Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/9/17

 

Jeff Teague Is Feeling At Home  (from David Ramil, The Step Back):

Read it here; http://fansided.com/2017/02/09/jeff-teague-feeling-home/

–  Brett Brown’s Lasting Effect On The Spurs  (from Jessica camerato, csnphilly):

Read it here: http://www.csnphilly.com/philadelphia-76ers/brett-brown-still-has-lasting-effect-gregg-popovichs-spurs

–  The Rise Of Malcolm Brogdon  (from Justin Ware, 16 Wins A Ring):

Read and watch it here: https://16winsaring.com/the-rise-of-malcolm-brogdon-ed2393cb4c2c#.uxp96rdwi

Jabari Parker: The Awakening (from Jordan Ritter Conn, The Ringer):

Read it here: https://theringer.com/nba-milwaukee-bucks-jabari-parker-basketball-and-political-awakening-bea7f0d34a8#.9du15qxgr

 The Lakers Are Setting A Low Bar On Defense (from Jared Dubin, VICE Sports):

Read it here:  https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/on-defense-the-lakers-are-setting-a-low-bar

Collis Temple’s Historic Struggle  (from Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated):

Read it here: https://theundefeated.com/features/inside-collis-temples-historic-struggle-as-lsus-first-black-basketball-player/

–  Attacking Denial With Ball Screens (from Zak Boisvert, Pick And Pop):

Watch it here: http://pickandpop.net/2017/02/attacking-denial-ball-screens/

–  Mark Cuban On The Mavs’ Approach To A Youth Movement (from Bobby Karalla, mavs.com):

Read it here;  https://www.mavs.com/mark-cuban-on-the-mavs-different-approach-to-a-youth-movement/

–  What Signing Derrick Williams Means For Cavs (from Quenton Albertie, King James Gospel):

Read it here:  http://kingjamesgospel.com/2017/02/09/cleveland-cavaliers-derrick-williams-contract/

–  Kent Bazemore: From Small-Town Kid To Big-Time Game-Changer  (from Jared Zwerling, NBPA):

Read it here:  http://nbpa.com/kent-bazemore-from-small-town-kid-to-big-time-student-athlete-game-changer/

Kyrie Irving Q & A (from Rohan Nadkarni):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2017/02/09/kyrie-irving-cavaliers-all-star-books-politics-interview

Oscar Robertson’s Legacy (from Sam Amick, USA Today):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/columnist/sam-amick/2017/02/08/oscar-robertson-legacy-triple-double-russell-westbrook/97637180/

Robertson And West On Westbrook (from Sam Amick, USA Today):

Read it here:  http://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nba/thunder/2017/02/08/russell-westbrook-triple-double-oscar-robertson-jerry-west/97664346/

Why Heat Players Appreciate Pat Riley (from Barry Jackson, Miami Herald):

Read it here:  http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article131653804.html

Steve Kerr On David West’s Impact (from csnbayarea):

Read it here: http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/kerr-one-player-has-helped-make-draymond-easy-handle-year

–  Injuries Haven’t Hindered Celtics’ Climb  (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://insider.espn.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4725209/injuries-havent-hindered-bostons-climb-in-east

Unorthodox Late Lineup Rallies Timberwolves To Win Over Raptors  (from Jace Frederick, Pioneer Press):

Read it here:  http://www.twincities.com/2017/02/08/unorthodox-late-lineup-rallies-timberwolves-to-win-over-toronto/

The Brilliance Of Patty Mills’ Screens (from Ben Mallis, pickandroll.com.au):

Read and watch it here:  https://pickandroll.com.au/aussies-in-nba-spurs-subtle-brilliance-of-patty-mills/

Pistons Must Revive Their “Tenacious D”  (from John Niyo, Detroit News):

Read it here:  http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/columnists/john-niyo/2017/02/08/niyo-pistons-fate-rests-reviving-tenacious/97679440/

 Grievis Vasquez Q & A  (from David Alarcon, Hoops Hype):

Read it here:  http://hoopshype.com/2017/02/08/greivis-vasquez-id-like-to-go-back-to-brooklyn-i-have-a-lot-of-respect-for-them/

–  Mike Fratello Q & A  (from Tom D’Angelo, Palm Beach Post):

Read it here: http://heatzone.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/02/09/mike-fratello-talks-heat-coaching-and-broadcasting-in-our-qa/

Offense-Defense Tradeoff At Each Position (from Senthil Natarajan, Nylon Calculus):

Read t here;  http://fansided.com/2017/02/09/nylon-calculus-understanding-offense-defense-tradeoffs-position/

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  5 things we learned from NBA free agency’s wild start  (from Mike Prada,  sbnation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/7/2/8883395/nba-free-agency-lamarcus-aldridge-suns-kawhi-leonard-spurs

 

 

–  The Overwhelming Sound and Fury of Day 1 of NBA Free Agency  (from Zach Lowe,  grantland.com):

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-overwhelming-sound-and-fury-of-day-1-of-nba-free-agency/

 

 

–  How Does Jahlil Okafor Fit Alongside Nerlens Noel for Philadelphia 76ers?  (from Dylan Murphy, Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2512102-how-does-jahlil-okafor-fits-alongside-nerlens-noel-for-philadelphia-76ers

 

 

–  How Do They Fit? Cavaliers Re-Sign Love And Thompson  (from Mike Schreiner, kingjamesgospel.com):

Read it here:  http://kingjamesgospel.com/2015/07/01/how-do-they-fit-cavaliers-re-sign-love-and-thompson/

 

 

–  Ricky Rubio’s shot and the importance of Mike Penberthy  (from Zach Harper, awolfamongwolves.com):

Read it here:  http://www.awolfamongwolves.com/2015/06/ricky-rubios-shot-and-the-importance-of-mike-penberthy/

 

 

–  Celtics Using Free Agency to Keep Dream of Blockbuster Trade Alive  (from Brian Robb, bleacherreport.com):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2512635-boston-celtics-using-free-agency-to-keep-dream-of-blockbuster-trade-alive

 

 

Phoenix Suns on the money: Cap magic required to fit Chandler and Aldridge  (from Dave King,  brightsideofthe sun.com):

Read it here:  http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/2015/7/2/8881977/phoenix-suns-chandler-aldridge-cap-magic

 

 

–  Q & A: Rod Strickland (from Jack Flagler, masslive.com):

Read it here:  http://www.masslive.com/sports/index.ssf/2015/07/q_a_rod_strickland_on_growing.html

 

 

–  My NBA All-Star Team of Socially Conscious Players  (form Richard Lapchick, Huffington Post):

Read it here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-university-of-central-florida-forum/my-nba-allstar-team-of-so_b_7705654.html

 

 

Day 7 of our continuing coverage of 2015 NBA Draft Selections:

 

19, New York (from Washington), Jerian Grant :  http://www.nba.com/draft/2015/prospects/jerian_grant?ls=iref:nba:draft:board  and   http://www.nba.com/hawks/features/draft-profile-jerian-grant

 

24, Minneosta (from Cleveland), Tyus Jones:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VY3N6CIAACEAUCUf/right-on-point-minnesota-pairs-tyus-jones-with-ricky-rubio

 

43, Indiana, Joseph Young:  http://hoopshabit.com/2015/07/02/indiana-pacers-will-joseph-young-make-immediate-impact/

 

53, Cleveland, Sir’Dominic Pointer:  http://kingjamesgospel.com/2015/07/02/how-sirdominic-pointer-will-help-the-cleveland-cavaliers/

 

58, Philadelphia,  J.P. Tokoto:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VYdsvywAAC0Awj1X/get-to-know-a-free-agent-paul-millsap

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

DeMarre Carroll:  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/07/01/demarre-carroll-raptors-promised-larger-offensive-role/

 

Paul Millsap:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VYdsvywAAC0Awj1X/get-to-know-a-free-agent-paul-millsap

 

Danny Green:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/07/02/danny-green-spurs-nba-free-agency-lamarcus-aldridge-gregg-popovich

 

Brandan Wright:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/07/01/nba-free-agency-grades-brandan-wright-memphis-grizzlies-three-years-18-million

 

Khris Middleton:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2512268-khris-middletons-new-contract-shows-brand-new-value-of-3-and-d-in-todays-nba

 

Omer Asik/Alex Ajinca:  http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2015/07/pelicans_staying_in-house_duri.html

 

Ryan Anderson:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/7/2/8881385/on-second-thought-ryan-anderson-is-living-on-borrowed-time

 

Amir Johnson:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2512685-why-amir-johnsons-new-contract-with-boston-celtics-will-prove-to-be-a-steal

 

David West:  http://www.wthr.com/story/29457742/kravitz-west-opted-out-because-he-didnt-think-he-could-win-a-title-in-indiana

 

Solomon Hill:  http://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/508818-summer-league-will-be-key-in-tracking-solomon-hills-development.html

 

Alex Len:  http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/07/02/alex-len-improvements-for-year-three/

Free Agency, NBA Draft, Crittendon, JKidd, Big O

 – Heat’s “Big Three” Have Contracts Set, Will Give Pat Riley “A Window” To Upgrade (from Spencer Lund, dimemag.com):

” We’re less than 60 minutes removed from the beginning of 2014 free agency season, and the biggest mystery lies in Miami. The Heat’s Big Three — LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — have all opted out of their contracts, and sources tell Yahoo the Heat triumvirate will give team president Pat Riley, “a window” to upgrade the Heat’s roster. Plus, they already have contract deals in place, waiting to see what Riles can put together.”

Read it here: http://dimemag.com/2014/06/lebron-wade-bosh-giving-pat-riley-window-work-free-agency-plan/

-Carmelo Anthony sets free agency schedule with visits to Bulls, Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks (from Ricky O’Donnell, SBNation):

” The Chicago Bulls will have the first crack at enticing forward Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday at the onset of free agency when the star forward flies in to meet with team officials. Anthony’s visit to Chicago will be followed by meetings with the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets on Wednesday and then a trip to see the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. The New York Knicks will get the last meeting with Anthony to try to retain the league’s second leading scorer when he’s finished meeting with his other suitors.

Each team on Anthony’s list offers its own set of pros and cons, ranging from competitive to financial advantages.”

Read O’Donnell’s “breakdown of Anthony’s options sorted by the chronological order of the visits he’ll be making” here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/7/1/5859938/carmelo-anthony-nba-free-agency-rumors-bulls-lakers-rockets-mavericks

– Eight Questions for the NBA’s Silly Season (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Midnight on July 1 used to mark the start of the NBA’s crazy season: the opening of free agency, with GMs on doorsteps carrying fancy presentations, players taking late-night meetings, and someone signing a marginal free agent to an eight-figure deal.

But it seems like the NBA has been operating at ludicrous speed since July 2010, and especially since San Antonio wiped out Miami in the Finals. We’ve seen earlier-than-required opt-outs from star players, a handful of trades, and whatever the hell just happened between Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

It’s almost enough to make you worry that free agency, the NBA’s most addictive drug, might feel like a comedown. But that’s impossible in the new NBA, where contracts are shorter and half the league enters the offseason with serious cap space. Even if the stars stay put, the sheer number of players jetting around the league will make the first two weeks in July the most active period on the NBA calendar.”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/features/nba-free-agency-2014-lebron-james/

– Houston Rockets draft report (from Jenny Dial Creech and Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle):

Read about the plans for Houston’s draft picks here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/rockets/article/Rockets-report-Capela-s-NBA-timeline-still-5591660.php

– Dario Saric’s long road to the NBA  (from John Gonzalez, CSNPhilly.com):

Read it here: http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/dario-sarics-long-road-nba

