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NBA San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan

Ranking the NBA Western Conference 2016-17

By Danny Thompson, Full Court Press Radio

The Western Conference went through a season in 2015-2016 where they had one team break the all-time wins record with 73. Another team won 67 games and two more teams had over 50, but none of those teams brought home the Larry O’Brien trophy. So with the defending conference champion Golden State Warriors adding some guy named Kevin Durant. Can anyone in the West keep up with them?

1. Golden State Warriors

Key Additions- Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia and David West
Key Losses- Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa and Andrew Bogut

Outlook – Let’s be honest here, the Warriors could have re-signed everyone and still would have been in this spot. They won 73 games and finished one game short of winning their 2nd consecutive championship. So what do they do? They go out and add one of the top 5 players in the NBA in Kevin Durant to a team that has the 2 time MVP in Stephen Curry and All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The real question is, can they find the same type of chemistry on this roster that they had last year?

2. San Antonio Spurs

Key Addition: Pau Gasol
Key Losses: Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw

Outlook – Well it had to happen eventually, Tim Duncan retired this summer after a stellar career in San Antonio. I’m not going to take up this entire space by talking about his career, but even though he didn’t have his best season ever, you have to mention how big of a loss it will be. Not to mention they lost Boris Diaw’s versatility as well. So how does R.C Buford and the front office fix that problem? You go out and sign future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol to replace Timmy. Problem solved, now can Golden State stop the best frontline in the NBA in Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kwahi Leonard? One can only hope that we get this matchup in the Western Conference Finals.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

Key Addition- Brandon Bass
Key Loss- Jeff Green

Outlook – The Clippers get this spot by default. Oklahoma City lost Durant and no one else in the West behind them made a splash to pass them for this spot. They made some questionable contract choices (Austin Rivers), but they brought back Jamal Crawford and brought in guys like Bass, Raymond Felton and Marreese Speights for depth. The real question is with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul being potential free agents next summer, can they make a deal for one of them and still remain a top player in the West? Decisions, Decisions, Decisions in Los Angeles.

4. Portland Trail Blazers

Key Additions- Festus Ezeli and Evan Turner
Key Loss- Gerald Henderson

Outlook – Portland did a lot of re-signing of their main core guys like C.J.McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless to extensions over the last few weeks. Then they brought in swingman Evan Turner and big man Festus Ezeli to a team that has Damian Lillard leading the way. Portland surprised a lot of people last year (Including this writer right here) and made the 2nd round of the playoffs. They will not be surprising this year, but one can only wonder if can they be even better than they were last year? Head coach Terry Stotts will have this team at peak form come playoff time.

5. Utah Jazz

Key Additions- George Hill and Joe Johnson
Key Loss- Trevor Booker

Outlook – Yes, finally, the Jazz will make it back into the playoffs and this time they are dangerous. Joe Johnson provides a late game closer to go along with Gordon Hayward. Veteran point guard George Hill, allows Dante Exum to ease back into the NBA after missing last year with an ACL injury. The Jazz have so much young talent on this team and a top 7 Head Coach in Quinn Snyder, this is the year that all of the stars align in Utah. I didn’t even mention yet that they have Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors in the frontcourt.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

Key Addition- Chandler Parsons
Key Losses- Matt Barnes and Lance Stephenson

Outlook – The big story in Memphis was the re-signing of Conley to the richest contract in the league’s history. The number is still mind-blowing at this point, but now it’s time for him to earn it. Last season it seemed like every key player in Memphis was hurt as some point. They are finally healthy, All-Star Marc Gasol, Conley and newly added Chandler Parsons will help new Head Coach David Fizdale ease his transition to the main spot in Beale Street. Gone are the days of Grit and Grind in Memphis, but this team won’t be an easy out come playoff time.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder

Key Additions- Victor Oladipo and Ersan Illysova
Key Losses- Kevin Durant, Dion Waiters, Serge Ibaka and Randy Foye

Outlook – As much as I don’t want to put them here, the Thunder still have Russell Westbrook (For Now). As long as he’s still in Oklahoma, the Thunder are a playoff team. Westbrook should have an MVP season and if you think 18 triple doubles were something, wait until this year. Now they have some BIG questions: Can Steven Adams can continue the play from his playoff run last year? Can Victor Oladipo be the 2nd scoring option and be light years better than Dion Waiters? Most importantly, can Enes Kanter live up to the contract that he signed last season? If the Thunder can answer yes to all of these questions, then they will be back in the Playoffs. If they can’t, the Russell Westbrook trade rumors will be at the highest level possible.

8. Houston Rockets

Key Additions- Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Nene
Key Losses- Dwight Howard and Terrance Jones

Outlook – Well this should be one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA. New Head coach Mike D’Antoni has the perfect superstar to be the focal point of his team in James Harden. This team is loaded with shooters and athletic guys. The reason why the Rockets can’t be a contender is because Harden isn’t the best and most willing defender in the NBA and that could be a serious problems on that side of the ball. But the Good News is that Clint Capella will be in the top 10 in rebounding this season and with Harden, Anderson, Gordon and Trevor Ariza, the Rockets will lead the NBA in 3 pointers made as a team.

9. Dallas Mavericks

Key Additions- Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut
Key Losses- Chandler Parsons, David Lee and Zaza Pachulia

Outlook – Mark Cuban strikes out again this summer on attracting a major free agent to pair with Dirk Nowitzki, but he took Harrison Barnes away from Golden State. If Barnes can live up to his potential, the Mavericks could be on to something special. But what should scare Mavericks fans is that Barnes did go missing for major stretches over the past 2 seasons. But now that he doesn’t have to be in most cases a 4th option on offense, this could be the year the “Black Falcon” can finally soar. This will be the team that gets in the playoffs if Oklahoma City decides to trade Westbrook or if Houston can’t outscore teams or any of the previous teams on the list has a major injury. It would be nice to have Dirk have one more deep playoff run.

10. Denver Nuggets

Key Additions- None
Key Losses- D.J. Augustin

Outlook- Denver really didn’t do anything this summer besides re-signing Darrell Arthur, Mike Miller and drafting combo Guard Jamal Murray in the NBA Draft. The Nuggets are one of those teams that when you look at the roster, you see a lot of solid NBA players, but there isn’t one of them currently that screams out superstar. That’s why the Nuggets can’t break into the playoff list as of now. Now if they send a few of those solid pieces (Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and one of the 3 big men they have) for a player like Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin, then we can talk about meaningful games in April and May.

BTW- Will Barton is extremely fun to watch.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

Key Addtions- Jordan Hill and Cole Aldrich
Key Losses- Tayshaun Prince

Outlook – This is the most exciting team in the NBA, point-blank. Not Golden State, not Houston and not even Cleveland. Minnesota is the place if you need to watch only one team all of next season. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are the franchise building blocks and rookie Kris Dunn could make the Wolves become the 1st team in the NBA’s history to have 3 consecutive Rookie Of The Year winners. No team has a better core under the age of 25 (Wiggins, Towns, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Dunn, Ricky Rubio and Georgi Dieng), than Minnesota. But that is also the reason why I can’t put them in the playoffs just yet. Even though Tom Thibodeau is the brand new head coach and he’s the best defensive coach in the league, it’s going to take one more year before these Pups become Wolves and cause serious damage in the NBA.

12. Sacramento Kings

Key Additions- Aaron Afflalo and Matt Barnes
Key Losses- Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli and Quincy Acy

Outlook – The good news is that the Kings have one of the Top 6 players in the entire league in DeMarcus Cousins and he looks slimmer and in great shape playing for Team USA. After that, there isn’t much good news. The bad news is that there isn’t much around Cousins in Sacramento. Rumors are that Rudy Gay wants out and the only solid player they have returning is Darren Collison. They didn’t help themselves in the Draft and Kings fans are still waiting on Willie Cauley-Stein and Ben McLemore to finally live up to their potential. Adding Afflalo and Barnes will provide veteran help and fill the shooting guard and small forward spots, but without a direction for this roster, new coach Dave Joerger will be in for a long year.

13. Phoenix Suns

Key Additions- Leandro Barbosa and Jared Dudley
Key Losses- Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic

Outlook – Phoenix has a bunch of players at the same positions and it’s going to be interesting to watch Head coach Earl Watson try to put it all together. They ended up with two top 8 picks in the NBA Draft, but they drafted two guys that play the same position in Dragon Bender and Marquese Chriss. Then they drafted Tyler Ulis making the Suns the only team in the NBA with five or more backcourt players from the same college (Kentucky). They have breakout superstar candidates in Devin Booker and Alex Len as the building blocks of a very good team. Now if they could move either Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight to get that wing player they need, could they jump back into the playoffs? Knight and T.J Warren for Rudy Gay sounds really nice doesn’t it?

14. New Orleans Pelicans

Key Additions- Langston Galloway, Solomon Hill and E’Twan Moore
Key Losses- Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and James Ennis

Outlook- Normally I would say that a team has an idea and an identity of how they are going be shaped and I don’t really know what the Pelicans are doing? They lost sharpshooters Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon to Houston and replaced them with Hill, Galloway and Moore for about the same amount of money. I’m not sure if that is considered an upgrade or even a swap of similar talent. From the looks of things, unless Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and rookie Buddy Hield can put up All-Star numbers, whatever superstar Anthony Davis does will be for nothing. This could be the worst team in the Western Conference, but Davis alone puts them one spot up from the bottom.

15. Los Angeles Lakers

Key Additions- Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov
Key Losses- Kobe Bryant, Brandon Bass and Roy Hibbert

Outlook – The Lakers are going to be better than last year which is a good thing. D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson form a solid 1-2 punch in the backcourt and Julius Randle was a double-double machine last year. They drafted Brandon Ingram with the 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft and he has all the makings of a franchise player in the next season or two. Now they went out and overspent on Mozgov in hopes that he will return to the 2015 playoff form that he had with the Cavaliers. They are adding pieces and at least they aren’t Brooklyn Nets bad. The good news is the young talent will have a great teacher in new Head coach Luke Walton. Now if they can just not give away all their pieces for Russell Westbrook, then the future will be bright in the City of Angels, but it’s going to take some time.

 

 

Danny Thompson Full Court Press Radio hostDanny Thompson is the Creator and Host of NBA Full Court Press Radio and Lead Columnist for FULL COURT PRESS RADIO.

Check out more from Danny here.
Reprinted with permission.

Featured image courtesy of Vernon Chang @MoVernie

 

 

 


 

NBA Toronto Raptors DeMarre Carroll

Ranking The NBA Eastern Conference 2016-17

By Danny Thompson, Full Court Press Radio

Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended up defeating the Golden State Warriors bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to the Eastern Conference, but the major question is what did the other 14 teams in the East do to keep the Cavs from repeating? Here’s an early season preview on each of the teams.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Key Additions- Mike Dunleavy Jr and Chris Anderson
Key Loss- Matthew Dellavadova

Outlook – LeBron James just re-signed and although J.R Smith hasn’t (he will), the Cavaliers are the defending NBA Champions with no major losses from last year’s team. Kyrie Irving has turned into a superstar point guard and could be best point guard not named Paul, Westbrook or Curry in the NBA. Dunleavy Jr. brings a solid 3-point marksman off the bench. Now the real question is will Kevin Love still be on this roster on opening night? If he is, then they should repeat with no problems.


2. Toronto Raptors

Key Addition- Jared Sullinger
Key Losses- Bismack Biyombo and Luis Scola

Outlook – Toronto entered Free Agency with one major agenda and that was re-signing DeMar DeRozan as soon as possible. Well the Compton, California native didn’t entertain the chance to going back home and signed a huge contract to stay in Toronto. Playoff hero Bismack Biyombo got a huge payday from the Orlando Magic and the team lost a few spare pieces off a team that won 56 games and took the Cavaliers to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. So why do they stay at number 2? Well Jonas Valenciunas and DeMarre Carroll are both healthy and they added former Celtic Jared Sullinger to help in the forward rotation. Besides you have Kyle Lowry and DeRozan as your starting backcourt. There’s no need to go any further.

3. Boston Celtics

Key Addition- Al Horford
Key Losses- Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger

Outlook – Boston didn’t get Kevin Durant, but they got former Hawks All-Star Al Horford to come play in Beantown. The 31-year-old Horford, brings an interior presence, a solid team defender and inside/outside threat from the post. Armed with so many young players, they let Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger go in free agency, but 1st round pick Jaylen Brown should ease some of the load and remember the Celtics still have 1st time All-Star Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and All-NBA Defensive wizard Avery Bradley as your lead guard rotation. One can only wonder when will Danny Ainge pull the trigger on a big trade for one more big fish to chase Cleveland and Toronto in the East.

4. Indiana Pacers

Key Addtions- Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson
Key Losses- George Hill, Jordan Hill and Ian Mahinmi

Outlook – No team was more active in the early part of summer than the Indiana Pacers. They made Draft day deals for Teague and Young and during the free agency period and added Al Jefferson from Charlotte. With the additions Teague and Young, the Pacers potentially the best starting 5 in the Eastern Conference. Jefferson brings one of the best low post games to the bench while they still have All-Star Paul George, the always dangerous Monta Ellis and the improving 2nd year stud Miles Turner. Remember CJ Miles and Rodney Stuckey will lead the bench unit along with Jefferson. The major questions is how will new head coach Nate McMillan turn this group into a Eastern Conference contender.

5. Atlanta Hawks

Key Additions- Dwight Howard and Jarrett Jack
Key Losses- Al Horford and Jeff Teague

Outlook – I know when you look at this your wondering why are the Hawks rated this high? Well, adding Howard is going to be bigger than most think. Howard, in this writers opinion, will turn back into the Orlando Howard. Yes he’s a bit older and a lot of his athleticism is gone, that doesn’t mean Howard can’t go back to 18 points, 12 rebounds and at least 2 blocks a game. Howard spending more time in the post will allow Paul Millsap to be able to have more space on the floor on the offensive side. Resigning Kent Bazemore was critical to this team upcoming success especially if one of the draft picks Taurean Prince or DeAndre Bembry can step into the starting Small Forward spot and allow Kyle Korver to come off the bench. But the evolution of Dennis Schroder into an upper ensulion Point Guard is the key for the Hawks to stay in this spot.

6. New York Knicks

Key Additions- Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee
Key Losses- Langston Galloway, Aaron Affalo, Robin Lopez and Derrick Williams

Outlook – New York made some major splashes and took some major risks in the process. By adding Rose and Noah from Chicago they are taking a big risk with guys with no good great injury histories. Noah has had one season since 2009-2010 of playing at least 70 games and we already know about Rose’s history. Bringing in Lee adds another solid role player who knows his role and plays it very well. If the Knicks starting 5 can at least by 65 games together, this ranking might be a bit too low.

7. Charlotte Hornets

Key Additions- Roy Hibbert, Ramon Sessions and Marco Bellini
Key Losses- Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin and Courtney Lee

Outlook – Charlotte did lose a lot this summer from a team that was one game away from being in the 2nd round of the Playoffs. So after losing 3 key members off last season’s team, how can they stay in the playoffs? Getting a full season from defensive wizard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the 1st reason. With MKG and Nicolas Batum manning the wings it allows for Kemba Walker to play the passing lanes, which creates more steals. Adding Roy Hibbert at center is a massive upgrade on the defensive side of the floor because Jefferson couldn’t really guard anyone in the post. The main problem once again is can this team score enough points to win. For Charlotte to take that step forward, it’s going to have to be a team effort and they have enough guys who can do that. Watch for Walker to be an All-Star this year.

8. Chicago Bulls

Key Additions- Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo and Robin Lopez
Key Losses- Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose

Outlook – The Bulls didn’t make the playoffs last year and they lost Pau Gasol among other players, but this team will end up outlasting Detroit to make the final spot in the playoffs. Any time you have All-Stars in Wade and Jimmy Butler it’s kind of hard to leave them out of the playoffs. Wade has something to prove as he was passed over for a major contract this summer. Now they are issues everywhere when it comes to the roster and the style of play that 2nd year Head Coach Fred Hoiberg wants to play. He wants to be a perimeter oriented team, well with Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo you won’t get that at all. None of the 3 of them are close to being 3 point threats. Good news for Bulls fans is with the losses of Gasol and Noah, the #FreeBobbyPortis movement can finally see the light.

9. Detroit Pistons

Key Additons- Jon Leuer, Ish Smith and Boban Marjanovic
Key Losses- Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver

Outlook – Detroit made the playoffs last year and this unit is still young so they miss the playoffs for what reason? Well, Chicago added Dwayne Wade, New York has a better starting 5 and Atlanta and Charlotte are just better teams currently. Someone had to miss the playoffs. The Pistons can easily make the playoffs if Stanley Johnson and Kentanvous Caldwell-Pope can exceed expectations. What Detroit really needs is that star that can take games over in the 4th quarter. Andre Drummond is a free throw liability and Reggie Jackson is not a closer.

10. Orlando Magic

Key Additions- Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green
Key Losses- Victor Oladipo, Ersan Illavsova and Dewayne Dedmon

Outlook – Orlando made some interesting moves this summer to say the least. Good news is that they have the best shot blocking duo in the NBA, added a new Head Coach in Frank Vogel and they created a buzz in Orlando. Now here is the bad news, they don’t have a go-to-scorer, they have forced the potential face of franchise in Aaron Gordon to play out of position at Small Forward to get him playing time and have a serious issue when it comes to outside shooting. They added Jodie Meeks from Detroit, but he’s still hurt currently. Evan Fournier and Augustin are solid from behind the arc, but that’s really it. 2nd year Guard Mario Hezonja better make a tremendous leap or it’s going to be a long year in Orlando. To be honest, I’m not sold on the Biyombo signing, he’s needed but not at over $17 million per season.

11. Washington Wizards

Key Additions- Ian Mahinmi and Andrew Nicholson
Key Losses- Ramon Sessions, Nene, Gary Neal and Jared Dudley

Outlook – Washington has been going through the injury bug for years, especially with newly paid Bradley Beal. If All-Star Point Guard John Wall could finally get his main guys healthy long enough, this team has enough talent to potentially breakthrough and make the playoffs. New coach Scott Brooks is very good at getting the most out of his teams and if gets this unit in the playoffs, then he should be a serious candidate for Coach of the Year. If Beal and others can’t stay healthy, Wizards fans will be looking forward to next years draft.

12. Milwaukee Bucks

Key Additions- Matthew Dellavadova and Mirza Teletovic
Key Losses- Jerryd Bayless, OJ Mayo and Grievis Vasquez

Outlook – For a team that has one of the best groups of talent in the NBA and were in the playoffs 2 years ago, to be out of the playoffs for potentially a 2nd season in a row is head scratching. Lets be honest, the major hole on this roster was at point guard going into the summer. They went out and drafted Thon Maker (a 7’0 power forward/center) in the lottery, let Bayless and Vasquez go to other teams and went out and overpaid for Dellavadova from Cleveland. They would be better, if Michael Carter-Willams played with a pulse or the team could acquire a point guard for out of place Big Man Greg Monroe. Otherwise it could be a wasted year for young studs Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton in Milwaukee.

13. Miami Heat

Key Additions- Dion Waiters, Derrick Williams and Wayne Ellington
Key Losses- Dwayne Wade, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson

Outlook – It could be a long year in South Beach in 2016-2017 for Heat fans. They have lost the face of the franchise in Wade, key veterans in Deng and Johnson and they still don’t know about the health of Chris Bosh. This spells a recipe for disaster for head coach Eric Spolstra and company. On a positive note, this youth movement will allow Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson to grow as the leaders with Hassan Whiteside anchoring the low post.

14. Philadelphia 76ers

Key Additions- Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and Gerald Henderson
Key Loss- Ish Smith

Outlook – For the 1st Time in years the Philadelpha 76ers aren’t the worst team in the NBA. They added Ben Simmons, Saric and Joel Embiid to the front court that already has Nerlens Noel and Jahil Okafor in the rotation. Now if they can either be bad for one more year and draft a guard of the future or deal a big man or two to get an established one, then we are talking something special in Philly. Simmons alone is one of the few players worth getting NBA League Pass for in the upcoming season.

15. Brooklyn Nets

Key Additions- Jeremy Lin, Grievis Vasquez and Luis Scola
Key Losses- Jarrett Jack, Thaddeus Young and Wayne Ellington

Outlook – It could get really ugly in Brooklyn this year. I mean REALLY UGLY. They tried and failed in free agency, offering contracts to Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe only to have them matched by their teams. Their previous 1st round pick went to Boston and their upcoming pick will in most cases head right back to Boston as well. Unless the Brook-Lin connection is the basketball version of wrestling’s Rock and Sock Connection, they will not get out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference.

 

 

Danny Thompson Full Court Press Radio hostDanny Thompson is the Creator and Host of NBA Full Court Press Radio and Lead Columnist for FULL COURT PRESS RADIO.

Check out more from Danny here.
Reprinted with permission.

 

 

 


 

NBA Atlanta Hawks Dwight Howard

NBA Make Or Break Players In The Eastern Conference

By Danny Thompson, Full Court Press Radio

With every team in the NBA record being 0-0 currently, there is always that one player that can make or break the fortunes of your favorite team. If they step up and become better than expected, then their team will be taken to another level. But if their play falls off or they don’t live up to the hype, then their team falls off a cliff and the team becomes a disappointment. So let’s take a look at my thoughts on who is the X-Factor for your favorite team in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta Hawks – Dwight Howard – C

Howard was Atlanta’s major free agent signing this summer. He has the task of replacing Al Horford and returning to his hometown. If anyone can live up to it, it’s Howard. His last 2 stops haven’t been the best places for his talent and his reputation isn’t the best either. But what we do know is that, when healthy and motivated Howard is maybe the best defensive center in the league. He may not have the same spring in his knees as he had during his Orlando days, but he’s still a threat. He will allow Paul Millsap to have more freedom at the Power Forward spot and the pick and roll game with Dennis Schroder could be dangerous. If Howard lives up to his expectations there won’t be a drop off in Atlanta, but he doesn’t it’s going to be a long year in the A.

Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart – PG

Smart was drafted the 6th Overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and after years of not being considered in trades, it’s time for him to finally live up to the hype. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his short career, but hasn’t been a consistent starter in Boston. Smart’s biggest strength is his on-ball defensive. If he can get on the court with All-NBA Defensive stud Avery Bradley, the Celtics could have the best set of defensive guards in the East. But with Isaiah Thomas becoming an All-Star last year it made it tough for Smart to get back into the starting lineup. But Celtics fans know that Thomas is better suited for coming off the bench and lighting teams up. If Smart can improve his shooting (Last season he shot 34.8% from the floor and 25% from 3), Boston could catapult themselves into the Eastern Conference Finals.

Brooklyn Nets – Bojan Bogdanovic – SG

Bojan’s play at the end of last season was one of the bright spots that the Nets had in a uneventful season. In the 2nd half of the season, he increased his scoring by almost 6 points per game and hit over 40% from the 3 point line. On a team that is currently the worst in the league, Bogdanovic will have the green light to shoot as much as needed as teams double down on Brook Lopez. If he can improve the rest of his game and get closer to 20 points per game (He finished at 11.2 per game with a 15.1 average after the All-Star Break), the Nets might have a shot at getting out the East’s bottom

Charlotte Hornets – Roy Hibbert – C

Charlotte lost Al Jefferson to Indiana and one thing that Steve Clifford wants out of his big men is to be a defensive presence. Enter Roy Hibbert, after a season of looking lost and losing games in Los Angeles, has a chance to restart his career with a playoff team in Charlotte. People forget that he’s a 2 time All-Star and he was the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year in the 2013-14 season with the Indiana Pacers. Also on the Hornets staff is Patrick Ewing, who is fellow Georgetown Alum who will be in charge of bringing Roy back to life. If Hibbert returns to form, Charlotte could have the best defensive team in the East. The Hornets already have Michael Kidd-Ghilchrist and Nicolas Batum on the wings, so if he provides the post presence then good luck scoring on the Hornets.

Chicago Bulls – Bobby Portis – PF

Last season, Chicago had Joakim Noah and Paul Gasol starting at the Power Forward and Center spots. After the departure of both in the off-season and the Taj Gibson trade countdown in full effect, the 2nd year man from Arkansas should have enough space to show why he was the best value pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Portis averaged 7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in only 17.8 minutes per game last season. Bulls fans have been asking when will they #FreeBobbyPortis, now they chants can finally be answered. If Portis can get consistent minutes in a rotation that has Nikola Mirotic and veteran Robin Lopez in the front court, he could average close to the 14 points and 11.9 rebounds that his Per 36 minutes numbers that he had last season.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Tristian Thompson – C

Look LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin can’t be X-Factors here, so lets go with Thompson at this spot. Thompson proved during the championship run last year how valuable he is. His value is not scoring points because that’s not his role, but his rebounding ablity is what makes him standout. The Cavaliers were 9-1 in the playoffs when he grabbed 10 or more rebounds in a game. He’s already one of the NBA’s best at offensive rebounding, so that skill leads to so many second chance points. If Thompson forgets how to rebound and do the little things, then Cleveland will have a hard time repeating in the East.

Detroit Pistons – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – SG

It’s time for Caldwell-Pope to bring it. Piston fans have been split down the middle on what to think about the 4th year guard out of Georgia. While he’s shown flashes of being a very good starting shooting guard in the Motor City, but the inconstancy from him in his career have driven Pistons fans to a breaking point. While his numbers improved in each of his 3 previous seasons, Caldwell-Pope hasn’t made the impact that is needed for Detroit to become an elite team in the East. His 3 point accuracy declined last season, by almost 4 percentage points from the previous season (34.5 in 13-14 to 30.9 in 14-15) and that is one of his strengths. If Caldwell-Pope can improve his shooting percentages, become a consistent 3 point threat and still play at a high level on defense, then Detroit could make a deep playoff run.

Indiana Pacers – Jeff Teague – PG

For each of the last 2 years Hawks fans had the question of who was going to be the starting Point Guard going forward. After going back and forth between Dennis Schroder and Teague, Teague was traded to the Indiana Pacers right before the NBA Draft. Teague has 3 things going for him:

  1. He’s back in his hometown
  2. It’s a contract year
  3. Teague is playing for a brand new head coach and former Point Guard (Nate McMillan)

With those things being said, Teague has every reason to have a big season in Indy. He holds the key to the Pacers success in the 2016-2017 season. If Teague can go back to the 2013-2014 numbers and production then the Pacers have every right to be apart of the East’s elite, if not Pacer fans will be screaming to have George Hill back.

