Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 3/11/16

–  Brad Stevens’ Unique Form Of Motivation  (from Mark Murphy, Boston Herald):

Read it here:

–  Taj Gibson: Small Ball Destroyer  (from Michael Rosenfeld,  Vantage Sports):

Read it here:

The Nuggets’ Culture Change  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:

–  Video Breakdown:  Curry To Bogut Alley-Oop Dunks  (from EricApricot, Golden State Of Mind):

Read and view it here:

Recapping Thursday’s Games  (from SBNation):

Read it here:

–  Raptors 104, Hawks 96  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:

–  Injury Ends Joey Crawford’s Farewell Season Early  (from Steve Aschburner,

Read it here:

Every Team Tries To Copy Spurs’ Model  (from Tim Bontemps,  Washington Post):

Read it here:

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Joel Embiid (from Tom Haberstroh, ESPN):

–  Larry Sanders  (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders):

–  Trey Lyles  (from Jesus Gomez,  SBNation):

–  Damian Lillard  (from Jason Quick,  Oregon Live):

–  Richaun Holmes  (from Wesley Share,

Josh Richardson  (from Manny Navarro,  Miami Herald):

–  Willie Cauley-Stein  (from Aykis16, Sactown Royalty):

–  Victor Oladipo  (from John Denton,

–  Emanuel Mudiay/Nikola Jokic  (from Yaron Weitzman, SBNation):

–  Andre Iguodala  (from Rusty Simmons,  SF Chronicle):

–  Patrick Beverley  (from Joel Birgham,  Basketball Insiders):

Nemanja Bjelica  (from Lucas Seehafer,  Canis Hoopus):

–  Salah Mejri (from Tim Cato,

–  Kevin Martin (from Michael C. Wright,  ESPN):

–  Andrew Goudelock  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):

–  Wesley Johnson (from LA Times):


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Clippers and the Quest for Versatility  (from Justin Russo,

Read it here:


–  With DeAndre Jordan back, Clippers must now learn to thrive without him  (from J.A. Adande,  ESPN):

” Here’s a quick guide to make sure you’re up to speed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Out: rehashing the saga of how the Clippers retained DeAndre Jordan this summer.

In: talking about how the Clippers will fare without him this season.

Sure, the Clippers are counting on an even better version of Jordan than the one who was plus-11.8 per 100 possessions while on the court last season. But they’re also excited to see the options their improved depth and more versatile roster can provide when Jordan comes out of the game. In other words, they went to great lengths to keep their center while acknowledging the diminished importance of centers in today’s NBA.

“I do like the fact that we can stay big when we want to and we can stay small when we want to,” Doc Rivers said. “Staying small when we wanted to, we haven’t had that luxury since I’ve been here, and now we do.””

Read it here:


–  Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel: Can Brett Brown make it work? (form John Finger,

Read it here:


–   Isaiah Thomas studied Steve Nash this summer (from Tom Westerholm,

” While he’s probably the best scorer on the team, a big part of his effectiveness lies in his role off the bench — Thomas dominates opposing second units, who can’t answer for his quickness and ability to score off the dribble in a variety of ways.

Thomas said he worked on expanding that variety this offseason.

“I worked on extending my range,” he said on Friday. “Trying to be able to shoot from wherever on the basketball court. Also, I watched Steve Nash film, trying to figure out different ways to finish not just around the rim, but extending to the 3-point line.”

Read it here:


–   For Better or Worse, These Knicks Belong to Phil Jackson  (from Scott Cacciola, New York Times):

Read it here:


–  Celtics expect Lee, Johnson to provide necessary leadership  (from Ian Thomsen,

Read it here:


Cavs:  all key players are returning  (form Terry Pluto,

Read it here:


–  Nets’ Frontcourt Rotation (from Anthony Puccio,

Read it here:


–   SVG Part V: Until Jennings’ return, Jackson and a mixed cast will bear brunt of carrying Pistons offense  (from Keith Langlois,

Read it here:


–   The Timberwolves’ season of uncertainty  (from Britt Robson,

Read it here:


–   Training Camp Protocol  (from Charley Rosen,

”  (L)et’s take a look at the itineraries and goals that normally are in play from now until the preseason games begin.

” Once the season kicks off, practice sessions will be few and far between, so the next 7-10 days are extremely valuable. So critical that each practice session is planned to the minute with schedules often printed and distributed to the players beforehand.

While the specifics vary from team to team, every ball club hopes to reach several common goals during this period.”

Read it here:


–  The four injury risks today’s young players face  (from Baxter Holmes, ESPN):

” Many (health professionals in and out of the Association) say the injuries are indicative of four key issues players face in today’s NBA: poorer sleep, in part because of technology; weaker bones, in part because of low calcium and high sugar intake; an uptick in wear and tear, thanks largely to players specializing in basketball at a young age; and weaker muscles, as a result of shucking traditional weight training for more en-vogue methods.”

Read it here:


–  Jrue Holiday’s camp is determined to overcome his bad history with lower leg stress injuries  (from Oleh,

Read it here:


–  “Playing Up” and Rebounding: Adjustments faced by a player moving from small forward to power forward (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:


Nets’  Off-Season Report  (from netincome, nets

Read it here:


–   Lauren Holtkamp preps for her second season as NBA ref  (from Christian Red, NYDailyNews):

Read it here:


–   NBA Player Stats: Top 6 Players – Passing  (from Tamberlyn Richardson,

Read it here:

(Note: This is Part 3 of a 9-part series)


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


BBall Breakdown Player rankings:  DeMarcus Cousins, No. 9  (from Bryan Toporek):


–  Festus Ezeli Has Battled His Way into Golden State’s Future  (from Zach Buckley,  Bleacher Report):


–  Jared Sullinger  (from A Sherrod Blakely,


David Lee brings unselfish attitude to the Celtics  (from A. Sherrod Blakely,


–  Anderson Varejao Bounces Back from Last Year’s Injury  (from Joe Gabriele,


–  Pistons’ Granger (knee) to miss start of training camp  (from Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press):


QOTD (from Steve Kerr on the Warriors adding Steve Nash as a player development consultant):  ” “I think Steve is the most innovative athlete I’ve ever seen, when it comes to pursuing greatness – whether it’s conditioning, basketball drills, whatever,” Kerr said. “He’s got an amazing feel for the game and an amazing mind. Steve was the most efficient player I’ve ever been around, and my hope is that he can make our guys more efficient.””

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Can a Fred Hoiberg-Sized Paradigm Shift Save the Chicago Bulls?  (from Kelly Scaletta,

” It’s not often that a non-number can do so much to define a team’s season, but the Chicago Bulls have one that’ll stop you in your tracks. Their net rating with a lineup of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah was — they didn’t have one. That lineup failed to play a single regular-season minute together.

And that encapsulates everything that went wrong for the Bulls last year, and to a point, the years around it as well. The injuries, the glut at the power-forward spot, the stubbornness of Tom Thibodeau, and his refusal to try new and intriguing lineups all coalesce on the simple fact that not for one second did the most obvious quintet of players evertake the court together.

The Bulls have shooters in Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and Dunleavy. They have slashers in Butler and Rose. They have bigs who can pass in Gasol and Noah. They have bigs who can shoot in Portis and Mirotic. They have bigs who can post up in Gasol and Gibson.

In short, they already have the tools you need to generate a spread offense. What they lacked last year was imagination, creativity and a general  acknowledgment that it’s 2015.”

Read it here:


–  Here are the key NBA players competing with their national teams this month  (from Satchel Price,

Read it here:


–   Checking in on Kentucky’s historic draft class — from top pick Karl-Anthony Towns to undrafted Aaron Harrison — during the summer before their first NBA seasons  (from Jonathan Abrams, Grantland):

Read it here:


–  Karl-Anthony Towns Season Preview  (from UMN_Shazzy,

Read and view it here:


–  Raptors: Rebirth of a system  (from Deighton Goode,

Read it here:


 ‘Iron man’ Bavetta known for fun-loving attitude, rapport  (from Steve Aschburner,

HOF Class of 2015: ” Official never missed an assignment in 39-year career”

Read it here:


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Kyle O’Quinn is set to bust out  (from Jonathan Schulman,


–  BLAZERS ROSTER BREAKDOWN – CLIFF ALEXANDER (from  Bryant Knox & Jared Wright,


–  Ryan Anderson is poised for a breakout season (from Oleh,


Player to Watch: Rodney Hood  (from David J Smith,


– Rookie Wrap-up: Langston Galloway  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):–langston-galloway


 Rookie Wrap-up: Jusuf Nurkic  (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):


–   Phoenix Suns roster spot is Henry Sims’ target  (from Paul Coro,


 JJ Redick: The Forgotten Man  (from Robert Flom,


–   Ed Davis’ streamlined offense could benefit Portland Trail Blazers  (from David Mackay,


–  Clint Capela is ready to prove playoff breakout is no fluke  (from Ethan Rothstein,


–  Terrico White Hoping for Big Break  (from Alex Kennedy.  Basketball Insiders):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


OKC Thunder: Billy Donovan wants to make things easier for stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook  (from Darnell Mayberry,

”  At his introductory press conference, Thunder coach Billy Donovan briefly described the style of play he seeks to bring to Oklahoma City.

Its basic principles, he said, centered on player movement, ball movement and making the extra pass.

In other words, Donovan wants to bring more structure to what historically has been an isolation-heavy offense.

But achieving that goal and, more importantly, sustaining it could be a trying task without restricting Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, two of the best and most creative one-on-one offensive players in the game.

Donovan, however, has no intention to stifle his stars. In fact, he sees a revamped offensive system doing a lot to help them. ”

Read it here:


–  Q&A with new Thunder coach Billy Donovan  (from Royce Young, ESPN):

Read it here:



Blazers:  12 On-Court Dynamics to Consider For Next Year (from Willy Raedy,

”  Woah. What just happened.

If you’re like me, then you’re struggling just to get a feel for the new team. What will be their collective strengths? What are their weaknesses? Even something as simple as what style of basketball will they play?

We don’t have many answers at this point so let’s just try to get our bearings and preview some of the questions facing the team from a strategy standpoint. Obviously, the team is going to be very different and much worse but that comes with a whole new set of dynamics that should be fascinating to watch. Here’s twelve that I’ll be watching for over the summer and into training camp.”

Read it here:



Pelicans:  Darren Erman’s  Detailed Defense  (from Graham McQueen,

Read it here:



–  Not-yet NBA refs also under microscope during summer league  (from Kyle Hightower,  Associated Press):

Read it here:–nba.html




–   Hurt locker rooms: The four injury risks today’s young players face  (from Baxter Holmes,  ESPN):

” Many say the injuries are indicative of four key issues players face in today’s NBA: poorer sleep, in part because of technology; weaker bones, in part because of low calcium and high sugar intake; an uptick in wear and tear, thanks largely to players specializing in basketball at a young age; and weaker muscles, as a result of shucking traditional weight training for more en-vogue methods.”

Read it here:



–  NBA seeks to improve ‘long-term health and wellness of players  (from Tom Habertsroh,  ESPN):

Read it here:



– Magic assistant coach Mario Elie loves being back in the game (from Josh Robbins,

Read it here:



–  The San Antonio Spurs Don’t Rebuild Because They Never Die  (from Jesse Blanchard,  Bball breakdown):

Read it here:



–  YOU DON’T MESS WITH POPOVICH  (from Terence Moore,

Read it here:



–  Stan Van Gundy Maximizing Chance to Put Stamp on Detroit Pistons Roster  (from Vytis Lasaitis, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:



– The math behind basketball’s wildest moves (from Rajiv Maheswaran,



For those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  Long-term security, fear of injuries lead stars to grab multi-year deals  (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read it here:


–  Best players, reclamation projects still available in free agency  (from Amin Elhassan):

Read it here:


–  Aldridge a perfect companion, replacement for Duncan  (from David Thorpe):

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Tyson Chandler:


Enes Kanter:


Rodney Hood:


Mitch McGary:


Royce White:


Pat Connaughton:


Alec Brown:


Mickey McConnell:


David Lee:   and


Alex Len:


Dion Waiters:


Greg Monroe:


Keith Appling:


Dario Saric:


Seth Curry:


Aaron Brooks:


Jerami Grant:


Jordan Clarkson:


Eric Moreland:


Monta Ellis:


Bruno Caboclo:


Denzel Livingston:


Khris Middleton:

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Rest remains a challenge for NBA coaches, players (from Associated Press):

” It can be a guessing game who Popovich plays; he has set the bar when it comes to resting his veterans.

Many other coaches would like to follow his lead, but even for Popovich trying to manage players’ minutes and keep them fresh through the grind of the NBA’s 82-game regular season is a tricky task.

“It’s called the seat-of-my-pants science,” Popovich quipped.”

Read it here:

– The Mutually Beneficial Pairing of Rudy Gay and the Kings (from Zach Lowe,

Read it here:

– Why Rudy Gay and the Kings are perfect for each other (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):

” The deal to keep Gay in Sacramento will allow the scorer to reach free agency at a better moment and ends some uncertainty for the Kings.”

Read it here:

And from James Ham at Cowbell Kingdom:

– Reggie Jackson’s final shot against Rockets: designed hero-ball or rogue heat check? (from Kevin Yeung,

” After forcing a stop on a James Harden isolation late in the game last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder were only down three with 16.4 seconds left. They had a very real chance to tie the score and force an overtime against the (previously) 8-1 Houston Rockets.

But the resulting play out of the timeout was a complete dud. In the official play-by-play, it shows up as “Reggie Jackson misses 28-foot three-pointer,” coming only six seconds after the timeout. In reality, the distance was the least of Jackson’s problems. The shot he took was a simple pull-up jumper, thrown up with Dwight Howard closely contesting.”

Read and view it here:

– Secrets to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Hot Start (from Tom Firme, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:

– Mike Conley Q &A (from Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:

– Cavaliers’ Title Hopes Depend on Defensive Effort That Has Been Clearly Lacking (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):

” How do you create a decent defensive team when your roster is short on guys known for their defensive disposition?

“Well, you got to teach,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “You have to raise the level of expectation, and the level of accountability, and you have to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes if you’re not blessed with great individual defenders, your principles have to be that much stronger, and your helps and your court recognition have to be that much better. And that’s why it’s taken us longer in that area of the game than on the offensive end…. Defense, like offense, in a team sport, in the dynamic of a basketball game, is very much made up of team concept, team principles and the willingness of everyone to buy into that and to be accountable for that. And that’s what we’re working on.”

Read it here:

– Lakers threaten to go from bad to toxic (from Baxter Holmes, ESPNLosAngeles):

” They were never supposed to have much of a season — just one, long, loss-filled trudge to the lottery. But just 10 games in, it’s starting to turn toxic.

They were never expected to have much of a team — just an aging superstar and a patchwork crew. But just a few weeks in, it’s starting to unravel at the seams.

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ defense is on pace to be one of the worst in history. Kobe Bryant is on pace to miss shots at a faster rate than anyone in history. And the team is on track to have its worst season in franchise history. ”

Read it here:

– Stevens implores C’s to ‘do your job’ (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

“One of the things I really tried to emphasize today was, regardless of circumstance, we all have a job to do,” Stevens said. “And the hardest thing is to focus on that job without emotion. Things are going really well, you’ve got to focus on the task without emotion. If things are going really poorly and it feels like the weight of the world is falling on your shoulders, focus on what your job is and do it well. That’s easier said than done, but that’s our emphasis as we move forward. It should be something that we’re doing anyway.”

Read it here:

– CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard Share Defensive Journey (from Willy Raedy,

” After very different NBA beginnings, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard went into this summer with the same focus – improving their pick and roll defense.”

Read and view it here:

– David Aldridge of on Steve Kerr and the Warriors, Superstars Resting and a Joe Johnson Q & A:

– Bob Delaney applies stress strategies learned in military (from Steve Aschburner,

” Staying strong emotionally plays a key role for NBA referees”

Read it here:

More player updates:

– Shawn Marion:

– Will Cherry:

– Jared Sullinger:

– Robert Covington:

– Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo:

– Joe Harris:

– Shawne Williams:

– Nate Wolters:

– Aaron Gordon:

– Matt Barnes:

– Tony Wroten: