This year’s Spurs are better equipped to defend the Warriors

(Note:  We are expanding our original content at Basketball Intelligence.  Starting today, we will be including a weekly feature from our rotation of outstanding NBA analysts.

Today’s feature is from Eli Horowitz, assistant men’s basketball coach at Caltech & NBA/WNBA analyst):


Barring injury, the Warriors should repeat as NBA champions in 2017-2018. But after an enthralling offseason that saw the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder add future hall of famers in an effort to compete with the Warriors, it’s easy to forget how close the Spurs were to going up 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals, with a chance to put pressure on Golden State. Unlike other teams in the West that added superstars, the Spurs’ offseason was ridiculed as they overpaid Pau Gasol, added injury-prone Rudy Gay and lost Jonathon Simmons, who played a significant role in the playoffs last year. Put it all together, and many feel like the Thunder and Rockets moved ahead of San Antonio with their respective additions of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and several good role players. Although criticism off the offseason has some merit, you can’t win games in the summer. The Spurs won 67 games in 2015-2016 and 61 games in 2016-2017, and may be even better equipped to defend the Warriors this year:

Size across the roster

When people talk about size, they mistakenly think about big men clanking post-ups and an inefficient style of play in the modern NBA. But the Spurs have size throughout their roster, starting in the backcourt. Dejounte Murray is a 6-foot-5 point guard with the length to disrupt opposing lead guards and some wings:

He was unafraid in the playoffs last year, and should breakout in year two as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich trusts him more. His shooting mechanics leave a lot to be desired, but his ability to penetrate and finish at difficult angles should offset the loss of Simmons.

The Spurs have the best defensive wing combo in the league in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Both can guard positions one through four, and their ability to take turns on opposing stars is a rarity in the NBA. Rudy Gay presents a third long perimeter defender, albeit nowhere near Leonard or Green, who could shine at the four. Add LaMarcus Aldridge, who is a huge body at the four, and who is still big at the five against the Warriors lineup of death, and the Spurs have big bodies that make it difficult for opponents to move through their offense.

Losing Dewayne Dedmon is notable. But Pau Gasol was key to stopping the Rockets in last year’s playoffs. He’s a liability out in space, but the Spurs have the perimeter defense to fight over, under and through screens and allow the Gasol to hang out by the basket. You know Popovich will somehow turn Joffrey Lauvergne into a competent defender as well, much like he did with David Lee last season.

If the Warriors have shown any weakness it’s to long, athletic teams that can also pound the offensive glass. The Oklahoma City Thunder went up 3-1 playing this style two postseasons ago and the Spurs have shown it to work themselves, until Leonard’s injury in last year’s semifinals. It’s annoying to go up against players who can both pressure up on the ball and have the length and quickness to stay with the play and prevent straight line drives to the rim. It’s probably not enough, but the Spurs positional size will force the Warriors go to plan C.

Versatility at the four

Rudy Gay will be the biggest experiment nobody is talking about this NBA season. There’s too many flashy storylines elsewhere, too many All-Stars who switched teams that will get first billing. But Rudy Gay unleashes a potential lineup of Murray-Green-Leonard-Gay-Aldridge that will be as good as it gets against the Warriors. Aldridge’s defense has been solid for the Spurs, and he can hang with Draymond Green, knowing their are four long defenders who can help at the rim. We’ll see if Murray can stick with Steph Curry, but that would allow Green, Leonard and Gay to rotate on Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala. If Murray isn’t ready, Patty Mills will at least scrap on defense and is an offensive upgrade. Better yet, let Murray hang on Iguodala and let Green or Leonard challenge Steph.

If the Spurs want to get really crazy, Gay can even play the five at times:

This would allow the Spurs to play both Mills and Murray, or give Davis Bertans more minutes. Bertans was surprisingly stout defending in the paint last year. Stick him on Iguodala or even Green and he might just hold up. If the Warriors counter by posting him up, that’s a win for San Antonio as it halts the continuous movement of the Warriors and gives the Spurs a break.

The Thunder and Rockets have defensive lineups that might be even more potent, but they sacrifice offense. Carmelo Anthony will struggle on any Warrior defensively, and Andre Roberson is an offensive liability. The Rockets best offensive and defensive lineups are vastly different. The Spurs might be the team with the best defensive lineup that sacrifices the least offense.


Between the draft, free agency, summer league and an onslaught of trades, the NBA world has spent the last five months talking about players. But coaching still matters, especially in the playoffs. After watching the Rockets embarrass his team in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals last year, Popovich pushed all the right buttons to adjust on James Harden. They went over and zoned up pick and rolls to force midrange jumpers. They event went under some screens and personalized their pick and roll coverage depending on who was involved. It was complex, and completely gassed the Rockets, who lost the next four out of five.

Popovich has now had three years to learn the Warriors. He’s had small victories along the way even while balancing the late stage careers of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. His schemes alone won’t be enough to stop Golden State, but he’s a lot closer to figuring it out than his colleagues.

It wasn’t a stellar summer for San Antonio, but the addition of Gay, the sophomore campaigns of Murray and Bertans, a refocused Aldridge and the continued evolution of Leonard are more than enough to keep the Spurs in the mix. They don’t have the sheer talent of Houston or Oklahoma City, but they might have the best defensive lineups to throw at the Warriors.

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis – 10/14/15

–  James Harden:  A Mystery Wrapped Inside an Enigma Shrouded in a Beard  (from  Pablo S. Torre, ESPN):

Read and view it here:  http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/13869848/rockets-guard-james-harden-found-place-excel-show-strengths-houston


–  James Harden: Advanced stats help, but sometimes it’s ‘too much’  (from Brett Pollakoff,  foxsports.com):

Read it here:  http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/james-harden-houston-rockets-advanced-statistics-analytics-free-throws-three-pointers-daryl-morey-101215


–  Shining a spotlight on the three best second-unit rotations in the NBA  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

” NBA teams are driven by stars but sustained by depth. Almost every member of an active roster comes into play at some point of the 82-game regular season marathon; now that forward-thinking teams more closely monitor their players’ minutes and workload than ever before, the role of reserves has grown accordingly. Factor in the injuries, suspensions, matchups, and foul trouble that bring second- and third-stringers into the limelight and the need for a reliable bench becomes a matter of real consequence.

With that in mind, we’ve brought our focus to the three best bench arrangements in the league at this stage in the preseason, along with the qualities and skill sets that make these particular reserves so effective.”

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/13/nba-bench-rotations-bulls-celtics-rockets-nikola-mirotic-isaiah-thomas-patrick-beverley


–  Forces of Character: A conversation with Gregg Popovich  (from Jon Finkel,  Hoopshype.com):

Read it here:  http://hoopshype.com/2015/10/13/forces-of-character-a-conversation-with-gregg-popovich/


–  Dwane Casey carries on his ‘role card’ tradition with Raptors (from Josh Lewenberg,  tsn.ca):

Read it here:  http://www.tsn.ca/talent/casey-carries-on-his-role-card-tradition-with-raptors-1.376340



Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/10/13/9488999/damian-lillard-is-ready?_ga=1.128611147.693109471.1420357532


–  Warriors expect even bigger things on offense this season  (from Associated Press):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/10/13/warriors-expect-even-bigger-things-on-offense-this-season/73879006/


–  Trail Blazers show ‘intriguing’ smaller lineup in win over Jazz  (from Mike Richman,  oregonlive.com):

Read it here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/10/trail_blazers_show_intriguing_small_ball_lineup_in.html


–   NBA Training Camp Questions – Atlantic Division   (from James Holas,  BBall Breakdown):

Read it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/14/nba-training-camp-questions-atlantic-division-knicks-celtics-raptors-nets/


–  NBA Training Camp Questions – Southeast Division  (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown):

Read it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/13/nba-training-camp-questions-southeast-division/



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:  



John Jenkins’ preseason play is helping his case for a roster spot on the Mavs  (from Eddie Sefko,  dallasnews.com):    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20151013-sefko-john-jenkins-preseason-play-is-helping-his-case-for-a-roster-spot-on-the-mavs.ece


–  Lakers have a potential ‘Showtime’ revivalist in Marcelo Huertas  (from Tim Faklis,  Sporting News):  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-10-13/marcelihno-huertas-lakers-los-angeles-showtime-dangelo-russell


 ‘Tired of disrespect:’ Nets’ journeyman  Thomas Robinson seeking career rebirth  (from Tim Bontemps,  NYPost):   http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/tired-of-disrespect-nets-journeyman-seeking-career-rebirth/


–  Aaron Gordon impresses in his preseason debut  (from Josh Robbins,  Orlando Sentinel):  http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-magic-heat-preseason-game-1014-20151013-story.html


–  Avery Bradley the tone-setter for Celtics aggressive approach on defense  (from Scott Souza, Providence Journal):  http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20151013/SPORTS/151019699/14007


–  Opportunistic rookies Richaun Holmes and Christian Wood piquing 76ers interest  (from Bob Cooney, philly.com):  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20151014_Opportunistic_rookies_piquing_interest.html


–  Phoenix Suns’ T.J. Warren shows big love for basketball  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral.com):  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/10/13/phoenix-suns-tj-warren-shows-big-love-basketball/73893084/


–  Andrew Bogut’s Role After Trimming Down  (from Kevin Wang,  bluemanhoop.com):   http://bluemanhoop.com/2015/10/13/warriors-analysis-andrew-boguts-increased-role-after-trimming-down/


–  Collison holds huge key to Kings’ success as super-sub  (from James Ham,   csnbayarea.com):  http://www.csnbayarea.com/kings/collison-holds-huge-key-kings-success-super-sub


–  Jeff Teague, the Hawks’ ‘engine,’ is only revving up  (from Adi Joseph, Sporting News):  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/jeff-teague-hawks-atlanta-point-guard-dennis-schroder/16jrfi6iuffp817cph732o970q


–  Nene is a better backup than a starter, but he may no longer fit with the Wizards at all  (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2015/10/13/nene-is-a-better-backup-than-a-starter-but-he-may-no-longer-fit-with-the-wizards-at-all/


–  Derrick Williams: Knicks’ triangle will shatter bust reputation  (from Marc Berman,  NYPost):  http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/derrick-williams-knicks-triangle-will-shatter-bust-reputation/


–  Zaza Pachulia’s passing leads to easy offense for the Mavs  (from Bobby Karalla,  mavs.com):  http://www.mavs.com/zaza-pachulias-passing-leads-to-easy-offense-for-the-mavs/


–  Jerian Grant is  winning the Knicks over  (from Marc Berman,  NYPost):  http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/jerian-grant-won-brothers-bet-and-is-now-winning-knicks-over/


–  Cory Joseph making smooth transition with Raptors  (from Chris O’Leary,  thestar.com):   http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2015/10/13/cory-joseph-making-smooth-transition-with-raptors.html


–  Cory Joseph: Keeping it Simple  (from Zarar Siddiqi,  raptorsrepublic.com):  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/10/14/corey-joseph-keeping-it-simple/


Manu Ginobili  Q & A (from Peter Keating,  ESPN): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13873880/san-antonio-spurs-star-manu-ginobili-talks-playing-best-franchise-sports


–   It’s Otto Porter Season in Washington  (form Andrew Sharp,  Grantland):   http://grantland.com/the-triangle/its-otto-porter-season-in-washington-d-c/?ex_cid=story-twitter


–  Rudy Gay (from Matthew Way/Adam Spinella,  BBall Breakdown):  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/13/rudy-gay-eye-teststats-discussion/


Josh Harrellson (from J. Michael, csnmidatlantic.com):  http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/morning-tip-josh-harrellsons-ticket-back-nba

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis – 10/12/15

–  Heat’s dynamic duo at guard know they must be in sync, play off each other’s strengths  (from Ethan J. Skolnick, Miami Herald):

” Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic are working on their chemistry in their first full season together.

Wade has never played with a point guard as dynamic as Dragic, nor Dragic with a scorer like Wade

Pelicans’  Jrue Holiday Q&A (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

–  No language barrier for Cavaliers’ Sasha Kaun, just huge adjustments to NBA as 30-year-old rookie from Russia  (from Joe Vardon), Cleveland.com):

” (T)he players are bigger, faster, and more skilled. But Kaun’s analysis goes much deeper. He’ll tell you about the numerous timeouts (and the length of those breaks) in the NBA game, how they allow players – even larger ones, like him – to run the floor and run it faster than they do in Europe.

“In Europe, you might go 20 possessions at a time before the next break, so the tempo slows down,” he told the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Kaun talks about how the NBA court is wider – by about a foot – and the three-point line is farther from the hoop, which has confused him when it comes to his positioning on the pick and roll.

And finally, there’s the adjustment to play alongside LeBron James, who, Kaun says, “is one of those players who sees lots of things and makes quick decisions, quick passes.”

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/10/sasha_kaun_cleveland_cavaliers.html


–  Why Ian Mahinmi is the perfect center for the Pacers’ new style of play  (from C. Cooper,  indycornrows.com):

” “Everybody’s talking about Paul George and what the 4-spot looks like for him,” Pacers Coach Frank Vogel explained, following the team’s preseason victory over the Orlando Magic. “Playing with space is good for all of these guys. It’s not good just for Paul George’s match-up, but the space that we’re creating on the perimeter and opening up in the lane is great for Monta Ellis and George Hill to attack the basket with the balance, it’s great for Chase Budinger, Solomon Hill, and C.J. Miles to curl on pin downs, and it’s great for a guy like Ian Mahinmi to be able to have space to operate…””

Read it here:  http://www.indycornrows.com/2015/10/11/9498499/why-ian-mahinmi-is-the-perfect-center-for-the-pacers-new-style-of-play


 Thunder: Expect Russell Westbrook post-ups to be a branch of Billy Donovan’s offense  (from Anthony Slater,  newsok.com):

Read it here:  http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-thunder-expect-russell-westbrook-post-ups-to-be-a-branch-of-billy-donovans-offense/article/5452873


–  Wolves therapist’s remedies, healing approaches make him stand out  (from Jerry Zgoda, startribune.com):

” Arnie Kander, a once-retired therapist and healer, accepted the mission of stemming the Wolves’ injury tide. ”

Read it here:   http://www.startribune.com/wolves-therapist-arnie-kander-s-remedies-and-healing-approaches-make-him-stand-out/331946021/


Nuggets Camp Week 2 Wrap:  Coach Malone wants no let up from team and more  (from Christopher Dempsey, Denver Post):

Read it here:  http://blogs.denverpost.com/nuggets/2015/10/10/nuggets-camp-week-2-wrap-malone-wants-no-let-up-from-team/13341/


–   Michael Malone gets defensive about Denver Nuggets  (from Nate Timmons,  bsndenver.com):

Read it here:  http://bsndenver.com/michael-malone-gets-defensive-about-denver-nuggets/


–  5 Rookies Thriving in the Preseason  (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders):

Read about Towns, Okafor, Stanley Johnson, Portis and Porzingis here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-am-5-rookies-thriving-in-the-preseason/


–  How the Warriors evolved small ball  (from Ian Levy,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/thecauldron/2015/10/12/golden-state-warriors-nba-title-small-ball-steph-curry


Boston regards surplus of big men as positive thing  (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):

Read it here:  http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2015/10/big_challenge_for_celtics


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  A healthy Chase Budinger can help Pacers in many ways  (from Nate Taylor,  indystar.com):  http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2015/10/11/healthy-chase-budinger-can-help-pacers-many-ways/73792054/


–  Raptors’ Anthony Bennett impressing on defence  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Post media network):  http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Basketball/NBA/Toronto/2015/10/11/22561327.html?cid=rsssportsbasketball


–  Heat guard Gerald Green looks to reinvent himself as a defender  (from Jason Lieser,   palmbeachpost.com):  http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sports/basketball/heat-guard-gerald-green-looks-to-reinvent-himself-/nnzfz/


Can Rudy Gay Make Another Jump in 2015-2016? (from Nick Carrasco, aroyalpain.com):  http://aroyalpain.com/2015/10/11/can-rudy-gay-make-another-jump-2015-2016/


–  Bismack Biyombo’s  Defensive Impact  (from Zarrar Siddiqi,  raptorsrepublic.com):  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/10/11/breaking-it-down-bismack-biyombos-benevolent-defensive-impact/


–  NBA ROOKIE COUNTDOWN: NO. 8 — STANLEY JOHNSON  (from Jared Mintz, crossoverchroncles.com):  http://bloguin.com/crossoverchronicles/2015-articles/nba-rookie-countdown-no-8-stanley-johnson.html


–  Ronnie Price ideally fits, accepts Phoenix Suns role  (from Paul Core,  azcentral.com):  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/10/11/ronnie-price-ideally-fits-accepts-phoenix-suns-role/73792132/


–  Nene prepares for a new role as Wizards prepare for a new offense  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):  https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nene-prepares-for-a-new-role-as-wizards-prepare-for-a-new-offense/2015/10/11/35685cde-7061-11e5-8d93-0af317ed58c9_story.html


–  The Curious Case Of Derrick Williams  (from Steve Conoscenti,  hoopshabit.com):  http://hoopshabit.com/2015/10/11/curious-case-derrick-williams-may-work/


–  Heat’s Josh McRoberts finally back in the mix  (from Shandel Richardson,  sun-sentinel.com):  http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-heat/fl-miami-heat-main-1007-20151006-story.html


–  Bobby Portis being ready for minutes presents a wonderful problem  (from Morten Stig Jensen,  chicagonow.com):  http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-bulls-confidential/2015/10/bobby-portis-being-ready-for-minutes-presents-a-wonderful-problem/


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Evolution of the Pacers’ Defense ( from Zach Grinsdale, Vavel.com)

Read it here:  http://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/525693-the-evolution-of-the-pacers-defense.html


Thibodeau out of  NBA job but assisting Team USA  (from Steve Carp,  Las Vegas  Review-Journal):

Read it here:  http://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/basketball/thibodeau-out-nba-job-assisting-team-usa


Semi-pro team recruits prep stars ( from Alex Kennedy,  Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-semi-pro-team-recruits-high-schoolers/


“He’s learning to shoot the corner three”  ( from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:  http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/08/12/hes-learning-to-shoot-the-corner-three/


Post-up drills with Monty Williams epitomize Team USA Culture ( from interbasket.net):

Read it here:  http://www.interbasket.net/news/18417/2015/08/post-up-drills-with-monty-williams-epitomize-team-usa-culture/


–  A CliffsNotes guide to every NBA’s team’s schedule ( from Mike Prada, SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/8/12/9144093/nba-schedule-2015-16-teams-best-games-notes


–  Mike Malone’s Playbook: Jungle Sets ( from Adam Mares,  denverstiffs.com):

Read it here:  http://www.denverstiffs.com/2015/8/12/9128219/mike-malone-playbook-jungle-nba-denver-nuggets


For those with access to ESPN Insider:


Why the new NBA Schedule is an improvement ( from Bradford Doolittle):

Read it here:  http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/13425802/nba-why-2015-16-nba-schedule-improvement-years-past



Additional Player Notes,  Updates, Profiles:

Q & A with Andrew Bogut ( from Simon Legg, NBA.com):  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/q-and-a-andrew-bogut-golden-state-warriors-australian-boomers/3uba1kol29o51mon7bptoksit

–  Rudy Gay Embraces Olympic Berth Challenge  ( from Ailene Voisin, Sacramento Bee):  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/ailene-voisin/article30973119.html

–  Film Room: Cole Aldrich ( from Justin Russo, clips nation.com):  http://www.clipsnation.com/2015/8/12/9129671/film-room-cole-aldrich-edition








Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


How fixable are the Thunder’s current defensive issues?  (from Anthony Slater, newsok.com):

“(T)he defensive flaws, particularly against elite teams, linger as a sobering reality with the playoffs rapidly approaching. The Spurs dropped 130 points on OKC this past Wednesday. The hapless Lakers put up 117 the night before. Teams are averaging 107.8 per game against the Thunder this month. And none of them are as explosive as the Warriors, who likely await in the first round.

What’s fixable and what’s not? Let’s take a look:”

Read and view it here:  http://newsok.com/film-room-how-bad-are-the-thunders-current-defensive-issues/article/5405049



–  Thunder need Anthony Morrow on the floor  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

” The Oklahoma City Thunder are under-manned. Even with the additions they made at the trade deadline with D.J. Augustin and Enes Kanter, without Kevin Durant and now Serge Ibaka, they’re having to piece together wins in any way possible.

If they’re going to survive, no matter how long Durant and Ibaka are out, and if they’re going to make any significant noise in the playoffs vs. what looks to be one of the best teams in NBA history (according to point differential) in the Warriors, they have to find a way to get the most out of what they have.

And that means Anthony Morrow is going to have to play more minutes, to a significant degree. Since Durant went out with continuing foot problems on February 19th, Morrow is playing roughly 20 minutes per game. With the additions of Kyle Singler and Dion Waiters, coach Scott Brooks has gone to a platoon approach. He has played Dion Waiters significant minutes, presumably because of his defensive value over Morrow.

The problem is that isn’t how things are working out.

With Morrow on the floor since Durant went down, the Thunder are 12.2 points per 100 possessions better than their opponent with Morrow on the floor, and 8.2 points per 100 possessions worse than their opponent with him off. So overall, Morrow makes for a difference of 20.4 points per 100 possessions. If you’re wondering, that’s a huge amount.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25123995/the-oklahoma-city-thunder-need-anthony-morrow-on-the-floor



Brad  Stevens’ poise key to Celtics’  progress  (from Jackie MacMullan, ESPN):

” The Celtics are entrenched in a spunky, tenacious playoff hunt, yet their coach behaves the same as he did when they were wobbling toward a 13-26 record, squandering 15 of the 20 leads they had amassed in the fourth quarter and mired in a fog of underwhelming results.

As Boston morphs into a lovable band of overachievers and potential postseason menaces, their architect, the deadpan Brad Stevens, refuses to overreact, whether it’s when his team disappoints with a lackluster performance through three quarters of a huge game against Miami on Wednesday (an effort Jae Crowder deemed “sickening”), or, in that same game, when the Celtics mount a furious fourth-quarter comeback that comes up just short.

“When you watch Brad on the sidelines you can’t tell whether his team is up 20 or down 20,” observed Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. “That’s valuable for any team, but I think especially [with young guys], they see the calmness. If he doesn’t panic, they won’t panic.”

Stevens’ quiescent demeanor amid the wildly fluctuating emotions of a young roster with a dizzying array of moving parts was a significant reason Danny Ainge targeted him as Doc Rivers’ successor.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/12561718/boston-celtics-coach-brad-stevens-poise-patience-starting-pay-off




How Dwyane Wade Is Reinventing His Game  (from Dylan Murphy,  Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2409374-dwyane-wade-then-vs-now-how-flash-is-reinventing-his-game-with-age




–  The NBA’s top head-coaching prospects  (from Kevin Arnovitz,  ESPN):

” Here are six coaches whose combination of intelligence, work ethic, experience, people skills and temperament make them interesting candidates for an NBA head-coaching position either sooner or later.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/72749/the-nbas-top-head-coaching-prospects




– Nikola Mirotic and the Future of the Bulls’ Frontline (from Mika Honkasalo,  Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VRNx4iUAAMVTqJV5/nikola-mirotic-and-the-future-of-the-bulls-frontline


–  Nikola Mirotic is too good for the Bulls  (from Mike Prada,  SBNation):

Read and view it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/3/26/8284937/nikola-mirotic-chicago-bulls-highlights-awkward-tom-thibodeau




Serge Ibaka  on His Move Beyond the Arc  (from Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland.com):

” Serge Ibaka is unlike any player in the league. He can shoot, finish, run the floor, set screens, rebound, and block shots. His impossibly comprehensive skill portfolio would be rare for any player, but it’s especially remarkable considering his origins. As the Grantland Features documentary Son of the Congo beautifully illustrates, Ibaka was not coddled and nurtured in some blue-blood basketball incubator like Lexington or Tobacco Road. But here he is, both a trailblazing African player challenging our conceptions of basketball in the developing world and one of the most versatile big men on the planet.

It wasn’t always this way, especially on offense, where Ibaka struggled in his first few years in the league. Yet, if the new film shows us anything, it’s that Ibaka is ascendant by nature, and his development on the floor is symptomatic of his determination to improve. Basketball growth is just one of the easiest parts to see and measure.”

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-serge-ibaka-expansion-project-the-thunder-forward-on-his-move-beyond-the-arc/




–  Frank Vogel Dusts Off an Old Pet Play to Beat the Wizards  (from Jared Wade, 8poins9seconds.com):

Read and view it here:  http://8points9seconds.com/2015/03/26/indiana-pacers-playbook-frank-vogel/




–  Q&A: GM Bob Myers on how Warriors execs work  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/golden-state-warriors/post/_/id/431/qa-myers-on-how-warriors-execs-work



–  How Did We Get Here? — Snapshots from the Road to the NBA’s Best Record  (from Adam Lauridsen,  mercurynews.com):

” The Warriors are the Pacific Division champions.  In a few days, they should be Western Conference champions.  It’s a thrilling time for Warriors fans, but the team didn’t get here overnight.  There are plenty of direct explanations for how the Warriors went from laughing-stock to juggernaut — the fortuitous drop of Stephen Curry in the draft, Chris Cohan’s sale of the team to Joe Lacob’s ownership group, Klay Thompson’s selection at the end of the lottery, the swap of Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, snagging Draymond Green with a second-round pick, orchestrating the Iguodala sign-and-trade and replacing Mark Jackson with Steve Kerr.  Endless ink was spilled over these events at the time, and there will be plenty more to write in the future.  But beyond these moves, there have been a few symbolic moments for me that have captured certain core aspects of the Warriors’ rise”

Read it here:  http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2015/03/26/how-did-we-get-here-snapshots-from-the-road-to-the-nbas-best-record/



–  Lou Williams: Say No To Isolation  (from Joshua Howe,  hoopshabit.com):

” For about a month into the NBA season (maybe less for some people), nobody seemed to mind  Louis Williams taking the final shot for the Toronto Raptors. He’s a streaky scorer, but great at creating space for himself and getting literally anything off whenever he wants to. He’s also one of the best in the league at getting opponents to bite on pump fakes.

But after the Raptors’ crazy hot streak came to an end, Williams’ proclivity to take every single one of those shots started to become unnerving. It doesn’t matter what quarter it is, he will still take that shot. That’s who he is.

The odd part is that no one on the Raptors seems to mind. Instead, it’s the fans and media members who are watching and shaking their heads in disbelief. Sure, Lou has managed to knock down some of those attempts and he’s definitely a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, but most of the time it’s just not worth it to let him run down the clock, play isolation basketball and then toss up a clunker”

Read and view it here:   https://hoopshabit.com/2015/03/27/lou-williams-say-no-isolation/



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Nik Stauskas:  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article16435556.html


Cory Jefferson:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2410655-what-have-the-brooklyn-nets-found-with-cory-jefferson


Andrew Bogut:  http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/bogut-reveals-why-warriors-have-had-success


Julius Randle:  http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-lakers-fyi-20150327-story.html


Baron Davis:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/26/baron-davis-russell-westbrook-steve-nash-ucla-bruins-knicks-clippers-hornets


Ryan Kelly:  http://www.sbsun.com/sports/20150326/lakers-ryan-kelly-feeling-more-comfortable-at-power-forward


Archie Goodwin:  http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/2015/3/26/8296097/archie-goodwins-new-found-playing-time-with-the-phoenix-suns


Rudy Gay:  http://cowbellkingdom.com/is-rudy-gay-the-answer-at-power-forward-for-sacramento/


Mason Plumlee:  http://www.netsdaily.com/2015/3/26/8295295/has-anyone-seen-mason-plumlee


Henry Walker:  http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2015/03/27/4209702_heats-henry-walker-says-basketball.html


Bryce Cotton:  http://www.sltrib.com/sports/2335863-155/utah-jazz-bryce-cotton-knows-he


Festus Ezeli:  http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-center-Ezeli-can-make-big-impact-down-6162298.php


Anthony Davis:  http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2015/03/anthony_davis_works_on_his_fre.html


J.R. Smith:  http://www.cavstheblog.com/?p=31933


Matthew Dellevedova:  http://www.news-herald.com/sports/20150326/cleveland-cavaliers-matthew-dellavedova-succeeds-with-hard-work


Al Jefferson:  http://blogs.charlotte.com/inside_the_nba/2015/03/charlotte-hornets-steve-clifford-al-jefferson-wont-be-100-rest-of-season.html


Kyle O’Quinn:  http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com/2015/3/27/8298733/kyle-oquinn-nba-stats-orlando-magic-2015-season-dewayne-dedmon   and   http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-orlando-magic-news-0327-20150326-story.html


Joel Freeland:  http://ripcityproject.com/2015/03/27/joel-freeland-returns-to-relevance-as-chris-kaman-recovers/


Timofey Mozgov:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2408540-which-cleveland-cavaliers-role-player-will-step-up-in-nba-playoffs


Omer Asik:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/3/26/8294109/monty-williams-is-neglecting-his-golden-goose-omer-asik


D’Angelo Russell:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/27/dangelo-russell-ohio-state-2015-nba-draft-stock


Danilo Gallinari:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25123011/here-comes-the-rooster-danilo-gallinari-and-the-road-back


Donatas Montiejunas:  http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/rockets/article/Rockets-Motiejunas-learning-to-roll-with-the-6162190.php?cmpid=twitter-premium&t=6f8bcc6bd1f992f472


Goran Dragic:  http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/03/27/goran-dragic-leading-feisty-heats-playoff-push/