Eric Freeman

  • BDL 25: The Rockets try to regain a sense of decency

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 21 hrs ago

    The NBA offseason has brought many changes to rosters, coaching staffs, and the list of championship contenders. As we draw closer to opening night, it’s time to move our focus from the potential impact of each offseason event and onto the broader issues that figure to define this season. The BDL 25 takes stock of, uh, 25 key storylines to get you up to speed on where the most fascinating teams, players, and people stand on the brink of 2016-17.

    It’s difficult to justify the 2015-16 Houston Rockets. A Western Conference finalist the previous season, Houston entered the campaign with hopes of challenging for a title. The Rockets instead regressed terribly, looking as if they had no interest in playing together and never stringing together a sustained run of quality. The Rockets limped into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, but their inability to take advantage of Stephen Curry’s injury in the first round summed up the season in general. This team simply looked disengaged and unmotivated from October through April.

    Previously, on BDL 25:

    Chris Bosh’s increasingly hazy career prospects

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  • BDL 25: Expect the Utah Jazz to take a big leap forward

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The NBA offseason has brought many changes to rosters, coaching staffs, and the list of championship contenders. As we draw closer to opening night, it’s time to move our focus from the potential impact of each offseason event and onto the broader issues that figure to define this season. The BDL 25 takes stock of, uh, 25 key storylines to get you up to speed on where the most fascinating teams, players, and people stand on the brink of 2016-17.

    Fans and media generally pick one team to improve considerably before every season, to the point where once games start that group usually sneaks up on no one. The identity of this year’s group was obvious as soon as the 2015-16 season ended, if not earlier.

    The Utah Jazz, who lost out on a playoff berth right before their last game of the season, are widely expected to make the postseason, perhaps even easily enough to nab home-court advantage in the first round. Quin Snyder’s young team added veterans in the offseason, will get several key players back from serious injury, and looks ready to take the next step. Bet against them at your own peril.

    Previously, on BDL 25:

    Will the Pistons ever get into gear?

  • Andre Drummond is using virtual reality to be a better FT shooter

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The NBA’s worst free throw shooters are marked men, assailed on all sides by intentional foulers and mocking fans alike. The likes of DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard will try pretty much anything to improve — practicing more, changing their shooting form in minor ways, and maybe even undergoing some kind of psychological counseling. It rarely works, but the effort they put in is considerable.

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    ”They recorded me shooting a ton of free throws, and obviously recorded the makes, and watching over and over again and just training my brain,” he said.

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  • BDL 25: The Lakers venture into the post-Kobe era

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The NBA offseason has brought many changes to rosters, coaching staffs, and the list of championship contenders. As we draw closer to opening night, it’s time to move our focus from the potential impact of each offseason event and onto the broader issues that figure to define this season. The BDL 25 takes stock of, uh, 25 key storylines to get you up to speed on where the most fascinating teams, players, and people stand on the brink of 2016-17.

    [Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Basketball | Mock Draft | The Vertical | Latest news]

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Previously, on BDL 25:

    Chris Bosh’s increasingly hazy career prospects

    Kevin Durant sets about winning back our love

  • LeBron and others address National Anthem protests at NBA games

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    NBA preseason media days are usually no-drama affairs where players and coaches can discuss their hopes for the season and maybe throw the media a low-level story or two. However, this year has proven quite different due to the ongoing controversy over the decisions of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players to not stand during the pre-game “Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of police killings and treatment of minorities throughout the country. The NBA is a predominantly black league that did not shy away from these issues this summer even before Kaepernick started his protest in August, and the expectation has been that its players will engage in similar protests once games get started with the support of coaches and executives. In fact, the league and players’ union are already working together to attempt to take “meaningful action.”

  • BDL 25: Kevin Durant sets about winning back our love

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 24 days ago

    The NBA offseason has brought many changes to rosters, coaching staffs, and the list of championship contenders. As we draw closer to opening night, it’s time to move our focus from the potential impact of each offseason event and onto the broader issues that figure to define this season. The BDL 25 takes stock of, uh, 25 key storylines to get you up to speed on where the most fascinating teams, players, and people stand on the brink of 2016-17.

    No matter the logic of Durant’s move, it’s hard to escape the thought that the identity of the 2016-17 champion feels preordained. The Warriors were overwhelming favorites last year and added one of the two or three best players in the league. The last three games of the NBA Finals proved that the inevitable can sometimes be nothing of the sort, but that was a historic comeback for a reason. Does it really make sense to bet against Golden State this season? And who else but Durant is to blame for the prospect of more than six months of awaiting a result we already seem to know?

    I’m here to tell you not to worry — this season is going to be fun, like all of them are, and maybe especially because of Durant.

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    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Lawsuit alleges that Warriors' app illegally listens in on users

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 27 days ago

    The Golden State Warriors have been at the forefront of bringing innovations of the tech world to the NBA. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise — their primary owner, Joe Lacob, is a partner at a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm and much of the team’s Bay Area fan base works in tech. For instance, they were one of the first NBA franchises to develop its own mobile app, and plenty of others have followed suit.

    It appears that the team’s groundbreaking app may have done more than usher in a new era of NBA team-to-fan interaction. A class action suit filed in San Francisco alleges that the Warriors’ app records users with phones’ microphone and tracks their location even when not using the program. From Marisa Kendall of Silicon Beat:

    “Even more disconcerting,” the lawyers wrote, “the app turns on the microphone (listening and recording) any time the app is running. No mater if a consumer is actively using the app or if it is merely running in the background: the app is listening.” […]

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  • An NBA journeyman wants to take you inside his life via virtual reality

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 28 days ago

    A lot of NBA-focused media is about access. Reporters aim to give fans an insider’s take on what’s going on around the sport, league-run outlets like NBA.com and NBA TV offer interviews and features, and players themselves now reach out directly through social media. However, each of these efforts is really just a proxy for being part of an NBA team. Fans could never hope to live that — it’s an experience available to only a select few coaches and players.

    A longtime NBA big man is attempting to change all that. Thirty-three-year-old Lou Amundson, a current free agent who has played for 10 teams (and the Bulls twice) since 2007, has plans to make a virtual reality game about the life of a professional basketball player. From Jared Zwerling for NBPA.com, the official website of the players’ union:

    At this point, Amundson is still learning more about the hardware technology that would be needed to pull off his project ideas. “Stuff in VR takes time to write code,” he said. “But we’re definitely on that path right now.”

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  • Larry Sanders accuses Bucks of concussion negligence after 2014 injury

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 29 days ago

    Former Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders is one of the more complicated players in recent NBA history. The No. 15 pick in the 2010 draft impressed in his first few seasons as an elite interior defender and seemed primed to become a perennial All-Defensive Team contender when he signed a four-year, $44-million contract extension in the summer of 2013.

    A new feature by Mike Piellucci of Vice Sports brings some insight into Sanders’ post-NBA life and the reasons he left the league. As Sanders puts it, he began to become disenchanted with life in professional basketball when it began to take over too much of his life. He also began not to trust the people meant to take care of him, especially during what he characterizes as an act of severe negligence by the Bucks:

    This is a pretty serious accusation. The NBA instituted its first concussion policy during the 2011-12 season, so Sanders’s injury certainly should have required further testing by the rules. If this did in fact happen, the Bucks would be subject to punishment from the league at minimum.

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  • Ex-Nuggets coach recalls NBA's anthem controversy with iffy hindsight

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 mth ago

    The NFL and sports world in general are currently in the midst of a controversy surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has decided not to stand during the national anthem in protest of a country that “oppresses black people and people of color.” Kaepernick’s political stand has proven divisive, receiving criticism from various corners of the sport and exposing many of the retrograde racial views and practices that the protest is intended to reveal. It’s a complicated issue that is unlikely to go away until Kaepernick chooses (or is made) to stop sitting.

    “Number one, completely blind. Had no idea that was about to transpire. […]

    “When he got home, we got a call and he said ‘I think I want to be on the trip.’ And that’s our understanding, if you’re on the trip, then you’re standing.”

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    Follow @FreemanEric