Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/26/16

–  Recapping Thursday’s Games: Curry, Harden And More  (from Liam Boylan-Pett, SBNation):

Read and view it here:

Steph Curry:  51 Points Vs. The Pelicans  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss,  ESPN):

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–  Anatomy Of A Comeback:  Warriors Go On a 64-28 Run To Defeat Raptors  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

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Video Breakdown:  Steph Curry Not Trying For 50  (from EricApricot,  Golden State of Mind):

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–  The Polarizing Talents Of Hassan Whiteside  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

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–  Hassan Whiteside’s Numbers Don’t Ring Hollow Any More  (from Jesus Gomez,  SBNation):

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–  How The Warriors Exploited Whiteside  (from Jesse Blanchard,  BBall Breakdown):

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Thunder Film Room:  5 Worst Defensive Errors In Loss to New Orleans  (from Anthony Slater,

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–  Spurs Maximizing 3-Point Shooting In A New Way (from Miles Wray,

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–  Brad Stevens  (from Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:

–  Rambis: Knicks Scrimmage More To Improve Communication, Timing, Chemistry  (from Frank Isola, NY Daily News):

Read it here:

–  Key Stats For Teams On The Playoff Bubble  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:

 – For NBA Refs, It’s A Whole New Ball Game  (from Bob Cooney,

Read it here:

–  Pacers:  No Technical Fouls In A Month  (from Nate Taylor,

Read it here:

–  The Subtle Brilliance Of Portland  (from Stephen Shea,  Basketball Analytics):

Read it here:

How Far Can Versatility Carry The Pistons?  (from Jesus Gomez,  BBall Breakdown):

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–  The Warriors And Analytics  (from Mark Emmons, Lean Data Inc):

Read it here:

The Kings Need To Start Playing Together  (from Ailene Voisin, Sacramento Bee):

Read it here:

–  Game vs. Cavs:  Not A “Measuring Stick” For Raptors (from Mike Ganter,  Toronto Sun);

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  •  How Pacers Are Improving  (from Mark Monteith,

Read it here:

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Trey Burke (from Tony Jones,  Salt Lake Tribune):

–  Willie Cauley-Stein  (from Matt Kawahara, Sacramento Bee):

–  Jrue Holiday  (from Justin Verrier, ESPN):

–  Giannis Antetokuonmpo  (from Josh Criswell,

–  Joe Johnson  (from Kevin Pelton,  ESPN):

–   Josh Richardson  (from Aric DiLalla,  Miami Herald):

–  Channing Frye  (from Chris Haynes,

–  Brandan Wright  (from Ronald Tillery,  Commercial Appeal):

–  Alex Stepheson  (from Jacob Freedman,

–  Cody Zeller  (from Rick Bonnell,  Charlotte Observe):

–  Shaun Livingston  (from Kevin Cottrell, Jr,  NBA.Com):

–  John Jenkins,  Isaiah Thomas,  Phil Pressey  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral):

Isaiah Thomas  (from Donnovan Bennett,

–  Greg Monroe  (from Gery Woelfel,

–  Michael Carter-Williams  (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):

–  Tim Hardaway, Jr  (from Ray Glier,  USA Today):

Nick Minnerath  (from Keith Schlosser,  Ridiculous Upside):


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  NBA Free Agency, Day 2: Sacramento’s Crazy Salary Dump and Greg Monroe’s Milwaukee Move  (from Zach Lowe,  Grantland):

Read it here:



–  Week In Review  (from Eddie Scarito,

” The NBA’s free agent signing period is underway and there have already been a flurry of deals agreed upon, though, these pacts cannot become official until after the moratorium is lifted on July 9th. Before the next wave of wheeling and dealing begins, here’s a look back at the week that was.”

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–  Tracking the Journeys of Free Agents and Traded Players  (from Jessica Camerato, Basketball Insiders):

” In the opening days of NBA free agency, players have shuffled around the league. Add this to a handful of trades, and there will be new faces in new places next season. Basketball is a business, though, and these players have been through this before. See just how many organizations those in the news this week have played for over the years.”

