– Do low-post scoring centers make sense in the NBA? (frm Adi Joseph, USA Today):
” Rudy Gobert serves as a poster child for a movement in redefining the center position. Nearly gone are post-up centers of the past, the 20-point, 10-rebound superstars that defined basketball in the past. Today’s centers focus on help defense and screen-setting, often playing at the top of the key to set up a well-spaced offense featuring two to four adept shooters on the perimeter.
The model comes as a result of rule changes, offensive innovations and a dearth of top-flight post-playing centers. But the impact is obvious…As USA TODAY Sports discussed the modern center position with some of the NBA’s best, a theme emerged: Defense comes first, second and third.”
Read it here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/04/06/big-men-center-position-rudy-gobert-marc-gasol-andrew-bogut/70760658/
– Analyzing Paul George’s First Game Back (from Jon Washburn, 8points9seconds):
Read and view it here: http://8points9seconds.com/2015/04/07/paul-george-analyzing-the-superstars-first-game-back/
– Overlook Kawhi Leonard’s Spurs at your own postseason peril (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):
Read and view it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2015/04/07/kawhi-leonard-san-antonio-spurs-playoffs-all-nba
(BI Note: We have two quibbles with this otherwise excellent piece: 1- It overlooks the Hawks as a serious contender if they return to full health & 2 – it employs PER as one of the single-metrics used to rank players. Try to stifle guffaws when you look at this: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics)
– Sunday’s performance helps cement Spurs’ Leonard as one of NBA’s best young players (from Mark Travis, caller.com):
Read it here: http://www.caller.com/sports/nba/sundays-performance-helps-cement-spurs-leonard-as-one-of-nbas-best-young-players_66105091
– The Warriors Are the Model Team of the New Era NBA (from Jared Williams, warriorsworld.net):
” It’s the go-to line of NBA fans stuck in the past: “jump-shooting teams can’t win championships”. You’ve heard it from TNT’s Inside the NBA, bitter Lakers fans, and old-timers dreaming of Kareem’s “sky hook”. To be blunt, that ideology is outdated. It’s now a myth, and here’s why.
” Deconstructing evolving trends isn’t always the easiest endeavor so I’m going to break this up into three sections: the results of rule changes, the facts of recent seasons, and the final piece to this shooting puzzle.
” For Warriors fans this new era brings good news. Rule changes have made it possible. Recent teams have demonstrated it possible. And most importantly, the Warriors have proved that not only are they great shooters but they’re smart shooters. This is the new NBA and the Warriors are the model franchise. This jump-shooting team can win the title.”
Read it here: http://www.warriorsworld.net/2015/04/06/the-warriors-are-the-model-team-of-the-new-era-nba/
– Coaching Stephen Curry (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):
“ The biggest thing for me was the coaching aspect of understanding the balance between taking chances or making the simple play,” Curry said. “When to force the issue and when not to and understanding that dynamic of what happens on the court. I can go out and not be afraid to make mistakes, to turn the ball over every once in awhile if you’re trying to make a pass through a tight window or something like that. But over the course of the game, you’ve got to make smart decisions and then use whatever footwork, whatever coordination to get the ball from point A to point B.”
For a player of such improvisational ease, Curry thrives on premeditation. He plays purely in the moment. He practices, however, in such a way that allows his imagination to run wild. By hammering down moves in basic components, even his most unnatural sequences come naturally. Curry connects on a difficult pull-up because he’s done so from that exact spot countless times before after practice. His impossible runner off awkward footing finds the net as a direct result of his previous rehearsal. ”
Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2015/04/07/stephen-curry-steve-kerr-warriors-coaching-staff-bruce-fraser
– The Making of Miami Heat Sensation Hassan Whiteside (from Brian Kotloff, dleaue.nba.com):
Read it here: http://dleague.nba.com/news/hassan-whiteside-miami-heat-nba-dleague-iowa-energy-marshall-feature-story/
– Michael Carter-Williams in the Post (from Brett Abramczyk, behindthebuckpass.com):
Read and view it here: http://behindthebuckpass.com/2015/04/07/value-michael-carter-williams-post/
– Quin Snyder’s Defensive Philosophy: Force Baseline Or Middle? (from Clint Peterson, purple and blues.com):
Read it here: http://purpleandblues.com/2015/04/06/quin-snyders-defensive-philosophy-force-baseline-or-middle/
(Note: Read this piece first, for background: http://saltcityhoops.com/forcing-baseline-vs-forcing-middle-a-brief-history/)
– Dante Exum and Reading the Third Defender (from Dan Clayton, saltcityhoops)
” When Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder talks about his young point guards, the conversation naturally steers towards their ability to make reads. So when Dante Exum had perhaps his best pro game, it’s only natural that we’re all talking about reads.
