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kellex
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Wizards Fan

2014 Washington Wizards Preseason Report posted by Wizards Fan

2013-14 was a good season for the Washington Wizards, even though they were defeated by Indiana pacers in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference. Up to now, the Wizards were considered a mediocre team, as they have never made it to the playoffs since 2008. However, last February, the team had risen above .500 in standings, and managed to defeat the Bulls in the first playoff round. They ended the season with an impressive 44-38 record.

In season 2014-15, Washington Wizards could come in the top three spots in Eastern Conference, provided the team remains healthy. The Wizards are primarily focusing on John Wall and Bradley Beal, who are the young duo in the backcourt. Wall, who was first overall pick in the draft has performed excellently in breakout season, and could be the best point guard of the league. Beal on the other hand is SG and he has averaged over 17 points per game. If the duo is rested adequately and they stay focused, the team could perform much better.

Marcin Gortat has been re-signed for anchoring in C, and Nene in F/C could have a productive year. This duo with their size and toughness can provide excellent inside presence to the team. Last season, Otto Porter displayed mediocre performance at small forward, but he could improve under the mentorship of Paul Pierce, who has been brought in through free agency.

Randy Wittman, the head coach, was able to generate good performance from the team last season, and his contract has been extended. This means the team could improve under his guidance and make more progress in the playoffs. The 2014 draft was loaded, but Washington Wizards did not have a pick in the first round. Hence, whatever improvement is expected has to come from the available talent. Winning the championship might be a stretch, but they can manage second seed position in the East.

Continue reading "2014 Washington Wizards Preseason Report"


Jazz Fan

2014 Utah Jazz Preseason Report posted by Jazz Fan

Utah Jazz did not have a good 2013-14 season, as they performed quite poorly. In his rookie year, Trey Burke did not play the first 12 games due to finger injury, and Jazz lacked the depth needed to fill the point guard void. The team was overall 4-19 without Burke, but after he came back, there were some improvements. However, in March, the team started declining again, and the last 24 games were a disaster. Burke was struggling with his shots, and Hayward was worse. The team ended the season with a record of 25-57.

For 2014-15 season, Utah Jazz is upbeat with training going full steam. However, the shaping of the roster will play a major role in their success this season. Ranking 20th in shot blocking last season, the team has good chances of making it to the top 12. Rudy Gobert performed well this summer and if he enters through rotation, the team will progress. However, Derrick Favors has dropped unexpectedly from 2.6 to 1.8, and his BLK has gone down from 5.7% to 3.8%. He is becoming more confident, and could return to his former play this season.

Alec Burks has improved considerably in the last season. He has gained more confidence, and he is able to take good decisions. Statistics indicate career highs across the board with AST% at 16.9, FTr at 449, and PER at 15.8. Corbin should also be credited with this improvement, as he changed Burks's point guard back-up position to that of scorer. It seems Burks might be the top scorer this season.

Utah Jazz is likely to open the roster with 15 this season, while in the past the team has started with 14. The team might be able to include a player with a guarantee date in January, which will cost less. Ian Clark and Felix might have guarantees, but if the free agents stick out, Utah might get rid of one of them to acquire long or short-term potential.

Continue reading "2014 Utah Jazz Preseason Report"


Raptors Fan

2014 Toronto Raptors Preseason Report posted by Raptors Fan

Toronto Raptors missed the second round of the 2013-14 season playoffs by one possession. With 6.2 seconds remaining in Game 7, the ball was in the hands of their best player, Kyle Lowry, who made the shot, but Paul Pierce of Brooklyn Nets rejected it. Even though this was quite disappointing, the Raptors had a lot to cheer about in the season. In December, it almost ended for the team, but the Rudy Gay trade for four good players, saved the day. Demar DeRozan was awarded the all-star berth, and Lowry was clearly considered to be number one. The Raptors ended the season with a record of 48-34, which showed the franchise was progressing.

For 2014-15 season, things look promising for the Raptors. Even though DeRozan is the best player of the team, Lowry is still the force that drives the Raptors. Lowry has good decision-making skills, apart from being aggressive and a good shooter. However, any struggles or prolonged injury to Lowry would not be good for the team.

The backcourt of Toronto Raptors has been doing the major work in offense. On the other hand, the frontcourt has provided excellent protection, which ranked the team amongst the top ten in defense. Jonas Valanciunas was the main defense contributor, and his performance this season will play a major role in the success of the team. The only drawback could be his inexperience, as he sometimes was not sure about how to manage near the post.

Toronto Raptors will most probably start with Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, Terrance Ross, DeRozan, and Lowry, which is a great combination, as it features very strong backcourt and ideal overall defense. The trade of Rudy Gay during the mid-season, has brought about ideal pairing of DeRozan and Lowry, and bettered the depth of the team. All this puts the Toronto Raptors in a better position than what they were in the last season.

Continue reading "2014 Toronto Raptors Preseason Report"


Spurs Fan

2014 San Antonio Spurs Preseason Report posted by Spurs Fan

San Antonio Spurs performance was almost perfect, which earned them the 2013-14 season, championship title. The players performed as expected, and there was not a single contract, which could be considered bad. The Spurs ended the season with an impressive 62-20 record.

For the 2014-15 season, San Antonio Spurs have second best chance of winning the title again. The Spurs have met Miami Heat in the finals two times in a row, which makes Miami the favorite this season; however, changes in the team could keep shifting the odds between them. San Antonio Spurs have an excellent system in place for a long time, and Gregg Popovich could again lead the team to victory. The three star players, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan are no doubt getting older, but Popovich has managed their time excellently up to now, and he continues to do so this season as well.

Kawhi Leonard, who is a star and MVP of the last series, has been retained for $3million for the next season. Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, and Paddy Mills are all key players, and are re-signed by the Spurs, and Greg Popovich, the coach, obviously had his contract extended. San Antonio Spurs are focusing completely on this season and considering legacies as well. Tim Duncan who was a rookie in 1999 anchored the team's first championship. He has five rings up to now, and he will be concentrating on getting his sixth, even though he is aging. For Duncan, a sixth title would make him all-time great, and he will not want to miss this opportunity.

Coach Popovich, and international stars, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will also be aiming for the same thing of being listed as the all-time greats, and hence will be working hard towards their sixth win. Quite a bit is riding for these players this season, and hence we can expect the best from them.

Continue reading "2014 San Antonio Spurs Preseason Report"


Sac Kings Fan

2014 Sacramento Kings Preseason Report posted by Sac Kings Fan

The Sacramento Kings performed the same in 2013-14, as they have been performing in the past ten years, which is not great. The season started with a positive note, as Mike Malone was very fit as the coach, and Vivek Ranadive the owner, along with Chris Mullen and Pete D'Allessandro, the brain trust, displayed an aggressive attitude by picking up players with good potential, such as Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay. However, as usual, the team made many mistakes, missed the playoffs, and ended up with a dismal record of 28-54.

For 2014-15 season, Ranadive and the brain trust have high expectations, which could make some difference. The draft will provide the team with SG Nik Staukas, who is a good shooter, but this inclusion could be redundant, since the team already acquired SG Ben McLmore last season. Darren Collison was signed in a three-year deal, but the Kings had to give up Issiah Thomas, who was incumbent PG. However, the team has managed to acquire Thomas, who could be a valuable asset.

DeMarcus Cousins at C is Sacramento centerpiece, and the whole team is practically built around him. Cousins has made a big statistical jump, but this has not necessarily converted to wins. However, since he is Team USA player, the experience will provide the required maturity. Eric Moreland, Reggie Evans, Derrick Williams, Rudy Gay, Carl Landry, and Jason Thompson, will be playing along Cousins, which means the team's forward is well stocked with length and size. The team has also acquired Sid Bullar for C, who is a 7'5" Indian. However, he may not be as skillful as Yao Ming.

Continue reading "2014 Sacramento Kings Preseason Report"


Blazers Fan

2014 Portland Blazers Preseason Report posted by Blazers Fan

Portland Trail Blazers had a great 2013-14 season, as they managed better efficiency rather than a wider offense. In the season's initial two months, the team held the best Western Conference record. However, with the great start, everyone predicted the imminent fall, which eventually happened. Up to end of January, Portland Blazers were 11-3, which went down to 4-6 from February. By March end, it seemed the Warriors would overtake Blazers for the fifth spot, but the team finished strong by making the fifth seed. The Blazers finished with an impressive 54-28 record, and ousted the Rockets in the playoffs before being defeated by the Spurs.

For 2014-15 season, Portland Blazers are amongst the top teams, but certain experts believe they might not have a realistic chance for the title. In the current draft, a pick was not available for the team, and they opted for veterans in free agency. They acquired Chris Kaman and Steve Blake, and the team hopes their young players will begin to play as expected. C.J. McCollum, the pick in the first round of 2013 needs to up his game, as he did not play well after returning from his injury. Similarly, Thomas Robinson, who is the fifth pick of 2012, has to focus considerably on his defense skills. The veterans Blake and Kaman may not be excellent at defense, but they might be able to lead the available talent to meet expectations.

In the last season PG LaMarcus Aldridge and Damina Lillard performed much better than expected, and this year expectations are high for the duo. Robin Lopez at C, Wesley Matthews the shooter, and SF Nicholas Batum are considered the super three of Portland Blazers, and all of them will have to be at their best to meet expectation. Terry Stotts, the head coach will also have a major role to play in the success of the team, as experts are skeptical whether he could lead a team into the playoffs.

Continue reading "2014 Portland Blazers Preseason Report"


Suns Fan

2014 Phoenix Suns Preseason Report posted by Suns Fan

Phoenix Suns were supposed to be in their downward spiral in 2013-14 season, but they managed to be the best team amongst teams that did not reach the playoffs. Ryan McDonough, the new general manager, before the starting of the season, gave up veterans, Luis Scola, Jared Dudley, and Macin Gortat, in trade. However, the new inclusions coexisted quite well, and Jeff Hornacek, the rookie coach, freed Bledsoe and Dragic for making plays and pushing the pace. Good comebacks were Gerald Green and Channing Frye, but when Bledsoe was injured, everything seemed bleak. However, Dragic came to the rescue by raising his game considerably. The Suns ended the season with a record of 48-34.

For the 2014-15 season, Ryan McDonough wants to bring back fast-paced offense with a lot of aggression, and build a team that can handle both the floor ends. In the previous draft, Phoenix selected Archie Goodwin and Alex Len, who are athletic and known for their two-way skills. With several picks in the current draft, Phoenix Suns select would be Alec Brown, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Tyler Ennis, and T.J. Warren. Ennis could be an upgrade from Ish Smith, as he is quite fluid, with a great handle. Even though he is not considered fast or athletic, Ennis makes up by this fast direction changes and quick bursts.

However, Phoenix Suns seemed to have passed certain players that could have fitted better into the system, such as Patric Young, K.J. McDaniels, Andreian Payne, and Garry Harris. Secondly, Goran Dragic, who is the best offense, might be more susceptible to injuries this season, as he has not rested at all. The Suns strategy seems to have shifted from two-way highly athletic players to prospects that can bring in skills and depth. The focus seems to be on intensifying and expanding, and the team seems to be satisfied with the existing athleticism.

Continue reading "2014 Phoenix Suns Preseason Report"


Sixers Blog

2014 Philadelphia 76ers Preseason Report posted by Sixers Blog

Even though the Philadelphia 76ers ended the 2013-14 season on a strong note, their overall 19-63 record was quite dismal. Out of the last eight games, the team managed to win three, which is not much, but considering they were1-26 during February and March, the last stretch does not seem bad. Earlier in the season, the 76ers displayed some hectic style, which brought some success, but it did not last. Brett Brown, the new coach seems to have introduced a strong pace where the players seemed to be fiercely jumping around the court, which gave them 3-0 start.

For 2014-15 season, the Philadelphia 76ers are as far away from winning the title, as they were in the previous season. Philadeliphia is known for gathering younger assets, and this year they seem to focus on the same strategy, rather than winning. Most probably, 76ers will trade their PF starter of last season for Anthony Bennett, who was overall first pick last year. Even though Bennett might have had the worst rookie season, he is still young and in good shape.

Nerlens Noel who did not play in his rookie year is quite raw, but he will be eager to show his athleticism and talent that made him the first overall pick in the draft last year. Joel Embid is another player having great potential, but unfortunately, he might be sitting it out this season due to his foot injury. If Noel and Embid are able to deliver their full potential, then Philadelphia will have a good foundation and might even reach the playoffs.

Elfrid Payton who plays PG was second selection by the 76ers in their first round picks. Payton has good length and is ready; however, he was traded for Dario Saric. This means Philadelphia is again trading wins in the new season for later.

Continue reading "2014 Philadelphia 76ers Preseason Report"


Magic Fan

Orlando Magic Preseason Report 2014 posted by Magic Fan

The starting of the 2013-14 season might have looked promising for the Orlando Magic, but they went into a downward spiral very soon, and ended with 23-59, which was the third worst NBA record. Nikolar Vucevic in spite of his athletic abilities was not able to deliver, and Victor Oladipo, who in spite of being best rookie since January could not win Rookie of the Year. The veterans were quite ineffective and they did not seem comfortable playing together.

For 2014-15 season, Orlando Magic might need to implement major changes. Willie Green, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo might be given PG positions. Oladipo has gained good experience compared to Payton in the last season. Even though Payton has good potential, he has a weak offense, and has issues moving the ball. For the offense, Aaron Gordon would be ideal at small forward, paired with Tobias Harris at PF.

Last season, Andrew Nicholson seemed buried at the PF position, and he would do much better at center. He was not able to defend effectively at PF last season, and his playing time was not much. Center would be a good position for Nicholson, as he can shoot jumpers and 3's, and he can be good at immediate offense, which Dedmon was not able to deliver. The remaining PF could go to Marvin Williams as free agent, and Kyle O' Quinn. For SG positions, Bend Gordon, Roy Deyvn Marble, and Evan Fournier would be ideal, whereas for SF, Moe Harkless and Aaron Gordon would be more suitable. Dewayne Dedmon, Andrew Nicholson, and Nik Vucevic would do well in C.

With this overall lineup, Orlando Magic might be able to deliver much better games, compared to what they did last season. Seth Curry would be a good inclusion to the team as a PG third-string, and Osby being a versatile player would suit the team as well.

Continue reading "Orlando Magic Preseason Report 2014"


Thunder Fan

Oklahoma City Thunder posted by Thunder Fan

The 2013-14 season for Oklahoma City Thunder came to an end when they lost in the finals of Western Conference in Game 6 to San Antonio Spurs, who were eventually the champions. The Spurs were able to defeat Oklahoma three times, but in two of those games, Serge Ibaka was not playing due to his calf injury. However, overall, the season was quite good for Oklahoma, finishing with 59-23. In the postseason, the team survived tough games from Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies. In the end, Oklahoma was simply not good enough to match the Spurs.

For 2014-15 season, Oklahoma City Thunder has as much chance to be the champions as the Spurs. There seems to be changes in Oklahoma's approach, as indicated by the change in roster. During offseason, the team brought in veteran Sebastian Telfair and Anthony Morrow, and in the draft, they managed to snag Mitch McGary.

Even though they are an elite NBA team, the Thunder fell in its ranking for offense in the last season. From second place, they dropped to seventh; however, one of the main reasons for this slip was Westbrook's injury, and the team had to rely heavily on versatility of Durant. The new acquisitions seem ideal for seeking better shots and more movement of the ball.

Experts feel that it is going to be Thunder-Spurs final, but one must not forget that the Spurs have eliminated Oklahoma for last two years in succession. Oklahoma will have to prove that they are ready for the Spurs with a great offense. People are expecting a prolonged fight, and both teams will have to compete fiercely throughout the season for earning the first seed, which will provide advantage of playing on home grounds. However, Oklahoma City Thunder may not have performed enough during the offseason for closing the gap.

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NBA Basketball News

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Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan for third on NBA's scoring list (Video) (Ball Don't Lie%

Raw pro basketball statistics, for good reason, aren’t held in the same regard as the numbers many grew up memorizing as baseball fans. NBA fans have a good idea as to how many points Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored (30,000 …something), how many rebounds Wilt Chamberlain pulled in (a lot), or the number of assists John Stockton dished (plenty?), but the actual totals involved aren’t as memorable as any of the record numbers Henry Aaron, Lou Gehrig or Lou Brock once set. That doesn’t take away from the accomplishment that Kobe Bryant just earned. On Sunday night the Los Angeles Lakers superstar hit two free throws at the 5:24 mark of the contest to put him at 32,293 points (and counting) for his career, passing Michael Jordan to move into third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The Minnesota Timberwolves swingman that fouled him, rookie Zach LaVine, was born 13 months before Bryant announced he would forego college to jump directly to the NBA. Kobe was then presented with the game ball by Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor before resuming action. He is currently averaging 25.4 points per game this season, second in the NBA just a tick under his career average of 25.5. Jordan still holds the NBA record with a 30.1 points per game career average. Jordan released a statement to the Associated Press about Bryant passing him: ''I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone,'' Jordan said. ''He's obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I've enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.'' Bryant is still some 4,000 points behind Karl Malone for second on the all-time list and 6,000 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the league’s all-time mark of 38,387, but this doesn’t diminish Bryant’s brilliance. Malone and especially Kareem played in different eras with speedier paces and more possessions per game to score with. Kobe may have played with the benefit of the 3-point line, but he’s a below-average 3-point shooter on his career, so the advantage isn’t all that distinct. More impressively, as a guard Bryant had to slash and shoot his way to his points, while the bigger Malone and Abdul-Jabbar were allowed to play closer to the basket. Kobe’s advancement is a rare bright spot in an otherwise turgid Lakers 2014-15 campaign. The team’s win over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Friday was a season highlight, with Bryant falling short in his attempt to pass Jordan but contributing down the stretch of a close win with several assists. That contest came one day after Bryant was caught by cameras berating both his lacking teammates and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak , a tongue-lashing with such a blithe response that suggested his teammates weren’t unfamiliar with those sorts of outbursts. The Lakers were 7-16 upon entering Sunday night’s action, statistically on pace for just 25 wins in a Western Conference that features a seventh seed on pace to win 56 games. The team has been accused of attempting to tank the season in attempts to secure a high draft pick –if Los Angeles falls out of the top five following the NBA’s draft lottery, it surrenders its pick to Phoenix in the wake of the disastrous Steve Nash sign-and-trade. A tanking maneuver, as applauded by at least one Lakers legend , would waste what could be the penultimate season of Kobe Bryant’s career , as his two-year and $48.5 million contract runs out in 2016. None of this mattered over the course of this long weekend, of course. Kobe Bryant, in the NBA since 1996 and already a legend, just brushed past his idol . And he’s not done yet. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Sources: Celtics deal Rajon Rondo to Mavs (Yahoo Sports)

The Boston Celtics traded All-Star Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks as part of a deal involving four other players and two draft picks, league sources told Yahoo Sports. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Kings' DeMarcus Cousins set to return vs. Bucks (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports

Anthony sits out Knicks' game against Bulls (Yahoo Sports)

CHICAGO (AP) -- New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony sat out Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls because of a sore left knee. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Rose, Gibson out of Bulls' game against Knicks (Yahoo Sports)

CHICAGO (AP) -- Bulls guard Derrick Rose will miss Thursday night's game against the New York Knicks because of an illness. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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