Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   Spurs will evolve, as their coach has before  (from Buck Harvey,

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–   Grizzlies face challenges as camp nears  (from Ronald Tillery,

” Despite the recurring theme of the need for long-range shooting, the Griz return with more versatility, the same expectation of winning 50-plus games and a place among the elite in the Western Conference.

There will, however, be challenges to work through during camp if the Griz are going to make good on their promise to contend”

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–  Pelicans lineup options  (from David Fisher,

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 Lakers take different approach into season with eye on development  (from Bill Oram,

” Asked what would make for a successful year, Kupchak mentioned neither a championship nor the playoffs.

“I’d like to stay healthy,” he said. “I’d like for Kobe to have a great year. I’d like our young players to prosper and show promise so we can develop a core going forward, something to more than build on.”

“We want to exceed whatever the expectations may be,” Kupchak said. “And we want our core to develop so that the blueprint can follow the next step, which is to add more talent next year.”

The organization’s dueling objectives, however, are impossible to ignore.

Bryant is in the twilight of his career, and they want to send him out on a high note. But as long as he is in the locker room, the Lakers cannot fully commit to building around young stars, as other rebuilding teams – think Utah, Minnesota and Phoenix – have done.

Further, Bryant can be a terribly inefficient player, and Kupchak said it’s likely that when he is on the court, he will still be the first option on offense.

To what extent does Bryant’s presence, in a season that should be all about development, delay the progression of future stars?

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–   Who will replace Marco Belinelli in the Spurs’ rotation?  (from Jesus Gomez,

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–  10 QUESTIONS FOR THE BULLS HEADING INTO 2015-16   (from Sam Smith,

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–   10 big questions for the Thunder  (from Royce Young,  ESPN):

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–  NBA Player Stats: Top 5 Players – Catch and Shoot  (from Tamberlyn Richardson,  spacecityscoop):

Read it here:

(Note: This is Part 7 of a 9-part series)

Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  BBall Breakdown Player Rankings: Russell Westbrook # 7  (from James Holas):


Amir Johnson receives praise from Stevens early in training camp (from A. Sherrod Blaekely,


–  Avery Bradley ready to change speeds to get to the line  (from A. Sherrod Blakely,


–  Comparing  Ed Davis and Tristan Thompson  (from erastus25,


–  Aaron Gordon hopes he hasn’t lost the momentum he gained in summer league  (from Josh Robbins,  Orlando Sentinel):


–   More Free Throws Key to Vucevic’s Development  (from John Denton,


–  Damian Lillard sends a message,signaling a new age of Blazers leadership (fromJasonQuick,


–   Nikoloz Tskitishvili feels ready (from Rowan Kavner,


–   Clippers Player Profile: Branden Dawson  (from Justin Russo,


–  Klay Thompson already working with, learning finer points from Steve Nash  (from Diamond Leung,


–  Hornets offer Jeremy Lamb chance for fresh start (from Rick Bonnell,


–  Breaking Down Jusuf Nurkic Ahead of 2015-16 Season  (from Garrett Kroeger,


–  C.J.  Miles is a 10-Year Vet, But Still Eager to Improve  (from Mark Monteith,


–   Clifford says Nicolas Batum will be ‘2nd or 1st option’ in Hornets offense  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):


–  Stauskas: Analyzing His Team Canada Play  (from C. Smith,


–  Andrew Harrison To Sign In D-League  (from Chuck Myron,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   NBA refs trained to keep their cool as they make the call  (from Brian Mahoney,  Associated Press):

Read it here:–nba.html


–   Mitch Kupchak: Ten Things to Know  (from Mike Trudell,

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–  Untangling The Gridlock Of Cleveland’s Frontcourt  (from Jonathan Tjarks,  RealGM):

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–   SVG Part II: Straight shooting from Dave Hopla and the boost Arn Tellem brings the Pistons  (from Keith Langlois,

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–  SVG Part III: On another year of roster churning and the need for better Pistons D this season  (from Keith Langlois,

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–   Hornacek wants Phoenix Suns players to focus on defense over offense this season  (from Dave King,

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–  Scott Skiles Q & A (form John Denton,

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–  Brett Brown, Sixers looking for fewer ‘gypsies’ in 2015-16  (from John Finger,

“One of the lasting moments from last year’s 18-win season was when Brett Brown sounded off about the Sixers’ high-volume roster turnover.

First, the third-year Sixers head coach was disappointed that player Brandon Davies had been traded last December, saying the move made it tough to build a team and culture. Then later, Brown expressed reluctance to coach a team of “gypsies.”

“To coach gypsies, to have to coach a revolving door, that’s not what I’m looking for,” Brown said.

But as the Sixers enter the third year of the epic rebuilding process, Brown expects a lot less roster turnover.”

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–   NBA Player Stats: Top 7 Players – Touches & Possessions (from Tamberlyn Richardson,  spacecityscoop):

Read it here:

(Note: This is Part Two of a Nine part series)


Bully Ball (from Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus):

” (S)ome players are quite effective at bullyball. One of the theoretical pluses of the Spurs acquiring LaMarcus Aldridge is his supposed ability to negate smallball by being an effective scorer when presented with a smaller defender. At least in 2014/15, this theory appears to hold up. I’ll get to the methodology in a moment, but Aldridge shot just under 72% from the floor from around the post area when the closest defender was undersized. Combine that efficiency with his minuscule turnover rateand the mobility and length to allow him to catch the ball in a variety of positions on the floor, and yes, it’s probably fair to say Aldridge is a weapon who can pick on the mouse in the house. So, which other players struggle or excel when confronted with a smaller defender? Which players in fact require  the mismatch to be effective?”

Read it here:


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


BBall Breakdown Player Ranks:  #10 Marc Gasol (from Will Gottlieb):


Pacers look forward to having Paul George at full strength, in new position  (from Mike Mazzeo,  ESPN):


Paul George not thrilled about move to power forward  (from Candace Buckner,


–  DeAndre Jordan is returning to Southern California to continue his career with the Los Angeles Clippers  (from Justin Russo,


–  Joe Harris Gears Up for His Sophomore Campaign in Cleveland  (from Joe Gabriele,


–   Embiid surgery involved five doctors  (from Keith Pompey,  Philadelphia Inquirer):


–  Offseason has Pelicans’ Ryan Anderson leaner and more prepared  (from Scott Kushner,


–  Is *this* the year Brook Lopez becomes a three-point shooter?  (from Devin Kharpertian,


–  A Life of Change Leads to Consistency in Basketball for Terry Rozier  (from Jessica Camerato,  Basketball Insiders):


–  Happy and Healthy: Chris Bosh values life after near-death experience  (from Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated):


Michael Carter-Williams/ Shaun Livingston (from Scott rafferty, Sporting News):


QOTD:  “(O)ne of Gregg Popovich’s secrets in plain sight has been the way he builds a bench and employs them and trusts them so much during the regular season that he can rest his starters so much and still win so many games. He doesn’t have better reserves than other teams, and he loses guys regularly. But his players abide by their system of play and he relies on them and trusts them. It’s a big part of coaching (and running any successful business), making your employees feel a part of the organization and success and trusting them and taking an interest in their fate.”

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Mitch Kupchak Q & A (from Joey Ramirez,

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Lance Stephenson Q & A (from Jared Zwerling, Bleacher report):

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”  With T.J. and Archie, what I’m looking at is their team defense. Are they on the nail? Are they helping out? Are they getting back? Are they closing out hard? I’ve seen spurts of it, but we want to get that up to 95 percent of the time, not just 20 percent of the time.”

Booker got a more positive review from his new coach.

“He’s pretty solid all around,” Hornacek said of the rookie. “Obviously, he can stroke it. And defensively, when I look at him, most of the time he’s in the right position.”

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–  Suns: Playoffs Should Be The Expectation In 2015-16  (from Gerald Bourguet,

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 The Spurs’ great offseason had a hidden cost  (from Satchel Price,  sbnation):

” San Antonio has more stars than ever, but an active offseason created some new problems to solve on the bench.”

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 Pacers Changing Eras in Large Fashion  (from Dylan Hughes,

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– Guys Who Caught My Eye At Las Vegas Summer League  (from A J Mitnick,

” The Las Vegas Summer League not only gives fans their first impressions of this season’s top rookies but also provides a stage for young players on the cusp of NBA opportunity to showcase their development.

Approaching it from the outside in as I did, as an assistant coach for an overseas team, the Summer League is a great place to get impressions on the top American talent, all in one setting. With the talent pool spread across the D-League, Europe, Asia, South America and even the end of NBA benches, Las Vegas puts all these players together with the top rookies and recent draft picks to try to show their worth.