Of course, “reads” is a ridiculously oversimplified way of describing a mental process with so many variables. On any given play, an NBA athlete is sharing the floor with nine other guys, who can each react to a situation in any number of ways. The math on that adds up quickly, and there are seemingly endless ways a possession can play out. The angle of a pick, the on-ball and off-ball strategies, the personnel on the floor and myriad other variables are all weighed in an instant.
So where does a 19-year-old kid start to process all that? According to his coach, Wednesday’s impressive display of facilitation was all about making one small mental advancement in how he sees the game: reading the third defender.”
Read and view it here: http://saltcityhoops.com/dante-exum-and-the-third-defender/
– Block-to-Possession Rate (from Aaron Fischman, Vantage Sports):
” Last month, Mika Honkasalo wrote about “Smart Blocks.“ Those are blocks that are possessed by the blocker’s team. We’re here to update the numbers and offer additional insight into the phenomenon. While raw block numbers/blocks per game provide some information and Blocks per 100 Chances are even more telling, Vantage Sports’ Blocks-to-Possession Rate allows us to better assess the impact of a player’s blocks.
Granted, an aggressive or acrobatic rejection may swing a game’s momentum or send a strong message to the opposition. With that said, a block retained by the offense for a potential second-chance basket is clearly not as valuable, defensively, as a block that gives the ball to the defense.
Before we go any further, it must be stated that a defense’s ability to gain possession after a block is many times out of the blocking defender’s control and dependent on many other factors. Disclaimer aside, we believe that with at least 60 blocks per defender, a pattern begins to emerge that provides more information about how useful each player’s blocks tend to be.”
Read it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VRs3_B8AAKBCYA8G/do-nba-experience-and-block-to-possession-rate-correlate
– A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Confusingly Red-Hot Brooklyn Nets (from Devin Kharpertian, thebrooklyngame.com):
Read and view it here: http://thebrooklyngame.com/so-what-the-hell-is-going-on-a-comprehensive-analysis-of-the-confusingly-red-hot-brooklyn-nets-full/
– Jimmy Butler And The Chicago Bulls: Defense To Offense (from Nathan Van Hoff, Hoopshabit.com):
” It is clear that the Bulls are better on offense this year and worse on defense. But exactly how different are they?
“Their core identity as one of the very best defensive teams in the league might be shaken, but the overall result have been better.”
Read it here: http://hoopshabit.com/2015/04/07/jimmy-butler-chicago-bulls-defense-offense/
– Rethinking Defensive Player of the Year: The Defensive Duo Award (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):
” (D)efense has become much more of a team concept. It’s always been reliant on all five guys giving effort and being focused on doing their job. But more and more, teams are reliant on combinations of players providing help for one another. We’re seeing great defenders on teams with bad schematic defense, and teams without a single great rim protector defend at the very least capably.
So, as I am a big fan of wildly radical and often times stupid ideas, I have a suggestion for a more accurate award for most impactful player element in professional basketball defense.
A Defensive Duo Award.”
Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25139157/rethinking-defensive-player-of-the-year-the-defensive-duo-award
– Giannis Antetokuonmpo Q & A (from Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN):
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12632719/giannis-antetokounmpo-milwaukee-bucks-evolution-freak
– Which Players Are the Next Free-Agent Steals? (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
” While we’re sorting through byzantine playoff scenarios and panic-vomiting all over our awards ballot, team executives are gearing up for their busiest period of the year: the draft, the late-June trade boom, and free agency.
