Eric Freeman

  • BDL 25: Paul George tries to reclaim stardom and Indiana's contender status

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 hr 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 2015-16.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are so firmly entrenched as East favorites that we ran a feature recently that didn't even contemplate that they could be challenged for the conference title. Unless Derrick Rose returns to superstardom or LeBron James suffers a cataclysmic injury, the Cavs face no clear competition this upcoming season and may only get a serious rival if the Washington Wizards manage to lure Kevin Durant to his hometown in free agency. A regional dynasty looms.

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  • Andrew Wiggins dunks on Andres Nocioni at FIBA Americas

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 21 hrs ago

    Expectations are high for reigning Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins in 2015-16. With the Minnesota Timberwolves now employing the last three first-overall draft picks and several other promising young talents, the pressure is on Wiggins to develop into a superstar capable of leading this franchise back to contention (or at least its first playoff berth since 2004). For what it's worth, our Dan Devine has tabbed him as being fully capable of achieving that goal.

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    The early evidence suggests that Wiggins is on the right track. Former NBA-er Andres Nocioni of Argentina found out the hard way in Canada's FIBA Americas tournament opener on Tuesday as Wiggins finished off his second big poster dunk in just under a week of international duty:

  • DeAndre Jordan leaves agent Dan Fegan after controversial summer

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    When coveted free-agent center DeAndre Jordan broke a verbal agreement to join the Dallas Mavericks to return to the Los Angeles Clippers, analysts and observers wondered what could have changed his mind over the course of just a few days. Did the Clippers wage an assault to convince him L.A. was the place for him? Was their emoji science too tight? Was Blake Griffin's chair barricade just too strong?

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  • BDL 25: Kevin Durant is back to score at will and dominate headlines

    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 2015-16.

    The next year will feature a great deal of speculation about Kevin Durant's future. The pending unrestricted free agent is that rarest of things — a generation-defining superstar who will become available in (or on the cusp) of his prime. Like LeBron James before him, Durant commands enough attention to make all the rumors and speculation to come seem at least somewhat sensible. Transformational talents demand such attention, and the entire league will feel the reverberations of Durant's eventual decision to stay with or leave the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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  • Stephen Curry tapes daughter Riley's ankles in preparation for the new season

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    One member of the Golden State Warriors eclipsed all others during last spring's NBA championship run — Riley Curry, the adorable daughter of NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Whether next to her father at a post-game press conference or the victory parade, Riley grabbed the spotlight and didn't give it up until well into the offseason. We can expect to see much more from her in 2015-16 and beyond.

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    But staying relevant in the NBA takes preparation. So it's a good thin that Steph is preparing Riley for this year with some standard ankle tape:

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  • Mario Hezonja lights up EuroBasket tune-up, daps opposing coach

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Croatian scorer Mario Hezonja stood out among this June's crop of top draft prospects for his extreme cockiness. The 20-year-old, who most recently suited up for Barcelona in Spain's ACB League, plays with determined flair of any number of promising young wings, but his approach to the sport involves such daring acts as calling himself as watchable than Leo Messi and generally not shying away from being brash. The Orlando Magic thought highly enough of his skills to select him with the fifth pick in the draft, and watching Hezonja develop (and try to stay confident in the face of expected growing pains) figures to be one of the more interesting parts of the team's season.

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  • Dunk History: Blake Griffin defines 'Mozgov,' picks up Stoudemire's mantle

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History .

    Today, Eric Freeman revisits Blake Griffin's legendary full-body ruination of Timofey Mozgov from early in the 2010-11 season.

    Blake Griffin became the NBA's most fearsome in-game dunker almost as soon as he officially started his career. After missing all of 2009-10 with a broken left kneecap, Griffin suited up for the Los Angeles Clippers in late October 2010 not just healthy, but possessed of elite athleticism and an attacking instinct that seemed to outstrip any projections and expectations that followed him out of the University of Oklahoma.

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    That wide-eyed stare says so much.

    More Dunk History:

    More NBA coverage:

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  • Brandon Jennings is cool with coming off the Pistons bench

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Detroit Pistons' decision to extend guard Reggie Jackson for five years at $80 million struck many as one of the most controversial moves of the NBA offseason. That's partially because it wasn't clear that Jackson stood as a substantial upgrade over the man he replaced in the starting lineup. Though he is no one's idea of a top-level point guard, veteran Brandon Jennings thrived in Stan Van Gundy's four-out offense once the team cut ties with Josh Smith, putting up excellent numbers prior to suffering a torn Achilles tendon in late January. The Pistons could not count on Jennings to return at the same level after such a serious injury and can be forgiven for seeking an upgrade regardless, but it's not clear that bringing back Jackson for a half-decade represented a quality value proposition.

  • Report: Kyrie Irving's broken knee cap could keep him out until January

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    The Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA Finals defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors was inseparable from the stars missing from the starting lineup. With Kevin Love out since the end of the first round, Game 1's late injury to an already hobbled Kyrie Irving gave the Cavs few options and required they receive a superhuman performance from LeBron James to stay competitive. While it's likely that the Warriors would have won the series anyway, the Cavs were forced into compromise as soon as Irving suffered the fractured left knee cap that ended his season.

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  • NBA says owner Michael Jordan can't pick Jordan Brand endorsers

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    The $250,000 fine imposed upon the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday for presenting then-free agent DeAndre Jordan with an impermissible third-party endorsement with Lexus has brought greater attention to the various ways in which NBA franchises may choose to circumvent the salary cap. With every collective bargaining negotiation featuring talk of competitive balance and the necessity for a lower cap, preserving the sanctity of those rules matters to the league's ability to claim an even playing field for all 30 franchises. Teams must pay their players via league-approved salaries and nothing else.

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    The answer is apparently to keep Jordan from making any decisions involving a conflict of interest. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the NBA will bar Jordan from picking endorsers for Jordan Brand:

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