Grizzlies looking to add another piece?

The Grizzlies have been one of the surprise teams to start the season, as they sit firmly in the Western Conference playoff picture at 13-8. As the season continues to unfold, it looks more and more clear that the Grizzlies hit on nearly all of their offseason moves as they’ve built a team that thrives on playing tough, physical defense at a slow pace.

Mark Giannotto of Commercial Appeal is now asking another question related to the Grizzlies’ season, focusing on how the team can improve its roster during the year to capitalize on this fast start. While the Grizzlies do have several expiring contracts on the roster in the form of Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green, those two are key cogs in the team’s rotation, especially defensively.

The Grizzlies could use another go-to perimeter player to help Mike Conley, but it may be tough to find an ideal trade that doesn’t see the Grizzlies sacrifice too much on the defensive end. Regardless, Memphis may become an active buyer at the trade deadline should their strong play continue.

There’s more from the Southwest division:

  • In a recent mailbag for The Daily Memphian, Chris Herrington addresses potential trade targets for the Grizzlies as they look to address their needs on the perimeter.
  • The Spurs are certainly struggling, as they sit at 10-12 and in 14th place in the Western Conference. As Chelsea Howard points out for Sporting News, Gregg Popovich is putting a lot of blame on himself as he expects more from his coaching performance moving forward.
  • One bright spot for the Spurs has been the play of Bryn Forbes, who looks to be developing into one of the league’s best shooters, as Bryan Kalbrosky writes for HoopsHype. Forbes has received a much larger role due to the various injuries in the backcourt and is averaging 16.1 points and 3 three-pointers per 36 minutes.

By Eric Spyropoulos

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Drake taunts Warriors, Kevin Durant gets revenge later on

Rap mogul Drake is the Raptors global ambassador, so he sits courtside at nearly every home game at Scotiabank Arena.

And given that the Raptors hosted the Warriors in an epic matchup on Thursday night, it was no surprise that Drake was in midseason trolling form.

The Warriors went into halftime trailing 67-58, and Drake made sure to let Kevin Durant and Co. know about it on their way to the locker room.

It wasn’t long until Durant got revenge, though. He drained a three-pointer from the logo in the final seconds of the third quarter, and Drake had an epic reaction to the long-range bomb.

It really is great watching those two go back and forth.

Full Article

By: Matt Birch

 

NBA Power Rankings: Week 6

The Clippers climb into the top-10, and the Bucks bounce all the way up to the top spot in this week’s updated NBA Power Rankings.

1. Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 11-4
The Bucks are balling. They boast the league’s most effective and efficient offense. Milwaukee leads the NBA in Offensive Rating, averaging 115.3 points per 100 possessions. They also are near the top in Defensive Rating, allowing 104.4 points per 100 possessions. The Bucks are the only team in the league to rank in the top-five in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. Unsurprisingly, Milwaukee leads the NBA in Net Rating by a wide margin, outscoring their opponents by 10.7 points per contest.

2. Toronto Raptors
Record: 13-4
Despite losing three of their four games last week, the Raptors have already notched 13 wins this season. No other team in the Eastern Conference has more than 11. Kyle Lowry exited Saturday’s blowout victory over the Bulls in the third quarter and did not return to the contest. However, coach Nick Nurse downplayed the severity of the injury when speaking with reporters after the game.

3. Golden State Warriors
Record: 12-6
The Warriors have lost five of their last seven games, which is the team’s worst seven-game stretch under Steve Kerr, and are now 12-6 on the season. In 2016-17, Golden State didn’t lose their sixth game until January 6th. In 2015-16, the year before Kevin Durant arrived, when they won an NBA-record 73 games, they didn’t lose their sixth game of the season until March 6th! Nonetheless, Steve Kerr said that the team would be “very cautious” bringing Stephen Curry back from his groin injury. Draymond Green is also ailing. He missed this past weekend’s game due to a nagging toe injury.

4. Portland Trail Blazers
Record: 11-5
The Blazers .688 winning percentage is tops in the Western Conference. Portland is the middle of an arduous six-game road trip; after playing the Knicks on Tuesday, the travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks Wednesday night and then face the Warriors in Golden State on Friday.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder
Record: 10-5
Prior Saturday night, Russell Westbrook had missed each of the Thunder’s previous five games due to an ankle sprain. However, Westbrook was able to take part in practice on Friday, including part of the contact portions, and went through shootaround on Saturday. Then, Westbrook’s wife gave birth to twins over the weekend, and Russ left to be with his family. Coach Billy Donovan said that they didn’t know if Westbrook would’ve been physically able to play on Saturday if he was there and they never got to the point where they tried to test him to find out. Russ is listed as out for Monday’s game vs. Sacramento. Nonetheless, the streaking Thunder has won 10 of their last 11 games. That 10-1 record is the best in the league over that stretch.

6. Philadelphia 76ers
Record: 11-7
Jimmy Butler has only been a Sixer for a week, but he’s already made quite an impression. Butler was incredibly clutch late in overtime on Saturday to carry Philly past the Hornets in Charlotte. With less than 15 seconds remaining in the game, Butler blocked Kemba Walker’s final field goal attempt and saved it inbounds to a teammate. Then, Jimmy Buckets came down the other end of the floor and drilled a game-winning dagger 3-pointer with less than a second left on the clock. Welcome to Philadelphia.

7. Los Angeles Clippers
Record: 10-5
The Clippers are rolling right now. They have won six of their last seven, with three of their most recent victories coming against the Bucks, Warriors and Spurs. Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams are all averaging over 19 points per game. The only other teams in the league with a trio over players averaging over 19 ppg are the Warriors and Pelicans.

8. Boston Celtics
Record: 9-7
The Celtics notched an important victory on Friday, when they knocked off the Raptors in overtime, behind 43 points courtesy of Kyrie Irving. However, they scored just 86 points in a home loss to the Jazz on Saturday. Boston’s offensive struggles this season have been puzzling. They are currently averaging fewer than 104 points per 100 possessions and rank 27th in the league in Offensive Efficiency, ahead of only the lowly Suns, Bulls and Hawks.

9. Indiana Pacers
Record: 10-6
Victor Oladipo (right knee) was a game-time decision on Saturday night but did end up starting. However, just four minutes into the game, he tumbled into the front row after a foul and reaggravated his right knee injury. He has been ruled out of Monday’s game vs. the Jazz, but, fortunately, it doesn’t sound like it will be a long term issue. “A little sore, but I’m good,” Oladipo told reporters Monday morning.

10. Houston Rockets
Record: 8-7
The Rockets are back over .500 after stringing together a four-game winning streak, which included victories over the Pacers, Nuggets and the Warriors in Golden State. During this four-game surge, James Harden is averaging 30.8 points, 7.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 triples and 2.3 steals.

Full List

By: Tommy Beer

Wizards reportedly willing to trade John Wall, Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards are off to a terrible start this season, and the team’s front office may not be willing to be patient to see if things will turn around.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Wizards are giving teams the impression that they are open to trading any player on their roster, including John Wall and Bradley Beal. Washington would reportedly prefer to build around its All-Star backcourt, but the belief is that the current roster may no longer be able to coexist.

Wojnarowski adds that the Wizards had previously chosen not to include Wall and Beal in trade discussions involving star players like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, but the team’s 5-11 start has the front office reconsidering. Another possibility would be to shop Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre in an attempt to bring in a third star, but the Wizards have not seen much interest in those players on the trade market.

Beal is three years younger than Wall, who will be owed $42 million per year for four years starting next season. Wall also has a 15 percent trade kicker in his deal, so he may be tougher to trade than Beal.

A fresh start could make sense for Wall if things keep trending in the direction they have been heading, as he recently had to defend himself against criticism that he parties too much. However, it seems like the return for Beal could be more significant if the Wizards are looking to rebuild.

The Wizards fell at home to the Portland Trail Blazers 119-109 on Sunday, and head coach Scott Brooks unloaded on the team for a lack of effort.

By Steve DelVecchio

Original Article

Knicks reportedly expect Kristaps Porzingis to return this season

Kristaps Porzingis’ recovery from a torn ACL does not seem to be progressing at a rapid pace, but the team still expects to have him back this season.

The New York Post’s Mark Berman wrote an article published on Thursday about Porzingis and how Knicks head coach David Fizdale is handling things. Fizdale says he is no longer talking about Porzingis’ potential return to the team because he doesn’t want to let his mind run wild fantasizing about when he gets the big man back. Instead, he says he’s focusing on the players on the team’s roster and trying to do the best with what he has.

“Just mentally for me,” Fizdale said via Berman. “That’s somewhere else. I don’t want to get distracted personally as the coach, worried about if and when he’s coming back. I’d rather be focused on the day-to-day task with these guys, and when he gets back, that’ll just be a gift for me. You can get distracted as a coach, caught up in that world of when and hopefully soon and you lose focus on what you’re doing. And these guys deserve my undivided attention.”

Berman reports that the Knicks expect to have Porzingis back this season. However, he suggests that may not be imminent because Porzingis is still not sprinting and has not done more activities since training camp.

Back in September, Porzingis said he wasn’t putting any timetable on his recovery because there is no precedent for a 7-foot-3 player returning from the surgery. Porzingis should take his time and return when he feels comfortable because he’s right — there isn’t a precedent for his return — and he has a bright future that should not be jeopardized.

Porzingis suffered his injury in February. Players often take nine to 12 months before returning from such injuries, but they vary from case to case.

Article here

By: Larry Brown

Knicks rookie Kevin Knox expected to miss 2-4 weeks with ankle injury

New York Knicks rookie point guard Kevin Knox looked impressive in his first two games with the team, but it could be as long as a month before fans get to see him play again.

Knox left the Knicks’ game against the Boston Celtics on Saturday with an ankle injury, and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that he is expected to miss 2-4 weeks after being diagnosed with a sprain.

Knox, the No. 9 overall pick in this year’s draft, scored 10 points in New York’s season opener and 17 points in 28 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets in their second game of the season. He’s clearly going to play a big role this year alongside Tim Hardaway Jr., so the Knicks are hoping the former Kentucky star can return as quickly as possible.

 

Full article Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports
By Steve DelVecchio

How the NBA is using augmented reality to transform the fan experience

We are hours from Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and in Bangkok, Thailand, a 15-year-old NBA fan is itching to watch Stephen Curry’s famed warm-up routine. The Chase Center is a 17-hour flight and thousands of American dollars away, but sitting in her living room, she picks up her phone, opens the NBA’s augmented reality app, and walks three feet to step into a portal that traverses 7, 900 miles.

The screen takes her courtside, just steps away from Curry as he begins the daily ritual that induces thousands of fans to line up early and enter the arena hours prior to Warriors games. She pans to her left, where Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser corrals a rebound and feeds Curry’s pocket.

The girl’s mother isn’t much of a sports fan, but there’s only one TV and the kids always win. During the game, she points her iPhone camera toward the TV, and optical trackers fix a blurb of every player’s interests over their heads. She finds out Kyrie Irving is a flat-earther and develops an immediate rooting interest in the Warriors. The girl’s brother, an analytics aficionado, has true shooting percentage, block rate, and turnover percentage hovering over players on his Android instead.

In transition, Andre Iguodala lobs the ball to Kevin Durant and he posterizes Jayson Tatum. On the bottom of the app, the best memes and reactions on NBA Twitter pop up, and a multi-angle replay will be available in minutes.

The clock dwindles to zero, Draymond Green whips the ball into the air, and the Warriors win their third straight championship. The family portals into the middle of the Chase Center arena, where fans, cameras, reporters, and staffers swarm and NBA employees construct a make-shift stage with the Larry O’Brein Trophy awaiting. The boy turns his phone to the right, where Bill Russell lingers, while his sister is staring up at the ceiling, where three championship banners hang in the rafters.

Full article here

By

Kevin Love signs four-year extension with Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers said goodbye to LeBron James this offseason for the second time in four years, and there has been some talk that Kevin Love could be the next to leave town. It does not seem like that is the team’s plan — at least for now.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst report that the Cavs have signed Love to a four-year, $120 million extension.

Adrian Wojnarowski

@wojespn

ESPN reporting with @WindhorstESPN: Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension — topping out his overall deal at five-years, $145 million, league sources tell ESPN.

The new contract is somewhat surprising, as many expected the Cavs to either trade Love or the star forward to aim for a big year statistically before heading into free agency next summer. Love has already won a championship, however, so it makes sense that he is opting for financial security.

Love still could be traded at some point, but that has seemed like a long shot all along. The four-year extension indicates the Cavs want him to become the face of their franchise rather than getting rid of everyone and starting over.

Full article here

 

NBA transactions: All the moves of the 2018-19 season

July 21: Atlanta waived guard Antonius Cleveland.

July 21: Boston waived guard Abdel Nader.

July 21: Los Angeles Lakers signed forward Johnathan Williams.

July 21: Sacramento signed forward Nemanja Bjelica.

July 20: Brooklyn traded forward Darrell Arthur to Phoenix for forward Jared Dudley and cash considerations.

July 20: Dallas signed forward Raymond Spalding.

July 20: Los Angeles Lakers signed forward Michael Beasley.

July 20: Memphis signed forward Yuta Watanabe to a two-way contract and waived guard Myke Henry.

July 20: Oklahoma City traded center Dakari Johnson to Orlando for guard Rodney Purvis.

July 20: Phoenix traded cash considerations to Philadelphia for forward Richaun Holmes.

July 20: San Antonio signed guard Marco Belinelli and forward Dante Cunningham.

July 20: Toronto re-signed guard Lorenzo Brown.

July 19: Guard Tyler Ennis signed with Fenerbahce (Turkey).

July 19: Atlanta waived guard Jaylen Morris.

July 19: Boston re-signed guard Marcus Smart.

July 19: Chicago re-signed guard Antonio Blakeney.

July 19: Cleveland signed center Channing Frye.

July 19: Detroit named Tim Grgurich and Micah Nori assistant coaches.

July 19: Los Angeles Lakers waived guard Malik Newman and signed guard Jeffrey Carroll

Full List here.

By: HoopsHype staff

LeBron or MJ? How the King is settling the GOAT debate

Who is the greatest NBA player of all time?

When Michael Jordan made his final shot for the Chicago Bulls 20 years ago next month, that question was easy to answer. While cases could be made for Bill Russell based on championship rings, Wilt Chamberlain on statistical dominance and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on longevity, the consensus was clear: Jordan was the greatest basketball player who had ever lived.

And then along came LeBron James, a challenger to the throne unlike any before him. The comparison between James and Jordan, once premature, is now fair to make. This is James’ 15th NBA season, matching Jordan’s total, and he has already played 71 more regular-season games and an incredible 49 more playoff games. With James still established as the league’s best player at age 33 and adding playoff game winners to his résumé seemingly by the week, the question is worth asking: Jordan or LeBron?

Championships added: James closing fast

Two years ago, when ESPN was ranking the best players in NBA history (result: Jordan first, with James third behind Abdul-Jabbar), I developed a metric that could evaluate the league’s greatest stars throughout the decades on a level playing field. The result was championships added, which uses Basketball-Reference.com’s win shares to estimate how much a player added to his team’s chances of walking away with the title that season based on regular-season and playoff performance.

Back then, Jordan was first and James third by the numbers, too — although Chamberlain, not Abdul-Jabbar, occupied the spot between them. However, James has spent the subsequent two-plus years burnishing his legacy, most notably leading his Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 championship by upsetting Golden State in the NBA Finals after the Warriors surpassed Jordan’s 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the best regular-season record ever. At the time, I noted James’ playoff run had pushed him past Chamberlain into second in all-time championships added.

Let’s take another look at James vs. Jordan by championships added (regular season and playoffs combined), going season by season.

By: Kevin Pelton

Full article here