– Griz Morning After: Ball doesn’t stick (from Ronald Tillery, commercialappeal.com):
“It’s great when you move the ball like that. It gives everybody a chance to get a feel. It’s a lot less predictable. It gets contagious. It’s the way we should always play,” Griz center Marc Gasol said. “We make shots, miss shots, if we play like that it’s a lot tougher (for defenses) to load up. We moved the ball from one side to the other. You make the defense work. You have a better chance for them to make mistakes. When we just keep it on one side and everybody moves to the weak side, you have no chance to rebound. You have no chance to do anything but I thought we did a better job.”
Read it here: http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/griz-morning-after-ball-doesnt-stick
– Noel slowly making adjustment to perimeter in defensive game (from John Finger, csnphilly.com):
” Brown forecasts a future in which Noel will spend more time guarding players on the perimeter as opposed to “lurking” around the rim. Plus, with Joel Embiid penciled in as the team’s center of the future, Noel is going to have to learn about guarding those stretch-fours sooner or later.
“When you play it out and you have Joel down there, you’re going to have a different type of rim protector and you’re not going to see Nerlens categorically five as much as defensive four,” Brown said. “You’re going to see him play some five, but his blocked shots are going to take a hit as I move him more to a perimeter four defensive player.”
Can Noel still be a playmaker under the basket with rebounds and blocked shots? Sure, says Brown, but under different circumstances. Just don’t expect Noel to race back to the rim on the defensive end.
“You’re not going to see him in that environment as much,” Noel said. “As a weak-side defender coming to make plays, you’ll see it. But to see him stand by the rim and lurk and make plays, you won’t see him as much in that position as you used to only guarding fives.”
Read and view it here: http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/noel-slowly-making-adjustment-perimeter-defensive-game
– If the Celtics Are Trying to Rebuild, Then Why the Postseason Push? (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/a-playoff-problem-if-the-celtics-are-trying-to-rebuild-then-why-the-postseason-push/
– Patrick Beverley’s done for the season, which will test the Rockets’ defense and depth (from Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports):
Read it here: https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/patrick-beverley-s-done-for-the-season–which-will-test-the-rockets–defense-and-depth-192142679.html
– After a rocky start, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving now see the game together, their own way (from Joe Vardon, cleveland.com):
Read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/03/lebron_james_kevin_love_kyrie.html
– Classifying LeBron’s Turnovers (from Kirk Lammers, waitingfornextyear.com):
Read and view it here: http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cavalier-film-lebron-james-turnovers/
– The Vision of Manu Ginobili (from Kyle Carpenter, poundingtherock.com):
” Manu Ginobili has always won the game of the basketball with his eyes.
Even in his youthful days when a behind-the-back dribble bled into a Euro step and ultimately an athletic finish at the rim, it was setup by a preternatural ability to see the road less traveled to get there. He is a master of angles, a master of bounces, a master of feints and pump fakes and contortions with a direct path to the end goal…Manu has always been economical where other “creative” players embellished.
That is because, like his countryman and fellow sports icon Lionel Messi, Ginobili sees the play well before the rest of us, and if it can’t be accomplished solo, is simply waiting on everyone else to catch up. He has no time for extraneous motions. Each step to an end.”
Read and view it here: http://www.poundingtherock.com/2015/3/31/8025517/vision-manu-ginobili
– Assembling San Antonio Spurs’ Ideal Playoff Rotation (from David Kenyon Bleacher Report):
” San Antonio boasts one of few rosters that can realistically employ two complete lineups, so Pop has plenty of options to guide the squad throughout the playoffs.
Though particular situations may call for adjustments, the Spurs have an ideal rotation for postseason success—but it’s not the same one from the title-winning crew.”
Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2412703-assembling-san-antonio-spurs-ideal-playoff-rotation
– Zach Randolph reigns through pivots and patience (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):
Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/31/craft-zach-randolph-rasheed-wallace-scottie-pippen-grizzlies-blazers-knicks-clippers
– Steven Adams is growing into a versatile defender (from Darnell Mayberry, newsok.com):
” Overshadowed in the Thunder’s gritty come-from-behind win Sunday was the versatility Adams showed against the Suns. As fans have become enamored with newcomer Enes Kanter’s scoring skills, Adams stepped up and showed he remains special in his own right.
Following the departure of Kendrick Perkins, and with Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison likely out for the season, Adams is now the Thunder’s best remaining post defender. While he doesn’t have the offensive polish of Kanter, Adams is a far superior pick and roll defender and, as Sunday showed, a potentially viable option to defend bigger perimeter-oriented players in emergency situations. Adams also did a solid job on Dirk Nowitzki two weeks ago at Dallas…”
Read it here: http://newsok.com/steven-adams-growing-into-a-versatile-defender/article/5405931
– Alexey Shved Proved to Be Surprising Blueprint for New York Knicks’ Point Guard (from John Dorn, Bleacher Report):
” Despite the brief frenzy he brought about within the New York Knicks’ social community, Alexey Shved is no savior. He’s far from great, and some nights isn’t even good.
But over his 16 games with the Knicks, before suffering a rib injury that could be season-ending, he was an example of something Phil Jackson has been waiting for all year: an example of the triangle offense making somebody better than they were before.
The third-year pro averaged 14.8 points with New York on 40.3 percent shooting (his career mark is 36.9 percent). He was dependable from three-point range, connecting on 37 percent of treys, and, for the most part, looked fluid within the system. He’s not a natural playmaker, but as a result of his skill set and the player movement within Derek Fisher’s offense, Shved was creating more than expected.
His contract expires at season’s end, so Jackson will likely need to judge off the 16-game sample when considering if Shved will stick around after this offseason’s roster reconstruction. But whether Phil thinks Shved has the adequate talent or not, the 26-year-old provides a solid template for what New York is looking for in the backcourt. ”
Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2414852-alexey-shved-proved-to-be-surprising-blueprint-for-new-york-knicks-point-guard
– Synergy Tells All Regarding the Wizards Offense, Or Lack Thereof (from Troy Halliburton, truthaboutit.net):
” By going beyond the play-by-play section of the box score, Synergy uses 11 different play type statistics to deconstruct all action on the court. On every play, Synergy analyzes transition, isolation, pick & roll: ball handler, pick & roll: roll man, post-up, spot-up, hand-off, cut, off-screen, putbacks, and more, to give an analysis of the final result. By cataloging all of the action that takes place in each play of every game, Synergy provides a comprehensive look at how players and teams execute on offense and defense.”
Read and view it here: http://www.truthaboutit.net/2015/03/synergy-tells-all-regarding-the-wizards-offense-or-lack-thereof.html
– Pacers still need George, but they’ve survived without him (from David Aldridge, NBA.com):
“Indiana has learned much about itself while Paul George recovers.
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/david_aldridge/03/30/morning-tip-indiana-pacers-wait-for-paul-george-state-of-oklahoma-city-thunder-without-kevin-durant-qa-with-manu-ginobili
(Note: The above link to Aldridge’s column also includes a Manu Ginobili Q&A)
– The Fatigue and Frustrations of Marc Gasol (from Jonah Jordan, grizzlybearblues.com):
Read it here: http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/3/30/8311133/the-fatigue-and-frustrations-of-marc-gasol
– The Association’s Top Five Benches (from Will Laws, Sports Illustrated):
Read it here; http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/30/nba-benches-manu-ginobili-louis-williams-nick-young-hawks-warriors-spurs
– LaMarcus Aldridge: “We still have time” (from Angus Crawford, sportal.co.au):
” As the Blazers battled to emerge from the malaise of a mid-March slump, seemingly deflated by the loss of perimeter virtuoso Wesley Matthews (to an Achilles injury), one voice resonated louder than all others.
“I think we still have time,” said LaMarcus Aldridge, insisting that Portland’s window for championship contention remains slightly ajar.
Having provided arguably the most scintillating moment of the postseason last May, the Blazers’ dramatic resurgence resembled a far more melancholy reality when their title tilt drew to an abrupt close.
Methodically deconstructed by the Spurs, the second round collapse served as ammunition for those who wished to pigeonhole the team as an offensive juggernaut weighed down by its fundamental fragilities on the other side of the ball.
“We learned a lot from that playoff series. We saw how well they executed, we saw how they never stopped playing and how dialled in they were, you know, they were very particular about the things they did and how hard they played,” Aldridge admitted.
San Antonio strongarmed Portland by an average of 18.3 points per 100 possessions, completing a gentleman’s sweep that sent the Blazers’ brass back to the drawing board.
“They were just locked in, and I think we saw that we weren’t on that level [last year]. But I think every player understands what it takes to win, and we saw how they beat us up close and personal, so I think we get it.
“This team is probably a little bit better than last year as far as experience goes. From the guys we had being in those moments last year, then adding Arron [Afflalo] and [Chris] Kaman and Steve Blake, I think they give us more experience and I think they make us better, too,” said Aldridge.
But for all that grew in the Pacific Northwest in the early months of this season, with the new, veteran pieces pollinating with Portland’s existing core, so much of how this team progressed could be attributed to the steady hand of their weapon on the wing.
With Wesley Matthews’ ascension—thriving as the leader of the guards—everything began to look a little rosier.
As you start to peel back the layers on the first two-thirds of 2014-15, to better grasp the growth of Portland’s defence, it becomes eminently clearer what was lost the moment that Matthews clutched at his heel on March 5.”
Read it here: http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/lamarcus-aldridge-talks-wesley-matthews-blazers-playoffs/1hlct2dheat4w148tznh4gndqv
– The Decline of the Power Forward (from Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland.com):
” The rise of the 3-point shot is the most tangible element of NBA basketball’s rapid evolution. But to increase the number of 3s, you also have to take something away. Today, we also find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented 2-point recession, and you can see its fingerprints on everything from where guys stand on the court to free-agency valuations to player development.
Whether by design or accident, when the NBA Competition Committee implemented the 3-point line in the 1979-80 season, it began a process that eventually ushered us into a brave new hoops world where conventional power forwards are less useful than ever. As more teams take advantage of the 3-point line, a second low-post presence is now recognized as inefficient and anathema to spacing….it’s hard to find lamentations for how the league’s boundless appetite for 3s is forever cheapening traditional forms of basketball practice and luring more and more bigs away from the blocks”
Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/kevin-love-cleveland-cavaliers-anthony-davis-new-orleans-pelicans/
– Defense is the Pelicans problem, Is Tony Bennett the answer? (from David Fisher, thebridwrites.com):
” Want a guy with head coaching experience? Championships in the toughest conference? A knack for defensive excellence? Boxes all checked.”
Read and view it here: http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/3/31/8297613/defense-is-the-pelicans-problem-tony-bennett-is-the-answer
– Korver and Curry Are Front Runners for the 50-40-90 Club (from Eric Stang, Vantage Sports):
” Since the NBA introduced the three-point line in the 1979–1980 season, the 50–40–90 shooting percentage threshold has only been crossed by six players: Steve Nash, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant. Nash and Bird are the only players who have achieved 50–40–90 club status in multiple seasons. Bird was the first player to join this club and did so consecutively in the ’86-’87 and ’87-’88 seasons. Nash achieved membership four times in five seasons: ’05-’06, ’07-’08, ’08-’09, and ’09-’10. He narrowly missed a fifth consecutive membership season by shooting 89.9 percent from the free-throw line for the ’06–’07 season.
With the current NBA season coming to a close, there are two players with a very strong chance to join this elite scoring club along with three more who have a chance if they get hot. This article will take an in-depth look at each player’s specific scoring and movement metrics provided by Vantage Sports to provide some insight into his chances of joining the 50-40-90 Club.”
Read and view it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VQkD_ykAACgA6bbL/korver-and-curry-are-front-runners-for-the-50-40-90-club
(BI Note: Meyers Leonard’ shooting is also worth noting. Although his limited playing time means that he won’t have the requisite # of shots to qualify being listed among league leaders, his #s are nonetheless impressive: .506, .433, .926)
– After the Crash: Bobby Phills Remembered (from Jonathan Abrams, Grantland.com):
Read it here: http://grantland.com/features/bobby-phills-nba-charlotte-hornets-guard-death-car-crash-david-wesley-paul-silas/
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
–Udonis Haslem: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/03/30/3727062_heats-udonis-haslem-makes-impact.html
–Gerald Wallace: http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4718651/wallace-soars-in-limited-role-with-celtics
– Nerlens Noel: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150331_Sixers__Noel_is_6-11___growing.html
– DeMarcus Cousins: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12589705/demarcus-cousins-sacramento-kings-sits-memphis-grizzlies
– Otto Porter: http://www.bulletsforever.com/2015/3/30/8312243/otto-porter-washington-wizards-nba-more-playing-time-free
– Andre Drummond: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/03/pistons_patter_detroit_center.html
– Sim Bhullar: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/ailene-voisin/article16700834.html