Read it here:



Fred Hoiberg Q & A (from K.C. Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):

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–  Five to watch at Orlando Summer League  (from Michael Wallace,  ESPN):

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–  Talents to watch in Orlando Summer League  (from Brett David Roberts,

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–  D-League alums to watch at the Orlando Summer League  (from Chris Reichert,

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–  NBA Summer League 2015: Rosters for Orlando and Vegas Teams  (from Alec nathan, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


DeAndre Jordan:


Robin Lopez:–continue-to-build-toward-a-new-normal-165821385.html   and


Tiago Splitter:


Hassan Whiteside:


Greg Monroe:


Brandan Wright:


Tobias Harris:


Jae Crowder:


Wesley Matthews:


Aaron Baynes:


Spencer Dinwiddie:


Bismack Biyombo:


Phil Pressey:


Aaron Craft:


Jack Cooley:


Cliff Alexander:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


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–  The Keys To Winning Game 7: Spurs vs Clippers  (from Coach Nick,  BBall Breakdown):

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–  Jeff Teague propels Hawks to series-clinching win without scoring a point  (from Deante Prince,  Sports Illustrated):

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–  NBA Playoffs’ Second Round: What We Can Expect  (from Zach Lowe,

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” For much of the season, the Atlanta Hawks were the best team in the Eastern Conference by a wide margin. Then they were on cruise control over the final month of the season and in the first few games of the first round.

But the Hawks may have rediscovered their mojo as they closed out the Brooklyn Nets in six games. The offense had the ball movement and player movement that made it so successful in the regular season, and the defense locked a surprisingly feisty Nets team down in Game 6.

The Washington Wizards, meanwhile, seemingly changed identities once the playoffs began. They played small, spread the floor and shot 3-pointers against the Toronto Raptors, stunning their opponent and anyone who had watched them all season.

Their new-found offensive success gives them some hope for a trip to the conference finals for the first time since 1979. But the Hawks, though they haven’t been to the next round since 1970, are not the Raptors … on either end of the floor.

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

Read it here:




–  Grizzlies’ gritty D  (from Teresa M. Walker,  Associated Press):

” ‘It’s always our key. That’s the only way we know how to win and it’s the only way we can win. We are not going to score a team high of 120 points or 115. I mean, it might happen one time but we definitely can’t win a series doing that.”, said Marc Gasol.”

Read it here:–nba.html




Warriors-Grizzlies: A View from the Bay Area  (from Marcus Thompson II,  San Jose Mercury News):

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Jason Kidd: From “Coach on the Floor” to  “Point guard on the sideline” (from Steve Aschburner,

Read it here:




–   How to kill a zombie  (i.e. the Brooklyn Nets) (from Devin Kharpertian,

Read it here:




– Pressuring the Inbound (from Jordan M. Foley,  Vantage Sports):

” Inbounding the ball is often an afterthought despite being an integral component of nearly every close, late-game scenario. Five seconds feels much shorter when a team’s initial inbounds action gets cut off or disrupted by a defense. Even if the play itself doesn’t get disrupted, having a long, athletic player doing exaggerated jumping jacks in your face can make finding the correct passing angle difficult. Usually, players have an out when inbounding on the sideline because of the wider spectrum for passing lanes, but inbounding on the baseline creates unique pressures on passers. The narrower window for delivering passes can independently create turnovers or disrupt teams at the end of the shot clock, forcing bad shots by opponents.

Some teams dedicated to pressuring inbounders on the baseline more than others exploit these constraints with varying results. Vantage defines “Inbound Pressure” as being within 2 feet of the inbounder and actively using body, arms, and hands to defend pass. The following are case studies from across the NBA.”

Read and view it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



DeMarre Carroll:


Marcin Gortat:


Khris Middleton:


Jonas Valanciunas:


Jabari Parker:


Alexis Ajinca:


Phil Pressey:


Ben McLemore:


Andrew Wiggins:



QOTN (from Jabari Parker): “A lot of people say the college game is the best game, but looking at it, it’s not. I’m so serious. The NBA is where it’s at, just because of the players, the competition.

“Less turnovers, better shot selection, better defensive principles. I could go on and on. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, the NBA players take nights off.’ Please. Guys do not take nights off.”

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


Surprising  Celtics finally playing for something (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

” Nobody could have seen this coming, right?

“I saw that we were improving every single game and I knew we would have a chance if we set our mind to it,” said eternal optimist Avery Bradley, the longest tenured member of the Celtics at the ripe age of 24. “We never thought we didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs, now we’re right there.”

Two months ago, these perpetually changing Celtics, having traded away both Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, were 13 games under .500 and embarking on a six-game road trip out West that was supposed to ensure their spot in the high lottery. Boston pulled off a pair of one-point victories in Portland and Denver and everything changed.

Boston is 17-10 since that point. It was still 13 games under .500 after an overtime loss to the Lakers a month ago, but has really turned things around since that point, posting a 10-3 mark over the past month.

“Obviously, we’re judged on wins and losses, but I don’t really know about the total number [of wins] or how many games out of how many games,” Stevens said. “I just think I knew we were on the right track. Even when we were losing earlier in the year, I felt like we had made a lot of progress, tactically and technically, on both sides of the ball. It was just a matter of getting us over the hump. And we found a group that’s really connected and playing well and we’re fortunate that they’ve continued to play well with guys out.

“I mean, four straight [wins] without Isaiah [Thomas] now, and three straight before without Avery. It’s not easy to play without basically your two leading scorers, not even including [injured Jared] Sullinger in that. So it’s been good, and the next man stepped up.”

Read it here:



–  Rondo-run Mavs offense suddenly smoking (from Tim McMahon, ESPN):

” So maybe the Rajon Rondo deal wasn’t a death sentence for a Dallas Mavericks offense that was humming at a historically elite level when the trade was made.

There have been a bunch of bumps in the road for Rondo and the Mavs’ offense over the past few months, but something seems to have clicked all of a sudden, just as Dallas’ season seemed to be circling the drain.

With Rondo running the show, the Mavs’ offense has morphed back into a thing of beauty during this desperately needed two-game winning streak over West playoff contenders. The pace is fast, the ball is flying around and the shots are falling.”

Read it here:


More on Rondo/Mavs  (from Dwain Price, here:




Nuggets Stars Unhappy resting vs. Grizzlies (from Christopher dempsey,  Denver Post):

” It could be that two days off between Monday night’s 92-81 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and Thursday night’s game at the Houston Rockets will do wonders for Nuggets bodies that are said to be weary and need rest.

Or maybe not.

The roster Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt has to work with that night will tell the tale.

The Nuggets have rested players for two straight games. On Monday night, those players just happened to be three of the team’s four leading scorers and the leading rebounder since the coaching change in a season that team brass — and many fans — hope ends with a high lottery pick.

Not everyone is pleased, though.”

Read it here:


More on this (from Jason Patt, SBNation):




–  Serge Ibaka’s seeing a knee specialist, and the Thunder might be in trouble (from Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports):

Read it here:–and-the-thunder-might-be-in-trouble-194802012.html



–  Ibaka’s latest injury could dissolve Oklahoma City’s balance (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

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–  We’ll Never Know How Good 2014-15 OKC Thunder Could Have Been  (from Alec Nathan, Bleacher Report):

”  All year long, we’ve been deprived of seeing the Thunder at full strength, and Ibaka‘s knee procedure will prevent that from being the case in the weeks ahead.”

Read it here:



Thunder-Pelicans race could go to the wire  (from Matt Moore,   CBSSports):

” OKC simply cannot catch a break. With Kevin Durant sidelined for anywhere from a few days to another full week as he recovers from his foot procedure, and after injuries have kept Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams out for various parts of this season, now comes word that Thunder forward Serge Ibaka will miss time with a knee procedure to alleviate soreness. ESPN reports that Ibaka will see a specialist and then likely have minor surgery to help with the knee.

Of course, on the flip side, the good news for OKC is that somehow the Pelicans have had worse luck. It’s becoming more and more apparent that they’re not getting Jrue Holiday back this season, and Ryan Anderson is still weeks away. Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis have had to battle through injuries, and their bench is depleted. Their healthiest key player right now is probably Eric Gordon. Think about that .

And their schedule is actually tougher than the Thunder’s. They have five games left vs. teams under. 500, total. They couldn’t topple the Nuggets at home Sunday despite Anthony Davis filling out the stat sheet like a Scantron.

This has become a war of attrition, and OKC has proven more capable of surviving the adversity. But this race for the 8th seed sure seems like it’s going to go down to the wire

Read it here:



–  Why bad offensive plays can ruin defense in the NBA  (from Seth Partnow, Washington Post):

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Kevin Garnett in Minnesota  (from Michael Pina,  Rolling Stone):

” Nearly a month after he returned to the Timberwolves, the Big Ticket is still delivering – just ask his teammates and coaches

Read it here:




–  Josh Smith: Enigmatic Combo Forward  (from Jesse Blanchard, BBall Breakdown):

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–  Dante Exum, Rodney Hood and Accelerated Developmental Timetables  (from Ben Dowsett,

” Exum and Hood, selected 18 spots apart in the 2014 draft, represent an interesting place in Utah’s rebuilding trajectory: if recent signs are to be believed, Dante and Rodney may be the final young core pieces added in the Jazz’s “rebuild” phase. This is obviously encouraging, but is also something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; in several small ways, both have allowed for what many would call an acceleration of Utah’s competitive timetable.

No one’s getting ahead of themselves, of course. Both guys still serve, for the moment, as complementary pieces, and the truest causes of the team’s recent success have clearly been Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert and Quin Snyder. But their play, and more importantly the team’s play with them, has only helped further the potential willingness of management to cash in assets and shoot for a contender as early as next season.”

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–   On Quin Snyder’s Tinkering  (from Ben Dowsett,

” He’s been vocal in the past about sticking to Utah’s bigger identity, and hasn’t gone away from that in any sense, but the ability to be versatile and adapt to circumstance is a must-have in an evolving NBA and Quin knows it.”

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–  Jazz: What is taking place here is mind boggling (from David Locke,

” This team is just continuing to do things that we could never imagine.”

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–  Most Watchable Players in the NBA  (from Zach Lowe,

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Breaking Down Z-Bo’s Rebounding  (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):

” Zach Randolph has a very unique brand of rebounding that deserves special recognition. His technical proficiency and timing on the offense end allow him to compensate for his lack of athleticism when cleaning up his teammates messes on the glass. Defensively, ZBo is less likely to rely on boxing out his opponents as he is pursuing the ball as he anticipates its bounce off the rim. Combine this rebounding effort with a silky smooth jumper and immense dexterity around the rim and you have a bonafide All-Star.”

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Otto Porter’s Solid Screening (from JC Sites, Vantage Sports):

” This season, Porter has been a important component in creating offensive chances for the Wizards. He has also been incredibly disruptive to defenses around the league.

At 83.55 percent, Porter ranks 1st in Solid Screen% this season for those players with more than 350 set screens. Solid Screen% is the percentage of set screens where the player makes contact with or reroutes the defender.”

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Common denominators in Cavaliers’ recent losses (from Chris fedor,

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–  Adjustment period for George Karl, DeMarcus Cousins continues  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):

” It’s the relationship everyone was curious about.

How would George Karl’s fast-paced style mesh with a center, DeMarcus Cousins, who excels at punishing opponents in the halfcourt set?

Could Karl instill his plan of attack while not alienating his All-Star?

Cousins has put up big numbers lately, but he and Karl would agree it’s still a work in progress.”




And for those with access to ESPN insider:



–  The evolution of big-man play (from Bradford Doolittle):

” Next generation of big men can make shots and post up”

Read it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


– Henry Walker


Brandan Wright


Bradley Beal:


Elfrid Payton


T.J. Warren:


Gerald Wallace/Phil Pressey


Quincy Pondexter/Norris Cole:


Thomas Robinson


Zach LaVine:


Eric Gordon:


Jeff Green:


Reggie Jackson:


Tyler Zeller


Victor Oladipo:


James Johnson


Hollis Thompson:


Khris Middleton:





Today’s Top NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Scott Brooks improvises and hits on a winning lineup late against the Bulls  (from Barry Tramel,

” Foreman Scotty resorted to a small lineup, which usually means good offense and shaky defense, but this time it was the defensive ticket to victory.”

Read it here:



Defending LeBron  (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):

““He’s hurt us when we’ve doubled him,” Borrego said. “He’s hurt us when we’ve guarded him straight up. That’s why he’s the MVP. That’s why he’s an NBA champion and one of the best of all time. He’s a great passer. He finds the open man. And when he does find that open man, that ball’s on a rope. So there’s no room for error.”

“You can’t give him one look,” Borrego said. “What I can say is that there has to be bodies around him. You can’t give him open space to play in. He’ll pick you apart. The problem is when you do that, there’s other players around him that he finds, and those guys are playing very well.”

Read it here:




Lakers’ Byron Scott rips team’s ball movement, screen setting in 91-86 loss to Atlanta (from Mark Medina,

“We have to do a better job of setting screens for each other,” Scott said. “That’s just being unselfish. That’s the bottom line. You have to be committed to doing that on a night to night basis.”

How can the Lakers not grasp something that the most elementary of teams understand?

“I don’t know. You have to ask them. Maybe they’re scared of contact,” Scott said.”

Read it here:




For Kevin Garnett, Basketball Greatness Begins in the Locker Room  (from Josh Martin, Bleacher Report):

“There’s no question that for young players or anybody, even veterans, coming in to see his preparation, his passion, his energy,” Saunders said. “You think, here’s a guy with 20 years in the league, he’s 37. How he could bring that same energy every night and that same focus is pretty phenomenal.”

It can be all too easy to lose that focus on a team that, at a Western Conference-worst 14-51, might otherwise be playing out the string and planning its summer vacations. Garnett, though, has infused Minnesota’s locker room with his own brand of purpose and passion, according to teammates.

“It’s a way more positive atmosphere and everything,” Pekovic told Bleacher Report. “He’s a guy who really supports everybody, especially the young guys, explaining to them how they should do whatever they should do.”

Read it here:



Two views on Jeff Green’s role with the Grizzlies:


Is It Time for the Memphis Grizzlies to Bring Jeff Green off the Bench? (from Tom Firme, Bleacher Report):

” The Memphis Grizzlies are feeling a drag with Jeff Green failing to meet expectations that he’d be the complementary scorer who completes them as a contender. His shortcomings on both ends of the floor raise the question of his usefulness in the starting lineup.”

Read it here:


Jeff Green Bolsters Grizzlies’ Transition Attack (from Andrew Ford,

” The Grizzlies don’t get out in transition much, but they are great at it when they do. Let’s take a look at why they are so successful when they run the floor and how midseason acquisition Jeff Green makes them even more dangerous on the break.”

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What is the right team building model?  (from Sam Smith,

” So how would Dwight Howard look with Carmelo Anthony next season? How about DeMarcus Cousins? Could the Knicks be back?

Don’t dismiss it all so quickly given Phil Jackson’s comments last week with the Knicks in Los Angeles. Jackson said, “We know what the first round pick is going to mean for us, but we also know we’re going to build our team with free agents; 190 players or so are going to be free agents. Like a third of the [league]. So that’s where our priority stands.”

The draft sounds exciting and fans love the promise, but even maybe the best player of the next decade, Anthony Davis, in his third season still probably won’t be in a playoff game. Jackson also added you don’t turn teams around in the draft these days unless you get LeBron James. I checked. He’s not in this draft. And you are not waiting three years when you just paid 30-year-old Carmelo Anthony. That’s the big ‘melo in the room for the Knicks. You are not about to go on a three-to-five years building plan (check the Jazz, that’s at least how long it takes) with that sort of investment in Anthony.”

Read it here:



Teammate: Paul George ‘not even close to 100 percent’ (from Candace Buckner,

” As the Indiana Pacers ascend as the hottest team in the NBA, fans should expect Paul George to remain seated.

OK, so the familiar face of the franchise donning a new number may still indeed make his long-awaited comeback before the end of the 2014-15 season. He may play restricted minutes off the Pacers’ deep bench, already the top-scoring unit in the NBA, and even regain confidence in his rehabilitated right leg before starting fresh next year.

But the player who flashes fast-twitch muscles to jump passing lanes, locks down the rival’s best wing scorer and carries the burden of the Pacers’ offense while balancing the weight of his growing brand on his 24-year-old shoulders — don’t look for that Paul George this season.”

Read it here:



Gobert’s Case for DPOY  (from Bryan Toporek,  Vantage Sports):

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A look at the Sixers going forward (from Bob Cooney,

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23 Camp Cuts Are Currently On NBA Rosters (from Chuck Myron,

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Glen Grunwald Pens New Chapter (from Angus Crawford,

” Former NBA executive Glen Grunwald is adding to his decorated portfolio of professional pit stops by embracing the realm of collegiate athletics in his adopted home.”

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Anthony Morrow


Enes Kanter/Steven Adams


Alex Len:


Ish Smith


Meyers Leonard

(BI Note: Leonard has a good shot at having a 50-40-90 year but won’t have the requisite number of makes to “qualify” for recognition of the feat:


DeJuan Blair


Rasual Butler:


Anthony Davis:


Archie Goodwin


Phil Pressey


Avery Bradley


Shaun Livingston


Gordon Hayward


Kyrie Irving


Markel Brown


Tyler Zeller/Kelly Olynyk:


Jeremy Lin


Jabari Brown


Robert Covington:


LaMarcus Aldridge