How the Sacramento Kings crowdsourced the 2014 NBA Draft – See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/how-the-sacramento-kings-crowdsourced-the-2014-nba-draft/#sthash.zLTW3GUn.dpuf
How the Sacramento Kings crowdsourced the 2014 NBA Draft – See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/how-the-sacramento-kings-crowdsourced-the-2014-nba-draft/#sthash.zLTW3GUn.dpuf

– The Jason Kidd Mess Has a $144 Million Price Tag (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/grantland-exclusive-the-jason-kidd-mess-has-a-144-million-pricetag/

– DeAndre Kane: The Undrafted Free Agent Who Will Prove Everyone Wrong (from Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report):

” Former Iowa State standout DeAndre Kane has the size, strength and skill needed to survive at the NBA level.

That combination did not, however, make him one of the 60 names called during the 2014 draft. It wasn’t that scouts had a problem with his game or its ability to translate to the next level, but rather they worried about the fact he’s old enough to start getting reduced car insurance rates.

Kane turned 25 on June 10, an age the league has deemed too old for its prospects. Scouts love the mystery of draft night, and frankly, there isn’t much of it surrounding the 6’4″ point guard.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2112998-deandre-kane-the-undrafted-free-agent-who-will-prove-everyone-wrong

– How the Kings Crowdsourced the Draft (from Jonathan Santiago, Cowbellkingdom.com):

– “The Kings invited folks to participate in a contest they dubbed the “Draft 3.0” challenge. They were seeking the brightest analytical minds to help them cipher through the talent of this year’s draft. The Kings picked nine lucky fans around the country to meet regularly through Google+ Hangouts with general manager Pete D’Alessandro and his staff. Five of them were invited to join the Kings in their war room on draft night.

“These guys did an amazing job because they predicted which players would be available to us at eight and they were exactly right,” Ranadivé said of the council following the draft. “And while there was a lot of discussion, the entire team was united on having the pick be Nik Stauskas.”

Read it here: http://cowbellkingdom.com/how-the-sacramento-kings-crowdsourced-the-2014-nba-draft/

– Run and Gun (from Flinder Boyd, foxsports.com):

” How Javaris Crittenton went from basketball phenom to standing trial on a murder charge”

Read it here: http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/javaris-crittenton-063014

The Kings invited folks to participate in a contest they dubbed the “Draft 3.0” challenge. They were seeking the brightest analytical minds to help them cipher through the talent of this year’s draft. The Kings picked nine lucky fans around the country to meet regularly through Google+ Hangouts with general manager Pete D’Alessandro and his staff. Five of them were invited to join the Kings in their war room on draft night.

“These guys did an amazing job because they predicted which players would be available to us at eight and they were exactly right,” Ranadivé said of the council following the draft. “And while there was a lot of discussion, the entire team was united on having the pick be Nik Stauskas.”

– See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/how-the-sacramento-kings-crowdsourced-the-2014-nba-draft/#sthash.zLTW3GUn.dpuf

Robertson, Haywood honored as heroes for NBA player-rights fights (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):

” At midnight, when NBA free agency begins anew and unleashes another rush of multi-million dollar contracts, it’s unlikely that any of the current beneficiaries or their agents will take a moment to think about Oscar Robertson.

But that’s OK, because Robertson won’t be thinking of himself, either. Instead, the Hall of Famer and triple-double legend, will have a good thought or two for Curt Flood.

Robertson is the former NBA star and president of the players association whose landmark class-action, anti-trust lawsuit in 1976 paved the way to NBA free agency. Flood was the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder who, six years earlier, tried to take on Major League Baseball’s reserve clause as an individual. His unsuccessful legal fight effectively ended his career and Flood never reaped any benefits from the freedom that came, in MLB’s case, in 1975 with an abitrator’s ruling in the union-backed challenge from pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally.

The courage of both men – back in the day, many considered it to be temerity – comes together Tuesday night when Robertson becomes the inaugural recipient of the Curt Flood Game-Changer Award”

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/06/30/robertson-haywood-honored-as-heroes-for-nba-player-rights-fights/

Pelicans,Dirk,Suns,Noah,Faried,Nets,Ollie,Dwight,Thad Young,Nerlens

– Monty Williams’ Future in New Orleans (from Mason Ginsburg, bourbonstreetshots,com):

“ It is no secret that little has gone as planned this season for the new-look New Orleans Pelicans. Armed with the most offensive weapons since the Paul/West/Peja/Chandler days and positioned as one of the youngest rosters in the league, the plan was for this team to at least make a push for a playoff berth while growing together as a unit that may stick together for a while. Unfortunately, injuries to many key pieces have derailed that plan at least temporarily, as the Pelicans head for their third consecutive losing season. As the season progressed, the 2014 playoffs appeared like less and less of a realistic goal, and attention therefore began to turn towards how well the team is positioned to succeed as its franchise player, Anthony Davis, continues to climb towards superstar status. One of the most polarizing topics in this conversation has been the fate of the Pelicans’ head coach, Monty Williams.

Before proceeding, it must be noted that the purpose of this column is not to suggest that Monty Williams should be fired, nor that he should be extended. Both sides of the debate must be addressed, and then a decision must be made based on all available information. Depending on who you are or what you deem most important, that decision may very well differ. That being said, it is important to respect the positions of those who disagree as long as said position is based on either hard, cold facts or realistic assumptions based on historical data.”

Read Mason’s take on the “good and the bad” factors here: http://www.bourbonstreetshots.com/2014/04/07/monty-williams-future-in-new-orleans/

– Dirk Nowitzki’s legendary journey (from Tim MacMahon, ESPN):

“As he enters the top 10 in scoring, Nowitzki and others reflect on his career”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/10738416/dirk-nowitzki-cements-status-nba-legend-move-top-10-points

– Suns Look Back on How Team Came Together (from Matt Peterson, Suns.com):

” Goran Dragic still remembers the first time he met his teammates from the 2013-14 season. His impression?

“It was a lot of new faces.”

All but three (P.J. Tucker, Marcus and Markieff Morris) were new, to be exact.

Yet even after just a handful of informal workouts and a week of training camp, it was apparent to several of the players that the special, almost accidental unity every team strives for was already taking place.”

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/suns/news/suns-look-back-how-team-came-together-1

– Bulls’ Joakim Noah: ‘I’m an emotional roller-coaster’ (from Jeff Zillgitt, USAToday):

” Joakim Noah long has been one of the NBA’s most fiery players. Now the Chicago Bulls center has emerged as one of the best. What motivates him? Winning, family, teammates and more.”

Read it here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/bulls/2014/04/08/joakim-noah-chicago-mother-cecilia-rhode-father-yannick-derrick-rose-mvp/7176935/

– The Manimal Evolves (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

” Kenneth Faried has always tried to focus on the good qualities the term “energy guy” denotes, but as he entered his third NBA season, he increasingly found the descriptor a limiting backhanded compliment.

“They all used to say, ‘All he is, is an energy guy,’” Faried says. “That I was a guy who was gonna run and jump, and that I could only get you nine or 10 points, max.” Faried wanted to bust that stereotype. He’s an undersize power forward who has struggled on defense and relied mostly on cuts, offensive rebounds, and other forms of scavenging for his points. That was enough to give him a clear long-term place in the league. But scoring is fun, and scorers get paid. A Faried who could get buckets, and perhaps even draw help defenders on the block, is a different species of Manimal.

Faried had been agitating for an increased role in Denver’s offense since Brian Shaw took over as coach, but his chance didn’t really come until Ty Lawson went down with ankle and foot issues just before the All-Star break. Shaw told the team it would need to find other sources of scoring, and Faried volunteered that this might be the perfect time to lean on his post-up game.

The results have been, frankly, kind of stunning, and present the Nuggets with a dilemma they likely didn’t expect six months ago, when they asked a targeted handful of teams whether they might be interested in acquiring Faried in exchange for a 2014 first-round pick or quality wing player on a rookie deal, per sources around the league.”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/kenneth-faried-manimal-evolution-denver-nuggets/

– How Brooklyn Turned Its Season Around (from Brook Koremenos, Grantland.com):

” The Brooklyn Nets are 33-13 since January 1 — the third-best record in the league during that time. It’s quite a turnaround for a team that was left for dead after Brook Lopez’s season-ending injury. Ironically, it’s been that bit of medical misfortune that opened the door for a broken Brooklyn team to become the biggest wild card in the upcoming playoffs.”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/beat-the-heat-how-brooklyn-turned-its-season-around-and-how-it-could-win-the-east/

– Kevin Durant Credits UConn Coach Kevin Ollie for Helping OKC Thunder Be Winners (from Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report):

” Current coach of the Connecticut Huskies—and, as of Monday night, a national champion—Kevin Ollie played 25 games of his 13-year NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

According to MVP front-runner Kevin Durant, that was all the time the veteran journeyman needed to leave an indelible mark on the franchise.

“Kevin Ollie, he was a game-changer for us,” Durant told Grantland’s Bill Simmons during All-Star weekend. “He changed the whole culture, I think. He might not say it, but I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City.””

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2021558-kevin-durant-credits-uconn-coach-kevin-ollie-for-helping-okc-thunder-be-winners

– Is Rockets’ Dwight Howard Now an Underrated Superstar (from Howard Beck, Bleacher Report):

Dwight Howard is still a very tall man, just shy of 7 feet, with a wingspan and personality to match. He still dominates the painted area of a basketball court. If you are an opposing player or coach, he is still difficult to ignore.

And yet something odd has happened in this, his 10thNBA season. Howard, this towering personality with the Superman complex, has become nearly invisible. Obscured. An afterthought.

Check the MVP leaderboards. Dwight Howard is not there.

Listen to the pundits gush about the league’s great young bigs. Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert have commandeered the discussion. Anthony Davis generates the most excitement. DeMarcus Cousins, the most angst.

And Howard? What does he generate? Polite applause? Quiet appreciation?

Not long ago, Howard stood alongside LeBron James and Kevin Durant as the NBA’s most venerated young stars—the players every GM named when asked to pick one star to start a franchise.

Then Howard injured his back, forced his way out of Orlando, forced his way out of Los Angeles and alienated half the nation. By the time he arrived in Houston last summer, he was a broken player and a reviled figure.

And now? Now Dwight Howard has quietly turned the Rockets into a darkhorse contender in the rugged Western Conference. And generating indifference. He seems fine with this.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2018608-outside-the-spotlight-is-rockets-dwight-howard-now-an-underrated-superstar

Amid all the losses, Young’s been winner (from Fran Blinebury, NBA.com):

Thaddeus Young won’t get a trophy, but he should be given a lifetime achievement award for having lived through several of them with the 76ers this season.

Doggedly, determined, decisive.

It was the night when his 76ers had tied the NBA single season record with their 26th consecutive loss and the 6-foot-8 forward sat at his locker in Houston’s Toyota Center and answered every question the same way he has answered every challenge in the most difficult season of his basketball career. Head on.

“You just try to win the next game,” Young said.

Roughly 48 hours later, the crowd at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center would celebrate loudly when the Sixers beat the Pistons for their first victory since Jan. 29.

But there have been too few of those happy nights in a 17-win season when the organizational goals and the instincts of a competitor have churned in opposite directions.

The Sixers’ front office and coaching staff have been up front that it’s only the future that matters. Yet here is Young, 25, seeing the precious present of what should be the prime of his career tick away and refusing to simply mark time.

While the losses have piled up, Young’s energy and commitment to his job and team haven’t wavered.”

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/04/09/amid-all-the-losses-youngs-been-winner/

– Nerlens Noel: ‘Tough’ sitting (from ESPN.com):

” Calling his rookie season “a great learning experience,” Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel said Tuesday he still hopes to make his NBA debut in one of the team’s final five regular-season games but realizes the team’s cautious approach with him has been for the best.