Some players can use Summer League to carve out a larger role with their current NBA team after spending most of last season on the bench. Some guys who were undrafted, overseas, or in the D-league last season can play themselves into an NBA contract. Lastly, with many of European basketball’s brightest minds in attendance, some guys may show that they can be top players at the European level and improve their status in that market.

Here is a look at who caught my eye out in Vegas

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–  WHY SMALL BALL IS SWEEPING THE NBA  (from Roland Lazenby, Vice Sports):

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–  The flexible franchise: Suns keep their options open with element of surprise  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustyrated):

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 5 Second-Round Picks Who Look Like Steals from the 2015 NBA Draft Class  (from Jonathan Wasserman,  Bleacher Report):

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(NOTE:  I’m sure we hate slideshows at least as much as you, but occasionally there is one worth checking out)



–  The difference on defense for Orlando Magic as seen in Summer League  (from Philip Rossman-Reich.

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–  Summer League Through the Eyes of European Scouts  (from Jason Concepion, Grantland):

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Players to watch in The Basketball Tournament (from John Templon, Big Apple Buckets):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Nerlens Noel:


Jonathon Simmons:


Troy Daniels:


Terry Rozier:


Richard Jefferson:


Seth Curry/ Duje Dukan:


Seth Curry:  and


Ty Lawson:


Alec Burks/ Josh McRoberts/ Ricky Rubio:


Brandan Wright


Emmanuel Mudiay:


Scottie Wilbekin:


Romero Osby:


Kevon Looney:

NBA Draft review, Kidd, Bledsoe, Webster, Blatt, Free Agency

– Dad’s hard life lessons helped Andrew Wiggins on road to NBA (from Associated Press):

” As his talented son, Andrew, was presented with his new wine-and-gold Cavaliers jersey, Mitchell Wiggins finally let go of some painful memories.

This is it, he thought, his second chance, another shot at an NBA career broken in a haze of cocaine abuse.

His son is the No. 1 overall pick, and Mitchell Wiggins is now unburdened by guilt, embarrassment and disappointment. He’s whole again.

“It just gives me closure,” said Mitchell Wiggins, who was suspended for two full seasons with Houston in the 1980s for drugs. “I’m able to let go of maybe some of the things I was feeling when I left the league and I can sleep better now. This is a big moment.””

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How David Blatt Will Run The Cavaliers Offense (from Coach Nick, bball breakdown):

” Coach Nick went through a bunch of game footage from David Blatt’s Macabbi teams to breakdown what he likes to do on offense, and how that will translate to the NBA with Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Anderson Varejao.”

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– The market for Phoenix Suns Eric Bledsoe might be secondary (from Dave King,

” Any number of 20 different teams would likely love to have Eric Bledsoe. The only teams who don’t want him would be those with All-Stars or young studs already in place.

But as of yet, no team has openly leaked interest in Bledsoe. Yes, I used the term “openly leaked” because that’s how it is these days. Teams don’t hold media scrums to list out their targets. They simply let someone know on the sly, via text or phone, who they want.

Or, the agents leak interested teams to media folks. Sometimes it’s to drum up business, and sometimes it’s lies, lies, and damn lies.

But still, there’s been no outward word of who wants Bledsoe.

So let’s just take a look at the landscape to see who can extend him an offer sheet in July. Remember, Bledsoe is a restricted free agent who will be courted via offer sheets by teams with enough cap room. Alternately, teams without enough cap room can initiate a trade with the Suns, as long as Bledsoe wants to sign with them and the Suns want the assets back.”

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– Kidd’s power play lowers NBA coaching craziness to new depths (from Ken Berger, CBS Sports):

” Kidd, who signed a four-year, $10.5 million deal to coach the Nets last summer, watched as other former players with the same amount of coaching experience blow past his paycheck as though it were standing still. Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher got five-year, $25 million deals to coach the Warriors and Knicks, respectively. Kidd, a franchise hero with the Nets, still has a player’s mentality when it comes to his new career. For player’s of Kidd’s era — maybe every era — respect and stature can only be expressed in two ways: dollars and power.

Kidd didn’t have either with the Nets.

“He wanted it all,” one league source said of Kidd’s failed power play Saturday night.”

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– NBA Free Agents: What Options Mean for Players and Teams (from Michael Dunlap,

” With the NBA free agent bonanza getting ready to start, you’re likely to hear some terms you may not recognize. We talk about players “opting out” and we hear about free agents and how they’re restricted or unrestricted. What does it all mean? What are the different kinds of options and how do they affect the players and the teams involved?”

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– Martell Webster’s injury throws a major monkey wrench into the Wizards’ offseason plans (from Umair Khan,

” Martell Webster’s back injury puts a lot of pressure on management this offseason. We take a look at what this means for Trevor Ariza’s free agency and Otto Porter’s development.”

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– Steal of the 2014 NBA Draft? (from Basketball Insiders):

” Who was the biggest steal of the 2014 NBA Draft? Basketball Insiders’ interns Cody Taylor, John Zitzler and Jesse Blancarte give their thoughts”

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On Friday and Saturday we provided links to several stories which reviewed/analyzed Thursday’s draft.  Today we follow-up with links to the best pieces which focus on how individual teams did:

– No sizzle in Celtics draft, but plenty of steak (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

Read it here:

– Celtics still searching for direction  (from Rich Levine,

Read it here:

McDonough’s Suns just keep on rising (from Sekou Smith,

Read it here:

– Lakers got their guy in Julius Randle (from Drew Garrison,

Read it here:

– Kings hoping that Stauskas helps change shoot-first culture (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee)

Read it here:

– What you need to know about Nik Stauskas (from Jonathan Santiago,

Read it here:

– In Cleanthony Early, the Knicks Landed the Steal of the NBA Draft (from Matt Giles, New York Magazine):

Read it here:

– Newest Rockets could play key roles next season (from Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle)

Read it here:

– Flip Saunders lays down his marker on Timberwolves’ first-rounder Zach LaVine (from Britt Robson,

Read it here:

– Why it’s very troubling the Wizards sold a second-round pick (from Mike Prada,

Read it here:

– Caboclo No Man Of Mystery To Ujiri, Raptors (from Holly MacKenzie,

Read it here:

– Masai Ujiri and Bruno Caboclo’s personal advisor on Toronto’s draft pick (from Eric Koreen,

Read it here:

– How Does T.J. Warren Fit With The Phoenix Suns? (from Sean Sullivan,

Read it here:

– Draft pick breakdown: PJ Hairston (from twarner50,

Read it here:

More on individual teams choices tomorrow


Spurs, Heat, Warriors, Mavs, Thunder, Jazz, Lakers

– Mon Frère Boris (from Jonathan Abrams,

” How the Spurs and best friend Tony Parker tapped into the genius of Boris Diaw, and helped him become an NBA champion”

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– Offseason outlook: San Antonio Spurs (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:

– Spurs prepared for future — of course! (from Marc Stein, ESPN):

” The NBA’s new champions, on top of stuffing a fifth title into a run at the top that spans 15 years and counting, actually are trying to be ready for every down-the-road eventuality.”

Read it here:

– Offseason outlook: Miami Heat (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:

– Warriors’ Andrew Bogut impressed by Steve Kerr, skips FIBA World Cup while making progress with rib injury (from ,

Read it here:

– How the Mavs gave the Spurs their toughest test (from Bobby Karalla,

Read it here:

– Any chance Thabo Sefolosha will be back in OKC next season? (from Oklahoman staff writers)

” The Oklahoman staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Thabo Sefolosha”

Read it here:

– New Jazz Coach Quin Snyder (from Clint Johnson, Salt City Hoops):

A conversation between Ben Dowsett and Clint Johnson of Salt City Hoops regarding Quin Snyder’s hiring as new head coach of the Jazz.

Read it here:

– The Family Business: Jerry West’s son Ryan preps for the draft:

” Growing up watching countless basketball games with Jerry West, one of the greatest players and general managers in NBA history, isn’t such a bad way to learn about the game.

That’s how Ryan West, Jerry’s son, developed his passion, which he’s continued to hone during his own NBA career that started in the front office of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002. The 35-year-old West joined Mitch Kupchak’s staff in 2009, and continues to hold the position of assistant director of scouting, working closely alongside Lakers director of scouting Jesse Buss.

We posted up in West’s office to discuss the Lakers’ process with workouts leading into June 26th’s NBA Draft, his personal journey into the front office and what it was like being a fly on the wall for Kobe Bryant’s famed 1996 pre-draft workouts.”

Read a transcription of the conversation here:

And for those of you with access to ESPN’s Insider:

– Heat should embrace Spurs’ model (from Tom Haberstroh ESPN Insdier):

” Miami must embrace a smaller role for Wade and a global one for the roster”

Read it here: