Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 11/15/15

–  Last Year’s Hawks Were Not a Fluke  (form Paul Flannery,  SBNation):

Read it here:

Gregg Popovich on Brett Brown  (from Bob Cooney,

Read it here:

–  The Jazz’ Three-wing alignment  (from Tony Jones,  Salt Lake Tribune):

Read it here:

–  Jazz’ Pace is Slow and That’s OK With Coach Snider  from Mike Sorensen,  Deseret News):

Read it here:

–  Trey Burke’s Move to the Bench Has Jazz Moving in Positive Direction  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:

Knicks Know They Have to Rely Less on Carmelo Late in Games  (form Ian Begley,  ESPN):

Read it here:

–  Pelicans: Ravaged by Injuries  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:

Rockets: Is it Time to Panic?  (from Calvin Watkins, ESPN):

Read it here:

How Are the New Guards Out West ( Rondo, Matthews, D. Williams, L. Williams, Lawson) Doing?  (from Aaron Fischman, Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:

Recapping Saturday’s Games (from SBNation):

Read it here:

Explaining the Play:  Iguodala’s Last Gasp 3 Saves the Dubs  (from EricApricot, goldenstateofmind):

Read and view it here:

New Pacers System Brings Out the Best in Paul George  (from Candace Buckner,

Read it here:

–  The Blazers’ Rebounding Problems  (from Steven Dewald,

Read and view it here:

Thunder Reducing Their Turnovers  (from Erik Horne,

Read it here:

Will Pau Gasol Thrive Under Coach Hoiberg?  (from K. C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

Read it here:

Intense Wizard Practices Yield Simplified Defense  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):

Read it here:

Danny Ainge Develops D-League Strategy  (from Gary Washburn, Bosotn Globe):

Read it here:

Celtics’ Defense Earning Respect  (from Joshua Bateman,  Hardwood Houdini):

Read it here:

Good News and Bad News from the Sixers’ Loss to Spurs  (from Sean O’Connor,

Read it here:

–  Sam Mitchell Says NBA’s New Scheduling Policy Is Working (from Jerry Zgoda, ):

Read it here:

What the NBA is Doing About the Nuggets’ Home Scheduling Advantage  (from Christopher Dempsey,   Denver Post):

Read it here:

Cavs, Heat Trending in Opposite Salary Directions  (from Jason Lloyd,

Read it here:

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Rajon Rondo is Leading By Example  (from James Ham,

Tyler Zeller (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

Marco Belinelli Adapting to Life After Spurs  (from Ailene Voisin,  Sacramento Bee):

Valunciunas Is Growing into a Star  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Toronto Sun):

–  Meyers Leonard’s Status/ Allen Crabbe’s Emergence  (from Joe Freeman,

Nowitzki Is Silencing Doubters  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

The Mavs All Love Raymond Felton  (from Tim McMahon, ESPN):

–  Pablo Prigioni  On Shooting  (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

–  The Situational Changes for D’Angelo Russell  (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):

–  Tyler Johnson  (from Ethan J. Skolnick,  Miami Herald):

–  Lance Stephenson Plays Less Than 2 Minutes  (from Justin Verrier,  ESPN):

Varejao:  Expensive Insurance for Cavs (from Marla Ridenour,

–  Pelicans’  Ish Smith Is Making the Most of His Opportunities  (from John Reid,

Batum has Made Quick Impact With Hornets  (from Rick Bonnell,  Charlotte Observer):

Suns’ Brandan Knight Shifts Defense to Off-Guards  (from Paul Coro,

Thabo Sefolosha Getting Back On Track  (form Gary Washburn,  Boston Globe):   Gary Washburn | Sunday Basketball Notes: After ordeal with police, Thabo Sefolosha getting back on track – The Boston Globe


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Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis – PART ONE


–  A Tale of Two Cities: Phoenix and Philly Plot Different Courses to Contention  (from Zach Lowe,  Grantland):

Read it here:



–  WIZARDS ON PATH TO DURANT?  (from Michael Pina,

” Over the past couple of weeks, few teams did a better job turning lemons into lemonade than the Washington Wizards. After getting rebuffed by Paul Pierce and David West (two free agents who took less money to climb aboard championship contenders out west), Washington scrambled to grab a trio of unsexy yet capable veterans: Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson and Gary Neal.