These executives have talked a lot about finding “the next DeMarre Carroll” — a free agent blossoming under the radar, and perhaps in limited minutes, raising the possibility that a smart team could steal him on a below-market contract. The Hawks saw Carroll take baby steps as a 3-point shooter in Utah, hitting 20 of 70 from deep in 2012-13, and wagered he could turn himself into a legitimate 3-and-D starter in the proper system. Atlanta jumped the market with a two-year, $5 million deal that fell into the sweet spot between Carroll’s minimum salary and the midlevel exception.
Carroll proved them right, and he’s poised for a big-money contract this summer as he hits free agency again.”
The search is on for the next Carroll-style gem. Here are some candidates:”
Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-nba-groupon-games-which-players-are-the-next-free-agent-steals/
– Does kinesiology tape work? James Harden, Rockets’ trainer believe that it does. (from Brett Pollakoff, NBC Sports):
” Harden can be seen regularly sporting KT Tape on his right shoulder, but he isn’t injured — it’s a preventative measure to ensure those muscles and joints are behaving as they should.
Kinesiology tape in general has many in the industry skeptical as to whether it provides an actual health benefit, but Harden is a believer, as is Rockets’ Head Athletic Trainer Jason Biles.
“I’ve been in the NBA now eight years, and I’ve been using it probably seven or eight years, right when I came in,” Biles told NBCSports.com. “I like the KT Tape specifically because it promotes a sort of natural healing response, helping with swelling reduction, encouraging optimal movement and proper movement, the appropriate alignment of the joints. It gives the athlete great feedback of where their body is in space — we want them to be aware of if they’re in a vulnerable position, or if they’re in the proper position they can move optimally from.”
Read it here: http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/04/07/does-kinesiology-tape-work-james-harden-rockets-trainer-believe-that-it-does/
Additional Player Notes,Updates, Profiles:
– Gerald Green: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/04/06/phoenix-suns-gerald-green-playing-time-nba/25388255/
– Khris Middleton: http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/season-a-revelation-for-rising-bucks-star-khris-middleton-b99475585z1-298840171.html
– Lou Amundson: http://nypost.com/2015/04/06/lou-amundson-if-knicks-are-just-teasing-me-ill-go-to-europe/
– Jonas Valanciunas: http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/basketball/Toronto+Raptors+excited+Jonas+Valanciunas+gets/10949728/story.html and http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/04/06/jonas-valanciunas-showing-signs-of-growth/ and http://www.tsn.ca/raps-enact-valanciunas-rule-to-further-jv-s-development-1.249683
– Kawhi Leonard: http://www.caller.com/sports/nba/sundays-performance-helps-cement-spurs-leonard-as-one-of-nbas-best-young-players_66105091
– Jimmy Butler: http://pippenainteasy.com/2015/04/06/inspirational-journey-jimmy/
– Vander Blue: http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2015/4/6/8354349/vander-blue-named-ridiculous-upside-2014-15-nba-d-league-most-improved-player
– Eric Griffin: http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2015/4/6/8354445/eric-griffin-named-ridiculous-upside-2014-15-nbadl-defensive-player-of-year
– Luis Scola: http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/time-keeps-ticking-so-does-scola
– Nik Vucevic/Nikola Mirotic: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-nikola-mirotic-nikola-vucevic-friendship-0407-20150406-story.html
– Drew Gooden: http://www.csnwashington.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/morning-tip-drew-gooden-or-kris-humphries-maybe-its-both
– Kevin Seraphin: http://www.csnwashington.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/morning-tip-kevin-seraphin-adapts-new-role-wizards
– Enes Kanter: http://sircharlesincharge.com/2015/04/07/enes-kanter-oklahoma-city-thunders-new-x-factor/
– Meyers Leonard: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/04/in_loss_to_brooklyn_nets_meyers_leonard_shows_how.html
– Jason Thompson: http://cowbellkingdom.com/second-unit-has-been-tough-for-jason-thompson/
– Nerlens Noel: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150407_Sixers__Noel_is_praised_for_his_durability.html
– Bryce Cotton: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/04/05/tucson-product-bryce-cotton-returns-home-in-game-against-suns/25320427/
– Greg Monroe: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/04/greg_monroe_returns_to_detroit.html
Note: Not surprisingly, nights when the Assn has the fewest games yield the most stories on BI. Fewer game stories means more feature stories. We think it is as simple as that. Only one game last night, so…