Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 4/25/16

 

–  Marcus Smart Put On A Master Class In Defensive Versatility In Game 4  (from Kevin O’Connor,  celticsblog.com):
–  Hawks Let Game 4 And Series Control Slip Away  (from Ohm Youngmisuk,  ESPN):
–  After Curry Injury, Warriors Unleash Hell On Rockets  (from Dan Devine,  Yahoo Sports):
–  Warriors Fight On Without Steph, And For Him, As Well (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN):
–  What Steph’s Knee Injury Means (from Ben Golliver,  Sports Illustrated):
–  Things Warriors Must Do To Remain Competitive If Steph Is Out (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):
–  Playoffs’ Lion Face, Lemon Face  (from Eric Maroun, Hardwood Paroxysm):
–  Raptors Relying On DeRozan and Lowry For Pivotal game 5  (from James Herbert, CBS Sports):
How The Trail Blazers Rebuilt On The Fly  (from Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN):
–  What Will The Spurs Need From Tony Parker  (from Buck Harvey,  Expressnews.com):
–  Cavs Can Be Optimistic Despite Their Vulnerabilities  (from Greg Swartz, Bleacher Report):
–  Charlotte’s Transition From Losing Bobcats To Playoff Hornets  (from Justin Verrier,  ESPN):
–  The “Difference” In The Playoffs Is Not All On The Officials  (from Doug Smith, Toronto Star):
 Sean Marks’ And The Nets’ Focus  (from Miles Wray,  Hardwood Paroxysm):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
–  Patty Mills (from Warren Yiu,  pickandroll.com.au):  http://pickandroll.com.au/speed-kills-patty-mills-slow/
–  Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Serge Ibaka  (from Antony Slater,  newsok.com):  http://newsok.com/article/5493926

 Marvin Williams  (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/nba-blog/article73673492.html

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  An Absurd Defensive Adjustment Won The Warriors The Game (from Kevin Draper, deadspin.com):

Read it here:  http://deadspin.com/an-absurd-defensive-adjustment-won-the-warriors-the-gam-1703824195

More on this (from Tim Kawakami, mercurynews.com):  http://www.contracostatimes.com/tim-kawakami/ci_28097748/kawakami-kerrs-strategy-pays-off-warriors

 

 

 

Kerr’s message to Steph  before Game 4: Stop trying to do it yourself  (from Adrian Wojnarowski,  Yahoo Sports):

“I never worry about his confidence,” Kerr told Yahoo Sports late Monday. “I don’t worry about anything with him. I just feel like there are times that he wants so badly to win, he tries to do too much.

“He’s still learning. That sounds crazy, because he’s the MVP of the league. But he’s still learning how to develop that rhythm, how to be patient and just move the ball, makes the easy pass – instead of trying to do it himself. That way, he’s much more likely to get hot in the game.””

Read it here:  http://sports.yahoo.com/news/steve-kerr-delivered-steph-curry-a-message-before-game-4–stop-trying-to-do-it-yourself-082519339.html

 

 

 

 

The Chess Match Between The Memphis Grizzlies And Stephen Curry  (from Jordan Schultz, Huffington Post):

” When you can’t score in the NBA Playoffs, problems arise. And, when you can’t score in the half-court, those problems pile up in a hurry. Four games into its second-round series with Golden State — the most lethal offense in the league — Memphis has shown two very different sides. In Game 1, a 101-86 loss, it wasn’t able to generate enough quality looks to keep pace. In Game 2, with point guard Mike Conley in the lineup, crisp ball movement and dribble penetration led to a key road win over a team that went 39-2 at home this year. We saw more of the same in a Game 3 win.

To be sure, Memphis has a defensive-oriented, physical mindset that wears down the opposition. During the regular season, the Grizzlies ranked second in points allowed and seventh in opponent field goal percentage. Against MVP Stephen Curry and company however, we’ve seen the good and the bad.

With the series tied 2-2, let’s take a look at how Memphis has defended Curry, whose Jekyll-and-Hyde play has been one of the crucial storylines.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/stephen-curry_n_7217704.html

 

 

–  Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder lift aggressive Hawks to Game 4 win  (from Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/05/12/wizards-hawks-game-4-jeff-teague-dennis-shroder

 

 

 

–  Hawks get back to being Hawks in Game 4 win  (from Kevin Arnovitz,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/2987/hawks-get-back-to-being-hawks-in-game-4-win

 

 

 

–  NBA Playoffs Playbook: Breaking down the Wizards’ late game execution  (from Jack  Maloney,  hardwoodparoxysm.com):

” Once again playing without John Wall, who remains out with the fractures in his hand, the Washington Wizards still managed to find themselves right in the game as it came down to the final moments.

A big reason for this was some great execution down the stretch, especially on after timeout plays. Randy Wittman gets a lot of flak, but he drew up some beautiful plays to get a couple of really quick buckets which the Wizards desperately needed. Let’s take a closer look at how it went down.”

Read and view it here:  http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/05/12/nba-playoffs-playbook-breaking-down-the-wizards-late-game-execution/

 

 

 

–  Hawks’ Success Is About So Much More Than Their Offense  (from Jared Johnson, Bleacher Report):

” Atlanta proved throughout the year that playing good defense can lead to wins even when the shooting bounces don’t go their way. It’s for this reason that the Hawks needs to focus its attention on locking down Wizards’ offense, especially since Washington is without superstar point guard John Wall.

Let’s look at what Atlanta did in the regular season defensively, then prescribe some concrete steps for the Hawks to take to get back to where they were a few months ago on that end of the floor.”

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2461614-atlanta-hawks-key-to-success-is-about-so-much-more-than-just-their-offense

 

 

 

– The Wizards Offense Without John Wall  (from Ian Levy,  Vantage Sports):

Read it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VVIMnSYAACgAyHtp/the-playoff-pivot-point-wizards-offense-missing-john-wall

 

 

 

Cleveland Cavaliers Defense Dominating in the Playoffs  (from Luke Sicari,  kingjamesgospel.com):

Read it here:  http://kingjamesgospel.com/2015/05/12/cleveland-cavaliers-defense-dominating-in-the-playoffs/

More on this (from William Bohl, fearthesword.com):   http://www.fearthesword.com/2015/5/12/8589095/the-three-headed-monster-that-helped-the-cavaliers-win-ugly

 

 

 

–   THE ROCKETS’ D HAS FALLEN APART  (from Michael Pina,  sportsonearth.com):

” So far, through nine games, the Rockets are allowing 109.1 points per 100 possessions. The only teams to post a worse defensive rating are the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans. All three were swept.

This is obviously troubling, and above all else (including Harden’s curious disappearing act) stands as the No. 1 reason Houston will eventually be eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers. The Rockets entered this series with more depth, star power (Chris Paul missed the first two games), rest and home-court advantage, but the Clippers are absolutely steamrolling them, holding a 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5 on Tuesday.

How bad is it? Rockets head coach Kevin McHale deployed Hack-a-Shaq on DeAndre Jordan in the first freaking quarter in Game 4. Jordan shot 34 free throws because McHale knew his team couldn’t stop Los Angeles’ offense. It was sad before the Clippers set a new franchise record by scoring 43 points in the third quarter.

Houston misses Patrick Beverley, whose swarming antagonism would be a perfect antidote for Austin Rivers (I can’t believe I just wrote that) and help haunt an ailing Paul. Beverley’s presence also lets everything else fall in line, meaning Ariza, instead of Jason Terry, could guard J.J. Redick.

Terry did a pretty good job on Redick in the two games, but that was when L.A.’s offense was basically Blake Griffin being a bull in a China shop. They weren’t running their normal top-ranked system. But Redick’s looked like his normal self since Paul returned; ever since, it’s been painfully obvious that Terry is in way over his head.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/123815822/rockets-defense-james-harden-dwight-howard-blake-griffin

 

 

 

Is James Harden  a Flopper?  (from Kelly Scaletta,  Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VU1E8yYAADAKsKdi/do-330-shooting-fouls-drawn-mean-james-harden-is-a-flopper

 

 

 

The Wizards’ Future  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-wizards-playoff-kevin-durant/

 

 

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

 

–  Thibodeau needs to figure out how to use Mirotic  (from Bradford Doolittle):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/12871104/tom-thibodeau-figured-how-use-nikola-mirotic-nba

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Austin Rivers:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-austin-rivers-steps-up-on-biggest-stage/

 

Kyrie Irving:  http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/what-happens-to-cleveland-if-it-loses-kyrie-irving-too.html/?a=viewall   and   http://chicago.suntimes.com/basketball/7/71/598992/jimmy-butler-says-game-plan-involves-going-injured-kyrie-irving-early-often

 

Matthew Dellavedova:  http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/features/dellavedova-150511

 

Bradley Beal:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/even-in-wizards-loss-bradley-beal-shows-hes-a-winner/2015/05/11/34b18cec-f835-11e4-9030-b4732caefe81_story.html

 

John Wall:  http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/05/12/playing-the-long-game-with-the-hand-of-john-wall/

 

Patty Mills:  http://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/australian-nba-player-patty-mills-already-looking-forward-to-the-preseason-he-never-had-in-san-antonio-spurs-championship-defence-20150509-ggx25u.html

 

Quincy Pondexter:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/5/12/8588517/2014-15-player-reviews-quincy-pondexter-finds-shot-with-new-orleans-pelicans

 

Serge Ibaka:  http://www.welcometoloudcity.com/2015/5/12/8582319/2014-15-thunder-player-grades-serge-ibaka-hobbles-along

 

Rodney Hood:  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865628494/Morning-links-Jazzs-Rodney-Hood-already-prepping-for-next-season-NBA-combine-begins-with-no.html

 

Aaron Gordon:  http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/orlando-magic-player-profile-aaron-gordon-051215

 

Colton Iverson:  http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4719299/third-times-the-charm-for-colton-iverson

 

Sim Bhullar:  http://www.firstpost.com/sports/get-body-right-can-succeed-nba-sim-bhullar-2239602.html

 

Lance Stephenson:  http://www.nba.com/hornets/2014-15-season-review-lance-stephenson

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Al Horford reminded everyone that he’s the Hawks best player  (from Jesus Gomez,  sbnation.com):

” The Hawks are only an elite team when their best player is in form. They won Game 5 because they finally got an Al Horford breakout performance.”

Read and view it here:   http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/30/8520463/al-horford-highlights-stats-game-5-nba-playoffs-2015

 

 

 

–  DeMarre Carroll shows why you shouldn’t give up on the Hawks   (from Paul Flannery,  sbnation.com):

” His play is a reminder that we shouldn’t judge players, or teams, too quickly.”

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/4/30/8521723/demarre-carroll-atlanta-hawks-resurgence-interview

 

 

 

 

–  DeMarre Carroll: Hawks’ Post-Season Leader  (from Adam McGee,  soaringdownsouth.com):

Read it here:   http://soaringdownsouth.com/2015/04/30/demarre-carroll-hawks-post-season-leader/

 

 

 

–  Atlanta Hawks Must Find Bench Production  (from Alec Nathan,  Bleacher report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2448131-atlanta-hawks-must-find-bench-production-with-nothing-guaranteed-out-east

 

 

 

Grizzlies close out Blazers  (from Clint Corey,  Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VUA9OSYAAOcGb0Ve/trail-blazers-vs.-grizzlies-game-5-4-29-2015

 

 

 

–  Peeling back the layers of the Spurs and Clippers’ first-round showdown  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

” With five of the eight first-round playoff series turned in early, the ahead-of-schedule bout between the Spurs and Clippers has become a sort of saving grace. It’s the series basketball fans deserve—so rich in storylines and so consistently proficient that it may well spoil us all.

It also could meet its end on Thursday, when the Spurs (up 3-2) have an opportunity to finish off the Clippers in San Antonio. The only defensible rooting interest is for longevity. We need more of both of these teams, and given that one will be forced out of the playoffs in due time, the least they could draw the series out to a Game 7 and play out overtimes into infinity. In lieu of that, I suppose we’d settle for a final clash or two of the same riveting basketball these evenly-matched opponents have produced over five games. Here’s a look through just a handful of the layers within:”

Read and view it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/04/30/spurs-clippers-tim-duncan-chris-paul-blake-griffin-nba-playoffs

 

 

 

–  Spurs Bench Exposing  Clippers’ Fatal Flaw  (from Josh Martin,  Bleacher report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2441519-san-antonio-spurs-bench-exposing-los-angeles-clippers-fatal-flaw

 

 

 

How the Rockets closed out the Mavs   (from Jake Garcia,  thedreamshake.com):

Read and view it here:   http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/4/30/8518603/rockets-breakdown-mavericks-nba-playoffs-2015-film-dwight-howard

More on this (from Joshua Jonah Fischman,  Vantage Sports):  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VT5e3iYAACgAZfGz/mavericks-vs.-rockets-04-28-15-game-5

 

 

 

 

–  NUMBERS PREVIEW: WARRIORS-GRIZZLIES  (from John Schuhmann,  NBA.com):

” Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for Warriors-Grizzlies, with links to let you dive in and explore more.”

Read it here:  http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2015/04/30/numbers-preview-warriors-grizzlies/

 

 

 

–  Iman Shumpert Explains the Lost Art of Lockdown D  (from Joe Gabriele, cavs.com):

Read the Q & A here:  http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/features/artof-shumpert-150429

 

 

 

Celtics’ Season Wrap-up   (from John, redsarmy.com):

” Danny Ainge held his season-ending wrap-up interview this morning and he touched on a few things of general interest”

Read it here:  http://redsarmy.com/2015/04/30/ainge-season-wrap-up-keeping-crowder-it-on-the-bench-sully-and-more/

 

 

 

Mavs’ Coach Rick Carlisle’s Season-End interview  (from Tim Cato,  mavsmoneyball.com):

Read it here:  http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2015/4/30/8522149/rick-carlisle-talks-challenges-of-changing-rosters-dirks-possible

 

 

 

Donnie Nelson talks about the Rajon Rondo trade, Rick Carlisle’s fit with Mavericks, much more  (form Tim Cato,  mavsmoneyball.com):

Read it here:  http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2015/4/30/8521677/donnie-nelson-talks-about-the-rajon-rondo-trade-rick-carlisles-fit

 

 

 

Little Big Man: Isaiah Thomas Defies All Odds  (from Marc D’Amico,  celtics.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/celtics/news/sidebar/misc-042915-little-big-man

 

 

 

Reviewing the Mavs’ Season (from Bobby Karalla,  mavsoutsider.com):

Read it here:  http://www.mavsoutsider.com/2015/04/30/the-difference-2014-15-season/

 

 

 

–  A review of every Heat player’s season: Part 4  (from Azam Masood,  hothothoops.com):

Read it here:  http://www.hothothoops.com/2015/4/30/8519495/review-heat-season-wade-whiteside-walker-Shabazz-McRoberts-miami

 

 

 

–   Glossary: Early Bird Rights  (from Chuck Myron,  Hoopsrumors.com):

Read it here:  http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2015/04/rumors-glossary-early-rights.html

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

 

Jimmy Butler:  http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Opportunity-Knocks-Jimmy-Butlers-Rise-to-Stardom-4933

 

James Jones:  http://www.news-herald.com/sports/20150429/cleveland-cavaliers-james-jones-ready-for-increased-playing-time

 

David Lee:  http://www.gatorsports.com/article/20150430/wire/150439988

 

Patty Mills:  http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/04/30/the-legend-of-patty-mills-grows/

 

Courtney Lee:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/4/30/8518291/the-double-life-of-courtney-lee-NBA-playoffs-2015-key-shooting-defense

 

Pablo Prigioni:  http://nypost.com/2015/04/30/pablo-priogni-on-his-escape-from-knicks-hell/

 

Jrue Holiday:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/4/30/8506541/2014-15-player-reviews-jrue-holiday-new-orleans-pelicans-injury-concerns

 

Jonas Valanciunas:  http://www.raptorshq.com/2015/4/30/8515423/the-stunted-growth-of-jonas-valanciunas

 

Lance Stephenson:  http://queencityhoops.com/blog/14-15-season-report-card-lance-stephenson/

 

Rudy Gobert:  http://thelotterymafia.com/article/rudy-gobert-most-improved-lottery-player.html

 

Enes Kanter:  http://www.welcometoloudcity.com/2015/4/30/8507627/enes-kanter-oklahoma-city-thunder-player-grades-review

 

Tony Wroten:  http://thesixersense.com/2015/04/30/the-forgotten-man-remembering-tony-wroten/

 

Damjan Rudez:  http://www.nba.com/pacers/player-review-2015-damjan-rudez

 

P. J. Tucker:   http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/2015/4/30/8519561/phoenix-suns-2014-15-report-cards-p-j-tucker-delivers-on-the-court

 

Eric Bledsoe:  http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/04/30/eric-bledsoe-2014-15-phoenix-suns-player-grades/

 

Luol Deng:  http://allucanheat.com/2015/04/30/miami-heat-season-review-newcomer-luol-deng/

 

Andre Miller:  http://cowbellkingdom.com/2014-15-season-in-review-andre-miller/

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

 

–  Griz Morning After: Gasol feeling blue over execution, not injury  (from Ronald Tillery,  commercialappeal.com):

” Marc Gasol didn’t want to talk about his left ankle sprain.

“Not relevant,” the Grizzlies’ center said at least five times Monday night following a loss  to the Golden State Warriors.

“I don’t think that matters. What matters is how you play as a team. We didn’t play well. We didn’t execute. We didn’t do a good job.”

Gasol’s strongest indictment of the closest blowout loss you’ll ever see was that the Griz didn’t compete or make any necessary adjustments through three quarters.”

Read it here:  http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/griz-morning-after-gasol-feeling-blue-over-execution-not-injury

 

 

How the Memphis Grizzlies Can Get Right in the 2015 NBA Playoffs  (from Tim Firme, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2428734-how-the-memphis-grizzlies-can-finally-live-up-to-championship-expectations

 

 

 

–  A Season in Memphis  (from Joe Mullinax, grizzlybearblues.com):

” On the eve of the regular season finale, as eyes turn from the end of one season of life and love in Memphis to the start of the postseason, let’s look back on some of the peaks and valleys that have led to this moment in time.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/4/14/8407149/Memphis-grizzlies-2014-2015-season-review-expectations-best-worst-games

 

 

 

–  Having exceeded expectations with playoff berth, Celtics aim for more  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):

” Boston’s 2014-15 campaign has featured 11 trades and 41 total roster players. If Chris Babb gets into one of the Celtics’ final two regular-season games (at home Tuesday against Toronto and Wednesday at Milwaukee), then Boston will have set a franchise record by utilizing 23 different bodies on game days this season. That turnstile roster included shipping out Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green early in the season. Just when everyone thought the Celtics would plunge to the high lottery, this young team found something and instead embarked on a spirited two-month playoff push.

Since Feb. 3, Boston has won 22 games, tied with the Houston Rockets and Cavaliers for third-most wins in the league in that span (only the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have more). The Celtics were 14 games under .500 at 16-30 after a loss to Miami on Feb. 1, but own a .647 winning percentage since that point.

What happened? Their 38-year-old coach, Brad Stevens, established himself as a master in-game tactician and a late-game wizard of the dry-erase board, the trade deadline delivered an influx of much-needed talent, including reserve point guard Isaiah Thomas, and Boston spent the past 34 games playing collectively at a level far beyond what you would expect possible from these players individually.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4718899/having-exceeded-expectations-with-playoff-bid-celtics-aim-for-more

 

 

 

–  He’ll never win, but Brad Stevens should be the NBA Coach of the Year (from Nate Scott,  USA Today):

Read it here:   http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/04/brad-stevens-boston-celtics-nba-coach-of-the-year

 

 

 

–  George Karl: “Excuses are for losers and we want to be a winner”  (from James Ham, cowbellkingdom.com):

Read it here:   http://cowbellkingdom.com/excuses-are-for-losers-and-we-want-to-be-a-winner/

And from Bill Herenda,  csnbayarea.com:  http://www.csnbayarea.com/kings/karls-declaration-never-had-player-thats-untradeable

And more from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee, here:  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article18467612.html

 

 

 

The bizarre Phoenix Suns  (from William Bohl,  Hardwood Paroxysm):

” The 2014-15 Suns were just plain bizarre. How else do you explain signing Isaiah Thomas, a point guard, to a 4 year, $28 million deal when you already employ two very good point guards (Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe)? How about your gritty, blue-collar wing stopper (P.J. Tucker) getting a “super-extreme DUI” the week after signing a 3-year, $16.5 million extension? Or Eric Bledsoe’s contract situation getting dragged out unnecessarily, thereby fostering ill will for both sides? Having a passive-aggressive shouting match (Marcus Morris and coach Jeff Hornacek) on the sidelines during a nationally televised game? Forcing the linchpin of last season’s surprising success (Dragic) further off the ball, alienating him and leading to his trade request? Failing to inbound the ball properly? Ripping your home fans (Markeiff Morris) the same night the team scored 24 points in an entire half? Your coach calling the team “soft” to the media? The symbol of last season’s rehabilitated image and reinvigorated play (Gerald Green) turning heel and publicly declaring he’s unhappy? Playing Jerel McNeal in a game when he isn’t even technically on the roster?

Read it here:   http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/04/14/and-we-bid-you-goodnight-today-we-remember-the-bizarre-phoenix-suns/

 

Another view of the Suns’ Season (form Paul Coro, azcenral.com):

Read it here:  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/04/13/phoenix-suns-jeff-hornacek-coaching-playoffs-nba/25744071/

 

 

 

–  One more game, then Pistons’ SVG swaps roles and focuses on draft, free agency  (From Keith Langlois,  pistons.com):

” Stan Van Gundy is going to keep the coaching hat affixed firmly to his head until the last possession of Wednesday’s season finale at New York. But when he wakes up Thursday morning – maybe a little later than his usual bird-warbling hour, but probably not much – he’ll waste not a minute swapping it out for his president of basketball operations Stetson.”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/pistons/features/one-more-game-then-svg-swaps-roles-and-focuses-draft-free-agency

 

 

 

–  Three rotation players suffer injuries as Trail Blazers lose to Oklahoma City  (from Joe Freeman, Oregonlive.com):

” As the Trail Blazers approach the regular season finale, they are on the verge of calamity, their roster ravaged by injuries, their April momentum halted by a series of body blows.

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Blazers 101-90 Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. But the more important tally was not on the scoreboard, but rather on the injury list, where three more players were added to an ever-expanding queue.

As the Blazers were succumbing to the motivated Thunder (44-27), who are fighting for their playoff lives, three more key rotation players went down with a variety of ailments.Nicolas Batum suffered a right knee injury late in the first quarter, CJ McCollum sprained his left ankle with seconds left in the first half and Chris Kaman tweaked his back in the third quarter, a trio of wounds that left the shorthanded Blazers battered and bruised at the worst possible time of the season.”

Read it here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/04/three_rotation_players_suffer_injuries_as_trail_bl.html

 

 

 

–  How Timofey Mozgov became the man the Cavaliers needed  (from Yaron Weitzman, sbnation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/4/14/8406345/timofey-mozgov-feature-profile-stats-cleveland-cavaliers

 

 

 

–  DeMar DeRozan leads the Raptors into battle  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):

”  DeMar DeRozan had something to say. The Toronto Raptors lost in Chicago, and he wasn’t pleased. Dropping from third to fourth in the Eastern Conference wasn’t catastrophic, but the sixth-year swingman couldn’t pretend everything was OK.

The Raptors had to be better, DeRozan told his teammates in the locker room, but it was more than that. He wanted them to understand just how far they had come. Their 24-7 start had given them a nice cushion, but DeRozan knew better than anybody that the opportunity in front of them wasn’t guaranteed. This franchise has won one playoff series in 20 years, and he was just over a year removed from answering irritating questions about tanking.

“Now that we have this great situation on our hands, we can’t let it go to spoil, we can’t let it go to waste, we can’t take anything for granted,” Toronto forward Patrick Patterson said, recalling DeRozan’s message. “We’ve all been in situations where we weren’t happy, and now that we’re finally happy, we have to play like it. We have to come together, be together, protect one another, look out for one another and just have fun. And that’s what he preaches every single day.”

Read it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25148503/he-the-north-demar-derozan-leads-the-raptors-into-battle

 

 

 

–  NBA Awards Ballot, Part 1: In Praise of the Individual   (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

” In a normal season, there are usually one or two awards on the NBA’s ballot that are easy — a runaway rookie of the year (Blake Griffin), a borderline unanimous MVP, a bench guy who lapped the sixth-man field.

Not this season. In my brief time filling out ballots real and fake,  this has been the toughest one, top to bottom, by a mile. There isn’t a single clear-cut winner, and a bunch of races — including the most congested MVP race in at least a decade — boast multiple candidates who could land almost anywhere on the ballot.

This was brutal. It was the best possible form of torture.”

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nba-awards-ballot-part-1-in-praise-of-the-individual/

 

 

–  Surprise success stories what made 2014-15’s rookies solid  (from Scott Howard-Cooper,  nba.com):

Read it here:   http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/04/14/ranking-rookies-by-position-final-standings-for-2014-15-season/index.html

 

 

 

The Rise and Potential Future Of the D-League Fort Wayne Mad Ants  (from Keith Schlosser, ridiculousupside.com):

Read the Q & A with President & owner Jeff Potter here:  http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2015/4/14/8408893/jeff-potter-discusses-the-recent-rise-potential-future-of-fort-wayne-mad-ants

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

 

Cory Joseph/Patty Mills:  http://www.poundingtherock.com/2015/4/14/8408911/cory-joseph-should-play-playoffs

 

Chandler Parsons:   http://www.espn.co.uk/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4705111/concern-grows-after-parsons-suffers-setback

 

Al Jefferson:  http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/118115236/al-jefferson-charlotte-hornets-player-option-free-agency

 

Quincy Miller:  http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2015/04/14/quincy-miller-detroit-pistons/25759763/

 

Kyle O’Quinn:  http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com/2015/4/14/8409041/2015-nba-free-agents-kyle-oquinn-orlando-magic-stats

 

DeMar DeRozan:  http://www.raptorshq.com/2015/4/14/8397053/toronto-raptors-demar-derozan-bipolar-season

 

C.J. McCollum:  http://ripcityproject.com/2015/04/14/c-j-mccollum-accelerates-emergence-as-playoffs-loom/

 

Vince Carter:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/4/14/8386761/vinsane-in-the-membrane-no-longer

 

Kawhi Leonard:  http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/04/14/kawhi-leonard-and-the-continuous-breakout/

 

Rajon Rondo:  http://www.theroar.com.au/2015/04/15/dallas-very-own-maverick-the-rajon-rondo-conundrum/

 

Derrick Rose:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/04/14/with-third-comeback-derrick-rose-ready-to-lead-chicago-bulls-into-playoffs/

 

Bryce Cotton:  http://www.slcdunk.com/2015/4/14/8411125/jazz-dante-exum-trey-burke-bryce-cotton-raul-neto-point-guard

 

Joe Ingles:  http://www.sltrib.com/sports/2398908-155/monson-utah-jazzs-regular-joe-ingles

 

Amir Johnson:  http://www.torontosun.com/2015/04/13/raptors-wont-rush-back-amir-johnson

 

Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2015/04/14/mozgov-smith-and-shumpert-are-key-to-another-title-for-lebron-james-and-cavs/

 

Tyler Johnson:  http://basketball.realgm.com/article/237402/Tyler-Johnson-Reveals-NBA-Promise-Shedding-Overseas-Label

 

Blake Griffin:  http://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/la-sp-clippers-griffin-dwyre-20150414-column.html

 

Spencer Hawes:  http://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/la-sp-clippers-fyi-20150414-story.html

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Bob Myers, the unheralded architect of Warriors’ success  (from Marcus Thompson. Contra Costa Times):

” Stephen Curry is a household name. Steve Kerr and Draymond Green are highly regarded co-stars. And CEO Joe Lacob, the grand wizard who likes to step from behind the curtain, is experiencing all-time high approval ratings.

 But the overlooked cog in the Warriors’ rise to elite is the architect: general manager Bob Myers.
The only two players who were around when Myers took over four years ago were Stephen Curry and David Lee. The rest are products of Myers’ relentlessness. His countless phone calls, uber competitiveness, his new-age philosophy on winning basketball.”

Read it here:  http://www.contracostatimes.com/marcus-thompson/ci_27832416/thompson-bob-myers-unheralded-architect-warriors-success

 

 

–  3 Ways George Karl Is Changing the Sacramento Kings  (from Sam Risso, Bleacher Report):

” The 2014-15 season seems to have been one giant change for the Sacramento Kings. Mostly that’s because the team is on its third head coach, going from Michael Malone to Tyrone Corbin to the current coach, George Karl.

Not only have there been three different men manning the bench, but the way they choose to operate is a contrast between one another. The Kings went from a defensive-oriented squad under Malone and have increasingly become centered on offense with Corbin and now Karl at the helm.

While the move to fire Malone wasn’t a popular one and caused the team to go into a 7-21 tailspin under Corbin, the Kings are starting to come around under Karl. Sacramento recently had a four-game win streak, something that hadn’t been accomplished since early in the season, when it strung together five in a row from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7.

And as Omri Casspi told Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, a lot of that success is due to Karl’s system:

George Karl’s system is great, and I’m not just saying that because I play for him, but because I really do believe this is the right way to play basketball. Spacing the floor. Moving, making extra passes, sharing the ball. Getting our hands on balls, deflections, then getting out and running.

Casspi did a pretty good job of summing up how the team has changed under Karl. Let’s examine some of the things he mentioned and how they’re leading to success.”

Read it here:   http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2416815-3-ways-george-karl-is-changing-the-sacramento-kings

 

 

 

–  Marcin Gortat on standout performance against 76ers: ‘They were passing me the ball’  (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

” One of the several positive developments to emerge from the Washington Wizards’ wire-to-wire win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night was Marcin Gortat’s standout performance. The postgame assessment of that effort, however, didn’t fall in that category and exhibited a tinge of discord that hung in the air even after victory.

Coach Randy Wittman, point guard John Wall, and shooting guard Bradley Beal all agreed that Gortat’s offensive prowess – he scored 23 points on 10 of 11 shooting along with 14 rebounds – was predicated on his willingness to dive to the basket off pick-and-rolls and his ability to finish at the rim. Gortat concurred that he is at his best rolling to the basket off screens, but the center emphasized he didn’t play any differently than he usually does.

“They were passing me the ball,” Gortat said bluntly. “I was doing the same thing I’m doing every single game and they were just passing the game.””

Read it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/04/02/marcin-gortat-on-standout-performance-against-76ers-they-were-passing-me-the-ball/

 

 

–   Can the Pick-and-Roll Save Washington’s Attack?  (from John Converse Townsend,  truthaboutit.net):

Read and view it here:  http://www.truthaboutit.net/2015/04/revolutionary-wall-can-the-pick-and-roll-save-washingtons-attack.html

 

 

 

–  Dante Exum’s Growing Comfort  (from Ben Dowsett, saltcityhoops):

” Dante Exum relentlessly got into the lane in Wednesday’s win over Denver. He flew past Ty Lawson, one of the quickest players in the league1, on multiple occasions and sliced through Denver’s weak help defense on the way to a Jazz season-high 12 assists. He was in command of the ball from the start, looking confident and willing to challenge the Nuggets when given any opening.

A Jazz fan reading the above paragraph two months ago would have checked the dateline on this piece and assumed it to be an April Fools joke. It isn’t.

When I talked to Quin Snyder about Exum’s progression before the game2, he candidly noted that, while Dante has exceeded expectations in several areas, aggression toward the hoop was “not second nature to him yet.” Quin emphasized that he wanted to see Exum make mistakes, wanted to see him grow through trial and error. But even so, he wasn’t surprised at Dante’s performance versus the Nuggets.

“I wasn’t surprised as much as I was pleased, because we’ve seen flashes like that,” Snyder told me postgame. “He’s such a conscientious kid, he doesn’t wanna make mistakes sometimes. There’s some plays he made tonight that he’s seen before, he just hasn’t made the play. But tonight the game slowed down a little bit more for him, it was really good to see.”

Read it here:  http://saltcityhoops.com/dante-exums-growing-comfort-plus-player-grades-for-nuggets-jazz-4115/

 

 

 

 How Orlando Can Conjure a Future From Its Non-Shooting Backcourt  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

”  (Orlando is) squeezing offense from lineups built around two guards with shaky or nonexistent perimeter shots, Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo.

In trading a first-round pick back to the Sixers for Payton, the Magic made a massive bet that in the NBA of 2015 — where spacing and shooting are more important than ever — a team built around two non-shooting guards can still win. “I really do think this can work,” says James Borrego, the team’s interim head coach. “With their combination of defense and penetration, there really is room to grow here.”

Orlando GM Rob Hennigan has tried to mold a culture of grit, hard work, and defense. It’s an old-school bet that a championship-level franchise can’t grow unless those things take root first; a bet that coaches can gradually turn bad shooters into decent ones, and that management will find the right supporting shooters on the open market — even if a lot of those shooters will have to be big men, since the guard positions are taken.’

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/orlando-magic-victor-oladipo-elfrid-payton/

 

 

 

 Why Draymond Green Is Quickly Becoming One of NBA’s Most Prized Possessions  (from Josh Martin,  Bleacher Report):

” Green can do a little bit of everything offensively, from initiating the offense and setting solid screens to finding his teammates in the nick of time and knocking down perimeter jumpers.

But his all-around talents truly show through on the defensive end.

“He reminds me a little bit of Dennis Rodman because he’s so strong,” said Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played with Rodman during the Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat of the Michael Jordan era. “He can guard low-post men and perimeter guys. That’s what makes him unique.”

Read it here:   http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2416114-why-draymond-green-is-quickly-becoming-one-of-nbas-most-prized-possessions

 

 

 

–  Is Greg Monroe A Good Long-Term Fit With The Detroit Pistons?  (from Bryan Toporek,  BBall breakdown):

Read and view it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/03/31/is-greg-monroe-a-good-long-term-fit-with-the-detroit-pistons/

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Dario Saric:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2417141-philadelphia-76ers-rebuild-can-get-huge-push-from-international-secret-weapon

 

Tyler Ennis:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/after-a-tough-start-in-phoenix-ennis-finds-room-to-thrive-with-bucks/article23755739/

 

Dorell Wright:  http://www.csnnw.com/blazers/dorell-wright-sustains-fracture-fourth-metacarpal-left-hand

 

Emmanuel Mudiay:  http://hoopshype.com/columns/david-nurse/emmanuel-mudiay-made-in-china

 

Markel Brown:  http://www.northjersey.com/sports/basketball/nets/nets-rookie-makes-the-most-of-his-chance-1.1301175

 

Andrew Wiggins/Bruno Caboclo:  http://www.tsn.ca/trial-by-fire-has-wiggins-on-fast-track-to-success-1.246015

 

Nerlens Noel/Ish Smith:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150401_Sixers__Noel_has_gotten_a_big_assist_from_Smith_s_presence.html

 

Aaron Gordon:  http://orlandomagicdaily.com/2015/03/30/the-progress-of-aaron-gordon/

 

Rudy Gobert:  http://www.sltrib.com/sports/2357766-155/jazz-gobert-is-getting-there

 

Vince Carter:  http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/sports/basketball/at-38-vince-carter-drifts-to-the-3-point-line-and-reinvents-himself.html

 

Lance Stephenson:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/2/8331701/lance-stephenson-stats-season-benched-charlotte-hornets

 

Jeff Green/Quincy Pondexter:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/4/1/8314057/the-pelicans-may-have-ended-up-with-the-better-small-forward

 

Marcus Smart:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VRon3B8AAKBCXepU/meet-marcus-smart-a-really-good-defender

 

DeMarcus Cousins:  http://hoopshabit.com/2015/04/02/demarcus-cousins-nbas-versatile-center/

 

Thomas Robinson:  http://www.nba.com/sixers/news/150401-robinson-past

 

Eric Bledsoe:  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/03/31/phoenix-suns-eric-bledsoe-nba/70750472/

 

Patty Mills/Cory Joseph:  http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2015/04/02/what-to-do-with-patty-mills/