality-adams-gasol-carter-calathes

– Trail Blazers’ mystery rotation solved during win over Los Angeles Clippers (from Joe Freeman, oregonian.com):

Read it here: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/10/trail_blazers_mystery_rotation_solved_during_win_o.html

-Shooting: The key ingredient to championships (from David Nurse, hoopshype.com):

Read and view it here: http://hoopshype.com/columns/david-nurse/shooting-the-key-ingredient-to-championships

-Brown’s winning formula for Sixers needs good role players

” He calls Embiid the “center of our universe.” When speaking of the injured No. 3 overall pick,
he talks of All-Star appearances, of playoffs, of a piece around whom an organization can build.
You can tell he is thinking of (Tim) Duncan.

Now throw in some pieces such as the raw Nerlens Noel and Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams and the need to find those peripheral pieces becomes a big deal.”

Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20141026_Brown_s_winning_formula_for_Sixers_needs_good_role_players.html

-The 10-man rotation, starring what Steve Nash gave us and what we’re going to miss (from Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports):

Dan fittingly devotes all of today’s 10-man Rotation to links to stories about Steve Nash.  Check it out here: sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/the-10-man-rotation–starring-what-steve-nash-gave-us-and-what-we-re-going-to-miss-052434917.html

More player updates:

– Anderson Varejao: http://www.fearthesword.com/2014/10/25/7042925/2014-player-preview-anderson-varejao-cleveland-cavaliers

– Tristan Thompson: http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/10/no_monetary_value_can_properly.html

– Varejao/Thompson: http://www.ohio.com/sports/cavs/chemistry-with-lebron-james-earns-anderson-varejao-starting-center-spot-in-cavs-opener-1.534930

– Jarrell Eddie:  http://www.nba.com/celtics/news/sidebar/prac-102414-ainge-celtics-have-claimed-eddie-waivers  and  http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4715278/notebook-celts-evaluating-eddie

– Kelly Olynyk: http://www.csnne.com/boston-celtics/olynyk-prepares-face-nbas-best-big-men