Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/17/15

–  Terry Stotts and ‘Blazers Basketball’: Players’ actions, words form ringing endorsement  (from Jason Quick,

Read it here:


–   Suns know that talking on defense is key to success  (from Dave King,  brightsideofthesun):

Read it here:


–  Addition of Chandler helps, but Phoenix Suns defense has a ways to go to be elite  (from deadpoolio,  brightsideofthesun):

Read it here:


–  Why the Knicks’ defense will be more fun to watch this season  (from Marc Berman,  NYPost):

Read it here:


–  Why Dirk Nowitzki’s value to the Mavericks still is clear as ever   (from Eddie Sefko,

Read it here:


Even with new players, Bucks hope defense will remain strong (from Charles F. Gardner,

Read it here:


–  Bulls working to get defense up to level of past performance  (from K.C. Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):

Read it here:


–  Hollins needs Nets to develop defense-first mentality  (form Mike Mazzeo,  ESPN):

Read it here:


–  Brook Lopez, Nets addressing defensive issues  (from Roderick Boone,

Read it here:


–  Revisiting Boston’s top training camp storylines  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):

Read it here:


–  Changing Miami’s Pick-and-Roll Defense  (from Mika Honkasalo,  Vantage Sports):


–  Nuggets exhibiting a winning culture in 2015  (from Christopher dempsey,  Denver Post):

Read it here:


–  Sam Mitchell re-energized with young Timberwolves  (from Michael Grange,

Read it here:


–  Beat Writer Vince Ellis On The Pistons  (from Chuck Myron,

” Nobody knows NBA teams better than beat writers, save for those who draw paychecks with an NBA owner’s signature on them. The reporters who are with the teams they cover every day gain an intimate knowledge of the players, coaches and executives they write about and develop sources who help them break news and stay on top of rumors.

We at Hoops Rumors will be chatting with beat writers from around the league and sharing their responses to give you a better perspective on how and why teams make some of their most significant moves.

Today, we gain insight on the Pistons from Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.”

Read it here:


–  Warriors’ GM Bob Myers – intensely competitive architect of the NBA champs  (from Marcus Thompson,

Read it here:


–  Missing Kidd-Gilchrist: How the Hornets Adjust their TeamSPACE  (from Matt D’Anna,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:


–  Q&A: Los Angeles Lakers Associate Director of Analytics Aaron Danielson   (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:


The Worst On/Off-Court Numbers from 2014/15  (form Mika Honkasalo,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:


–  Exploring Lineups and Fit  (from Andrew Johnson,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  How Greg Monroe came to choose the Bucks over the Knicks and Lakers  (from Michael Lee, Yahoo Sports):


Patrick Patterson:  Shoot, Patrick, just shoot  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Postmedia Network):


Joe Johnson: passing down Penny Hardaway’s lessons to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (from Devin Kharpertian,


–  Bobby Portis’ Emergence Creating New Challenges for Chicago Bulls’ Frontcourt  (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher Report):


–  Joakim Noah’s California summer could make Bulls a contender  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):


–  Heat’s James Ennis playing to his strengths  (from Shandel Richardson,


–  Bruno Caboclo still long way from cracking Raptors lineup despite improvement  (from Chris O’Leary,


–  Meyers Leonard’s “Basketball Unicorn” Potential  (from Mika Honkasalo,  Vantage Sports):


QOTD (from Gregg Popovich on Lamar Odom): ” “I don’t concentrate on what kind of player he is, I feel all the other things, because I know him as a person. Warm-hearted. Good-humored. Wonderful guy to be around. Who cares about how he played? It’s about who you are and he (is) a good person.”

Today’s Best NBA Reporting

Lionel Hollins Q & A  (from Mike Mazzeo,  ESPN):

Read it here:



–  On Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Perry Jones and a revamped Celtics defense  (from Evans Clinchy,

Read and view it here:




” The Bulls basically didn’t make any significant changes to their roster and rotation heading into next season following a second round playoff elimination. Of course, the Bulls did make a coaching change from Tom Thibodeau to Fred Hoiberg. But there will be major changes for the Bulls in 2015-16. Not so much in personnel, but likely in how those players are employed.

Perhaps the biggest question coming into the season is who will start at center. The Bulls have two All-Star centers in Gasol and Joakim Noah, and starting both last season obviously didn’t work well. Though new coach Hoiberg has been circumspect about his plans, it seems likely Gasol and Noah will no longer both start.

Which leaves many possibilities”

Read it here:



–  New assistant coach Phil Weber optimistic about Pelicans potential in Alvin Gentry system  (from Jim Eichenhofer,

Read it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Aron Baynes:


Jeremy Evans:


Bruno Caboclo:


Nikola Jokic


J. J. O’Brien:


Shayne Whittington:

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.”

Read and view  it here:

(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,

Read and view it here:




 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.”

Read  it here:




–  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.”’

Read it here:



–  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,

Read and view it here:




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

Read it here:




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

Read and view it here:




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

Read and view it here:




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

Read and view it here:




–  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.”

Read and view it here:




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

Read and view it here:




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

Read and view it here:


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

Read and view it here:



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

Read and view it here:




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

Read it here:




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

Read and view it here:–bulls-4-20-15-game-2-the-butler-did-it-on-his-way-to-a-playoff-career-high-31-points-by-nailing-1.35-points-per-shot.




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

Read it here:




George Karl on the playoffs (from Bill Herenda,

Read it here:




–  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:”

Read it here:




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

” Kanter could score. but his defense was atrocious”

Read it here: http://new




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

Read it here:



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:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  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:




–  Analyzing Paul George’s  First Game Back  (from Jon Washburn, 8points9seconds):

Read and view it here:




–  Overlook Kawhi Leonard’s Spurs at your own postseason peril  (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):

Read and view it here:

(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:




–  Sunday’s performance helps cement Spurs’ Leonard as one of NBA’s best young players  (from Mark Travis,

Read it here:




–  The Warriors Are the Model Team of the New Era NBA  (from Jared Williams,

” 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:




–  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:




 The Making of Miami Heat Sensation Hassan Whiteside  (from Brian Kotloff,

Read it here:




Michael Carter-Williams in the Post (from Brett Abramczyk,

Read and view it here:




–  Quin Snyder’s Defensive Philosophy: Force Baseline Or Middle?  (from Clint Peterson,  purple and

Read it here:

(Note:  Read this piece first, for background:




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:




–  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:




–  A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Confusingly Red-Hot Brooklyn Nets  (from Devin Kharpertian,

Read and view it here:




–  Jimmy Butler And The Chicago Bulls: Defense To Offense  (from  Nathan Van Hoff,

”  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:




–  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:




Giannis Antetokuonmpo  Q & A (from Ohm Youngmisuk,   ESPN):

Read it here:




–  Which Players Are the Next Free-Agent Steals?  (from Zach Lowe,

” 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:




–  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 “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:


Additional Player Notes,Updates, Profiles:


Gerald Green:


Khris Middleton:


Lou Amundson:


Jonas Valanciunas:   and   and


Kawhi Leonard:


Jimmy Butler:


Vander Blue:


Eric Griffin:


Luis Scola:


Nik Vucevic/Nikola Mirotic:


Drew Gooden:


Kevin Seraphin:


Enes Kanter:


Meyers Leonard:


Jason Thompson:


Nerlens Noel:


Bryce Cotton:


Greg Monroe:


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…

Today’s Top NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  How Derek Fisher lost marquee Knicks and found himself (from Marc Berman, NYPost):

”  This is no snow job. Phil Jackson’s fire sale three weeks ago was the best thing to happen to the development of Knicks rookie coach Derek Fisher.

With no pressure to make the playoffs, Fisher seems more confident, more content to coach a roster of players who bring more professionalism, smarts and hustle to their jobs than before. More like Fisher — and for that matter, Jackson — was as a player.”

Read it here:


–  Budenholzer  leans on Spurs’ lessons —on losing (from Buck harvey,

”  If the Hawks beat Brooklyn on Wednesday, they will have won their 17th consecutive game, tying them for the seventh-longest string in league history — the same as the 1996 Spurs.

