Today’s Top Stories – Part I
– Sixers’ streak goes on and so does plan (from Fran Blinebury, NBA.com):
” Sam Hinkie ducked into the media dining room to grab a small plate of fajitas and headed quickly toward the door.
A friend asked him if he was hiding out.
“People want to see me either gnashing my teeth or beating my chest,” he said. “I’m not gnashing my teeth.”
Not even after 26 losses in a row.
The Sixers’ march toward both ignominious history and hopeful resurrection continued as the Rockets punched their ticket 120-98 on Thursday night.
As general manager, president of basketball operations, Hinkie is the Dr. Frankenstein who reverse-engineered this monster that is now tied with the 2010-11 Cavaliers for the longest single season losing streak in NBA history. For that, some of the town folk would like to storm his door with torches and pitchforks, because, well, they weren’t paying attention. Not to Hinkie’s clearly-drawn blueprint from the moment he was hired last May and not to the long history of the league.”
Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/03/28/sixers-streak-goes-on-and-so-does-plan/
– More on the 6ers from Tom Sunnergren, ESPN):
–Kidd has come a long way in a few months (from John Schuhmann, NBA.com):
” Jason Kidd‘s coaching career began a little like his playing career ended.
As a player, he missed his last 18 shots. As a coach, he lost 21 of his first 31 games with the most expensive roster in NBA history. He was fined $50,000 for purposely spilling a drink so that his assistant coach could draw up a play. Through December, the Brooklyn Nets were below-average on both ends of the floor and were particularly brutal defensively.
Early in November, ESPN.com’s David Thorpe called Kidd “the worst coach in the NBA.”
Things have changed quite a bit. The Nets are 27-12 (best in the Eastern Conference) since the new year began, with a top-10 defense, despite a two-game slide this week.”
Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/03/27/kidd-has-come-a-long-way-in-a-few-months/
– Why is Blake Griffin so much better now (from David Nurse, Hoopshype.com):
Read and view it here: http://hoopshype.com/columns/david-nurse/why-is-blake-griffin-so-much-better-now
– Danny Ainge drafts NCAA plan (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):
” Danny Ainge will be watching when the NCAA tournament resumes tonight, but he won’t be watching the same way you or I will.
The numbers matter little to the Celtics president of basketball operations.
“I’m looking at the ‘why’ of what’s happening,” Ainge said. “I’m not looking at the box score to determine whether a player is playing well or looking at what people’s expectations might be. I’m looking (at) why is he playing well? Or, why is he not playing well? How is he defending? How is he interacting with his teammates? How does he respond to adversity?
“I’m looking at a whole gamut of things, trying to get the full picture of the player, because so much of it is trying to predict who that player can become, not just who he is right now.”
Read it here: http://bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2014/03/danny_ainge_drafts_ncaa_plan
– Improving Walker has Bobcats primed for playoffs (from Associated Press):
” Kemba Walker is relishing the idea of playing meaningful games in March again.
The Charlotte Bobcats point guard hasn’t had that opportunity since leading Connecticut to the national championship three years ago.
The Bobcats were a combined 28-120 in Walker’s first two NBA seasons, but things have changed for the better this year. Charlotte has the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference and appears destined for the postseason. They’re five games ahead of the ninth-place New York Knicks with 10 games remaining.
“It’s exciting. It’s different,” Walker said after Thursday’s practice. “This is what I have been dreaming of my whole life. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.”
Charlotte’s turnaround is in no small part due to the arrival of free agent center Al Jefferson and the improved play of Walker, who is blossoming into an above-average NBA point guard in his third season. Walker said he’s beginning to realize how valuable he can be on the court even if he’s not the team’s leading scorer.”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/03/27/walker-leading-bobcats-charge.ap/
– The NBA is two months away from what could be its best playoff bracket ever (from Kelly Dwyer, YahooSports):
” The NBA will enjoy a day off three weeks from Thursday, as the league’s regular season ends the night before. Fourteen teams will take to the offseason, some of them happily, while some clubs will rue the fact that they’ll miss out on the postseason because of either disappointing play (New York) or stellar competition (whichever 48-win team is on the outside looking in on the Western bracket). Two days later, 16 teams will begin what could be a two-month playoff run, as the NBA sets to deciding its champion.
And though the East looks comparatively weak, and though in an instant a poorly timed injury could lay waste to 5 1/2 months of regular season work, this still factors to be a fascinating, evocative playoff turn. It doesn’t just take yet another heart-stopping Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat game to remind you of this, though that doesn’t hurt, because this could wrap up to be the Greatest Playoffs Ever.
Don’t believe me? Need a little Magic and Larry in your bracket? Prefer a 72-game winner tossed in there? Still yelling at fluffy clouds and innocent schoolchildren? Do you watch cable TV news?
Consider the talent, and consider the storylines.”
Read it here: http://sg.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/the-nba-is-two-months-away-from-what-could-be-its-best-playoff-bracket-ever-192608700.html
– What Makes Jamal Crawford the NBA’s Top 6th Man, and How He Keeps Getting Better (from Jared Zwerling, BleacherReport):
” On the heels of his offensive hiccup in 2011-12 with the Portland Trail Blazers—his worst scoring output since 2002-03—Jamal Crawford was still very sure of his abilities the day he signed a four-year, $25 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers in July 2012. In fact, he made a promise to the team.
“I was like, ‘Don’t worry, you guys won’t regret this. I’m getting better. Trust me,'” the 14-year veteran recalled to Bleacher Report recently. “I just knew; I understood I’m still learning the game.”
Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1984101-what-makes-jamal-crawford-the-nbas-top-6th-man-and-how-he-keeps-getting-better
– Patrick Beverley Breaks Down What Makes Him the Peskiest Defender in the NBA (from Jared Zwerling, BleacherReport):
Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2003558-patrick-beverley-breaks-down-what-makes-him-the-peskiest-defender-in-the-nba
– Brilliant Leaders Are Key to the NBA’s Dynasties (from John Wilmes, BleacherReport):
” Since 1960, only 15 teams have won a collective 53 NBA championships. Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach and Pat Riley have been party to 36 of them. Throw in Gregg Popovich, and the number climbs to 40, or just over 75 percent of all Larry O’Brien Trophies dispersed.
The history of prized glory in the NBA is the history of brilliant management—from ownership, to the front office, to the clipboard in the head coach’s hand and the level heads he shows it to, titles are earned through top-down organizational cohesion far more than they are on the basketball court.
Talent is essential, of course, but it’s ultimately more replaceable than a gestalt, slowly built culture that knows how to aim each of its pieces correctly and maximize the skills of all members.
And some individual men…are the seed for such a structure unto themselves.”
Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2008253-brilliant-leaders-are-key-to-the-nbas-dynasties
– Kyle Lowry-Greivis Vasquez backcourt sparking Raptors (from Dan Feldman, NBCSports):
” The Memphis Grizzlies chose Kyle Lowry in the first-round of the 2006 draft, and then they traded him just two-and-a-half years later. Memphis picked another point guard in the first round of the 2010 draft: Greivis Vasquez, who made it only one season with the Grizzlies before they traded him.
Now, Lowry and Vasquez are united with the Toronto Raptors, bonded by the shared experience being drafted then quickly traded by Memphis.
“It’s kind of like we knew we knew each other from that,” Vasquez said.
On the court, they certainly play like they’ve known each other for years”
Read it here: http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/28/extra-pass-kyle-lowry-greivis-vasquez-backcourt-sparking-raptors/
Stay tuned: Part II of today’s best is coming later