Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Pelicans Injuries Could Create Ample Opportunites For Role Players  (form Michael McNamara,

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–  How Will Houston Rockets Make the Bold James Harden/Ty Lawson Experiment Work?  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Blear Report):

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–  Why now? Wizards slowed down for Pierce  (frm J. Michael,

” The logical question for the Wizards is if this smaller, fast-paced style is so much better, why didn’t coach Randy Wittman start using it sooner? The answer is pretty simple, and he said it many times without actually saying it in previous seasons: They’ve lacked the personnel — until now.”

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–   How Minnesota Should Use Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones  (from Wes Kosel,

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–   How Stephen Curry works on slowing the game down  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss,  ESPN):

“How can Stephen Curry improve?”

It’s a question usually asked more with incredulity than curiosity. It would seem the 2015 NBA MVP has topped out, optimized as much as one can from a skinny frame and normal-person height. In theory, Curry has less upside to work with than the game’s athletic wings and burly bigs. His MVP award doesn’t come with a popular expectation that he’ll ever claim status as the NBA’s top player. After all, the 6-foot-3 guard won’t suddenly sprout as tall as Anthony Davis or jump as high as LeBron James.

Indeed, if Curry ever does claim that top-player status, it won’t be because he starts jumping over defenders or bullying foes in the post. The improvements will result from something internal — the slowing of time inside his mind. They will be the function of weaponized perception, a training of the brain to think quicker than your opponent can leap.

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–  How Marc Gasol’s Fellow Bigs Fit  (from Joe Mullinax, grizzlybearblues):

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–   Half Court Creators  (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

” Earlier this week, I looked at how good half court offense relies to some degree on a team having one or more creators. The common expression is “ability to break a defense down,” which in practical terms means forcing a second and possibly even third defender to guard the ball, leaving others open to make less demanding plays. Against modern exacting and drilled NBA defensive schemes, somebody or combination of bodies has to do something to break that initial shell.

So, while talk of “alpha dogs” and “true number one options” can be tedious, there is probably something to the notion that having someone1 to take the game by the scruff of the neck is if not essential, extremely useful to having a quality offense. As with many situationally good things, this can get taken too far, and this sort of “heroball” often becomes a goal in and of itself rather than an instrument to pry open a defense to allow the application of more refined approaches. Identifying that line is all but impossible in a vacuum, and plenty difficult even knowing the full context of a situation.”

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–  Rebounding Rates and the 2014/15 “J.J. Hickson All-Stars”  (from Mika Hokasalo,  Nylon Calculus):

” At first glance, the rebounding column in the box score seems like a relatively straightforward indicator of how good of a player’s rebounding ability. Increasingly, however, I’ve come to believe that how many rebounds a player gets has very little to do with how good of a rebounder they are. The difference between the top and bottom quartile of defensive rebounders among big men is only about two defensive rebounds per 36 minutes, and a lot of factors goes into whether or not you grab those two extra rebounds that has nothing to with providing value to a team. Stealing rebounds from teammates, or diligently boxing out and allowing your guards to pick up the rebound, can quite easily increase/decrease a player’s rebounding totals by an extra board or two without having any effect on the game. And chasing boards recklessly without boxing out can often be harmful to a team.”

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–  What teams will climb the rankings in offensive efficiency this season?  (from John Schumann,

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–  Dissecting Clipper Defense  (from   Larson Ishii and Caden Kinard,

” I’m not one to put too much stock into anything that happens in preseason basketball, especially the first two games. However, in watching the Clippersplay the Nuggets and Raptors, there was one meaningful thing that jumped out at me: the Clippers have completely changed how they defend the pick and roll.”

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For those with access to NBA Insider:


Golden State Warriors: 2015-16 player profiles (from Amin Elhassan):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Pacers:   Mahinmi Happy with Limited Role  (from Mark Monteith, :


–  Raptors’ James Johnson looking forward to playing time  (from Mike Ganter, Post Media Network):


–   Cauley-Stein impressing coaches, teammates with energy, effort  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):


–  Blazers’ Allen Crabbe playing with house money, cashes in  (from Peter Socotch,


–  Outspoken Enes Kanter has a complicated relationship with his home country of Turkey (from Anthony Slater,




–   Avery Bradley goes back to the future  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):


–   Childhood finger injury helped motivate Heat guard Gerald Green to succeed  (from Linda Robertson, Miami Herald):


–   Film Room: The Lance Stephenson Exemplum – Part 2  (from Justin Russo,


–   Terrence Ross Is Ready To Bring More To The Raptors This Year  (from Stephen Brotherston,  Pro Bball Report):


–   LaMarcus Aldridge seeking balance between aggressive and selfless with Spurs  (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):


–  Reason to believe in Dion Waiters?  (from Luke McConnell,


–  Cleveland Cavaliers Player Previews: Richard Jefferson  (from Trevor Magnotti,


–   Robert Upshaw is focused on reaching his defensive potential with the Lakers  (from Drew Garrison, silverscreenandroll):

Best NBA Reporting: Must Reads from Media Day

–  Pistons:  random thoughts and expectations for the season ahead  (form Keith Langlois,

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–   Raptors hope for better fit, ‘different type of basketball’ after off-season changes  (from Eric Koreen,

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Villanova Coach  Jay Wright talks Okafor, Noel with Brett Brown  (from Bob Ford,  Philadelphia Inquirer):

“He’s very committed to the fact that he wants to adjust to his personnel. I love how he sees himself as a coach: ‘You give me the players and I’ve got to figure out a way to make them successful. How can this person I’ve been given be most successful?’ That’s a lot better than a guy who says, ‘This has to be done my way.’ ”


–  7 Undrafted Free Agents to Watch in 2015-16 NBA Training Camps (from Jonathan Wasserman,  Bleacher Report):

” Going undrafted doesn’t mean the NBA dream is over. We see undrafted players make rosters every year. And a handful of them manage to secure legitimate rotation spots.

Langston Galloway, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown were just a few from last season.

Of course, the fit has to be right. Each of the following prospects offers something specific, whether it’s upside, shooting ability or energy, that their training-camp team must value.

These potential rookies have all signed partially guaranteed deals and will be players to watch over the next few weeks as they look to make an NBA roster.”

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–   Breaking Down the Miami Heat’s Training Camp Roster  (from Wes Goldberg,

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–   Three Point Plinko and the Minnesota Timberwolves  (from Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus):

” We still don’t know an awful lot about the process of shot and offense creation in the NBA. We’ve gotten pretty good at describing the inputs in terms of what various players bring to the table, and the outputs in terms of team level offensive success or lack thereof. But in between, how a given set of players interact with an offensive system to arrive at the shots actually taken, remains something of a black box, at least from an analytic view.

From a qualitative standpoint, coaches know a great deal about what kinds of actions will tend to produce the best shot, but even in that frame of reference it resembles a game of plinko. The structure of a team’s offense and personnel determine the placement of the pegs, and the play call is choosing which slot to drop in the pellet. But from there, the series of bounces, the intricacies of the offensive and defensive execution of any given play, determine the outcome in a not entirely predictable way.

Open threes are usually the end result of good things happening throughout the offensive process. Which leads me to the problem with Mitchell’s statement: Minnesota’s process, their “flow”, stunk.

Getting back to the plinko analogy, one season of low three point rates might be an unfortunate happenstance of roster construction or random variation. But Flip Saunders’ offenses (as well as those of his disciple, Washington’s Randy Wittman) have always produced three pointers at well below league average rates and long twos at higher than average rates3. That “flow” Mitchell was speaking of, from which threes must naturally arise is not an accident, an exogenous force with which the Wolves must deal. That “flow” is the result of design. And that design consistently produces the worst shot in basketball, the long two.”

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–   Abundance of questions surround start of 2015-16  (from David Aldridge,

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Q & A: Beat Writer John Reid on the Pelicans  (from Chuck Myron,

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–   An American coach is trying to lead Palestine to the Olympics – and it’s all even crazier than you think  (from Jorge Sierra,

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Bball Breakdown Player Rankings: Chris Paul, #6  (from Jesse Blanchard):


–  Why Harrison Barnes Could Be the Most Intriguing Free Agent of 2016  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland):


–  Why David West gave back $11 million to join the Spurs  (from Adrian Wojnarowski,  Yahoo Sports):–11-million-to-join-the-spurs-195800859.html


Finally united with coach Alvin Gentry, Pelicans guard Eric Gordon is eager to push the tempo (from Brett Dawson,


–  Tyreke Evans set to play primarily at point guard  (from John Reid,


Meyers Leonard Talks Versatility and Off-season Focus  (from David MacKay,


Trail Blazers Moe Harkless and Cliff Alexander  (from Jason Quick,


Vogel won’t ‘waste’ Paul George’s defensive skills  (from Candace Buckner,


–  Jameer Nelson the leader the Denver Nuggets need  (from Adam Kinney,


Kyle Lowry fit and fuelled for a rebound  (form Bruce Arthur,


Elfrid Payton learning to think like a shooter  (from Philip Rossman-Reich,


–  The Kevin Garnett Files  (from Michael Boosalis,


–  Michael Malone wants to find Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris consistent role  (from Nate Timmons,


Myles Turner (from Gregg Doyel,


–  Kyrie Irving wants to change his game so his scoring stays up and he won’t get knocked down (from Chris Haynes,


–   The Versatile Nikola Mirotic  (from Brandon Pence,


–  Croatian Dragan Bender at epicenter of historic Maccabi-Milano rivalry tour  (from Jake Fischer,  Sports Illustrated):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Wolves Q&A: Interim coach Sam Mitchell: ‘I’m not going to come in here and try to be Flip’  (from Jerry Zgoda,

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– Skiles stresses precision during Magic’s 1st practice  (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):

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–  Brad Stevens Focuses on Discipline, Timing During First Practice  (from Marc D’Amico,

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–   New-look Pistons beginning to look like SVG’s Magic  (from Vince Ellis,  Detroit Free Press):

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–   SVG Part VI:  Reggie Jackson emerging as Pistons leader with a little help from young and old  (from Keith Langlois,

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–   Q&A: Vlade Divac sees Kings challenging for playoffs this season  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):

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–  Rockets’ similarities to Warriors encourage Morey  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):

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–  Perspective, opportunity work for new Rio Grande Valley  Vipers coach Matt Brase (from Dennis Silva II,

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–  General managers, scouts analyze Heat  (from Barry Jackson,  Miami Herald):

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–  NBA Player Stats: Top 5 Players – Defensive Impact  (from Tamberlyn Richardson,

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(Note:  This is part 4 of a 9-part series)


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


BBall Breakdown Player ranking:   Blake Griffin, No. 8  (from Jeff Feyerer):


–  Hawks get more traditional center with Splitter  (from Chris Vivlamore,


–  Emmanuel Mudiay gets keys to run Nuggets’ offense as rookie  (from Christopher Dempsey, Denver Post):


–  Comfort will not change Crowder  (from Steve Bulpett,  Boston Herald):


Marcus Smart/Jared Sullinger (from Mark Murphy, Boston Herald):


Evan Turner is working work on his playmaking skills  (from A. Sherrod Blakely,  csnne):


Doug McDermott (from Ashish Mathur,


–  For Nik Stauskas, stable environment should be key  (from John Finger,


–   Suns: What To Expect From P.J. Tucker In 2015-16  (from Troy Tauscher,


 Hornet Tyler Hansbrough gives all he has  (from Tom Sorensen, Charlotte Observer):


–   Kostas Papanikolaou  (from Tamberlyn Richardson,  spacecityscoop):


–   Mavs: McGee’s Status Opens Door for Salah Mejri Heading into Camp  (from Jay Knodell,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Anthony Bennett’s Buyout  (from Zach Lowe,  Grantland):

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– Idan Ravin: From Lawyer to Elite NBA Trainer (from Alex Kennedy,  Basketball Insiders):

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” Danny Ainge has heard every theory about his plan to rebuild the Celtics.

He’s saving for two massive free agents. He’ll patiently build through the draft and develop the players he has. He’ll swing a franchise-altering trade like the ones that nettedKevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007. He’ll win with depth, the brilliance of head coach Brad Stevens, and a little leprechaun magic.

Ainge patiently fields questions on all of the above before something becomes clear: the first rule of The Plan is there can be no Plan. And that is essential to its success.

The battle to restore the Celtics will be guerilla in nature and not a meticulously choreographed frontal assault. Its principle tenet is flexibility – of salary cap management, of trade assets, of player development, of draft pick inventory. But most importantly, it’s about flexibility of thought.”

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Stan Van Gundy Q & A – Part One (from Keith Langlois,

” Stan Van Gundy talked to editor Keith Langlois about what’s new, what’s next and his expectations for his second season as Pistons head coach. Here’s Part I of their Q& A”

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–  Spoelstra speaks of Heat renewal, outlook  (from Ira Winderman,

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Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–   BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Top 50 NBA Players: 15-11  (from Jesse Blanchard,  BBall Breakdown):


–   Bryant,  World Peace lead Lakers’ education of Julius Randle  (from Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports):–metta-world-peace-lead-lakers–education-of-julius-randle-021735823.html


–   Julius Randle: from rehab to research to rejuvenated  (from Mark medina, LA Daily News):


–   Lakers’ Trainer Gary Vitti initially faulted himself for Julius Randle’s injury  (from Mark Medina,


–  Suns’ Jon Leuer finds what appears a good fit  (form Paul Coro,


–  Brandon Rush:  After invisible year, ‘I’m ready to be the old B-Rush’ (from Monte Poole,  csnbayarea):


–  Dennis Schroder Is Atlanta Hawks’ Biggest Wild Card in 2015-16  (from Jonathan Wasserman,  Bleacher Report):


–   Lakers: Robert Upshaw A Diamond In The Rough Or Just A Lost Cause?   (from Aaron mah,


–  Scott Suggs returns to the D-League for a final shot at the NBA  (from Chris Reichert,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting

–  Celtics: Taking stock of assets  (from Rich Conte,

”  Where do the Celtics stand going into the NBA season and in their rebuilding process.”

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–  NBA CBA Encyclopedia: Mid-Level Exceptions  (from Danny Leroux,  RealGM):

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–   How Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant learned to coexist  (from Darnell Mayberry,

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Nemanja Bjelica, the Timberwolves’ other rookie  (from Liam  Boylean-Pett, sbnatiion):


Chris McCullough  (from Mitch Abramson,