The Spurs, coached by Bob Hill then, came apart against the Utah Jazz in the postseason. Gregg Popovich railed afterward about priorities, almost firing Hill that summer.

From then on, Popovich pledged, the Spurs would gear everything toward the playoffs. Budenholzer saw it all firsthand.

“Pop finds ways, above and beyond just getting better,” Budenholzer said. “He tests his players with adjustments and combinations, challenging their ability to come out of timeouts to do different things. He doesn’t sacrifice games. But he is more concerned with being totally ready, and other things take a back seat.”

Sometimes, such as in the spring of 2012, it’s been comical. The Spurs won the final 10 games of the regular season then and continued to streak into the postseason.

Popovich became uneasy. He wanted a loss to return everyone to reality. This continued all the way to the second round of the playoffs, against the Clippers, when Popovich was actually rooting against a sweep.

“The staff wasn’t so much with him on that one,” said Budenholzer, laughing.”

Read it here:


–  Film Breakdown: Watch Mike Conley zip around screens for the Loop Play (from Andrew Ford,

” Head coach Dave Joerger’s playbook is rapidly expanding. Against the Orlando Magic, he took a play out of the Spurs and Hawks playbook, running a loop set for Mike Conley that worked to perfection.”

Read and view it here:


 Interview with Delaware 87ers’ Head Coach Kevin Young (from Roy Burton,

Read it here:


Zach Lowe’s  NBA All-Star Team (from

” It’s that time again — time to overthink 24 roster spots for a concert featuring a “basketball game” at intermission.

A brief reminder of the ground rules:

• I proceed as if the fan vote never happened. It’s more fun to build the full roster and convenient to ignore the One Big Star who wins an undeserved starting spot.

• I consider only this season. You get no legacy points here.

• I follow the same roster-formatting rules as the fans in picking the starters and the coaches in picking reserves.

• I use all available tools: stats of all types (including some nonpublic numbers), copious game and film watching, and conversations with league insiders. Even so, deciding the last two or three spots in each conference remains the equivalent of choosing among a few delicious slices of pizza.”

Read it here:

(BI Note:  Normally, we ignore stories of this type since they are like….you know, everyone’s got one and they are typically not worth the electrons used to post them.  However, no surprise, Zach’s is worth reading.  Ditto for Sam Smith’s take on deserving reserves at


–  Some NBA Coaches May Have To Go, Who’s Got Next? (from Steve Kyler. Basketball Insiders):

” There is a saying in the NBA that coaches are hired to be fired.

The reality is that it’s always easier to change a coach and a coaching staff than it is to completely re-tool a roster, even if the roster is what’s likely wrong. Coaches know that when they sign their contracts; their agents spend a lot of time understanding what the exit language on a contract looks like. It’s the unspoken promise when you sign your contract: You will be fired at some point. Most coaches get four years to figure things out if they are lucky. The average as of late has been a lot closer to two years.

Since 2012 the NBA has seen 21 coaches take over a NBA team. The longest tenured coach in the NBA is San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, who was hired in 1996. Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle and Oklahoma City’s Scott Brook round out the next longest tenure tier, with all three hired in 2008.

This past summer saw one of the largest influxes of new coaching faces, with ten teams changing coaches this past year, and that number could still grow as some teams continue to struggle to find their way. That begs the question of who are the coaches sitting on the sidelines both physically and metaphorically waiting for a shot to lead a team? After talking with a few league executives about the subject, here are some of the names that were mentioned:”

Check out Steve’s list here:


–  Rudy Gobert is Ahead of Schedule (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders):

”  Entering the season, he was ready to take on a bigger role with the Jazz and had made a number of improvements.

He bulked up over the summer, adding over 10 pounds to his 7’2 frame. He worked hard to improve his post moves and passing, since he would often be facilitating from the elbows in new head coach Quin Snyder’s system. His increased confidence led to him playing with more intensity, which is what the Jazz wanted to see from their big man prospect. Growing up, Gobert loved to box (imagine how terrifying it’d be to face him in the ring with that reach) and that aggressiveness is now on display during games. He also improved his decision-making and looked much more comfortable on the floor as a result.

This season, his growth has been stunning since he has gotten so much better in such a short period of time. On the season, he’s averaging 6.7 points on 67 percent shooting from the field, 7.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in just 21.5 minutes. His free throw percentage has also improved from 49.2 percent to 67.3 percent (which is more in line with his past free throw shooting since he shot nearly 70 percent from the charity stripe in France, suggesting his rookie struggles from the line were likely a byproduct of inconsistent opportunities).

Recently, Enes Kanter was sidelined with an ankle injury and Gobert was moved into the starting lineup. He took full advantage of this opportunity, as he averaged 9.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals in 34 minutes of action. He was dominant on the defensive end, swatting shots left and right and altering even more attempts at the rim.”

Read it here:


–  Meyers Leonard and Thomas Robinson (from Willy Raedy,

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu in The Art of War. The chaotic injuries of the past week have given new opportunities to the Blazers’ young bigs. How have they improved and who has the brighter future?”

Read and view it here:


–  How the Mavericks can adjust Chandler Parsons’ role for the better (from  Austin Ngaruiya,

” Chandler Parsons’ production has fluctuated all season. Is he being used the right way?”

Read it here:


–  Andrew Wiggins Gives Minnesota a New Hope (from Kirk Goldsberry,

” Any breakdown of Wiggins in January 2015 is bound to touch on four main themes: one about what he can do right now, one about what he can’t do, one about what he will likely do in the future, and one about Kevin Love.”

Read and view it here:


– Houston’s Second Unit (from Jordan Foley, Vantage Sports):

” I chose several Rockets bench players to analyze based on total minutes played since the acquisition of Josh Smith. After the starting five, the next four players in minutes are Corey Brewer, Josh Smith, Jason Terry, and Kostas Papanikolaou. Terrence Jones is not included in any graphic stats because of his small sample size so far this season, but Motiejunas is included due to the likelihood that “Donuts” joins the second unit once Jones returns.

We’ll look at this bunch from both the offensive and the defensive sides of the ball this season.”

Read and view it here:


Replacing Kobe: His Defense Was the Problem (from Munir Mohamed, Vantage Sports):

”  Kobe Bryant’s 2015 season has been an interesting roller-coaster ride. Coming off two major injuries and a full season’s worth of missed games, Kobe was expected to decline but not to the extent that he has. Now, with Kobe’s season officially over, the Lakers will have to turn to other options at shooting guard.

Kobe has been bashed quite a bit for his offense this season and deservedly so. Kobe has a high Usage% with historically low shooting efficiency rates. But that is not where Kobe is causing the most damage to the Lakers. His defense has contributed a lot to the Lakers’ dismal season. The spotlight has been on Kobe’s shot totals, but it should be focused on his defense.”

Read it here:


Kevin Seraphin’s Hook Shot  (from Irfan K,

 …(N)ot only does Seraphin shoot the hook shot at a MUCH higher percentage than all of the best bigs in the league, but he smartly resorts to it as his shot of choice far more regularly.”

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– Nets’ Hollins: Aversion to stats ‘dumbest thing I’ve ever heard’ (from Tim Bontemps, NYPost):

”  When Lionel Hollins wasn’t brought back to coach the Grizzlies last season — after leading them to a franchise-record 56 wins and a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2013 before his contract expired — it was rumored a main reason was because of a disconnect between an old-school coach and a new-school front office that believed in the power of advanced statistics.

But when that question was posed to Hollins recently, he made it clear he didn’t share that view.

“I’m going to take a breath,” Hollins said after a long pause, “and say it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard because every coach uses stats.

“Now, do I understand some of the stats that are out there that are new? No. But I can learn them.””

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Additional Player Updates:


–  JaMychal Green:


O.J. Mayo:


Nerlens Noel/Anthony Davis:


Dwight Powell:


Tayshaun Prince:


Justin Holiday/Robert Covington/Hassan Whiteside:


Jusuf Nurkic:


Shane Gibson:


Spencer Dinwiddie: