The NBA, like many employers, likes to stay up to date on its employees' habits and interests. The most obvious examples involve things like drug tests and, increasingly, sleep schedules. But the league sometimes likes to get a bit more personal instead of just private — figuring out what players like to do, not only what they ingest. For that, we have the NBA's annual Player Questionnaire.
Robin Lopez of the Portland Trail Blazers received this year's questionnaire and apparently considered it a little silly. Because he decided to answer every question as if the year were 1928, not 2014. From his Instagram (via Blazersedge):Fri, Oct 24Portland99 - 89LA ClippersGame Recap
The rebranding of the Charlotte Bobcats as the Charlotte Hornets has been a very positive experience, with a franchise in need of market traction and increased popularity grabbing hold of one of the most recognizable brands in the NBA's past 25 years. The teams' logos and mascot have been updated a bit, but the Hornets are back. Everyone get out your old Starter jackets and Skybox trading cards.
What are the Los Angeles Lakers even trying to do? With Kobe Bryant coming off a six-game season, the Lakers entered the offseason looking to assemble a roster and coaching staff able to carry the team to the postseason through their icon's massive two-year contract extension. The result is one of the most confusing, seemingly dysfunctional squads in the league. Somehow, they look worse than the outfit that finished a lost season with the worst winning percentage in franchise history.Fri, Oct 24Sacramento93 - 92LA LakersGame Recap
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
Los Angeles Clippers wing Matt Barnes has had a really, really bad preseason. As noted by Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, Barnes is just 3-of-31 (9.7 percent) from the field and 1-of-18 (5.6 percent) from beyond the arc through five preseason appearances totaling 114 minutes. It could just be a slump, but Barnes will be looking to reverse his play as the team sets about challenging for a championship this season.
If you have read anything about Houston Rockets All-Star guard James Harden in the last six months, then you have probably watched or at least seen a link to this 11-minute video of his worst defensive failures:
The lowlight mix has become as much a part of Harden's reputation as his elite scoring, casting him as a lackadaisical defender whose regular lapses could be holding back the Rockets from championship contention. Some videos become viral and seize the sport's attention for a few days or weeks, but this one has become shorthand for the "Weaknesses" section of a Harden scouting report.
The Rockets are understandably not especially happy with the ongoing popularity of the Harden defense video and other related clips. So much, in fact, that general manager Daryl Morey thinks continued focus on these videos is ridiculous. From Sam Amick for USA Today:Fri, Oct 24San Antonio87 - 96HoustonGame Recap
It's no big secret that Miami Heat icon Dwyane Wade is aging and no longer has the overwhelming athleticism that helped him build a Hall of Fame career. Wade can still be effective, but we know from the 2013-14 season that he is not on the same level as the NBA's top superstars. He needs a new standard for competition.
Heat fans will hope that Wade's latest challenger has not set his new level. Nelly, a big Heat fan, just turned 90 years old. To celebrate, she decided to challenge her favorite player to a game of one-on-one with this video (via Triangle Offense):
Well that's just adorable, especially when Nelly says "Wow!" after making a basket on a six-foot rim, which is still pretty darn impressive for a 90-year-old. Wade heard Nelly loud and clear, so he invited her to the Heat's shootaround ahead of Tuesday night's exhibition against the Houston Rockets. He posted about the meeting on Instagram:
The caption of Wade's photo:Fri, Oct 24Miami104 - 98MemphisGame Recap
The Golden State Warriors cannot be criticized for lacking ambition. Mark Jackson led the franchise to the playoffs in two consecutive seasons (out of his three total), a feat that made him their most successful head coach since the first Don Nelson era. His reward was a speedy dismissal. For whatever tensions existed between Jackson and his bosses — and there were many, to the point where a disaster may have loomed — it is fairly apparent that the people in charge of the Warriors expect to challenge for titles, not to lose out on homecourt advantage in the first round and take one playoff series every couple years. Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber want one of the league's preeminent franchises.Fri, Oct 24Denver112 - 119Golden StateGame Recap
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
The Chicago Bulls figure to be one of the most intriguing teams of the 2014-15 season, a talented squad that shouldn't be worse than a solid playoff team and could possibly contend for a championship, depending on a few factors. The biggest of those variables figures to be the health and related effectiveness of point guard Derrick Rose, currently healthy after returning from the second of two consecutive season-ending knee injuries. After playing in only 10 games last season and failing to star in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball, Rose needs to prove he can return to his former status before the Bulls will be seen as members of the NBA's elite.
That process will take some time, because Rose needs to excel for a prolonged period of time to turn back into an MVP candidate. For now, though, Rose is serving notice that he can play at an elite level when needed. In Monday night's exhibition game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Columbus, Ohio, Rose looked like his old self with 30 points in (12-of-18 FG, 4-of-5 3FG) in just 24 minutes of play.Fri, Oct 24Minnesota113 - 112ChicagoGame Recap
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
The gruesome leg injury suffered by Paul George in a USA Basketball exhibition was arguably the biggest non-acquisition moment of the NBA offseason. The Pacers immediately lost their already iffy status as East contenders and now look headed for a lottery appearance, if not full-scale rebuilding. Plus, the league as a whole will be without one of its brightest young stars. It's a shame all around.
Given this state of things, any progress in George's recovery looks pretty positive. So it was nice to find out on Tuesday that he's back on the court and taking jumpers after Pacers practice. Check out the video from VigilantSports.com:Thu, Oct 23Indiana88 - 79CharlotteGame Recap
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie8 days ago
Last season went about as well as the Portland Trail Blazers organization and fans could have hoped. The team immediately outperformed preseason expectations with a 17-3 (and then 31-9) start to put itself in excellent position to grab a postseason berth. A rough March kept them from nabbing homecourt advantage in the first round, but a thrilling six-game victory over the Houston Rockets — capped by Damian Lillard's series-ending buzzer-beater — ensured that the Blazers could look at 2013-14 as a massive success. Over the course of a few months, a team thought to be in rebuilding mode became able to entertain challenging for a conference title.