Ball Don't Lie
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie36 mins ago
Is there any precedent for the Cleveland Cavaliers' fantastically successful summer? A massively disappointing team that couldn't even make the playoffs in a terrible conference when actively trying to earn any seed parlayed their geographical location, the vagaries of narrative, and lottery luck into the best player of his generation, another perennial All-Star, and genuine contender status. Sometimes good fortune does more than all the effort in the world.
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
It's been two seasons since the NBA and apparel partner Adidas introduced short-sleeved jerseys into teams' uniform rotations, and it seems like the only thing expanding as quickly as the number of squads wearing the new duds has been the complaints about them, from writers, the0, the1 and players. All the squawking — first from the2, then from the3, and the4, and the5, and the6, and, on the7 the8, LeBron James — made the NBA appear to be prizing merchandising and marketing more than the actual feelings of the players who had to wear the things. (On that score, I'm guessing LeBron's concerns carried a bit more weight with the decision-makers than Beno's did.)
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie11 hrs ago
Most introductions to Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra note his impressive rise up the ranks of the organization. He took a job as a video coordinator in 2005 after spending some time in Germany, became assistant coach a few years later, and was promoted to the head coaching job after the 2007-08 season when Pat Riley retired from the sidelines. He worked his way up, proved himself at every level, and did enough to earn two championships as a head coach and one as an assistant.
According to Spoelstra, though, he almost turned down his interview for his first job with the franchise. And he would have passed up that opportunity of a lifetime for a Grateful Dead show. From a new profile by Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated (via PBT):
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie12 hrs ago
It is no secret that Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert had a trying end to the 2013-14 NBA season. After earning All-Star honors and emerging as a Defensive Player of the Year favorite over the first few months, Hibbert sputtered after the break and into the postseason, enduring four zero-point performances in the playoffs and a lot of criticism.
Hibbert entered the offseason hoping to reclaim his once lofty status and called upon Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to serve as a personal instructor. Kareem, who helped Andrew Bynum during his best days with the Los Angeles Lakers, figured to help Hibbert develop post moves and increase his chances at becoming a more dependable scorer for a Pacers team in need of added firepower.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie17 hrs ago
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C: The Brooklyn Game. Joe Johnson can’t hide his giggly-face when asked about the difference between Lionel Hollins and former Net coach Jason Kidd’s practice schedule:
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie17 hrs ago
Here's a photo of LeBron James during the 2014 NBA Finals back in June:
Here's a photo of LeBron James during a Nike event in Beijing, China, in July:
Here's a screencap of LeBron during his interview with Rachel Nichols that aired on CNN on Friday, Sept. 26:
And here are photos of LeBron participating in the Cleveland Cavaliers' first training camp practice on Saturday, Sept. 27, as captured by the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie18 hrs ago
Here is what Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams looked like in mid-August:
Here is what the rising sophomore bruiser looks like now, as captured at Thunder Media Day on Monday afternoon:
Hmmm. Something's different. Can't quite put my finger on what, though. Maybe if I take a closer look.
Oh, right — the mustache. Pretty impressively '70sy, Mr. Adams. Very "Orange is the New Black," too, which is a bonus.
So to what do we owe the pleasure, Steven? And can we count on you hanging onto the flavor-saver throughout each of OKC's many high-definition, nationally televised tilts this season?
Adams says the mustache is just for the media guide picture: "So that when someone opens up the book, stache."
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie18 hrs ago
The Toronto Raptors weren’t supposed to win last season.
They weren’t designed to fail, but they weren’t far off. In fairness they weren’t designed at all by general manager Masai Uriri, who was lured from Denver after the 2012-13 season concluded to replace former GM Bryan Colangelo. Working without a first round draft pick and much trade leverage, Ujiri still managed to dump Andrea Bargnani and his contract on the New York Knicks for a cadre of draft picks, but by and large his Raptors looked very much like the squad Colangelo had put together in hopes of making the playoffs the year before.
Search any 2013-14 season preview roundup, though, and you’ll find Toronto’s name listed squarely amongst those that were expected to more or less sit out the season during the NBA’s Great Tanking Scourge of the Long Winter. The Raps may have featured a playoff-level payroll, nearly dishing out the luxury tax last year, but Toronto was supposed to battle with the 76ers, Celtics and Magic in the race for more and more ping-pong balls in the draft lottery.
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie19 hrs ago
Every year, as the injuries pile up, Tom Thibodeau invokes the mantra: "We have enough to win." This time, that might actually be true.
After grinding out a first-round win before a gentleman's sweep in Round 2 without their leader, the Chicago Bulls entered the 2013-14 season hoping for a return to prominence helmed by Derrick Rose, finally healthy following his April 2012 left ACL tear. Just 10 games later, though, Rose was back on the shelf after tearing the meniscus in his right knee, and Thibodeau was back to scratching out wins one stop at a time.
- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
We’re just two years removed from the Philadelphia 76ers nearly knocking off the Boston Celtics for a shot at the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, and not a single player remains from that roster. Gone is every pick predating Michael Carter-Williams, and yet the Sixers’ brass is banking on a rebuilding strategy that will rely heavily upon new-ish general manager Sam Hinkie’s draft success.
It’s not such a bad bet gambling on Hinkie, especially since he’s enjoyed a bit of good fortune the past two years. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s former right-hand man landed last year’s Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, with the No. 11 pick when draft duds littered the top 10, and he came away with perhaps the best player in this past June’s draft, Joel Embiid, at No. 3.
Throw in possibly the best player from the 2013 NBA draft (Nerlens Noel), the potential steal of this year’s edition (Dario Saric), and a couple more first-round selections in 2015, and Philadelphia seems to have a solid foundation for the future. Then again, we said that back in the 2011-12 season, too.