Miami Heat – Dion Waiters – SG

Waiters hasn’t lived up to expectations when he was drafted with the 4rd overall pick in 2012 NBA Draft. After scoring 15.9 points per game in his 2nd season, Waiters scoring has dropped each season since then and now has turned into a 6th man instead of a top level shooting guard. For Miami, this low risk signing this summer, can be a real home run if Waiters can go back to his 2nd season numbers and production. Remember he’s only 22 years old and still has time to grow. He just needs to take better quality shots and improve on his career 41.1% shooting from the floor.

Milwaukee Bucks – Michael Carter-Williams – PG

Michael Carter-Williams entered the NBA and had one of the best games any rookie in his debut has ever had in the league’s history. He capped that season with winning the Rookie of The Year award. Then came the trade to Milwaukee during the middle of his sophomore season. Even since then, his career has been going downhill ever since. At this point head coach Jason Kidd is using Giannis Antekoupto as his point guard, because he’s lost faith in Carter-Williams. If Carter-Williams can regain his confidence in himself and his coach, he can be the real reason why the Bucks are playing meaningful games in April.

New York Knicks – Brandon Jennings – PG

2 years ago, Brandon Jennings was having an All-Star caliber season in Detroit and the Pistons were one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Then he tore his Achilles and missed the rest of the season. After that, the Pistons traded for Reggie Jackson, gave him a big-time contract extension and then Jennings was traded to Orlando during the middle of last season.

After struggling to find his way in Orlando, Jennings ended up signing with the Knicks this summer. With Derrick Rose’s injury history, this is the perfect spot for Jennings to shine. If he can provide scoring off the bench and play solid basketball when Rose isn’t on the floor, he could be in for a big payday next summer. Remember most Achilles injuries take around 12-18 months before a player returns to normal.

Orlando Magic – Aaron Gordon – SF/PF

After dunking over the NBA Mascot of the Year Stuff at the NBA All-Star game in February, Gordon became a household name. But for Magic fans, they knew that they had something special in Gordon all along. He was the teams best player in the 2nd half of last season once he was given consistent minutes. He averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game after the break.

Now after all those positives, the team went out and acquired Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo in the offseason making Gordon move to Small Forward. If he can get the position adjustment down and become more consistent and accurate shooting the basketball, Gordon will live up to all of his potential and the Magic will finally have a shot to get back to the playoffs.

Philadelphia 76ers – Jerryd Bayless – PG

Jerryd Bayless has been a solid backup guard for most of his career. He’s always been reliable for getting points and providing good play as a combo guard. Now he has signed with the 76ers this summer and has every chance to be the starting point guard on opening night. He had a very good season last year for the Milwaukee Bucks scoring 10.4 points per game and hitting a career high 43.7% from the 3 point line. Good news for 76ers fans is that the teams other primary ball handler is Ben Simmons and his passing ability will allow more open looks for Bayless in the upcoming season. As long as he can knock down the open shot and improve on his assist numbers, (a career 2.9 per game) there should be no reason why Bayless can’t be the teams starting point guard all season long.

Toronto Raptors – DeMarre Carroll – SF

The reason why DeMarre Carroll was signed in Toronto was because he would be the primary defender on players such as LeBron James, Paul George and other big time scorers in the NBA playoffs. Well in his 1st year in Toronto that wasn’t the case. Carroll missed most of the season due to injury and for the 2nd straight year, he wasn’t healthy as his team went against LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals. (Remember he spent the season before in Atlanta) Now DeMarre is finally healthy and when he is “The Junkyard Dog” is one of the best defender in the league. He’s a very solid 3 point shooter (a career 37% from deep) and if he can regain his form when he was apart of Atlanta’s 60 win team two years ago, then the Raptors are the biggest threat to Cleveland and the NBA Finals.

Washington Wizards – Markieff Morris – PF

Morris didn’t have the best 2014-2015 season. His brother was traded to Detroit, he wanted to traded because he didn’t trust the organization anymore, there was the incident in Las Vegas and the infamous sideline shove during a timeout with Archie Goodwin. Finally at the trade deadline, Morris was traded to Washington for a 1st Round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. After the trade Morris shot almost 47% from the floor and became more comfortable in his new surroundings. This year he should get back to the 15 points and 6 rebounds a game that he averaged in his last season in Phoenix. If he can improve to a least 17 points and 8 rebounds, Washington with John Wall, Marcin Gortat and the healthy Bradley Beal should be back in the playoffs this April.

 

Danny Thompson Full Court Press Radio hostDanny Thompson is the Creator and Host of NBA Full Court Press Radio and Lead Columnist for FULL COURT PRESS RADIO.

Check out more from Danny here.
Reprinted with permission.

 

 

 


 

Toronto Raptors Bismack Biyombo, DeMar DeRozan and Cleveland Cavaliers J.R. Smith

NBA Free Agent Salaries Won’t Rise As Much As Expected

There is a rising fear that NBA salaries are about to explode this summer as the first wave of new National TV money drives the Salary Cap from $70 million to an estimated $92 million this July. However, not everyone in-the-know believes that players once considered just above average or below star-level are going to cash in as some are forecasting.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon quotes Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as saying,

“Every player thinks it’s just going to be a money train this summer. There’s a lot of money; there’s not THAT much money. … And I think there’s going to be teams that save their money for next year, because it’s a better free agent class. People just presume now that everybody’s going to get paid a lot of money, and it’ll be interesting to see if that happens.”

The salary cap is set to rise about 31 percent in July and that is a lot of money – around $22 million, but it’s going to rise an estimated $16 million more the following year and if teams commit big money to this year’s suspect free agent crop, it’s unlikely they’ll be in a position to do it again the next year when things could get really interesting.

Fans and players are dreaming about the availability of Kevin Durant this summer, but if Durant wants to maximize his own value, he’ll re-sign with the Thunder, follow LeBron James’ path and become a free agent again next year when he can ask for a salary starting at $35 million per season. Nabbing either of this year’s top two free agents is purely a pipe dream. Any action here is down the road.

Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki don’t even register on other teams want lists as all three have shown no interest in leaving their current teams.

Matt Moore of CBS believes the third best free agent this summer is the Pistons Andre Drummond and as a player coming off his rookie deal, he could command a salary starting at about $22 million. He might just get it too as even half decent young centers are hard to find, but that’s a lot of money when one looks at what the Raptors extended Jonas Valanciunas for last summer. The Raptors and Valanciunas haven’t exactly been overwhelmed by the Pistons young center, if anything at the center spot Valanciunas has had the edge in head-to-head games and he’s set to earn $14.4 million next season.

Al Horford is next up on Moore’s list and the big man would be a nice add to a lot of teams’ rosters, but a max player? Is 15 points, 7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks suddenly worth over $25 million a season for a 30-year-old who might have shoulder issues as he gets older. He could take a strong team in need of a power forward to the next level, but no one should be looking at Horford as a foundation piece.

Grizzlies Mike Conley will get a lot of looks simply because there just aren’t any other proven starting point guards to go after, but no one as looked at Conley (15.3 points and 6.1 assists) as one the best point guards in the league before this and tying up max money this year means you’d have no shot at the point guard riches about to hit free agency next season. Rose, Westbrook, Curry, Lowry or even Hill, Teague, Mills or Livingston in 2017.

The Raptors free agent DeMar DeRozan is still just 26-years-old and was second in Eastern Conference scoring behind LeBron James last season. Now that’s a guy who can command max money this summer, but don’t be surprised if he accepts less from Toronto.

Bradley Beal is publicly demanding a max deal and the Wizards probably feel compelled to give their restricted free agent what he wants, but they’ll cringe doing it and they should. Beal has never come close to playing a full season and missed 46 games over the last two years. He can shoot, he can score, but guys with his injury history don’t usually get max deals and the teams that have done this in the past usually regret it.

The Warriors restricted free agent Harrison Barnes is the foil to Beal’s hope for a max contract. If you could have either player, it’s Barnes hands down.

Nicolas Batum’s name has been bandied about as a future max player all of last season, but it’s really hard to believe an NBA GM would see a 15 point, 6 rebound, 5 assist glue-guy in that light. A good player who usually misses 10 or more games each season, Batum is closer to the Raptors DeMarre Carroll than a franchise centerpiece. Carroll signed for $15 million per season last summer, so give the 27-year-old small forward a rise, the cap went up, but let’s not think every GM has suddenly lost their minds.

Hassan Whiteside seems to be rubbing his hands with glee and hoping the desperate Lakers will let him cash-in. He’s still young, hopefully developing and has every reason to believe he should earn at least as much as Drummond. However, the Heat didn’t always seem all that enamored with his defense and he is coming back from an MCL strain incurred during the playoffs. Can the hype convince a GM into handing him a max deal?

The concept of center Dwight Howard as a max player has died a natural death. He won’t be “underpaid”, but don’t expect teams to fight over landing him either.

A lot has been made of the Raptors Bismack Biyombo based on his 22 starts in the regular season and 10 playoff starts. He put up some monster rebounding games. He also completely disappeared in other games and is limited offensively. Still, there are projections of him earning $17 to 20 million next season – really? Biyombo deserves a big raise from his $2.8 million salary and he’ll get it, but he’s publicly offered a hometown discount to Toronto and common sense he’ll be back for between $10-12 million a season.

Other free agents getting a lot of notice are:

Paul Gasol, he’s 35-years-old

Dion Waiters, nice young role player with potential

Chandler Parsons and his knee injuries

J.R. Smith, he’ll shoot you into and out of games

Ryan Anderson, a stretch four that can’t play defense and has injury issues

Kent Bazemore might be another DeMarre Carroll

Festus Ezeli is a big center and really nice backup

and the list goes on and on.

There are lots of players in free agency that would be nice to have, but massively overpaying them? The role players, old players, bounce-backers and guys coming off of injury that seem to dominate much of the 2016 free agent class, go with Cuban’s assessment, prices will be held down by GMs saving at least some of their salary cap space for next summer. Of course, there will always be someone that gets caught up by “money burning a hole in their pocket,” just don’t expect the extravagance to be widespread.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Featured image courtesy of Paul Saini
Instagram:  @fylmm.lifestyle and  @paul_saini

 

 


 

NBA Derrick Rose

NBA Teams Suffering Post All-Star Break Blues

The so called second half of the NBA season starts after the All-Star break. It’s either the stretch drive to the playoffs or a lose at all costs dive to the bottom for the best lottery pick odds, but not every team is responding as expected. Maybe it’s just the blues because the race to the top of each conference has been over for quite a while now. If you’re not in Golden State (62-6), San Antonio (58-10), Cleveland (49-19) or Toronto (47-21), any aspirations for a first place finish died a long time ago.

Those top teams haven’t slowed down at all and maybe that’s part of the problem.

Since the break, the Warriors have gone 14-2 and the Spurs 13-2. They meet up on Saturday and twice more in April to decide who’ll own home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The third place Thunder are 11.5 games out of second with 13 games remaining and really have never been threat to the top two teams this season.

In the East, Toronto has gone 12-4 and Cleveland 11-5 to keep the rest of the field held at bay. The Hawks are 7.5 games back of the Raptors with 13 games left and are closer to ninth than second. It’s a virtual tie between the Hawks, Heat and Hornets eight loses back of Toronto, this race is over as well.

The Rest Of The West Just Don’t Care

It’s starting to look like no one else in the West is really all that interested in getting decimated by either of the top two teams in the postseason.

The Trail Blazers (36-34) have the next best Western Conference record since the All-Star break at 9-7 which has allowed them to cling to sixth place. The 35-34 Rockets 8-6 mark has them in seventh and that’s been good enough to pass the imploding 5-9 Mavericks (34-35).

Apparently the ninth place Jazz (33-35) haven’t opted to make a push for the playoff spot no one else is fighting very hard for as they’ve gone 7-9. Although, the Mavs might just lose enough games to give it to them. Dallas has the worst record of any playoff seeded team since the break.

The battle for third has looked more like two teams consigned to their fate. The 47-22 Thunder have lost 8 of 15 games since the break, but it hasn’t mattered. The 43-24 Clippers have gone just 8-6 to make up only 1.5 games, but why kill yourself now when it looks like the beaten and battered fifth place Grizzlies will be able to hold onto their playoff position since they’ve been playing .500 ball lately. Better to face the depleted Grizzlies than overachieving Portland.

There Is Still Some Pride In The East

The Charlotte Hornets have the third best record in the NBA since the All-Star break at 12-3. In eighth place prior to the break, the Hornets (39-29)  have been hard-charging up the leader board to within a half game of Atlanta for third place. Over the past 15 games, Kemba Walker is shooting the lights out and scoring 24.4 points per game. They can’t catch Toronto, but they can grab home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

The Heat were supposed to fold or at least stall without All-Star Chris Bosh, but they dug deep, convinced Joe Johnson to sign with them after he was waived by Brooklyn and they’ve gone 10-5 since the break to move up a spot to fourth at 39-29. It’s crowded in the three, four, five, six spot, but they’re still here.

The Hawks (40-29) have kept pace going 9-5 since the break and climbed a spot at the Celtics expense to third.

The Wizards were in tenth place before the break (23-28) and they are still in tenth place now (33-35) after going 10-7. The difference is they’ve closed to within 1.5 games of the injury-riddled Bulls for eighth. Worth keeping an eye on, these guys can smell a playoff spot and they seem to actually want it.

The now seventh place Pacers (36-32) are keeping pace at 8-7, but that’s all they are doing and it’s making ninth place feel uncomfortably close. More was expected from a Paul George led team down the stretch and at the wrong time, his three-ball has deserted him.

The Detroit Pistons were in ninth place before the break (27-27) and they are still in ninth place (35-34). They made the big move to acquire Tobias Harris at the trade deadline, but it just hasn’t translated into more wins as the Pistons have gone 8-7. Right now they are in a virtual tie for eighth with Chicago, all they got to do is win a few games and they’re in – maybe, unless the Wizards take it from them.

The Celtics (39-30) have lost four in a row and gone 7-7 since the break. In this crowded field, a slump like that drops you from third to sixth in a hurry and worried about falling further. A Jae Crowder ankle sprain partly explains the slide, but this team was supposed to be deeper and tougher than that.

The 34-33 Bulls are 7-8 since the All-Star break, but it feels worse. Clinging to eighth place by the smallest of margins as Detroit currently owns the tie-breaker (2-1), Chicago needs to step it up a notch. More good news, the Pistons play the Cavaliers on the final day of the regular season, so don’t count on getting any help making it to the postseason if it comes down to that game.

Lottery Driven

There is no mistaking what the Lakers (14-55) and Sixers (9-60) are up to. The two worst teams in the NBA this season are fighting their way to the bottom.  Philly is 1-15 since the break and the Kobe Farewell Tour has gone 3-11. No one is making up any ground on these two teams.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan, Kyle LowryCan The Raptors Catch The Cavs For First In The East?

If it seems like Toronto has been in lockstep with the Cavs this year it’s because they have. At the end of each month they have been precisely 2.5 games behind the favorites and on March 16, it was still 2.5 games.

 

 

NBA Atlanta Hawks Al Horford Paul Millsap & Jeff Teague

It’s Just The Calm Before The NBA Trade Deadline Storm

Unlike the NHL trade deadline which is typically a day long snooze-fest of calm, in the NBA, a storm is the norm and this year won’t be any different. Huge names like Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Al Horford, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony are swirling in the trade winds and it won’t surprise anyone if a truly big name player changes teams by Thursday at 3 pm.

Plus, there are a boatload of very good NBA players who will be waiting on a trade deadline phone call as well. A sample of the names being tossed around includes:

  1. Hawks Jeff Teague, Thabo Sefolsha, and everyone else in Atlanta,
  2. Nets Thad Young and unlikely but possible Brook Lopez,
  3. Hornets Nicolas Batum and Al Jefferson,
  4. Bulls Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol,
  5. Cavaliers Timofey Mosgov,
  6. Nuggets Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried,
  7. Rockets Ty Lawson,
  8. Pacers George Hill,
  9. Clippers Lance Stephenson,
  10. Lakers Brandon Bass and just about everyone else,
  11. Grizzlies have already traded Courtney Lee,
  12. Heat Chris Anderson traded, Hassan Whiteside available,  plus someone else to get below the luxury tax line
  13. Bucks Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams,
  14. Timberwolves Kevin Martin, plus someone please take Nikola Pekovic
  15. Pelicans Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson,
  16. Knicks Jose Calderon,
  17. Magic already dumped Tobias Harris’ contract, Channing Frye is still in play,
  18. Suns Markieff Morris and P.J. Tucker,
  19. Kings Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufas, Ben McLemore  and more,
  20. Spurs Danny Green (those rumors have to be some kind of joke?),
  21. Raptors Patrick Patterson,
  22. Jazz Trey Burke

It’s getting hard to keep up and it’s about to get worse. Most of the names being bandied about will never come close to being traded, but as past deadlines prove, more than enough big deals will happen to keep trade deadline day very interesting indeed.

Interesting deals that happened last year,

  1. Nets trade Kevin Garnett for Thaddeus Young
  2. Nuggets traded Arron Afflalo and JaVale McGee and got Will Barton
  3. Pistons in a multi-team multi-player deal turned Kyle Singler into Reggie Jackson
  4. Heat in a multi-player deal traded two first-round picks for Goran Dragic
  5. Bucks traded Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee.
  6. Thunder turned Reggie Jackson into Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler

It was a wild and woolly NBA trade deadline last year. It’s is going to be just as exciting this time around.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Houston Rockets Dwight HowardNBA Trade Deadline Teams Motivated By Money

For teams that are underachieving, deals motivated by money become a very real possibility. The luxury tax provisions of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement are enough to give any general manager reason to pause. It has to be worth it to pay the tax.

 

 

NBA Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson

NBA Simplified Power Rankings (1-31-2016)

It’s obvious from just watching the games that the Golden State Warriors (44-4) are dominating the entire NBA, however, when one looks at how much they are winning by (+12.7 points), their incredible record versus winning teams (+17 games) and the best road record (+18 games) in the league by an improbable margin, it makes even the Spurs 68 win pace seem very pedestrian indeed.

Our NBA simplified power ranking as of the end of January takes into account the number of games over .500 for each team as a .500 record defines mediocrity (thanks Houston), points differential as a guide to squeaking by versus dominating, net wins versus +.500 teams because a winning record against winning teams is what defines a good team, and net road wins because the ability to win on the road is essential. The top teams will always stand out in these categories and the middle of the pack will separate themselves from the rest here.

Capture nba power rankings 1-31-2016

2. San Antonio Spurs 39-8

The Spurs seem to be hanging with the Warriors until one looks at the difference between the two teams records against winning teams and on the road. The Spurs are the second best in the NBA, but its a distant second.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers 34-12

The Cavs nudge out the Thunder based on a better record against winning teams, but it’s close and their real lead on the surging Raptors is shrinking fast as well.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder 36-13

The Thunder can blow out their opposition and enjoy the third best points differential in the Association, but at 11-9 versus winning teams, they aren’t scaring anyone in the top six just yet.

5. Toronto Raptors 32-15

Toronto has the NBA’s third best record against winning teams, but they have yet to make up for some early season struggles against the -.500 crowd despite a current franchise record setting 11-game winning streak. The gap between them and the Eastern Conference’s front running Cavs was closing fast right up until Cleveland started a winning streak of their own four games ago.

6. Los Angeles Clippers 32-16

The Clippers enjoy a solid win-loss record and are solidly ahead of the rest of the field thanks to a 16-3 run, but they don’t do so well against winning teams and their last two losses were against the Raptors (now 0-2) and the Cavs (0-1). They have also lost to the Warriors (0-2), Thunder (0-1) and the Spurs (0-1).

7. Chicago Bulls 26-20

There is a big drop off to the inconsistent Bulls who are now 5.5 games out of second place in the East and the reasons are obvious. They don’t win by much on average, they are below .500 on the road and they just barely have a winning record against winning teams.

8.  Miami Heat 27-21

The Heat have stopped their slide into obscurity with a four game winning streak, but they are still below .500 against winning teams and on the road. Injury issues may form part of the excuse, but 48 games into a season and you are your record.

9. Memphis Grizzlies 28-20

The Western Conference’s fifth place Grizzlies symbolize just how far the West has fallen since last season. Yes the Grizz have turned their season around and now sport a solid +.500 record, but they are still being outscored on average by almost two points and their record against winning teams ans on the road is subpar for a playoff bound team.

10.  Atlanta Hawks 27-22

It’s been an up and down season for Atlanta, but at no time this year did anyone think that was the dominating 60-win Hawks of last season out there on the court. The rumors are they might even consider selling at the trade deadline and start a rebuild.

11. Boston Celtics 27-22

The Celtics are a really good young team that’s just not quite ready to hang with the big boys. Energy, effort and the ability to beat up on the sub-.500 crowd mercilessly. The right trade deadline deal and this team could surprise in the playoffs.

12. Dallas Mavervicks 28-22

The Mavs retooled again this past summer and in a weakened Western Conference they are putting together a decent season, but when they have to play against winning teams, they are a very sad 8-16. There’s no real threat here.

13. Indiana Pacers 25-22

Another up and down team in the East. The Pacers are doing okay with Paul George back in the lineup, but their road record isn’t very good (10-15) and they keep stubbing their toe against winning franchises (12-14).

14. Detroit Pistons 25-23

There isn’t a lot of difference between the eighth-place Pistons and the seventh-place Pacers. Both teams have the same road record.

15. Washington Wizards 21-24

The Wizards were supposed to be better. Injuries may be part of the problem, but this team hasn’t been consistent this season at any point and it’s their losing record (10-15) at home that’s keeping them out of the playoff picture. Eight games below .500 against winning teams, the Wiz are 0-4 against the Raptors and Celtics.

16. Houston Rockets 25-25

The Rockets have improved to the epitome of mediocre at 25-25 on the season and seventh place in the West where a sub-.500 record should garner a playoff spot this season.

17. Charlotte Hornets 23-25

It was mid-December when Charlotte had just hammered the Grizz 123-99 in Memphis to improve to 14-8 on the season. That seems like forever ago now. The Hornets can’t win on the road (-10) and can’t beat winning teams (-7).

18. Utah Jazz 21-25

The new West where a 21-25 record is just a half game out of a playoff spot. The Trail Blazers, Jazz and Kings are in a fight for eighth place and the Pelicans are hoping to join in. All of these teams have poor road records and don’t do well against winning teams. The Jazz, however, are somehow outscoring their opponents by a point per game on average,

19. Sacramento Kings 20-27

Two games out of eighth and falling out of a playoff spot do to a four game slide, the Kings are an enigma. The production from Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins says this team should be better and they’ve beaten some good teams, but? There always seems to be a but.

20. New York Knicks 23-27

There’s hope in New York again, but overall, the Knicks can’t beat winning teams and don’t play well on the road.

21. Portland Trail Blazers 23-26

A four-game winning streak has the Trail Blazers in a playoff spot even if all of those wins came against struggling teams. The Blazers are a lot better than expected, but their 5-16 record against winning teams is the worst of any club hoping to get a postseason berth.

22. Orlando Magic 21-25

Currently in a 2-12 slump, the Magic are watching their season slide away. They can’t beat teams with winning records.

23. Denver Nuggets 18-30

Two long losing streaks and no winning streaks have put Denver in a hole.

24. Milwaukee Bucks 20-29

The Bucks have played an unfairly long road schedule to-date and it’s eaten them alive (7-21).

25. New Orleans Pelicans 18-28

It seems like every year a poor season is blamed on injures, but at some point your record speaks for itself. Even a 7-3 run hasn’t made up any ground on the hotter Trail Blazers and only one of those wins was against a team with a winning record.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves 14-35

That 8-8 start is but a distant memory that a 3-19 run has all but erased.

27. Brooklyn Nets 12-36

Not much was expected and that’s just what the Nets have delivered. Road kill at 4-18 away from the Barclays Centre.

28. Phoenix Suns 14-35

On a four game losing streak and winners of just two of their past 21 games, the Suns have fired their head coach and waived the white towel on the season.

29. Los Angeles Lakers 9-41

It would be hard not to suggest the Kobe Farewell Tour hasn’t been fun and it provides a great distraction to the Lakers current 10 game losing streak as they fight to hold onto their first round draft pick that will go to the 76ers if it falls out of the top three picks in this June’s draft.

30. Philadelphia 76ers 7-41

The 76ers are a perfect 0-28 versus winning teams this season. Even the Lakers have managed (against their better judgement) to win twice against +.500 teams.

 

 

EC standings 11-23

Not So Tough NBA West Getting Bullied By The East

So maybe the whining can stop for a while. There’s no one in the NBA West complaining about how much easier the East has it. Things haven’t been the same when East meets West so far this season.

As of the morning of Monday November 23, those Eastern Conference teams have been feasting on their Western Conference counterparts.

Team              Record         Vs West

  1. Cleveland       10-3             2-0
  2. Miami              8-4              5-1
  3. Chicago           8-4               2-2
  4. Indiana            8-5               1-2
  5. Atlanta             9-6              3-2
  6. Toronto            9-6              5-3
  7. Washington     6-4               1-1
  8. New York          8-6             4-1
  9. Detroit              7-6               4-4
  10. Boston              7-6               2-2
  11. Charlotte          7-6              3-1
  12. Orlando            6-7               4-3
  13. Milwaukee        5-8               0-1
  14. Brooklyn           3-11             1-5
  15. Philadelphia     0-14             0-4

The numbers speak for themselves. East 37, West 32

 

 

 

Valanciunas Hibbert Drummond

Are Traditional NBA Centers A Dying Breed?

It is getting hard not to notice that successful NBA teams have gone small and nowhere was that more noticeable than in the NBA Finals when the Golden State Warriors sat their regular season +8 starting center Andrew Bogut in order to completely dominate the Cavaliers in a game of small ball.

For the Warriors, the Finals were the exception, but for other NBA teams, sitting down their tradition center in favor of someone more mobile is often a necessity if they want to win. Centers, especially young centers with good stats are too often not leading their teams to good results as illustrated by teams falling behind with them on the court.

Jonas Valanciunas 12 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 26.2 minutes, -0.3 points +/-

Valanciunas is a traditional center who does his work in the paint and he often looks pretty good against other young traditional centers like the Pistons Andre Drummond. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the mobility to cover the stretch fours and fives that drag him away from the basket, so Coach Casey often sits him in the fourth quarter despite his ability to hit free throws. The Atlantic Division winning Raptors were +3.1 points versus their opponents as a team. Valanciunas was a negative while he was in the game.

Andre Drummond 13.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 30.5 minutes, -0.7 +/-

Drummond looks like he is having a big impact on the game until one notices just how often offensive players like to challenge him and are all too often successful. The Pistons were once again a terrible team at 32-50 and averaging a point less than their opponents, so it’s possible Drummond looks a lot better surrounded by better talent (who doesn’t?). However, more talented teammates aren’t going to help that 38.9 percent from the charity stripe.

Roy Hibbert 10.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 25.3 minutes, -0.8 +/-

A big physical defensive center on a big physical defensive team, but the Pacers outscored their opponents on average by +0.3 points and were better off with the former All-Star on the pine. It might be hard to comprehend, but Indiana gave Hibbert to the Lakers in a straight salary dump this summer. So much for the importance of having a traditional center on your team.

Hassan Whiteside 11.8 points, 10 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 23.8 minutes, -1.1 +/-

Whiteside was a surprise and generated a lot of buzz, but not many wins. The Heat were 18-30 with Whiteside, although no one is blaming the center. The Heat’s season was disrupted by trades and injuries, so it’s nearly impossible to evaluate. It’s possible things look a lot better for Whiteside this time around.

Brook Lopez 17.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 29.2 minutes, -1.4 +/-

The Nets stunk last season, but Lopez is supposed to be a star center capable of impacting the game. It isn’t easy to accept his team had a losing record and was outscored by their opponents with him on the court. One alternative explanation is the game has changed and our perceptions are wrong.

Other NBA centers that weren’t helping their teams win last season include: Al Jefferson (-1.8), Chris Bosh (-2.3), Nikola Vucevic (-4.1) and Jordan Hill (-5.7).

Of course it isn’t all doom and gloom surrounding NBA centers. Put enough talent around them and their image improves greatly: DeAndre Jordan (+7.6), Dwight Howard (5.2), Zaza Pachulia (+3.6), Timofey Mozgov (+3.2), Marcin Gortat (+3.1), Tyson Chandler (+3.1), Marc Gasol (+2.8), Pau Gasol (+2.4) and others. But other than the Gasol brothers, which centers are really anything more than talented role players whose lofty +/- stats aren’t being created by the stars they are playing with?

Teams haven’t stopped drafting 7-footers and the basket hasn’t been lowered from 10′. The big traditional center isn’t gone from the NBA, at least not yet, but it is getting a lot harder for a slow-footed heavy-weight to make a living against this new breed of mobile bigs and today, mobile is often being associated with 6’9 and shorter.

The NBA has become a quicker guard driven league. Those general managers that can’t adjust to the trend may find success is a lot harder to find than their next big dominate center.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

Jonas Valanciunas arm raisedWhy The Raptors Can’t Extend Jonas Valanciunas This Summer

Heading into his fourth NBA season after starting almost every game for Toronto since his arrival in 2012, the usual career progression for a 7-footer in this situation would be to sign a maximum dollar contract extension and his team would be happy or possibly feel forced into making it happen. However, in Valanciunas’ case, it’s pretty obvious that the Raptors simply can’t afford to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBA Memphis Grizzlies Vince Carter

The Best All-Time NBA Atlantic Division Starting 5’s

Danny Thompson of NBA Full Court Press Radio has laid out his All-Time best starting 5s for the Atlantic Division and there are some historic possibilities there.

His choice for the Toronto Raptors shouldn’t surprise anyone:

PG – Damon Stoudmire, SG – Vince Carter, SF – Morris Peterson, PF – Chris Bosh, C- Antonio Davis

Damon was the first player ever selected by the Raptors organization and he won Rookie of the Year that same year. “Mighty Mouse” was the first star the team ever had and we can only wonder how big he would have gotten had he never been traded to Portland. Carter is the biggest star this franchise has ever had. If you don’t know how good he was, watch the seven-game, Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series against Philadelphia in 2001. Peterson hit more three point field goals than anyone in team history. Bosh was a six-time All-Star in Toronto and became the Superstar of the franchise after Carter left town. Always averaging around 20 points and 10 rebounds, he could be considered the greatest Raptor of them all. Antonio Davis was an All-Star when he played in Toronto and was one of the best rebounders in the team’s history.

The Raptors hope this year’s starting 5 will be better, but the proof will be in the playing.

Be sure to check out Thompson’s all-time starter’s for Boston, Brooklyn, New York and Philly. Those Atlantic Division teams have been historically very good.

 

 

Rose Griffin Batum

How Well Did Your NBA Team Survive The Dog-Days?

There is a nasty patch in the NBA schedule that often starts around Christmas and runs until the All-Star break. Mental and physical fatigue, injuries, lineup disruptions and sometimes no obvious reason at all conspires to make the top NBA teams look rather pedestrian for a time.

The result can become somewhat humorous – assuming it isn’t happening to you. The media and fans speculating, calls for trades, benching and sometimes even calls for the coach’s head, but if one looks around, almost every top team in the NBA is going through exactly the same thing with few exceptions.

The list of teams that are currently winning over 60 percentage of their games that have been hit hard by the dog-days is almost all-inclusive and it doesn’t matter if your team is in the East or the West.

Eastern Conference

Toronto Raptors 35-17, Dog-days 11-10

After a hot start (almost redundant to say in this group of teams), the Raptors have gone 11-10 since December 28th. Blame the injury to DeMar DeRozan, blame the Western Conference road trip that kicked off slump, blame whatever. A three win eight loss slide raised all kinds of concerns, but like most of the teams on this list, they have gotten their act back together.

Washington Wizards 33-20, Dog-days 11-12

With 11 wins and 12 loses the Wizards are a game under .500 since December 29th, but they almost escaped the dog-days without such extensive damage. However, it was too much to ask for and they crashed and burned in a five game losing skid recently. It really does get tough at this time of year.

Chicago Bulls 32-20, Dog-days 10-11

At 10 wins and 11 losses, the Bulls are a game under .500 as well since December 29th. Chicago has had no real streaks since the end of December. It’s been win a few, lose a few in 2015. That All-Star break has to be looking pretty good right about now.

Cleveland 32-21, Dog-days 1-9?

The Cavaliers were one of the teams that did make what looked like panic moves and the short term view would have to be – change was good. Cleveland halted a 1 win 9 loss skid with 12 wins in a row and head into the all-Star break on a positive vibe with two games remaining. The only question with the Cavaliers is: was that a dog-days slide, the LeBron James effect, or does this team just alternate winning and losing streaks to torture their coach (and fans)?

Western Conference

Memphis Grizzlies 38-13, Dog-days 4-7

The Grizzlies have looked nearly unflappable, but even they hit a rough patch losing four games in a row and seven of 11 games between December 19th and January 9th. If you want a more recent dog-days loss, the Grizzlies dropped a game to the 11-41 Timberwolves last week after winning eight games in a row.

Houston Rockets 35-16, Dog-days 10-9

The Rockets have injury issues, but they aren’t alone and won’t find any sympathy among their opponents. After an overtime win in Denver on December 17th, Houston hit a stretch where they won 10 games and lost 9 games. They have picked it back up since.

Portland Trail Blazers 35-17, Dog-days 5-9

The Trail Blazers had 30 wins and eight losses on January 11th, but they were not about to escape the dog-days unscathed. A five win and nine loss stretch has brought them back to the pack among the NBA’s top teams.

Dallas Mavericks 35-19, Dog-days 9-9

Dallas has a very good team, but they are a very ordinary 9 wins and 9 losses after January 5th.

Los Angeles Clippers 34-19, Dog-days 2-5

The Clippers looked like they were going to skate through the dog-days until an eight game road trip jumped up to bite them. Since the loss to the Raptors on December 27th, the Clippers had gone 11 wins and three losses up until the Grammy road trip where they picked up five more losses. They also lost All-Star Blake Griffin for a few weeks which is undoubtedly the bigger deal.

No Dog-Days Allowed

Atlanta Hawks 43-10

The Hawks went 17-0 in January and have only lost two games in 2015.

Golden State Warriors 41-9

The Warriors have lost four games in 2015 and compared to the rest of their season, that qualifies as a slump – sort of – if one squints real hard and they are just five wins and three losses over their last eight games. Suffering? Hardly.

 

It should be obvious that the dog-days of the NBA have hit every top team except two and that’s why the Hawks and the Warriors reside comfortably atop their respective conferences.

As per usual, it’s not the dog-days of the NBA season that will determine most teams fates, the post All-Star stretch will set seeding and expectations for this year’s playoffs once again.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

Curry Conley Teague

NBA Dominance Rankings At The Halfway Point

The NBA schedule is half over and teams are-who-they-are by this point. After 40 games, strength of schedule has started to even out and a number of teams have shown us how they can deal with adversity – or not. There are teams like the Pistons that have made a change that has made a difference, but they still own their record. They just have a chance it could look a little better in April than it does now.

Pro Bball Report takes the subjective out of ranking NBA teams to determine who has been the most dominant to-date. The formula is based on wins and losses, strength of schedule, points differential, adjusts for home and way, rebounding differential and turnover differential. The end result is biased towards the best record, but that is what everyone is playing for during the regular season.

 

GSW Curry and Thompson1. Warriors 33-6

Still number one is our rankings by a significant albeit shrinking margin since December. The Warriors are the top scoring team in the Association and are winning games by the biggest margin.

 

Horford Millsap Teague2. Hawks 34-8

The Hawks are on a role and stand well above third place in our rankings and closing in on the top ranked Warriors. Winning 13 games in a row and going 27-2 since losing to the Raptors in late November can really change a team’s fortunes.

 

Dallas Mavericks Media Day 2013-20143. Mavericks 29-13

The Mavericks just keep putting up points and winning. They don’t rebound well, but they can sure turn teams over while looking after the ball themselves.

 

MEM_Conley_Mike4. Grizzlies 29-12

The Grizzlies have just continued to do what they do this season – grind teams down and win. However, they don’t dominate teams on the scoreboard or on the glass and have one the lowest margins of victory (+3.8 points) among the better teams in the NBA.

 

POR Batum and Lillard5. Trail Blazers 31-11

Portland continues to play solid basketball. The can put up points, play solid defense and rebound. However, they have been helped by a more generous home schedule than the teams ranked above them. They’ll have to play better on the road to keep up their record.

 

HOU Howard and Harden6. Rockets 29-13

The Rockets have been solid and playing better than expected defense. James Harden continues to lead the league in scoring at 27.1 points per game, but the Rockets average margin of victory is just +4.2 points – the same as San Antonio.

 

WAS_Wall_ John7. Wizards 29-13

The Wizards have played the easiest schedule in the Association including 4 more home dates than road games and their +2.6 point margin of victory isn’t awe-inspiring, but they are winning the games put in front of them. It’s going to be a tougher test the rest of the way.

 

San Antonio Spurs Media Day8. Spurs 26-16

The Spurs are expected to fight through adversity and they have looked rather ordinary for an elite team, but that’s only because everyone has become accustomed to them being a 60-win monster. Call them the ordinary contender.

 

TOR DeRozan and Lowry9. Raptors 27-14

Toronto hit a bump in the road after cruising along without DeMar DeRozan for a time. However, their All-Star of last season is back and they’ll need him. The Raptors still lead the East in scoring at 106.4 points per game, but they have played 5 more home games than on the road, so there’s some tough sledding ahead.

 

CHI Rose and Gasol10. Bulls 27-16

The inconsistent Bulls are starting to feel the frustration. They rebound well, but give back that advantage with turnovers. No one is ever sure which version of the team will show up, but they haven’t played themselves out of anything yet.

 

PHX Bledsoe and Dragic11. Suns 25-18

Phoenix is clinging to 8th place in the West and their suspect defense is only offset by their stellar offense, however, they have a big advantage over their competition in the tight Western Conference race. They’ll play 5 more home dates than road games over the balance of the schedule and in the NBA that’s no small matter.

 

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day12. Clippers 28-14

The Clippers are one the biggest disappointments this season. A veteran team loaded with stars, they had a front-end loaded home schedule that now leaves them with 8 more road games than home dates the rest of the way.

 

NOP Williams and Davis13. Pelicans 20-21

The Pelicans average margin of victory is basically zero. They are a .500 team that rebounds well, however, they did it with a tough road schedule and will benefit from a lot of home dates in the second half of the season if they can get their star players back from injury quickly enough.

 

OKC Westbrook and Durant14. Thunder 20-20

The Thunder started the season 3-12 and had to wait for their stars to return. The team is 16-10 with Russell Westbrook and 12-5 with Kevin Durant, so there is still hope for a strong final 42 games, but will it be enough in the competitive West?

 

15. Bucks 21-20

The Bucks managed to turn things around this season and it shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise. Literally half of their players were on the injured list a year ago. They have held it together through a tough road schedule and will benefit from more home dates in the second half of the season.

 

16. Cavaliers 22-20

Chemistry issues were expected, but LeBron James missing this many games and significant midseason roster moves were not. No one really knows what to expect from this team except they’ll probably be much better or much worse than they should be based on what’s happened thus far.

 

17. Nuggets 18-23

The fire sale has started in Denver. Blame injuries again, but this team just hasn’t been as good as expected. It’s time for some changes.

 

18. Heat 18-22

The Heat have trouble scoring to go with their trouble rebounding. When both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are at 100 percent, the Heat look okay, but no one really thought that would be the norm this season.

 

19. Pacers 15-28

Great defense and rebounding just can’t win a team enough games when they have almost no scoring. They still have a shot at 8th place in the East though.

 

20. Pistons 16-26

Stan Van Gundy gave the Pistons a shot in the arm of chemistry by waiving Josh Smith and if the current run continues, they will claim a playoff spot – if.

 

21. Hornets 17-25

Another team that can claim to be in the race for 8th in the East, if everyone comes back healthy and some other team doesn’t step up to claim it.

 

22. Nets 17-24

The Nets are in 8th place in the East, but every big contract on the team is available for future-oriented assets (or maybe just a salary dump). They can’t score and don’t rebound well enough to be anything more than first round playoff fodder with this aging and luxury tax hamstrung roster anyway.

 

23. Jazz 14-27

The young Jazz have been winning a few games since the middle of December. Scoring, rebounding and turnovers remain a concern, but there are signs of improvement.

 

24. Kings 16-25

How can a team rebound this well, turn the ball over this often (-4.3 net turnovers, ouch), score this easily, have so many “decent” players and still not be at least a .500 team? (Don’t answer that!)

 

25. Magic 15-29

The Magic are developing their young players and it shows across the board, but this team plays hard.

 

26. Celtics 13-26

The Celtics, like the Magic, are rebuilding and their young players are progressing.

 

27. Lakers 12-30

The Lakers had the toughest schedule of any team in the first half of the season and this collection of talent, thrown together at the last minute, never had a chance.

 

28. Timberwolves 7-33

The young guys are getting to play, but they really weren’t doing any better when they had all of their veterans healthy. That Andrew Wiggins kid is looking pretty good.

 

29. 76ers 8-33

The 76ers are the lowest scoring team in the NBA by a substantial margin, lose games by an average of 12.7 points and somehow they still aren’t worse than the Knicks. Go figure?

 

30. Knicks 6-36

The Knicks jumped from a 10-game losing streak straight into a 16-game losing streak. The only question for today is, will they start a new losing streak on Wednesday or can they beat the 76ers for their second win in 2015?

 

 

All statistics used were prior to the start of action on 01-20-2015

Data sources: Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, ESPN.com

 

 

Curry and Korver

Are The NBA’s Best Shooters On Stephen Curry’s List?

The Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has become the premier three-point threat in the NBA today and the small speedy guard seems to be able to get shots off from anywhere against anyone. So Sports Illustrated asked who his current and historical top 5 NBA shooters were and Curry obliged.

 

 

Curry’s Top Five Shooters Now:
(career three-point field goal percentage, All-time NBA rank)

1) Stephen Curry (44%, 3rd)
2) Klay Thompson (41%, 17th)
3) Kyle Korver (42.5%, 11th)
4) Steve Novak (43.2%, 6th)
5) Ray Allen (40%, 36th)

Not bad for off the top of his head.

The top five shooters who were still playing last season:
(career three-point field goal percentage, All-time NBA rank)

1) Stephen Curry (44%, 3rd)
2) Steve Novak (43.2%, 6th)
3) Anthony Morrow (42.8%, 8th)
4) Steve Nash (42.8%, 9th)
5) Kyle Korver (42.5%, 11th)

Active players with career three-point shooting that are still ahead of Curry’s Splash Brother Thompson include Danny Green (42.1%), Matt Bonner (41.8%) and Jose Calderon (41.1%), but Thompson does have lots of time to push his way up this list.

Curry’s all-time list seems just a little clouded by his age, but its hard to remember all the greats when you weren’t even born yet.

Curry’s Top Five Shooters All-time:
(career three-point field goal percentage, All-time NBA rank)

1) Reggie Miller (39.5%, 47th)
2) Dell Curry (40.1%, 32nd)
3) Stephen Curry (44%, 3rd)
4) Steve Kerr (45.4%, 1st)
5) Ray Allen (40%, 36th)

Who has Curry overlooked?

2) Hubert Ira Davis Jr. (44.1%)

Drafted by the Knicks in 1992 and played for 12 NBA seasons and 5 teams, including the Raptors in 1996-97.

4) Drazen Petrovic (43.7%)

The Hall of Fame player led Yugoslavia to gold medals at the European and World Championships and a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics. He played in the NBA for Portland and New Jersey before dying in a car accident at 28-years-old.

5) Jason Kapono (43.4%)

Kapono played for 9 NBA seasons with 6 teams. He won an NBA Championship with Miami 2006 and led the league in three-point field goal percentage twice. His skill-set may have been limited, but he could shoot.

7) Tim Legler (43.1%)

Timothy Eugene Legler played for a decade in the NBA during the 1990’s and had the third best three-point shooting season in NBA history at 52.2 percent in 1995-96 playing for the Washington Bullets.

The single season record for three-point shooting percentage is held by Korver (53.6%) and Kerr is second (52.4%).

The younger Curry has a ways to go if he’s to match his Dad’s (Dell) best season of 47.6 percent (24th all-time) as Stephen holds down the 60th and 61st best individual seasons for three-point shooting, but just about everyone is expecting he’ll move up that list before long.

Check out the NBA career leader board for three-point shooting here.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.