This sounds bad, but it’s not. One summer before Kevin Durant becomes an unrestricted free agent, Washington brought versatile outside shooters into the fold, complementary pieces to help modernize its roster and finally adjust to a sport that’s racing out to the three-point line faster and faster every year.”

Read it here:



–  Silver expects changes to playoff seeding next season  (from Steve Aschburner,

”  Also addresses free agency moratorium, Hack-a-Shaq rules and more at Board of Governors media availability”

Read it here:



– In developing Kristaps Porzingis and building New York Knicks, Phil Jackson takes long view  (from Michael Lee, Washingtn Post)):

” We’re going after solid players who will step into vacuums, who will play ball. And if we have system to play basketball with, that will work itself out.”

Read it here:



–  League executives, coaches, players give outside perspective on Cleveland Cavaliers from Las Vegas  (from Chris Haynes,

Read it here:



 Can’t Knock the Hustle, But Can We Measure It?  (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

“Intangibles. Winning plays. Good floor game. Contributions that don’t show up in the box score.

Whatever the term used, nearly everyone recognizes that even in this age of SportVU cameras and detailed game charting a lot happens in a game that simply can’t be quantified. 1 If Matthew Dellavedova diving on the floor and/or opponents’ ankles makes an appreciable difference, that difference would should up in his adjusted on/off data in a way not explained by his more traditional stats. Or so the conventional wisdom goes.

The NBA is putting that theory to the test during the Las Vegas Summer League. By tracking what they have termed “hustle stats” the league is attempting to make those intangibles a little less so. For every game here, a team of two charters is tallying up all the times players contest shots with their hands up, draw charges, deflect passes and recover loose balls. Those stats are then combined into a hustle score. These charters are in addition to and separate the regular score and stat-keeping crew.”

Read it here:



–  Karl-Anthony Towns’ Busy Summer Hands  (from Steve McPherson,

” In three Summer League games so far, Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 7.3 personal fouls per game. Not per 36 minutes, but PER GAME, because in keeping with the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” marketing slogan, you don’t foul out until your tenth foul. Against the Lakers and Jazz, Towns had 9. That’s a lot of fouls.

And it’s actually no reason to be concerned. We tend to split stats into good things (points! rebounds! steals!) and bad things (fouls! turnovers!), but there’s nothing inherently moral about any of these stats. Steals are good, but if you’re constantly gambling for them, that could be a problem. Fouls and turnovers can be problematic, but when it comes to young players, they’re actually indicators of activity, and that can be a good thing.”

The  list of all the players in the 3-point era who averaged more than four fouls per game while playing in at least 40 games and averaging 20 minutes per game in their rookie season includes such illustrious names as Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, DeMarcus Cousins, Bill Laimbeer and Kenyon Martin (who had a decent if not stellar career). Roy Hibbert averaged 7.7 personal fouls per 36 minutes his rookie year, eventually cutting that to less than half that (3.6) in his fourth season. Ben Wallace averaged 4.9 per 36 his rookie season before settling in around 2.2 per 36 for the rest of his career.

Just as you don’t worry about point guards and superstars turning the ball over a lot early on (Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan and Larry Bird all averaged over 3.1 turnovers per game their rookie seasons), you shouldn’t worry too much about big men — especially ones who should develop into defensive stoppers — committing fouls. Not in their rookie years, and especially not in Summer League.”

Read it here:



For those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  Minor free-agent signings that could plug major holes  (from Bradford Doolittle):

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Aaron Gordon:


Delon Wright:


Tibor Pleiss:


Stanley Johnson:


Jordan Mickey:


Josh Harrellson:


Jerian Grant:


Jahlil Okafor/ Kristap Porzingis/ Doug McDermott/Ryan Boatright:


He Tianju:


Joe Harris:


Nemanja Bjelica:


Jarrid Famous:


Norman Powell:


Chris Bosh:


Bobby Portis:


NOTE:  Be sure to check out PART TWO of today’s Basketball Intelligence this afternoon.  Attendance at Pro Scout School and NBA Summer League kept us form posting BI yesterday so we are “playing catchup” today.

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Portland Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts Designs Amazing Late-Game Plays (from Dane Carbaugh,

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

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

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

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

Read and view it here:

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

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

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

Read it here:

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

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

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

Read it here:

– Replay Center aims to help refs make the calls quickly (from David Aldridge,

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

Read it here:

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

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

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

Read it here:

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

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

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

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

Read it here:

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

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

Read it here:

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

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

Read it here:

– Behind the smoke and mirrors is the real Pat Riley (from David Ramil,

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

Read it here:

More player updates:

– Jonas Valanciunas:

– A.J. Price:  and

– Dwight Howard:

– Isaiah Canaan:   and

– Reggie Jackson:

– Rudy Gay:

– K.J. McDaniels:

– Tony Wroten:

– Deron Williams:

Today’s Top NBA Stories

Klay Thompson playing at the star-like level many saw for him (from Marcus Thompson II,

” Three games into the season, no one is thinking about how the Warriors missed out on Kevin Love. The sentiment that the Warriors overpaid at four years, about $70 million, has already been silenced.

That’s how good Klay Thompson is, and how good he can be.
But this isn’t a revelation as much as it is the fulfillment of a prophecy. Many other NBA executives
and experts saw this coming. That includes legend Jerry West, the Warriors consultant who
advocated the drafting of Thompson. That includes coach Steve Kerr, the former championship
player and general manager, who lobbied with West to keep Thompson instead of trading him for
Warriors management knew all along what the rest of the league did: Thompson was bound to be
an NBA star. He has all the tools. He’s got the supporting cast around him. And, now, he’s getting
mature enough to put it all together.

Read it here:


Klay Thompson’s Early Season Offensive Improvement (from Seth Partnow, Bball Breakdown):

Read and view it here:


How Mavericks’ diverse attack is helping Chandler Parsons heat up as a scorer (from Eddie Sefko,

“I’m just in a good rhythm,” he said. “I’m trying not to force anything. And I’m getting more comfortable playing with them. With our personnel, it’s great. You’ve got Tyson [Chandler], and he’s always a target at the rim.

“There are always three or four shooters on the floor capable of knocking down 3s. It’s a fun way to play. Not many teams are going to be able to control what we do on the offensive end.”

What fans have seen in the quick glimpse that is a marathon NBA season is that Parsons appears to be getting a lot of good opportunities offensively. Dirk Nowitzki still commands attention. Jameer Nelson stations himself on the perimeter and can’t be left. Monta Ellis is always a threat anywhere he’s at on the court. And Chandler is lethal with his rolls to the basket for lob passes.

It adds up to a recipe for Parsons to get equal opportunities at the 3-point arc and on slashes to the basket. He’s already had a handful of one-hand throwdown dunks, and his long ball has perked up during the winning streak.

“They can do so much offensively, there’s way less help because guys don’t want to leave certain guys, and it allows me to create more for myself and get to the basket,” Parsons said.”

Read it here:

LeBron opts for new leadership style (from Brian Windhorst, ESPN):

” This is a conscious decision on how he plans to operate in a passive-aggressive mission to yank some teammates toward his way of thinking. Let some of them fail at their way so they will be open to new ideas, is what it looks and sounds like.

“Everyone wants to win, I would hope,” James said. “Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose, or play unselfish basketball and sacrifice and win? So you pick it.”

Read it here:


Chicago Bulls’ Soft November Schedule Helps Set Up Derrick Rose Maintenance Plan (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher report):

” “When you’re going to the hole, you’ve really got to have balance,” Rose said after shootaround on Tuesday. “And one way to have balance is through your ankles. So when your ankles are sore, you’re not going to have balance and you end up hurting something else. I’m just trying to be smart.”

“I’m just looking for that burst and that speed,” Rose said. “If I can get to a spot, I’ll play. But if not, if I’m not 100 percent, if I can’t play the way I normally play, there’s no point in me being out there right now.”

If everything goes according to plan, Rose will be playing like his old self come playoff time. But getting there involves a lot of planning and patience, and there’s no better time to put that to the test than now.”

Read it here:

Wizards establish blueprint to stop Knicks (from Ian Begley, ESPNNewYork):

” It’s early, but there might already be a blueprint out there for how to slow down the New York Knicks’ new offense: pressure the ball.

The Washington Wizards employed the strategy to perfection on Tuesday night. Their ball pressure helped hold the Knicks to 37 percent shooting in a 98-83 win.

“Tonight, their pressure caused us some problems,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said after his team fell to 2-2. “I think it got frustrating for all of our guys out there, not to be able to execute the things that we’re capable of doing.”

