Kelly Dwyer

  • Sam Hinkie, clearly, wasn't a fan of self-preservation in Philly

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 5 hrs ago

    Former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie is either about to turn into a world class NBA martyr, or his role in creating what could be the league’s next great team might be lost to history even in this hyper-aware age of reporting.

    We probably should be years away from putting pen to paper on the definitive tome regarding his legacy in Philly, and the truth should probably lie somewhere in the middle between those annoying “Hinkie Died For Your Sins” signs and the bash-fests; but, per usual, with the way things are heading we’re probably going to have to scratch our way into the gray areas.

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    Teams have taken a year to lose before, and potentially two-to-10 inadvertently losing seasons following that, but never has a GM been afforded the luxury of three purposeful years in the cellar. Life with Hinkie – not just the losing but his dodgy relationship with players, agents and fellow GMs – had become similarly untenable.

    “Keep the job.”

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  • Eric Bledsoe gathered his new super-young teammates for workouts

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, a 26-year old about to enter the prime of his career, needs to make this right.

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    Bledsoe has undergone three meniscus repair surgeries in his short NBA career, and he was unable to play a single game in the “2016” part of the 2015-2016 season due to an operation on his left knee. In recent years his Suns have dealt away veteran helpers like Goran Dragic and All-Star Isaiah Thomas for younger assets, and last February teammate Markieff Morris was sent to Washington for that team’s eventual lottery pick.

    In return, the Suns took in a series of draft picks ranging from years 2016 to 2021. And, because this is how the NBA draft apparently works now, the team’s first round cash-in resulted in a series of teenagers hearing their names called by the Suns: Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss. Combined age? Don’t ask.

    .@EBled2 has organized team workouts in San Diego this week – I love the leadership he's showing to this young team. pic.twitter.com/T9wsDuafR6

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  • Bulls rookie Denzel Valentine will wear Michael Jordan's old number

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    When Michael Jordan returned to the NBA in the early spring of 1995, it was hardly a surprise. He’d been flirting with the idea for months, the baseball team he was slumming with was in the middle of a players’ strike, and he was still technically under contract with the Chicago Bulls. By the time he issued his famous “I’m back” fax, we were all pretty used to the idea that Jordan was, well, back .

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    What we weren’t used to was the man’s new uniform. For nine seasons Jordan had worn No. 23 with the Bulls. He’d chosen No. 45 to wear in the Chicago White Sox minor league system, but many assumed this was only because the Sox featured hot shot Robin Ventura with No. 23 at the time, and MJ didn’t want any conflict should he be called up to The Show.

    Some 21 years later, someone new has MJ’s old number:

    4️⃣5️⃣ @denzelvalentine Get yours ➡️ https://t.co/iqusFoTj7R pic.twitter.com/16t8pHuBJg

    Uh oh.

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  • Grading the 2016 NBA draft

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    We’re well aware that draft grades – passing judgment on the hiring of a 19 or even 18-year old just hours after their names were called – is rather silly. There were 30 NBA franchises working with 30 disparate motivations, strategies, needs and abilities on Thursday night during the league’s draft, and though some fared better than others the 2016 NBA draft (like all NBA drafts) was not a level playing field for myriad reasons.

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    With that in place, we can still hand out interim report cards for every franchise on the docket. Dig in:

    Atlanta Hawks

    The Haul: Taurean Prince (Baylor) at 12, DeAndre Bembry (St. Joseph’s) at 21, Isaia Cordinier (France) at 44.

    Grade: B

    ***

    Boston Celtics

    The Haul: Jaylen Brown (California) at 3, Guerschon Yabusele (France) at 16, Ante Zizic (Croatia) at 23, lottery-protected first round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers in either 2019 or 2020, Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame) at 45, Ben Bentil (Providence) at 51, Abdel Naber (Iowa State) at 58.

    The tramping the dirt down on Danny Ainge’s supposed grave of assets needs to be dialed back a bit.

    Grade: B

    ***

  • James Harden on free agent Dwight Howard: 'I haven't really talked to him'

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    Yes, the Houston Rockets disappointed in 2015-16 and, yes, stars James Harden and Dwight Howard didn’t always seem to coalesce on or off the court during the team’s but-with-a-whimper run to a first round exit, but couldn’t the boys at least give a cursory attempt to keep it all together? Maybe a text thread, however insincere, started by Harden as he attempts to convince Howard to stick with the team as a free agent summer?

    Nah. Not the Rocket Way.

    It was long assumed that Howard would opt out of his contract this summer even if the pair had gotten along famously and the Rox contended for a title, as there is a lot of money to be made this summer. That expectation was driven home during the regular season as the Rockets struggled and Harden and Howard’s non-existent relationship reached stasis levels in its second year together and crisis levels during its third. The hiring of coach and former Dwight combatant Mike D’Antoni just about made the Howard opt-out ironclad.

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    Now, there are myriad reasons for this.

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  • The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by a legendary performance from LeBron James, are NBA champions. Though James has 46,861 (bloody hell) combined regular and postseason minutes under his belt, there is little reason to believe that the 2016 Finals MVP can’t come through with yet another performance along those lines during the 2017 Finals. Given the little resistance his Cavs will, at this point in our estimation, likely receive from the Eastern Conference, it’s expected that he’ll be take to his seventh consecutive NBA Finals 12 months from now.

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    What’s concerning as always – as it was with his lacking team in his 2007 Finals loss, his bewildered team in his 2011 Finals loss, his too top-heavy team in his 2014 Finals loss, and his injured team in his 2015 Finals loss – is the support around him. These aren’t digs at James. An individual can mean the world in this league, but this remains a team sport.

    And, for one year, James can get away with it without creating the largest NBA payroll and luxury tax windfall we’ve ever seen.

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  • The Golden State Warriors? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    The Golden State Warriors should not be ashamed of themselves.

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    This year’s version of the team won 88 games between October and early June, and they were involved in a tie game in the final minute of a Game 7 to win it all on Sunday night before falling just short. Was that game at home? Yes. Did that contest happen two games and six days following the first of the team’s three different chances to nail a clinching win and second consecutive championship? Sure. Is Warrior fatigue a legitimate gripe? I guess?

    Some teams don’t match up well with others. The embarrassing Chicago Bulls of the last two years give the Cleveland Cavaliers all they can handle in regular season games. This same Warrior franchise downed a 67-win Dallas Mavericks team nearly a decade ago after winning just about every other game during the regular season. Ted Williams couldn’t slap one the other way, and Joni Mitchell says “about” kinda funny. The greats are not infallible.

    That’s the core. Now the questions.

    Would the Warriors want to make it happen, though?

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  • Three reasons why the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 7 and a title

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship in franchise history on Sunday night, downing the top-seeded and 73-win Golden State Warriors by a 93-89 score in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals.

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    Here are three key reasons why the champs pulled it out:

    LeBron James left it out there

    The 2016 NBA Finals MVP sat all of 71 seconds of a 2,880-second basketball game in Game 7, steadying the Cavalier offense with his screen-and-roll work as proto-point guard while working the back end defensively in ways that didn’t show up in Vines or highlight clips. James was masterful in his 199th playoff game, notching a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and three blocks in the win.

    As is the usual custom for players who average 36.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists, three blocks and 2.7 steals per contest over a three-game span, LeBron’s Cavaliers won Games 5-7 and became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the Finals.

    Kyrie’s crutch

  • Three Things to Watch: Golden State vs. Cleveland, Game 7

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 10 days ago

    Sunday night will provide the NBA and its fans with the most important game in league history. It will feature a superstar that could one day retire as the greatest player in league history working against a record-setting squad fighting for its chance to be regarded as the best team in NBA history.

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    At no point in NBA Finals lore have the stakes ever been higher. Previous outfits from Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Antonio to Los Angeles failed in their attempts to create something as lofty. The heft behind Sunday night’s winner-take-all Game 7 cannot be overstated, though we’ll certainly go down trying.

    Here are three things that might stick out, in the game that will decide the NBA’s 2015-16 championship.

    The Legend of LeBron

    It says far, far too much about how LeBron James’ career has been handled, to date, that his work in Games 5 and 6 has been considered somewhat surprising to some. And that his play during the first four games of the series was looked on as somehow disappointing. Some 15 years after meeting the guy, we’re still getting him all wrong.

    Matchups

  • Three reasons why Cleveland topped Golden State in Game 6

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 12 days ago

    The Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that entered Monday having lost eight of nine against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, have pushed the 2016 NBA Finals to the brink. On the back of the team’s superstar, the Cavaliers took Game 6 by a 115-101 score, forcing a Game 7 and winner-take-all contest on Sunday to decide the NBA’s 2015-16 champion.

    Here are three reasons why Cleveland was able to prevail on Thursday.

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    LeBron Freakin’ James

    With five minutes left in the third quarter, LeBron James hit a driving layup to put his Cavaliers up by a 74-57 score. That would seem like a comfortable lead, but with Stephen Curry warming up and Klay Thompson in the middle of what would turn into a 15-point quarter, the Cavaliers needed their franchise player to let loose.

    LeBron’s night ended with him scoring 41 points, turning the ball over just once in 42 minutes of action, contributing 11 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Goodness, gracious, sakes alive.

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