Eric Freeman

  • BDL 25: Can the Golden State Warriors be that perfect again?

    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 2015-16.

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

    The Warriors enter 2015-16 as favorites to repeat if only for the totality of their success last season, but their relatively frictionless path to glory makes projecting their finish tougher than it might be for a more conventional defending champion. Teams that make an arduous climb to the top are expected to stay there for at least a season or two, but a group like Golden State has not proven an ability to contend outside of 2014-15. The question is if that proves to be a fluke or their new normal.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • The Clippers are planning to add a mascot, so here are some suggestions

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has made no secret of his plans to change the identity of the most consistently shameful and mismanaged organization in NBA history. Not engaging in overt racism means that he has already been an improvement over Donald Sterling, although early returns on the franchise's new uniforms and logos have not been positive. Despite that early mix of positives and negatives, Ballmer's ability to overhaul the Clippers' image must be obsessed at least a bit into the future, when we can take a broader view of his tenure and his vision for the city's second-most popular professional basketball team.

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

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today!]

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Dwight Howard brought a gun to Houston airport, will not be charged

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard was detained at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport last Friday after officials found a gun in his bag. This scenario apparently occurs with some frequency in Houston, and the Rockets center was allowed to board a later flight without being charged.

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

    TMZ had the news first via an unsourced report. Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com has the breakdown of the official story:

    In Texas, a person can carry a concealed handgun with the proper license. A law passed this year will allow those in Texas with a conceal-carry license to openly carry starting Jan. 1, 2016.

    The TMZ report includes several as yet unconfirmed details, including that the gun (a Glock 26 9 mm) was loaded.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

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

    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 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.

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

  • Andrew Wiggins dunks on Andres Nocioni at FIBA Americas

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days 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.

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

    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 4 days 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?

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

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today!]

    - - - - - - -

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 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.

    - - - - - - -

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 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.

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

    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:

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today!]

    - - - - - - -

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 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.

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

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 8 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.

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

    That wide-eyed stare says so much.

    More Dunk History:

    More NBA coverage:

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric