Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 5/5/16

CLE 123, ATL 98:

   – From Chris Fedor, cleveland.com:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2016/05/jr_smith_emerges_as_cleveland.html

   – From Dave McMenamin, ESPN:  http://espn.go.com/blog/cleveland-cavaliers/post/_/id/2625/cavs-continue-perfect-postseason-shoot-their-way-into-history

–  Heat All In On Small Ball Without Bosh  (from Micah Adams, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/117870/heat-all-in-on-small-ball-without-chris-bosh

–  Raptors Will Try To Pick Up The Pace  (from Doug Smith,  thestar.com):

Read it here:  https://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2016/05/04/raptors-will-try-to-pick-up-the-pace-against-heat.html

–  Raptors’ Bigs Will Focus On Limiting Wade  (from Eric Koreen, sportsnet.ca):

Read it here:  http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/raptors-bigs-focused-limiting-slithery-wade-ahead-game-2

–  The Heat Answered Lowry’s Buzzer-Beater  (from Jesse Blanchard,  BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2016/05/04/dwyane-wade-and-the-miami-heat-answer-kyle-lowrys-prayer/

–  Scola Acting As Voice Of Reason During Lowry’s Playoff Pains (from Michael Grange, sportsnet.ca):

Read it here:  http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/scola-acting-voice-reason-lowrys-playoff-pains/

–  GSW 110, POR 99

   – From Jason Quick, csnnw.com:  http://www.csnnw.com/blazers/loss-could-shape-trail-blazers-better-or-worse

 

   – From Coach Nick, BBallBreakdown:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=NptjZXdNJ54

   – From Sarah Cilea, BBall Breakdown:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2016/05/04/portland-cant-escape-the-golden-state-warriors/

   – From Carl Steward, East Bay Times:  http://www.eastbaytimes.com/warriorss/ci_29850603

   – From Rusty Simmons,  sfgate.com:  http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Commander-Iguodala-does-is-all-for-Warriors-7393759.php

  –  From Adam Lauridsen, mercurynews.com:  http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2016/05/04/one-beat-warriors-110-blazers-99/?doing_wp_cron=1462356631.4488890171051025390625

–  Steve Kerr Continues His Long Journey Back  (from Tim Kawakami, Mercury News.com):

Read it here:  http://www.eastbaytimes.com/tim-kawakami/ci_29850816/kawakami-warriors-steve-kerr-continues-his-long-journey

–  Why Did Bird Let Vogel Go? (from Jason Patt,  SBNation):

http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2016/5/3/11575722/frank-vogel-pacers-coach-future-larry-bird

–  Barbosa Swears By A Brazilian Remedy  (from Scott Cacciola, NY Times):

Read it here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/05/sports/basketball/golden-state-warriors-leandro-barbosa-horse-medicine.html

–  The High-Tech Replay Center Can (Or Can’t) Decide Games  (from Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2016/story/_/id/15413918/nba-replay-center-limits-how-helps-refs

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Tyler Johnson  (from Jason Lieser, Palm Beach Post):  http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sports/basketball/2016-nba-playoffs-a-behind-the-scenes-look-at-tyle/nrHHN/

–  Bruno Caboclo  (from Dakota Schmidt, Ridiculous Upside):  http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2016/5/4/11590932/hopes-from-the-6-breaking-down-bruno-caboclos-season-with-raptors-905

–  Linton Johnson  (from Brian Rzeppa, nothingbutnets.com):  http://nothinbutnets.com/2016/05/05/linton-johnson-thrives-in-italy/

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Advanced stats are changing the game and leaving some big markets behind (from Kevin Pelton ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12331388/the-great-analytics-rankings

 

 

Avery Bradley’s new commitment to film study helping Boston Celtics (from Jay King, masslive.com):

” Looking to improve his help defense, Bradley said he has committed to studying every opponent. Over the three games since the All-Star break, he has averaged 4.3 steals per game, including a career-high six in Monday’s win against the Phoenix Suns.

“I watch so much film,” he said after the 115-110 victory, calling his new focus on game tape “a big difference.”

“I always knew that I could really help my team out on one-on-one defense,” Bradley explained. “But I wanted to become a better team defensive player. And I really feel like I’m improving because I watch film and I know where to pick my spots. It’s helping me get steals as well.”

As the 24-year-old put it last season, “They want me to calm down a little bit more, not be so reckless, I guess you could say, on defense. They want me to be disciplined, pick my spots every now and then, pick up full-court but get back and play angles. They’re just trying to make me into a great team defender, as well as an individual defender.”

Read it here:  http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/02/avery_bradleys_new_commitment.html

More Bradley: http://www.csnne.com/blog/celtics-talk/watch-and-learn-bradley-improving-all-around

 

 

–   Department of Defense  (from Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland.com):

” Chris Paul is considered one of the best defenders in the NBA. But we don’t have any charts or advanced metrics to prove that conventional wisdom. In fact, while the statistics we use to judge offensive play have never been more thorough and complex, defensive analytics are still overly reliant on age-old tallies like steals and blocks.

But thanks to the player-tracking revolution, that’s about to change.

The antiquated nature of defensive stats affects everything from sports bar spats to free-agent contract negotiations. As basketball races headlong into its own version of the big data era, this has to change. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few outside groups, a vast majority of progress in this area is occurring behind the locked doors of practice facilities because of league rules. And while some teams may be cracking the codes of defensive analytics, they sure as hell aren’t sharing their findings with the public.

This research may not change basketball forever, but it represents an important publicly readable step in the evaluation of defensive play in the NBA. There are still many challenges in understanding defensive performance; with no prior knowledge about a team’s principles and rotations, it’s very difficult to know what a defender is supposed to do. But until Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau start publishing their defensive playbooks, we’re just going to have to make educated guesses. Regardless, while there will probably always be an analytical bias that leans toward offense, this work is evidence that the integration of statistical modeling, computation, and player tracking offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve our understanding of defensive play.”

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/features/department-of-defense/

 

 

Washington Wizards: Best-Shooting Mediocre Offense in the Modern NBA Era (from Kyle Weidie,  truthaboutit.net):

Read it here;  http://www.truthaboutit.net/2015/02/washington-wizards-best-shooting-mediocre-offense-in-the-modern-nba-era.html

 

 

Small ball working again for the Nets (from Brian Erni, snynets.com):

Read it here:  http://snynets.com/nets/small-ball-working-again-for-the-nets/

 

 

Amar’e Stoudemire: Fitting In  (from Perry mattern, mavsoutsider.com):

How will Stat fit in with the various groupings?

Read it here:  http://www.mavsoutsider.com/2015/02/24/amare-stoudemire-combining-with-different-mavs/

 

 

–  Sixers’ defensive identity missing  ( from Keith Pompey, philly.com):

“…(Y)ou come in with 6-foot guards and not 6-6 guards where you could switch and do some things and it puts a real premium on how you can do pick-and-roll defense which is really the sport in many ways,” Brown said before the game. “And so from that perspective, it changes dramatically.”

However, the Sixers are much better shooting team – especially from long range.

Read it here:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150224_Sixers__defensive_identity_missing.html

Warriors’ Owner Joe Lacob Q & A (from Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated):

 

NBA’s new replay center helping ‘get the call right’  (from Jeff Zilgitt, USAToday):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/02/23/replay-center-instant-review-behind-the-scenes/23888843/

 

 

Preemptive strikes drive stir of action at NBA trade deadline (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):

” Thursday’s record-setting deadline, which saw 11 trades involving 37 players, was driven in large part by a number of teams making key contractual decisions before they were required to do so. Last week’s preemptive trades were largely defensive, aimed at shipping out players who might later prove to be too expensive to keep or who might bolt for nothing in free agency. The general goal was avoiding a roster apocalypse down the road, rather than achieving immediate world domination.

A quick survey of Thursday’s notable deals underscores just how prevalent this preemptive philosophy was across the league. Contenders and rebuilders alike opted to make crucial roster decisions midseason rather than waiting until the summer.”

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/02/23/nba-trade-deadline-analysis-goran-dragic-reggie-jackson-kevin-garnett

 

 

–  Meet Rock Star Pastor Carl Lentz, Spiritual Guide to NBA Elite  (from Jared Zwerling, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2332735-ballin-on-a-prayer-how-a-former-div-i-walk-on-became-the-nbas-go-to-confidant

 

 

QOTD (from George Karl):  “I’ve watched on film. We have all these gaps we’re not taking advantage of because they want to run the play. They’re used to being yelled at for not running the play. Now they’re being yelled at for not breaking it.”

QOTD #2 (from Mattthew Tynan, responding to the Chuckster instigated “controversy”):  “(T)his isn’t about analytics vs anti-analytics, it’s about using as much info as you can from every angle to create the best product.”

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

 

Gordon Hayward:  http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-haywards-subtle-excellence-and-player-grades-for-spurs-jazz-22315/

 

Terrence Joneshttp://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/2/23/8097631/terrence-jones-is-healthy-right-when-the-rockets-need-him

 

Markel Brown:  http://nypost.com/2015/02/24/little-used-net-throws-down-crazy-dunk-stars-in-1st-start/

 

Norris Colehttp://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2015/02/newly_acquired_pelicans_point_1.html   and   http://www.nba.com/pelicans/news/under-radar-pickup-norris-cole-making-early-difference-pelicans

 

Rodney Stuckeyhttp://8points9seconds.com/2015/02/24/stuckey-fills-lane-as-pacers-find-way/

 

Reggie Jackson:  http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2015/2/24/8094395/pistons-new-point-guard-reggie-jackson-offers-star-potential

 

Tyler Ennishttp://www.foxsports.com/wisconsin/story/newly-acquired-milwaukee-bucks-pg-tyler-ennis-in-a-much-better-spot-now-022315

 

Bradley Beal:   http://www.csnwashington.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/bradley-beal-plans-changes-avoid-another-stress-injury

 

Nerlens Noelhttp://www.sportsonearth.com/article/110194122/philadelphia-76ers-nerlens-noel-untradable-sam-hinkie

 

Jerryd Bayless/ Jared Dudleyhttp://behindthebuckpass.com/2015/02/24/isnt-anybody-talking-jerryd-bayless/

 

Reggie Jackson/ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:   http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/02/pistons_patter_reggie_jacksons.html

 

Alex Len:   http://www.arizonasports.com/41/1810354/Despite-losses-Phoenix-Suns-head-coach-Jeff-Hornacek-remains-high-on-Alex-Len

 

Jason Richardsonhttp://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/2015/02/24/philadelphia-ers-sixers-jason-richardson/23938439/

 

Jerami Granthttp://www.nba.com/sixers/news/150224-grant-work

 

Andre Millerhttp://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article11049866.html

 

Al-Farouq Aminu/Amar’e Stoudamire:  http://espn.go.com/dallas/hot/?id=12370159

 

Jordan Hamiltonhttp://www.clipsnation.com/2015/2/24/8101839/clippers-sign-sf-jordan-hamilton-to-10-day-contract

 

Isaiah Canaan:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/isaiah-canaan-adjusting-to-new-system-in-philadelphia/

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Portland Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts Designs Amazing Late-Game Plays (from Dane Carbaugh, blazersedge.com):

Terry Stotts is a prominent offensive mind in the NBA and no where is that more apparent than when it comes time for Portland to run a play after a timeout.

These plays — called “ATO” — allow the Blazers to make up points when they need them most. Against the Los Angeles Clippers last week, Portland ran two incredibly crafty variants within the final minute to try and save the game.

Although Portland eventually fell to the Clippers, 106-102, the right shots were there and the Blazers could have made up five points on two possessions had all their attempts gone through the hoop.

Let’s take a look at how these plays worked.”

Read and view it here: http://www.blazersedge.com/2014/11/10/7182757/portland-trail-blazers-timeout-plays-terry-stotts-damian-lillard

– Resurgence of stretch fours (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):

CavaliersPelicans… featured a stretch forward showdown that managed to be nearly as riveting as the headliners. Together, 6-foot-10 power forwards Ryan Anderson (New Orleans) and Kevin Love (Cleveland) scored 54 points while combining to hit 14-of-21 three-point attempts. Their marksmanship drove much of the game action: Anderson’s hot touch in the first-half helped New Orleans build a five-point halftime lead, while Love’s four fourth-quarter threes ensured that Cleveland would win going away.

Through the first two weeks of the season, Anderson and Love are hardly alone among big men when it comes to perimeter prowess. Instead, the first few weeks of the 2014-15 season have the makings of a revival for the “stretch forward” position. Mandatory sample size disclaimers apply — given that we’re less than 10 percent of the way into through the season — but the early data suggests that 2014-15 could go down as one of the best seasons ever for big men shooting from deep.”

Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2014/11/11/anthony-davis-kevin-love-ryan-anderson-trends-stretch-forward

– Taking the NBA’s Temperature: Clearing Up Some Big-Picture Questions (from Zach Lowe, grantland.com):

” It’s still early enough in the NBA marathon that one short-term injury or random string of easy games can carry undue influence over how we perceive a team. But we’ve reached the point where it’s useful to search out surprising early trends, ask which ones might have staying power, and update projections.

As we enter Week 3, here are some early big-picture questions, quirks, and story lines to watch:”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/taking-the-nbas-temperature-clearing-up-some-big-picture-questions/

– Replay Center aims to help refs make the calls quickly (from David Aldridge, nba.com):

” The league has gone to great pains to say that the Replay Center, which gets direct game feeds from each of the NBA’s 29 arenas, serves to supplement the referees, not do their job for them — though it has not shuttered the notion that improved technology in future years might make using the Replay Center for the final decision possible. ”

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/david_aldridge/11/10/morning-tip-nba-instant-replay-center-joe-borgia-state-of-the-indiana-pacers-shortening-the-nba-schedule/index.html

The tightrope Hollins must walk in bashing Brook Lopez (from Tim Bontemos, NYPost):

” There is no arguing Lionel Hollins made the right decision going with Kevin Garnett instead of Brook Lopez in the final minutes of Sunday’s win over the Magic. But there is also no arguing that if the Nets want to be a better team this season, they are going to need Lopez on the floor late in games.

This is why the relationship between the coach and All-Star center has to be monitored, as Hollins is committed to seeing Lopez improve at both ends of the court and isn’t shy about saying so.”

Read it here: http://nypost.com/2014/11/11/the-tightrope-hollins-must-walk-in-bashing-brook-lopez/

– Detroit Pistons go to school on Chicago Bulls’ competitiveness, execution in 101-92 loss (from David Mayo, MLive.com):

“D.J. Augustin was with the Chicago Bulls last year, playing the role of Derrick Rose, so he has a firm idea what the makeup of that NBA championship-contending team is all about now that they have their star guard back.

“They just play hard the whole game,” Augustin, now with the Detroit Pistons, said after his new team lost 101-92 to his old one Monday. “They execute, they run their plays, they never get rattled, and they come out at the beginning of the game ready to play.

“For us to be in the game with them at the end, that was a good test for us, one of the best teams in the East, we can build on that.””

Read it here: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2014/11/detroit_pistons_go_to_school_o.html

– Raptors second unit is pushing starters (from Ryan Wolstat, Toronto Sun):

” Each of the primary backups have spent considerable time as starters earlier in their careers, which means both that Toronto’s second unit will be more talented than most opponents’ reserves and that the starters will get pushed for playing time, benefiting everyone on the roster in the long run.”

Read it here: http://www.torontosun.com/2014/11/10/raptors-second-unit-is-pushing-starters

– Triangle or No, the Knicks Are a Trainwreck on Defense (from Chris Herring, Wall Street JOurnal):

” Team Ranks 28th in Defense and Allows Too Many Open Three-Pointers”

Read it here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/triangle-or-no-the-knicks-are-a-trainwreck-on-defense-1415671300

– Behind the smoke and mirrors is the real Pat Riley (from David Ramil, hothothoops.com):

” In a rare moment of candor, the Miami Heat president opened up about his life before coaching, what truly makes him happy, the departure of LeBron James and moving on to a new era of basketball excellence.”

Read it here: http://www.hothothoops.com/2014/11/10/7189303/pat-riley-miami-heat-success-roster-changes-nba

More player updates:

– Jonas Valanciunas: http://ballnroll.com/exclusiveaccess?post=1491

– A.J. Price: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/11/10/price-helps-indiana-pacers-stop-hayward-and-jazz-97-86/18831141/  and  http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/price-keeps-rewriting-his-story

– Dwight Howard: http://spacecityscoop.com/2014/11/11/rockets-dwight-howard-effectively-utilized-season/

– Isaiah Canaan: http://spacecityscoop.com/2014/11/11/can-isaiah-canaan-future-point-guard-rockets/   and   http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2014/11/second-year-guard-isaiah-canaan-turns-detractors-negativism-into-positives/

– Reggie Jackson: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24795059

– Rudy Gay: https://medium.com/the-cauldron/rudy-gay-is-finally-earning-that-money-a1550273e63a

– K.J. McDaniels: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/11/10/7187381/kj-mcdaniels-highlights-philadelphia-76ers

– Tony Wroten: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/what-hath-shammgod-wroten-the-emergence-of-another-sixers-point-guard/

– Deron Williams: http://dimemag.com/2014/11/healthy-deron-williams-confidence-back-people-cant-guard/

Today’s Top NBA Preseason Stories

– Kobe Bryant Q & A (from Ken Berger, CBS Sports):

Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/writer/ken-berger/24767690/qa-with-kobe-bryant-quotes-that-didnt-make-the-cut

– Wizards’ Coach Randy Wittman finally has a roster that’s not rebuilding (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/with-wizards-coach-randy-wittman-finally-has-a-roster-thats-not-rebuilding/2014/10/26/17d06e76-5d2c-11e4-9f3a-7e28799e0549_story.html

– Omer Asik and Defending the 2-Point Shot (from Jason Calmes, bourbonstreetcalmes.com)

Read it here: http://www.bourbonstreetshots.com/2014/10/26/omer-asik-and-defending-the-2-point-shot/

– Thaddeus Young gives Wolves solid veteran presence (from Jerry Zgoda,  startribune.com):

” Believe it or not, Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young isn’t so old that he doesn’t remember what it’s like to be 19 and young (with a little “y”) in the NBA just like new teammates Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

It just seems that way.

He begins his eighth NBA season on Wednesday in Memphis, yet just celebrated his 26th birthday in June. It’s a juxtaposition that Young calls “kind of in between.” It’s also one that left many people asking Wolves basketball boss Flip Saunders why he’d swap a 2015 first-round draft pick obtained in the Kevin Love blockbuster trade for such an aged player, especially after Saunders obtained youngsters Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from Cleveland as the trade’s two other pieces.

“They’re acting like he’s 29 or 30,” Saunders said. “He’s not, and he’s a good player.””

Read it here: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/280477442.html

Ty Lawson Shows How To Defend The Pick And Roll (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

” Coach Nick got on the court with Denver Nuggets Point Guard Ty Lawson to demonstrate the proper technique to defend the ball handler in the pick and roll. He utilizes both the turn and run and slide methods…”

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1JFeFcyzTI

– Malone discusses roles of Nik Stauskas, Omri Casspi and Derrick Williams (from Blake Ellington, Sactownroyalty.com):

” We know who the Kings starters will be on opening night. But what about the role players? Michael Malone gave us a little insight into his thought process. ”

Read it here: http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2014/10/26/7074315/michael-malone-rotation

– A look at what’s new in the NBA this season (from Anthony Slater, newsok.com):

” Expedited replay reviews are just one of the changes the league has made.”

Read it here: http://newsok.com/a-look-at-whats-new-in-the-nba-this-season/article/5360559

-Sixers begin another season of roster roulette (from Keith Pompey. Philly.com):

“Usually you look at a roster and say, ‘I know this guy. He’s a legitimate NBA player,’ ” he said. “I’m looking at this roster, and I never heard of most of these guys. And the ones I heard of, I’m not sure if they are NBA players.”

Nor are the Sixers, but they are willing to find out.

The quest is to find defensive-minded, diamond-in-the-rough role players to place around lottery
picks Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric in the future.”
Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers
/20141027_Sixers_begin_another_season_of_roster_roulette.html
–  Celtics launching 3-pointers at record rate (from Jay King, masslive.com):
” Though the Boston Celtics launched preseason 3-pointers at a team-record rate, Brad Stevens
vows he never told his club to fire away.
“Not once,” he said recently.

But in so many ways, the Celtics outside movement started with Stevens. Their shot selection carries his fingerprints.”

Read it here: http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2014/10/boston_celtics_launching_3-poi.html

– Pelicans: Correctly Maximizing Rotations (from Oleh, thebirdwrites.com):

Read it here: http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2014/10/27/7070451/winning-moves-part-iv-correctly-maximizing-rotations

– Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott is still all business (from Mike Bresnehan, LATimes.com):

Read it here: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/basketball/los-angeles-lakers-coach-byron-scott-is-still-all-business-20141027-11co9f.html

– Jared Sullinger starts over (from Mark Murphy, BostonHerald):

” If Jared Sullinger could review a loop of his 2013-14 season, detailing everything from his uneven performance to a souring attitude, he’d grimace. The Celtics forward shakes his head when talking about that time now.

Sullinger was the Celtics’ best player this preseason — a surprise as their most efficient 3-point shooter, their one dominant rebounder, their most balanced scorer. This fall marks a recovery after a tough second season that was, for Sullinger, a wake-up call.

“It was stuff I was doing on the court. Antics I don’t normally do, I was doing last year,” Sullinger said. “To get away from that I had to change my mindset and play better. Yeah I was surprised, because there were times when I was just out of line. Not out of line in the sense of acting crazy, but out of line because I was not myself. The more and more I watched film, the more I realized I can do better.”

Read it here: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2014/10/jared_sullinger_starts_over

– Gary Harris coming along nicely for Denver Nuggets (from Nate Timmons, denverstiffs.com):

“He’s not afraid,” said Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw. “He comes into the game and he’s in attack mode. There’s still some areas where he has to refine his skills. I’ve put him out there against Westbrook, and different guys that I’ve wanted to see how he’d defend and fair against them. There’s no backdown in him, that’s encouraging.”

Shaw is talking about rookie Gary Harris. The 6’4″ shooting guard out of Michigan State has been a pit bull on the defensive end for the Nuggets, both during games and in practices.”

Read and view it here: http://www.denverstiffs.com/2014/10/24/7039907/arron-afflalos-prote

– The Singular Greatness of Steve Nash (from Hal Brown, Nylon Calculus):

” A few days ago, it was announced that Steve Nash will be missing the entirety of the 2014-2015 NBA season after a flare-up of the nerve problems in his back. Given that Steve Nash has also announced that the 2014-2015 season would be his last in the NBA, this announcement was akin to retirement for the future hall of famer. Nash remains undecided about whether or not he will officially retire (i.e. whether or not he’ll waive his contract for this season), but it’s clear that his playing time is all over.

The revelation that Nash was no longer going to be an active member of the NBA landscape led to a great many thoughts in memoriam of Nash’s incredible career. We here at Nylon Calculus would feel remiss if we didn’t chime in on exactly how unbelievable a player Steve Nash was.”

Read and view it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/10/25/singular-greatness-steve-nash/

Additional player updates:

-Giannis Antetokuonmpo: http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/bucks-search-for-best-fit-for-antetokounmpo-b99378186z1-280472572.html

– Charlie Villanueva: http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20141026-sefko-charlie-villanueva-beat-the-odds-though-mavericks-rotation-still-hazy.ece

– Mason Plumlee: http://nypost.com/2014/10/26/mason-plumlee-ready-for-more/

– Andre Iguodala: http://www.insidebayarea.com/warriors/ci_26803548/golden-state-warriors-mend

– Hedo Turkoglu: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/rivers-639589-clippers-turkoglu.html

– Luol Deng: http://allucanheat.com/2014/10/27/luol-deng-still-adjusting-miami-heat/

– Tyrus Thomas: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/tyrus-thomas-determined-to-resume-nba-career/

QOTD (from Jack Armstrong, Raptors TV analyst re: JR Smith): ” He looks lost in the triangle offense. It’s not that complicated – you read and react. Classic example of a guy who had played on his ‘talent’ and clearly hasn’t figured out what the other nine guys on the floor are out there to do. Has solid scoring skills but has a hard time having it translate to team game.”

Today’s top NBA Preseason Stories

– Latest replay review adjustments give NBA referees more leeway to change calls (from Eric Freeman, Yahoo Sports):

” …(A)ny basketball fan can attest that the league’s replay system needs some useful adjustments and changes to operate more smoothly. It’s not yet clear if the NBA’s new replay rules announced via press release on Thursday will meet those goals, but they at least provide us with some topics for discussion.”

Read it here: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/latest-replay-review-adjustments-give-nba-referees-more-leeway-to-change-calls-015734068.html

Instant-replay tweaks, rules changes announced for 2014-15 (from Steve Aschburner, nba.com):

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/10/16/instant-replay-tweaks-rules-changes-announced-for-2014-15/

– Quin Snyder: To Board Or Not To Board (from Dan Clayton, saltcityhoops.com):

” The coach has been a little cagey in describing exactly what his philosophy is relative to offensive rebounding. We know his basic philosophy: protect against the fast break. But how much of an absolutist is he about ignoring opportunities on the offensive glass? The Atlanta Hawks team he just came from had just 603 field goal attempts result from offensive rebounds all last season, third least in the league. Is that indicative of just how little Snyder cares about rebounding on that end?

“Guys gotta get back right away,” Snyder said in describing some of the defensive improvements they need to make, especially in transition. “You probably sacrifice some of the offensive glass, but that doesn’t mean our bigs can’t still offensive rebound.

What he wants to cut back on is ball-watching guards who aren’t anticipating and getting back. Opportunistic offensive rebounds by the wings are OK, he says, just as long as it’s clear what the priority is. “We’re not asking them to leave before the possession happens, but we want our guards out… You know, we’re sacrificing a little bit of that (offensive rebounding) to get back.”

Read it here: http://saltcityhoops.com/to-board-or-not-to-board/

– How The Blazers Thrive With Mid-Range Jump Shots (from evansclinchy, blazersedge.com):

” NBA conventional wisdom holds that mid-range jumpers are bad. So how do the Blazers take so many and still achieve so much success?”

Read it here: http://www.blazersedge.com/2014/10/17/6987045/portland-trail-blazers-offense-jump-shots-wesley-matthews-nicolas-batum

– From Language Barriers to Leadership: Jose Calderon’s Journey (from Jessica Camerato, Basketball Insiders):

” Jose Calderon ran the ball up the floor and called out a play. His teammates, unsure of the directive, stood still. Nothing happened.

This was back in 2005. Calderon had moved from his home country of Spain to play for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA. He had mastered basketball in Europe. English, though, was another story. The point guard had knowledge of the language, but his accent and limited vocabulary made it difficult to communicate on the court.

“That was the problem in the beginning,” Calderon told Basketball Insiders. “A few times I just called plays and nobody moved because they didn’t know [what I was saying].”

” Nine seasons later, that initial transition is a distant memory as Calderon has developed into a reliable, veteran point guard on the New York Knicks. The person who was once unable to communicate plays is now revered as an on-the-court coach by his teammates and staff.

Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/from-language-barriers-to-leadership-jose-calderons-journey/

– Timberwolves trio went through weeks of hell with Navy SEAL trainer (from Phil Ervin, foxsports.com):

” Some members of Minnesota’s revamped roster, including Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin, worked with their longstanding trainers again this offseason. Center Gorgui Dieng spent much of his time in Minneapolis working out at the University of Minnesota. Nikola Pekovic was limited to the elliptical and the pool while recovering from an Achilles’ injury.

Muhammad, Anthony Bennett and Ronny Turiaf, though, took a trip to hell.

And they came back looking like this.

Matrisciano’s famed “chameleon training” — a series of unconventional, physically and mentally taxing evolutions geared toward adaptation and overcoming — has transformed the bodies of Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph, Aaron Afflalo, Gilbert Arenas, Navy SEALs, triathletes, wartime boxers and even pregnant women (with an altered regimen, of course). His reputation is translucent in NBA circles, his mystique burgeoned by the fact he doesn’t recruit athletes — “they come to me” — and dresses like a modern-day urban ninja when meeting face-to-face with the media.”

Read it here: http://www.foxsports.com/north/story/timberwolves-trio-went-through-weeks-of-hell-with-navy-seal-trainer-093014

– Film Study: The Nets new offense (from Reed Wallach, netsdaily.com):

” With a roster built around perimeter scoring threats and one offensive force in the paint, the Nets should be swinging the ball around the three-point line, cutting off the ball to get easy eight footers, and then pounding it into Brook Lopez for easy finishes. It may have taken the fourth coach in three seasons in Brooklyn to realize it, but it seems as if Lionel Hollins has figured out how to get the Brooklyn Nets efficient offensive looks.

Read and view it here: http://www.netsdaily.com/2014/10/16/6990349/film-study-the-brooklyn-nets-new-offense

– Bulls Update (from Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun-Times):

” Mike Dunleavy might be moved to the new-look bench crew. Don’t call it a demotion; it might have to be done out of necessity.

With newcomers Nikola Mirotic and Aaron Brooks still finding their way with that second group, coach Tom Thibodeau has been kicking around the idea of promoting first-round pick Doug McDermott to the starting lineup so that Dunleavy can help stabilize the bench, which was outscored 38-24 by the Hawks, including an 11-4 run in the second quarter that put the Bulls in a hole for most of the game.

“I don’t want to overlook what Mike’s done, either,’’ Thibodeau said of the switch. “Mike has shot the ball extremely well. He helps that first unit function well, so I’m not locked into it.

“As I said, that’s the great value of Mike — he’s started before, he’s come off the bench, he’s comfortable in both roles. We’ll see how it unfolds.’’

– Warriors’ Ognjen Kuzmic showing how he belongs (from Rusty Simmons, SFGate):

“He’s got a lot of tools. He just needs the time and the belief. It’s exciting to watch his growth,” Kerr said. “He doesn’t really know how good he can be yet. As he gains experience and confidence, I think he’s going to be really good for us.”

Read it here: http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-Ognjen-Kuzmic-showing-how-he-belongs-5828630.php

Kerr finally gets his chance with Curry (from Scott Howard-Cooper, nba.com):

” (Kerr) was the Suns general manager in June 2009 and wanted Curry in the draft. Badly. There was phone call after phone call between Kerr and Riley, his Warriors counterpart. There were internal conversations among Phoenix management about the risk of trading 26-year-old Amar’e Stoudemire coming off three consecutive seasons of at least 20 points and eight rebounds — and the risk of keeping Stoudemire with free agency a year away and growing health concerns.

The Warriors were very interested, intrigued by the chance to get the known of a proven power forward over the uncertainty of a scoring point guard from mid-major Davidson. They also really liked Curry and, in fact, doubted he would be on the board when Riley picked seventh. Arizona’s Jordan Hill was the fallback, probably for both sides, for the Suns if a deal had been arranged and for Golden State to keep if no deal was in place.

It got close, but never imminent. The Warriors were not going to trade for Stoudemire unless he at least showed strong likelihood of re-signing as a free agent the next summer, and Riley had yet to so much as ask the Suns for permission to have the conversation. And if Golden State and Stoudemire did talk, the result would have been the same. He was not going to commit to anything at that point other than showing up, playing hard and keeping an open mind about the future, an understandable stance that almost certainly would have ended the talks bouncing between Phoenix and Oakland.

The Warriors took Curry seventh and he turned into a star. The Suns kept Stoudemire one more season and 23.1 points and 8.9 rebounds and played it right to not get into a bidding war with the Knicks in 2010 free agency.

And….

The Warriors ended up hiring Kerr to coach. To coach the entire roster, obviously, but with Curry as the best player and one of the main attractions of choosing Golden State over the option of working for long-time friend and coaching mentor Phil Jackson with the Knicks.”

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/10/16/kerr-finally-gets-his-chance-with-curry/

– The Lakers must embrace their youth movement (from Ben R, silverscreenandroll.com):

” Following a bizarre offseason in which the Lakers essentially struck out on all of the major free agents and signed almost no one of consequence, they are left with an oddball mix of young players and veterans that has to be managed well for any measure of team success.”

Read it here: http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2014/10/16/6854305/to-experience-success-this-season-the-lakers-must-embrace-their-youth

– Who is new Nets coach Lionel Hollins? (from Lou DiPietro, yesnetwork.com):

Despite four decades of NBA success, Hollins’ resume is not well-known by many

Read it here: http://web.yesnetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20141017&content_id=98722350&oid=36318

– Outside shooting, no longer lost art, has regained NBA’s respect (from Associated Press):

Read it here: http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Outside-shooting-no-longer-lost-art-has-5828096.php

– Hard Cap 201: Graduate Hard Caponomics (from Daniel Leroux, midlevelexceptional.com):

” The NBA’s soft cap provides the system with a volatility and nuance that other North American sports leagues just cannot match. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement combines a lack of prohibition on excessive spending with some pretty substantial penalties so franchises that choose to be aggressive can do so but at a great cost, as we saw last season with the Brooklyn Nets.

As I discussed in the introduction to the NBA’s hard cap, the league has created a smart system to prevent teams from gaming the system too much. To briefly recap, there are certain tools for building a team that franchises over the luxury tax apron cannot use, most notably acquiring players via sign-and-trade and using either the full Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception or the Bi-Annual Exception. To close a potential loophole, the current CBA forces teams that utilize one or more of these pieces to stay under the apron for the rest of that league year, creating a narrow hard cap that will affect more than one-third of the NBA’s franchises this season.

That introduction laid the groundwork for the consequences and functional purpose of the hard cap but the real fun comes from how it actually works.”

Read it here: http://midlevelexceptional.com/2014/10/17/advanced-hard-cap/

– Jeff  Van Gundy Has Quick Fixes to Speed Up NBA’s Slow Finishes (from Mitch Lawrence, NBCNewYork.com):

“…(N)umerous timeouts down the stretch of playoff games, in particular, also mean bringing games to a screeching halt, making them culprits, along with TV replays and the customary inordinate number of fouls. The last two minutes of games can last a lifetime.

“When you’re coaching, you really don’t notice it as much,’’ Van Gundy said. “But when you watch it on TV, it is just beyond comprehension.’

I know people are saying, ‘Well, we can’t cut a timeout, because it’s going to cost us money.’ But you know what? Look at this next TV contract we have and look how it’s going to make everybody plenty of money. How about we go with the concept of giving back to the fan? By cutting a timeout, we’ll be doing that and we would also be helping to keep the flow of the game going.’’

And some additional player updates:

– Otto Porter: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/wizards-otto-porter-seeing-role-more-clearly-in-second-season/2014/10/16/d30aeeaa-5575-11e4-809b-8cc0a295c773_story.html

– Jeff Ayres: http://www.expressnews.com/sports/spurs/article/Ayres-eager-for-expanded-role-5828521.php#/0

– Kentavius Caldwell-Pope: http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2014/10/17/detroit-pistons-kentavious-caldwell-pope/17424825/

– George Hill: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2233419-the-reinvention-of-george-hill-is-critical-the-to-indiana-pacers

– Phil Pressey: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2014/10/phil_pressey_shows_he_belongs

– Greg McDermott: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/korver-hopes-mcdermott-has-similar-experience-thibs-bulls

– Jimmy Butler: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/bulls-confidence-grows-so-too-does-jimmy-butlers-game

– Dwight Howard: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/10/17/hakeem-howard-is-ready-for-an-mvp-type-season/

– Shabazz Napier: http://www.hothothoops.com/2014/10/17/6991981/miami-heat-point-guard-decision-easy-one-shabazz-napier-rookie

– Devyn Marble: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/devyn-marbles-looks-to-make-noise-in-rookie-season/