Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 3/10/16

–  Hawks Quietly Becoming Dangerous  (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):
–  How Brad Stevens Draws Up Winning After Time Out Plays  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):
–  Hornets Are Committed To Three Point Shots,  And To Accepting The Consequences  (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):
–  Coach Carlisle Working Hard On Mavs’ Transition Defense  (from Dwain Price,
–  Careless Offense Hurts Warriors’ Defense  (from Monte Poole,  csnbayarea):
–  Michael Malone On Nikola Jokic’s Passing  (from Nate Timmons,
Film Room: Magic’s Strengths And Struggles  (from Josh Cohen,
–  How Hassan Whiteside Is Saving Heat’s Season  (from Zach Buckley,  Bleacher Report):
–  How Steph Curry Is Inspiring Young Players Across The NBA  (from Michael Pina Bleacher Report):
–  Warriors 115, Jazz 94  (from Monte Poole,
–  5 Must-See Momenst In Dubs’ Win Over Jazz  (from Ananth Mandian,  CBS Sports):
Recapping Wednesday’s Games  (from SBNation):

–  The Genius Of Dirk Nowitzki  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

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–  Sidelined: How NBA Coaches Deal With Pain And Injuries  (from DeAntae Price,  Sports Illustrated):
Jerry Colangelo Touts Analytics As He Contemplates Rio Olympics Roster  (from Ben Golliver,  Sports Illustrated)
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
Myles Turner  (from Karl Monteith,
–  Devin Booker  (from Sean Sullivan,
–  Norman Powell (from Mike Ganter,  Toronto Sun):
–  Damian Lillard (from Erik Gundersen,  The Columbian):
–  Jonas Valanciunas/Bismack Biyombo  (from Josh Lewenberg,

–  Tony Allen  (from Jared Weiss,  Celtics Blog):

–  Bobby Portis  (from Yaron Weitzman,  SBNation):
Kristaps Porzingis/Jerian Grant  (from Joe Flunn, Posting And Toasting):
–  Joel Freeland (from Mark Woods,

–  Kris Dunn  (from Jason King,  Bleacher Report):


Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 3/7/16



–  Warriors Were Overdue For A Bad Game  (from Tim Kawakami,

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–  Warriors Show They Aren’t Perfect  (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):

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–  Lakers Are At Their Best When Warriors Are At Their Worst  (from Baxter Holmes,  ESPN):

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–  Beyond Lillard, Depth Is Carrying The Blazers  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):

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–  Earl Watson’s Way Set By Memphis Years With Hubie Brown  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral):

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–  As Usual,  The Spurs Are Flying Under The Radar  (from Moke Hamilton,  Basketball Insiders):

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–  Clippers Defensive Changes Are Paying Off  (from Rowan Kavner,

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–  Pelicans, Gentry May Start Looking Toward The Future  (from Justin Verrier,  ESPN):

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–  The Suns’ 3-2 Stretch: Len, Defense & Stability  (from Kevin Zimmerman,

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–  Mapping Out The Suns’ Path Back To Relevance  (from Bryan Toporek,  BBall Breakdown):

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–  Making It In The NBA  (from Doug Smith, Toronto Star):

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–  Kings’ Stats Guru Roland Beech (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):

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–  Chauncey Billups On Melo & The Knicks  (from Marc Berman,  NY Post):

Read it here:

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Marvin Williams  (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):

–  Ryan Anderson  (from Justin Verrier,  ESPN):

–  Devin Booker  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral):

–  Damian Lillard/ CJ McCollum  (from Lang Whitaker,

–  Paul George  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):

–  Carmelo Anthony  (from Chris Herring,  Wall Street Journal):

Sam Dekker  (from Joel Brigham,  Basketball Insiders):

Julius Randle (from Broderick Turner, LATimes):

–  Karl-Anthony Towns (from Jerry Zgoda,    and from Jesus Gomez,  SBNation:

–  Willie Cauley-Stein  (from Tom Ziller,  SBNation):

–  Bobby Portis (from Kris Terzic,

–  Lamar Patterson (from Kris Willis,

–  Pat Connaughton  (from David Waldstein,  NYTimes):

–  Kris Dunn  (Jason King,  Bleacher Report):

–  Ben Simmons  (from Marc Whittington, Liberty Ballers):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Phil Jackson:  “How Phil Became Phil” (from Charley Rosen,  today’

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–   Training camp a test of endurance – for Pistons players and coaches both   (from Keith Langlois,

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–   Notes from the Milwaukee Bucks Media Day  (from Will Gottlieb,  BBall Breakdown):

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–  Derek Fisher has new approach that Carmelo Anthony agrees with  (from Marc Berman, NYPost):

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–   The Wizards might finally embrace an efficient offense  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

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–  Mike D’Antoni Q&A: Nash-Curry, small ball and the future of NBA basketball  (from Jake Fischer,  Sports Illustrated):

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–   Brad Stevens says lineups in Europe mean little  (from Steve Bulpett,  Boston Herald):

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–  Heat’s added depth likely means playing time at a premium  (from Barry Jackson,  Miami herald):

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–   Pistons hope their new schemes improve defense  (from Vince Ellis,

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–   Twin Towers Redux? Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah Aim to Turn Back Clock in Chicago  (from  Kevin Ding,  Bleacher Report):

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–   Warriors player consultant Nash makes big impact right away  (from Rusty Simmons.

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–  Michele Roberts, the first woman head of the NBA Players Association, talks growing up poor and defying the odds (from Durga Chew-Bose, Cosmopolitan Magazine):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


BBall Breakdown Player Ranking:  Kevin Durant #2 (from Jesse Blanchard):


–   Tristan Thompson Continues His Poker Game With Cleveland  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland):


–   Larry Bird has that feeling so pay attention to Glenn Robinson III  (form Gregg Doyel,


–  Jimmy Butler looking “dominant” in training camp  (form Sam Smith,


–   Jordan Hill Sheds Lottery Pressure  (from Joel Brigham,


–  For energy, Grizzlies will go Green — as in JaMychal  (from Ronald Tillery,  Commercial Appeal):–as-in-jamychal-20c5f184-5df3-663a-e053-0100007fe1c4-330440311.html


–  Raul Neto thrust into prominent point guard role  (from Tony Jones,


–   DeMarre Carroll knows his story has given him strength  (from Doug Smith,


–  Cory Joseph getting used to new Raptors systems (from Mike Ganter, Tornto Sun):


–   For Wizards’ DeJuan Blair, it’s nothing but lighter days ahead  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):


–   Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach LaVine To Start At The 2?  (from Aaron Mah,


–   Answering Some Questions About Paul George Playing Power Forward  (form Andrew Sharp, Grantland):


–   Shabazz Napier  (from S.W. Guest, orlandomagicdaily):




Celtics’  Big man David Lee given freedom to handle the ball in transition  (from Jay King,


–   Isaiah Thomas: ‘I’m Ken Griffey (Jr.) in his prime’  (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):


–   Tim Hardaway Jr: ‘Coming to Hawks is a new beginning for me’  (from Kris Willis,


–   The Truth about Bismack Biyombo’s offense  (from Joshua Priemski,


–  Kings’ Kosta Koufos ready to make big impact by doing little things  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):


–  Sixers’  Jerami Grant, JaKarr Sampson expected to be key defensive players (from Bob Cooney,

–  Steph Curry Says He Wants To Create More Space And Be More Explosive  (from

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–   Film-Study: Breaking down James Harden’s Game 2  (from alykhanb,

” For the majority of his tenure in Houston, James Harden has been the best pick-and-roll ball-handler in basketball. The combination of crafty handles to lull the opposing defender to sleep, nifty and poetic finishing moves around the basket, and incredible passing accuracy in the half-court makes him one of the league’s most un-guardable playmakers.

Thursday night in Oakland, Harden epitomized this description and tried to will his team to a Game 2 victory. Even though James Harden could not capitalize on a last-second possession, he deserves nothing but praise and admiration for carrying his team and putting them in position, two games in a row, to win and steal a game at the Oracle.

James Harden was playing checkers, not chess, with the Warriors defense.

He moved up the board slowly, probing the opponent and analyzing different movements and tendencies. Smart and calculated, James Harden was opportunistic with his drives and play-making. His patience and basketball IQ combined with his athleticism, speed, and versatility earned him a historic performance.

In an effort to truly understand and appreciate Harden’s 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists line, I decided to go back and look at the film. Three points will be discussed: patience and play making, scoring, and the final possession.”

Read and view it here:




How Steph Curry Keeps Getting Open  (from Coach Nick, BBall B reakdown):

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– Harden and Curry Are En Fuego; Rockets Do Work on the Pick-and-Roll; West Features Defenses Heading in Opposite Directions (from Ian Levy, Vantage Sports):

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–  With no Kyrie Irving, LeBron James hit another gear of greatness as a point guard  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):

“LeBron, he sees things ahead of time,” Blatt said. “Whether it’s knowing the play that we’re running and understanding where guys are going to be or whether he’s taken very quick mental pictures of where the defense is or where there’s just understanding by his feel for how defenses play him, who’s going to be open where when he makes a move to the baseline or to the middle, or whether it’s the fact that he has terrific court vision and he uses his size so well to see over guys.”

There’s also a fundamental part.

“Finally, not a lot of guys deliver the ball in the shooting pocket seemingly every time,” Blatt said. “That’s unusual. To throw a pass from here over there to that basket is not easy under pressure. To throw it right here where the guy simply catches and in one motion is able to shoot the ball, that’s extraordinary, and he’s got that capability.”

Coaches teach that to players at the earliest stages of basketball. Pass the ball to a player where the shooting motion begins.

Then, there’s the philosophical part and the part about being unselfish.

“Probably more than anything else, it’s the fact that he’s willing to pass the ball and that he believes in his teammates, and they feel that, they sense that, and that makes them more efficient and effective shooters,” Blatt said.

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More on this (from Dave McMenamin,  ESPN):



–   Cavaliers are now ‘The Big One,’ and it’s more than LeBron James  (from Terry Pluto,

” (T)his was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference and the Cavs were on the road in Philips Arena. The Cavs were without Kyrie Irving (sore knee). They have been without Kevin Love (shoulder surgery) since the first round against Boston.

“Our guys just play the game right,” said coach David Blatt.

“We’re the Big One … One Team,” said Blatt. “We are One Team … we are playing as a team and making the whole better than the parts.”

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 What we learned from Hawks-Cavaliers Game 2  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports)

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–  Cleveland’s defense is fueling the Cavs’ postseason run  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

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–  Eight Things to Watch for This Weekend in the NBA Conference Finals  (from Zach Lowe, Grantlabd):

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–  The NBA’s Best Hedging Screen Defenders  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):

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Tom Thibodeau:  Like every game is his last  (from Nick Friedell,  ESPN):

” Tom Thibodeau is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the NBA. He loves being in Chicago and coaching a Bulls team that has undergone a renaissance over his tenure over the last five years. So why is there such a widespread belief throughout the league that Thibodeau will be coaching elsewhere next season? Why is there very little hope within the Bulls organization that a reconciliation between Thibodeau, Bulls GM Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson is possible?

Here is a look back at the most tumultuous times of Thibodeau’s reign — filled with ups and downs that left the Bulls wondering about their future.”

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–  Mystics and Lynx to test ‘analytic’ scrimmage at Verizon Center  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):

” It’s no secret that advanced analytics have emerged to increasingly dictate how NBA teams operate in recent years. Analytics, basically numbers dissecting and uncovering different aspects of the game, were first met with resistance but their acceptance throughout the league is obvious. Front offices across the sport have analytics departments and a few teams are even headed by analytics-centric general managers. For further evidence, all one needs to do is look at the final four teams remaining in the playoffs.

But the NBA hasn’t done what a couple WNBA teams are set to do on Tuesday. The Washington Mystics and Minnesota Lynx are scheduled to play what is being billed as an “analytic” scrimmage at 2 p.m. at Verizon Center after a “normal” scrimmage at 1 p.m. Owner Ted Leonsis, also owner of the Wizards, will be available to the media before the scrimmages to discuss the unique event.

The analytic session will consist of two 10-minute periods with different rules. The first period will be played with “modified location scoring” that will completely negate midrange field goals — the least efficient shot in basketball. Made midrange jumpers will not count. Instead, they will result in a loss of possession. The second period will feature “modified pacing rules,” notably a 20-second shot clock.”

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–  The Contract Cost Of Each Lottery Pick  (from Chuck Myron,

”  The rookie scale contract for the No. 1 overall pick this year will be worth more than $26.6MM over its four-year span if his team pays him 120% of the rookie scale amount, as is almost certain to happen. That’s almost $16.7MM more than the approximately $9.9MM the rookie deal for the 14th overall pick will likely be worth. Naturally, that would be water under the bridge if the top pick turns out to be a superstar, but it seems that for every Anthony Davis, there’s an Anthony Bennett. The costs increase with each rung up the lottery ladder, and while most teams would surely celebrate a leap in draft position tonight, a higher pick carries consequences, particularly for teams like the Thunder, who already seem destined to pay the tax next season.

Below is a look at each lottery pick and the cost of the rookie scale contract associated with it, assuming that the team will pay the standard 120% of the scale amounts. Only the first two seasons of these deals are guaranteed, but it would be quite surprising if a team declined either its third or fourth year team option on its contract with a lottery pick.”

Read it here:



Addiitonal Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Clint Capela:




Bismack Biyombo:


Robert Covington:


Brandon Knight:


Ben Gordon:


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:

Today’s Best NBA reporting and Analysis

Zach Lowe’s NBA Conference Finals Preview  (from

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(Note:  As with all stories with playoff predictions, we link when they meet our “Four I” test – i.e. they are intelligent, informative, insightful and interesting – we do not necessarily concur with the predicted outcomes)



The Conference Finals: The Benches ( from  Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated):

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Warriors’ Kerr builds his perfect staff  (from Tim Kawkami,

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–  Warriors will try to keep Harden off the line  (from Jeff Faraudo,

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–  How the Warriors defense looks at the Rockets primary attack  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

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–  Is Barkley right about Rockets’ defense?  (from Alox Pattani,  ESPN):

” Back in February, Charles Barkley took various shots at the Rockets and GM Daryl Morey on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” Barkley said, “I’ve always believed analytics was crap” and “I never mention the Rockets as legitimate contenders ‘cause they’re not.”

In particular, Barkley criticized the Rockets’ defense, saying, “Just because you’ve got good stats doesn’t mean you’re a good team defensively. They’re not a good defensive team. They gave up 118 points. No good team gives up 118 points.”

Barkley’s comments sparked several responses from the analytics community, most of which attempted to show the value of analytics in the NBA in general. But now that the Rockets have made the Western Conference finals, let’s take a closer look at the actual basketball point Barkley was making:

Are the Rockets actually any good on defense?

The basic “points allowed” numbers that someone like Barkley looks at are misleading. Both teams playing at a fast or slow pace will make those numbers high or low, and by only looking at one game you may just be seeing an unusual moment. Looking at a whole season’s worth of games, and adjusting for number of possessions and quality of opposition played is a better predictor, and shows the Rockets have a top 10 defense.”

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Warriors, Rockets poised for track meet in West finals  (from Ben Golliver,  Sports Illustrated):

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Defending James Harden  (from Monte Poole,

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–  There’s more to the Golden State Warriors than just 3-point shooting  (from Tom Ziller,  sbnation):

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–  GSW Asst Jarron Collins on scouting the Rockets, and also on the Warriors’ coaching interplay  (from Tim kawakami,

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Some Warriors/Rockets stats (from

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The Importance of Iman Shumpert’s D in the Conference Finals (from James Fitzgerald,

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Some Cavs/Hawks stats (from

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Stan Van Gundy Encouraged By Improvement Of Team, Organization; Monroe, Jennings Still Big Questions  (from Ashley Dunkak,  cbsdetroit):

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–  The Plight of No. 1: Leading Off NBA Draft Is an Honor, but Often a Curse Too  (from Howard Beck, Bleacher report):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Al Horford:


Matthew Dellavedova:


Omer Asik:


Tiago Splitter:


Charlie Villanueva:


Steve Blake:


Marcin Gortat:


Amar’ e Stoudemire:


D.J. Augustin:


Renardo Sidney:


Sergey Karasev:


Kyle O’Quinn:


Larry Nance Sr & Jr: