Kelly Dwyer

  • The Portland Trail Blazers? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Portland Trail Blazers are about to enter a chaotic, potentially torturous and franchise-altering postseason. None of this was ever supposed to happen.

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

    Most factored the Blazers to be just a slight skip below the litany of Western championship contenders entering 2014-15, but nobody would have been shocked had the team taken three series’ on its way toward its first Finals berth in 23 years. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge took turns dominating the Houston Rockets in a first round win last year, and the team’s ever-expanded supporting cast appeared to have enough to keep Portland in the thick of it while slogging through an 82-game turn.

    "I'm definitely not one to prolong things or drag it out,'' Aldridge said. "That's not really my personality."

    Aldridge isn’t alone on the free agent front.

    Arron Afflalo, weirdly, could opt out of the last year and $7.7 million of his contract, giving the Blazers even more room to play.

  • The Milwaukee Bucks? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    For once, the Milwaukee Bucks are fascinating. That, in and of itself, is a good start for what had been a forgotten franchise.

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

    Several teams went into 2013-14 looking to tank their way into a high draft pick. Some of those teams, like the Suns and Raptors, failed upward – winning twice as many games as projected while possibly delaying the inevitable rebuild they’ll still need to turn things around. Other teams, like the 76ers and Celtics, did as expected.

    It was Milwaukee that ended the season with the NBA’s worst record, though, working with a roster that was designed to go after a .500 record and lower rung of the Eastern playoffs … again. Fans hated this, and somehow willed that depressing, Larry Drew-led team into the cellar where it perked up with a high pick and Jabari Parker in Wisconsin.

    The improvement will have to come from within. As it already did, surprisingly, in 2014-15.

    - - - - - - -

  • Klay Thompson's father reminds us that Kevin Durant could join the Warriors in 2016

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Kevin Durant is sure going to have a lot of choices before him when he becomes a free agent in 14 months. That’s when he’ll become one, by the way. It won’t be until July 2016 that we’ll find out where Durant wants to spend the next four or five seasons of his career, but we do know that pondering and rumor-mongering about his upcoming choice will dominate the news cycle on most days. This man is 12 months removed from winning the MVP and teams are going to line up for the privilege to pay him through his prime.

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

    “I also heard it on good authority from a team that plays in the Bay Area that they’re going to go hard after Kevin Durant.”

    Mychal Thompson isn’t just your typical NBA dad. He was the first overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, nearly an All-Star in Portland, and was a reserve center on back to back champion Laker teams in 1987 and 1988. Since retirement he’s worked as a color commentator for Minnesota Timberwolves games, and he currently has the same role for Laker radio broadcasts.

    It’s do-able, though. Which is rather frightening.

    - - - - - - -

  • Bob Myers wins the Executive of the Year Award, in a semi-surprise

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The Executive of the Year award is a strange one to handicap, as sometimes the league’s best executive of a particular year could be the guiding hand on a losing team, and sometimes the best teams in the NBA take in upwards of a half-decade to fully construct. As was the case with 2013-14’s Executive of the Year, San Antonio’s R.C. Buford, his movement was spurred into action by David Robinson breaking his foot in Dec. 1996. It certainly wasn’t the Feb. 2014 Austin Daye deal that pushed the Spurs over the top.

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

    This is why it was calming to have an outright, one-year candidate for 2014-15. A guy that went out and picked up the league’s best player before adding several other major rotation players all within the confines of the calendar year.

    Because this is the NBA, though, that guy came in second place.

    Golden State Warriors general manager won the 2014-15 Executive of the Year award on Friday, beating out Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin. Myers, who was the architect of the best regular season team in the NBA this year, received 13 first place votes to Myers’ eight:

  • The Dallas Mavericks? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    This might be too easy, but it’s also too accurate.

    This, from the Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko, is the Dallas Mavericks’ season:

    According to multiple sources, Rondo did not receive a playoff share as the Mavericks divided up $208,940, their portion as a team that competed in the first round, but did not advance.

    […]

    We're not talking about a big chunk of money, by NBA standards. Assuming the other 14 Maverick players got full playoff shares, their take per person was $14,924.

    This is a team that gives players personal locker stall amenities that might outstrip your living room. This is a team that will spare no coin in chasing down free agents. This is a team that will decline to sign a player to a hefty contract or stay out of the luxury tax, not because of cheapness but because of basketball reasons – owner Mark Cuban doesn’t want to be hamstrung in later years from being able to spend as much money as he can on building a winner.

    The Mavs are probably going to use their heart, though, as well they should.

    - - - - - - -

  • The NBA will probably do something about the intentional fouling rules. Should they?

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Following Tuesday night’s slate of NBA action, it’s probably fair to assume that we might be in the final throes of the NBA’s “Hack-a-[Whomever]” era. It was slow while it lasted, from about 2000 until 2015 (with a brief and hilarious blip in 1997), and nobody will miss it when it’s gone.

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

    That doesn’t particularly mean the era should go done get gone, y’all, but it’s hard to see NBA commissioner Adam Silver not pushing for some sort of change when he meets with team owners in the early stages of summer. Even though Silver, as recently as last weekend, said he remains unconvinced that he should fully back a change to the current setup.

    From Brian Mahoney at the Associated Press:

    […]

    […]

    - - - - - - -

  • Atlanta's first round playoff problems look awfully familiar

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The Atlanta Hawks seem to have a big problem. They seem to have acquired a cold. A long-lingering, Eastern Conference-bred, cold.

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

    Atlanta is currently stuck at a 2-2 stalemate with a Brooklyn Nets outfit that was almost universally derided entering the postseason. That Nets team has looked mediocre at best and listless at worst for most of the regular season, and a heaping dosage of that seemed to carry over into the first game of what was expected to be a short series. Brooklyn has gained confidence as it has moved along, however, taking both games in at home and forcing the Hawks to hold their own as they enter that typically-pivotal Game 5 on Wednesday.

    The Hawks should be more than familiar with this scenario.

    Yes, even the Brooklyn Nets. This year, at least.

    (Not you, Dennis.)

    Oh man, our own cold is doing weird things to our senses right now.

    - - - - - - -

  • The New Orleans Pelicans? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The New Orleans’ Pelicans first run to the NBA playoffs (as the actual “Pelicans”) got off to a very chilly bang:

    Ownership gave GM Dell Demps and Monty Williams preseason mandate to make playoffs to keep jobs, w/ no allowance for injuries. They made it.

    Yee-ikes. That’s … good?

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

    Not just for the downer that regarded what was described by many as an unexpected playoff berth to be a franchise-saver – it would be unrealistic to pin any coach or general manager’s future on making or breaking it at the bottom of the West’s nutty playoff bracket – but to the unnerving thought that maybe it isn’t the best possible move for this organization to retain both Monty Williams as coach and Dell Demps as general manager. That a barely-there three-pointer, shot by a 7-footer on Feb. 6, would eventually decide the fates (again, good or bad) for Pelicans fans.

    Just how much credit you want to give Monty for his ability to make the postseason with Eric Gordon missing 21 games depends on just how dim a view as you have of Gordon’s game.

    - - - - - - -

  • The Boston Celtics? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Things are so cutthroat, so cynical in the modern NBA that we’re left to worry even over what should be the most warming and potential-laden of situations. The Boston Celtics manage to be both, currently, surprising many with its all-out team play down the stretch of what was supposed to be another lost season, earning a playoff berth while still managing to add significant assets along the way. All while declining to surrender a significant asset of their own.

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

    (Unless you think the 2019 NBA draft, laden with teenagers born around the fin de siècle – gulp – will change the NBA. I wouldn’t care to know how this year’s freshman class of high schoolers are doing, and we’ll get to this later.)

    Boston won 40 games in 2014-15 and was close to a victory in many more, the complete opposite of a 2013-14 campaign that saw them (understandably) sleepwalking right from the get-go, unable to even shake things up late in Rajon Rondo’s return from injury, even losing two games down the stretch to the tankable Philadelphia 76ers.

    Then, almost shockingly, the Celtics neared that corner.

  • Milwaukee's long arms overcome long odds to take Game 5 against Chicago

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    CHICAGO – The Milwaukee Bucks would seem to be playing with figurative house money, leaping from the worst record in the NBA to a playoff berth within a year, working with what used to a be a 3-0 playoff deficit in the team’s first round series against the Bulls, free and easy and bereft of complication.

    Not so, according to Bucks coach Jason Kidd. Milwaukee pulled closer to Chicago with a 94-88 win on Monday evening, setting the series at 3-2 as it heads back to Milwaukee. According to the first-year Bucks coach, his team is hardly playing as if little matters in its showdown with Chicago’s championship contender.

    “We’re not playing for the people,” Kidd reminded after Game 5, “we’re playing for each other.”

    Slightly annoyed by the insinuation that his team has little to lose in its surprise first round showing, Kidd reminded the press that the Milwaukee Bucks “have everything to lose.”

    They’re certainly playing like it.

    “This is our reality,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau noted following the loss. “We’ve been shooting the three great, tonight we went 4-22. It’s a make or miss league.”

    - - - - - - -