Today’s Top NBA Stories

–  Exum Strategy: How One Injury Put a Crimp in Utah’s Plans and Raised More Questions About Offseason Games (from Zach Lowe, Grantland):

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/exum-strategy-how-one-injury-put-a-crimp-in-utahs-plans-and-raised-more-questions-about-offseason-games/

 

 

–  Why the NBA’s ‘Small Ball’ Revolution Isn’t What You Think It Is  (from Dan Favale,  Bleacher report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2541667-why-the-nbas-small-ball-revolution-isnt-what-you-think-it-is

 

 

For those with access to ESPN Insider:

 

–  Jazz can still make the playoffs without the injured Dante Exum  (from Kevin Pelton,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/13389857/nba-utah-jazz-make-playoffs-dante-exum

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Perry Jones:  http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/2015/08/07/perry-jones-has-plenty-prove-fresh-start-with-celtics/ZCKAM4BNq4Y0WJrsJq9QQL/story.html

 

Tyler Johnson:  http://www.hothothoops.com/2015/8/7/9086739/what-can-tyler-johnson-provide-Miami-Heat-Dwyane-Wade-Bosh-Goran-Dragic

 

Sonny Weems:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/08/07/sonny-weems-phoenix-suns-russia-cska-moscow-jeff-hornacek

 

Aron Baynes:  http://www.nba.com/pistons/features/physical-deft-touch-aron-baynes-has-more-offer-he-showed-spurs-svg-believes

 

Josh Smith:  http://www.clipsnation.com/2015/8/6/9000787/film-room-josh-smith-edition

 

Kristaps Porzingis:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=rZKXj2kLNjE

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Houston defense will make Draymond Green’s judgment critical (from Rusty Simmons,  sfgate.com):

” Ideally, Houston tries to pressure the point guard, chase players off the three-point line and funnel everything into the middle — where Dwight Howard waits to erase shots (an injured knee could keep Howard sidelined Thursday).

But somewhere in between the three-point arc and the rim, there’s an abundance of space — territory where Green can stand out with his unique ability to score or make plays for others.

“Coach told me, ‘You’re probably going to have open shots, but you’re going to have to pick and choose when to take those open shots,” Green said after Wednesday’s practice. “You might have an open shot, but if you put the ball down one time and get in the paint, someone else is going to be wide open.’ He explained it, and it kind of worked out that way.”

“Draymond is one of our best playmakers,” Kerr said. “We know we have to get deeper into our offense to get good shots. He’s a big part of that, because he often catches the ball after the initial action. When he can play-make from that spot, we’re better for it.”

Read it here:  http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Houston-defense-will-make-Green-s-judgment-6277569.php

 

 

 

–  How Golden State’s Small Lineup Flipped Game 1  (from Adam Spolane,  CBS Houston):

Read and view it here:  http://houston.cbslocal.com/2015/05/21/breakdown-how-golden-states-small-lineup-flipped-game-1/

 

 

 

Breaking Down the  Rockets’ Guide to Defending Stephen Curry  (from  Dylan Murphy, Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2470867-breaking-down-the-houston-rockets-guide-to-defending-stephen-curry

 

 

 

–  The Houston Rockets Biggest Mistake In Game 1 Vs Warriors  (from Lee Golden, spacecityscooop.com):

Read and view it here:  http://spacecityscoop.com/2015/05/21/houston-rockets-biggest-mistake-game-1-vs-warriors/

 

 

 

–  Rockets’ Capela is ready for his close-up  (from Fran Blinebury, NBA.com):

” Seven months ago, the rookie arrived in training camp hoping to find a place in the Rockets future. Two months ago, he was in the NBA D-League toiling for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Now, if a sprained left knee keeps Dwight Howard out of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Capela might find himself in the starting lineup against the Warriors. Or at the very least, getting significant playing time.

“When I was in the D-League, no, I would not think this was possible,” said the precocious 21-year-old native of Geneva, Switzerland. “I thought I’m not going to play this year, maybe next year. I was just trying to keep working hard and be ready when they would call me up.”

But with a live, aggressive body and a willingness to learn, Capela forced his way into the consciousness of the Rockets coaching staff and then into the playing rotation.”

Read it here:   http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/rockets-capela-is-ready-for-his-close-up/

 

 

 

–  Bogut overcomes adversities to anchor defense  (from Ian Thomsen, NBA.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/ian_thomsen/05/21/warriors-bogut-overcomes-adversity-to-anchor-defense/

 

 

 

–  Shaun Livingston’s long, broken road to unlikely postseason hero  (from Rodger Sherman,  sbnation.com):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/5/20/8630123/shaun-livingston-golden-state-warriors-houston-rockets-western-conference-finals

 

 

 

–  The importance of Trevor Ariza  (from Ethan Rothstein,  thedreamshake.com):

Read it here:  http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/5/21/8632013/rockets-warriors-no-dwight-howard-james-harden-nba-playoffs-2015

 

 

 

– Cavs 97, Hawks 89  (from Jason Lloyd, ohio.com):

Read it here:  http://www.ohio.com/blogs/cleveland-cavaliers/cleveland-cavaliers-1.275356/cavs-97-hawks-89-jason-lloyd-s-28-thoughts-on-j-r-smith-redemption-and-a-historic-road-win-1.593701

 

 

 

Cavs vs Hawks Game One Stats (from NBA.com):

Smith’s 3-point shooting, Cleveland’s superior ball movement and rebound dominance, and Atlanta’s use of drives.

Read it here:  http://stats.nba.com/featured/sportvu_hawks_cavaliers_gm1_2015_05_20.html

 

 

 

–  The LeBron  factor is real  (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/5/21/8633343/lebron-james-cavaliers-vs-hawks-nba-playoffs-2015

 

 

 

–  LeBron James’s sidekicks, led by J.R. Smith, fuel Game 1 win over Hawks  (from Chris Mannix,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/05/21/lebron-james-jr-smith-cavaliers-hawks-eastern-conference-finals-2015-playoffs

 

 

 

 

–  J.R. Smith rewards Cleveland Cavaliers’ faith  (from  Matthew Florjancic,  wkyc.com):

Read it here:  http://www.wkyc.com/story/sports/nba/cavaliers/2015/05/21/jr-smith-rewards-cleveland-cavaliers-faith/27700561/

 

 

–  J.R. Smith gives LeBron James the help he needed to beat the Hawks (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):

Read it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2015/05/21/j-r-smith-gives-lebron-james-the-help-he-needed-to-beat-the-hawks/

 

 

 

Frustration building for Kyrie Irving and Cavaliers take away Atlanta’s specialty (from Chris Fedor,  cleveland.com):

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/05/frustration_is_building_for_ky.html

 

 

 

–  Carroll injury looms large after Hawks drop Game 1 to Cavs  (from Zach Dillard,  foxsports.com):

” Carroll was the go-to defensive option for LeBron James. Already facing an uphill battle in a series against the four-time MVP, Carroll’s absence would force Budenholzer’s hand. This is not a position of depth for Atlanta. Reserve wing Thabo Sefolosha is out for the season after breaking his leg while being arrested in New York. Carroll was tabbed for the lion’s share of defensive possessions against LeBron…. no other Hawks defender makes life more miserable for him.”

Read it here:  http://www.foxsports.com/south/story/carroll-injury-looms-large-after-hawks-drop-game-1-to-cavs-052115

 

Update:  DeMarre is now listed as day-to-day as MRI shows hyperextension and bone bruise but no structural damage

 

 

We are a little late linking to CJ McCollum’s playoff previews:

 

–  Western Conference Finals Preview (from CJ McCollum, the playerstribune.com):

Read it here:  http://www.theplayerstribune.com/the-pros-playoff-preview-western-conference-finals/

 

–  Eastern Conference Finals Preview  (from CJ McCollum, theplayerstribune.com):

Read it here:  http://www.theplayerstribune.com/the-pros-playoff-preview-eastern-conference-finals/

 

 

 

–  The myth about max contracts  (from Sean Penney, celticsblog.com):

” What comes to mind when you think of a player worthy of earning the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement? Many people seem to think that a “max contract” has to be reserved for a handful of the league’s elite, the best of the best. If the Boston Celtics are going to shell out a max contract to anyone this summer, those fans are expecting to get an MVP caliber player that will be the cornerstone of the franchise.

That is simply not the case, as not all max deals are created equal.

(J)ust because you hear that a player is rumored to be getting a max contract, that does not necessarily mean that he’s about to be paid as much as someone like LeBron James, or that the player necessarily has to be in the same stratosphere to earn it.”

Read it here:  http://www.celticsblog.com/2015/5/19/8625231/the-myth-about-max-contracts

 

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Mike Conley:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/5/21/8632053/memphis-grizzlies-2014-2015-player-reviews-mike-conley

 

Tyreke Evans:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/5/21/8632103/2014-2015-player-reviews-tyreke-evans-pelicans

 

Allen Crabbe:  http://www.blazersedge.com/2015/5/20/8628679/portland-trail-blazers-allen-crabbe

 

Jerome Jordan:   http://brooklynsfinestblog.com/2015/05/21/2014-15-in-review-jerome-jordan/

 

Perry Jones:  http://newsok.com/perry-jones-enters-offseason-facing-unknown-future/article/5420960

 

Reggie Bullock:  http://www.clipsnation.com/2015/5/21/8628155/2014-2015-exit-interviews-reggie-bullock-clippers-suns-hornacek-rivers

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

How the Blazers countered the Grizzlies with Meyers Leonard (from Kevin Yeung, grizzlybearblues.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/4/28/8507205/meyers-leonard-game-four-portland-trail-blazers-memphis-grizzlies

 

 

 

–  With Mike Conley out, Memphis Grizzlies show some cracks in 99-92 loss  (from Mike Tokito,  oregonlive.com):

Read it here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/04/post_36.html

 

 

 

–  CHRIS PAUL’S ABILITY TO FORCE MISMATCHES VS. SPURS  (from Paul Garcia, Projectspurs.com):

Read and view it here:  http://projectspurs.com/2015-articles/chris-pauls-ability-to-force-mismatches-vs-spurs.html

 

 

 

–  Rockets determined to fix defense (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):

” We need more help,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “The bigs have got to get back, get in the paint. (Ellis) has to see big bodies. Guards have to pick him up earlier. Everybody.

“Our bigs have to get back. They have to show Barea their chest. They have to sink more. Guards have to come back. Anybody in the backcourt can’t run with your man; you’ve got to run with the ball. It’s seventh- and eighth-grade basketball. That’s what I was taught in seventh and eighth grade. You have to do it up here.”

Read it here:  http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/rockets/article/Rockets-determined-to-fix-defense-finish-series-6227623.php?cmpid=twitter-premium&t=8d3052e361f992f472

 

 

 

James Harden’s 42-point Game Three  (from Jake Garcia, thedreamshake.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/4/27/8498457/houston-rockets-film-study-breakdown-james-harden-cooks-dallas-mavericks-nba-playoffs-2015

 

 

 

Winners and Losers in the NBA Playoffs So Far  (From Zach Lowe, grantland.com):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/winners-and-losers-in-the-nba-playoffs/

 

 

 

–  Brooklyn Seems to Be Getting Its San Antonio On Lately  (from Zach Lowe,  grantland.com):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/brooklyn-seems-to-be-getting-its-san-antonio-on-lately/

 

 

–  The Resurrection of Deron Williams: Hawks At Nets Game 4  (from Coach Nick,  BBall Breakdown):

” Coach Nick breaks down the scintillating performance by Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, a day after we eviscerated his game and showed how much he was hurting the Nets. For one night at least, he showed us the old Utah Jazz version of himself, and it carried his team to an overtime victory.”

Watch it here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uI8eQa6xhM

 

 

 

–  Brad Stevens’ coaching  job can’t be ignored  (from Jeff Goodman, ESPN):

” One general manager ranked Brad Stevens third among NBA coaches, just behind five-time champion Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle. Another said the Boston Celtics’ second-year coach isn’t quite that high but has already cracked the top 10 — and is climbing.

It’s hard to argue against ranking Stevens in the top half of the league’s coaches, despite the fact that the 38-year-old has coached fewer than 170 NBA games and fewer than 400 overall games in his career.

NBA executives will seldom praise another team’s coach on the record. But behind the scenes, a large number of decision-makers around the league are raving about Stevens.

“What he’s done with that group this season, to get them into the playoffs and compete with Cleveland in the first three games, is awfully impressive,” a high-ranking executive said. “Just think of what he’ll do if he can get some actual high-level talent.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12773965/nba-how-brad-stevens-made-nothing-boston-celtics

 

 

 

Thunder, Hawks, Brook Lopez Q & A  (from David Aldridge,  NBA.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/david_aldridge/04/27/morning-tip-oklahoma-city-thunder-prepare-for-next-stage-in-franchise-atlanta-hawks-player-development-brook-lopez-qa/index.html

 

 

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

 

–   Watch why Kawhi Leonard is an MVP candidate  (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read and view it here:  http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/12777928/kawhi-leonard-offense-not-defense-key-san-antonio-spurs-nba

 

 

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

 

Steph Curry:  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-04-27/stephen-curry-high-school-golden-state-warriors-nba-playoffs

 

Deron Williams:  http://www.northjersey.com/sports/basketball/nets-point-guard-quiets-the-naysayers-1.1320325

 

Michael Carter- Williams:  http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/carter-williams-steals-spotlight-rose-bulls

 

Trevor Ariza:  http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2015/04/trevor-ariza-vows-no-repeat-of-lackluster-effort-in-game-4/#32484101=0

 

Derrick Rose:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/28/8507591/derrick-rose-stats-rest-days-off-bulls-bucks

 

Iman Shumpert:  http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VTvyZSYAAOcGWdai/cavaliers-vs.-celtics-04-26-15-game-4

 

Hassan Whiteside:  http://allucanheat.com/2015/04/28/miami-heat-season-in-review-hassan-whitesides-rapid-rise/

 

Archie Goodwin:  http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/2015/4/28/8504975/2014-2015-phoenix-suns-report-cards-archie-goodwin-still-needs-to-grow

 

Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, T.J. Warren, Reggie Bullock:  http://arizonasports.com/41/1829379/Center-Alex-Len-leads-young-group-of-Phoenix-Suns

 

Ian Mahinmi:  http://www.nba.com/pacers/player-review-2015-ian-mahinmi

 

– Perry Jones:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2444741-why-perry-jones-deserves-an-increased-role-for-oklahoma-city-thunder-next-season

 

Henry Walker:  http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/miami-heat-henry-walker-player-profile-042815

 

–  Elliot Williams:  http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2015/4/27/8502047/finals-m-v-p-elliot-williams-discusses-why-winning-big-matters-in-nbadl

Today’s Best NBA Stories

Why Memphis Grizzlies Are NBA’s Most Dangerous Dark Horse (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

” What’s so scary about this Memphis team? How is this version of the Grizzlies any different from the ones we’ve always ignored until that “Hey, wait a minute; Memphis is good” moment in the season’s final weeks? Let’s break it down.”

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2255029-why-memphis-grizzlies-are-nbas-most-dangerous-dark-horse

And from Zach Thomas at 3sob.com: http://www.3sob.com/2014/november-2014/memphis-is-4-0-quicksand-is-the-new-mud/19324/

 

Lance Stephenson Vows To Take Charlotte’s Offense Into His Own Hands (from Michael Scotto, Sheridanhoops.com):

” In Charlotte, Stephenson must learn how to play cohesively with a fellow New York City point guard who has a similar game, Kemba Walker.

“We’re similar, he’s just in a little body,” Stephenson said. “He’s a great point guard, he’s smart with making decisions, he’s a winner and when you need that big shot, he’s there to make that. Just being on his side and being on this team is incredible.”

Walker represents a stark contrast to Stephenson’s previous backcourt mate in Indiana, George Hill.

Walker flourishes with the ball in his hands while creating his own offense with a deadly step-back dribble at the top of the key and crossover to penetrate into the paint.

Hill is a solid shooter capable of freelancing without the basketball around the perimeter, which freed Stephenson to dominate the ball as the primary playmaker.”

Read it here: http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2014/11/03/scotto-lance-stephenson-vows-to-take-charlottes-offense-into-his-own-hands/

 

Raptors offense productive early despite warts (from Blake Murphy, raptorsrepublic.com):

” There is one primary reason why the offense hasn’t looked great aesthetically but has been effective nonetheless: the things they’re doing well don’t necessarily stand out. The two areas the Raptors are thriving are in ball control, which is more often picked up for its absence than presence, and getting to the free throw line, which is more noticeable but not exactly pretty, and at times irritating to watch (again, from, an aesthetic standpoint only).”

Read it here: http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2014/11/04/47786/

 

Warriors vs. Clippers: Introducing the New Faces of the Clippers (from Chris Nielsen, goldenstateofmind.com):

” How is this season’s version of the Clippers different? How do the Warriors matchup against them?”

Read it here: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/2014/11/4/7153019/Warriors-vs-clippers-preview-Blake-griffin

 

Steve Kerr has Warriors on the move (from Antonio Gonzalez, Associated Press):

” (W)hat Kerr expects out of the Warriors: unselfish basketball without worrying about individual accomplishments.

Kerr has gotten players to embrace that philosophy, rolling out a new offense and a new rotation that are working wonders for the Warriors so far. Golden State is 3-0 for the first time in 20 years, and Kerr is the franchise’s first coach to begin his career with three consecutive wins since Neil Johnston did it to start the 1959-60 season.

Kerr said he has been proud of the way his players have accepted his way of doing things, which could’ve been complicated after the team fired popular predecessor Mark Jackson following a 51-win season and back-to-back playoff berths. He’s also quick to note that the season is just a week old and his rotation is far from flawless.

What has pleased Kerr most is that the Warriors are still winning while adjusting.”

Read it here: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/sports/3059718-181/kerr-has-warriors-on-the#page=0

Festus Ezeli is back and a defensive bully again (from Andy Liu, goldenstateofmind.com):

” After a year and change without playing professional five-on-five basketball, Festus Ezeli is back. Noticeably skinnier, he looks just as explosive as before.

Read and view it here: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/2014/11/4/7153773/golde-state-warriors-festus-ezeli-defense-healthy

 

Trail Blazers look inward at a ‘laundry list’ of issues (from Joe Freeman, oregonian.com):

” When you open a season of expectations with just one win in three games, when your All-Star point guard is in a funk, when your starting small forward looks distracted and when your best and most trusted asset — a high-powered offense — is stuck in neutral, you tend to look inward rather than outward.

And, for the Blazers, there are a host off issues to reflect on. When coach Terry Stotts addressed reporters Monday afternoon, he held a stack of papers in his hands and waved them about, noting that one of them contained a “laundry list” of issues plaguing the Blazers. The “laundry list” featured 10 items that ranged from cutting and screening to ball movement and pace.”

Read it here: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/11/trail_blazers_look_inward_at_a_laundry_list.html

 

Lakers’ Downward Spiral Raises Plenty of Questions but Has Few Easy Solutions (from Kevin Ding,  Bleacher Report):

” The Lakers are putting in a new system under a new coach—unlike all four of their opponents so far—with their one star player having played just six shaky games in the past year and a half. They had significant and demoralizing injury absences—unlike all four teams they faced. And without having built a post-Mike D’Antoni defensive identity yet, they were playing four games in five nights for the only time all season…against four excellent offenses.

Throw in the fact that the Lakers aren’t quite stacked with talent in the first place…

With full acknowledgement that 0-4 is as much of a failure as could possibly be recorded right now, it’s still a little early to be calling anything or anybody a real failure.”

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2255363-lakers-downward-spiral-raises-plenty-of-questions-but-has-few-easy-solutions

 

The Lakers’ roster doesn’t fit (from The Great Mambino, silverscreenandroll.com):

”  (P)rofessional basketball isn’t playing checkers — it’s playing three dimensional chess. Against a robot. That Bruce Wayne designed. It’s never an apples to apples comparison when evaluating two players. One can’t simply say that Jerry West was a better player than Hakeem Olajuwon. There are too many variables to consider — positional differentiation, offensive statistics, defensive metrics, teammates, minutes played, offense and defensive systems played in, usage rate …. I could go on. But the point is, taking a player, or a group of players, and assigning overall value to them without looking at varying factors doesn’t a fair contrast make. That’s like saying a meal in Mexico is better than a meal in Seattle because you shelled out more coins for it. You’ve got to have context.

In comparing last year’s team to this one, it isn’t about the amount of talent, it’s how that talent fits.”

Read it here: http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2014/11/4/7146927/la-lakers-roster-problems

–  Life Without Westbrook and Durant (from Zach Lowe, grantland.com):

” The Thunder will use the absence of Durant and Westbrook as an opportunity to build a motion offense that is less predictable and less prone to stagnancy. The Thunder have been a scoring powerhouse at full health, but in one-possession games against elite playoff defenses geared up for the Durant and Westbrook show, having an extra counter or two every trip can be the difference between winning and losing.

“We can still get better in that area,” Collison says. “Everyone asks: ‘Why don’t they move the ball?’ But it takes time. We have two 25-year-olds that can just take their man and score. But now it’s about balance and having faith in what is the correct way to play.””

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/oklahoma-city-thunder-nba-playoffs/

 

Bulls having fun again on offense (from K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

” Fun isn’t a word that would be associated with watching the Bulls’ offense last season. Sleep-inducing, painful and challenging are words that better fit the overall experience.

This is what can happen when Derrick Rose is lost for the season and Luol Deng is traded to avoid a luxury tax payment: The Bulls averaged a league-worst 93.7 points, a full 1.3 points behind the next-lowest team in Utah. They shot 43.2 percent, also an NBA low.

Three games represent a small sample size. But with an average of 106 points, fourth-best in the league entering Monday night, and 47.8 percent shooting, one word about the offense kept surfacing following Monday’s practice.

“It’s fun, really fun,” Taj Gibson said. “The thing about this squad is everybody’s really unselfish. Everyone wants everybody to succeed. It’s never, ‘Why didn’t you look for me on that last shot?’ Everybody’s like, ‘Take that shot. We’ll live with it.’ ”

Read it here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-bulls-spt-1104-20141103-story.html

And Luol Deng compares Bulls/Heat offensive philosophies (from Joseph Goodman, Miami Herald):

http://blogs.herald.com/miami_heat/2014/11/luol-deng-compares-offensive-philosophies-for-heat-and-bulls.html

 

Can Perry Jones Be OKC’s Unlikely Savior? (from Danny Chau, grantland.com):

” The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of a two-month-long doomsday prep drill. Except, as it turns out, this is not a drill. The stakes are too high, and the margin for error is too slim and getting slimmer still. The reasons for competing haven’t changed, but almost everything else has. Seven different players are injured; Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are both out until around December. In only the second game of the season, the Thunder saw the floor beneath them collapse into oblivion. And yet spirits are high — as high as they can be in such ruin. It didn’t take long for the Thunder to find a small silver lining. Perry Jones has become the team’s unlikely savior. A few months ago, he was an afterthought, a player with no guarantee as a rotation player on the team. So then, how did this happen?”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/perry-jones-oklahoma-city-thunder-savior/

 

Quick Hitters for Tuesday (from Jeff Fogle, nyloncalculus.com):

“How bad are the Lakers, How Good are the Warriors, How Fast are the 76ers?”

” We’re already seeing a big difference between the NBA and basketball reference estimates (of the # of offensive possessions per game) before the tabulations come into play… What’s going to happen when critics of basketball analytics find out that there isn’t agreement on how to count to 100?!”

Read it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/11/04/nylon-notebook-quick-hitters-tuesday/

 

Previewing this week’s games (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

” With so many games, the savvy NBA consumer needs to plot out their week in advance. This week, we’ll be paying attention to the Warriors’ difficult schedule and six other intriguing matchups”

Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/11/3/7149757/nba-schedule-2014-viewing-guide-golden-state-warriors

 

More player updates:

J.R. Smith: http://theknicksblog.com/knicks/examining-the-motivations-for-trading-j-r-smith/

Patrick Patterson: http://probballreport.com/raptors-patterson-credits-john-calipari-for-his-defense/

Trevor Booker: http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2014/11/04/trevor-booker-three-pointers-like-paul-millsap/

Brandon Knight: http://www.bucksketball.com/2014/11/offense-optional-milwaukee-bucks-indiana-pacers-preview/

Today’s Best NBA Stories

– Raptors Looking to Use Familiar Formula in Order to Take the Next Step (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):

“… (C)ontinuity can count.

“We hope it does,” Casey said. “I think it does help us. Continuity with terminology, continuity with schemes, continuity with play calls, continuity with the familiarity with each other. They know some things are non-negotiable offensively, some things are non-negotiable defensively. That helps. Anytime you can keep teams together.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2253579-toronto-raptors-looking-to-use-familiar-formula-in-order-to-take-the-next-step

– Cavs’ New Wrinkles (from Tom Pestak, cavstheblog.com):

Read and view it here: http://www.cavstheblog.com/?p=28666

– Kings take massive leap, upset Clippers on road (from Scott Levin, aroyalpain.com):

” You’re not alone if you spent most of Sunday’s matinee just waiting for the Clippers to rise up and dispose of the Sacramento Kings. After all, this was a Kings team that, despite an impressive win over Portland on Friday, had not proven themselves on the road in a decade. But maybe this is a new era in Kings basketball? Clippers runs were limited by active Sacramento defense, and the Kings offense ran efficiently around their two studs. Unlike years past, Sacramento did not succumb in the waning moments, taking down the Clippers, 98-92. In the process, the Kings took another big step forward in their hope to become relevant again.”

Read it here: http://aroyalpain.com/2014/11/02/kings-take-massive-leap-upset-clippers-road/

– Jack Armstrong: Five thoughts on the Raptors’ D, Payton, Napier, replays and Johnson (from tsn.ca):

It’s Monday and TSN basketball analyst Jack Armstrong starts the week with his five thoughts on the NBA including a struggling Raptors defence, a pair of impressive rookie point guards in the Magic’s Elfrid Payton, Jr. and Shabazz Napier of the Heat, a potential problem with the NBA’s new replay centre and James Johnson of the Raptors.

Read it here: http://www.tsn.ca/talent/armstrong-five-thoughts-on-the-raptors-d-payton-napier-replays-and-johnson-1.123668

– John Wall steering the Wizards ship early with composure and standout play (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

” Then there’s Wall’s standout all-around play to begin the season. Overshadowed by the dominant combination of Marcin Gortat and Nene down low, and the breakout contributions from Temple and Otto Porter Jr., Wall quietly finished Saturday’s victory with 19 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, five steals, and a huge block of Jerryd Bayless’s jump shot seconds before he and Mayo exhanged words.

Without back-court mate Bradley Beal due to injury, Wall is averaging 21.7 points, 11 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and three steals in 37.7 minutes through three games. His four turnovers per contest are too high — his goal this season is to average three — but Wall is getting to the free-throw line (18 of 22) and shooting 45.8 percent from the field.”

Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2014/11/03/john-wall-steering-the-wizards-ship-early-with-composure-and-standout-play/

– Is switching still a problem with the Washington Wizards’ defense? (from Umair Khan, bulletsforever.com):

” Despite Randy Wittman’s claims that Washington is not a switching team on defense, they continue to revert to it in the early going this season, leading to several breakdowns. Is this a problem or a strategy that can actually help them?”

Read and view it here: http://www.bulletsforever.com/2014/11/3/7138041/washington-wizards-defense-breakdown-switch

– CJ McCollum Learns How to Use His Hands From Wesley Matthews (from Willy Raedy, blazersedge.com):

” Fans hear about veteran leadership all the time but it’s rare to see it on the court. We get a glimpse looking at how Wesley Matthews’ active hands on defense are helping CJ McCollum stay on the court.”

Read and view it here: http://www.blazersedge.com/2014/11/3/7148581/cj-mccollum-learns-use-hands-wesley-matthews-defense-portland-trail-blazers

– There’s no doubt, Snyder has Gordon Hayward’s back (from Jim Burton, standard.net):

” (T)o Snyder’s credit, he’s getting through to his players. They believe in him and he believes in them, which is, of course, a critical piece to the puzzle.

“He’s just instilled confidence in me,” veteran Gordon Hayward said. “We’ve been leaning on each other out there on the court. He’s pretty knowledgeable at the end of the game. If I have a question or if I want to lead he lets me go to him and he lets me know what I should do and what I need to keep doing.”

Hayward, whose shooting percentages have dropped each year since coming into the league in 2010, shot just 3-for-11 from the field against Houston and was 0-for-3 from 3-point range.

Despite the fact he also had eight rebounds, seven assists and a steal, if you listened carefully you could hear the fanbase thinking to itself, “Oh no. Here we go again.”

But Snyder wasn’t saying that at all.

“I would be very hesitant to judge Gordon’s shooting based on one night,” Snyder said. “He’s been shooting it great. I think he’s been playing with confidence. If he needs to hear that from me, he’ll hear it. The last thing I want him to do is think about his percentage or anything like that. I think that’s counterproductive. You watch him shoot the ball in practice, he shot it in the preseason. We’ve just got to keep encouraging that from him and I think his numbers will be good.”

Read it here: http://www.standard.net/Extra-Point/2014/10/29/There-s-no-doubt-Snyder-has-Gordon-Hayward-s-back.html

– Dirk Nowitzki continues to work on his jump shot, 17 years into his NBA career (from Josh Bowe, mavsmoneyball.com):

” Every summer Dirk Nowitzki locks himself away in a small, hot gym in Germany. He’s with his mentor and personal coach, Holger Geschwindner, and they work. They work on Dirk’s game, adding to his already vast array of shots and moves.

This is Dirk’s 17th season in the NBA. He’s evolved from a spot-up perimeter guy to a pick-and-pop dynamo to a post-up and isolation nightmare. It’s amazing how much Dirk has added since he’s entered the league and how he’s stylistically changed as well.

Which is why it was somewhat surprising that Dirk said he was going to continue to tinker with his shot. Doesn’t he already have it all? Apparently not.”

Read and view it here: http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2014/11/3/7138219/dirk-nowitzki-quicker-shot-release-dallas-mavericks

– Phoenix Suns coach expects better defense this season (from Dave King, brightsideofthesun):

” Despite the debacle on Saturday night against the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek expects this year’s team to play better defense.

“Getting after it a little bit more,” he says of the plan. “Quicker rotations. Last year, most of these guys it was their first year playing. When you start playing these teams over and over, you know what they can do.””

Read it here: http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/2014/11/3/7149419/phoenix-suns-coach-expects-better-defense-this-season

– Thibodeau hitting the right note with minutes and rest (from Doug Thonus, chicagonow.com):

Read it here: http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-bulls-confidential/2014/11/thibodeau-hitting-the-right-note-with-minutes-and-rest/

– DeMarcus Cousins dominates Clippers in upset Kings victory (from Mike Prada, SBNation):

Read and view it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/11/2/7147719/demarcus-cousins-stats-highlights-kings-clippers

More on Cousins from Dylan Hughes at FanSide.com, here:

http://fansided.com/2014/11/03/demarcus-cousins-dominating-low-kings/

– Suns experiment early with striking three-guard lineup (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2014/11/03/suns-three-guard-lineup-goran-dragic-eric-bledsoe-isaiah-thomas-tiny-ball

– Perry Jones Is Finally Turning Potential into Productivity (from Gregory Mason, upsidemotor.com):

” Watching Perry Jones III emerge over the last two games has been like watching a kid finally figure out how to stay upright on his bicycle. It’s taken years of tentative uncertainty but a light has come on for the silky smooth 6’11” Baylor product.

Jones’ talent has never been in question. The former five-star recruit and mixtape god does things that defy logic for a man of his size. It’s taken extreme circumstances, however, for Jones to turn his immense potential into productivity. The major issue with Jones throughout his career has been his mentality. Aggressiveness does not come naturally to him. To compound the issue, the coaching staff never really found a for place for him. As such, he ultimately settled into a role in which he spent a majority of his time watching much of the action while floating around the three-point line.

With the loss of Durant, Westbrook, Jackson and four others to lengthy injuries, Jones has found himself as the team’s go-to scorer. This obviously won’t be sustainable once Durant and Westbrook return but it does mark an important ‘aha moment’ in Jones’ career, as he transitions from knowing that he needs to be more aggressive to knowing how to be more aggressive.”

Read and view it here: http://upsidemotor.com/2014/11/03/nba-baylor-oklahoma-city-thunder-kevin-durant-russell-westbrook-perry-jones-iii/

– As a pipeline for NBA talent, Europe still leads the world (from Sekou Smith, NBA.com):

” For every Dirk Nowitzki, Gasol (Pau or Marc) or Tony Parker, — NBA champions, MVPs, Finals MVPs and All-Stars from Europe — there are legitimate role players from all over Europe filling out NBA rosters in ways they did not and could not have imagined as recently as a decade ago.”

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/sekou_smith/11/02/international-influence-europe/

– Risk Vs. Reward In the NBA (from Michael Pina, sportsonearth.com):

” Rookie contract extensions are a funny game. After careful research and detailed projections are made, general managers must assume development in their prospects and bet that the player they’re giving a ton of money to today will be much more refined and evolved by the time his last paycheck rolls around.

This year’s crop of extension candidates are in a unique situation. The possibility of a soaring salary cap in the near future has incentivized some teams to act sooner than later, locking young players up to contracts that will eventually end up below market value. Unfortunately, right now we don’t know how high the cap will go; if it’ll make one dramatic spike before continuing on into nine-figure territory, or go the other direction and go anti-pandemonium by smoothing itself out (the owners prefer the latter). It’s what makes a few recent deals so interesting. Some look like a ton of money, but are they really?

A few candidates, like Kyrie Irving, Kenneth Faried and the Morris Twins — Marcus and Markieff — knew their future finances well before it was time to go trick-or-treating, but here’s a closer look at almost every other notable player who either agreed to his rookie contract extension soon before Friday night’s deadline, or didn’t and is set to become a restricted free agent this summer.”

Read it here: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/100387518/nba-rookie-extensions-ricky-rubio-kawhi-leonard-kemba-walker

– CBA 101: Contract Extensions (from Daniel Hackett, raptorshq.com):

” First, let’s clarify something that the media gets wrong all the time. An extension is not a player re-signing with his team. That’s a new contract. There were plenty of reports this summer of Kyle Lowry signing an extension with the Raptors. Not true – he signed a new contract. That might seem like pedantry to some, but in terms of the limitations of what an extension allows a player to sign for versus a new contract, there’s all the difference in the world.

A contract extension is when a player re-ups with his team by extending his current contract, obviously, before hitting free agency. What this means is that, for the most part, the contract has to look like it is the same contract, just longer. So, it has to follow the same rules as any contract.”

Read it here: http://www.raptorshq.com/2014/11/3/6999751/cba-101-contract-extensions-kyle-lowry-toronto-raptors

– 2014 Camp Invitees Who Remain On NBA Rosters (from Chuck Myron, Hoopsrumors.com):

” Players face a daunting challenge when they arrive at NBA training camps without guaranteed money on their contracts. Most teams enter October with all but one or two of the spots on their opening-night rosters already spoken for. Camp invitees can occasionally convince a team to eat a guaranteed contract to open up an extra spot, as was the case with Charlie Villanueva and the Mavericks this year, but for the most part, regular season jobs are limited to those who proved their worth long before the preseason began.”

Still, Villanueva is one of more than a dozen NBA players who remain on NBA rosters after signing non-guaranteed contracts in the offseason.”

Read it here: http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2014/11/invitees-remain-rosters.html

More player updates:

– Malcolm Thomas: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20141103_Here_are_Sixers__ready_or_not.html

– Amar’e Stoudemire: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/59526/amare-hopes-this-is-only-the-beginning

– Garrett Temple: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/wizards-garrett-temple-steps-into-starting-role-with-an-assist-from-bradley-beal/2014/11/02/8b1581c8-62e0-11e4-bb14-4cfea1e742d5_story.html

Kevin Garnett: http://nypost.com/2014/11/02/why-ageless-kevin-garnett-is-off-to-such-a-quick-start-for-nets/

– Jimmy Butler: http://www.suntimes.com/sports/basketball/bulls/30817820-579/jimmy-butlers-offseason-work-manifesting-itself-early.html

Kostas Papanikolaou: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2253463-who-will-develop-into-houston-rockets-6th-man

– Steph Curry: http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2014/11/03/warriors-95-trail-blazers-90-stephen-curry-noticeably-hawking-people-taking-steps-forward-defense/

– Matthew Dellavedova: http://www.ohio.com/sports/cavs/on-team-of-stars-and-past-champions-matthew-dellavedova-emerging-early-as-fixture-of-cavs-reserves-unit-1.537568

– Tony Allen: http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2014/11/3/7147563/Memphis-Grizzlies-to-live-and-die-with-tony-allen

– Kent Bazemore: http://hawkshoop.com/bazemores-renewed-opportunity/

– QOTD (from Tristan Thompson): “Being that guy that when I check in guys on the other team are like, ‘Damn, he’s here tonight.’ That’s my mentality,”