“Obviously I do want to play,” Noel told reporters in Philadelphia. “I’m a 19-year-old who’s been sitting down on the sideline really wanting to get out there and show my abilities and to be able to play ball.

“It’s been tough, but it’s something we had to do.”

On Tuesday, Noel deemed his knee “100 percent,” saying he’s gained over 3 inches on his vertical leap since before the surgery and overall is “stronger and moving around well.” He’s also overhauled his shot with the help of 76ers coach Brett Brown

“I am very encouraged,” Noel said. “Through the past year since I had my injury, I have pushed myself through thick and thin and I’ve had some struggles and I’ve just stayed with it.

“I definitely worked my butt off to get where I am at now.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10750257/nerlens-noel-philadelphia-76ers-says-knee-100-percent-hopes-return

 

Olynyk, DeRozan,Wizards, Spurs, Trade Deadline, Big O

– Olynyk showing improvement during up-and-down rookie season (from Jay King, MassLive.com):

” How has Olynyk’s rookie season gone?

“It’s been up and down,” he said, reflecting right before the All-Star break, during which he will travel to New Orleans to take part in the Rising Stars Challenge. “Definitely had some highs, some lows. It’d be nice if we were doing better collectively.”

Lately, the highs have been coming more frequently….and  his improvements aren’t just in his rebounding and shooting numbers. He’s starting to figure everything out a little bit. Where hesitance reigned supreme earlier in the season, he’s beginning to display more force. He’s rotating a little quicker on defense, taking shots when he’s open.”

Read it here: http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2014/02/kelly_olynyk_showing_improveme.html

– DeRozan proving worthy of scrutinized contract (from Eric Koreen, NationalPost.com):

” It was just 16 months ago when the basketball-observing public, including both the U.S. and local media, was mocking Bryan Colangelo for handing DeMar DeRozan a rich four-year contract extension. At the time, DeRozan was a promising athlete who had failed to tangibly improve over his first three years in the NBA. It was a bet on potential, not a

reward for production. Such gambles had failed before for Colangelo — see: Bargnani, Andrea.

As the blowback came, there was significant concern from various members of the Raptors organization that the negativity would affect DeRozan. Just give him a chance to live up to the deal, worth at least US$38-million, they said.

One person who did not share those worries: DeRozan.

In his first full year playing under the terms of the new contract, DeRozan has already shown himself worthy of the money.”

Read it here: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/02/13/toronto-raptors-demar-derozan-proving-worthy-of-scrutinized-contract/

– What makes Wizards’ Offense inefficient?  (from Conor Dirks, Turthaboutit.com):

” Washington’s offense, though predictably improved from last year, is still one of least impressive units in the NBA (currently ranked 21st out of 30)*. But what makes Washington’s offense (101.2 points scored per 100 possessions) so much less efficient than the NBA’s elite offenses (the top 7 units in the NBA all score over 107 points per 100 possessions)?”

Read it here: http://www.truthaboutit.net/2014/02/wittmans-heart-shaped-boxes-a-mid-range-love-story.html

And, an actual very good pre-trade deadline piece: (ok, Zach Lowe and Sam Amick have done some terrific ones, too)

– San Antonio Spurs trade deadline primer (from JGomez, Poundingtherock.com):

“All the information you need as the Spurs close in on the trade deadline.”

Read it here: http://www.poundingtherock.com/2014/2/14/5410304/san-antonio-spurs-trade-deadline-primer

– TNT to Air Special on “The Big O” on Saturday:

” University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Royals basketball legend Oscar Robertson will be the subject of a one-hour TNT special during NBA All-Star weekend. “The Big O” airs this Saturday, Feb. 15, at 5 p.m. on TNT, and repeats at 11 p.m.  on NBA TV Monday, Feb.  17.”

http://www.gobearcats.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/021314aal.html