The Knicks’ offense is predicated on well-timed cuts, ball movement and proper spacing. Washington used pressure defense on the perimeter and strong denials in the passing lanes to disrupt things on Tuesday.

The Wizards’ game plan was eerily similar to the strategy the Chicago Bulls used in their blowout of the Knicks on opening night.”

Read it here:

And from Brett Pollakoff, NBC Sports

The Wolves’ Dilemma with the D-League (from ZacharyBD, Canishoopus):

” It appears Flip Saunders won’t be quick to send players to the D-League this season. Here’s why.”

Read it here:

The Houston Rockets are Shooting Threes at an Absurd Pace (from Jacob Rosen,

” The Rockets, those poor sad Rockets that missed out on a superstar and lost three key rotation players, are currently the NBA’s best team. It’s very, very early, but they’re not just beating opponents, they’re destroying them. And they’re doing it in uber-Morey fashion.

Thus far, they’re taking an earth-shattering number of three pointers. In five games, 10 percent more of their field goal attempts are occurring beyond the arc. And they already led the league in this category last season!”

Read it here:

–  Top 5 HORNS Plays Of The Week Episode 1 (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

” Coach Nick broke down the best examples of NBA teams running HORNS. Check out how the Sixers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Jazz, and Clippers all throw wrinkles at the defense to make it difficult to stop.”

Watch it here:

Garrett Temple explains how he’s worked to improve his jump shot (from Mike Prada,

” The Wizards’ shooting guard is off to a hot start from downtown after struggling earlier in his career. He talks to Bullets Forever about how he’s worked to improve his jumper.”

Read the Q & A here:

Can Paul Pierce handle the truth? (from Michael Wallace, ESPN):

” The Wizards have been down this road before. Future Hall of Famers have passed through Washington late in their careers, but none have been able to translate it to postseason success. It didn’t work when Bernard King arrived in his early 30s during the late 1980s, or when Mitch Richmond showed up in his mid-30s during the late 1990s. Not even a twice-retired Michael Jordan could make much of an impact on the standings in the early 2000s.

How can Pierce?

“The difference is, we already have our anchors in Wall and Beal,” said Phil Chenier, a shooting guard on Washington’s 1978 NBA championship team and a local television analyst for the past three decades. “When Bernard came, he was our new identity. When Mitch came, we were still expecting him to be a 20-point scorer every night. And even Michael, even though he retired and came back again and again, he was still M.J., and that expectation to be M.J. was there.”

“Paul still has a lot to offer. But he’s not coming to save a team. He’s coming to supplement a team that was very close a year ago to the conference finals.”

Read it here:


Can Pierce Turn Wizards Into a Contender? (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insdiers):

” Washington is a young squad that is extremely hungry after experiencing a little bit of success in last year’s postseason. Last year’s group managed to win 44 games, which was good for fifth place in the East. Washington defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, before being eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games.

Pierce has experienced just about everything a player can in the NBA, so he’s an amazing resource for these young Wizards. Pierce said that he’ll do his best to offer his help throughout the course of the season.

“I just try to keep everyone focused,” Pierce said. “I want them to understand what it’s going to take when you’re coming off of a loss and in a back-to-back situation. That’s what I’m going to give them all year long. If we’re going to try to take that next step from what the Wizards did a year ago, then it’s got to be mental. It’s got to be every night, consistency in practices and in games.”

Read it here:


Doc’s cure for shooting woes: Don’t let up (from Arash Markazi, ESPNLosAngeles):

” “It’s a make-or-miss league,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It always will be. We could go on a streak in the middle of the season and make half of them and look brilliant. I am never going to tell J.J. Redick to pass up a wide-open jump shot. That would be silly. And he missed a bunch of wide-open jump shots [Sunday]. Spencer Hawes missed a bunch of wide-open shots. Is it too many 3s? Probably. A lot of them are wide open. Should you tell them not to shoot them? I don’t think so.”

“I’m thinking if we played at a little faster pace, we’d get more to the basket,” Rivers said. “That would take some of those [3-pointers] away, but when you watch the film, which I have — I have them all taken and looked at every single one — they’re wide open. And they’re wide open for our guys that have to make them. Honestly, [Chris Douglas-Roberts], on a couple of his, probably should drive. Matt [Barnes], on a couple of his, probably could drive, but J.J.? Shoot the ball. All the other guys who have them? Shoot the ball.”

Read it here:

Early impressions: Is there hope for the Sacramento Kings? (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):

” When is it OK to have hope? How soon is too soon to enjoy success? And if you have to start somewhere, why is starting anywhere seemingly less proof of basketball life than failing out of the gate. Welcome to life in the NBA when it comes to your 3-1 Sacramento Kings.

The Kings opened with a dismal loss to the Warriors and it seemed par for the course. A bad team whose offseason moves were panned (particularly the loss of Isaiah Thomas and the replacement thereof with Darren Collison) gets slammed against the locker by the division favorites, setting off yet another disappointing, if expectedly so, season.

And then a funny thing thing happened.

The Kings have rattled off three straight, yes, three whole games, but had this been an East Coast jaunt vs. the Sixers, Magic, and some banged up squad, it would be one thing. Instead, they knocked off the Blazers, then the Clippers, in Los Angeles. On Monday, they were stacked against the schedule: the dreaded back-to-back in the altitude of Denver vs. the Nuggets. That’s a schedule loss. I know it. You know it. The teams themselves know it. You lose those games.”

Read it here:


Anthony Davis taking flight, lifting Pelicans in third season  (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

” “I just go out there and play. What people expect of me? That’s on them,” Davis said, recently. “I don’t pay attention to all the stuff that they’re saying because that kind of messes with your head and you start getting complacent. That’s for the fans to read it and listen to it. My objective is to help this team win.””

Read it here:


Deron Williams Played A Perfect Game, And Few Even Noticed (from Miles Wray, BBall Breakdown):

” When I watch Williams, it almost seems impossible that he would ever be the type of player to cause locker room strife. There is no direct correlation between on-court unselfishness and off-court behaviour, of course, yet Deron is playing with an unselfishness that makes any connection hard to fathom. Williams makes the game look easy; he plays with total court awareness, and he is always looking to get the ball in the hands of the open man. Sometimes he is that open man, and he does not hesitate to take those in-flow shots. But most of the time, when he is not that open man, Williams makes Brooklyn’s offense hum by smartly looking for the open man without forcing situations or demanding that he get his prerequisite number of shots.

On Monday night, the Nets dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-85. The popular takeaway from the game is no doubt to be that a seriously injured Thunder squad simply did not have the bodies to keep up with a presumed playoff team like the Nets. This is a part of the story, to be sure. They could not keep up. But in the Nets, I also saw a veteran team working as a single and cohesive unit to find the open man, their individual personal statistics be damned.”

Read and view it here:


A look at what the other top NBA rosters would look like with the Thunder’s current injury situation (from Anthony Slater,

Read it here:


And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

Ariza, D driving Houston’s hot start (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read it here:


More player updates:

Brook Lopez:

Jason Thompson:   and

Nikola Mirotic:

Marcus Morris:

Joe Johnson:

Jeff Green:

Tim Hardaway, Jr

K.J. McDaniels:

Nerlens Noel:  and

Mike Scott:

Ekpe Udoh:

Today’s Top NBA Preseason Stories

– 10 Takeaways From the NBA’s Rejection of Lottery Reform (from Zach Lowe,

” Just two days ago, higher-ups with both the Sixers and the league office expected lottery reform to pass by a vote of either 29-1 or 28-2. Over the weekend, Thunder GM Sam Presti initiated a stealth lobbying campaign against the league’s proposed changes, outlined here, which would have smoothed out the odds across the lottery. Presti raised concerns that such reform, piled atop other coming changes, would hurt small-market teams. A bunch of those non-glamour teams — including the Spurs and just about every branch of the Spurs management tree — eventually came around to the Sixers/Thunder “no” side. According to sources, the vote was 17-13 in favor of lottery reform, but 23 positive votes were needed for the proposal to pass. The result was unexpected, but what can we take away from the latest news?”

Read it here:

– How Josh McRoberts is going to change the Heat offense (from Matt Pineda,

” Josh McRoberts has yet to play in the preseason for the Heat. What will his eventual return to the lineup mean for the Miami Heat?”

Read and view it here:

– Kevin Love says he needs more inside touches to get his game back (from Chris Haynes,

“My entire life I played the game from inside-out,” Love explained to NEOMG. “So the more touches I can get inside to get myself going, the better. I’m not accustomed to starting out a game shooting a three, so it’s just something that I see.

“I’m 26-years-old and I’ve been playing basketball for quite a long time. Just finding ways to mix it up. If anything, keeping it around the basket a little bit more and the offense will allow me to get offensive rebounds. That will be tough for teams with Andy [Varejao] and myself and Tristan [Thompson] in there.”

Read it here:

– Vucevic Proving His Worth (from John Denton,

“He’s very skilled. He’s not one of those guys who is going to fool you with his quickness or his athleticism, but he can get you the rebounds and points that you need every night,’’ said (Dwight) Howard, who has occasionally been resistant to give other centers credit in the past.

“I never had the mindset that I was trying to replace (Howard) because I only wanted to help the team win,’’ Vucevic said. “It’s nice (to hear praise), especially from a guy like Dwight, who is one of the best big men in the league. It means that I’ve been doing good in my short career in the NBA. When guys acknowledge you and respect your game, that’s what you want. So I’m glad that (Howard) said that.’’

Read it here:

– Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Trey Burke to lead exciting, young Jazz (from allthatamar,

Read it here:

-As Knicks triangle offense develops, Derek Fisher’s team still has problems on defense (from Flip Bondy, NY Daily News):

“The words, “switching defense” are an unwelcome phrase around the Garden this year, discarded like an old, preseason program. The tactic was encouraged at times by Mike Woodson, to the dismay of Tyson Chandler and other big men who felt teammates weren’t accepting responsibility for their own assignments, letting guys fly down the lane while relying too heavily on interior defenders.

Fisher reiterated Wednesday that he wants no part of that defense, which is difficult to install correctly. Too often, switching can mean abandoning the cutter and leaving him to the next guy.”

Read it here:

– How the Knicks build a strong-side pick-and-roll (from Seth Rosenthal,

” Read and view it here:

– Davis-Lin pick and roll effective already (from Jovan Buha, ESPN:LosAngeles):

” “I love playing with J-Lin,” Davis said. “He’s a pick-and-roll guy; that’s what he wants to do. He gets into the lane. I’m just trying to get him open. He can take the jump shot or he can find me at the rim. He’s always looking for me, so whenever we’re out on the floor together I make sure I get him open and set good screens for him.”

The feeling of appreciation and on-court synergy is mutual.

“Ed does his job in terms of just getting me open and then rolling hard and finding the open gap,” Lin said. “Ed is one of those guys where, if he comes and sets 20 pick-and-rolls, and the weak side is there 20 times in a row and he doesn’t get the ball, he’ll still continue to do his job and get me open and roll to the right spot. That’s just unselfishness and him being smart.” ”

Read it here:

– Small Forward Depth an Issue For Clippers (from Jesse Blancarte, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:

– Omer Asik Scouting Report (from Rafael Uehara, Bball Breakdown):

Read it here:

– How Lance Stephenson Greatly Improves The Hornets Offense (from Matthew Hochberg, BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here:

– Pelicans: Utilizing More Catch and Shoot Situations (from Oleh,

Read and view it here:

– 11 NBA Training Camp Invitees Who Look Like Locks to Make Their Teams (from Josh Martin, Bleacher report):

” Surely, the league’s players and coaches will be relieved to see the marathon of the 2014-15 regular season finally get under way. At least any injuries suffered or squabbles started therein won’t have come completely in vain.

And, well, all interested parties won’t have to spend any more time sweating out what the 12-to-15-man rosters will look like on opening night. It’ll be a sad (albeit inevitable) day for a slew of NBA D-Leaguers, international men of mystery and erstwhile hangers-on who were happy to survive the initial round of training-camp cuts and hopeful for a brighter basketball future.

But for these 11 fringe players who could actually stick with their respective clubs into November and beyond, the end of the preseason will mark a moment of jubilee in their basketball lives.”

View the slide show here:

– For those with access to ESPN Insider:

– Examining why defenders nearly never leave D-Wade open at the 3-point line (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read it here:

– For professional athletes, talent isn’t enough to achieve greatness (from Tim Grover, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:

Additional player updates:

-JaKarr Sampson:

– Jared Sullinger, Marcus Smart:   and

– Dwight Powell:

– Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira:  and

– Allen Crabbe:

– Ben McLemore:

– Otto Porter, Caldwell-Pope: