Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  10 NBA rookies to watch  (from Marc Spears, Yahoo Sports):

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–  Team Previews (from Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller,  SBNation):

Check out all 30 previews here:



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–  Gregg Popovich San Antonio Spurs Playbook  (from Coach Peterman/ Zak Boisvert,

Read and download it here:


–  When LaMarcus Aldridge will truly be a Spur  (from Michael Erler,

Read it here:


–  Beat Writer Ryan Wolstat On The Raptors (from Chuck Myron,

” Nobody knows NBA teams better than beat writers, save for those who draw paychecks with an NBA owner’s signature on them. The reporters who are with the teams they cover every day gain an intimate knowledge of the players, coaches and executives they write about and develop sources who help them break news and stay on top of rumors.

Today, we gain insight on the Raptors from Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.”

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Budenholzer putting own stamp on Hawks, no more Spurs East  (from Chris Vivlamore,

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–  Q&A with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg  (from Nick Friedell,  ESPN):

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–  Why people should be jumping on the Jazz bandwagon  (from Mika Honkasalo,

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–  James Harden’s elite status built on a variety of moves  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):

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Assessing the loss of Michael Kidd- Gilchrist (from nikumistry,

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Knicks are building optimism  (from Marc Berman, NYPost):

Read it here:


–  What the  Celtics need to clean up on the defensive end  (from wjsy,

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–   Raptors aren’t afraid to play small-ball this season  (from Josh Lewenberg,

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–  Can Bjelica and Rubio Save the Wolves Offense?  (from

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–   Minnesota Timberwolves Defense  (from Lucas, thelongtwo):

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–   How to Win (or Lose) at Playoff Basketball  (from Mika Honkasalo,  Nylon Calculus):

” The discussion surrounding playoff basketball– what tendencies, traits or factors increase/decrease expected performance compared to the regular season– is filled with unsubstantiated nonsense. Every year heading into April we hear the same discussions about whether three-point shooting teams can win, that defense and rebounding wins championships and that you need superstars to win, along with other similar conventional wisdom-based claims.

Now some of these cliches about playoff basketball are true, but some quite likely are not. I’ve looked over the past five seasons of regular season and playoff data, and in this article I’ve tried to answer the question; what statistical tendencies and markers indicate a team is likely to perform better in the playoffs than during the regular season?”

Read it here:


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–   Al Jefferson refuses to let the NBA run past him   (from Adi Joseph.  Sporting News):


–  Did Eric Moreland do enough to make the  Kings’ final roster?  (from Tony Xypteras,


–   Expect R.J. Hunter To Play Regular Minutes This Season  (from Michael  Hilperts,  Hardwood Houdini):


–  Pacers’ Myles Turner ready for more minutes  (from Nate Taylor,


–  Amir Johnson all in with Celtics  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):


Isaiah Thomas & Amir Johnson are a good fit (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):


–  76ers: Where Does Jerami Grant Fit In The Rotation?  (form Cody Daniel,


Today’s Top NBA Preseason Stories

– Kerr gets the job and coast he wanted (from Scott Howard-Cooper,

Read the interview here:

(BI note: great interview by Scott of Coach Kerr.  Other interviewers can learn a lot about the craft from it.)

– What Will Make 2014-15 a Successful Season for Harrison Barnes? (from Jim Cavan, Bleacher Report):

” Few NBA players have gone from star in the making to potential roster filler faster than the Golden State WarriorsHarrison Barnes.

Following a promising rookie campaign, the former North Carolina standout flat-lined in his sophomore year—the product, in no small part, of Andre Iguodala’s stranglehold on the team’s starting small-forward position.

With just two years remaining on his contract (the second being a team option), Barnes, at just 22 years old, is already at a career crossroads: Rebound and regain his phenomenal promise, or risk sliding forever to the NBA fringes.

So what does Barnes have to do to make this a successful season?”

Read it here:

– Tony Parker interviewed by Yahoo! France:

“Tony Parker sat down with Yahoo! France to talk about the Spurs’ chance of repeating, France’s World Cup performance, next year’s Eurobasket tournament and if he thinks he’s reached his peak yet. ”

Read it here:

– Thomas Robinson’s defense still a work in progress (from David MacKay,

” Considering the Trail Blazers other options at backup power forward, Thomas Robinson will be a huge part of their bench defense this year. Joel Freeland is big, but not fast; Victor Claver is fast but not big; and Meyers Leonard is big and fast, but not skilled. Robinson is the perfect combination of size (6’9”|240 lbs), speed, and ability to defend NBA fours, but he needs to play a little smarter this year in order to live up to his potential. At 23 years old, his eventual strengths are in a malleable state.

Right now, we are seeing some good things from him, but control has been an issue. As a “hustle” player, his energy is one of his most valuable traits. However; it does not always translate into quality play.”

Read and view it here:

– What to Expect from Will Barton in 2014-15 (from Dane Carbaugh,

” As the Blazers try to build on their playoff success from last season they face a critical question: Is the hype surrounding Will Barton more than just wishful thinking?”

Read and view it here:

Shane Larkin’s freakish speed may change the Knicks’ offense (from Marc Berman, NYPost):

” New point guard Shane Larkin is so lightning-fast he will try to pull the Knicks out of the triangle offense at times.

That’s the plan, according to Larkin, whom coach Derek Fisher is leaning toward as backup point guard over Pablo Prigioni despite his inexperience.

Fisher wants speed on the second unit and the second-year Larkin, whose rookie campaign in Dallas was a whitewash because of a broken ankle, is regarded as one of the NBA’s fastest players.”

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– Wolves Bench Shows Signs of Hope (from John Meyer,

” The Wolves bench was a complete mess last year, but the second unit helped propel the team to victory over the Sixers on Friday night. In other words, they showed signs of hope.”

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– Top 5 Rookie Sleepers (from Joel Brigham, Basketball Insiders):

” There’s no doubt that this year’s rookie class is going to be an exciting one. With loads of young players possessing loads of star quality talent, it’s inevitable that the Rookie of the Year race will be a million times more interesting than last year’s was. Players like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins all but guarantee that.

However, like every year, there are rookies who fall outside of the lottery that could also show great value early in their careers. Even second-round picks and undrafted players can turn into stars, but predicting which of those players will make such a leap is the challenging part.

Knowing that, here’s a look at some non-lottery rookies that could end up being major contributors by year’s end, including a few that look like All-Stars in training:”

Read it here:

– Kyle Lowry schools Marcus Smart: Rookie guard has lots to learn (from Mark Murphy, Boston Herald):

“Technically he still has a ways to go,” Stevens said. “He made a lot of mistakes defensively Wednesday night (against the Knicks), but because he’s so physical, aggressive and athletic, he got back into the play and it didn’t hurt us. If he can get more technically sound, he can be as good as anyone defensively on the perimeter. He’s every bit of 220-plus pounds. He’s got all of the tools.”

Smart understands a little better today. Great athleticism and strength ultimately won’t cover up mistakes in a league where everyone has those gifts.

“Lowry is very fundamental. He makes you pay when you make a mistake,” Smart said. “You just have to play him solid and don’t gamble. I gambled in this game a little too much and he made us pay. That’s what a great guard does.””

Read it here:

– Dario Saric’s Best Case Scenario (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):

” It’s easy to see where the excitement comes with Saric. He is a mismatch nightmare – he can put the ball on the floor and take bigger players off the dribble as well as play with his back to the basket and punish smaller players on the block. He can clear the defensive glass and start the fast break himself and he knows how to accept the double team and find the open man in the half-court. Not many guys have his combination of size, skill and athleticism.”

Read it here:

– Brown wants to make Sixers stronger in transition game (from Bob Cooney,

” The identity of this team, Brown says, “has to be defense.” To that end, he is looking for his squad to correct what was its worst area a season ago – the transition game.

Many factors contributed to the Sixers’ getting blitzed in transition on most nights – bad shots early in the shot clock; long shots from players who have no business shooting long jumpers; horrible turnovers – but the one the coach wants to concentrate on this season isn’t too complicated.

“We are going overboard on their first three steps,” Brown said. That means he wants his squad not to allow the man with the ball or anyone else to get out to a full sprint after those three steps. He wants his group to be into any player before those first three steps.”
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– Lou Williams finding his niche with Raptors (from Josh Lewenberg,
Read it here:
– Eric Bledsoe tries to perfect midrange shot (from Paul Coro,
” Few guards have the ability to get to the rim as well as Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe does.

But for the past year, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has been trying to find middle ground with Bledsoe too.

Because Bledsoe often has defenders retreating hard or going under screens in fear of his drives,

Bledsoe has the chance to take open midrange shots often.”

Read it here:

– Jeremy Lin Has Become Not Only Kobe Bryant’s Teammate, but His Pupil (from Kevin Ding, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:

– What do Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones have to show in the preseason? (from Kevin Yeung,

Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones have been biding their time for a rotation spot, and they’ve each flitted into semi-consistent playing time for brief stretches now and again. But they’ve never lasted, and it’s largely been because of their own shortcomings. There’s an open competition for the starting shooting guard spot, and any of those three could win out (Morrow and Jackson are also in the mix). But there’s a long list of things they have to improve on, and what they show in training camp and preseason could go a long way towards their role this season.”

Read it here:

– Zach Lowe’s  Frank Vogel podcast (from

Read excerpts and view the podcast here:

– That May Not Be the Last of Jamel McLean (from Yannis Koutroupis, Basketball Insiders):

” McLean and Alba Berlin shocked the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, defeating them 94-93 on a banked in floater from McLean from just inside the three point line as time expired.

He’ll be going up against German League competition for the rest of the season, but at the rate he’s been improving, we could see McLean going head-to-head with NBA players again soon, only as a member of the league himself. McLean spent some time with the Sacramento Kings last offseason and should receive his more serious look yet from NBA teams this upcoming summer.

“[Making the NBA] would be my dream,” McLean said. “I just take everything in stride each summer. I come home and figure out what they’re looking for and hopefully a team is looking for, you know the NBA is full of scorers and what not but maybe a glue guy or a stick guy who’s been around and knows the game a little bit, so there’s a window it’s a small window but you know I’m still aiming for it and just coming over here and playing and staying in top shape and developing my game each year and hopefully a team will take a chance on me.”

Read it here:

– Doc Rivers dispels Clippers’ pain with his healing powers (from Bill Dwyre, LATimes):

” It remains fascinating that the person with the medical nickname did the most healing for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

When Donald “Step on My Tongue” Sterling spewed his stupidity, Glenn “Doc” Rivers was there with ointment and bandages. He protected, guided and navigated this oft-abused and suddenly under siege franchise through the rapids and waterfalls of public relations disaster.

In this case, Rivers’ nickname could have just as easily been derived from having a doctorate in common sense.”

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– Clippers giving Spencer Hawes positive early reviews (from Robert Morales, Long Beach Press-Telegram):

” Small forward Matt Barnes said during the recent Clippers media day that Spencer Hawes is probably one of the biggest free-agent acquisitions of the summer that few are talking about.

Coach Doc Rivers talked about Hawes on Friday morning at the team’s practice facility, when he was asked about his initial impressions of the 7-foot-1 University of Washington product.

“Very good, yeah,” Rivers said of Hawes, who signed a four-year, $23 million free-agent contract. “He does a couple of things better than I knew, like posts; he’s a heck of a post player. I never knew that. He was standing behind the 3 so much, I didn’t know he could do that. So that’s been a good find by us.

“I’ve always said the players know before the coaches. And I think D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) and Chris (Paul) one day, they were like, ‘Coach, you know we can post Spencer up more.’ I said, ‘Yeah, thanks, guys, I see that now.’”

Read it here:

– On Blake Griffin’s Shooting Mechanics and Potential Range (from Ben Dowsett, BBall Breakdown):

” Blake Griffin came into the league in the 2009 draft with a ton of hype. He was one of the great physical specimens seen in recent years, a high-flying athlete with a combination of bulk and handles that made his physical ceiling seem almost limitless. None of the fanfare, though, was due to his prowess as a jump-shooter – on the contrary, coming off consecutive sub-60 percent free-throw shooting years at Oklahoma, Griffin’s stroke was likely the largest concern for his potential success in the league.

Fast forward just four seasons (plus a missed first campaign due to injury), and the talk of the town in Clipperland is Blake’s range expansion, purported to stretch all the way out beyond the three-point line this year. How have we made it to this point so quickly?”

Read and view it here:

– Clippers’ Blake Griffin says he’s working on corner three-pointers. Here’s why he shouldn’t. (from Seth Partnow, Washington Post):

” While the corner three-pointer is certainly an easier shot (NBA players shot 39 percent from the corners, compared with 35.3 percent from above the break), it’s also in the corner. In other words, it’s out of the way, and far from the action.

A main reason Griffin is such a dynamic player is his combination of mobility, explosiveness and passing ability. This allows him to make plays both for himself and teammates with the ball, and to be a part of multiple pick-and-roll plays every possession.

The ability to get to multiple threatening spots on the floor is inconsistent, then, with spending a lot of time spotting up in the corner for a three-pointer. Griffin could certainly do it and, given a summer’s work, hit those shots at a decent clip, but what of all the other good stuff he does?”

Read and view it here:

– David Blatt is coming to America (from Jordan Brenner, ESPN, the magazine):

” The first coach to jump straight from Europe to the NBA”

Read it here:

– The Commissioner: No one — no one ever — wrote an NBA gamer like Bob Ryan (from Bryant Curtis,

When Bob Ryan would begin writing a Celtics game story — a “gamer,” as it’s known in the trade — he’d look for a lede. An insight, a gag, a short scene. Something he could extract from his brain before deadline that would give the reader a proverbial starting point.

So let’s get to it.

A fellow Boston Globe writer named John Powers once noticed that Ryan didn’t include many quotes in his game stories. Quotes were the chief information-dispensing device of other NBA writers.

Bob, Powers asked, why aren’t Globe readers hearing from the athletes?

Ryan replied, “I’ll tell ’em what they ought to know!”

Ryan was the king of the categorical statement, noted Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce, who wrote for three Boston papers. In game stories, categorical statements are minor embellishments that help readers see the uniqueness of the thing before them — e.g., “No coach ever had a greater asset than John Havlicek.”

So let’s get to it.”

Read it here:

– Mad Ants Coach Conner Henry Discusses Open Tryouts And New Affiliation System (from Keith Schlosser,

” spoke with recent D-League Coach of the Year award winner Conner Henry about the open tryout process, the new affiliation system, and the Mad Ants’ championship run last season.”

Read it here: